Sunday, May 31, 2009

1981 Donruss, Larry Bowa

#142 Larry Bowa

This is the last 1981 Donruss card that will be on here for at least three months. I believe that I now have 22 cards from this set signed. That is the most that I have from one set besides 2008 Topps. But, these cards look much better signed than '08 Topps.

This is the second of three cards that Larry signed for me TTM during Spring Training. I love how much he chokes up on the bat. We may never see another batter that chokes up like that ever again. Also, this card is an error card. Look at his position, it says shortshop.

I went to the Royals game today and finally got to see Zack Grienke pitch in person this year. Unfortunately, he didn't have his best stuff today and allowed 4 runs (3 earned) in 7 innings while striking out 7. He got a no-decision.

But, I was able to get eight cards signed during BP. Two Royals signed three cards each and two ChiSox signed one each. After the game, I got four more cards signed by the parking lot.

I am planning on having a contest sometime this week. I have a few cool things to give away. I just have to figure out how I am going to go about it. So, stay tuned. Hopefully, you will not be disappointed.

1981 Donruss, Enos Cabell

#138 Enos Cabell

Here is the second of three autographs from Enos that I got at Astros Fanfest. Enos was in the second group of alums and while I was standing in line, they were all told that they were only supposed to sign one item per person. As soon as I got to him, he signed all three cards without me asking and the rest of the alums signed all of mine, too. I guess it may make a difference that I have three cards on a page so I can set it in front of them as one piece rather than setting it down, grabbing it and setting something else down. I don't know. Maybe they are just that nice.

Look how skinny Enos' waist is in the picture. That almost doesn't look right.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

1981 Donruss, Pete Rose

#131 Pete Rose

I got this card signed through the mail on Thursday. The postman actually delivered the envelope to the house two doors down. Luckily, they came knocking at the door a few hours later and gave it to me. As soon as I saw the Las Vegas postmark, I knew it was Pete. It only took two weeks to get this card back.

To be honest, I am really surprised that Pete signs throught the mail for free. It always seemed to me that he was trying to make a buck doing shows and signings. So, when I first saw Pete listed on The Bench, I was a little skeptical. Then Dan, of OMGautos, reported a success on his blog and was nice enough to provide the address he used to get. This card and another one were in the mail shortly afterwards.

This is the best TTM that I have got back in some time. You can't beat an autograph of the all-time hit king. While he was a Hall of Fame caliber player, he wasn't a Hall of Fame caliber person. It's too bad that he did what he did and then lied about it for so long.

Today, I was watching part of game three of the 1980 NLCS between the Phillies and Astros on the MLB Network. One of the first things I thought about when I saw the lineups was that I had autographs from five players that were starting. Then I started to think about it and I realized that I had '81 Donruss cards signed by all five of those guys. I thought that was kind of neat since the pictures on those cards were probably taken in 1980. Anyway, the five players were Pete Rose, Terry Puhl, Luis Pujols, and Larry Bowa and Enos Cabell (they will both be posted tomorrow).

Friday, May 29, 2009

1981 Donruss, Dennis Loenard

#102 Dennis Leonard

I was able to get this card signed at the Spring Into Sports youth baseball clinic a couple of weeks ago. I got cards signed by three former Royals that day, including Dennis Loenard. I was able to intercept the other two players on the way from the ballfield to the autograph signing. I didn't get to Dennis until there was a line of kids and parents wanting autographs. So, I waited for the line to finish before I went up there.

At the clinic, the boys were instructed by the Royals alums. The girls were instructed by one of the local high school girls softball team. Some of the girls on the team got at the end of the line to get autographs. Then they got some team pictures taken with the former Royals. I was trying to get my cards signed before the pictures, but was unable to. It looked like Dennis was signing his first name, smiling for the camera, signing his last name, then smiling for the camera again. It was like that for all three cards that he signed. I was kind of surprised that he signed all three cards after the last time I had a chance to get his autograph.

After the girls got done getting there pictures taken, they noticed the cards that Dennis was signing for me and they were like "whoa, is that you?". Dennis replied "yep, a long time ago". Then one of the girls said "wow, you must have been pretty good". Dennis said something like "I was just lucky to play on a good team". Nice answer, Dennis. I don't think Crash Davis could have said it better.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

1981 Donruss, Cecil Cooper

#83 Cecil Cooper

Here is another recent through the mail success that I have had. I got this card back from Cecil in mid March. It took just under a month for me to get it back. This card has Cecil's standard inscription. He sure makes an interesting Z.

