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Certified Autographs, who is MIA?

mrmopar

Member
Jan 19, 2010
3,683
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!
 

smapdi

Active member
Aug 7, 2008
4,183
Some guys don't like to sign, especially in the volumes that card companies want. They'd just rather be doing something else, and don't care about the money. Some want too much money. Some have qualms about the whole hero worship aspect. And some, I suspect, are kind of illiterate and only sign when they absolutely have to, like contracts.

I don't really go for autos. I mean, I collect a couple players and value their sigs, and some of my favorite sets I've collected are autograph-based but I don't collect by team or type, so my view on the topic is fairly limited. But of the players I collect there are some I wish signed more. Old Phillies Garry Maddox, Bake McBride, and Greg Luzinski have extremely limited offerings, being in just 2-3 products from 15 years ago. And I actually hope Grady Sizemore reappears in the hobby at some point, though I tend to view post-career cards more lightly.
 

tramers

Well-known member
Aug 7, 2008
20,580
hickory nc
i get to meet low "A" players of Texas Rangers and many south of border do not sign well . They have a teacher working on English and how to count money . . Don't do TTM this goes for several teams i know . These are big kids that play BASEBALL to survive . Low "A" make about $1000 /2000 a month and pay rent etc. . Maybe those with signing bonus have cars / trucks . Their agents help them get BATS - most are used / name engraved former major league . Don't ask for auto if G/F is in town !!!!
 

madbull34

Member
Sep 10, 2009
922
San Diego, CA
Former M's closer Kazuhiro Sasaki has no certified autos. Kazuo Matsui and Kosuke Fukudome also had decent careers with no autos. Hiroki Kuroda didn't start signing until later in his MLB career. Tanaka didn't sign the first year or two but now there's a ton of his autos.
 

clarkfan

Active member
Sep 15, 2009
1,524
I've always wanted one of Bob Uecker. And I really wish Vin Scully signed a few more than he has, so they weren't so expensive :)
 

Therion

Well-known member
Nov 19, 2008
5,454
Looooooosiana!
Darryl Kile never had a certified auto. 2009 Sterling has an atrocious cut (which I don't have, but it's fugly). In fact, he only ever had two Game Used cards, one of which is a parallel of the other.
 

WizardofOz1982

Active member
Sep 30, 2017
859
Oklahoma
Darryl Kile never had a certified auto. 2009 Sterling has an atrocious cut (which I don't have, but it's fugly). In fact, he only ever had two Game Used cards, one of which is a parallel of the other.
Hadn't seen those Cuts from Sterling. I'm not of fan of Cuts in general but those are really fugly.
 

mrmopar

Member
Jan 19, 2010
3,683
I am surprised Uecker has not made an appearance, especially since they did the Major League set and he was actually a player once! He fame has quieted down quite a bit, but I remember those Lite beer commercials he was in, often quite funny.

I would love to see a Uecker too, if he doesn't have any. Maybe he just is not willing, as he could easily have appeared in an Archives or Fan Favorites issue.
I've always wanted one of Bob Uecker. And I really wish Vin Scully signed a few more than he has, so they weren't so expensive :)
Scully is starting to show up in more issues, but I agree there too, especially the prices. It is actually amazing to me how valued his signature is to be selling consistantly for several $100 a pop. He was one of the best in his field, but I guess I am just surprised how many people want announcer autographs. That is definitely a smaller specialty area for baseball autograph collectors. Not sure if he got a ton of fan mail through the years and/or signed through the mail either, but given his advanced age, the certified cards are only going to get harder to find if someone doesn't get him to sign more while he still can!
 

mrmopar

Member
Jan 19, 2010
3,683
Former M's closer Kazuhiro Sasaki has no certified autos. Kazuo Matsui and Kosuke Fukudome also had decent careers with no autos. Hiroki Kuroda didn't start signing until later in his MLB career. Tanaka didn't sign the first year or two but now there's a ton of his autos.
I needed his Topps trophy card when I was chasing that set hard. Still need a signed Shinjo 2002 Topps card too (and Ichiro for that matter). I personally would like a Kuroda, as he was a Dodger, but I can see why he didn't have one too.
 

Pinbreaker

Well-known member
Aug 7, 2008
9,849
Laguna Niguel, CA
I keep looking for that Johnny Oates Auto as I started putting that set together.. Currently I have Lou Pinella and Tom Kelly..

