Hobby Musings: Catching up with Chris Hammond – During his career in the major leagues, Chris Hammond achieved a good bit of success while also signing quite a few autographs. Lending his signatures to a good cause in recent years, Mr. Hammond became one of the athletes who decided to support Signatures for Soldiers. To find out more about this and his other experiences with trading cards and autographs, I had the chance to catch up with the left-hander.
KS: Mr. Hammond, how did you end up getting involved in supporting Signatures for Soldiers?
CH: Through Tim (Virgilio). We met and he mentioned to me what his objective was with getting everybody to sign autographs to send back to him to help raise funds for our soldiers. I thought about what a great idea it was, and I was in.
KS: How does it feel to be able to lend your signature for a good cause?
CH: Well, I got invited about 10 years ago to go on an MLB tour for the troops in Afghanistan. Ever since I went on that trip, my heart’s been changed forever on anything that can help the troops. I think most Americans take it for granted what they do for us and don’t consider the sacrifices they make. Ever since I’ve been on that trip, whenever someone needs volunteers for something that helps our soldiers, I’m raising my hand.
KS: When you started playing, did you ever imagine that autographs, memorabilia and trading cards would get to be as big an industry as they are?
CH: Nope, I never did. I really wish it wasn’t, especially when I was playing. I just see people boxing kids and teenagers out to get that autograph because they’re going to sell it. It takes away the fun of signing autographs and seeing the smiles and laughing from kids. The last two years of my career is really when autographs and the business part of it overshadowed the kids getting autographs for the fun of it.
KS: What is the strangest thing anyone has ever asked you to sign?
CH: I’m sure at one point or another, every athlete has been asked to sign a body part, especially for someone of the opposite sex. That’s true for me as well.
KS: What memorabilia, if any, did you keep from your career?
CH: I always keep my jerseys and uniforms from every team, as well as my gloves and my cleats. My best things I have are bags from the New York Yankees and Florida Marlins.
KS: Is there anything from your career that you wish you had kept that you didn’t?
CH: I wish I could have gotten a few of my teammates’ jerseys. I wish I could have asked Derek Jeter for one of his bats. If I could have done anything over, it would have been that. Just because of the player that he was on and off the field and in the clubhouse.
KS: You were featured on a large number of baseball cards during your career. Do you have a favorite among them?
CH: I always liked the non-baseball action pictures I was in. I have one when I was with the Cincinnati Reds or Marlins where I was hanging out in the dugout that I liked.
My least favorite is when one of the card companies had me stand in front of the dugout and act like I had just thrown a pitch. It’s just one of the worst cards that you could have. I should have said no. I’d rather not have a card than have that one, it was terrible.
KS: Did you ever collect baseball cards growing up?
CH: Oh yea, I loved it. I don’t know what my mom did with the cards, but they’re gone now.
For more Hobby Musings from Kelsey Schroyer, follow him on Twitter @KelSchroy75.
Hobby Musings: Catching up with Chris Hammond
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