Thursday, September 30, 2010

1992 Fleer, Cedric Landrum

#385 Ced Landrum

Here is a card that I got signed at the lone Kansas City T-Bones game I attended this summer. Ced was the batting coach for the visiting Joliet Jackhammers and I was able to get this card and two others signed after the game.

Ced's Major League career was pretty brief. He played in 56 games with the Cubs in 1991 and 22 games with the Mets in 1993. In those 78 games, he got 105 at bats and he hit .238. He had no home runs and only four extra base hits. In fact, he even finished his career with more runs scored than hits. But, he did steal 27 bases in '91 as a Cub while only getting thrown out 5 times.

One of the cards that Ced signed that day has already been posted at Auto-Matic For the People by Paul. It's his '92 Donruss card that shows him sliding into second. Paul noted that it was a good photo to use for Ced since he had most of his success on the base paths. This photo is probably just the opposite and is probably the last photo you would want used on one of the few cards issued of you. It looks like Ced just accidentally hit the ball on a check swing and is about to try to beat it out. But, I guess a card with a bad shot on it is better than no card at all.

1992 Fleer, Scott Radinsky

#96 Scott Radinsky

Here is the second of the three cards that Scott signed for me earlier this month. Yesterday, Ryan left a comment on the first Radinsky post saying that he didn't even see the signature on the card at first and that it was strange that he signed it where he did with all of the open space on the card. Based off of that card and this one, it looks like Scott just likes signing cards in that spot. It looks good on this card with his foot about to land on the signature.

Scott pitched for the White Sox, Dodgers, Cardinals, and Indians during his 11-year Major League career. He spent five years with the Sox and had his best season with them in 1991. That year he had a career high in innings pitched (71.1) and ERA (2.02).

I have one more Radinsky card to post tomorrow and I'll have another card up later tonight, as well.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

1991 Topps, Scott Radinsky

#299 Scott Radinsky

Here is the first of three Scott Radinsky cards that I have to post this week. I got them all signed at Kauffman Stadium a week and a half ago while Cleveland was in town. Scott is the Indians bullpen coach.

The game I went to was a Sunday day game, so there wasn't any batting practice. Luckily, most of the Indians pitchers were out on the field getting their work in. There was even two guys out there with catchers mitts on that I was hoping were the two catchers on the staff. Then I noticed that one of the "catchers" was left-handed and realized that he wasn't an actual catcher. The left-handed one turned out to be Scott Radinsky. I wonder how many former Major Leaguers own a left-handed catchers glove.

If you click on Scott's name at the top of the post, you will be redirected to Scott's Baseball Almanac page. On that page, there is a signed '93 Fleer card of Scott and he is wearing a left-handed catchers mitt on it. What are the odds?

1986 Donruss, Gary Ward

#20 Gary Ward

Normally, when I send out an '81 Donruss card to get signed through the mail, I will only send out that one card. I do that in case they might be a one per person type so that I get the card signed that I need signed. But, every now and then, I will send out an extra card or two with the '81 Donruss if that person is a really good signer and I have another card that I want signed by that person. That is why I sent this card to Gary with the '81D. I just can't pass up a signed Diamond King, even if it is on the worst looking set in the '80s. I now have a whopping three signed Diamond Kings from the '86 set.

Check back later tonight and I will have a new card posted.

Monday, September 27, 2010

1982 Topps, Denny Lewallyn

#359 Denny Lewallyn

Here is a card that I got signed the day before the Rickwood Classic. We got to Birmingham a day early so we could see the Barons play in their current home, Regions Park. Unfortunately, we ended up sitting on the highway for an hour after there was an accident between a car and a tractor's mower and we didn't get to the ballpark as early as I had hoped we would. But Denny, who is the Tennessee Smokies pitching coach, was down in the bullpen watching the starting pitcher warm up and I was able to get this card signed when he made his way to the dugout. It was one of only four cards that I got signed at that game. That's not too good for a minor league game.

Denny's stats are pretty interesting. He pitched in the Majors for parts of eight seasons with the Dodgers, Rangers, and Indians. The interesting part is that he only appeared in 34 games for his career. That averages out to just over four games a year. He had one season that he appeared in one game, one season that he appeared in two, three seasons that he appeared in four, one season that he appeared in five, and two seasons that he appeared in seven games. He finished his career 4-4 with 1 save and a 4.48 ERA.

Denny doesn't have too many cards. In fact, this is his only card from a major card company. All of his other cards are either minor league cards or team issued cards. I didn't have this card originally and I couldn't find any on Luckily, Scott, from Hand Collated, saw that I was needing this card and he sent it and some '81 Donruss cards to help me out. Thanks Scott!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

1981 Donruss, Gary Ward

#594 Gary Ward

Here is the card that Gary signed for me through the mail earlier this summer. I sent this card to him on the 4/28 and I got it back on 6/2. Gary was the batting coach of the Charlotte Knights this past season and I sent the card to the team. All three coaches on the Knights have '81 Donruss cards, but I never got around to sending one to Richard Dotson. I guess I'll have to give him a try next year.

