Old soldiers fade away. Old athletes sign...and sign...and sign away. Winter is the busy season for autograph and memorabilia shows, at which sports celebrities pick up some lucre, normally in two-hour, hand-cramping shifts. To learn who will be appearing where and when, log on to signingshotline.com, the signature site for athlete signatures.
Want to meet Joe Montana? Go to the Tampa Bay Center Mall on Jan. 21. Bring a football, a Sharpie and $125. Are you into autograph futures? Braves shortstop and National League Rookie of the Year Rafael Furcal will be at Houston's George R. Brown Convention Center on Jan. 21. Think it'll be a cold day in hell before Bill Buckner shares a room with the 1986 World Series champion Mets? You're close. They'll be appearing on Saturday at the Doubletree in Somerset, N.J.
The site, founded last January by Howard Zarabet of New York City, is little more than a registry of upcoming events, with phone numbers for and/or links to websites of event promoters. Still, it's comprehensive and extremely fascinating. Where else might you have learned of last Saturday's grouping of 1970s Yankees with pro wrestlers of that era ( Graig Nettles, meet King Kong Bundy) at the Ukrainian Cultural Center, also in Somerset? Or consider the eclectic coterie, set for March 3 in Edison, N.J., of, among others, Muhammad Ali, '67 Heisman winner Gary Beban and Barry Sanders. How about the Feb. 4 appearance by Sixto Lezcano—the Sixto Lezcano!—at the Best Western Midway Hotel in Brookfield, Wis.?
See what we mean? Log on to the addictive website for just a minute, and half an hour later we guarantee that you'll still be on a signing tangent.