Thursday, July 20, 2017

1986 Fleer, Neil Allen

#U-3 Neil Allen

Here is the first of three cards that I got signed by Neil Allen earlier this season. Neil is the pitching coach for the Twins and I was able to get him outside of Kauffman Stadium when the Twins bus rolled up.

The one bad thing was that I did not get his '81 Donruss signed that day. The reason for that is because I do not have it. So, you will notice that I have a want list up on the top right side of the screen underneath the header. Take a look at it and help me out if you can. If you are wondering, Neil Allen's card from that set is #276.

Neil pitched in the Majors for eleven seasons with five different clubs- the Mets, Cardinals, Yankees, White Sox, and Indians. Over that time, he accumulated a 58-70 record with 75 saves and a 3.88 ERA. He never made an All Star team and he never appeared in the playoffs.

When Neil joined the White Sox for the '86 season, they decided to move him into the rotation. He made 17 starts with the club and did well, going 7-2 with a 3.82 ERA. Things did not go that good the following season, though, as he was 0-7 through 10 starts and 5 relief appearances. On top of that, he had a 7.07 ERA. The Sox released him in August and Neil would finish up the season pitching out of the bullpen in the Bronx. He fared a little better there, going 0-1 with a save and a 2.76 ERA over 29.1 innings.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

1986 Fleer, Mike Aldrete

#U-1 Mike Aldrete

Here is the second card of Mike Aldrete that I have posted on here. But, unlike the first one, his '96 Leaf Signature Series card, I got this one in person. Mike is the hitting coach for the A's and he was nice enough to sign two cards for me at a Spring Training game this year.

At that game, there was a decent crowd 'graphing the A's at home. I was mixed in with that crowd on the outfield side of the dugout. I got a couple of players there, but there wasn't too much action. The game was about to get underway, so I went over to the home plate side of the dugout to see if I could get anyone over there. Mike was nearby and I asked him to sign. He came over right as the players were leaving the dugout for the National Anthem. Now he had to hurry, but he has a nice and slow deliberate signature. So, he only signed two of the three cards and ran up the stairs to get on the field. He ended up tripping on the top step and fell onto the field. At that point I cringed and felt bad for him because he was in such a hurry because of me. Lucky for him, his team had their backs to the dugout and no one noticed.

I stayed in that spot after the anthem and thanked him for signing and to make sure he was okay, which he was.

Monday, July 17, 2017

1986 Fleer, Milt Thompson

#530 Milt Thompson

Here is the first of three cards that I got signed by Milt Thompson at Spring Training this year. Milt is currently the hitting coordinator for the Reds and he was nice enough to sign the cards for me while walking from field to field at the Reds minor league complex.

When I first asked him to sign, he told me he couldn't then because he was working. Then he looked around and, since I was all by myself, he told me to go ahead and come over. He even took the time to chitchat while he was signing. I knew he had worked for the Royals the year before because I saw him at a Storm Chasers game. I asked him how he was liking it with the Reds and he told me he loved it because he got to concentrate on the one thing he loved, hitting. I wish I could say that about my job right now.

Milt was a second round draft pick by the Braves and played for them for two seasons. Over that time, he hit .302 with 2 home runs and 10 RBI. He was traded to the Phillies after the 1985 season.

You just do not see cards miscut like this anymore. Every once in a while, you will see some gold foil misprinted, but that is about it.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

1986 Donruss, John Wathan

#496 John Wathan

By my count, this is the eleventh card of John Wathan that I have posted on here. One gets to the point where they really do not need anything else signed by a player. I am at that point with a few Royals alumni. But, these guys are at so many events that I always take a card of them with me just in case I run into them and they are my best, or only, option.

That was the case at Royals Fanfest in 2014. I hopped in a line and John Wathan appeared before me and signed this card.

Here are the other ten cards that he has signed for me over the years.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

1986 Donruss, Bob Melvin

#456 Bob Melvin

Here is the second card of Bob Melvin that I have posted on here. I posted the first one back in 2014, just a few months after getting the cards signed. Bob was nice enough to sign three for me prior to a Spring Training game when his A's were visiting the White Sox at Camelback Ranch.

Bob was drafted by the Tigers and made his Major League debut with them in 1985. He got into 41 games and, in 82 at-bats, he hit .220 with 4 doubles and 4 RBI. He was then traded to the Giants shortly after the season ended for a trio of players that included Matt Nokes. That trade worked out for the Tigers in 1987 as Nokes made the All Star team and blasted 32 bombs.

If I had to guess, I probably got one pack of '86 Donruss back in 1986. All of my local super markets only carried Topps at the time, so that was what I always got. But, the one pack of Donruss that I did find that year included this card.

Monday, July 10, 2017

1986 Donruss, Ken Howell

#275 Ken Howell

Here is the second card of Ken Howell that I have posted on here. The first appeared here three years ago, shortly after I got it signed. This one was signed at the same time, but it had to wait for its time.

The cards were signed at a Royals game in 2014. Ken was the assistant pitching coach for the visiting Dodgers at the time and he signed the cards for me from the bullpen.

Ken has a really nice looking signature. I wish some of the younger players would take notice.

I love the '80s feel to this card. Ken is pitching a day game in this photo and it is about impossible to tell where he is playing. My guess is Philadelphia, but it could just as easily be Cincinnati, St. Louis, or Montreal.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

1986 Donruss, Bob Boone

#17 Bob Boone

Here is the second card that Bob Boone signed for me through the mail in 2014. The first card was his '81 Donruss card and that one can be seen here. When I mail out an '81D to get signed, I rarely send out another card with it. But, I could not resist adding another signed Diamond King to my collection, so this one went out with it.

After spending his first ten season in Philadelphia, Bob went on to play seven seasons with the Angels. With California, he hit .245 with 39 home runs and 318 RBI. He made his last All Star team as an Angel and he won three Gold Gloves with them. His best season with them was probably in 1982, his first year with the team. That season, he hit .256 with 7 home runs and 58 RBI. He even got a few MVP votes that season.

The funny thing about Bob's seven Gold Gloves was when he got them. He got the first two in back-to-back seasons with the Phils in 1978-79 when he was 30 and 31 years of age. He won the next one in '82 at the age of 34. He then won his final four in consecutive seasons from 1986-89 at ages 38-41. It seems Bob catching skills only got better with age, which is usually not the case at that position. For comparison, Hall of Fame catcher Ivan Rodriguez, who has the most Gold Gloves as a catcher, won his final one at the age of 35.