Autograph Alley: Even college football coaches are collectors

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Amazing who collects autographs and sports cards in general.

After my "Autograph Alley" post last week, I got a phone message from Cornell College football coach Vince Brautigam. Vince is a very good guy who is really turning around the Rams' program.

Called him back and he shared with me some of the high points of his extensive collection. Things like a Frank Robinson autograph, a Walter Payton signature card labeled "5 of 5," and an O.J. Simpson auto card that's "2 of 5."

He's got a Dick Butkus autograph. Unsigned cards include a 1933 Lefty Grove and 1964 Warren Spahn.

"It's mostly football and baseball cards," he said.

Vince and I are going to hook up sometime this summer, so he can show me some of his prizes and vice versa. He's a little busy right now with recruiting.

Next week, I'll speak with Stacy Shaffer of Cedar Rapids, who is a huge autograph collector. He calls himself "The Autograph Dude," has a Facebook page devoted to his hobby and does regular Podcasts and webcasts, in which he opens his daily mail to show off his autograph treasures.

He's hard core. Love it.

Keep those stories coming my way and send photos as well.

I'm going to share with you a couple of my favorite baseball autographs this week. You may have heard of these two guys: outfielder Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels and Joe Mauer of the Minnesota Twins.

The Mauer card is a 2002 Bowman Heritage certified autograph. Bought it way back in the day for somewhere around $20. Checked Ebay today, and some guy is asking almost $900 for a PSA 10 graded version. Cheapest price for it was $125. No, I'm not going to sell it. I don't sell anything.

By the way, you can send any autographed card or item to Professional Sports Authenticator ( and they'll assign it a grade (mint, gem mint, etc.) and let you know if they think it's authentic or if someone forged it.

The Trout is a 2010 Topps Pro Debut that was signed when he was a member of the Cedar Rapids Kernels in 2010. It's still unbelievable to me that he played here just two seasons ago. You could absolutely tell that he was going to be great when he played here. You didn't have to know anything about baseball. Just watch him walk on the field, and you knew he was the best player in the ballpark.

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