Tuesday, June 30, 2009

1991 Score, Juan Samuel

#446 Juan Samuel

I got the card signed last month when I saw the Orioles take on the Royals. Juan is the O's third base coach. I almost didn't get this card signed since he didn't do any signing by the dugout. But after batting practice, he went out by the dugout suites and talked to some people that he knew and signed a few autographs for them. I was able to get this card signed then.

When I was heading over to the suites, one of the ushers told me "oh, it's just a coach". I wanted to tell her that that coach just happened to be Juan freaking Samuel, the guy that stole 72 bases as a rookie in 1984. But, I didn't.

Juan only signed one of my three cards. I took an '88 Topps All-Star card of him that I thought would have looked really nice signed. But he only signed the card in the middle and that was this one. It's still a good looking card though.

You might have noticed that my usual, lame-looking header at the top has been replaced by an even lamer-looking header. I made a new one last night and for some reason, it looks really small when I attach it to here. I have no idea why it is like that and I was hoping someone might have some suggestions for me.

Monday, June 29, 2009

1991 Line Drive, Shane Reynolds

#572 Shane Reynolds

Here is another card that I got signed at the Astros Fanfest. Luckily, this is the first Shane Reynolds card that I have to show on here. Shane was in the first group of alumni that I was able to get signatures from that day. The others at his table were Larry Dierker and Scipio Spinks. Unfortunately, Scipio was a last minute addition and I did not have any cards of him with me. So, all I got signed was a Astros produced 4x6 of the inside of Minute Maid Park. Most of the other players had a 4x6 with their picture on it, but not Scipio.

Anyway, back to Shane Reynolds. Like all of the alumni, he signed all of my cards. I tried to find one of him with some team other than the Astros (or Astro minor leaguer) and came up empty handed. So, the other two cards feature him as an Astro. Before I went on my CWS trip I was looking through a binder that had mostly 2003 cards in it. Of course I found an '03 UD Vintage card of Shane as a Brave. I wish I would have looked through that a few months sooner.

This card depicts Shane as a Jackson General of the Texas League. The Generals played in the league for nine seasons. I am not sure where they moved to after that, but I suspect Round Rock. The Generals were named for former president Andrew Jackson. Jackson was in the military prior to his term in the White House and he fought in the War of 1812 and the First Seminole War. There is a little ballad about him called the "The Battle of New Orleans". That song is the battalion song of the 3rd Battalion of the 7th Infantry Regiment, the most decorated battalion in the United States Army. Luckily, I was one of the few tankers to have the honor of being a part of that regiment.

Contest Winnings

I recently won a contest put on by Sports Locker. The prize was some Howard Johnson cards. While I am not a big HoJo fan, I could not pass up the challenge of answering the three questions that it was going to take to win the contest.

The first one was: What team first hired HoJo as a coach in their minor league system? I didn't read the question too well and answer the Butte Copper Kings (TB). Apparently the TB in parenthesis was good enough. I got the answer from Wikipedia.

The second question was: Is Howard Johnson 1st, 3rd, or 5th on the Mets all-time home run list? He is third. I didn't see the answer on Wikipedia (although I noticed it on there later) and ended up going to Baseball-Reference.com to find the answer.

The final question was: Where does Howard Johnson's son play his college baseball? He plays at Jacksonville University. That was by far the hardest question of the three. Wikipedia listed his son's first name (Glen) and my first Google search didn't turn up much (apparently Glen Johnson is also the name of a professional soccer player). I then refined my search a bit by adding when he was drafted by the Mets and I eventually found the JU informaton.

So, it was a fun and challenging little contest. Here is what I won. Nine different HoJo cards (there was a duplicate of the Pinnacle card) and a random Ozzie Smith card. I'm lazy and didn't feel like taking the cards out of their top-loaders, so part of them didn't fit on my scanner.

The random Ozzie card is cool because he will be coaching the USA squad in the Futures Game in two weeks. I will be attending that game and that is one less card I have to look for before I head to St. Louis. Speaking of Ozzie, if anyone has an extra '81 Donruss card of him, let me know. I don't have it and I would like to try to get one signed while I am in St. Louis.

Thank you JRJ!

1990 Fleer, Mark Salas

#350 Mark Salas

Here is the second card that I got signed by Mark Salas after a Royals game about a month ago. I had three cards for him to sign, but he only signed two of them. He signed for one other guy that also had three cards of him, signing only two for him as well. I don't know if that is his standard practice or a compromise for having to sign in the heat with a suit on.

On the White Sox website, Mark is listed as just a coach. Not a base coach or hitting coach, just a coach. But, if you click on his name and go to his bio, it lists him as the bullpen catcher. Mark is close to 50 years old. He must have some super knees or something. I doubt that any other team has a former Major League catcher as a bullpen catcher.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

1991 Classic/Best, Brian Williams

#14 Brian Williams

Here is the second Brian Williams card that I got at Astros Fanfest. This is also the second card that I got signed there that featured an Osceola Astro on it. This picture must have been taken in Spring Training, though, since Brian has an "H" on his cap rather than the "O".

