I often look down my nose at autograph hounds, as a good many of them tend to be grown men who deal in autographs professionally. Plus, they’re sad. You see them hanging out outside of hotels and near player entrances to ballparks, their backpacks bulging, talking to one another about whether the guy coming around the corner is Sanchez or Gonzalez, Smith or Jones. They often don’t know themselves. It’s so divorced from fandom and memory-making that calling the product of their endeavors “memorabilia” borders on false advertising.
But not all autograph seekers fit this description. Kids are an exception, of course, and I have no problem with kids shoving a ball and a Sharpie in the face of a ballplayer. They’ll remember that stuff their entire lives.
Another exception? Ballplayers themselves. Like Hector Santiago, who Pedro Moura of the OC Register reports, has a MASSIVE autograph collection. Hall of Famers and current players. Big stars and some not so big. Mostly on jerseys. And he’s not at all shy about asking for them.
His motivation: a love and appreciation of baseball history and a seeming acknowledgement that he won’t be young and active forever and, one day, he’s going to want to have memories of his time around the game.
Such a nice story about a guy who really loves baseball. Which, as Santiago himself says in the story, isn’t necessarily the norm among major leaguers. Go check the story out.