Gary played in the big leagues for parts of 12 seasons. He played with the Twins, Rangers, Yankees, and Tigers. He was a two-time All Star (once as a Twin and once as a Ranger) and his best season came early in his career in 1982. That season, he had career highs in home runs (28) and RBI (91). He finished his career a .276 hitter with 130 home runs.

Gary only played in 13 games with the Twins in 1980, so I guess I'm lucky that Donruss even made a card of him.

This is the last '81 Donruss that I have to post for now. Hopefully, I will be sending a new batch of cards out in the mail sometime soon. Otherwise, it might be a long winter.

'81 Donruss Tracker: 80/100

Saturday, September 25, 2010

1981 Donruss, Ken Oberkfell

#583 Ken Oberkfell

Here is the card that I got signed through the mail from Ken Oberkfell. Ken managed the Buffalo Bisons this season and I sent the card to the team on 4/26 and I got it back on 7/13. I had sent the same card to him about a week before the season ended last year and never saw the card again. So, it was a good thing that I had a few of these.

Ken played in the Majors for parts of 16 seasons. He spent the majority of the time with the Cardinals and Braves, but he bounced around a bit towards the end of his career. During that time, he also played with the Pirates, Giants, Astros, and Angels.

I remember Ken from his days with the Braves, but I remember him by name only. He has some interesting stats, though. He wasn't a power hitter by any means and he didn't drive in runs. What Ken did excel at was getting on base. He is a .278 career hitter who has an on-base percentage of .351. He only struck out 356 times in 4874 at-bats while walking 546 times. You just don't see enough players today that can do that.

'81 Donruss Tracker: 79/100

Thursday, September 23, 2010

1981 Donruss, Broderick Perkins

#525 Broderick Perkins

Here is another card that I got signed through the mail early this summer. Out of all the '81 Donruss that I sent this spring/summer, this one took the longest to get back. I sent this card to Broderick on 5/12 and I got it two and a half months later on 7/26. But, at least I got it back. In fact, every '81 Donruss card that I sent out at the end of May and beginning of June came back signed.

Broderick played in the Majors for seven seasons with the Padres and Indians. He was mostly a part-time player and he only appeared in more than 100 games once. He was mostly a singles hitter as he finished his career with 8 home runs and 62 doubles out of 340 hits. But, he seems like he was a good contact hitter with his .271 career average. He even had two seasons where he had more walks than strikeouts.

The best part about this card has to be the uniform. According to the Hall of Fame's Dressed to the Nines, the Padres only wore that yellow uniform as an alternate in the 1978 season. So, we have an archived photo used on this card and I'm pretty sure it is not the only one used in the set.

Another unique thing about the photo is that it is one of the few that was not taken in Chicago.

This is my first Padres card that I have got signed from this set and I don't think I could have picked a better one than this.

'81 Donruss Tracker: 78/100

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

1981 Donruss, Ivan DeJesus

#483 Ivan DeJesus

Here is a card that I got signed through the mail by the Cubs third base coach. I sent this card to him on the fourth of May while he was still the Cubs first base coach and I got it back from him on the seventeenth of June. Ivan moved over to third base when Lou Pinella stepped down and Mike Quade (the old third base coach) took over the club.

Ivan's career lasted parts of 15 seasons while he played for seven different clubs- the Dodgers, Cubs, Phillies, Cardinals, Yankees, Giants, and Tigers. For his career, he was a .254 hitter that hit 21 home runs.

I'm sure that most Phillies and Cubs fans remember him as the player that the Phillies got in exchange for Larry Bowa and some guy named Sandberg.

'81 Donruss Tracker: 77/100

Monday, September 20, 2010

1981 Donrus, Chris Chambliss

#219 Chris Chambliss

Here is the card that I got back from Chris Chambliss. Chris managed the Charlotte Knights this past season and I sent the card to the club. I sent it on the fourth of May and I got it back on the tenth of June.

Chris played in the Majors for 16 years (not counting his one at-bat in 1988) and he played for the Indians, Yankees, and Braves. He made one All-Star team in 1976 and he played in three straight World Series with the Yankees in the '70s, winning two of them.

For a guy that is known for his walk-off homer in the '76 ALCS, Chris did not hit a lot of home runs during his career. The most he ever had in a season was 20 and he did that twice while playing for the Braves. For his career, he had only 185 home runs.

In 1988, after not playing in '87, Chris got into one game with the Yankees and he batted once and struck out. Does anyone know more about that instance? Was it one of those "I wanted to retire as a Yankee" thing or what? I didn't think that those players got actual at-bats in regular season games.

'81 Donruss Tracker: 76/100

Sunday, September 19, 2010

1981 Donruss, Skip Lockwood

#217 Skip Lockwood

Here is the second card that I got signed by Skip at the Kansas City A's reunion. I only took multiple cards of two players and Skip was the only one that I found to sign. You can see the first Skip Lockwood card here.

