A language not spoken by everyone, the hobby of collecting sports autographs, specifically baseball, has its own vocabulary. To fully immerse yourself into the world you will need to know a few keys abbreviations, why they are important, and when to properly use them.
This is not a cry for help. In the autograph collecting world, SS stands for ‘Sweet Spot.’ The sweet spot is the clean horizontal part of a baseball without any text on it. Among collectors, this is the ideal place to have your baseball signed, preferably in blue ballpoint pen. Because this is the location collectors desire the most, the value is far greater when signed here instead of on the side.
When getting a baseball signed the best is to get it on a ROMLB. This stands for ‘Rawlings Official Major League Baseball.’ These are the baseballs used in official games. While a team logo baseball may look more colorful, it is the ROMLB that you should get signed for optimal value.
Not all autograph collecting has to take place in person. For many avid hobbyists of the inked signature, TTM is a frequent occurrence. TTM is the abbreviation for ‘Through the Mail.’ Many baseball players will sign TTM during the season, spring training, or even from their home addresses in the offseason.
When collecting autographs TTM, you will want to include an SASE. Of all of the abbreviations outlined here, this is the most absolute. SASE stands for ‘Self-Addressed Stamped Envelope.’ When writing letters to any celebrity requesting a response, you should always include an SASE. All this has to be is an envelope or package big enough to include your items returned and signed. Write your address on it and be sure to include the proper postage. Make things as easy as you can for the athlete whose autograph you are seeking.
The days you go to a game and come away with ink all over your personal items you wanted signed are the days you could say you ‘racked.’ This is the term many autograph collectors use to describe a successful evening. Of course, don’t overuse it as nobody likes a braggart.
Considering yourself an autograph ‘hound’ has no negative connotation to it. In fact, in this world the more you hound the more respected you sometimes are. Both a noun and a verb, this is a word you may use quite often. Do not become weary if you never become one of the legendarily obnoxious autograph collectors at your home stadium. In fact, do whatever you can to become them and enjoy the hobby without becoming a pest.