Saturday, January 17, 2009

1986 Fleer, Steve Balboni

#1 Steve Balboni

This was the first through the mail success that I got this year. I sent the card out on Christmas Eve and I had it back in my mailbox on January 2nd. That might be some kind of record considering that there was two holidays and one Sunday in between those dates.

Steve Balboni has some sort of cult following in Kansas City. In 1985, he bashed 36 home runs. That is still the Royals single season mark for homers. But, the best part about him is his appearance. To me, Balboni makes John Kruk look like a ballplayer. One does not think of athlete when they look at Balboni. That is probably why he still has so much appeal. He's an everyman. He didn't make tons of contact with pitches, but when he did, watch out. I'm not going to go and look up stats, but his 181 home runs with only a .229 career average has to rank him somewhere interesting.

I got this card this past summer out of a cello pack, so it was mint when it left the house. On the way to Balboni's, it must have got hit with some wet weather. Now, all of the edges are faded. It is hard to tell in the scan, but you can definitely see the bottom edge.

It is kind of fitting that I am posting a Royals player since I attended Royals Fanfest today. Tomorrow, I am going to get to my 1992 autographed cards. Those should carry me over until early March. Then I will show the Fanfest cards after that. As for Fanfest, I did pretty well for myself today. Somehow, I got lucky and they weren't enforcing the one autograph per person very well today. I think that I came home with 51 signed cards. With these, my signed Royals cards should have taken over the lead from the Padrographs.

Also, if you haven't already noticed it, head over to Goose Joak and check out the first ever Mike Jacobs Royals card. A couple of weeks ago, he asked me if I had any Royals requests for him. So, I challenged Dave to come up with an airbrushed Jacobs card that showed him as a Royal. After seeing the result, I realized that "challenged" was not the right word. If it weren't for me getting everything ready for Fanfest at the last minute, I probably would have saw this last night and printed out a copy to take with me to get signed today. That is how good it is.

One last thing. I took a bunch of extra cards with me today in case some people needed some extras. As a result of that, I made my first in-person trade in over 15 years. I found this high school-aged kid that needed a Coco Crisp card since he only had two of the same card. I didn't have any Crisp doubles, but I gave him an '06 Topps for an '07 Topps. Later on, we were in a line that Kyle Farnsworth was signing in. He said that he didn't have any Farnsworths and I knew that I had an extra '08 Upper Deck one, so I gave it to him. The next time I saw him, he had his doubles binder out and told me to pick one. So, I grabbed an '08 Bowman Brian Bannister. After I had grabbed it, I looked at it and it has Luke Hochevar pictured on the front. This card is new to me. Was this ever corrected? Either way, it was fun trading in-person, even though we were both in a hurry. I was just glad to help the kid out.


Dave said...

Awesome story -- that was really fun to read!

It sounds like you hit the jackpot with over 50 autographs. That is really awesome. I figured the most anybody could get at the Fanfest would be, like, maybe four or five. My earliest autograph memory is at Disney World as a kid, and I think it took about an hour in line just to get ONE of the Ninja Turtles. I figured real baseball players would be even harder to get, not easier! Sounds like they ran a good convention.

Seriously, I can't wait to see all the great signs that you were able to pick up. Were any of the Royals very personable? Just curious if your impression changed at all after meeting some of the guys (albeit briefly, I'm sure). Also, who was mobbed the most? And did Billy Butler really look trimmer this year? (according to reports he's trying to cut down his weight). It'd be great to see him perform like he did in Omaha the last couple of years.

And man, I can't even imagine how cool it would have been if you'd had Jacobs sign the Royals card. Just to see his reaction would have been entertaining enough!

Thanks for the nice words about the card, too. I really do appreciate it. There is a lot of goodwill going on between our two blogs and let me say it has been a lot of fun. Yours is always a daily read of mine. I had a riot creating the Jacbos card and I'm just glad you enjoyed it! Keep up the awesome autographs and commentary.


zman40 said...

The autograph lines ran rather smooth after the first session. Most of the waiting was done before the actual signing started. After that, they were able to get a few hundred people through the line which had three players/coaches at the end to sign.

As for who was mobbed the most, from what I could tell, it was Frank White. As for personable, I had some fun talks with Bloomquist, Quirk, Bale and Hillman, Dave Owen, and Joe Randa. Most of them didn't have too much to say or in the case of the alumni, were reliving their glory days. And as for Butler, I never ran into him.

It has been fun going back and forth lately. When I first saw your blog, I just thought that it was kind of neat. Then when I started looking at all of your previous cards, I noticed that your were a Royals fan and has done a few Royals cards already. Those were what really attracted me to the blog. You had some great ones in the begining and they keep getting better and better. Keep it up!