Skip pitched in the Majors for 12 seasons. He threw for the Pilots/Brewers, Angels, Mets, and Red Sox. He was a starter for the first half of his career before being converted to a reliever for the second half. It looks like he was the Mets closer while he was there and he racked up 54 saves with them from 1976-78, including a career high of 20 in '77. In '76, Jim won 10 games out of the pen and that matched his career high that he had set in '71 as a Brewers starter. When his career was finished, Skip (whose first name is Claude) had a 57-97 record with 68 saves and a 3.55 ERA. That's not too bad for a former light-hitting third baseman.

When I was looking for cards to buy of Skip, I was shocked to see that there was an '81 Donruss card of him. The A's left Kansas City after the '67 season, so there is a huge gap from then to 1980. I'm just glad that I had this card in my collection. It would have sucked to have gotten an autograph from a third player this year that had an '81 Donruss card that wasn't in my collection. John Tudor and Jack Clark were the first two.

After Skip's playing career was over, he went on to graduate from MIT. I have no idea what he is up to these days. If I had known about MIT when I met him, I might have asked him about it.

'81 Donruss Tracker: 75/100

Saturday, September 18, 2010

1981 Donruss, Danny Darwin

#147 Danny Darwin

I am now back to my favorite set, 1981 Donruss. Actually, '81 Donruss is not my favorite set, it is just my favorite set to get signed. Up first is Danny Darwin.

I got this card signed through the mail earlier this summer. I sent it to Danny care of the Chattanooga Lookouts where he was the teams pitching coach this year. I mailed the card out in the first week of May and I got it back about seven weeks later. It's not the fastest turnaround I have ever had, but I'm not going to complain about it. In fact, most of the '81 Donruss cards I am posting this week are cards that I mailed out at the beginning of May, but didn't get back untill after I posted the last round '81s.

I was surprised to see that Danny had a 21 year career. That's a long time to pitch. He broke into the Majors in 1978 and he threw his last pitch in 1998. During that timespan, he pitched for the Rangers, Brewers, Astros, Red Sox, Blue Jays, Pirates, White Sox, and Giants. He never made an All Star team and he never got to play in the playoffs, but he had a nice career nonetheless. He finished his career with a 171-182 record with a 3.84 ERA and 32 saves. That's not too bad for a guy that didn't even get drafted.

'81 Donruss Tracker: 74/100

Friday, September 17, 2010

Bob Apodaca Day Contest #3

It is time for the third and final contest. When I posted the first Bob Apodaca card, I mentioned that I got the cards signed after Bob was watching a pitcher's bullpen session. To win contest #3, all you have to do is guess which pitcher was throwing his bullpen session for Bob that day. Again, just one guess per person and I'll keep the contest open until there is a winner. Here is the prize.

This is a Mickey Mantle bobblehead that was a stadium giveaway at an Oklahoma Redhawks game in 2008. Thanks to Topps, I'm sure most people are a little burnt out on Mickey. But, this one is a little different and it has him in what I would assume would be a high school or American Legion uniform. Don't worry, the actual bobblehead is still in its original box and not the dusty one in the picture.

So, get to guessing and good luck!

1978 Topps, Bob Apodaca

#592 Bob Apodaca

Here is the third and final card for Bob Apodaca Day.

There is still plenty of time to enter contest #2 and contest #3 will be coming up shortly.

Bob Apodaca Day Contest #2

There was quick winner in the first contest and I wouldn't expect the same thing in this contest (but you never know). This contest has to do with my header. Every once in a while, I will put some new cards on it. The last time I did that, I added two cards. The first person to correctly guess either card will be the winner. You are limited to one guess.

The winner of this contest will get one of the three cards Bob signed for me and the winner gets to choose the card. I'm getting ready to head to the card shop now, and I might throw in a couple of packs if someone has guessed correctly by the time I get back.

Good luck!

Mmosley won the first contest and he is still eligible to enter the remaining contests.

1976 Topps, Bob Apodaca

#16 Bob Apodaca

Here is the second card that Bob signed for me in May.

I mentioned in the last post that Bob only played in parts of five seasons with the Mets. In that timeframe, he pitched in 184 games for them (only 11 games were starts) and he posted a 16-25 reacord with 26 saves and a 2.86 ERA. His best year was probably the 1975 season when he posted a 1.49 ERA in 84.2 innings of work, while saving 13 games.

Bob seems like he was a very dependable relief pitcher. It's too bad his arm didn't hold up.

Bob Apodaca Day contest #1

Here is the first of three quick contests today. To win this one, all you have to do is tell me who was the MVP of the 2010 American Association All Star Game. The first person to leave the correct guess in the comments will win this:

This is a 1954 Red Man card of the 1953 American League MVP, Al Rosen.

If you miss out on this one, there will still be two more contests later today, so keep checking back.

