Benny Montgomery knew it could be tough to autograph the hundreds of baseball playing cards despatched to him by card producers. As an outfield prospect drafted No. 8 total by the Colorado Rockies within the 2021 MLB draft, he inked endorsement offers with Topps, Panini, Onyx and Leaf and was required to signal each card despatched to him.
Signing hundreds of playing cards time and again can get monotonous and, as Montgomery describes it, mind-numbing. By way of his contract with the 4 firms, he is required to signal sure playing cards and get them again to every firm in a sure timeframe.
Montgomery had gotten bored after signing just a few hundred playing cards and determined to write down a unique identify on one in every of them. He is a fan of the Borat films, so he signed the cardboard as Borat and despatched an image to his agent.
“I spotted individuals do not do that, so I used to be shocked by that as a result of it appeared like a artistic approach to present your persona,” Montgomery mentioned.
He by no means confirmed anybody else and did not assume it could ever be a giant deal, however collectors began to achieve curiosity in his signature, so he thought he’d break this out and publish it on social media to see their response.
I used to be questioning once I’d should clear that up. I am simply ready for this one to get pulled….😭😳 pic.twitter.com/edO8L2cLYa
— Benny Montgomery (@benny_mont) January 28, 2022
The explanation collectors had been , although, was not as a result of he was the No. 8 draft decide, however moderately that he had change into a part of a conspiracy concept.
As a few of his playing cards began to flow into, followers seen two completely different variations of his autograph, which despatched card hobbyists into investigative mode with theories that his mother was signing a fancier model of his autograph for him.
The rumors and questions unfold to Montgomery, who finally squashed the rumors by displaying by video that he does, in truth, have good handwriting and two completely different signatures.
— Benny Montgomery (@benny_mont) January 28, 2022
“They thought that my mother was serving to me signal, which is why the one was higher than the opposite,” Montgomery mentioned. “I bear in mind one man was like, ‘Nicely, we obtained to cease letting prospects mothers signal these playing cards.’ They thought I used to be faking it. So, in response, I used to be bored that day [in] the offseason, so I took a video of me signing two playing cards, one my common method and one in every of my fancier method and posted it. So, it was principally me replicating every signature as a result of these had been my signatures.”
The video caught on with followers and sparked an entire new journey for Montgomery.
Surprisingly, Montgomery mentioned he did not inform his mother about what had occurred. She’s not on social media, so there’s a good likelihood that she has no thought she was smack dab in the midst of a card accumulating controversy.
“She could not care much less about social media, so I would not be shocked if she had no thought,” Montgomery mentioned. “She could be flattered that any person thought my signature was her’s, however I am undecided.”
As soon as Signaturegate was solved and folks knew it wasn’t his mother signing his playing cards, Montgomery determined to maintain having enjoyable and interesting with card collectors who paid consideration to the mini-saga.
“Everyone thought the signature video was humorous and I used to be like, ‘Oh, I’ve that Borat image, so let’s put that on this thread,'” Montgomery mentioned. “I mentioned I used to be ready for one in every of them to seek out this, considering nothing would occur with it and from there it simply went viral.””
The Borat signature was on a card numbered 10 of 150, which means there are solely 150 of that specific card. The distinctive signature made it considerably of a one in every of one, although, as the opposite 149 could be signed along with his actual signature.
Montgomery noticed how a lot individuals loved the variation and determined he would hold going. He signed one card as Benny and the Jets and drew a mustache on his image.
— Benny Montgomery (@benny_mont) February 20, 2022
He then wrote “Signal right here” on one other card the place the signature was presupposed to be.
— Benny Montgomery (@benny_mont) March 23, 2022
He even signed one card with a Braille model of his identify on the request of one in every of his followers.
— Benny Montgomery (@benny_mont) April 1, 2022
“I waited a month or two once I obtained a brand new Topps cargo and the Benny and the Jets one was a bit of bit extra elaborate than my Borat one,” Montgomery mentioned. “That one obtained much more views, as a result of individuals had been beginning to count on it now.”
Montgomery saved going, however as soon as once more discovered himself in a controversial scenario when he and fellow prospect Jordan Lawlar, who’s a part of the Arizona Diamondbacks group, determined to signal the opposite’s identify on their playing cards. Benny signed his personal card as Lawlar and vice versa.
— Benny Montgomery (@benny_mont) March 24, 2022
Whereas humorous, it has potential points with authenticity and guaranteeing the autograph is actual. Signing a nickname was one factor, however signing one other participant’s identify was one thing that caught the eye of Topps, who makes the playing cards he was signing.
“Topps, I do know they weren’t thrilled about it,” Montgomery mentioned. “After we did that they talked to me and mentioned I am unable to try this. I assume it was a battle of curiosity, so I am not banned from doing it, however I am chilling out from that standpoint.”
Not each card producer took problem with it, although, as Onyx despatched Montgomery a set of playing cards and requested him to do no matter he wished with the playing cards. He would not know if the Topps playing cards with alternate signatures will ever make it to followers’ palms, however he is hopeful they’re going to get put into circulation. He is additionally hoping he’ll get the chance to proceed displaying his artistic facet and interesting with followers whereas being distinctive with a secular, monotonous job.
“You possibly can principally flip a card that will have 100 or 200 of them and I could make it a one in every of one,” Montgomery mentioned. “I feel it reaches out to followers and offers me some persona and does good issues with that. It makes the cardboard way more priceless, individuals had been placing bounties on the Borat card, so I would wish to hold doing it.”