Sunday, December 30, 2012

1974 Topps, Tim Johnson


#554 Tim Johnson

Here is something that I haven't posted in some time- a card that I got signed at a game. Tim managed the El Paso Diablos, of the American Association, this past year and I was able to get three cards signed by him when they came to Wichita at the end of the season. Tim seemed genuinely nice and even told me that he liked the ball club that Wichita had and that he hoped that they would win it all. I had hoped the same, but it didn't happen as the 'Nuts got swept in the championship.

Tim took over the Diablos in the middle of the season this past summer. The club started off 4-16 before Tim took over and they finished the year 47-53. Tim's 43-37 record got them close to playoff contention until the team stumbled down the stretch. Nevertheless, Tim did such a good job with the team that he was named the American Association's Manager of the Year.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

1974 Topps, Jon Matlack


#153 Jon Matlack

This is another card that I unlocked from the Topps Diamond Giveaway. Unlike most of the others I have posted, though, I had a little trouble getting this card signed through the mail. I originally sent this card to Jon last November to the address that is listed on SCN, but it came back returned to sender. I then waited around for a few months waiting for a new address for Jon or a success from the address that I used. I finally saw that someone got an autograph back from him from the original address this past September and I resent this card to him at his Texas home address. Just over a month later, I got my cards back signed and they were postmarked from Syracuse, new York. SCN is still listing the Texas address as his current mailing address and someone got a successful return from him about a week ago.

John pitched in the Majors for 13 years with the Mets and Rangers. He was the 1972 Rookie of the Year and he was a three-time All Star in the mid '70s and was even the MVP of the 1975 mid-summer classic. His best season was with the Mets in '76 when he finished the season 17-10 with a 2.95 ERA.

I traded for this card on the Million Card Giveaway site. I can't remember which card I originally had, but I know that it was a Reggie Jackson playoff or World Series card from 1974. I knew that I was never going to get that card signed, so I looked into trading it. I saw that Jon had a playoff card from the '74 set, but I could not find it by searching for it on the site. I found this one though, and I figured that this one would end up looking really nice once signed.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

1973 Topps, Jim Mason


#458 Jim Mason

Sorry about the lack of posts recently. I work in retail and last week was my one Hell week for the year. But, now that it is over, I should get back to my sporadic posting schedule. That is until I leave for the Fiesta Bowl next week.

Here is a card of Jim Mason that I unlocked in the Topps Diamond Giveaway. I wish that site was still up so I could see all of the wheeling and dealing I had to do to end up with the cards I did. The only requirement I had when finalizing the cards I wanted shipped was that they had to be from 1980 or earlier and the player on them had to sign through the mail.

Jim Mason played in the Majors from 1971 to 1979. He played for the Senators/Rangers, Yankees, Blue Jays, and Expos during his career and was generally used as a utility infielder. He was the everyday shortstop for the Yankees in 1974 and he put up his best numbers in that season, with career highs in every offensive category including average (.250). For his career, Jim was a .203 hitter with 12 home runs and 114 RBI.

Jim played in one World Series for the Yankees in 1976 and he got into three games. He was used as a defensive replacement, but he did get one at-bat. In that one at-bat, he hit a solo home run off of the Reds Pat Zachary. So, he career World Series line is 1-1 with a home run, RBI, and a 4.000 slugging percentage.

I sent this card to Jim last November and I had it back ten days later.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

1973 Topps, Eddie Fisher


#439 Eddie Fisher

This is another Topps Diamond Giveaway card that I unlocked in 2011 and got signed through the mail at the end of the year. I sent this card to Eddie at the beginning of November last year and I got it back twelve days later.

Eddie pitched in the Majors for for fifteen seasons and he saw time with the Giants, White Sox, Orioles, Indians, Angels, and Cardinals. He was a knuckleball pitcher that mainly pitched in relief. For his career, Eddie was 85-70 with 81 saves and a 3.41 ERA.

Eddie had an outstanding season with the White Sox in in 1965. That season, he pitched in 82 of the Sox 162 games (all in relief) and he lead the team in wins (15) and saves (24). His 15 wins were good for eighth in the league while his 24 saves ranked second. Plus, Eddie had a 2.40 ERA to boot and made the only All Star team in his career. He even finished fourth in the MVP vote behind Zoilo Versalles, Tony Oliva, and Brooks Robinson. Had the Cy Young Award been given out to the best pitcher in both leagues in 1965, Eddie would have been the logical choice for the American League recipient.

