This program ends one week from today, September 30, 2012...

That's a whole lotta license plates, and we finally have enough to link Maine to California (Vermont came through!). For those who missed the memo on this program...

Two Octobers ago, it was time to renew the registration on my car and consider the annual question about vanity plates. My two daughters egged me on and I finally relented, but could not decide on what I wanted the tags to say. I finally settled on something that nobody would recognize... A Pure Quality Start score of 5—PQS-5.

So then I had this crazy idea. What if I challenged all my readers to go out and get a vanity plate with a PQS score on it? We could post all the photos on the website and try to cover as many states as possible. If PQS-5 was already taken (like in Virginia), then you could get any of the other PQS scores. We'd have some fun with it. In return, I offered a free subscription or extension to

To be honest, I figured that nobody would respond and I'd write the whole thing off as a big joke. But less than three weeks after I put out the call, John Richards sent me a photo of his shiny, new Arizona plate... with PQS-5 emblazoned across. Four days later, Bryon Backenson dropped me a note that his New York motorcycle plate was on its way. Four days after that, Andy Smith asked if the deal was for real, and added his North Carolina plate to the mix.

I didn't think this would go viral, in a terrestrial sort of way, but that's exactly what happened. Over the past 20 months, I've received photos of PQS plates from Maine to Hawaii. When PQS-5 was already taken in their state, contributors usually just stepped down to PQS-4. But we did get a PQS-6 in California, a couple of PQS-0s, and several more creative efforts. Michael L. Berney added his initials to his Pennsylvania plate; adding MLB kept the effort in character. Dr. Lewis Winters' California "PQS 5X21" is in honor of a pitcher who has 21 PQS-5 outings in one year. And John O'Reilly paid tribute to those great pitching performances in ancient Rome with his Virginia PQS-V plate.

In an oddity, Michiganers sent me a PQS-4 and a PQS-3, but no PQS-5. Obviously, Justin Verlander has kept them all for himself.

Bloggers caught the fever as well: Viral Sub-Culture: PQS Across America

As I sit here today, we've accumulated 53 plates covering 33 states and one Canadian province.

But all good things must eventually come to an end, and now is that time. This will be the final call to participate in the "PQS Across America" program. We will wrap this up at the end of the current baseball season, publish all the plates for the last time in this winter's Baseball Forecaster, and call it a day. If you are going to participate and claim your free subscription, we need to receive the photo of your PQS-5 plate by September 30, 2012.

Here is what you need to do to participate in PQS Across America:

  • Purchase the vanity plate "PQS-5" in your state (or country!). If that plate is taken, purchase "PQS-4" or any PQS score down to 0. If you want to purchase a plate with a higher PQS score, go nuts.
  • Take a clear, straight digital close-up photograph of the plate and email the file to Make sure you identify yourself in the email and include your contact information.
  • When we receive your file, we will enter a one-year subscription (or extension) to within 72 hours of receipt.

By participating in this "PQS Across America" event, you are giving us permission to post the photo of your license plate on, and in the 2013 Baseball Forecaster.

If anyone asks what PQS-5 means, tell them that it's a system for evaluating pitching performance used at A PQS-5 is the best you can be and it netted you a free $99 subscription. If they look at you funny, tell them you didn't do this because it was geeky; you did it because it was profitable.

Check out your state below, and join us!

Alabama Regular registration fee $23 plus additional $50 for personalized plate
Alaska $30 plus cost of regular registration fee
Arizona Standard plates can be personalized for free
Arkansas Ranges from $5 to $55, may include a donation to the group sponsoring the plate design
California Ranges from $49-$98
Colorado A one-time fee of $60 upon approval and a $25 fee will be collected each year thereafter for regular personalized plates
Connecticut $90 or $50-$145 for a special plate background
Delaware $40 annual fee, vanity plates $40, specialty plates $35-$50
Florida $12 plus annual renewal fee
Georgia Annual renewal fee $20, special plate fee $25, manufacturing fee $25
Hawaii $25 in addition to all regular fees and taxes
Idaho $25 and $15 annual renewal fee
Illinois $47 plus registration fee
Indiana Additional $30 for personalized plates, annual personalized license plate fee of $48
Iowa $25 initial fee, $5 annual validation fee
Kansas $46 plus additional vehicle registration fees
Kentucky $25 personal plate application fee and $15 registration fee
Louisiana $25 per year in addition to the regular registration fee, plus a one-time $3.50 administrative fee and $8 handling fee
Maine $25 vanity plate fee plus annual registration fee
Maryland $25 for initial plate, then $25 renewal fee in addition to standard registration fees
Massachusetts $20-$50 plus regular renewal fees
Michigan $30 plus standard registration fee
Minnesota $100
Mississippi $31 plus standard fees
Missouri $15 plus standard fee. A $15 reservation fee and EUAS (if applicable) are required for each year the plate is renewed.
Montana $25
Nebraska $40
Nevada Initial cost $36, annual fee $20
New Hampshire Registration fee plus $40 initial plate fee and $4 reflector plate fee per plate ($8 for a set)
New Jersey $50, in addition to the regular registration fee
New Mexico $17 initially and upon each regular registration renewal
New York Initial custom plate fee $50-$81.50, renewal fee: $31.25-$62.50
North Carolina Additional annual fee of $30
North Dakota $25 yearly fee
Ohio $50 in addition to the standard registration and permissive tax fees
Oklahoma $23 original or replacement, $21.50 renewal
Oregon 2-year fee $10-$50, 4-year fee for new vehicles $20-$100
Pennsylvania $20 plus standard registration
Rhode Island Backgrounds: $67.50-$81.50, Plain: Fee by weight + $90 x 2
South Carolina $30 plus the registration fee
South Dakota $25
Tennessee $35 plus standard registration fees
Texas $55-$195 plus vehicle registration fees
Utah Personalized plate cost is determined by each plate type, but is generally $55
Vermont Additional $10 for plates and $38 fee annually along with registration fee
Virginia $10 along with annual registration fee
Washington $49.75 plus standard licensing fees
West Virginia $45
Wisconsin $15 yearly in addition to regular annual registration fee
Wyoming $30 and a renewal fee is require annually along with regular annual registration fees
Washington DC $100 initial fee, $25 for replacement


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  For more information about the terms used in this article, see our Glossary Primer.