ALEXANDRIA, VA – If there was a Hall of Fame for baseball autograph collectors, Kevin Keating would surely be one of its most revered members. And in his book, Waiting for a Sign, Keating’s half-century of collecting autographs from the game’s greats is the backdrop for nearly two dozen provocative profiles of the game’s greats – including Hank Aaron, Joe DiMaggio, Ted Williams, Stan Musial and Yogi Berra.
Keating fell in love with America’s National Pastime in the summer of ’69, when he was a ten-year-old boy growing up in suburban Illinois. He began collecting the autographs of his baseball idols the following year, at a time when the hobby had not yet become the hardened, big business we know it to be today. As evidenced throughout the pages of Waiting for a Sign, obtaining the autograph of a baseball player decades ago was a pure-intentioned pursuit that often yielded encounters that were both genuine and memorable.
Keating’s affable personality and insightful and encyclopedic knowledge of the game’s history endeared him to many of the iconic players whose signatures he sought. It also led to Keating becoming a friend and confidant of some of the greatest players the game has ever known. It was a dream come true for Keating, a fan who did not play professional baseball himself but became friends with men like Whitey Ford, Warren Spahn, Chuck Connors, Johnny Mize, Harmon Killebrew and Bob Feller. Keating also shared meaningful exchanges with the likes of DiMaggio, Williams, Musial and Berra. In Waiting for a Sign, readers discover the unique and intimate stories surrounding Keating’s most memorable encounters with the legends of the game.
Some of the amazing anecdotes contained in the book include a handwritten letter from Burleigh Grimes, one of the last pitchers allowed to legally throw the spitball, an uncharacteristically impatient Rod Carew telling a young Keating to “take a long walk off a short pier” and a unique and personalized Yogi-ism, never heard before now, when the Yankee great astoundingly recognized Keating after not seeing him for 10 years.
“Although I didn’t fully understand it when I started as a kid, collecting autographs is so much more than just getting a signature on a baseball or piece of paper,” said Keating. “It’s about the one-on-one, intimate moments shared with the star players you really look up to and admire. That’s why I wrote Waiting for a Sign, and why I think my collection of player’s stories should be an important addition to any baseball fan’s library. Waiting for a Sign tells the story behind the autograph and reveals the person inside the player.”
In Waiting for a Sign, Keating’s powerful moments with the greats of the game have been transformed into an amazing collection of anecdotes, garnered over the course of nearly 50 years. As revered journalist and baseball fan George Will noted, “Kevin Keating’s love of baseball has a purity that matches its longevity. It has brought him into charming contacts with many of the sport’s greatest stars. To read his charming stories is to experience first love a second time.”
Waiting for a Sign, featuring a personal and touching forward by New York Yankee Hall Of Famer Whitey Ford, is available on Amazon and can be purchased by clicking here. A second volume, chock-full of previously untold tales from Keating, is expected to be released in the spring of 2020.
Kevin Keating began collecting the autographs of baseball players in 1970 and has since made his passion his profession. After amassing a personal collection of more than 10,000 autographs before he graduated from high school, Keating founded QualityAutogrpahs.com, which was his full-time business for nearly 20 years. He now serves as the principal autograph authenticator for Professional Sports Authenticator (PSA), a subsidiary of Collectors Universe (NASDAQ: CLCT). In this role, Keating has provided authentication and/or appraisal services for nationally known auction companies and other private and government organizations including the White House and many private collections.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation has consulted Keating on various matters related to suspected forgers, notably, to testify as an expert witness during the well-publicized investigation known as “Operation Bullpen”. He has also been called on to authenticate a wide variety of autograph material from Mozart’s sheet music, to US Presidents, signers of the Declaration of Independence, Norman Rockwell paintings, the Beatles, Neil Armstrong, John Wayne and Bruce Springsteen.
Keating has appeared on television and radio shows as a guest expert on baseball autographs and forgeries and has been frequently interviewed and quoted in print and online media, including The Wall Street Journal, The San Francisco Examiner, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Washington Post, The New York Post, The New York Daily News, USA Today, Baseball Weekly, Forbes Collector, The Houston Chronicle, The Miami Herald, The Weekly Standard, The Federalist and MLB.com (feature blog).
Keating graduated from the United States Military Academy (West Point, NY, 1982) where he finished first in his class in Chinese language, and the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (Washington, DC, 2002). He lived in Japan with his family from 1966-68, attending a Japanese school and credits much of his aptitude for autograph authentication to his Japanese and Chinese language exposure and studies, and the visual memorization of written characters both languages require.
Keating resides with his wife and two children in Alexandria, Virginia.