Cecil was finishing up his career when I started getting into baseball. I had a few cards of him, but I never realized how good of a hitter he was. Here is a guy that could hit for power, hit for average, drive in runs, and play exceptional defense. He was a five time All-Star and won two gold gloves. I guess I overlooked him at the end of career because his last cards didn't have much value. Book value in 1987 told me who the stars were. Wow, what a weird time I grew up in.

I went to the Wingnuts game last night and got all seven cards that I took with me signed. I had a very interesting conversation with St. Paul's Mitch Wylie about how things are done at the ballpark in Wichita and why we both do not care for it. But, I'll save that for when I post one of his cards.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

1981 Donruss, Terry Puhl

#24 Terry Puhl

Here is another card that I was able to get signed at Astros Fanfest. Terry, like all of the 'Stros alum, signed all three of my cards.

I had always thought that Terry was a lifelong Astro. But, after looking at his stats, I discovered that he played his final season in Kansas City. He only got into 15 games with the Royals and went 4-18 with 3 walks and 3 RBI.

While '81 Donruss is not known for its photography, this picture of Terry looks a little more fuzzy than the average '81 Donruss. Maybe it is just the shadow over his face that is giving it that look.

I'm going to St. Paul Saints/Wichita Wingnuts game tonight. I was hoping to get Craig Brazell's autograph. But, the Saints sold him to the Hanshin Tigers of Japan's Central League. I guess that Kerry Lightenberg will be the main one tonight. The Saints are pitching last years 46th pick in the draft, Tanner Scheppers. It will be interesting to see how he does.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

1981 Donruss, Alan Trammell

#5 Alan Trammell

I got this card signed through the mail this past March. It took me one month to get it back. I was kind of surprised to hear that Alan was signing through the mail now. While I am not 100% on this, I am fairly certain that I wrote to Alan when I was a kid. Afterall, he and Cal were the premeir shortstops in the American League in the '80s and Alan went to five All-Star games that decade. But, I did not have his autograph until a couple of months ago. I even checked my box of flat sports memorabilia, which contains a bunch of photos (signed and unsigned) that palyers have sent me throughout the years instead of signing the card, and there wasn't an Alan Trammell in there. So, I either didn't write him, which I doubt, or he didn't sign while he was playing. Either way, it's pretty cool that he signs now.

Monday, May 25, 2009

1978 Topps, Steve Foucault

#68 Steve Foucault

This was one of the cards that Paul, from Paul's Random Stuff, sent me a few months ago. When I got the card, I had never heard of Steve Foucault. While I do not really know anything about him, I have seen a card or two of him in the box of older cards at the card shop since then.

Steve had a relatively short career which lasted six seasons in the Majors. In that time frame, he pitched mostly with the Rangers, a little with the Tigers, and three games with the Royals (it's always good to have a Royals connection). He was strictly a relief pitcher and his numbers weren't too bad. He finished his career with a 3.21 ERA. 1974 was his best season and he posted a 2.24 ERA over 144.1 innings with 106 strikeouts and only 40 walks. The next season, he only had 56 Ks in 107 innings. He also had 55 walks, which probably helped to push his ERA up to 4.12, the highest of his career. He pitched one more season in Arlington before being dealt to the Tigers for Willie Horton.

I originally had no idea where Paul got this card signed. After doing a little research, it appears that Steve might have been a pitching coach for the Newark Bears a couple of years ago.

I have never noticed the Tigers stirrups like that before. They look like they were socks taken from the Chicago Bears and then cut into stirrups.

One final thing here- Does anyone have a 2009 Topps series 1 card of Tug Hullet (Mariners)? I need one for when I head to KC on Sunday. If you have one, please send it here and I will send something in return.

This is the last card from the '70s for now. Tomorrow, it is straight to '81 Donruss. That will probably take up most of the week.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Goose Joak Original, Aaron Crow

Last night, I went to a Ft. Worth Cats at Lincoln Saltdogs game. I originally wanted to go to this game to get Wayne Terwilliger's autograph on a 1950 Bowman card that I have of him. Wayne is the 82 year-old first base coach for the Cats. But, according to one of the Cats, Wayne has a staff infection and didn't make the trip. But, I was able to meet Dave from Goose Joak and his wife, Val. So, that made up for missing out on Wayne.

