Steiner on Sports Memories

Friday, September 28, 2012

Brooklyn Dodgers pennant Brooklyn Dodgers pennant (Stephen Nessen/WNYC)

Brandon Steiner, founder and chairman of Steiner Sports Marketing and Memorabilia and the author of You Gotta Have Balls: How a Kid from Brooklyn Started From Scratch, Bought Yankee Stadium, and Created a Sports Empire, shares what he's learned about business in building his own sports memorabilia company. 


Brandon Steiner

Comments [7]

josh Karan from Washington Heighs

I did not get to tell the full story of my obtaining the Sandy Koufax US Government Selective Service (Draft) Card:

A) On the envelope was stamped that it was a felony for anyone to open mail other than the named recipient.
But they were nuts if they thought I would send it back.
I hope that after 40 years the stature of limitations has exempted me.

B) I was almost able to bring peace to the middle east on account of having that draft card.
Only once was I ever willing to part with this piece of my personal history.
About 10 years ago I was having lunch with a official of American For Peace Now, an organization favoring a negotiated two state Israeli- Palestinian peace agreement.
The subject of baseball came up and I told my Sandy Koufax draft card story.
To which the Peace Now representative commented that he had recently lunched with then hawkish Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who he described as a big Sandy Koufax fan.

So I made an offer that could have changed modern history.
I said that the next time he met with Sharon he could offer my Draft Card if Sharon would make peace with the

Unfortunately, for the world, nothing came of my offer.

Sep. 28 2012 01:02 PM
JD from Upper West

After the weekly Les Paul show at Fat Tuesday's back in eighties, I tagged along with my musician-autograph-collecting-friend when he approached Les, who was holding court at the bar. We were the last of the audience to reach him, and as he signed my friend's flyer, our waiter handed me the jean jacket I had left on my chair. I looked at my buddy and said "Should I have Les sign it?" Before I knew it Les grabbed it, spread it out on the bar and signed "Howdy! Les Paul" in black Sharpie huge across the back. Someone always tells me it's cool when I wear it. I'm no a collector, but they're right. It is cool.

Sep. 28 2012 12:11 PM
Guy from NYC

You know, there is a critical perspective on this topic which Brian is kind of ignoring as he occasionally does in his gee golly manner.

It would go something like this: Steiner makes a lot of money putting himself between ungrateful stars and the normal fans who enable these stars to live in the bubbles they so want to protect, not to mention the riches and privileges they enjoy. Basically Steiner and people like him, while admittedly providing some services for collectors, reinforce the stars' worst impulses.

Nothing is more galling on this topic than these celebrity athletes who cynically excuse themselves from the slightest gesture to repay the public for its support by merely signing their names. Who cares if it's a hassle? Or if some people sell your autograph? Show some respect for the public that pays your way and count your blessings.

Sep. 28 2012 12:07 PM
Andrew Loebelson from Riverside, CT

I've got a faded Lou Gehrig autograph from my father, who tutored him in math in high school. I thought he was telling tall tales until I saw it mentioned in his high school yearbook. He told me that he and Lou were going to a party after a game, but Gehrig was in a slump. So Babe Ruth, a former pitcher, grabbed a bucket of balls and went outside and started pitching to him with the Stadium as a backdrop, trying to figure out what in his swing was defective as my father kept saying, "Lou, we gotta go. we'll be late!" People walked by and looked but didn't stop or mob them.

Sep. 28 2012 12:02 PM
Mary from UWS

Are personalized autographs worth more or less? I have a signed Lou Gerhig photo autographed to my dad on his tenth birthday. Aug 24, 1939. I have no intention of ever selling. Just curious.

Sep. 28 2012 11:55 AM
Nick from UWS

As a teenager back in 1971, I sent John Lennon a fan letter at the Dakota, asking him for an autograph. I did indeed include a self-addressed stamped envelope. A week later I received a letter back from the Dakota. I opened it up excitedly and inside I found my own letter. Turning it over, I found a big beautiful John Lennon autograph on the back of it "To Nicholas, Love John Lennon", complete with a self-caricature drawing. One of my prized possessions.

Sep. 28 2012 11:49 AM
Sam from Astoria

I find it more interesting to get the autographs of artists and musicians. I got Philip Glass to autograph my copy of "Einstein on the Beach" the other day and I like it because here's this artwork/product of a man that has so much of his own personality in it and now it has some actual physical personal touch in it. Prior to the autograph it was a possession that I liked, but basically just a mass market piece of plastic and cardboard.

Sep. 28 2012 11:49 AM

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