Hobby Musings: Catching up with Ron Kittle – Former MLB All-Star Ron Kittle has signed quite a few autographs over the years. Like other ballplayers, he’s used his signature for a variety of good causes. He also has a pretty good website, with some unique items for sale and a lot of interesting information about his life and career.
I had the chance to talk with the 1983 American League Rookie of the Year via email to discuss his experiences with sports cards and memorabilia.
KS: Mr. Kittle, did you ever think the trading card and sports memorabilia industry would become as big as it is now?
RK: As a kid I collected cards, but was more interested in the gum inside the packages. I kind of knew who the star players were, but just thought they were cool to have, and the ones I didn’t know went on my bicycle spokes.
KS: What memorabilia, if any, did you keep from your playing career?
RK: I kept everything from my minor league days to the majors. Jerseys, bats, gloves and signed baseballs from all my teammates.
KS: Is there any memorabilia you wish you had kept?
RK: I kept what I wanted and used the other things for donation and my charity.
KS: Do you have a favorite trading card of yourself?
RK: Hmmm, I like the cards of me swinging at bat, but since I wore glasses, it was hard to see a face, so most were setup pictures. I like, clean crisp pictures.
KS: I noticed on your website that you use your signature for charitable endeavors. What more can you tell me about that?
RK: I’ve been lucky to help out and support many charities, and if I autograph something to raise more money, it’s even better. I design and build custom things, and when it’s signed, it’s even better. And you can read my autograph, and that makes it good as I take pride in my signature.
KS: I also read you will only sign your 1984 Topps card for a charitable donation. What went into that decision on your part?
RK: Yes, the 1984 Topps card came out as a later addition, and I was dealing with family cancer issues with my father, Jim Kittle, and was thinking that might be a good start to a charity I was thinking about doing. So I only sign that card for $25.00 each. Then they came out with the same card in oversize, so that is $25.00 each also. So over the years, I have autographed over 1,000 for charity. It’s the only way you will get it signed unless you are doing something cool for my charity. And if you are an a!!-hole, you will not get it signed for any amount.
KS: What is the strangest thing anyone has ever asked you to sign?
RK: I said joking that I would only sign bras and panties… yikes. I was inundated with these requests and items. The other players loved it. And if you approach me and demand something signed, you have no chance, and a thank you must follow, or I will embarrass you on the spot!!! LOUDLY 🙂
KS: If someone wanted to get a specific item of theirs signed by you, what would be the best way to go about it?
RK: With social media, I get questions sent all the time and I give them my address:
P. O. Box 658
Mokena, IL 60448
Or they can send a message to my website, www.ronkittle.com. They need to supply return postage, and I get it back in a reasonably quick time. And you can read the name also. I’m kind of a signature snob, and please don’t get greedy!! Kind of simple.
Hobby Musings: Catching up with Ron Kittle – 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.
Hobby Musings: Catching up with Ron Kittle
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