I'm basing these on the following criteria.
- How good the person is. (All Star, Hall of Famer, etc.)
- How much the person means to me.
- How I got the autograph. (Through the mail, in person, etc.)
- Any story behind getting the autograph.
Now with that, lets begin the countdown.
10. Micheal Haley NHL Forward with Islanders and Rangers
Ever since he started the famous brawl between the Islanders and Pittsburgh Penguins in 2011, Haley was one of my favorite players. Now, he is on the Rangers playing for their minor league team in Hartford. He was great when I met him in Albany in October. He signed a bunch of items for me and took a picture with me then. He's a great guy and I hope he gets another shot in the NHL soon. Although his NHL stats aren't too outstanding, he is somebody I've wanted to meet for a while. That's why he is on this list at #13.
9. Jason Taylor NFL Defensive Lineman
When Jason Taylor stared working at ESPN following his retirement from the NFL, I figured I would have a chance at getting his autograph. Over the summer, I wrote about getting his autograph in the mail. Taylor should be in the Hall of Fame whenever he is eligible, without a question. He is one of the top defensive linemen in football history, and his autograph is on I am proud to have in my collection.
8. Brandon Phillips Cincinnati Reds All Star 2nd Baseman
Back in May, I went to a Mets game against the Reds at Citi Field. As you can see in the video, Phillips signed autograps for a while. He signed a ball for me that day. He is a great personality, and one of the top fan pleasers in the MLB.
7. Josh Hamilton MLB All Star for Rangers and Angels
Just a week ago, I was happy to look through the mail and find that Josh Hamilton signed a car I sent to him in September. Hamilton usually gets all of his fan mail and tries to get it back in time for Christmas season. He tweets about his fan mail often during the late December period, as you can see HERE. If you want to try and get his autograph write to Josh Hamilton at the Angels' stadium and he probably will write back in December. He is a very humble man, and his book is a must read if you haven't read it yet.
6. David Tyree New York Giants Super Bowl Hero
Without a question, David Tyree's CATCH in Super Bowl 42 was the greatest moment of his career. In June, I went to an autograph signing he had at a local sporting goods store. He arrived an hour late, but once he showed up he was generous and signed for everybody. HERE is a video I took of him signing, and HERE is my blog entry from that day.
5. Dick Vitale Basketball Hall of Famer
Who doesn't love Dick Vitale? He has been at ESPN for over 35 years, was a former NBA coach, and is one of the most loved people in the game of basketball. In 2008, he was inducted into the Hall of Fame as a contributor to the sport. Back in May, I mailed him a couple photos to try and get them signed. Not even two weeks later, I opened up my envelope to find my photos signed as well as a contact card signed by Dickie V himself.
4. Adam Greenberg MLB Player, Inspirational Story
If you haven't hear of Adam Greenberg, click HERE to hear his story. Shortly after that, a campaign was launched to get Greenberg an at bat in the big leagues. In October 2012, Greenberg got another at bat, striking out against eventual Cy Young award winner RA Dickey. He went to spring training in 2013 with the Orioles, and I mailed him some stuff to sign then. I tweeted to him multiple times, and he responded. I found his rookie card from 2005 with the Cubs. I sent that to him as well as a few photos, and he signed everything to me. If you wonder why he is on this list, it's because he is an inspiration to people to never give up on your dream, even when obstacles happen. If you want his autograph, tweet to him, he will probably give you a response.
3. Ryan Strome New York Islanders Forward
Ever since the Islanders drafted Ryan Strome in 2011, there has been hype surrounding him. He made an amazing move in a shootout in prospects camp just months after that. I met him in Albany in November while he was playing for the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. He signed a bunch of stuff for me then, and you can read about that HERE. Just a few weeks after I met him, Strome was finally called up to the Islanders and is still playing there now. He has a bright career ahead of him, and I'm happy I met him.
2. Curtis Granderson MLB All Star
At the end of November, I wrote about getting Curtis Granderson's autograph in the mail. In that entry, I said that I hope he goes somewhere where he doesn't kill the Mets. Since then, it looks like he took my advice. If he turns into the next Jason Bay, he could kill the Mets. But I'm happy Granderson signed with my team, and can't wait to see him in the blue and orange. I'm even happier that I have his autograph to add to my collection. If you want to follow him on twitter or like him on Facebook, his information is on the bottom of the picture. I hope he continues to send these pictures out, but hopefully he'll wear a Mets jersey in the next ones.
1. Matt Harvey Mets All Star Pitcher
Toward the end of August, I got 2013 All Star Game starter Matt Harvey's autograph at Citi Field. Feel free to check out my blog entry from that day HERE. Harvey recently had Tommy John surgery which should keep him out of the lineup during the 2014 season. Hopefully he'll be back and better than ever when he comes back. I wish him best of luck in his recovery. He was kind when I met him, signing for everybody. HERE is a video I took of Harvey signing. He is number one on this list because he is a good player, good guy, and I'm happy I've met him in person.
I will have another Albany Devils autograph recap when they played the Bridgeport Sound Tigers soon. Until then, good luck graphing and have a happy 2014!!