I never thought about it until it was too late. I have been growing an autograph collection for many years now, and I even used to grab signatures at batting practice at the Kingdome when I was a kid, but it was not in the too distant past that I started adding some of the more uncommon characters to the list. It may have started when I saw a Ned Colleti GM certified autograph card and decided I needed to have that for my collection. I collect a wide variety of autographs, but my two main focuses are the Dodgers (anything and everything and I do mean anything) and early Seattle Mariners (first 10 years or so).
There are two vendors who stick out in my mind from when I was a kid watching baseball in Seattle/The Kingdome in the late 70s/early 80s. The first was Bill The Beerman. I was not old enough to drink beer when I experienced Bill's bellowing calls, but he sure was unforgettable. He would pass by your seats a few times every game and he was just unique. The 2nd was a peanut vendor known as Rick The Peanut Man. This guy took the peanut toss to a new level. He made it a fun experience to buy a bag of peanuts at the game.
I'm sure just about every stadium has or had characters like this and I am here to say that if you have one or more at your favorite stadium, take the time to chat with them, ask for an autograph and/or a photo. I wish I had now, although it was the furthest from my mind as a 10 year old.
Both Bill Scott (2007) and Rick Kaminski (2011) have since passed away, but I will never forget them for the shows they put on when I was a kid, getting my first taste of Baseball.
I was at the local card shop this past week and was talking about older Mariners items and the owner asked if I has seen the shirt he had, signed by Rick The Peanut Man and Dave Henderson, former Mariner OF and Broadcaster, also deceased. I had not noticed it, but wandered over to it and saw a $20 asking price. Not something I would normally want (T-Shirt), but that autograph of Rick was what I wanted. I couldn't say "I'll take it" fast enough! I consider that a bargain and would love to some day come across a Bill The Beerman autograph to complete the pair!