Luckily, I am almost done with all of these catch-up posts. On Saturday, I will be starting the 1994 cards. I'm looking forward to that because I am tired of showing the same people on here three times in a week or two. Plus, I am looking forward to getting back to doing one post a day. And to kick off the fact that I am finally getting to my 1994 cards, I will be having a one of a kind contest. So stay tuned for that.

1990 Procards, Eric Wedge

#1322 Eric Wedge

Here is another EriC Wedge card. I have lost count of how many I have posted on here so far, but I think that this is the third or fourth one. I have got him to sign in Kansas City and Houston and this is one of the ones from Houston.

This is only the second card from this set that I have got signed. As I mentioned in the first one, these cards were packaged with the CMC cards in 1990. The CMC cards had the AAA players and the Procards had the AA and below players. I can't remember what the ratio for CMC to Procards were though.

Notice the wood-like border? I wonder what Night Owl would call this set had he collected it? The plaque set?

As with all of my Eric Wedge autographs, I have no idea what is going on with that signature. It is one of a kind.

The New Britain Red Sox moved to Trenton after the 1994 season. The Red Sox AA team is now in Portland, Maine. New Britian still has a team, though. They have the Twins AA team, the New Britain Rock Cats.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

1990 Fleer Update, Scott Sanderson

#U-118 Scott Sanderson

Last month, I got a package from the ladies at Dinged Corners and this was one of the autographs that was included.

Scott Sanderson had a career that spanned 19 seasons. He was mostly a starter and he finished his career with a 163-143 record and a 3.84 ERA. The most games that he ever won in a season was 17 in 1990. In 1991, he made his only All-Star team as a Yankee. Unfortunately, he did not pitch in that game. He was a lousy hitter (.097) but he had two homers and the first one was a grand slam.

2002 was Scott's first year of eligibilty for the Hall of Fame. He didn't recieve a single vote.

This is the only card that I have from the update set that year, so it is always cool to have something that didn't come in packs. For some reason, the signature is kind of hard to make out on that green jacket. I would have thought that blue would work just fine. I guess I would have been wrong.

I have no idea how this autograph was obtained, but I would guess that it was through the mail. Thank you, Patricia and Lucy, for this great card!

1990 Fleer, Joel Skinner

#501 Joel Skinner

This is the third and final card of the Indians third base coach. You can see the first one here and the second one here. All three were acquired at the same time. There is not much to say about this card that I haven't said in the previous two Joel Skinner posts. So, I will just leave this one like this and get another card up here in a little while.

Friday, June 26, 2009

1990 CMC, Jeff Datz

#507 Jeff Datz

Here is an autograph from the Indians bench coach, Jeff Datz. I got this card signed the day before Astros Fanfest while the Tribe was taking batting practice. Jeff signed this card and the '09 Topps Heritage coaches card for me. Those are the only two cards that I had of him since he only played in seven Major League games. The only card of him as a Major Leaguer can be seen here (if you have the time, read about his short time in the big leagues; it's interesting). If you want to see another cool minor league card of him, click on his name at the top.

1990 was the final year in Jeff's playing career and he only got into 28 games with the Yankees AAA affiliate, the Columbus Clippers.

As for the Clippers, they are still around today and even got a new ballpark. But, their longtime affiliation with the Yankees ended a couple of years ago and they are now with the Indians organization after a two year stint with the Nationals.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

1990 CMC, John Gibbons

#236 John Gibbons

First off, I want to say that I meant to have two posts up but now. But, there was this freak storm that hit a couple of hours ago that knocked out the electricity. Rather than sit around while it got hot and dark in the house, I went to the bar to pass some time. So, there is only going to be this post tonight and it is the second post of this guy since I finished up with the 1993 cards. I would say that I would make it up to you tomorrow, but I wouldn't want to lie on here.

Anyways, here is the second John Gibbons card. I usually don't link to a player's stats after I have posted them once. But, I did this time and I did it a little different as well. I normally use Baseball Almanac for my stats link and they only show the Major League stats. Tonight, I used the Baseball Cube since they show all of their minor league stats also. I thought that since I was showing a minor league card that was made three years after his last Major League card, some minor league stats might be appropiate.

Like I said, this is the second card of John Gibbons on here. Here is the first. I got this card signed at the first regular season game I went to this year as John was coming off of the field after batting practice (he's the Royals bench coach). He signed a third card, too. But it is from when he was the Blue Jays manager, so it will be some time before I get to that one.

