Brian Bennett – @B_Bennett25
July 9, 2016
I began collecting signatures through the mail back in the late 90’s as a kid. I continued accumulate autographs until high school, but soon homework,sports and hanging with my friends became priority over my hobby. I had been out of the TTM game for several years until one day I was searching eBay for autographs. That’s when it hit me, “Didn’t I used to do this back in the day through the mail?”
I began to do some research, and found some helpful websites that pointed me in the right direction(sportscardforum and sportscollectors are great resources). I wanted my first return in the last 10 years to be from someone who was a sure bet to send my item back signed, and quickly!
I decided to send out my first request to NFL HOF member, Raymond Berry. Berry is a 6x Pro Bowler, 3x All-Pro, 2x NFL champion and is a 1973 Hall of Fame inductee. At the time of his retirement, he owned several receiving records and is well known for his preparation and attention to detail.
I firmly believe that NFL HOF members are some of the best and most gracious signers in the hobby, and you will be hard pressed to find anyone better that Mr. Berry. I sent him a photo, and about a week later, a package came in the mail for me. I had no idea what it was, since it was not my SASE. Turns out, Mr. Berry had added several items to my request, including two photos, two notes, a card and his own copy of “The Greatest Game Ever Played” on DVD and he even paid the postage.
I was floored, I never expected someone of his caliber to sit down and take the time to personally write me a letter back, sign my item and throw in all the extra goodies. He asked my to return his DVD when I was done with it, which I did with a few extra copies.
Over the past few years, I have sent to him from time to time and he has never disappointed. Sometimes I ask him to sign a neat card that I’ve found of him, other times I write just to say hey or even talk about the weather, since we live only an hour apart. Just like clockwork, he answers with a hand written note, and I have cherished each one.
I have received several successes throughout the years, but every time I see that SASE in my mailbox with his familiar address, I know I’m about to receive a success that I will treasure a lifetime.