There are many factors that come into play but the bottom line is that it is all a matter of personal preference. There are collectors that will focus on one sport, one team, one position (catchers only, goalies only). But collecting can be limitless! By taking advantage of different seasonal sports, you can continue your hobby all year long!
My belief is that if a player is not overwhelmed with autograph request, the better chance for me to receive an autograph. With this in mind, letís take a look at the different scenarios:
Pedro Martinez or Trot Nixon?
Pedro is a big name player. Pedro probably receives a lot of mail. Pedro doesnít have all the time in the world to respond to all of the request. There is a good likelihood that Pedro wonít be able to respond to your request. On the other hand, Trot also receives requests. But his pile isnít as large as Pedroís. There is a good possibility that Trot will be able to fulfill your request for an autograph.
New York Yankees or Montreal Expos?
Using the same concept, you would assume that many of the players on the World Champion New York Yankees receive large amounts of fan mail. The Montreal Expos are a good baseball team but does not have the exposure of the Yankees, hence less mail. It is highly likely that you would be able to get an autograph from Vladimir Guerrero than you would from Chuck Knoblauch. (I did!)
Boston Red Sox or Pawtucket Red Sox?
I have a higher success rate of receiving autographs from players in the minor leagues than those in the major leagues. These players are up-and-coming players and are more willing to sign autographs (and probably happy to know that they exist!). I have found that the lower levels of minor leaguers (Double A and Single A baseball) sign faster than anyone else! The concept of minor leaguers also holds true for hockey players.
Tom Glavine or Jim Lonborg?
The retired players are also a population that can be approached. Players like to be remembered for their abilities on the playing field after they have left the game. Again, if the player was a big name player, the less likely you will receive a response. Also, if a player has recently retired, give them a few years to move on with their lives and then approach them. I have had better success with players that have a few years of retirement than those that are fresh off the field.
But again, the choice is yours and the universe of professional sports players is limitless.