I've only sent two cards through the mail to be autographed by former players, but I've already learned that the results can be varied and unpredictable. I sent both cards, a Mike Boddicker and a Rick Dempsey, in March 2008. I received my signed Mike Boddicker card four weeks later, tucked neatly into the plastic toploader that I'd sent with it. I just received the Rick Dempsey card you see above, nearly a year after sending my request. It came back in the self-addressed stamped envelope I provided, but with no toploader. There's one more thing...
It's not the card I sent.
I mailed off a copy of the Dipper's 1981 Fleer card, a lovely one indeed. Fortunately, it wasn't my only copy, because there's no telling what has become of it. I'm happy to have gotten a response at all; after eleven months, I'd resigned myself to an ignored or lost autograph request. So where did this card come from?
It's most likely that Rick (or a family member) opened a pile of mail and there were other cards in the batch that got mixed together. Of course, I like my mother's explanation better; she suggested that he knocked over a soda, drenching my card and ruining it, and went scrambling for a replacement. If that's the case, I hope he realized that he might be able to make some money on eBay auctioning off a Rick Dempsey 1981 Fleer card with authentic Coke stains.
Thanks for the card, Rick, wherever you found it!