Thursday, March 3, 2011

A little TTM help please

For starters, let me say this is NOT one of the March contest posts. I'm still amazed at the response to that, but I'll cover that in the contest winner post later.

My oldest son has a big stack of cards he wants to send away for some Spring Training TTM requests. If you were reading this blog last season, you might recall he was bitten by the autograph bug. He got Nelson Cruz (twice), Derek Holland, Seth Smith (at the game in Denver) and a few others. Now he wants to send some cards off in hopes of getting some returns.

I haven't done a TTM in a long time and wondered what is the best way to go about it.

I know it's best not to have the cards in toploaders, but should they be in penny sleeves? Is it acceptable to send 2 or 3 cards at the same time? Should he send a short hand-written note with each request? Cost wise, should we send one PWE inside a larger PWE? I'm sure there are questions I haven't even thought to ask.

Any help you can offer on this matter will be greatly appreciated. If you have ever posted any TTM tips, give me a link to that post and I'll gladly read it. He's very excited to see what may come from this and has many Rangers cards as well as some others to send out.

Thanks in advance for any help!


  1. I put my cards in penny sleeves just to protect the cards in transit, but usually whoever handles the signing for the player usually just returns the cards unsleeved.

    Two or three cards is fine, though most active players will likely sign one of the cards. Don't send any card you cannot afford to lose.

    You can write a short note or type a request - just mention the fact you are writing to get a card or two signed.

    A $0.44 SASE is fine - usually a PWE folded up in a PWE.

    Usually your outgoing request will cost about $0.61 if you take it to the Post Office.

    Wait time for any success can take one month to one year [or more].

    For the most popular players / superstars like Derek Jeter and Joe Mauer, don't expect your cards signed or any sort of response for a long, long time.

  2. My requests usually consist of a) 1-3 cards. Usually not doubles, and I only send multiples to retired players or guys that I need for multiple sets. I also send an SASE with a $0.44 stamp. I handwrite my letters, because I've seen a lot of guys get more successes that way, and it just seems more personal. If you're going to send these to Spring Training, I suggest you do it soon. I sent twenty letters to ST last season, but I sent them in mid-late March, and I only got five back. Players are less and less apt to sign if the letters arrive really close to the start of the season. (On a side note, Vlad Guerrero seems to be signing out of Orioles camp, usually in a week or less). Hope this helps!

  3. Good luck to your son!

    It's a personal move, but I no longer send my cards protected in a top loader or sleeve. I had two players sign the sleeve and not the card, so I figured I'd stop doing that. Overall, it has worked well and the cards usually come back unharmed.

    I usually send 1 or 2 cards. If I send more, I offer to let the player keep the extras. I always send a handwritten note as well.

    If he intends on sending to ST, definitely do it it soon. I sent all mine out between Feb 14-20.

    Current players can be tough, especially superstars. If sending to a current player, I usually keep it to younger guys, back-ups, and relief pitchers. Minor leaguers tend to be pretty good signers during the regular season.

    There are a lot of retired players who sigh c/o their homes in a very short amount of time as well.

    Glad to answer any other questions as well. Good luck!

  4. I did a TTM post back in May.
    The only change I've made since then is losing the penny sleeve since I got one signed instead of the card I sent.

    I think you're safe sending 2-3 cards, but I wouldn't send more than that. Good luck to your son!

  5. I do just about all of the abve, but use a business size envelope on the outside and the smaller sized envelope for the SASE. Fits together better and the larger envelope is easier fo the player to open up without damaging the cards inside. I never send more than 2 cards to ST and I always include a blank index card - you never know. I usually type my letters but ask personal questions showing the player that I've done some research on him. See my Todays Mail posts on my blog for examples.

  6. Last year, it seemed like many of the Rangers players and staff had pre-printed pictures that they would mail back instead of signing the cards sent to them. I do not know if that is the case this year, though.

  7. Whenever I send out a TTM request, I put everything in a PWE with the address handwritten and a 44 cent stamp. Inside, I will include a brief handwritten note asking for the card to be signed with a please and thank you, a handwritten SASE envelope for the card to be returned in, and no more than 2 cards to be signed (no penny sleeves). I usually offer a card for the player to keep, but players will sometimes sign both. If you send a card with a glossy surface, you should brush the surface with a little baby powder so that the signature does not smudge. Also, check out to see which players sign. Most superstars do not sign, but there are still a lot of autographs to be had. Good luck!

  8. I followed Justin's advice for my second attempt, which went in the mail last Monday. Pat Neshek also has his own website dedicated to TTMing. Check it out, he's also got a contest section where you can win signed stuff.
    My first attempt, and success, was a baseball sent to Bob Doerr. My next attempt will also be a baseball sent to the same address as Monday if Monday's comes back signed. I'm also planning on sending a ball to Neshek sometime this season as well, him being the Twins #17 and all. Good luck to your son. If you want a quick success, send one to Doerr, my ball came back, with a HOF inscription, in like 10 days or less.

  9. This was my tips article for 2011, but I think you've already seen most of the advice from other commenters.

    I used to send handwritten letters, but I switched to typed ones late last year. My handwriting isn't great, so the typed letters are easier to read if the player is inclined to.

    I do not use any kind of card holders - 90 percent of my cards come back with no damage, and most of the ones that do just have minor corner dings.

    I will send multiple cards if I have a reason to (i.e. player played for multiple teams; can't decide which one I like better), but never more than 3.

  10. Thanks for this post and to everyone for their responses. I've started TTM'ing this year again, and hope to have some success.