Back in 1992 my brother and I made my father stand in the rain for over an hour in a Florida thunder and lightning rain storm just at the chance of getting New York Yankees #1 overall draft pick Brien Taylor's autograph. At the time Taylor was playing Class A ball for the Fort Lauderdale Yankees. With a black Sharpie marker in hand, we were the only three people outside waiting by the team bus. Taylor stopped as my brother and I were screaming like 12-year-old girls looking for a Justin Bieber autograph. He said we were nuts for waiting in a storm outside, and proceeded to sign a glove, a baseball, and his baseball card fresh out of the minor league team set we just bought at the stadium. To say my brother and I were excited that night is an understatement! How much would that ball be worth when Taylor takes the mound at Yankee stadium for the next decade? We all know how that worked out!!!
A company called Egraphs was created last September by Tampa Bay Rays senior vice president of business operations Brian Auld and his brother David, who had been a Silicon Valley software engineer and a Microsoft consultant. Egraphs is funded in part by Stu Sternberg, the principal shareholder of the ownership group that owns the Tampa Bay Rays. An Egraph will have an athlete sign their electronic autograph on a high resolution picture and add a personalized 30 second voice greeting on an iPad for consumers. Egraphs homepage states "What if you could share a moment with your favorite star?" It gives the fan three steps to complete the electronic autograph and personalized voice message process. 1) Select a photo of your favorite star, 2) Write him a note, 3) Hear back directly from your favorite star, then It's your Egraph - ready to be shared! Egraphs introduced its first group of MLB signers Thursday. The group which consists of about 25 MLB players and managers at launch includes Red Sox DH David Ortiz, Mets P R.A. Dickey, Rays P David Price, Yankees P CC Sabathia, Red Sox 2B Dustin Pedroia, Rays manager Joe Madden, and retired P Pedro Martinez. The list of players and mangers will expand to over 100 in August this year. The initial price for an Egraphs will be $50, with prices to change following the launch period. For example, if a player is tearing the cover off the baseball, the price for their Egraph may increase. The Egraph autograph signer will receive a portion of the fee charged by Egraph. Following the MLB launch, Egraphs intends to expand to the NFL, MLB, and her sports, and entertainment stars and celebrities.
Lets break it down:
* The personal voice recorded greeting. "Happy Birthday Mouth! I can't wait to hit the clubs with you and pick up some ladies. Your best friend, Robinson Cano"
* Having the personal autograph on your iPad to bring into school to show your friends. You are not going to have to worry about a signed baseball card getting bent as you get mobbed at the lunch table.
* It's not a real hand signed autograph.
* There is no resale value. No one is going to buy a David Ortiz electronic autograph that states "Happy Sweet 16 Erica! Your pal, David Ortiz"
Bottom line is Egraphs will work and probably be a cash cow. A Birthday gift, graduation present, holiday gift, Fathers Day, grooms men gifts. Excellent idea, although this collector still prefers to stand in the rain :)
Yup, still have the Taylor autographed ball!