Then what if your item is encased? I have several "slabbed" cards that if autographed would at least triple their value. I would have to be at the player's venue, with cutting tools in hand, the card as well, then on the off chance that I actually get to speak with the player to ask for an autograph I have to say, "Oh Thank you, but one moment please." I bend down and presume to tear open the casing with pliers, negating the grade, ruining the gem mint condition of the card and I have to hope the player doesn't just walk away in disgust while I'm doing this. Sounds pretty ridiculous, but I'm sure similar scenarios happen everyday to guys like Lebron, Kobe, KD, Pujols, A-Rod, Jordan etc...
OK so assume the card is free from casing and the athlete is patiently standing there waiting. Now I need to persuade him ever so subtly, "Could you please be very gentle so the card's value is maintained?" If he hasn't walked away by now you'd have to be one of a few things: 1. Disabled; let's face it, nobody can say No or reject the physically hindered. 2. A Sexy Female; Once again nobody can say No to them. 3. A Soldier; ditto. And #4, an old person. Number four might be stretching it, but ordinarily Professional Athletes are very respectful of the elderly.
So if I'm going to attempt to get one of these guys' John Hancock in person, I will definitely be in disguise as one of the four options. 2 & 4 are kinda impossible unless I have a great makeup artist. That leaves 1 & 3, which will be really offensive to every person on Earth. Welcome to the plight of a determined autograph chaser. You face public humiliation, celeb resent and possible incarceration for bringing cutting tools into a metal detecting setting.
At the risk of offending most of the New Age American Hypersensitive class, the Soldier would clearly be the person easiest to emulate as it would only entail some military garb. When I obtained this Kevin Durant Autograph, I acquired the services of a licensed Signature/Memorabilia Authenticator to do the dirty work. Some of these 'inside guys' actually have access to the locker rooms and are well known by players and staff. How do you finagle into that position?