A little over a month ago, I mentioned to Dave that I may head up to Lincoln for that game and we both thought that it would be cool to meet up. A few weeks later, I was looking over the Cats roster to see if there was anyone on the team who had some cards readily available that I could get signed. The one name that stood out to me was Aaron Crow. Aaron was drafted ninth overall last year by the Nationals, but was unable to come to terms on a contract with the team. So, he will re-enter the draft next month and in the meantime, he is pitching for Ft. Worth to stay in shape (just like Luke Hochevar and Max Scherzer have done). So far, he was pitched eleven scoreless innings to start out the year and was the American Association pitcher of the week last week.

Obviously, there aren't any mainstream cards of Aaron available (sorry, I don't count Razor as mainstream). So, I started a little correspondence with Dave to get him to make me an Aaron Crow card. I may have been a little bit demanding in my request, but Dave was up for the challenge. Actually, he was so into this card that he wanted to make a back for it, too. So, I told Dave what I was looking for and sent him a few links for some stats for the back of the card and Dave took care of the rest.

Here is what he came up with.

And here is the back that he made.

For me, the hardest part of all of this was getting the front and back lined up and glued together. I have cut out some of the GJOs this year and I thought that it was a simple task. But when I had a front and a back that had to go together, I noticed that it was incredibly hard to get the corners cut at perfect right angles. I ended up having to use a t-square to get everything cut as close to square as I could. While it's not perfect, it is passable for a baseball card. I even included a checklist in the middle to give it a baseball card-like thickness.

Here is what one of the signed cards came out looking like.

My buddy, Dustin, was able to get another one signed for Dave. So, there are only two of these in existence. But, feel free to make your own if you are a fan of Aaron or might see the Cats play sometime this season. I don't think that Dave will mind.

I had a prototype card that I made that was of lesser quality. I offered it to Aaron, but he declined. I guess he doesn't know good work when he sees it.

So, it turned out to be a good day at the ballpark. I got Aaron Crow's signature. I got to meet Dave. I was able to take my Dad to a game on his birthday. I went to a beautiful ballpark that I hadn't been to. The only negative thing was the rain delay that we all skipped out on and ended up missing an uneventful ninth inning.

Thank you Dave!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

1976 Topps, Jim Fregosi

#635 Jim Fregosi

This is the second and final card that I got back from Jim when I wrote to him over a month ago. Jim reminds me of Ron Cey in the fact that he put his uniform number on the Angels card I sent him, but not on this card. The picture of him on this card is more like the Jim I remember from his manager cards than the picture of him on the Angles card.

I was going to send him his card from the '81 Donruss set that I seem to love getting signed. But, I had read that he signs in ballpoint pen and the Donruss card is really dark and he is wearing a dark blue warm-up jacket. So, it didn't look like a very good card to get signed in ballpoint. I sent this card instead and it came out looking good enough.

This is way off topic, but I thought that I would bring it up to lengthen this post. I do not like used stuff. I don't go to garage sales, pawn shops, or thrift stores. I like my stuff new, right out of the box. But, that is not the case with baseball cards. I don't care where they came from, especially the pre-1980 cards. This card is 33 years-old and I have no idea how many owners it has had. I have it. Jim Fregosi had it for a little while. I got it at the card shop who bought it off of some guy. Maybe that guy got this card in a trade from a guy that got it in a trade. Or maybe he just got it out of a wax pack of '76 Topps. Who knows? Either way, thank goodness for used cards.

Oh yeah, I know that I said I would do a couple of posts a day if they were repeat players. But I have been busy getting ready to go to a Lincoln Saltdogs game tonight. So, you are stuck with some repeats for now. I tried to make them a little more interesting than most of my repeats, though. Hopefully, I will have a 1950 Bowman on here tomorrow and then it will be back to the regular posting schedule.

Friday, May 22, 2009

1976 Topps, Marty Pattin

#492 Marty Pattin

Here is the second card that I got signed by Marty at the Spring into Sports youth clinic two weeks ago. I only had two cards of Marty, so this will be the last one. I got this card prior to Royals Fanfest since Marty was supposedly going to be there. He wasn't there and I contemplated sending it through the mail to get signed. I held off on that and was lucky enough when this cool clinic came to town. The card is not in the best of shape, but that doesn't really matter to me.

In case you don't know it, Marty is known as the Duck because he does a spot-on Donald Duck impersonation. At the autograph signing after the clinic, one of the local high school softball coaches got into a small converstion with him while both of them were talking in Donald voices. I was too far away to hear what was being said, but John Mayberry mentioned that Marty might have met his match.