As for the Scranton-Wilkes Barre Red Barons, they are no longer the Red Barons. Instead, they are the Scranton-Wilkes Barre Yankees. I think that the SWB Red Barons may have been the longest name in professional sports until the Long Beach Armada of the Golden Baseball League officially changed their name to the Long Beach Armada of Los Angeles of California of the United States of North America Including Barrow, Alaska, in 2007.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

1989 Upper Deck, Orel Hershiser

#661 Orel Hershiser

It is fitting that I am showing this card tonight. If you recall, I got a few things signed by Orel prior to the opening game of the College World Series. Well, tonight is the final night of the CWS and it looks like LSU is going to pull it off. As always, it has been another great CWS.

There really isn't much to say about this card that wasn't said in my initial post of the CWS. I guess that I can add that I almost didn't take this card with me on my trip. The night before I left, I was searching through my '89 Upper Deck cards looking for a card of one of the Reds coaches. While doing that, I came across this card and I set it aside just case I needed it. So, it went with me as a backup. I had planned on getting a card and a ball signed by Orel. But when I found out that Gaylord Perry was signing, I saved the ball for him and got this card signed by Orel instead.

This card commemorates Orel's 1988 Cy Young Award. That is why it has the National League logo on it instead of the Dodgers.

This is the last card from the '80s for at least a month. This is the first card on here of a player whose first name starts with an "O".

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

1989 Upper Deck, Sid Bream

#556 Sid Bream

This is the third signed Sid Bream card that I have received this year. The first two, I got through the mail back in February. I was pretty disappointed in them because the signatures on the two cards looked faded. This is especially true with the '87 Topps card, which is unusual for a non-glossy card (here is the other card). A couple of days after the original post, I got a random comment from a first time commenter, Orioles Magic. He said that he and Sid were from the same hometown and that he had a ton of his autographs. He then offered me one of his extras. So, I took him up on his offer and less than a month later I had this great looking card.

Orioles Magic is the author of The Great Orioles Autograph Project. He seems to have started his blog about the same time that he left his comment on here. He is a great guy and recently got a card signed for me in person at a pre-game Orioles alumni signing. Hopefully, I will have another signature on it by the time I get through with the 1994 cards so I can show it on here. If you haven't checked out his blog, he is trying to get a card signed by every Orioles player ever. So, if you can help him out, I'm sure he will be able to work out a trade with you.

Plus, he sent me a great looking card. You'll have a hard time beating '89 Upper Deck. The second best thing about the card (right behind the autograph) is the photo. It looks like Sid just hit a homer and giving Gene Lamont five. Interestingly, twenty years later, Gene is still Jim Leyland's third base coach.

Monday, June 22, 2009

1989 Star, John Hudek

#59 John Hudek

Here is another card that was obtained at Astros Fanfest. This is also another case of "why is this guy here?".

John Spent his first four years in the Majors as a reliever in Houston. In two of those years, he didn't even have 20 appearences. In the other two, he made at least 40. In his rookike season, he had 16 saves. That was a career high.

After his fourth year in Houston, he was traded to the Mets for Carl Everett. After 30 games with the Mets, he was traded to the Reds for Lenny Harris. He started the next year in Cincy, but got released after two appearances. The Braves picked him up for 15 games (and a few in Richmond) before letting him loose. The Jays thought that a third time might be a charm and signed him. He made three appearances for them (and a few with Syracuse) and was released after the season was over. The Cardinals signed him for the next season, but he must have been released during Spring Training since he has no stats for the season.

Anyway, does this sound like the type of alumni that you would invite to fanfest? I had a hard time just finding a couple of minor League cards of him. I couldn't find any Major League cards even though they do exist.

As for the team on this card, it is the Sarasota White Sox of the Florida State League. There is still a team in Sarasota and they are affiliated with the Reds. I bet you can't guess what their name is.

This is the third card that I have signed from this set. The first one is Moises Alou and the second one is Bill Masse.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

1989 Score, Vance Law

#567 Vance Law

This is the third and final Vance Law card. You can see the first one here and the second one here. Just like the last two, this one was obtained at the Kansas State-BYU game.

One thing that I have to say about Vance is that he is the slowest signer that I have ever seen. Brian Bannister signs super-slow and he has fourteen letters in his name. Vance probably takes as long as Brian does, but he only has eight letters in his name. But, at least he signs his name identically every time. Look at the three cards. There is little variation. Head over to Cards in the Attic and check out his Vance Law post and you will see five more examples of Vance's near-flawless signature.

Vance is a human auto-pen.

Since this is the last post for Vance and for autographs obtained at the Kansas State game, I figured that I would throw in some pictures of the ballpark*. So, here is Tointon Family Stadium, home of the Kansas State Wildcats.

