Obtaining Autographs At Minor League Baseball Games
Minor League baseball games are a great way to obtain autographs from future stars. There are certain techniques to use to ensure that you autographs do not fade.
Minor League baseball games are a great place to see future Major League baseball stars. You will also have better access to the players than at a Major League game. The players sign many autographs but there is an art to ensuring that the autographs will last over time.
The first step is to decide what you want to have autographed. Two popular choices are baseballs and baseball cards. If you decide to have a baseball autographed, you want to ensure that the ball is made of leather. If the ball is made of a vinyl or plastic substance than the autographs will fade over time. Often the balls that are sold in the souvenir stands are not made of leather. If a ball is made of leather then often it will state it on the ball. It is ideal to have an official game ball signed. First, it is made out of leather and the autograph will last for a long time. Second, it will be more valuable if it is signed on an official ball. Just as they have Official American and National League balls they also have official balls in the Minor Leagues such as the Official Southern League ball.
Once you have a leather baseball, you need to have it signed with the correct pen. Baseballs are easy. You only need a ball point pen, but it should be blue ink. Black ink will fade or yellow over time. A simple bic or paper mate will do just fine. You do not want to use a felt tip or sharpie on a baseball. The leather will absorb the ink from a sharpie or felt tip pen over time.
Baseball cards are also one of the most popular items to have autographed. A baseball card will give you a picture of the player and some history about the player. This is especially good when having Minor League cards signed due to the fact that the players are not as well known at this point in their careers. The hard part is to find cards of Minor League players. This is easier today because often players will have Major League baseball cards out way before they ever make it to the Major Leagues. Often the souvenir stand will have team sets of the local team with many of the current players. To find cards of players from the opposing team you will first need a list of the players. The best way to find out who is on the opposing team is to go to the opposing team's website and print out a copy of their roster. Most Minor League teams will have a website with a current team roster on it.
One problem that you will find with baseball cards of today is that they have a coat of gloss covering them. The gloss makes the card look sharp but is not autograph friendly. The gloss may cause the ink to bubble. The gloss will also slow the drying process for the ink and often the ink will smear or smudge when the card is handled. The most common practice to fight the gloss is to rub a little baby powder over the front of the card. Then you can wipe it off with a dry towel. You can rub your finger over the card and compare it to the back of the card and feel a difference. I'm not sure if it actually removes any of the gloss but it does make the card more autograph friendly. Now that your cards are ready, you must choose the proper pen. With baseball cards you want to use a blue sharpie. A black sharpie will tarnish and have a yellow tint over time. However, blue seems to last without any fading or yellowing. Sharpies are the best to use on cards because they are thick enough to show up well on the cards.
Now that you have the proper pens and items to be autographed you want to ensure that you gain access to the players. The best time to gain access to the players is before the game so go early. The players will warm up in the outfield near the dugout. Sometimes you can catch them before they warm up or when they go to the dugout after they warm up. You will need to have a roster with current numbers of the players, which will usually be in the program at the game. Look up the number of each player in the program and find out their name. When you call them by their name instead of their number they are more likely to sign. Often they will come over and sign without being asked. The pitchers are a little harder because often they will go to the bullpen or if they go to the dugout they may have their jacket on and you will not be able to see their number. Once the game starts you will not be able to obtain autographs. Sometimes they will sign after the game but keep in mind that the best time is before the game. Good luck and happy autograph hunting.