Card of the Day: 2007 Topps Allen & Ginter John “Mule” Miles autograph*

johnmilescardWhile busting numerous blaster boxes of 2007 Topps Allen & Ginter, I managed to pull a short printed autograph of John “Mule” Miles. At the time, I did not know who he was. But I later learned that he was a star in the Negro Leagues, and the signed card I pulled was limited to a mere 200 copies.

I’d planned to keep the card, but shortly there after, I learned that Miles was signing cards through the mail. Knowing this, I decided to sell my certified copy and pen a letter to Mr. Miles, showing my appreciation for his playing days and sharing my thoughts of the trials and tribulations he and other black baseball players faced.

Well, lo and behold, about a week after sending him my letter and a pair of his cards from this base set, I received this card, two signed index cards with words of encouragement and a very personal letter from Mr. Miles. (see below).


As a general card collector and baseball fan, I was much more pleased with my TTM success than I was when I pulled the certified card from the pack.

But this does bring up an interesting topic: If you knew you could obtain a player’s autograph for free, relatively speaking, would you still feel the need to keep a certified signature of the same player?

From 2006 to 2008, Topps inserted a lot of non-traditional certified autographs into packs — Miles being one of them. And of those subjects, the majority of them do signed cards through the mail, or in essence for free. I could be wrong, but I think this is the primary reason why so many of the certified autos from the A&G set, even the short printed ones, have decreased in value. Pretty interesting.

As a side note, if someone associated with Mr. Miles happens to read this, please express my appreciation. I thought this letter was sincere and it will forever be a special piece in my collection, a reminder of how things used to be — something not everyone will be able to completely understand.

Side note, No. 2: I just learned that the Seattle Mariners drafted Miles in July of this year as a part an honorary draft recognizing Negro League Players.

2 Responses to “Card of the Day: 2007 Topps Allen & Ginter John “Mule” Miles autograph*”

  1. Great story. Now that’s a centerpiece to a collection!

  2. Awesome reply.

    I have a bunch of certified Hamilton autographs – but it was more of a rush to open the envelope with my Hamilton TTM reply, than it was to pick up any of the pack pulled ones. There’s really no way to describe it – it just seems different when they sign specifically for you.

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