I played in an American Legion tournament there over ten years ago and the place was a dump then. It was hard to believe that a D1 baseball team played there. It was just a ball field, not a ballpark. But, around the turn of the millennium, the Tointon Family put up some money to completely renovate the site. Now, they have a nice and respectable ballpark that makes recruiting much easier for the coach. And it is starting to show since they made the NCAA tournament this year for the first time ever.

Here is a picture of the field. It may not look different at first. Look again.

That is a field turf infield. The only dirt on the field is around the plate and the mound. That was new to me when I went to the game. I actually worked at that ballpark in 2002 when I was a student there and it was a regular infield then. According to the head groundskeeper, who I happened to work with back in the day, the turf was put in about three years ago. I had seen a few places like that on TV (Louisville and Oregon State, I think), but this is the first one that I had seen in person. So, there are now three ballparks in Kansas (one pro and two college) that have a turf infield and grass outfield.

*photos taken at a KSU-Texas Tech game

1989 Procards, Carl Willis

#567 Carl Willis

Here is the second of three Willis cards that were signed by the Indians pitching coach in April. For some reason, the 2009 Topps Heritage coaches card was not one of the three that I had him sign. So, I still have one more card that I want his signature on. That card is only halfway complete.

This is only the second card from this set that I have gotten signed. The other one is of Jay Bell when he was with the Buffalo Bisons.

This card features Carl as an Edmonton Trapper. The Trappers were the Angels AAA team when this card came out. Today, the only team playing in Edmonton is the Capitals of the Golden Baseball League. Luckily, I double checked before I posted this because I was going to call them the Cracker Cats. They apparently decided to change their name

Saturday, June 20, 2009

1988 Score, Chris Speier

#493 Chris Speier

I got this card signed a week ago yesterday when I was in Kansas City. The Reds were in town and Chris is Dusty Baker's bench coach. Chris was the first Red on the field that day. But, by the time I got over to the dugout, he was engaged in a converstion with three Royals coaches. By the time that converstion was up, the Reds were ready for bp and Chris started playing catch.

Once bp started, he hit some ground balls to some of the infielders. After doing that, he stood around and watched. He made his way over to the dugout to grab his glove and I asked if he would sign. He said that he had to get ready to throw. So, he played catch again and then headed over to the mound. After bp was finally over, he was headed for the clubhouse when I asked him to sign again. He said "I'll get you after the game", paused, then said "I'll go ahead and get you now". He then came over, signed my three cards, and then headed to the clubhouse. The other two cards were older, so I'll get to them after I go through my 1994 cards, which are still a couple of weeks away.

Friday, June 19, 2009

1988 Donruss, Alex Trevino

#376 Alex Trevino

Just like with the Cabell card, this is my third and final Alex Trevino post. You can see the first one here and the second one here. The three cards I got him to sign featured him as a Met and a Dodger. I had found a couple of cards of him as an Astro, but I didn't take them with me since he was wearing the dark blue batting jersey. I have learned the hard way that it is best to stay away from those.

According to Baseball ALmanac, Alex's first name is actually Alejandro. I didn't no that Alex was short (or English) for Alejandro.

Did anyone see the end to that Texas-Arizona State game? 2-2 going into the ninth when ASU knocked in the go-ahead run. Two solo home runs in the bottom half and ASU is sent home. What a finish. I was going to go to the game tomorrow if ASU would have pulled it out.

1987 Topps, Enos Cabell

#509 Enos Cabell

I have a couple of short posts tonight. The first is obviously this Cabell card. This is the third and final Enos Cabell card. You can see the first one here and the second one here. This one, just like the last two, was obtained at Astros Fanfest.

1986 was Enos' last season, so this is one of his last cards. In '86, he had two home runs and one of them was a grand slam. That was the only grand slam that he hit in the majors.

I love the pop-up shades in the photo. You can never go wrong with those.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

1987 Topps, Hal Lanier

#343 Hal Lanier

I'm finally back to the daily autographed cards. I was going to post this card yesterday until I came across the O-Pee-Chee cards. So, here is the details on this Hal Lanier card.

I got this card in a trade with Tom, of Astros Baseball Cards. A few weeks ago, he posted a couple of Hal Lanier cards that he had got signed through the mail. He said that he had gotten a couple extras signed as well. Right around that time, I posted a Terry Puhl card on here and he left a comment that he didn't have any signed Puhl's. So, we worked out a trade and I sent him a Terry Puhl that I got at Astros Fanfest and he sent me one of his extra Hal Laniers.

To be honest, I do not know much about Hal. But, you can never go wrong with a signed '87 Topps card. Just ask Dan at OMGautos. It turns out Hal played in the Majors for ten years in the '60s and '70s for the Giants and Yankees. I may need to find a card of him from his playing days to send to him.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

2009 O-Pee-Chee

I went to the card shop today to get some sheets and was shocked to see that the new UD O-Pee-Chee cards were out. I really like the look of them and they are going to be great for getting autogrpahs. Plus, they were cheap ($1.50 a pack). The only downside was that there are only six cards per pack. But it's a 600 card set and there seems to be a good assortment of players. For instance, I got a card of Russ Springer. I didn't even know Russ was still playing because I haven't pulled a card of him in a while.

