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  #1  
Old 06-03-2021, 08:15 AM
byrone byrone is offline
Brian Macdonald
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Default With the passing of Dr. Mike Marshall

Mike Marshall (the longtime pitcher) recently passed away.

He was known as one of the rarest and most difficult of autograph signers for modern players

I'm wondering if there are any interesting stories of dealings with players like Mike Marshall, those guys who just seem to not want to sign
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  #2  
Old 06-03-2021, 08:30 AM
packs packs is offline
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Good luck ever getting a Michael Jordan.
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  #3  
Old 06-03-2021, 10:42 AM
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egri egri is offline
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We had a thread here recently about Barry Bonds that morphed into a Bonds and Willie Mays horror story thread. The bottom line is neither of them like to sign, and with the health problems he's having, Mays is probably done even if he wanted to sign. If you're a member of SCN, there are a few threads over there from members who tried to set up signings with him, and Mays's handlers would always ghost the promoters, usually after the nonrefundable deposit was paid.
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  #4  
Old 06-03-2021, 11:52 AM
tazdmb tazdmb is offline
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Originally Posted by egri View Post
We had a thread here recently about Barry Bonds that morphed into a Bonds and Willie Mays horror story thread. The bottom line is neither of them like to sign, and with the health problems he's having, Mays is probably done even if he wanted to sign. If you're a member of SCN, there are a few threads over there from members who tried to set up signings with him, and Mays's handlers would always ghost the promoters, usually after the nonrefundable deposit was paid.
My arguments is that Bonds has done shows since retirement and Mays has done plenty of shows. I would argue the toughest living player (assuming he is still living) to procure any autograph from since retirement is Byron McLaughlin. Last year was 1983, fled the country in 1984 and whereabouts are since unknown. I THINK someone once tracked him done for a (very) private signing, but I could be wrong.
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Old 06-03-2021, 05:41 PM
dgo71 dgo71 is offline
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A set collector did indeed track McLaughlin down. He found him before the FBI did. He only had a handful of cards signed for his sets, and I believe his collector friend. McLaughlin is super rare.

Ricky Wright, especially on his 1987 Topps, would have to occupy the #2 spot on the toughest living signatures list, IMO.
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  #6  
Old 06-04-2021, 09:35 PM
bjerome bjerome is offline
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Add Rich Chiles to the rare group!
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  #7  
Old 06-05-2021, 11:36 AM
MCyganik MCyganik is offline
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What about Tony Horton? His signature is out there, but most if not all are vintage era 3x5 index cards and photos.

He holds the record of the most at-bats by an MLB player in the Topps era that doesn't have a single Topps card. So he kinda flies under the radar with modern card collectors.

Story goes his father, a former UCLA star athlete, controlled Tony much of his career and refused to sign a contract with Topps unless he got top money. Then his mental health suffered and he not only disappeared from the game but refused to talk about it too.

From what I've read, Tony found quiet success working in business in SoCal but has spent his entire life refusing to talk to baseball reporters. I believe he still lives with and/or cares for his father who is now in his mid to late 90s and never married or had children.

I found one of his Red Sox jerseys at an estate sale a few years ago and his story fascinates me as I work in the mental health field and sympathetic to his experience, so I've been meaning to try to write him a letter and see if he ever responds. I also picked up a 1964 Red Sox team signed ball with a rookie Tony Horton signature (and rookie Tony Conigliaro, the Two Tony's who competed with each other and went to nightclubs together), so at least I have one thing he signed.
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  #8  
Old 06-05-2021, 08:13 PM
vintagechris vintagechris is offline
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Steve Hovley is extremely rare and difficult. He plan does not sign anymore and hasn't for a very long time.
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  #9  
Old 06-05-2021, 08:45 PM
mrmopar mrmopar is offline
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Signatures are available from the past, but my understanding is that Andy Messersmith refuses to sign anything now. I don't know how far back this dates though. I sure would like a couple specific cards signed by him, mostly the 1979 OPC, which is an awesome Dodgers/Yankees Frankenstein card.
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  #10  
Old 06-05-2021, 08:51 PM
mrmopar mrmopar is offline
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It's interesting that a lot of times it is a more obscure player. Clearly there is demand for just about anyone, wether it be by someone trying to get literally every player, or a team or a set collector for cards.