Here is an interesting excert from Jim Bouton's "Ball Four" about Marty-

"I had a long talk with Marty Pattin on the bus. He's had a tough, interesting life. He's from Charleston, Illinois, and his mother and father were separated when he was a baby and he was shipped off to live with his mother's folks. He was still a junior in high school when his grandfather died, so he moved into a rooming house and tried to work his way through the rest of high school. It was there he met a man named Walt Warmouth who helped him get through school - not only high school but college. Warmouth owned a restaurant, and Marty worked there and got his meals there, and every once in a while he'd get a call from the clothing store in town and be told he could pick up a suit and a bunch of other stuff and it was all paid for. they never would tell him who had paid, but Marty knew anyway. "The guy was like a father to me," Marty said. "And not only to me. He must have sent dozens of kids through school just the way he did me." Marty has a masters degree in industrial arts, and when he can he likes to help kids. That's why he signed up for the clinic.

"What a terribly lonely life Marty must have had. Hell, it was a traumatic experience for me just going away to college and living in a dorm with a bunch of other kids. And here's Marty, still in high school, living in a rooming house. Not only that, but he goes on to become an All-American boy, complete with all the good conventional values. Like he was telling the kids at the clinic that sure it was difficult to throw a ball well or be a good basketball player. It was difficult to do a lot of things, but that they were all capable of doing a lot of difficult things if they were willing to work hard and practice. I guess he ought to know."

Forty years later, Marty is still doing clinics and still spreading the same message. That's good stuff.

And one last updated remark. My favorite part about this card is the old Royals scoreboard. That beauty stood for 34 years and even in its updated version, it is still one of the most recognizable scoreboards in baseball.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

1976 Topps, Larry Bowa

#145 Larry Bowa

I got this card signed through the mail at the end of March. It took ten days for this card to come back to me from Arizona.

To me, the best part about this card is not the signature. What I actually love about it is his 'stache. That thing is sweet. I don't own any Bowa cards prior to this one. Was that a regular thing or did Topps just catch him at a great time? He almost looks like Charles Bronson with a cap on. Or maybe it is just me.

I got two more Bowa cards signed at the same time, so I will just stop this post right here so I can have something informative to add to at least one of the next two.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

1975 Topps, Jimmy Wynn

#570 Jimmy Wynn

Here is the last '75 Topps that will be on here for a few months. It's a shame. These four cards went by way too fast.

I got this card signed at Astros Fanfest. Jimmy was really nice and I talked to him for a bit about the Willie Wilson Classic. He was there last year and I asked if he was going to be back again this year. He said that he hoped so; if they ask him to attend again, he'll be there.

Unfortunately, this is the only card of Jimmy that I could find prior to heading down to Houston. I searched and searched the box of old cards at the shop and this was the only one that I could find. I was hoping to find one at the cardshow that was going on during fanfest and I did. But, it was an '86 off-brand card. That really wasn't what I was looking for. If the Royals put a roster for the Classic out soon enough, I may try to obtain an old Colt 45s card of him to get signed.

1975 Topps, Paul Blair

#275 Paul Blair

Here is another card that Paul signed for me when I wrote him last month. He was nice enough to sign both of the cards I sent him. His signature sure has changed since his playing days, at least compared to the one on this card.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

1975 Topps, Enos Cabell

#247 Enos Cabell

To be honest, I know very little about Enos Cabell. I had a card of him that I got last year in a box and I eventually found another card of him from later in his career as well. He was one of the alumni that signed at Astros Fanfest. Prior to heading down to Houston, I went by the local card shop to try to find some Dierker cards (which I had none of) and I stumbled across this card. Actually, I stumbled across two of these and was able to get them both signed. The other one, I sent to The Great Orioles Autograph Project to help him out and to thank him for a card he had sent me.

According to Wikipedia, Enos is the cousin of Ken Landreaux and he was one of the players suspended after the Pittsburgh drug trials. He never missed a game, but had to give money and time to community service.

I'll have two more '75 Topps coming up tomorrow. Unfortunately, these '75s are going by way too quickly.

1975 Topps, Larry Dierker

#49 Larry Dierker

Here is the second card that I got signed by Dierker at Astros Fanfest last month. Check out that sweet Astros uniform. I think that this is the only card that I have that shows off that style of uniform. You have got to love the shooting star above Astros.

Just like I did when I was playing catch-up with my Royals Fanfest autographs, I will double up on days where I am posting a guy for a second or third time in a short time span. So, check back later tonight for a new post.

Monday, May 18, 2009

1974 Topps, Marty Pattin

#583 Marty Pattin

Here is the first (and only) '74 Topps card that I have got signed. And what an ugly card it is. Check out the horrible airbrush job on that hat. It took some real talent to make that KC.