To me, the cards have a 2003 Upper Deck Vintage feel. The border doesn't resemble that set at all, but the mulittude of posed shots and close-ups do. The inclusion of the League Leader cards help the effect, too.

Each pack includes one black border card. They are the UD version of a Topps gold card. A better description may be the grey bordered cards in the 2004 Topps Total set.

Here is an almost random selection of nine cards.

The card shop owner said that there wasn't very many inserts in the set, but I ended up getting two. I also got a 20th Anniversery Retrospective card of the Mars Rover, so you are now warned that those found their way into the packs. The two real inserts I got were a Carl Crawford Midsummer Memories (MM11) and a Pudge/Posada/Veritek jersey card called OPC Materials (OPC-RPV). At least I am hoping they are jerseys. All it says on the back is that they are "Game-Used baseball memorabilia".

So, there is my OPC preview. I have no idea about short prints or anything like that. Assuming that there isn't any, this may actually be a fun set to put together.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

My 2009 College World Series trip

For the third year in a row, my father and I headed up to Omaha for the opening weekend of the CWS. Every year, we do it a little different and this year was no exception. We started this trip off on Friday in Kansas City (click on pictures for a larger view).

We got to the park early enough to get see the end of the Royals batting practice and all of the Reds. I was able to get to my autograph spot by the visiting teams dugout. But, surprisingly, the Reds weren't much for signing. All I got was three cards each from Brook Jacoby and another coach and one card from Paul Janish. Jay Bruce signed a few balls, but I was saving my ball for Omaha. I guess that I thought a smaller market team like that would be a little more fan friendly.

As for the game itself, we got to see a gem. The Royals won 4-1 and Luke Hochevar pitched his first professional complete game. And he did it with only 80 pitches. He only had three strikeouts, but he was pounding the strike zone all night. He got 17 batters to hit the first or second pitch of the at-bat and only one of those guys got a hit. Johnny Gomes was the only Red that had it going that night and he had a double and a home run. The only other hit was a seeing-eye single by Brandon Phillips.

After the game, the Royals had their second annual Sky Show. I didn't know what to expect from that going in, but I was pretty impressed. They had fireworks, lasers, music, flamethrowers, Willie Wilson, Frank White, and George Brett. It was pretty neat. Here are a couple of pictures of the fountains during all of it.

Here are the flamethrowers I was talking about.

The next day, we were in Omaha. The first Saturday in Omaha is always hectic and it wasn't any different this year. After we got off the interstate, we were stuck in traffic for about 40 minutes before we got to our usual parking spot about three blocks from the ballpark. We got parked at about 10:45 in the morning and we headed up to fanfest. I knew Orel Hershiser was going to be signing for an hour starting at 11:00, so that was the first stop. On the way to that spot, my dad saw a sign at a bar saying that Gaylord Perry was going to be signing there at 11:30. I'm glad that he saw that because I had missed it. Anyway, we headed up to fanfest and to the All State booth where Orel was going to be signing. He apparently got stuck in traffic and was about five minutes late. I had planned on getting my ball signed by him, but I had a few cards of him and decided to save my ball for Gaylord. So, when he arrived my dad and I each got a card signed.

While he was signing my card, I asked if I could see his World Series ring he was wearing and he said yes. I was expecting him to hold his hand up, but he took it off and handed it too me. I was a little shocked and didn't want to waste everyone's time that was in line behind me, so I took a quick glance at the face and then handed it back. That was the first ever World Series ring that I have ever held. After I gave it back to him, he said "if you want one, you can find them on ebay". I'm not sure how true that is, but I still thought it was kind of funny. (Unfortunately, I forgot my camera Saturday; so, no Orel pictures.)

After that, my dad and I split up. I went to find Gaylord Perry and my dad went to find a Cal State Fullerton t-shirt. Two blocks later, I was at the bar Gaylord was going to be signing at. The sign my dad saw earlier said he was signing from 11:30-1:30. I got there at 11:15 and there was Gaylord sitting at the autograph table without a soul around him. I walked up to him and asked how he was doing and shook his hand. I then asked if he was signing yet and he said that he was waiting for some balls to be brought up to be signed. I told him that I had my own ball and he said that he would sign it. So, he signed it, I thanked him, and then I left to go find my dad.

Here is the ball. This is the first signed ball that I have that has a Hall of Fame inscription.

I got back to the spot where I was going to meet my dad and he wasn't there yet. I waited around for about a minute and then headed back over to the Orel Hershiser line to get another autograph. A few minutes after I got there, I saw my dad standing at the meeting spot, so I left the line and went and grabbed him. We got back in line and we each got one 8x10 signed.