Powder blue jerseys with red script and red hats seem like an odd combination for the White Sox. Luckily, they only lasted for five seasons. I guess that the powder blue roads are better than the red pinstriped home uniforms.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

1973 Topps, Glenn Borgmann


#284 Glenn Borgmann

This is another card that I got signed through the mail earlier this month. Like Dave Rader a few days ago, I picked this card up from checkoutmycards and sent it along with an '81 Donruss TTM request. I sent the cards out to Glenn at the end of November and I had both of them back and signed about ten days later.

Glenn played in the Majors for nine seasons, spending all but one of them with the Twins. He was the Twins regular catcher for two seasons in the mid '70s before becoming a second or third string catcher for the remainder of his career. His best season came in 1974 when he hit .256 with 3 home runs and 45 RBI in 128 games. Glenn finished his career with a .229 average, 16 home runs, and 151 RBI.

I love Glenn's sideburns on this card. I also like how he has his name written on his glove. You don't see that in the Majors any more.

Monday, December 17, 2012

1973 Topps, Fergie Jenkins


#180 Fergie Jenkins

Here is the first of two cards that I got signed by Fergie Jenkins at All Star Game Fanfest this past summer. I got a card signed by Fergie four years prior at a charity old-timers game, but that card featured him as a Ranger. Since I usually think of Fergie as a Cub, I had to pick up this card of him from checkoutmycards.

With the Cubs, Fergie was a 20 game winner for six straight seasons from 1967-1972. He made three All Star teams during that span and won the Cy Young Award in 1971. That season, he went 24-13 with a 2.77 ERA with 263 strikeouts. He also hit 6 home runs that season and drove in 20 to help himself out.

I only remember Fergie doing one free signing at Fanfest. Most of the time, though, he could be found signing at the charity table for twenty bucks a pop, ball included.

I love the Cubs jersey on this card. The numbers centered on it are certainly unique.

For some reason, the Sharpie did not stick to this card too well. That doesn't happen to often, but I have seen it before. I don't know if I touched the surface before he signed it or what.

George Brett was the official All Star Game ambassador, but Fergie was the one that helped open the Fanfest ceremonies. Here is a somewhat blurry picture of him doing so.



Saturday, December 15, 2012

1973 Topps, Dave Rader


#121 Dave Rader

Here is a card that I got signed through the mail about ten days ago. I sent this card, and an '81 Donruss, to Dave towards the end of November and I had to them both back about eight days later.

I did not have this card in my collection, so I picked it up for fairly cheap from Checkoutmycards when they had their Black Friday sale. I figured that since I was posting some older cards right now, I might as well add to them a bit.

Dave played in the Majors for parts of ten seasons with the Giants, Cardinals, Cubs, Phillies, and Red Sox. He started out his career with San Francisco and was their everyday catcher for a couple of years before eventually moving into the back-up role. The Giants traded him to the Cardinals after the '76 season and Dave proceeded to change teams every season after that. He last played in the Majors in 1980 with the Sox.

Dave finished his career a .257 hitter with 30 home runs and 235 RBI.

In 1973, Dave finished second in the National League in intentional walks. He only hit .229 that year, so I hope he was hitting eighth.

Speaking of finishing second, Dave finished second in the '72 National League Rookie of the Year vote.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

1973 Topps, Rollie Fingers


#84 Rollie Fingers

This is another autograph that I was able to acquire at All Star Fanfest this past summer. Rollie signed at least twice for free during the event and he signed almost non-stop at the charity table, as well.

I got Rollie's autograph a few years ago at the College World Series. The problem that time was I did not know in advance that he was going to be there, so I had nothing to get signed. When I went to the card shop across the street from Rosenblatt to pick up some cards of him, the owner was too busy schmoozing with people to help me find any cards. Luckily, after some digging, I found two team sets with Rollie in it and I am now the owner of the '85 O-Pee-Chee and '86 Topps Brewers team sets. But, at least I had two cards for him to sign.