Ultimately, when it comes to tough players, I really don't have a personal desire to get commons, especially at some of the crazy prices you do see) unless they played for the Dodgers, were on 1977-1987 Mariners cards or on a 1978 Topps card. They are also listed in the order of priority I place on them too. not actually building a signed 78 set, per se, just like them.
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  #11  
Old 06-06-2021, 07:00 AM
BillyCox3 BillyCox3 is offline
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I love the 1978 set too. It's a nice, simple design with a mixture of great and grainy photos. This unevenness has made it unpopular with many people, but some collectors really like it.

Many, many years ago, I thought it would be a fun idea to try for the entire autographed set. Of course, Munson and Bostock were long gone, but most of the other players were still with us at the time.

I started out by writing to the 200 players for whom I had cards handy. The results were incredibly saddening, leading me to give up and call all the postage a loss. Out of 200 letters written, several came back RTS. Five--yes, you read that right--five people signed and returned their cards. Herman Franks was always a great signer and responded quickly. Darrell Evans and Steve Henderson took a year or three. The two others responded quickly as well, but what made it so strange was that neither of them usually respond to mail requests--Wayne Nordhagen and Jerry Martin. I later learned that Mr. Nordhagen has moved around a lot and the case could be made that he's not a bad signer, but it's perhaps a matter of being able to catch him at the right address at the right time.
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Old 06-06-2021, 02:19 PM
mrmopar mrmopar is offline
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That is an extreme version of the story that rings in my head any time I think i should dig out old cards and do some TTM requests.

I just don't like the thought of spending all that time and postage for maybe nothing, not to mention the agonizing waits for some, with many never coming back at all.

Years ago, I bought a lot on ebay that had maybe 400+ 78T cards signed. i was also buying a lot of singles too. I have a good amount of the set, including Bostock. I do not have Munson. I don't have Messersmith either! One that really sticks out in my mind that I don't have and should is Reggie Jackson. I really would like that card signed. it is one of the all-time great cards.


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Originally Posted by BillyCox3 View Post
I love the 1978 set too. It's a nice, simple design with a mixture of great and grainy photos. This unevenness has made it unpopular with many people, but some collectors really like it.

Many, many years ago, I thought it would be a fun idea to try for the entire autographed set. Of course, Munson and Bostock were long gone, but most of the other players were still with us at the time.

I started out by writing to the 200 players for whom I had cards handy. The results were incredibly saddening, leading me to give up and call all the postage a loss. Out of 200 letters written, several came back RTS. Five--yes, you read that right--five people signed and returned their cards. Herman Franks was always a great signer and responded quickly. Darrell Evans and Steve Henderson took a year or three. The two others responded quickly as well, but what made it so strange was that neither of them usually respond to mail requests--Wayne Nordhagen and Jerry Martin. I later learned that Mr. Nordhagen has moved around a lot and the case could be made that he's not a bad signer, but it's perhaps a matter of being able to catch him at the right address at the right time.
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  #13  
Old 06-06-2021, 02:35 PM
BillyCox3 BillyCox3 is offline
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Don't let that story dissuade you. It certainly didn't make me stop writing to players; I just switched focus. Also very important to realize that I wrote those letters in the era before the internet. Many of the players in that set so sign now and we have much better resources than the old address list I used at the time. Nothing you don't already know, but put here for others who might need to see it.
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  #14  
Old 06-06-2021, 05:22 PM
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egri egri is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrmopar View Post
That is an extreme version of the story that rings in my head any time I think i should dig out old cards and do some TTM requests.

I just don't like the thought of spending all that time and postage for maybe nothing, not to mention the agonizing waits for some, with many never coming back at all.

Years ago, I bought a lot on ebay that had maybe 400+ 78T cards signed. i was also buying a lot of singles too. I have a good amount of the set, including Bostock. I do not have Munson. I don't have Messersmith either! One that really sticks out in my mind that I don't have and should is Reggie Jackson. I really would like that card signed. it is one of the all-time great cards.
There are a few sites that have an address database with feedback from other collectors of who signs, how much they charge, wait times, etc that can help you cut down on wasted postage. SportsCollectors.net is one, SportsCardForum.com is another. I haven't used either in a while, but they were both very handy when I was writing to the living players for my project.
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Old 06-07-2021, 10:25 PM
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I’d probably have to go with Byron McLaughlin, just because his prices for a signature are usually higher than Chiles or Wright. Wright may it be a great signer, but from stuff I’ve read on this forum and other places, he sometimes gives on Non-1987 Topps items.

