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Comparing Cardinals Winter Warm-Up autograph prices

Like every year at this time, the autograph details for the St. Louis Cardinals Winter Warm-Up arrived in my mail. The three-day fan event is held each January over Martin Luther King weekend, this time from Saturday, January 19 through Monday, January 21.

In my annual just-for-fun endeavor, I look at rising and falling autograph prices from year to year. These values are set by someone within the Cardinals hierarchy, and apparently are set to reflect at least some estimation of the expected supply and demand for the signatures.

The big four of Matt Holliday, Yadier Molina, David Freese and Carlos Beltran are at $75, the most costly of the current players this year. Like the vast majority of signees, their prices remain flat from 2012.

Four Cardinals Hall of Famers join them at that $75. top amount, including Red Schoendienst and Whitey Herzog. Ozzie Smith is participating for the first time in recent years, though in absentia. Fans can purchase signed baseballs from The Wizard and Bob Gibson, also for $75. each.

That is the same process Jason Motte will be following, with fans only able to acquire a pre-signed ball for $30. The closer tweeted Tuesday that he will remain home with his expectant wife. Other notable absentees are shortstop Rafael Furcal, pitcher Lance Lynn and newly-signed utilityman Ty Wigginton.

Of course, these and others may be added to the lineup between now and the event.

Top dogs 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 Commentary
Carlos Beltran $75 $75 Belongs at this table for sure.
David Freese $75 $75 $5 free No one can ever take away the 2011 championship.
Matt Holliday $75 $75 $100 $100 Still carries the biggest contract, so autograph should be high, too.
Yadier Molina $75 $75 $90 $75 $100 $90 New contract for $75 million makes this price feel just right.
Middle of the pack 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 Commentary
Adam Wainwright $50 $50 $45 $50 $60 $80 Pitcher signatures remain a bargain. His next contract will not be.
Chris Carpenter $50 $50 $40 $50 $60 $75 Nearing the end of a tremendous career.
Tony La Russa $40 $40 $30 $30 $30 $30 Still has books to sell with a book signing scheduled, too.
Mike Matheny $30 $30 $10 $10 Deserved a price increase after a nice rookie year as manager.
Allen Craig $30 $30 $5 free A fully-healthy year could mean Holliday-like numbers.
Jason Motte $30* $25 $5 $5 $10 * Pre-signed balls for sale only. Missing WWU to be with expectant wife.
Jaime Garcia $20 $25 $15 free One of the few price reductions from 2012. Draw your own conclusion.
Jon Jay $20 $20 $10 Will catch anything thrown at him.
Bargains 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 Commentary
Shelby Miller $15 $10 free The promise of a big career ahead means a modest bump in price.
Matt Carpenter $15 free See what a solid rookie campaign will do?
Joe Kelly $15 Priced like a starter without the sure job.
Trevor Rosenthal $15 Cards showing no favorites with talented young pitchers.
Daniel Descalso $10 $10 free free Again the least expensive projected starting position player by far.
Pete Kozma $10 free free free C’mon, you had three chances at a freebie.
Jake Westbrook $10 $10 $10 Consistency in all he does.
Marc Rzepczynski $5 $10 Cards probably wish they could cut his salary, too.
Fernando Salas $5 $10 No saves, no big bucks. Motte got his other $5.
Mitchell Boggs $5 $5 $5 free Can’t set up Motte, who isn’t going to be there.
Matt Adams $5 $5 Big man, small price.
Tony Cruz $5 $5 No word if he will sign for Molina when the catcher needs a break.
Randy Choate $5 Will the new lefty sign before or after Scrabble?
Barret Browning $5 Not bad for a minor league Rule 5 guy a year ago.
Adron Chambers $5 You are also guaranteed to get a smile in return.
Sam Freeman $5 free The name is Free, not the signature!
Ryan Jackson $5 He will appear, but will they let him write?
Shane Robinson $5 free free free Finally moving on up to the big bucks table!
Edward Mujica $5 If the Marlins had a fan fest, would anyone come?
Future Cardinals? 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 Commentary
Oscar Taveras $10 The next big thing may be the bargain autograph of the weekend.
Seth Maness $5 He will surely control his marker very well.
Jordan Swagerty $5 Don’t forget about him. A pitcher to watch in 2013.
Michael Wacha $5 Finished a very impressive 2012 debut at Springfield.
Missing in action 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 Commentary
Rafael Furcal $30 How good of shape is that elbow, again?
Lance Lynn $15 Hmmm….
Ty Wigginton Maybe the newest Cardinal did not yet get the memo.

Here are some other interesting and important groupings.