Anyway, I got this card signed last week at a Spring Into Sports youth baseball clinic. Five former Royals came to town to help teach the local kids the fundamentals of the game. The other players were John Mayberry, Brian McRea, Dennis Leonard, and Jaime Bluma. I talked to Marty for a bit and he said that they go all around to do the clinic and head up as far as South Dakota. I told him that it was great that they do that and thanked him. I wish they had stuff like that when I was a kid.

I almost didn't even find out about the clinic. It's not something that they really advertise a whole lot. The parks and rec department mainly just lets the teams know about it. Luckily, when I was headed to a Wingnuts game last week, they mentioned it on the radio (three days before the event). If it wasn't for that, I would not have even known about it.

I got this card from Andy of Traded Sets. When he shut down the '78 Topps blog, I was able to get some old Royals cards from him in a trade.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

1973 Topps, Larry Dierker

#375 Larry Dierker

I got this card signed last month when I went to Astros Fanfest. Larry was in the first group of alumni to sign that day. While most of the alums were wearing polos and slacks, Larry was wearing a Hawaiian shirt, shorts, and flip-flops. I thought that was pretty cool.

Not being from Texas or an Astros fan, I knew very little about him going into the signing. But, when I got up to the autograph table, Larry was very nice. He saw my autograph book that I had and said "wow, you're pretty organised". He went ahead and signed both of my cards. As soon as he was done signing my second card, he looks up at me and shakes my hand. Usually, if you want to shake a player's hand, you offer your hand first. That was not the case with Larry as he offered his first- very classy.

Also, I only got seven cards autographed yesterday. Actually, I got eight since I bought an $8 pack of Tri-Star and got another autograph in that pack (I only bought the back because they threw in a Eric Hosmer card, the Royals number one pick last year). Anyway, I think my dog might be psychic.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

1968 Topps. Jim Lonborg

#460 Jim Lonborg

Here is another card that I got through the mail in April. It took me about nine days to get this card back. I originally got the idea to get the 1967 AL Cy Young award winner's autograph from Brian of 30-year old Cardboard. I saw his success and realized that I needed to capitalize on the opportunity.

Unfortunately, my success did not turn out as good as Brian's. His has the inscription that mine is lacking. But, I cannot complain. I was lucky just to find this card. Before I found this one, I had found a few mid '70s Phillies cards of Lonborg. I eventually decided to keep looking and found this great card that celebrates his Cy Young season.

I am heading to a Royals game today. That is why I am sporting a post at such an odd hour. The Royals are trying to take two in a row from the O's. I haven't seen the O's in a couple of years, so I am hoping to get a few autographs. My dog thinks that I will get between six and ten. I hope he is right.

Friday, May 15, 2009

1968 Topps, Jim Fregosi

#367 Jim Fregosi

Here is the second card from '68 Topps that I promised, and what a fine looking card it is. It comes from the All-Star subset and the back of the card has no stats or words. It is just a small part of a bigger picture, sort of like a square puzzle piece. I was going to scan the back and put it on here, but I'm not even sure which way to orient the card.

I got this card signed through the mail about ten days ago. It took about a month to make its way back to me.

Jim Fregosi is a little before my time and when I think of him, I think of the White Sox and Phillies manager from the late '80s and early '90s. It was hard for me to believe that the guy pictured on this card was that same person. Also, I had no idea that he had such a long and successful Major League playing career. He lasted 18 seasons while playing for the Angels, Mets, Rangers, and Pirates. While with the Angels, he was an All-Star six times in a seven year stretch.

I broke down and scanned the back. I guess I can't talk it up and then just leave it at that. So here it is. It may be upside down for all I know. Does anyone have any more of these cards and know what the backs are supposed to make up?

Thursday, May 14, 2009

1968 Topps, Paul Blair

#135 Paul Blair

The first card up from the "burlap set" is Paul Blair. I got this card signed last month through the mail and it took less than two weeks to get it back.

Paul spent most of his career with the O's and he helped them win two World Series. He won eight Gold Gloves and was selected to two All-Star games (hat tip to The Great Orioles Autograph Project for those numbers). He also won two more World Series with the Yankees.

I originally had a 2003 Topps All-Time Fan Favorites card of Blair that I intended to send out. But a few months ago, my local card shop bought a large lot of pre-1980 cards from a local collector. So whenever I need cards of a player from the '60s or '70s, I head over there to rummage through the "good stuff". Just about every card for the next week will have come from there.

