Certified Autographs, who is MIA?
I had been watching a 2001 Topps autograph card of Johnny Oates for quite some time. It was set at something like $130. Now, I guess the card might have been a tough pull originally and Oates has died since the card was issued and I believe it is the only certified auto for him, but still...it's Johnny Oates after all! However, I really wanted one. He was a Dodger player briefly and when I focused my attention on obtaining as many different Dodger autographs as I could, I soon realized that many of the certified cards would repeat across only a small selection of players. You could find more players pictured on other teams though, so I found myself obtaining these "place market" autographs, in hopes that a Dodger card would show up eventually. For some, it would likely never happen. Many players never have and probably never will be featured on a certified autograph card. In the last decade or more though, due to our fascination with prospecting in this hobby, there has been a much greater chance when most of the young players have signed cards before you have even heard of them!
Back to Oates. His certified card appearance was issued when he was managing the Rangers. He had decent success with the team, winning three division titles, but losing in the LDS all three times. He was mostly a part time catcher during his playing career and never made much of a splash. Sadly, he died relatively young from cancer in 2004 at the age of 58. Not exactly the cornerstone to an autograph collection, but it is great that they recognized him before his passing with this card. Aside from an aftermarket cut, there is no possibility of a Dodger auto card, so this is the best I can get.
Out of the blue, I decided to search for him and found a new card was listed, for a fair amount less than the one I was watching, plus it was open for offers too. I made what I felt was a pretty reasonable offer, received a counter but decided to pull the trigger anyway to end the search. I now have a certified Johnny Oates autograph on the way to me. Now i realize that I will never have all of the Dodger autographs and certainly there are plenty of certified opportunities that were missed, but I epxect moving forward, most of the better names will have a certified card somewhere along the way during their career. This brings me to my original thought and question...I know there are some glaring omissions of players who may have been able to sign cards since the first certified cards made their way into the market in 1990, but have since passed, as there are probably plenty of retired players someone would like to see featured, but as of yet have not. There are even a few activer players who are absent as well. Coming up with a list may be tricky, but there has to be a few missing gems, right?
Realizing that autographed cards started to take off in the mid 90s, who would you like to see on a certified card that you don't think has one or know for sure does not, living or now deceased? This might even bring up some long forgotten sets and players who do have signed cards that people may not be aware of too. If the player is still living, maybe there is still hope via Heritage, Fan favorites or somne other retired player sets, but sadly we have missed the boat on the deceased players (aside from cuts).
My nomination at this time, as I am not aware of any certified autographs and don't understand why this has yet to happen unless this is a personal choice, is Kenley Jansen. I can probably piece together nearly the entire current Dodgers team, minus this guy! 10 year veteran, 3 time AS, top 30 career saves leader and will pass 300 this year...WTH? I'm sure I could compile a nice list of other players that I would like to have, especially in a Dodger uniform, but Jansen seems so obvious, yet year after year it never happens!