1975 Topps, Bob Apodaca

#659 Bob Apodaca

Here is the first of the three Bob Apodaca cards. I got them all signed back in May when the Rockies were in Kansas City for the first weekend of interleague play. Bob is the Rockies pitching coach and I was able to get him to sign these cards for me while the '85 Royals were taking on the '85 Cardinals during the '85 Classic softball game. Bob was in the bullpen watching a pitcher's bullpen session and he stopped and signed the cards for me afterwards while on his way to the dugout.

I was surprised to learn that Bob only pitched in the Majors for four seasons (not counting the one year he pitched in one game). I have three different cards of him signed, so I figured I had three-fourths of the cards Topps made of him. Boy, was I wrong. Topps issued cards of Bob in 1979 and 1980 even though he hadn't appeared in a game since 1977. Bob missed all of the '78 and '80 seasons (and only pitched in two minor league games in '79), so I am guessing that he had some kind of major surgery and the Mets kept him on the 60-day disabled list. It just seems strange that Topps would still issue a card of someone that hadn't piched in two seasons.

I will have contest number one coming up here in a bit.

Bob Apodaca Day!

It is Bob Apodaca Day here at Autographed Cards. Why is it Bob Apodaca Day you ask? Well, I have three Bob Apodaca autographs to post and, with the way I do things, I have nothing to post between them. So, rather than drawing the posts out over a day or two, I am going to post them all today. And, to make things a little interesting, I will be having a little contest after each post. So keep checking back today to win some free cards.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

1974 Topps, Skip Lockwood

#532 Skip Lockwood

This is the next to last card that I got signed at the Kansas City A's reunion. I was able to get this card signed after Skip came down from the suites to leave. He was with his wife and she had her ID badge on and I could see that her last name was Lockwood. So, I asked the gentleman beside her if he was Skip and it was and when I asked if he would sign, he said yes. So, I started to flip through my book for the cards of Skip. I must have been tearing through the book like a madman because Skip told me to take my time since he wasn't in a hurry. I thought that was really nice since he was obviously leaving the park, but yet he still had time to sign a couple of autographs.

Skip is one of the interesting stories for the Kansas City A's. He made his A's debut in 1965 as a third baseman. He played in 42 games that season and hit .121 (4-33). After that, he went back to the minors and was converted to a pitcher. He pitched in the A's minor league system until he was taken by the Seattle Pilots in the expansion draft. I think it's pretty cool that a guy whose tenure with a team was 42 at-bats (while playing a position he isn't known for today) still comes back for the reunions. I know there are guys who played in Kansas City for much longer than that who do not attend the event.

I now have a whopping two cards signed from the 1974 set and both of them are airbrushed (see the other here). I may have to continue with the trend and only get '74s signed if they are airbrushed.

Tomorrow is going to be Bob Apodaca Day here at Autographed Cards. It should be a unique day and I might even have some quickie contests throughout the day, so check back a couple of times tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

1973 Topps, Harmon Killebrew

#170 Harmon Killebrew

It's been a long summer here at Autographed Cards and, unfortunately, I do not have much to show for it. I've only been to a small handful of Royals games and I didn't have much success on the autograph front. Because of that, I've supplemented my fix by going to Wichita Wingnuts games instead. Those games are entertaining and all, and I usually come home with all of my cards signed, but it isn't the same as 'graphing Major Leaguers or even minor leaguers that are only a step away from the bigs. I've only been to four ballparks this year that I had never been to before and that is the lowest total since I was in Iraq in 2005.

With all that being said, there was one bright spot from my summer and that was the Rickwood Classic. I truly intended on doing a write-up of the event after I got back, but one thing lead to another and I was having a hard enough time getting an autographed card posted on here daily. Before I knew it, the Rickwood was a month in the past and I scrapped the idea altogether (I just finished up my scorecard from that game three days ago).

But now, I have finally finished up my 2003 cards and am a week into doing my between years recap. So here is one of the Harmon Killebrew autographs that I got at that event.

Harmon was invited to Rickwood to throw out the first pitch and sign autographs afterwards. I was hoping to get some stuff signed by him while he was taking or leaving the field, but Harmon wasn't signing for anyone except for a couple of ballplayers.

After the ceremonial first pitch, my friend, Dustin, and I walked around the "concourse" a few times to try to figure out where Harmon was going to be signing. We didn't find the spot or even anyone who knew where he was going to be, so we sat down to watch the game. After the first inning was over, there was an announcement to where Harmon was signing and we headed there.

I ended up going through the line twice and I was able to get two cards and a ball signed. The other card was given away in the First Annual College World Series Contest and Ryan, from the Great Orioles Autograph Project, was the lucky winner. You can see the card on his blog here and if you are bored, read the post-sized comment I left about getting that card signed.

During the signing, Harmon was great. He was taking pictures with fans and telling stories and answering questions. It was exactly like every Hall of Fame encounter should be, but rarely is. I even got a chance to ask him about the days he spent with Kansas City in his final season and I was a little surprised at the response I got. He said that that was the toughest year of his career and he was battling injuries and not playing like he expected himself to. I almost wish I hadn't even brought it up to him.