Paul signs an interesting looking P. It looks more like an S and could almost pass for a dollar sign.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

1993 Upper Deck, Al Martin

#340 Al Martin

Here is the last card from 1993, for now. After this, I have three 1968 Topps cards that I got through the mail since I started my 1993s. I will then move up from there until I get to 1994. Once I get to 1994, the years are going to start moving a little faster. That was the year I started high school and when my interest in card collecting started to decline. So, I don't have as many cards from those years. Hence, I have fewer cards to choose from when going after autographs.

Anyway, on to this Al Martin card. I know that I got this card signed through the mail. What I don't know is why I have two cards signed by him. The first one was on a 1991 Line Drive AA card. Back then, I never sent more than one card to a player at a time. The only two that I sent two cards to were Juan Guzman and Tim Salmon and the second round of cards were sent because the first round looked like crap on the glossy cards. That obviously wasn't the case here as both cards signatures came out looking good. The only other possibility is that I sent Al one and he signed it and included another one. I wish I kept better track of these things back then.

Cards from Dinged Corners

A couple of weeks ago, I took part in an interesting little contest curtesy of Dinged Corners. It was a fairly simple contest. They bought a repack box and all one had to do was pick a team. Any card in the box that had a player from your team was yours. I, of course, picked the Royals and here is most of my loot from the contest.

You just cannot go wrong with two Royals Hall of Famers (White and Brett), the Royals single season home run hitter (Balboni), any Bo Jackson card, and a Gary Thurman Rated Rookie. I had completely forgotten that Gary was a Rated Rookie.

They also threw in a few newer cards.

Here are some Topps Attax that they sent. I haven't bought any of these cards so far, so they are all new to me. They even included a couple of Royals from this years Heritage set that I was needing. Also included was a Brett Favre from last years Goudey set. I wonder if Upper Deck recycled this photo for this years set.

They also sent me a few autographs, which I can never seem to have enough of. I am going to save a couple of them to post individually on here. But here is one that I will show tonight.

This is a signed index card from long-time Expo, NPB Central League MVP, and short-time Royal Warren Cromartie. They apparently sent a card to him to get signed and recieved this along with the signed cards. It looks like when he started to sign it, he picked a Sharpie that was about out of ink and he had to start over with a new one.

And probably the best part of the package was this piece of original art from Lucy. It was part of the thank you note that she sent.

Pretty good, isn't it?

All in all, it was a bunch of great stuff. Thank you so much!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

1993 Upper Deck, Juan Guzman

#266 Juan Guzman

Last month, I posted my other Juan Guzman card. It was a '93 Score Select and was so glossy that the signature was barely visible, just like the Dave Fleming card from a couple of days ago. I must have thought that Juan was going to be a much better player than Dave because I sent him another card to get signed. Rather than sending him a Topps or Score card, the only two sets that year that weren't overly glossy, I sent him an Upper Deck card. Amazingly, this card came out much better looking than the Select and the Dave Fleming. I guess that I just got lucky on this one.

Monday, May 11, 2009

1993 Upper Deck, Delino DeShields

#142 Delino DeShields

Here is another '93 Upper Deck card that I got signed through the mail back in the day. This one came out much better looking than the Dave Fleming card I posted yesterday.

As for Delino, he was an exciting player to watch in the early '90s. When put in the same lineup as Marquis Grissom, you have got a team with tremendous wheels. These two stole a combined 128 bases in their first season as teammates in Montreal.

Delino's tenure in Montreal was a little shorter than Marquis', though. After the 1993 season, Delino was traded to the Dodgers for some kid named Pedro Martinez. Delino only played three years there before heading to St. Louis for a couple of seasons, then to Baltimore for three, before finishing up his career as a Cub in 2002.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

1993 Upper Deck, Dave Fleming

#141 Dave Fleming

Here is another up-and-comer that I went after, through the mail, in the early nineties. And just like yesterday's, he ended up a bust after a great rookie season. Dave finished the 1992 season with a 17-10 record with a 3.39 ERA. He came in third in the Rookie of the Year voting behind Pat Listach and Kenny Lofton. His stats diminished for the next couple years while he experienced arm troubles and by the end of the '98 season, he was out of baseball. I never knew that he appeared in nine games for the Royals in 1997.

I only have five cards signed from the '93 Upper Deck set and all five of them were signed around '93 or '94, through the mail. Also, all five of them had some type of problem as a result of them being so glossy. But, this is by far the worst. Dave seems to have signed his card pretty quickly because there is hardly much left to show for it.

