Hobby Musings: Catching up with Pitcher, Jordan Stephens – Baseball players sign a lot of autographs, and pitcher Jordan Stephens is no different. The righty has also been featured on various trading cards during his career. I had the chance to catch up with him to get his thoughts about signing for fans and whether he chases down his own cards.
KS: Do you remember the first time someone asked you to sign something?
JS: While I don’t remember the first time I was asked for my autograph; I do remember the first time I gave it out. When I was in primary school, I gave my teacher Mrs. Causey a signed baseball as a gift. I haven’t seen or heard from her personally, but my mom said a few years ago that she still has it.
KS: What is the strangest thing anyone has ever asked you to sign?
JS: The weirdest thing someone’s asked me to sign was a kid’s shoe during spring training when I was with the White Sox. I had to check with their parents to make sure they didn’t mind and then the next thing I knew, I had signed almost a dozen shoes.
KS: Have you ever asked any fellow players for autographs or memorabilia?
JS: I can’t think of anything that I have from other players. However, I have gotten many things for my brother since he’s a big collector. I always let the guys know who I’m getting it for, and most of the time, he isn’t even asking for it. I just know he’ll like it, and I’m in a position to help him out. For my brother, I’ve gotten Carson Fulmer’s first professional lineup card signed, Michael Kopech’s signed cleats, different things from Zack Collins, an Eloy Jimenez signed ball, a Bobby Witt Jr. signed ball, and then, different signed cards of people I’ve played with.
KS: What has autograph signing and fan interaction been like throughout the pandemic?
JS: For me, the signing and fan interaction never changed due to the pandemic. I’m not going to shy away from the fans over the current pandemic, so if they’re willing to potentially expose themselves, I’m willing to sign and converse. I think baseball in 2021 has been a great escape for many people who were trapped indoors for so long, myself included.
KS: How do you think players feel about signing autographs as a whole?
JS: I think that most players like signing autographs. It’s more of the timing that people ask for them that can become an issue.
KS: What are some of the biggest dos and don’ts when it comes to asking for an autograph?
JS: If you’re looking to increase the odds that a player will sign, try getting our attention using our first name. Also make sure you have the cards and pen ready. For a lot of guys, they just want to get into the building, so making it as quick and personal as possible should help. On the other side, don’t have a binder full of someone’s cards. If you have ten cards, we may only sign one. However if you only have three, it looks like they’re all just for you. Also try not to ask for autographs right before the game starts. Especially if it’s the starting pitcher.
KS: Did you collect cards growing up?
JS: I had baseball cards, but I don’t know if I necessarily collected them in the way that my brother does. I had a little binder with some of my favorites like Jeff Bagwell and Pedro Martinez. My best card was an autographed jersey card of Kerry Woods.
KS: What was it like the first time you saw yourself on a trading card?
JS: I always think it’s really cool when I have new cards come out, even when they’re just team cards. Cards are a huge part of how a fan builds a bond with their favorite players. I look at the team cards and Topps cards as equals, even if the card community doesn’t.
KS: Are you collecting any of your own cards?
JS: I have a lot of my team cards from throughout the years, but I don’t really have any of my Topps ones. My brother’s done a good job at collecting those, so we have plenty in the family.
KS: For a fan who wanted your autograph, what would be the best way to go about doing it?
JS: The best way to get my autograph is to be outside the stadium when we show up for a game. Players like to feel “wanted,” so if you just prioritize certain guys each time, that should help your chances. Whereas some people try to call over a few players at once and that’s the difference between wanting “an autograph” vs. “my autograph.”
Hobby Musings: Catching up with Pitcher, Jordan Stephens – More Resources
- Baseball Reference – Jordan Stephens
- Beckett Card Catalogue – Jordan Stephens
- Secondary Market Prices – Jordan Stephens
Hobby Musings: Catching up with Pitcher, Jordan Stephens – Image Gallery
Kelsey’s ability to bring hobby coverage to the mainstream sports fan has been a true asset. GTS is happy to feature his thoughts on collecting in Hobby Musings. The opinions expressed are his and do not necessarily reflect those of GTS Distribution.
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