Hobby Musings: Catching up with All-Star pitcher Matt CappsHobby Musings: Catching up with All-Star pitcher Matt Capps – Growing up in Pittsburgh, I attended a fair share of Pirates games.  As such, I saw several skilled players come through, including the likes of Jason Bay, Jack Wilson and Matt Capps. Capps starred in Pittsburgh as the team’s closer, and would go on to have a fine career, including an All-Star season with the Nationals in 2010. Along the way, he earned his fair share of trading cards and signed a lot of autographs.  I recently had the chance to catch up with the former hurler to get his thoughts on autographs and memorabilia, including his fondness for his bobbleheads.

KS: Autographs are such a popular part of the game. Do you remember the first time you were asked to sign something?
MC:
The first time. It was probably in high school, I remember being asked to sign a few times, but I don’t have a specific first time memory.

KS: What is the strangest thing anyone has asked you sign?
MC:
Probably a shoe. I was asked to sign someone’s shoe a couple of times. I gave my cleats away at the end of the game and signed those. I had a kid throw his leg up on a table at an event and ask to have his shoe signed.

KS: What is the coolest thing anyone has asked you to sign?
MC:
For me, it’s the bobbleheads, because I think it’s crazy cool that there’s a bobblehead of me.  It’s humbling to be depicted on one, and any time someone wants it signed, I go ahead and do it.  It brings back that memory and emotion from when I first had them, and I still think it’s awesome that they were made and given away in the stadium.

There’s something else that stands out from a couple of days ago at an alumni golf tournament in Pittsburgh.  One of the sponsors was there, and he caught two foul balls on back-to-back pitches in a game I was pitching.  James Loney was the hitter, and he’s now got both of them signed by me, Loney, John Russell, who was my manager at the time, and Joe Torre, who was the Dodgers manager at the time.

KS: Especially now with your broadcasting gig, how often do you get asked to sign?
MC:
Not very often. If I’m in Pittsburgh and in my Pirates stuff at the stadium, I’m recognized, but not a whole lot.  I live in Atlanta, so in my normal day-to-day life, unless I want to people to know what I do, they don’t recognize me much at all. Even in Pittsburgh, unless I’m at the stadium or a Pirates event, I fly under the radar.

KS: Do you collect any of your own cards?
MC:
I do. I have at least one of every one that was made. Besides cards, I have an action figure that was made of me, as well as my bobbleheads.  They’re in my basement. My kids love them and think they’re cool.  They didn’t really get to see my career. Overall, though, it was a very humbling and cool experience to see myself on a trading card for the first time.

KS: What memorabilia, if any, did you keep from your career?
MC:
I have a jersey of every team I played for and a couple pairs of cleats. I still have most of my gloves, but I did give a few away over the years. I’ve got some baseballs, including my first win, my first save, my 50th save and 100th save. I do have a bat, as I had some made early in my career.  I’ve got a handful of jerseys from other teammates and buddies I played with. I have a signed baseball from the 2010 American League and National League All-Star teams. I also have a bunch of baseballs from other guys I played against that I got signed.

KS: Is there anything from your career that you didn’t keep that you wish you still had?
MC:
If I’m nitpicking, it would have been cool to get a team-signed baseball signed from every opening day team I was on.  That would have been pretty cool to have something like that, but there’s nothing in particular where I say I wish I would have kept it.

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