This crazy hobby started out in 1973 when my grandmother gave me a subscription to Sports Illustrated.
I was 9 years old. Like any pack rat, I saved everything including each week’s issue in the corner of my closet. My dad took me to sporting events and soon I had my Mother driving me to local hotels where professional sports teams were staying. My father would let me wait after a game at Madison Square Garden in order to chase down my favorite Rangers to have them sign my notepad. My Mother would drive me to the local hotels on Sunday mornings so I could hang out and collect signatures from visiting football teams in town to play the Jets or Giants.
In 1982, I found that the Edmonton Oilers were in town to play the Devils and they were staying 8 miles away in a nearby hotel. I went through my closet and found a few Wayne Gretzky SI’s. Drove myself to the hotel around 4pm and watched every player on the team come down to the lobby at bus time to leave for the Arena. Needless to say, The "Great One" signed a few SI’s for me in ballpoint pen. I was happier than a pig in slop, but left my almighty sharpie at home. A rookie mistake that I’d never make again. I soon found myself running 7 days a week all over NJ, NYC and Philly to collect as many signatures as possible on my covers of Sports Illustrated.
I started to purchase older magazines from periodical dealers and then stepped up and bought a few complete runs of SI dating back to their first issue in 1954. I did tons of research and homework trying to locate all former athletes and request their signatures through the mail. Every day was like Christmas because my mailbox was loaded with signed SI magazines. I stepped it up a notch and found out where local TV shows were taped. Went to the studios and obtained signatures as the athletes entered or exited.
I read the NY newspapers and checked the gossip sections for celebrity sightings and charity dinners. I was soon wearing my suit and tie and tuxedo crashing every charity dinner at New York’s most historic hotels to obtain signatures.
One of my best friends in life is my buddy Sam Lynagh from Philadelphia. He and I met many years ago and hit it off from day one, sharing the same autograph collecting passion. We'd spend hours in his apartment thumbing through phone books looking for relatives of athletes in order to contact them to gather information in order to try to find the retired athlete we were looking for. We've taken countless road trips all over the country looking for athletes no longer in the public eye. We'd also help each other in our respective cities and mail each other items to get signed. One day Sam was filling out a Fed Ex air bill. When the section for "Company" appeared, he filled in the fictitious company name, SI KINGS. Here in lies the origin of the name "SI KINGS". We've been hammering out in person signatures together since 1985 and still continue with a few road trips every year in our free time.
I've been on the fields of some of the greatest stadiums in the country. I've crashed Presidential banquets, gathered information at a dozen foreign embassies in NYC and I've attended the SI Swimsuit parties for years. I've made hundreds of house calls to former athletes. I've gotten in to more places than I should have.
To this day, I still have the patience of a million men. Waiting for hours for an elusive signature is still fun. Like your greatest day on the golf course or your biggest fish tale, I still enjoy running around the country to Spring Training sites, hotels, charity golf tournaments and TV Studios all over.
Professionally, I spent years as an Investment Banker and Corporate Debt Specialist and I've always had the "gift of gab".... I've been pretty successful over the years with work and that same success transferred over with my ability in collecting autographs. I've always been pretty good at getting most everyone to sign for me. I still love the thrill of the chase and enjoy the challenge of going after tougher signers. Just ask Michael Jordan! (51 different SI covers)
Please feel free to email me if you'd like to join my mailing list of all future signings and consignment offers. If you have any questions or concerns, just ask and I'll be more than happy to try my best to help you with your collection.
The SI KING