Found this interesting blog today about a man whose sole goal is to collect the signatures of every player featured in the 1983 Topps trading card series. Big League Stew has the full article, but here are some excerpts of their interview with Scott Mortimer:
Big League Stew: OK, first off. Why in the world did you pick the 1983 Fleer set?
Scott Mortimer: Simply put, I accumulated more ’83 Fleer cards than any other set. I began collecting baseball cards in the early 80s. In the mid-80s, I bought a few boxes of 1983 Fleer common cards at local baseball card shows, bought a box or two with my allowance money, and before I knew it I had several thousand. Also back in the 80s, I did some through the mail (TTM) autograph requests and received about a half dozen responses to start me off. For a project like this it is important to have a handful of each card. I usually send an extra card or two inviting the player to keep one or two for themselves. And sometimes it will take a number of tries before an autograph request will come back.
BLS: One thing I’m not sure of: Are you trying to obtain every autograph yourself? Or are you also trying to buy them off eBay, etc?
SM: Ideally I would like to obtain every autograph (or as many as possible) on my own. I have purchased a few off eBay — particularly cards of the deceased players. It is much more rewarding to obtain the autographs first hand. I keep my eye on eBay, but I prefer to try and get the signature myself.
BLS: Surely you have a few good detective stories about hunting old players down and finding success. Which ones stand out to you?
SM: Two stand out … one good and one not good. Tracking down Ken Smith was very rewarding. An individual named “Ken Smith” brings up plenty of search results in Google. It just took patience to scan through many pages of Google to track him down. I found he worked at a car dealership, sent him an e-mail through the dealer’s web site, and he was nice enough to respond. I sent him a few extra cards for Mr. Smith to keep.
The not good … In a similar manner I located Omar Moreno via his philanthropy web site, the now-defunct FundaciónOmarMoreno.com. I emailed the site offering to make a donation to his cause in exchange for an autographed 1983 Fleer baseball card. I received a response from his daughter, Leury, providing me instructions for sending a donation (Western Union only) and the card. I sent the donation and the card in May ’07. I sent a few follow-up e-mails to Leury in the following months. Occasionally I’d receive a response telling me the card will get signed, other times I was ignored. I stopped contacting Ms. Moreno in Sept. ’08. The disappointing part is not the lost donation. I feel bad that perhaps Omar Moreno is completely unaware of my attempted contact and he had no control over it.
Good luck to the guy, 1983 was a good year, after all i was born then.