Ask yourself where and how you’re supposed to find Byron McLaughlin and what he looks like. I’d even argue make the case he’s more scarce than Dr. Mike was. Dr. Mike did a show I saw years ago, albeit for eye popping prices, but consider the source.

It seems like every set has a toughie, just about. I’m also not terribly fond of the 1978 Topps set, as my personal favorites from the decade are the 1972 and 1973 sets. However, as of this post, I have at least one card signed in every Topps set between 1952 through 1992.

I view the 1978 set as okay, nothing special. I’m not terribly fond of the 1975 set, as the color schemes and design are a bit loud for me. Not to mention that, with few exceptions, I’m not fond of facsimile signatures on cards. To me, the worst set design of the decade is the 1977 set.
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Old 06-08-2021, 10:03 PM
sreader3 sreader3 is offline
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Moved to the correct thread — sorry about that.

Last edited by sreader3; 06-09-2021 at 04:39 PM.
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  #17  
Old 06-11-2021, 10:33 PM
mrmopar mrmopar is offline
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I had read somewhere, don't recall if it was an article or maybe a collector feedback. Supposedly, McLaughlin fled to France when this was all unfolding after his arrest. Of course, he could be anywhere or even dead by now.

The funny part is that he, like so many other obscure toughies, are guys nobody would care a lot about normally. People build sets all the time and getting the common players is part of that ritual. It is when we discover how hard one is to find that the $ soon catch up.

I found out about McLaughlin when I decided to track down as many signed "vintage" M's cards as I could, from 1977 to about 1987-88. They have plenty of guys who just don't have a lot of supply out there besides Byron. Maybe it was the crappy teams, or maybe they just disappeared into obscurity. Names like Rod Craig (i did see that he was murdered in a homeless camp several years back), Randy Sten (now also deceased), Rick Anderson (Deceased), Paul Serna, Greg Bercierviez (probably misspelled, not going to look it up), Kim Allen, Casey Parsons, Jose Baez, Juan Bernhardt, Carlos Lopez, Reggie Walton to name a few. I really enjoyed building those team sets, but it was frustrating to see so many were a lot harder to find than the average common form those years, and my team sets will likely never be complete because of McLaughlin.
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  #18  
Old 06-12-2021, 08:01 AM
BillyCox3 BillyCox3 is offline
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Kim Allen is a great signer--he just takes forever--sometimes years. Same goes for Greg B., but with a little less frequency. Mr. Allen seems like a really nice person. He's always been an extremely devout Christian as far back as I can recall. Not sure why he has such long reply times, but with enough patience, anyone will hear back from him.

Last edited by BillyCox3; 06-12-2021 at 08:05 AM.
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  #19  
Old 08-16-2021, 10:38 PM
Deertick Deertick is offline
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I may have told this story before, but...
In the mid 90's, I was playing on in the MABL on an 30+ team. We would play one doubleheader against each 50+ team (mainly because they had just the same 4 teams playing each other)

When we would play z-hills, Dr Mike would pitch one game, never hit, and after every inning would sit in the dugout making notes. About what? Who knows, lol. Was he memorializing the sequence and location of my at bats (1-3,2-3, 1B-7) for the time I would face him NEXT YEAR or how his arm angle or landing position affected location??
Anyway, I never saw him really speak to anyone, except maybe to acknowledge a good play behind him.

At our age, most of us knew his pedigree and kinda surly reputation but were still just thrilled to have the story to tell. Some did not.

One guy hit a HR off of him, and we told him "Hey you hit a bomb off of a CY Young award pitcher! He led the majors in saves!" "Go ask him to sign the ball after the game!", lol.

During post game handshakes, he asks. Dr. Mike looked at the guy like he just shat on his shoe. He stuck his hand out and when Jerry (or Jeremy?) went to drop it in his hand he pulled it away and ball dropped to the ground as he turned away..

We were all laughing so hard, and Dr Mike Marshall, as he did every game silently walked to his corner of the dugout, collected his notes and left. But we swear that he looked back and shook his head with a hint of a smile.

As an aside, If you ever come across a Steve Sigler Official MABL baseball with 11 Mike Marshall autographs done in 11 hands, I'll buy it!
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