Back when I was a kid, even before I collected cards, I'd write away to certain favorite players asking for an autograph. I have no idea where the idea came from, nor did I know to include a SASE or even something to sign, but I still had some successes.
Being a Canadian kid, most of the requests were sent to hockey players, but I did request at least a couple from baseball players.
The one you see here is by far the most personalized of any of the mail away autographs I ever received. It's really a great picture, exactly what you'd think Gary Carter would be like in real life.
I only played the Canadian version of little league for a few years, and my usual position was 2B or 3B, despite my desire to be a first baseman. One of the few memories I have of those games was the one time I caught a game. Our regular catcher was sick, and the coach took me aside and asked if I'd fill in. So, we got the gear on, and I recall one of the coaches having to find me a cup from somewhere.
We had our best pitcher on the mound, Zack. The pitcher for the other team was a left hander, which was something not often seen. We were held hitless that day, but because of walks and wild pitches, we managed to score 2 runs and win the game 2-0. I had what I consider my best game ever, especially as I'd never caught before. I threw out a runner trying to steal 3rd after I'd dropped a pitch, and late in the game I even tagged a guy out at home who was trying to score. My memory might be being generous here, but I also think I walked and scored one of the 2 runs.
I think the only reason I sort of knew what to do was because of all the times I'd watched Gary catch for the Expos.
Our regular catcher came back for the next game, and I never caught another one. My interest in baseball was fading pretty fast at that time, and after breaking a finger and missing 1/2 the next season, I never played again.
The other baseball player that I got in the mail? Only Nolan Ryan with the California Angels. That one I sold eventually.