Hall of Famers 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 Commentary
Red Schoendienst $75 $75 $75 $75 $75 $60 Still one of the greatest ever.
Whitey Herzog $75 $75 $60 $60 $40 $50 One of the most popular – for good reason.
Bob Gibson $75* $125 Pre-signed balls for sale only.
Ozzie Smith $75* Pre-signed balls for sale only. TLR may still be too close!
Ex-Cards players 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 Commentary
Mike Shannon $10 $10 Wonder if he would sign as “Moon Man”?
Jack Clark $5 $5 $5 $5 $10 Or, how about “The Ripper”?
Alan Benes $5 Is he the only scout to get paid for his signature?
Andy Benes $5 Wonder if they’d have a two-Benes for $7.50 offer?
Chris Duncan $5 $20 $40 An inspirational return.
Ryan Franklin $5 $5 $10 $10 $10 Now works in the front office.
Bo Hart $5 Session will last a full two hours, not just 15 minutes.
Ray King $5 Burger time returns!
Steve Kline $5 $5 They may not let him speak, or gesture!
John Mabry $5 free Assistant hitting coach was free. Real thing costs $.
Brad Thompson $5 $5 $10 Good guy is back in his retirement years.
Not signing 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 Commentary
Bruce Sutter $75 $100 Hall of Fame excitement must have worn off.
Lou Brock $75 $75 $100 A most noticable absence.
Brian Jordan $5 $15 Now works for the Braves.
Ray Lankford $5 $10 $10 Another future comeback?
The departed 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 Commentary
Lance Berkman $100 $40 Last year’s top dog has been unchained.
Skip Schumaker $15 $10 $25 $30 $5 Moved on with Big Mac, who never signed as coach.
Kyle Lohse $5 $5 $15 $25 Waiting to cash in elsewhere.
Kyle McClellan $5 $5 $5 $10 Waiting for a contract elsewhere.
Tyler Greene $5 free free Dealt to Luhnows for a signature to be named later.
J.C. Romero $5 That was fast, but not fast enough.

Last year’s only $100 autograph was from Lance Berkman, who has since departed as a free agent. Through 2011, Albert Pujols‘ signature fetched $175. Now, no one is above $75.

The list of those signing for free has been reduced from over 40 names in past years to just 10 in 2013. In return, the number of $5 autographs is up substantially. Not a high price to pay.

Those to sign for free:

Scott Cooper
Ken Dayley
Cal Eldred
Al Hrabosky
Rick Horton
Tom Lawless
Joe Magrane
Cliff Politte
Kerry Robinson
Jason Simontacchi

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 Wednesday, December 19.

The 17th Annual Winter Warm-Up, a three-day event, will take place on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. weekend; Saturday, Sunday and Monday, January 19-21, 2013. Three-day event passes are $40 for adults and $10 for children 5-15 years of age, same prices as the last two years.

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

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16 Responses to “Comparing Cardinals Winter Warm-Up autograph prices”

  1. blingboy says:

    Lynn has got to be the most invisible 18 game winning staff leader ever. And least appreciated. And a guy with a paltry 14 wins gets $50. Jeesh. :)

    Happy to see little Dunc planning to attend. Wonder if Dave will put in an appearance.

  2. birdbats says:

    When you consider the price of the provided baseball ($15-20 retail), Motte’s autograph is actually down to $10-15. Gibson and Ozzie would be $55-60 subtracting the cost of the ball. Of course, the team buys balls at a lower cost in bulk, which lessens the blow. Still, they’re probably losing money on Motte this year at $30 vs. $25 last year.

  3. JumboShrimp says:

    So what can Mo do for an encore, after landing AAA catcher Johnson, 37 year old Randy Choate, and 35 year old 230 pound utility player Wigginton? Meanwhile the Reds added the good hitting Choo. Walt is winning the off season.

    How about a middle infielder, now Skip is safely out of town? The Indians would love to trade SS Cabrera. Is anyone else available?

  4. crdswmn says:

    Does anyone really believe Molina is actually going to show up this year?

    It doesn’t matter to me, I don’t go to the thing anyway.

  5. blingboy says:

    I’m not sure signing two veteran catchers with invites means the Cards are looking for somebody to take it away from Cruz. 131 PAs and .254 is ok for a backup catcher, especially behind a war horse like Yadi. I understand that the staff likes him. He can catch and throw. Can run a little. Play out in the field a bit. It would help if he knew how to take a walk, but we don’t have a backup catcher problem, especially for minimum wage.

    We do need some catchers in ML camp though, and we are short of candidates in the upper levels. More than likely, one or the other of the signees will be AAA depth in case of injury to Yadi or Cruz. The other probably goes away. Unless Cruz is traded of course.

  6. blingboy says:

    Fox Sports Midwest has a nice lineup of Cards programming on Christmas day:

    11:30 a.m. Cardinals Rewind: 2012 Season Review

    12 p.m. Cardinals Legends: 1982 World Series Revisited

    1 p.m. Sept. 16, 2012: Cardinals at Dodgers ->> Must-win game goes extra innings

    3 p.m. June 25, 2012: Cardinals at Marlins ->> 9th-inning comeback and wild win in 10th

    5 p.m. Sept. 21, 2012: Cardinals at Cubs ->> Carp returns, but Cubs come back to win

    7 p.m. Cardinals Confidential: Inside the Winter Meetings

    7:30 p.m. May 22, 2012: Padres at Cardinals ->> Wainwright shuts out San Diego

    9:30 p.m. Cardinals Confidential: Inside the Winter Meetings

    10 p.m. July 21, 2012: Cubs at Cardinals ->> 12-run 7th inning

    • blingboy says:

      Here is the blurb about the 7pm show:

      Cardinals Confidential: Inside the Winter Meetings premieres at 7 p.m. and replays at 9:30 p.m. FOX Sports Midwest cameras were granted unprecedented access behind closed doors during the Winter Meetings with the Cardinals front office, including GM John Mozeliak, giving fans insight into how deals develop.

  7. JumboShrimp says:

    Wigginton. I need to learn how to spell his surname, because Ty is going to have a monster year during 2013.

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