I only had two cards of Harmon from his playing days- this one and a 1956 Topps card. I like getting vintage cards signed and all, but I decided against that one.

I know it is long overdue, but here are some pictures from the Rickwood Classic. No commentary, just pictures (click on images for a larger view). If you have any questions about them, email me or ask in the comments.

Monday, September 13, 2010

1970 Topps, Jose Azcue

#294 Jose Azcue

First off, this card is the first time that I had ever seen Joe Azcue referenced as Jose. I know that he is Cuban and his name really is Jose, but why would Topps wait eight years after releasing their first Joe Azcue card to finally put his given first name on the card? I know Topps liked Americanizing the Hispanic names during the '60s, but why stop in 1970? Joe still goes by Joe today, so I doubt Topps put Jose on the card because of Joe's urging. Good ol' Topps, making no sense since 1970.

Here is another card from the Kansas City A's reunion. There was a guy at that game who went to the game just to see Joe. He had met him a long time ago and wanted to know if Joe remembered who he was. He was hoping to meet up with him prior to the game, but he got stuck in traffic for two hours just like I did. So, he ended up waiting by me at the base of the stairs that led up to the A's suite. He finanlly found some one to listen to his story and he talked that person in getting Joe down there to talk to him. Joe came down and talked to the guy a bit and I was able to get Joe to sign this card afterward. It was one of the easier autographs of the day.

Joe played in the Majors for parts of eleven seasons and he played with the Reds, A's, Indians, Red Sox, Angels, and Brewers. His best season probably came in 1963 when he had career highs in doubles, homers, and RBI. He finished his career a .252 hitter with 50 home runs. But, the best part about Joe was his throwing arm. In 1966, Joe threw out 62% of the baserunners that attempted to steal on him and for his career, he threw out 45.2%. It seems that the best part of Joe's game was shutting down the running game.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

1970 Topps, Diego Segui

#2 Diego Segui

Here is another card from the Kansas City A's reunion at the T-Bones game in July. This was the first card that I got signed that day by a former A and it is also the first Pilots card that I ever got signed. Diego was one of the two A's that I was able to catch before they headed up to their suite.

Diego pitched in the Major Leagues for 15 seasons. In that span, he managed to play for six teams- the A's (three different stints), Senators, Pilots, Cardinals, Red Sox, and Mariners. He was a starter early in his career, but he spent a majority of his time coming out of the 'pen. He was a twelve game winner for the expansion Pilots in 1969. That was the most games he ever won in a season and he did it in 66 appearances (8 starts). Four years later with the Cardinals, he posted a career high of 17 saves, as well. For his career, Diego was 92-111 with 71 saves and a 3.81 ERA.

I wonder how many players actually played for the Pilots and Mariners. There can't be too many.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

1969 Topps, Jim Gosger

#482 Jim Gosger

I got this card signed at the Kansas City A's reunion as Jim was leaving the ballpark. He signed this card and I thanked him and then he replied with something that I had never heard before. He actually thanked me for asking for his autograph. I didn't even know how to respond to that and I just stood there thinking "did he just say that" as he walked off. Looking back on it now, I can tell that it was a sincere thank you and I hope that my asking for his autograph capped off his night at the ballpark. If so, it would most likely be a first for me.

Jim played in the Majors for parts of ten seasons with the Red Sox, A's, Pilots, Mets, and Expos. He was a light hitting outfielder that only appeared in more than 100 games in a season twice. He finished his career with a .226 average with 30 home runs.

I love the quote on his Baseball Almanac page. "I didn't think that I was I that bad of a ballplayer, but they're (the media) making a believer out of me." - Jim Gosger (1969).

This is the first Seattle Pilots card that I have posted on here. It is not the first Pilots card that I got signed (that one is for tomorrow), but it it the first to be posted.

Friday, September 10, 2010

1965 Topps, Billy Bryan

#51 Billy Bryan

Here is another card from the A's reunion. Obviously, the best part about this card is the colorful uniforms. You just don't see enough teams wearing yellow from shoulders to toes anymore. I think that both the A's and Padres are missing the boat on this one right now.

All kidding aside, those are some ugly uniforms. I think I would have a hard time watching a game with nine guys dressed like that out in the field. I guess that there wouldn't be any confusion as to who was on which team, though.

In the '60s, the A's were going through a bit of an identity crises. In 1960, they were wearing the navy and red uniforms that they had been wearing since they moved to Kansas City. Then, in 1961, they dropped the red from the unis, only to bring it back in '62. Then, they switched to the yellow uniforms in 1963. According to Dressed to the Nines, they wore this uniform in both their home and away games that season. That's something you don't see anymore. In '64, they wore the yellow unis at home and white ones on the road. They then reversed themsleves in '65 and wore the yellows on the road and the white uniform at home. They basically stayed that way through '67 before leaving for Oakland.

It appears that this photo was taken in 1963 since that was the last season that Billy wore 18.

