Last week I posted about the long, but ultimately fruitful chase for a pair of football cards autographed by former Denver Broncos running back, Donnie Stone. This week I had a similarly-difficult through-the-mail (TTM) success with former New York Titans defensive back, Roger Donnahoo.
Roger Donnahoo played his collegiate football at Michigan State University. He was drafted by the New York Titans in 1960, and played in all 14 games. He pulled down five interceptions, which he returned for 89 yards. He also scored a touchdown on a fumble recovery. Despite his success, Donnahoo did not play beyond the 1960 season. He was injured in a training camp scrimmage in 1961, fracturing his shoulder and sternum while trying to tackle 240-pound fullback, Jim Joyce. Donnahoo never fully recovered, and was soon released. Topps, however, recognized Roger Donnahoo by making his card #156 in their 1961 football issue.
Now more than 50 years after his playing career ended, Roger Donnahoo is living in Georgia. He can be described as a spotty TTM signer at best. Many collectors have sent Donnahoo a copy of his ’61 Topps card, never to have it returned.
Among my other TTM collections, I am working on the AFL portion of the 1961 Topps set, and in April, 2008, I sent Donnahoo a card to sign for me. Two years went by without getting a response. Then, after reading a fellow collector mention a TTM success with Donnahoo on SCN (www.sportscollectors.net), I purchased another card and sent it off. I figured that my first card must have been misplaced or accidentally sent to another collector. But just like my first attempt, my second attempt was a failure.
Frustrated by the situation, I eventually found a signed copy of the Donnahoo card on ebay, and purchased it for around $17. Not a bad price, I thought, for someone who was so difficult to obtain TTM. So I happily marked the card off my Want List, and moved on to something else.
This afternoon I went out to the mail box not expecting to find much. I haven’t sent out any requests in months, and most of what I expected to receive has already come through. But surprisingly I found two of my Self-addressed, stamped envelopes. I opened them up and found autographed 1961 Topps Roger Donnahoo cards wrapped neatly inside my request letters; the first from April 21, 2008, and the second from March 4, 2010.
The TTM collecting experience is truthfully quite unpredictable. You never really know what you are going to get; so few athletes are guaranteed signers. After three years of attempts and a frustration-based ebay purchase, I now have three signed ’61 Topps Roger Donnahoo cards. Anyone want to trade?