I enjoy collecting autographs of my favorite baseball players. There are several ways to get player autographs. I have some acquired the traditional way, where you go to a game with things you want to be signed and try to corner your favorite players. For baseball card collectors, autographed cards are often randomly inserted into packs of cards as a gimmick. A third way is TTM.
“TTM” stands for “through the mail.” This may be foreign to anyone born in the Internet Age. You send your favorite player regular snail-mail with a letter, something you want to be signed, and a self-addressed stamped envelope (SASE). Let’s break that down:
- First, you write a letter to the player. It’s best to write the letter by hand (instead of typing it). Write about how much you enjoy watching him play. Write about why you became a fan. Compliment him. Be nice. And politely ask if he could sign something for you.
- Enclose something you want to be signed. Usually, this is a baseball card of the player, but it can be anything flat that will fit in the envelope.
- Include a SASE. This is just a smaller envelope with your address already written on it and a stamp already attached. This is to make it as easy as possible for the player to send your signed item back to you. All he has to do is put the autographed item into the envelope, seal it, and drop it back in the mailbox.
Finding the address to send your TTM letter to is trickier. Professional baseball players can get very busy. If you want to increase your chances of a response, you need to mail them when they are not as busy. The best time to send a baseball player a TTM request is during Spring Training. Find out where the team is practicing for Spring Training, and send your letter to the facility. Make sure you write “c/o Player Name” (substitute the player’s name) on the envelope, so they know who the letter is for.
If Spring Training is not in session, the next best place to send mail to is the stadium where the team plays. You can look up the addresses of both Spring Training facilities and MLB stadiums at MLB.com.
In general, the more obscure a player is, the more likely you will get a response. Famous players simply don’t have the time, as they probably get hundreds of TTM requests. Remember, they gain nothing from signing autographs through the mail. That means getting TTM autographs from minor leaguers is your best bet.
However, if you want an autograph from a famous player, there is another thing to check out. Search and see if the player has a website. Sometimes the player will list conditions for signing autographs through the mail. Often you can send a donation to the player’s foundation with your TTM request, and the player will gladly sign.
I’ve only tried TTM autograph requests for professional baseball players, but I assume the same rules apply to other sports and other types of celebrities.
Here are some of the TTM autographs that I have received:
Hall of Famer Brooks Robinson
He was doing a signing in Maryland, and I sent my card in along with $20 for it to get signed.
5-time All-Star Adam Jones
I sent Adam Jones a TTM request back in 2009 before he became a Baltimore Orioles star. He sent back a different card from the one I sent him. I guess he kept a pile of pre-signed cards to send to people, to save time.
4-time All-Star Matt Wieters
I also got a response from another former Baltimore Orioles star, Matt Wieters. He now plays for the Washington Nationals. I sent out this request while he was still a minor leaguer. He was not unknown at the time, though, because he was selected 5th in the 2007 Draft.
2-time All-Star Gio Gonzalez
This is another autograph that I sent while the player was still a minor leaguer. Gio Gonzalez is now a key piece in the Washington Nationals pitching rotation.