Tuesday, January 10, 2017

1981 Donruss, Grant Jackson

#15 Grant Jackson

It has been about three weeks since I last posted a card thanks to my computer's power supply taking a dump. Luckily I was able to gt it fixed without encountering any damage. It just took a little longer than I had hoped. But, all is well now.

Here is the second card of Grant Jackson that I have posted on here. I posted the first one, his '71 Topps, two months ago and it can be seen here. The two cards were both signed through the mail in 2015. Obviously, this card was the main reason for writing to Grant.

Grant pitched in the Major Leagues for eighteen seasons with the Phillies, Orioles, Yankees, Pirates, Expos, and Royals. The lefty spent most of his career pitching out of the bullpen and he racked up a 86-75 record with 79 saves and 889 strikeouts. His winning record is surprising considering he was 23-43 through his first six seasons.

Grant had the privilege of pitching in three World Series during the '70s. He was with the Orioles in '71, the Yankees in '76, and the Pirates in '79. He came out of those Series with one ring and a 2.00 ERA over nine innings pitched.

'81 Donruss Tracker: #177

Monday, December 19, 2016

1981 Donruss, Ricky Peters

#10 Ricky Peters

It has been three years since I last posted a card from the '81 Donruss set. Over that time, I have got about thirty more cards signed from that set. So, be prepared to be seeing the '81D for the next few months.

The first one is of Ricky Peters. I got this one signed through the mail last year. I sent it to Ricky in November and I got it back three weeks later.

Ricky played in the Major Leagues for five seasons with the Tigers and A's. He hit .277 in the show with 2 home runs and 80 RBI. His first home run was a grand slam that he hit for the Tigers in 1980. Too bad they were down by seven when he hit it.

Ricky got most of his playing time with the Tigers from 1979-1981. He got into 208 games with them including a career high of 133 in 1980. That season, he hit .291 with both of his homers and 42 RBI. He missed all of the '82 season before getting released by Detroit. The A's picked him up and he played in 99 games for them during the '83 and '85 seasons before calling it a career.

I really like Ricky's signature. The star is unique.

'81 Donruss Tracker:

I originally started the Donruss Tracker to track them as I got closer to my goal of 100 cards signed from the set. Since I met and exceeded my goal, I figured that there is no need to track them out of 100 (ie no more 176/100).

Sunday, December 18, 2016

1980 O-Pee-Chee, Willie Aikens

#191 Willie Aikens

To date, I have posted three cards of Willie Aikens on here. I thought it was much more than that. But, as it turns out, I have got a small handful of cards from the last two Royals Fanfest that I have yet to post. So, here is the first of those. This one was obtained at the 2014 Fanfest.

The first three cards I posted showed him with three different teams. There was one of him as a Royal, a Blue Jay, and an Explorer from the senior league. Since I had a card signed by him from the Royals and Jays, naturally I needed a card of him with the Angels signed. This O-Pee-Chee card was the best I could do on short notice in 2014. So even though it clearly says Royals on the card, Willie is still in an Angels uniform and that counts for something.

Willie's tenure with the Angels lasted just parts of two seasons. After being drafted by the Halos in the first round in 1975, he made his debut with them in '77. He got into just 42 games and hit .198. He spent the next season in the minors, but returned to the Angels in '79 and did real well. That year, he hit .280 and clubbed 21 homers while driving in 81 runs.

After that season, the Angels traded him and Rance Mulliniks to the Royals for Al Cowens and Todd Cruz.

The Blue Jays card I linked to above was signed by Willie at Fanfest in 2013. That card was signed Willie Mays Aikens. Willie apparently dropped the Mays out of his signature shortly after that.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

1979 Topps, Al Fitzmorris

#227 AL Fitzmorris

Here is the second card of Al Fitzmorris that I have posted this week. The first one showed him as an Indian and this one has him with the Angels. Add in the Royals card I posted three years ago and we have the three teams that Al played for.

For me, three is the magic number. Whenever I go 'graphing, I almost always take three cards of a player because my book holds three cards per page. Ideally, if that player has played for more than one team, I make sure I get a card of each team. If they played for more than three, I narrow it down by which cards are going to look the best signed. For whatever reason, I just like to mix it up a bit when I get more than one card signed by a player. And, I have effectively done that with Al Fitzmorris with this card. Now I can concentrate on getting a few more Royals cards signed by him in the future.