I picked this Kaz auto on EBAY quite awhile ago.. It was from a promo that the M's did for some of the local companies..


kaz2.jpg

Someone mentioned Greg Luzinski..

luzinski-auto.jpg
 
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hive17

Active member
Aug 7, 2008
20,769
I'm pretty certain Craig Counsell doesn't have one, which is odd, given his prominence in 2 different WS teams.

I had always wanted one from him after he came here in the Richie Sexon deal years ago.
 

mrmopar

Member
Jan 19, 2010
3,683
Many of the Heritage autos are questionable, but figuring who is left alive from each of the older years limites choices. Plus if I complain about an obscure Philly or Met, someone else is complaining about an obscure Dodger that I'd love to see included.

Who is your biggest WHY did they get an autograph spot that you can think of from a somewhat narrow focused set? I say this because pure prospects/RCs and specific themes like 1963 Topps or USA teams will always have questionable guys because they are part opf a small sample size.

I think equally interesting when considering guys that never got one are some of the guys that DID get certified autos.
 

Therion

Well-known member
Nov 19, 2008
5,454
Looooooosiana!
Many of the Heritage autos are questionable, but figuring who is left alive from each of the older years limites choices. Plus if I complain about an obscure Philly or Met, someone else is complaining about an obscure Dodger that I'd love to see included.

Who is your biggest WHY did they get an autograph spot that you can think of from a somewhat narrow focused set? I say this because pure prospects/RCs and specific themes like 1963 Topps or USA teams will always have questionable guys because they are part opf a small sample size.
2016 Topps Heritage Real One Autograph of Derrell Griffith. While I am fine that he got a certified autograph, he is pictured as a Houston Astros 3B/OF. The problem? He never played for the Houston Astros. He was traded to them by the Mets, but was almost immediately flipped for Wade Blasingame.
 

mrmopar

Member
Jan 19, 2010
3,683
He was on a Dodger card in 66 Topps. I would have preferred he be pictured as a Dodger in Heritage, but I bought one anyway. Same with Bob Lee, Dick Nen, Chuck Essegian, Tim Harkness and maybe a couple others I might be forgetting. This is one of the main reasons I do love the Heritaqge Real One set. Some many nobodies with certified autographs now!

2016 Topps Heritage Real One Autograph of Derrell Griffith. While I am fine that he got a certified autograph, he is pictured as a Houston Astros 3B/OF. The problem? He never played for the Houston Astros. He was traded to them by the Mets, but was almost immediately flipped for Wade Blasingame.
 

r2d2

Active member
Aug 24, 2008
2,814
Mexico City
I would have loved for Bobby Avila and Aurelio Rodriguez to have certified autographs, they only have cuts.

I love that Mario Mendoza has a Topps All-Time Fan Favorites autos and will have one more in this year Archives.

The one that probably would want the most and it is still possible is Jorge Orta. Maybe something related to the 1985 WS.
 

mrmopar

Member
Jan 19, 2010
3,683
Another brief Dodger mention. I could get behind an Orta. Would love a Dodger version, but that is probably asking too much.

I would have loved for Bobby Avila and Aurelio Rodriguez to have certified autographs, they only have cuts.

I love that Mario Mendoza has a Topps All-Time Fan Favorites autos and will have one more in this year Archives.

The one that probably would want the most and it is still possible is Jorge Orta. Maybe something related to the 1985 WS.
 

Pinbreaker

Well-known member
Aug 7, 2008
9,849
Laguna Niguel, CA
I would have loved for Bobby Avila and Aurelio Rodriguez to have certified autographs, they only have cuts.

I love that Mario Mendoza has a Topps All-Time Fan Favorites autos and will have one more in this year Archives.

The one that probably would want the most and it is still possible is Jorge Orta. Maybe something related to the 1985 WS.
I currently have 3 Mario Mendozas..

mendoza.jpgmendoza1.jpg
 

mrmopar

Member
Jan 19, 2010
3,683
I have the same Mendoza because I was also collecting early Mariner autos. They have been extremely under represented so far in that area, although they were a terrible team for so many years. Most of the M's autos are post Griffey era. I am not sure off the top of my head who all has certified autos in a Mariner uniform for pre 1987 players, but I do recall Mendoza, Harold Reynolds & Gaylord Perry for sure. If you could the buyback cards, there are probably a few more, like Mark Langston.

For me, I would like to see so many more like Dan Meyer, Ruppert Jones, Bruce Bochte, Richie Zisk, Rick Honeycutt, Phil Bradley, Shane Rawley, Mike Moore, Matt Young, Alvin Davis, Julio Cruz, Craig Reynolds and others. Some may already have them though and I am just not aware.

 

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