After that, we made our way to the general admission seating area to find a seat. It was around noon, an hour before the game starts, and there wasn't a single seat in the GA sections. So, we went to the reserved seating and found the worst seats possible and sat there. We did okay there until the first inning was up and the seat's rightful owners came to claim their territory. We walked around a little after that and decided to head to the concession stands to grab some lunch. We each got an Omaha Steak burger and went and sat at a picnic table underneath the right field bleachers. While there, we heard everyone's reaction after Arkansas' Zack Cox hit a home run to increase their lead over Fullerton.

Here is a picture of where we were sitting prior to getting the boot. The photo is from an Omaha Royals game in 2007.

After we finished eating, we decided to leave the game. GA can be a pain in the butt when it comes to standing room only seating. We found that out the hard way in 2007, and we didn't want to deal with it a second time. We decided to roam around fanfest for awhile and wait until 4:00. That is when Joe Morgan was going to start signing. After about 15 minutes, I decided to leave. We were planning on going to Des Moines to see the Omaha Royals take on the Iowa Cubs that night. It was going to be a two hour drive and it takes about 30 minutes just to drive a half mile to get on the interstate. I figured that I would have a better chance of getting autographs and ballpark pictures before the game if we got there before the ballpark opened. So, we skipped out on Joe Morgan and headed to Iowa.

We got to the ballpark in Des Moines around 4:45. The first thing I noticed was that there was too many cars in the lot for a 7:05 game. I then saw a sign that said "Doubleheader 5:05". By the time we were parked, they were announcing the starting lineups over the PA. I sent my dad to get some tickets and I made a quick tour around the exterior of the park for some photos. Here is one of the first I took.

I love statues at ballparks, but these looked too familiar. I thought about it a little and decided that they were the same ones that they have at Isotopes Park in Albuquerque. After I got home, I checked my photos and was right. Here is a picture from Isotopes Park. Notice the slight rearrangement of the batter.

Here is a picture of Principle Park, home of the Iowa Cubs. I didn't pay any attention to the sculpture when I was taking the photo. But as soon as I looked at it on my computer, I quickly realized that it was the seams of a ball. That is a nice touch.

We found our seats about five minutes before first pitch of the first game and I was a little pissed that I was at a minor league game and hadn't got any autographs before the game. So, I grabbed my book and headed to the Royals bullpen. I was able to get Tim Hamulak to sign three cards for me even though the rest of the pen was telling him not to. That made me feel a little better. We watched four innings of the seven inning game and decided to walk around a bit and explore the ballpark and get some dinner. Here is a picture from behind home plate. That huge building behind center field is the Iowa state capital.

After game one was over, I headed to the left field foul pole to try to get some autographs between games. I didn't get any after the game, but I got a handful as the players were making their way out for game two.

In game one, the Cubs won 6-2. The Royals rebounded in game two, thanks to a two-hit shutout by Bruce Chen, and won 2-0. By the time the second game started, the stands were packed. We ended up standing in right field by the manual scoreboard for the second game. It was a cool view for a minor league game. He is a picture of So Taguchi manning right for the Cubs (the second picture is of the packed stands).

After the game, I hung out for autographs as the players left the park. Luckily, there were many I-Cubs autograph fans there to assist me and let me know who was who as the players left. Otherwise, I would not have had a clue. I didn't even recognise most of the O-Royals players. But after the night was over, I had 39 more cards signed. I was pretty happy with that total after getting to the park just before first pitch.

While I was hanging out with the I-Cubs fans, I learned of the curious case of Tommy Gregg (I might have stolen that from a movie). Tommy is the hitting coach for the O-Royals and according to multiple I-Cubs fans, he will not sign a Braves card of himself. Since I heard this from multiple sources, I didn't even bother with him. I tried to find an '88 Score card of him before I left, but I didn't have one. That is one of two cards of him as a Pirate. The other is an '88 Donruss and I didn't even bother looking for it since most of the card is taken up by his black batting practice jersey. So, here are my three unsigned Tommy Gregg cards.

The next day was back to Omaha. There wasn't anyone scheduled to sign in the morning, so I wasn't too worried about finding seats; Sunday is usually a little better than Saturday at the CWS. We got there a little before 10:30 and kind of roamed around for 30 minutes. My dad decided that he was going to go stand in line for the GA seats. I decided that I was going to head back to the car and get my sunglasses since the clouds were starting to part. After I got back from the car, I was walking through the fanfest area and taking a couple of pictures (I remembered my camera this day). I saw a sign that said Rollie Fingers was going to be signing at 3:00. That was news to me. I knew Joe Carter was going to be signing at 4:00 and I was prepared for that. I took a few photos and started to head to the GA line that my dad was in.

