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.
|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.|
|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?|
|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?|
|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!|
|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.|
|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?|
|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:
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.