Billy played in the Majors for eight years with the A's, Yankees, and Senators. 1965 was the only season that he played in more than 100 game and had career highs that year in every offensive catagory. He finished his career a .216 hitter with 41 home runs.

Billy must have batted in front of the pitcher most of the time. That is the only way a .169 hitter is going to get five intentional walks during the '63 season.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

1963 Topps, Lew Krausse

#104 Lew Krausse

Here is another card that I got signed at the Kansas City A's reunion in July. This was one of the easier cards for me to get signed that day as I found Lew on his way to the stairs to the A's suite. Someone else had stopped him for his autograph and when I got there, he had his ID badge showing so I knew who he was.

I bought this card from and they had a few Lew Krausse cards to choose from. I chose this one because it looked so strange. For some reason, the grass is airbrushed in the card and it makes Lew look like he is floating in the outfield. I don't have many '63 Topps cards to compare this to, but I hope it was a common thing in '63. Hopefully Topps will recreate the airbrushed grass with their 2012 Topps Heritage set. Interestingly, Topps used the same photo, without the airbrushing, for Lew's '64 card.

Lew's career lasted twelve seasons and he played for the A's, Brewers, Red Sox, Cardinals, and Braves. His best season was probably the '66 campaign when he finished the year 14-9 with a 2.99 ERA. Four years later, he found himself on a young Brewers team and he posted a 13-18 record for them. If you looked strictly at wins, that would have been his second best season. 1974 was his final season in the Majors.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

1961 Topps, Joe DeMaestri

#116 Joe DeMaestri

The next week's worth of cards all came from the third annual Kansas City A's reunion at Community America Ballpark in Kansas City, Kansas. The reunion took place on July 17th prior to a Kansas City T-Bones game. There was no formal autograph signing, so I didn't go all out when buying cards for the event. I bought one of each guy that was scheduled to be there (if I could even find one) and hoped for the best.

The day was moving along alright until I got to Lawrence, Kansas on I-70. There was a work zone there and traffic came to a standstill. I was hoping that the construction was holding up traffic, but that was not the case. It turned out that there were two accidents in a five mile stretch of road and it ended up taking me two hours to travel that five miles. So, instead of getting to the park prior to its opening, I got there ten minutes before first pitch. While I was standing in line to buy my ticket, all of the former KC A's were being introduced on the field. I finally made it into the park as the last two A's were being announced and I noticed that they entered the field from the first base side. I figured that they would leave the field the same way they entered, so I went down to the first base line and waited.

As soon as they were done taking pictures, most of them started heading for the third base line to exit the field. A couple left on the first base side, but I didn't have cards of them. By the time I had made it to the third base side of the concourse, most of the A's had already made their way up to their suite. There were a couple of stragglers that I was able to get, but, after that, it was a waiting game. I essentially had to wait for them to come down from the suite and be able to identify them to get their autograph. Needless to say, I didn't catch much of the early innings of the T-Bones game.

Joe DeMaestri was one of the few players I did get an autograph from. He came down with another KC A and of course I didn't recognize either one since I missed the introductions. So I asked the other guy if he was one of the former A's and he said that he was and I asked him his name. I didn't recognize his name since I didn't have a card with me, so I thanked him for coming out and shook his hand.

Right after that, I noticed that Joe was actually wearing his ID Badge and I asked him to sign for me. I don't know what his deal was, but he didn't seem to happy. He signed my card but he did not say a thing or even smile. I don't know if he was just ready to get out of there or if he disapproved of my lame tactic for getting autographs that evening.

As for Joe's playing days, he played for parts of eleven seasons with the White Sox, Browns, A's, and Yankees. He spent a majority of his time with the A's and for his career, he hit .236 while hitting 49 home runs. He even hit 6 home runs in a sesason five times.

Joe made his lone All Star team as an A in 1957. I have no idea what his stats were prior to the All Star game, but he finished the season hitting .245 with 9 home runs and 33 RBI. I guess that even as far back as 1957, the American League was forced to have a Kansas City player on the team. Some things never change.

Joe was packaged in the deal with Roger Maris that sent them to the Yankees from the A's.

Monday, September 6, 2010

2003 Upper Deck Vintage, Brandon Larson

#315 Brandon Larson

Here is the last card from 2003 for now.

This card was given to be by Paul, of Paul's Random Stuff, last December. Paul sent me about twenty autographed cards in that package and a healthy stack of Royals cards. But, out of all of the cool cards he sent me, this one was probably my favorite.

The reason for that is because I was a big Brandon Larson fan when he was in college. He only played in the NCAA for one season, but it was quite a season. It was 1997 and Brandon played for LSU. That year, he and Rice's Lance Berkman had a Sosa/McGwire-esque season, with the two of them going toe to toe to see who was going to lead the nation in home runs.

And to make matters better, I went to my first College World Series game that spring and guess who was playing. It was Rice and LSU. LSU was the favorite as that was Rice's first ever appearance in the CWS (it seems that they are there every year now).

