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Brian Walton's news and commentary on the St. Louis Cardinals (TM) and their minor league system

Cardinals Winter Warm-Up autograph prices stabile

Autograph prices at the St. Louis Cardinals fan event, Winter Warm-Up, are generally flat to slightly down for 2011.

Every year at this time, I receive my package with the autograph details for the St. Louis Cardinals Winter Warm-Up. The fan event is always held over Martin Luther King weekend, this time from Saturday, January 15 through Monday, January 17.

In a just-for-fun endeavor, I look at rising and falling autograph prices from year to year. These are set by someone within the Cardinals hierarchy, and offer at least some estimation of the expected supply and demand for the autographs.

In addition, the list of those signing for free includes nearly 40 former, current and aspiring Cardinals. Also giving autographs at no charge will be a trio of former Negro League players, DeMorris Smith, Jesse Rogers and Sam Taylor.

As always, the proceeds go to charity, Cardinals Care, so the needy are the true winners. Autograph tickets will go on sale online at cardinals.com at 9 A.M. on Thursday, December 16.

Albert Pujols repeats as the highest-priced autograph at $175. Joining him at the top of the pecking order is Matt Holliday at $100 and Yadier Molina, up from last year at $90 but still down from his $100 bounty two years ago.

Top dogs 2011 2010 2009 2008 Commentary
Albert Pujols $175 $175 $175 $175 Fans would likely pay more to help on his new contract
Matt Holliday $100 $100 Why not? Boras doesn’t get 7%
Yadier Molina $90 $75 $100 $90 Stock back up after a big dip in 2010 autograph price

Newly-signed Lance Berkman looks like a nice sign at $40. Pitchers’ values are down overall, with signatures of Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright available at a lower price than in 2010. Other than Molina, Colby Rasmus is the only veteran with a price increase from last year.

Middle of the pack 2011 2010 2009 2008 Commentary
Adam Wainwright $45 $50 $60 $80 Even with drop, moved ahead of Carp
Chris Carpenter $40 $50 $60 $75 What a bargain! Price drop for third consecutive year
Lance Berkman $40 Newcomer may see high demand at this price
Tony La Russa $30 $30 $30 $30 Biggest signature was on a new contract for 2011
Colby Rasmus $30 $25 $30 $30 Back up in price after one-year dip

Jaime Garcia at $15 leads the rest of the pack. Skip Schumaker took the largest drop from year to year. Kyle Lohse and Ryan Franklin will sign for less in 2011, too. First-time WWU participants Jake Westbrook and Ryan Theriot come in at just $10.

Bargains 2011 2010 2009 2008 Commentary
Jaime Garcia $15 free Big future ahead
Skip Schumaker $10 $25 $30 $5 Ouch!
Jon Jay $10 Batting .300 means an extra $5 for his John Hancock
Ryan Theriot $10 At this price, will there be a riot for The Riot?
Jake Westbrook $10 Last year, Ryan Ludwick signed for $30
Kyle Lohse $5 $15 $25 Didn’t have to take a salary cut
Ryan Franklin $5 $10 $10 $10 Closers for $5 dollars please, Alex
Kyle McClellan $5 $5 $10 Invaluable reliever and local product, too
Jason Motte $5 $5 $10 Still working on his secondary signature
Trever Miller $5 $5 $5 Price consistent as his pitching
Mitchell Boggs $5 free No truth to rumor he is relief signer for Carpenter
Allen Craig $5 free Will he sign as a third baseman or outfielder?
David Freese $5 free Folks, please stay away from his feet!
Brian Tallet $5 Hoping they put him on the left end of the table

The ranks of the Cardinals Hall of Famers increase to three this year with the return of Bruce Sutter. While Lou Brock is also back in name, his baseballs are pre-signed.

Hall of Famers 2011 2010 2009 2008 Commentary
Red Schoendienst $75 $75 $75 $60 Still one of the greatest
Whitey Herzog $60 $60 $40 $50 Hall election and retired number, too
Bruce Sutter $75 $100 Back at a lower price
Lou Brock $75 $100 Pre-signed baseballs only

Among the past Cardinals heroes signing for a small fee is fan favorite Mike Matheny. New additions are Brian Jordan, Fernando Vina and another popular ex-Cardinal, Steve Kline.

I remember you! 2011 2010 2009 2008 Commentary
Vince Coleman $25 $10 Must have been popular in 2010
Brian Jordan $15 A nice addition this year
Ray Lankford $10 $10 Still lives in the area, I understand
Mike Matheny $10 $10 Now works for the organization
Fernando Vina $10 Last big-name Cards second baseman
Jack Clark $5 $5 $10 Off a controversial 2010 season
Steve Kline $5 Always a popular player

The article would not be complete without noting those former Cardinals who signed in past years, but are not a part of the 2011 event.

Not appearing 2011 2010 2009 2008 Commentary
Bob Gibson $125 2nd consecutive year away for Hall of Famer
Bernard Gilkey $5 $15 Maybe not missed greatly
The departed 2011 2010 2009 2008 Commentary
Ryan Ludwick $30 $40 $10 Kept by San Diego for 2011
Brendan Ryan $15 $15 $10 Now getting sleep with Seattle
Josh Kinney Free $5 $5 2006 hero now minor league free agent

Finally, here are those who will be signing for free. There are some nice names here, so don’t think you have to drop big money to snare good autographs. For example, signatures of Shelby Miller and Zack Cox won’t be free much longer, I bet.

Bryan Anderson Zack Cox Daniel Descalso Sam Freeman Tyler Greene Mark Hamilton
David Kopp Pete Kozma Lance Lynn Shelby Miller Adam Reifer Shane Robinson
Nick Stavinoha P.J. Walters Glenn Brummer John Costello Ken Dayley Chuck Diering
Neil Fiala Phil Gagliano Rich Hacker Tom Henke Rick Horton Rex Hudler
Charlie James Mike Jorgensen Jeff Lahti Tom Lawless Eli Marrero T.J. Matthews
Ed Mickelson Mark Petkovsek Jesse Rogers Ted Savage Ted Sizemore DeMorris Smith
Sam Taylor Scott Terry Mike Tyson Bill Virdon Mark Whiten

The 15th Annual Winter Warm-Up, a three-day event, will take place on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. weekend; Saturday, Sunday and Monday, January 15-17, 2011. Three-day event passes are $40 for adults and $10 for children 5-15 years of age.

For full WWU information, including signing schedules and ticket ordering, follow this link.

Poll: Which current Cardinal's autograph is the best value?

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