A few booths later, I saw some people getting pictures taken with someone. It was just a tall, skinny kid and I thought it might be a player that was playing in the 6:00 game. As I circled around, I noticed that he had on a San Diego State polo and asked the kid beside me if that was Stephen Strasburg. He said that it was. I started to freak out. Here is the number one draft pick roaming around fanfest and I have nothing to get signed. So, I took off for the souvenir tent and quickly found a Rawlings CWS ball. I paid for that and headed back up to where he was. When I got there, Stephen was no where to be found. I started scanning possible places he could have went to and eventually found that he was heading to the media entrance on the third base side. So, I take off running after him.

Now, if you knew what I looked like and saw me running after you, you would probably run away. Just ask Luke Hochevar. But, luckily, I wasn't the only person doing this. There was another guy doing the same thing after coming out of the same souvenir tent. We both caught up to him when he was about twenty feet from entering the ballpark. I asked if he would sign a couple more and luckily my running partner had a Sharpie. I would have preferred a blue ballpoint pen, but in these circumstances, beggars can't be choosers. Here is the end result.

After that, I went to find my dad. I was going to get my ticket from him and tell him to save me a seat. I had planned on heading to the card shop across the street to try to find some Rollie Fingers cards. When I finally found him, he was a good hundred yards from the entrance. When he finally got to a spot where he could hand me my ticket, I realized that I had given him the tickets from the day before. So, I took off back to the car, got the good tickets, and headed back to the line. After looking for my dad a few minutes, I finally found him and gave him a ticket to get into the game. I then headed over to the card shop.

When I got there, it was fairly dead. I told the shop owner that Rollie was signing at 3:00 and I needed some cards. He went in the back for a couple of minutes and came out and said he couldn't find his A-F box. That was that for the customer service. After that, he proceeded to drink beer and guess (or bet) the winners of that days Major League games. I continued to look through boxes of stuff that was lying out for 25 minutes before I found a couple of Brewers teams sets that were set aside. I ended up spending seven bucks for two teams sets just so I could get a couple of Rollie Finger cards.

I then headed to the ballpark and eventually found my dad. That day, we were getting to watch a pitching duel between Arizona State and North Carolina. ASU was up 1-0 when we left after the fifth. It was 3:00 and I wanted to get Rollie's autograph, especially after spending seven bucks on basically two cards.

But, here are a couple of pictures of Rosenblatt Stadium. The first one shows ASU during infield practice. The second one is from the third inning.

After we left, we headed straight for the Rollie Fingers autograph line. It moved fairly quick and we went through the line twice. We ended up with two cards signed and two 8x10s signed. He is a picture of Rollie followed by one of the 8x10s.

After that, we got back in line for Joe Carter. We got a couple of cards signed and then headed for home. Over the three days, we only saw six innings of college baseball. But, we did see a great Major League game and two well played, seven inning, minor league games. And, I came home with 49 signed cards. So, I was pretty pleased with it all.

Monday, June 15, 2009

1987 Topps, Alex Trevino

#173 Alex Trevino

Here is the second of three cards that Alex signed for me at Astros Fanfest. As I said in the last Trevino post, Alex was mostly a backup catcher and he only appeared in over 100 games twice. He never played in a playoff game and was never an All-Star. But, I did get three cards signed by him. Nowadays, that would be difficult to do since most card sets don't include very many backup catchers, or even bullpen pitchers.

That is why it was really fun to collect cards in the '80s (I'm sure it was a blast before that, too, but I wouldn't know). You would pull cards of the same common players year in and year out and they are still names that you recognise today. With todays sets, most players will get a rookie card and that may be all if they are not a starter or a closer. Upper Deck makes some cards of these types of players, but not all of them and not every year. If only Topps was still making their Topps Total set, I wouldn't be ranting on about this.

Anyways, here is the signed card from the backup catcher. I will have one of him coming up later this week.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

1987 Fleer, Brook Jacoby

#235 Brook Jacoby

Well, I'm back from my little vacation and I had a great time. I thought that I was done posting '87 Fleer cards for now, but I got this one signed on Friday and I figured that I would post it before I moved on to the '87 Topps.

I got this card signed on Friday at the Royals game. The Reds made their first trip to Kauffman since 1999 and Brook is their batting coach. I was able to get him to sign just before batting practice began. He was standing at the top step of the dugout while all of the players were stretching. After I called over to him, he came by and signed all three of my cards. While he was signing, one of the trainers had to stop by to see some cards of Brook. It was like he didn't really believe that Brook used to be a Major Leaguer.