It is kind of surprising that Al got this card of him as an Angel. His tenure there only lasted nine appearances. Despite the limited work, Al did alright by posting a 6-1 record with a 1.71 ERA.

Al finished his career with a 77-59 record with 7 saves and 3.65 ERA. He still lives in the Kansas City area, so I sure that there will be more cards of him here in the future.

This is final card from the seventies. I am pretty excited to be hitting the '80s with my next post. Expect to be seeing plenty of '81 Donruss coming up.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

1978 Topps, John Wockenfuss

#723 John Wockenfuss

Back in 2013, I sent an '81 Donruss card to John to add him to that set. I got that card back twelve days later with two extra cards that he sent me. This is one of the extra cards. The other that he included was his '85 Donruss card that I posted three years ago.

While the two extra cards were cool, the best part was that he wrote me a note back. In that note, he talked about how he loved to bow hunt for deer and that he has heard about the deer in Kansas. In short, he wanted to know if I had any places here to deer hunt and he gave me his phone number to call him if I did. I have posted this story twice before and I still get a little giddy thinking about it because it such a cool and unique TTM response.

I have a cousin-in-law out in western Kansas that is a big hunter. Maybe I should hook these two up next fall and go hang out with John Wockenfuss for a week.

Monday, December 12, 2016

1978 Topps, Al Fitzmorris

#227 Al Fitzmorris

Here is the second card of Al Fitzmorris that I have posted on here. The first card was posted back in 2013 after a chance run-in with Al at a Royals game where I had to buy the card from a fellow collector. This card, too, was also signed at a Royals game. This time, it was at the Royals Sunday alumni signings that they host in their Hall of Fame at every Sunday home game. Since I know that someone is going to be signing there every Sunday, and the Royals do not release who it is going to be, I always have a fat stack of Royals alumni cards with me. After getting this card and one other signed by Al in 2015, I think I need to buy a couple more cards of him for the next time I run into him there.

Al pitched for the Royals for eight seasons before being picked by the Blue Jays in the expansion draft. He never pitched for the Jays, though, as they traded him to the Indians right after picking him. He was coming off of three consecutive double digit win seasons with the Royals, but he could not continue that in Cleveland. In fact, he really struggled there going 6-11 with a 5.60 ERA through a season and a half.

I love where Al signed this card. As you can see by the Jim Kern card I last posted, cards with those dark Indians jerseys could be a pain to get signed. But Al picked the best possible spot on the card to apply his signature. Not everybody does that, but it sure is appreciated when they do.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

1977 Topps, Jim Kern

#41 Jim Kern

About seven years ago, I started buying packs of cards on ebay. That was how I got addicted to '81 Donruss. I bought a box of it for about $35. I would only buy packs that were from 1986 or older and I was really looking for good deals on packs from before I started collecting. During the two months I was buying those packs, I came across a pack of 1977 Topps. I had never bought or opened a pack from the seventies, so it was a fun purchase. I have no clue how much I paid for it, but the best card out of the pack was Goose Gossage. That pack also contained this card and I felt obligated to send it to Jim when I sent him his '81 Donruss card to get signed. I mailed those two cards out to him in this past February and I had them both back three weeks later.

Jim pitched in the Major Leagues for parts of thirteen seasons with the Indians, Rangers, Reds, White Sox, Phillies, and Brewers. He broke into the big leagues with the Tribe in 1974 and pitched for them for four solid seasons. During that time, he went 29-30 with 46 saves and 363 strikeouts. His performance was good enough to get him on two All Star teams as an Indian and he pitched 1.2 perfect innings over those two Mid-Summer Classics while striking out three.

After the 1978 season, the Indians traded Jim to the Rangers for Bobby Bonds and Len Barker.

Jim signed this card with a marker of some sort that had seen better days. Add that to the dark warm-up jacket that he is wearing in the photo and you have got a bad combo. But,I got a card that I got out of a pack of '77 Topps signed and I could not be happier.