At one point this summer I was at Fenway for a game. Unusually, I was early enough to take advantage of the Autograph Alley. It was Billy Conigliaro, so I was looking for something for him to sign. I didn't want to have him just sign the free picture. Something more creative would be needed...but I didn't really have anything. Except for the souvenir popcorn helmet I was holding. Hmm.
Not bad. It's one of the red ones, so it holds and displays an autograph really well. I think it looks great.
A time later I was going to another game, and knew I would be getting there early enough to visit the Alley. It was Lenny DiNardo this time (I checked ahead.) I thought it would be fun to bring along the same helmet from before, and add DiNardo to it. He actually joked at the time that he wasn't sure he was worthy of adding his name to the helmet, so added his number so I'd remember it was him.
With that, I managed to create a fun little multiple signed helmet of former Red Sox players. I always imagined that if I knew I was going to be at a game in time, I'd keep bringing the helmet to add more. But, I've wondered...like DiNardo wondered...if everyone would be "worthy" of signing. Or, could they be "too worthy"?
Sure, guests in the Alley are usually the same level of player. Some are fan favorites, some are role players, hardly any are real stars. So, adding them to a generic "Past Red Sox Players" helmet is a nice way to collect them all in one place. But, what if I'm at a game with the helmet, and Dave Dombrowski walks by. Would I get him to sign the helmet? Or is it just for players? Or, what if Pedro Martinez happened to be standing around. Would I add him to a helmet with a collection of role players? Sure, he's a former player too. But, doesn't he deserve his own item to make him stand out?
Or, what about an autograph I pay for? I see several Patriots players are doing local signings. I guess they won some football game or something. If I had a Patriots helmet collecting random signatures, would I pay $70 to just add another on to the pile? Would I fork over $100 to add Kevin Millar to my helmet?
It would be one thing if the helmet were a more specific collection. If I was collecting the 2004 World Series team on a helmet, for instance, I don't think I'd think twice about adding Pedro or Millar. But, where it's just "former Red Sox" I think I'd make sure I had a baseball of their own to sign. Unless, of course, it was literally "Hey there's Pedro! Quick, shove something, anything, in front of him to sign!" But, with any sort of planning available, I think I'd go another way.
But, I see lots of other collectors out there that seem to be amassing team autograph collections. (Seat backs seem to be popular.) They don't seem to hesitate to add anyone and everyone they come across. Unless it just seems that way to me.
So, what would you do? If you had a helmet with Conigliaro and DiNardo on it, would you add Pedro? What if the helmet had Pokey Reese and Make Bellhorn? What if it had Ortiz? Are some players too good to add to a multiple item? Or, do the good players add some cache to whatever item they're added to?
What's your call?
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