I'm pretty sure that I bought a box of this stuff at a card show after it came out. So, I should have a fair amount of it. But for some reason, I haven't bothered to dig out any cards from it to get signed in the past year. I'm sure that I was scared off by the way these ended up looking. But after some recent successes, I am positive that they will look much better signed 16 years later. So, my goal is to get a few more of these signed this year.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

1993 Upper Deck, Rene Arocha

#3 Rene Arocha

Here is another card that I got signed through the mail in the early to mid nineties. Rene was an up-and-comer for the Cardinals that defected from Cuba. He was 11-8 in 1993 with a 3.78 ERA and a 1:3 walk to strikeout ratio. For the next two seasons, he was used almost exclusively out of the bullpen and posted similar numbers (minus the wins and losses) with the exception of his strikeouts, which had fallen dramatically, in 1995.

By that time, arm injuries had caught up with him and he missed all of the 1996 season. The Giants gave him a shot in '97, and after a 7-3 start in Phoenix he was called up to the big club where he got shelled to a 11.33 ERA in six relief outings. He was released by the Giants and picked up by the Yankees. He spent the rest of the season in Columbus. He pitched in 11 games the following year for New Orleans, where he was 5-4 with a 5.45 ERA. That was his final year in professional baseball.

Friday, May 8, 2009

1993 Topps, Doug Brocail

#821 Doug Brocail

Here is a card of the current Astro, Doug Brocail. This is the first current player that I have posted on here since I posted the Cliff Floyd autograph back in January.

This card is another one given to me by Rod, of Padrographs. It's pretty cool that I have Doug's rookie card signed since I got another autograph from him last month in Houston. So I now have a 1993 card and a 2008 card signed by him. That is quite a gap.

When I got Doug's autograph in person, it was the day of Astros Fanfest at Minute Maid Park. Most of the players and coaches had to be at certain spots around the ballpark to sign for the fans. But, Doug and Tim Byrdek weren't on the list of players to sign, so they signed for all of the fans that didn't want to spend money getting autographs. They both started by the foul pole and worked there way to the dugout signing for anyone that was interested. There were both out there for at least 45 minutes. It's always good to see Major Leaguers doing that.

I guess Topps decided to drop the Future Star subset in 1993 to go with the Coming Attraction one instead. I can't remember if this was the first year of this or not, but I know that the Future Stars were back in 1994.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

1993 Topps, Lance Painter

#738 Lance Painter

This is the second and final Lance Painter card that I have on here (here's the first). I got them signed in Rancho Cucamonga, California last year while Lance was the pitching coach for High Desert. I could only find two cards of him before I left for the trip, so no trifecta from this guy. This year, Lance is the pitching coach for the Clinton LumberKings.

Since this is the last card that I have to show from my Rancho Cucamonga visit, I figured that I would post some pictures of the ballpark. If there is one thing that I like better than autographs, it would be visiting new ballparks.

Here is a picture of the exterior of the Epicenter (yes, that is the actual name of the ballpark). It is one of the most unique exteriors that I have seen. It almost looks like an office building or a mall or something. It was hard to get a decent picture of it since there were three softball fields surrounding it.

It appeared that there should have been a nice backdrop behind the leftfield fence, but the smog was so think that day that you could barely see the nearby mountains.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

1993 Topps, Pat Mahomes

#684 Pat Mahomes

Here is the third and final Pat Mahomes card that I got signed last year at the Grand Prairie AirHogs game (you can see the first one here and the second here). Pat was the starting pitcher of the Sioux Falls Canaries in game one of the American Association championship. I tried to get him to sign before the game, but he was going through an unusual pregame ritual in the outfield that consisted of some light wind sprints and some weird hand movements (like a mixture of yoga and jogging). He just ignored my one attempt to get him to sign when I intercepted him on the way to the bullpen. But after the game, he came right over to me without me even asking and signed all three cards I had.

The American Association is one of the newer independent leagues and doesn't have too many former big league players. Pat was the only one on the two teams in the championships. The reason why I bring that up is because I would assume Pat would the main guy that the players would look up to. Assuming that, there is one thing that I was disappointed in by Pat Mahomes and that was his appearance. The pants he wore were so wrinkled that it looked like he slept in them. I don't know if he just threw them in his bag before he got on the bus or what. But I was sure expecting a little bit more from a player that has appeared in over 300 Major League games. Other than that, he pitched a great game and seemed like a nice guy.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

1993 Topps, Matt Mieske

#616 Matt Mieske

Here is another card that I got singed through the mail in the early to mid '90s. This is probably the worst card that I could have ever picked for him to sign. It doesn't help that he signed it with a ballpoint pin, but I don't think that a Sharpie would have turned out much better. There is just a lot going on with this card.