It has been a long weekend and I'm tired and I have many autographs that I have to sort out, so this is all for this post. Tomorrow, I will have pictures, scans, and stories of the weekend. I will also be mailing out the prizes from the contest.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

1987 Fleer, Mark Salas

#551 Mark Salas

Well, it's Saturday (I hope) and I wrote this post Thursday night. Last night I was at the Reds/Royals game in KC and hopefully it wasn't rained out. Today, I'm going to the opening game of the College World Series. After the game, I'm driving to Des Moines to see the Omaha Royals play the Iowa Cubs. I'm hoping that I get there early enough to get a ton of autographs. Then tomorrow, it's back to the College World Series for a day game there. After the game, I'll be heading back home. So, I should have a post or two up tomorrow night.

Anyway, on to this card. I got this card signed two weeks ago after seeing the White Sox beat the Royals. Mark is a coach for the Sox and was nice enough to sign a couple of cards for me while on the way to the team bus. It was pretty funny when I asked for his autograph. He said "c'mon, I've got a suit on and it's ninety degrees out here". He then came over to sign and I told him it was a good looking suit and he said "yeah, right". He was pretty cool.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Contest Winners

Zack Grienke is finished for the night and his ERA is at 1.72 ERA. The closest guess to that was 1.67 my MDA. He picked the Price card.

Deal came in second when he picked 1.60. Unfortunately, he also picked the Price card. So, he is getting the Grienke Sports Illustrated instead.

If you guys change your minds or want to work out a trade or something, feel free. Just let me know before Monday. That is when I will ship your prizes out. Email me at zman40 at hotmail dot com with your addresses. Congratulations and thanks to all who entered!

1987 Fleer, Carl Willis

#218 Carl Willis

Here is the Indians pitching coach, Carl Willis. I got this card signed the day before Astros fanfest while the Tribe was taking batting practice prior to their exhibition game.

Carl's career spanned over twelve years, but there was one season he didn't play and two more where he spent it all in AAA. When he was in the big leagues, he spent time with the Tigers, Reds, White Sox, and Twins. He seems to have had the most success with the Twins and even appeared in four games during the 1991 World Series.

It's a good thing that the photographer had a flash for this picture. It is pretty dark in the background. It doesn't appear to be getting dark, it just looks really overcast.

Also, Grienke is starting tonight. So, we will have a winner of the contest at some point. Unfortunately (for the winners, not for me), I'm heading to Omaha for the weekend and I won't be able to get the prizes mailed out until Monday. As for posts this weekend, I may do a few tonight and change the date so that they show up over the next couple of days. I'm still deciding on that one. But, I will announce the winners tonight.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

1987 Fleer, Joel Skinner

115 Joel Skinner

Here is the second of three Joel Skinner cards that I got the day of Astros Fanfest. This card came from the incomplete set of '87 Fleer that was left at my house (if you missed that one, you can read about it here).

One of the things that I noticed when I was looking over Joel's stats is his batting average. He was only a .228 lifetime hitter which isn't horrible for a backup catcher from the '80s. But, if you look at his 1987 stats, his average really stands out. He hit .137 that year. He was 19-139 that year with four doubles and three homers. He even had his lone major league grand slam that year and had almost as many RBI (14) as hits.

I don't know what the lowest average is for a non-pitcher with over 100 at-bats in a season is, but this has got to be somewhere close to the record.

Notice the umpire in the background? If this card was made today, it would look like Joel had a hat and forehead growing out of his glove.

1986 Topps Traded, Dennis Leonard

#65T Dennis Leonard

This is the third and final Dennis Leonard card from the youth baseball camp last month. A couple of days after that, I was looking through a stack of cards and became a little agitated with myself. In that stack, I found a '79 Topps card of Dennis that a bought a few months ago to get signed and I had forgot about it. After seeing that card, I remembered that Dennis had a card in the Pacific Senior Baseball League set that I bought and also forgot about. The three cards that I got signed by Dennis were the ones that I wanted to get signed at Royals Fanfest this past February. But, Dennis didn't attend the event the same day that I did. So, when I was looking for cards for the clinic, those three cards were still together and I took them without even thinking about grabbing my newer ones. Oh well. At least I got a couple more cards for the next time. I may have to start giving a few Leonards away.

This is another card that I got from Stats on the Back during his winter housekeeping.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

1986 Topps, Vance Law

#787 Vance Law

Here is the second card that I was able to get signed last month when I went to a Kansas State game while they were taking on Vance's BYU team. Before the game started, I was able to intercept Vance on his way from the bullpen to the dugout. I asked if he would sign and he came over to the fence and started signing for me. We exchanged the usual greetings of "how are you doing" and what not. While he was signing, I asked him if he was enjoying coaching his kids (he has two sons on the team). He said "you bet; some people think that they are only here because of me, but they don't understand that they are good ballplayers, good students, and good people and they deserve to be here just as much as anybody". Wow! I was not expecting that answer. But, I thought that it was very interesting since he isn't afraid to let some stranger know how other people percieve his kids being on the team. I didn't even know what to say after that. I think I said "that's great" or something.