Well, to make a long story short, I got to see both Larson and Berkman go yard that game as LSU defeated Rice and their number one draft pick, Matt Anderson, 3-1. It was quite a game and probably my most memorable college game I ever saw. Even though Lance played in fewer games than Brandon, he still came out on top in home runs 41 to 40. The NCAA would go on to change their rules for aluminium bats after that season and because of those changes, only three collegiate players have hit over 30 home runs in the past decade.

Unfortunately, Brandon's success in college did not transfer over to the Major Leagues. He did real well in the minors, but not in the Majors. He played in 109 games with the Reds over four seasons and he is a career .179 hitter with just 8 home runs and 37 RBI.

I am guessing that Paul got this card signed while Brandon was playing for the Somerset Patriots of the Atlantic League.

I'll be starting my recap tomorrow and I have got some cards from the '60s popping up for the rest of the week.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

2003 Upper Deck Vintage, Miguel Olivo

#224 Miguel Olivo

Here is the first Miguel Olivo card that I have to post on here. I got this card signed while Miguel was with the Royals in 2008. He signed it from the window of his car as he was leaving the the parking lot after a game. I'm pretty sure that is the only time I have gotten cards signed from inside of a vehicle and Miguel was very cool about it. He made sure to sign for all the kids and ladies before getting to me.

Come to think of it, I think that I have got autographs from Miguel from just about every spot at the ballpark except from inside of it.

Miguel has bounced around a bunch over the years. He made his Major League debut with the White Sox in 2002 and has made his way through Seattle, San Diego, Miami, Kansas City, and is currently playing in Denver. His stint with the White Sox lasted until the middle of 2004 when he was packaged in the deal that brought Freddy Garcia to the south side of Chicago.

Does anyone know what Joe Borchard is up to these days? I wouldn't mind getting his half signed to complete this card.

Speaking of this card, what exactly is a "Vintage Rookie"?

Saturday, September 4, 2010

2003 Upper Deck Vintage, Jim Bunning

#190 Jim Bunning

Here is another card that I got signed through the mail in 2008. I sent this card to Jim in mid November and I got it back on the fifth of December. Jim seems like a hit or miss signer and I may have got lucky to get this card signed. It did come back wrinkled, though, and I would suspect that Jim signed the card with the ball point pin while holding it rather than laying it flat on a table.

Jim pitched in the Majors from 1955-1971 and he played for the Tigers, Phillies, Pirates, and Dodgers. He won 20 games once and 19 games four times while making seven All Star games. In 1996, Jim was inducted into the Hall of Fame.

Since 1977, Jim has been involved in politics. He started out locally before getting elected to the Kentucky State Senate, then the US House of Representatives, and is currently a US Senator. He will not be seeking re-election this year.

Tomorrow would have marked the third day in a row that I posted a Hall of Famer, but I posted my George Kell autograph on the day he passed away.

Friday, September 3, 2010

2003 Upper Deck Vintage, Bobby Doerr

#163 Bobby Doerr

Here is a card that I got signed through the mail in 2008. I sent two cards to Bobby on the 28th of October and I had them back on the 3rd of November. That's quite a turnaround considering the cards were shipped from Kansas to Oregon and back.

Bobby played his entire career with the Red Sox and he played from 1937 to 1951. During that time, he was one of the best second baseman to play the game, both offensively and defensively. He hit over 20 home runs three times, including 27 in 1948 and 1950. He had more than 100 RBI six times with a career high of 120 in 1950. He made the All Star team nine times and to top it off, he had a .980 fielding percentage for his career. Unfortunately, Bobby had to retire at the young age of 33 because of a back injury.

In 1986, Bobby was inducted into the Hall of Fame. He is the oldest living member of the Hall and he is one of the best TTM signers out there. If you have never sent him a card to sign, you are missing out on an easy to get 'graph.

I've looked into getting a pre-1950 card of Bobby to get signed, but those things tend to go for $30 or more on ebay and I'm not going to spend that on one card just to get signed. I'll just be content with this one and my '08 Goudey.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

2003 Upper Deck Vintage, Vicente Padilla

#143 Vicente Padilla

Believe it or not, this card is actually signed by Vicente Padilla. See those scribbles over the Phillies pennant? That is Vicente's hurried ballpark signature.

I got this card signed by him at a Royals game in 2008 while he was still with the Rangers. It was a day game early in the summer, so niether team took batting practice. Luckily, most of the pitchers were out in the feild getting there work in, so I was able to get a few cards signed.

I really didn't think I would get this card signed since Vicente pitched the night before and he looked pretty tired after his running. But, when the pitchers started to head to the clubhouse, some kid asked him to sign and he did. Unfortunately, I was getting 'graphs from CJ Wilson and Robinson Tejeda at the time and I thought I missed my window of opportunity. But, I asked him to sign as he walked by me and he came over and signed my cards. I don't see why Nick Swisher had a problem with him. He seemed like a nice enough guy to me.