Mieske never really lived up to the prospect hype. He only appeared in more than 100 games twice. After he left the Brewers, it looks like he was mostly a pinch-hitter or defensive replacement (except for one half season with the Astros).

As for the rest of the players on this card, none of them ever did much either. Tracy Sanders spent eight seasons in AA, while only playing in 68 AAA games. Midre Cummings spent parts of eleven seasons in the big leagues, but never got into 100 games once. And Ryan Freeman only played three seasons of A ball before calling it quits. No, this card just doesn't compare to the catching prospects card in the set that has Mike Piazza, Carlos Delgado, and Brook Fordyce on it. You win some and you lose some with the prospect cards.

Monday, May 4, 2009

1993 Topps, Jim Riggleman

#513 Jim Riggleman

This card came to me from Rod, of Padrographs. Jim managed the Padres for two full seasons before moving on to the Cubs. He managed there for five years before being let go. Last year, he was the interim manager for the Mariners after John McLaren was fired. He is now the bench coach for the Nats.

I was actually happy when I got this card. I tried to find this card last year to get it signed at a game, but I didn't have it. This is the only major issue card of Jim that there is.

For some reason, Topps decided to put two managers on a card in 1993. I'm not sure why they did this and it is the only instance that I can think of when they did this. I guess they needed to free up some space to make room for the two expansion teams.

I don't think I ever noticed the bench full of players in the background until now.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

1993 Topps, David Nied

#444 David Nied

Last week, I had the first ever Marlin on here. Well, here is the very first Rocky. David was the first pick in the 1992 expansion draft. He was taken from the Braves after having a real good season in AAA and a great, though short, stint in Atlanta.

He made the Rockies roster out of Spring Training and got the nod on Opening Day, where he took a loss against the Mets. He made fifteen more starts for the Rockies that year and finished with a 5-9 record and a 5.17 ERA. The next season was a little better when he went 9-7 with a 4.80 ERA. He then started to have arm problems, and that was the beginning of the end for him. The following year, he made nine appearances in three minor league levels and only made two relief appearances for the Rockies. In 1996, he only pitched at two minor league stops and got into six games with the Rockies, one of which was a start. He posted a 13.51 ERA in 5.1 innings pitched. That was his last season in baseball.

I got this card through the mail, probably in the Rockies inaugural season of 1993. I love the posed shot on here. There is nothing like getting the pitcher in mid-windup without his glove on.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

1993 Topps, J.T. Snow

#422 J.T. Snow

Here is a autograph from a six-time Gold Glove winner, J.T. Snow. I got this card signed through the mail around 1993 or '94. J.T. was just an up-and-coming rookie when I got this card signed, but that was half the fun when going for TTMs in that era. There wasn't any websites available that told you who signed and who didn't. Every once in a while, Beckett would mention a player that did sign TTM. Other, than that, you were on your own and you took your chances. More often than not, your chances were much better with the rookies fresh up from the minors than with anybody else. Sure, you might end up with a few nobodies twenty years later. But when you get a couple of players that ended up with a fifteen-plus year career, it is all worth it.

I was just looking at his stats and it says that he played in one game last year with the Giants. I wasn't aware of that, so I went over to Wikipedia and it said that he signed a one day contract with them last September so that he could retire as a Giant. He was placed in the starting lineup, but was replaced before the first pitch. I am kind of surprised that Baseball Almanac even lists that as a game played. I am also surprised that I do not recall hearing about that. Usually the one day contracts are done in Spring Training. It is pretty cool that he got to take the field and even throw some ground balls while the pitcher was warming up. That was a classy act on the part of the Giants.

For a few years, this was my only Yankees card that I had had signed. I had a Yankees minor league card signed, but not one that actually said Yankees on the front. And this was from a time when the Yanks had been a bad club for awhile, before they became the "Evil Empire". I guess sub-consciously, I knew where they were heading.

I know that it is almost impossible to tell, but I swear that is Don Mattingly standing up in the background.

Friday, May 1, 2009

1993 Topps, Mark Thompson

#419 Mark Thompson

Here is card that I got signed through the mail in either 1994 or '95. I'm not really sure what prompted me to go for Mark's autograph. But, you can never go wrong with a first round draft pick, even if it is one that never really pans out.

Mark spent parts of seven seasons in the Majors with the Rockies and the Cardinals. He finished with a 5.74 career ERA with 161 walks and 198 strikeouts.

This isn't the best looking draft pick card ever made, but it sure beats the last Topps draft pick card I posted on here (1992 Benji Gil). At least Mark is in a baseball uniform.