A Presidential Sig, Plus Hagler Signs

Autograph Chaser by Tom Talbot is a new column that will appear monthly in SCD, focusing on successes in getting signatures through the mail from famous athletes and people of interest.

It’s always a bonus to add a President’s signature to your collection. Several years ago, President Gerald Ford was a great signer through the mail. Ford was featured in Sports Illustrated picturing him in his Michigan football uniform.

Not only did he sign the magazine, but he also included two 8-by-10 photos that he inscribed to my sons.

So when I heard that George Bush was signing bookplates for his about-to-be-released memoirs Decision Points, I mailed out a letter and return envelope.

Love him or hate him, getting an autograph from a President is always a good day. In three weeks, my signed sticker arrived together with a very presentable certificate of authenticity from his office. I plan on mounting my autograph with the book cover. Here is the address I used:

Office of George W. Bush
P.O. Box 259000
Dallas, TX 75225

Jim Kelly is Armed & Dangerous
Leading a team to four straight Super Bowls is a big feat. Losing all four has to be downright disappointing.

The fact remains that Jim Kelly was one of the best quarterbacks of his era who shared the limelight with the likes of Dan Marino and John Elway, to name a few.

An enjoyable hour in my life is checking out the local Goodwill thrift store searching for sports collectibles and autographs. I always have a ball going through the books hoping to grab a signed autobiography for a buck or two. It only took me a few tries the other day when I turned over the cover page of Jim Kelly’s book Armed & Dangerous, and there it was in bold black sharpie – Kelly’s giant-sized signature. Inside the loop he wrote “Craig,” obviously personalizing it to a fan. It will make a great cut signature that I will either mat with a photo or use as a custom cut card.

Since Kelly has now entered Canton and stopped signing for free through the mail, this is a great score.

Is boxing dead?

I grew up watching boxing. Those were the days where many of the fights were on regular TV. Pay Per View was the beginning of the end for boxing, in my mind. As with any marquee sport, it all revolves around the money.

I can remember getting 10 guys together and pitching in to purchase the Tyson and Holyfield fights. Boy, were we angry when Iron Mike knocked out his opponent in the first 12 seconds, leaving us with an entire night ahead of us and empty pockets.

I know today that MMA and Ultimate Fighting has captured many of the boxing fans, but I still root for the sweet science to make a comeback. It seems boxing fans are more likely to go out and watch the new boxing movie The Fighter than make plans for any current fight. I haven’t seen the movie yet, though I am looking forward to it. I also have my Mark Wahlberg Sports Illustrated ready to go out in the mail. Wahlberg has always been one of the few Hollywood guys that signs through the mail. Let’s hope the Oscar hype doesn’t dry out his Sharpie for the real fans.

This isn’t Wahlberg’s first sports movie. He played Philadelphia Eagles legend Vince Papale in the film Invincible. He signed a photo from that movie I sent to his home address.

When any fight fan asks me what my favorite fight of all time was it doesn’t take me long to respond Leonard-Hagler. I’ve seen a lot of great fights over the years, but I will never forget the epic battle and controversy surrounding Hagler-Leonard. Leonard was finesse and speed, Hagler was power. I still believe that Leonard outboxed Hagler – but not by much. Hagler does not agree and never fought again. I was pumped to receive a signed boxing glove back from “Marvelous” Marvin Hagler last month. It will display well next to my Sugar Ray signatures.

The sport does show some signs of revival. What’s Vegas without a title fight now and again? If the sport could just get Pacquiao and Mayweather in the ring together, boxing would get some press. There’s even been a new boxing card product released in the past year, Ringside Boxing, with a ton of cool autographs and inserts. When’s the last time any collector was chasing boxing cards?
Hagler can be reached at the following address:

“Marvelous” Marvin Hagler
c/o Valerie Swett, Esq.
One Design Center Pl., Ste. 600
Boston, MA 02210

This address, as well as thousands more, can be found at my website: www.autographchaser.com.

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