As a military brat, moving around every couple years (if I got to stay that long) I didn't have a lot of constants. There were the Cubs games I was able to watch on WGN regardless of where we were stationed. And then there were books. Like I said, if I wasn't outside playing baseball from sunrise to sunset ala The Sandlot, I was reading. We always seemed to live close to the base library wherever we were. And as an adult, I have almost always worked at or volunteered at bookstores and libraries at least part-time.
I have had the opportunity to host or otherwise be a part of dozens of book signings by authors ranging from first-timers to bestseller list mainstays to celebrities. One of the few things that survived a big collection purge when the kids came were my signed books. I have hundreds of them and they take up a lot of room. I haven't read them all (yet) but I can tell you a story about each and every one of them.
This particular book was a shot in the dark TTM request. He doesn't sign a whole lot according to SCN so I never exected to get it back let alone signed. In fact, I had the last success listed for him and this was back in June 2010. I read the book, wrote my letter which included a few anecdotes of how I related to a couple of his stories and dropped it in the mail. A few days later (not even weeks, days!), it came back personalized, signed and he added his Wild Thing nickname.
I'm not a psychologist, but one thing I've found about getting books autographed is that the author will generally sign it over anything else. They didn't make the card or ball or bat everybody else is getting signed. But they put time and effort (even with a coauthor/ghost writer) into telling their story. And you having a copy of that book validates that time and effort.
Too bad the world is leaning towards ebooks now...