Now, if we could only do something about his signature.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

2003 Upper Deck 40-Man, Jeremy Hill (and baseball in Tijuana)

#250 Jeremy Hill

Here is the second and final card that I got signed by Jeremy Hill in Tijuana in 2008. The first card can be seen here. Like I said in that post last week, I'm not going to say anything more about Jeremy. Instead, I am going to tell the tale of my experience of baseball in Tijuana.

In 2008, my good friend Dustin and I went on our longest ballpark trip to date. It was our first trip west of the Rockies and we ended up seeing games in ten ballparks in nine days. We spent a majority of the time in Southern California and I thought that it would be a shame to drive all that way and not see a game in Mexico. So, we added Estadio Calimax to our itinerary, the former home of the Mexican League's Potros de Tijuana.

We parked on the US side of the border and walked into Mexico. We messed around at all the border shops and restaurants for a bit before hopping into a taxi to the ballpark. The ballpark really wasn't much to see from the outside. It had a gated parking lot, so it was hard to get a good picture of the exterior. Since there wasn't much to see outside of the ballpark, we bought our 600 peso ticket ($6) and entered the ballpark.

I was kind of surprised to see security at the gate there. I had to get my bag checked just like I do at most American ballparks. After that, we were greeted by the Potros cheerleaders who tied some Potros bracelets to our wrists. The cheerleaders were a welcome sight even though it seemed a little unusual to have them at a ballpark. Oh well, I can think of worse things to see at a game.

After that, we entered the seating area to check it out and to get Jeremy Hill's autograph. The view from the stands at the ballpark is certainly unique. With the blown-up cans of Coke and Tecate to the two mountains in the backdrop, the ballpark has a distinct look that is unmatched by any American park that I have been to.

Here is a good look at the seating bowl. Seats range from concrete bleachers, to the weird green seats seen in the picture, to normal stadium seats behind the plate. We didn't have a clue where we were supposed to sit, so we spent most of our time in the weird green seats and the bleachers.

I was kind of surprised to see that the park actually had a video board. It wasn't a very good quality one, but they had one nonetheless. I have learned recently that the board came from old Foxboro Stadium, the former home of the New England Patriots.

As for the game itself, it was unlike anything that I have ever seen in the US or Canada. For starters, everything was in Spanish, which I don't speak. It wasn't a bilingual park like Olympic Stadium was. Everything was in Spanish. I didn't even bother keeping score since I could even understand the starting line-ups as they were announced.

The second thing that was strange and annoying was all of the music that they played. In the US, the home team players usually have an at-bat song or two that is played when they come up to bat. As soon as they get into the batters box, the music is cut off and you won't hear anymore until the next batter or a stoppage of play of some sort. Well, in Tijuana, they do things a little bit differently.

It seems that the team only had four songs to play at the game I was at and they played them almost non-stop. There was a Mexican song, an Eminem song, a Dr. Dre song, and a Limp Bizkit song and they were all unedited. That's right: F-bombs at the ballpark. They would play the music while the batter walked up to the plate and cut it off when the pitcher started his windup. As soon as that ball hit the catcher's mitt, the music was back on. They did that for the entire game. The music constantly played and the person in charge hit the mute button while the ball was in play. There was one time when a player walked to lead off an inning and he already had a 3-0 count on him before I realized that play had resumed. All of the music told me that we were still between innings and I had tuned out the PA announcer since I didn't understand a word he said.

Another interesting part about the park were the vendors in the seating bowl. They had some of the strangest things for sell that I have seen at a game. One thing that they sold was cigarettes, which you could smoke anywhere in the park. I had no idea what many of the vendors were selling, but I can tell you that it wasn't hot dogs. One vendor came by with souvenirs which included a five foot long plastic horn. I asked him about because if it had a Potros logo on it, I might have bought it. He pulls the thing out and blows through it to show me what it sounds like before offering to let me try. Obviously, I did not buy that horn and it wasn't because it didn't have a logo on it.

One of the funnier parts of the whole experience were the mascots. The main mascot was a horse (I think Potros translates into Colts) and he had the cheesiest outfit that I have ever seen at a professional game. I've seen high school mascots with better looking outfits than that.

Then, for a few innings, the horse went away and he was replaced by the Tijuana Chicken (that's what I call him at least). The costume was obviously based off the the San Diego Chicken, but I don't recall seeing the Tijuana Chicken do anything too funny.

After the 2008 season, the Potros moved out of Tijuana. The ballpark was supposed to resurrect the Potros last season and put them in the independent Golden Baseball League, but the swine flu scared them out of that. But, Tijuana did join the Golden League this season and named the team the Cimmarones. The team might be under a new name and in a new league, but I would doubt that the way they present the game has changed much. It might not have been the most ideal environment for watching baseball (to me at least), but it is definitely worth checking out just to say that you've done it.

So, if you ever get a chance to see a pro game in Mexico, you had better take advantage of it. You will be in for the most unusual ballgame of your life.