This perspective of the Colorado Rockies turns every autographed card into a 1/1 work of art

Benny Montgomery knew it would be difficult to autograph the thousands of baseball cards sent to him by card makers. As an outfield prospect drafted No. 8 overall by the Colorado Rockies in the 2021 MLB Draft, he signed endorsement deals with Topps, Panini, Onyx and Leaf and had to sign every card that was sent to him.

Signing thousands of cards over and over can become monotonous and, as Montgomery describes it, mind-numbing. Through his contract with the four companies, he is required to sign certain cards and return them to each company within a certain time frame.

Montgomery had gotten bored after signing a few hundred cards and decided to write a different name on one of them. He’s a fan of the Borat movies, so he signed the card as Borat and sent a photo to his agent.

“I realized people don’t do that, so I was surprised by that because it seemed like a creative way to show your personality,” Montgomery said.

He never showed anyone else and didn’t think it would be a big deal, but collectors started to take an interest in his signature, so he thought he’d unveil it and post it on the social networks to see their reaction.

The reason collectors were interested, however, was not because he was the No. 8 draft pick, but rather because he was part of a conspiracy theory.

As some of his cards started circulating, fans noticed two different versions of his autograph, which sent card lovers into investigation mode with theories that his mother was signing a fancier version of her autograph for him.

Rumors and questions spread to Montgomery, who eventually quashed the rumors by showing on video that he actually had good handwriting and two different bylines.

“They thought my mom was helping me sign, that’s why one was better than the other,” Montgomery said. “I remember a guy said to me, ‘Well, we have to stop letting moms-to-be sign these cards.’ They thought I was faking. So in response, I was bored that day [in] the offseason, so I took a video of me signing two cards, one in my usual way and one in my fancier way and posted it. So it was basically me reproducing every signature because they were my signatures.”

The video wowed fans and sparked a whole new adventure for Montgomery.

Amazingly, Montgomery said he didn’t tell his mother what happened. She’s not on social media, so chances are she had no idea she was in the middle of a card-collecting controversy.

“She doesn’t care about social media at all, so I wouldn’t be surprised if she had no idea,” Montgomery said. “She might be flattered that someone thought my signature was hers, but I’m not sure.”

Once Signaturegate was resolved and people knew it wasn’t her mother signing her cards, Montgomery decided to continue having fun and engaging with card collectors who paid attention to the mini- saga.

“Everyone thought the signing video was funny and I was like, ‘Oh, I have this picture of Borat, so let’s put it in this thread,'” Montgomery said. “I said I was waiting for one of them to find this, thinking nothing would happen with it and from there it went viral.”

The Borat signature was on a card numbered 10 of 150, meaning there are only 150 of that particular card. The single signature made it a bit of a one-of-one, however, as the other 149 would be signed with his real signature.

Montgomery saw how much people liked the variation and decided to keep going. He signed a card as Benny and the Jets and drew a mustache in his picture.

He then wrote “Sign here” on another card where the signature was supposed to be.

He even signed a card with a Braille version of his name at the request of one of his followers.

“I waited a month or two for another delivery from Topps and the one from Benny and the Jets was a little more elaborate than the one from Borat,” Montgomery said. “That one got even more views, because people were starting to expect it now.”

Montgomery continued, but again found himself in a contentious situation when he and fellow Arizona Diamondbacks Jordan Lawlar decided to sign each other’s names on their cards. Benny signed his own card as Lawlar and vice versa.

Although funny, it has potential issues with authenticity and ensuring the autograph is real. Signing a nickname was one thing, but signing another player’s name caught the attention of Topps, who made the cards he was signing.

“Topps, I know they weren’t thrilled,” Montgomery said. “After I did that they spoke to me and said I couldn’t do that. I guess it was a conflict of interest so I’m not banned from doing it, but I’m relaxing from this point of view.”

However, not all card makers disputed this, as Onyx sent Montgomery a deck of cards and asked him to do whatever he wanted with the cards. He doesn’t know if Topps cards with alternate signatures will ever make it into the hands of fans, but he hopes they will get into circulation. He also hopes to have the opportunity to continue showing his creative side and interacting with fans while being unique with a mundane and monotonous task.

“You can basically transform a card that would have 100 or 200 and I can make it a unique card,” Montgomery said. “I think it touches the fans and gives me personality and does some good things with it. It makes the card a lot more valuable, people were putting bounties on the Borat card so I’d like to keep doing that.”

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