Rollie made quite a name for himself with the A's in the '70s. That is where he started his trademark handlebar mustache, which he doesn't quite have on this card. More importantly, he helped the A's to three straight World Series victories and was even named the MVP of the '74 Series. He never lead the American League in saves as an Athletic, but he did save 20 or more games for them in four seasons.

I am not quite sure how I acquired this card. It has been in my collection for some time and is a little beat-up. I think I might have got this card in a trade with the neighborhood kids when I was in grade school. I'm just glad that I got the card and was able to hold onto it for so long because it looks great signed.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

1972 Topps, Cookie Rojas


#415 Cookie Rojas

This is the second of four Cookie Rojas cards that I got signed at All Star Game Fanfest this past summer. I was glad to see that Cookie attended Fanfest because I did not have any signatures from him. And as an avid Royals fan, that was not good. I tried getting Cookie's autograph through the mail a few of years ago, but I never got it back. Turns out that he is not much of a TTM signer, which I did not realize at the time.

Cookie came to the Royals in 1970 after spending the first nine seasons in the National League. He quickly became a star for the new Kansas City Royals and he represented them in four straight All Star Games from 1971 to 1974. He brought a veteran presence to an expansion ballclub and was one of the reasons the Royals were able to make the playoffs in just their seventh year of existence and be over .500 in their third season.

Cookie's best season for the Royals came in 1973. That season, he hit .269 with 6 homer runs and had career highs in RBI (69) and doubles (29).

This is the last '72 Topps for a while. I got one signed through the mail a couple of days ago, but I am going to move on to some '73 Topps with my next post. I have six of them to show off including two Hall of Fame members.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

1972 Topps, Duffy Dyer


#127 Duffy Dyer

This is a card that I got signed just because I wanted to get an '81 Donruss card signed by Duffy. I had the '81 Donruss card in my collection. But, when I saw this card of him on Checkoutmycards.com, I decided I needed to have this card signed, too. So, I bought it and sent it to him right after Thanksgiving. He had both cards back to my house a week later.

Duffy played in the Majors for parts of fourteen seasons with the Mets, Pirates, Expos, and Tigers. He was mainly a back-up catcher, having only played in 80 or more games a season twice. His best season probably came with the Mets in 1972 when he had career highs in doubles (17), home runs (8), and RBI (36). That was also the only season in his career that he got over 300 at-bats. For his career, Duffy was a .221 hitter with 30 homers.

How could you not be a fan of a ballplayer named Duffy?

I am really starting to like getting '72 Topps cards autographed. Prior to this past summer, I only had two signed. Now I am up to eight. I got one more to post in my next post and I am looking forward to having five straight posts of '72 Topps showing on my blog.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

1972 Topps, Bart Johnson


#126 Bart Johnson

This is another card that I unlocked during the Topps Diamond Giveaway. I sent this card to Bart in early November last year and I had it back nine days later.

Bart pitched in the Majors for eight seasons, all with the White Sox. He made his debut in 1969 as a nineteen year old after playing in only A ball. He was 1-3 that September in three starts and one relief outing. He went back and forth from starting to relieving throughout his career. His best season came in 1971 when he finished the year 12-10 with 14 saves. He appeared in 53 games that season (16 starts) and he recorded 153 strikeouts and a 2.93 ERA despite walking 111 batters.

I am guessing that he started to have arm problems in 1972 since he only pitched in nine Major League games and five minor league ones. He then pitched in forty more Major League games over the next two seasons before missing all of the '75 season. He came back strong in '76 and logged his only 200 inning season and finished the year 9-16 with a 4.73 ERA. He pitched in 29 more games in '77 and that was the end of Bart's Major League career. He pitched in nine more minor league games over the next two seasons, but was unable to get back to the Majors.

At one time, I hated having cards signed in ballpoint pen. Anymore, though, I do not mind it at all as long as it is an older Topps card or an '81 Donruss.

Monday, December 3, 2012

1972 Topps, Fred Stanley


#59 Fred Stanley

Here is a card that I got signed through the mail on Saturday. I sent this card, and one other, to Fred last Monday and I had it back in a mere five days.

Ever since I got my 100th '81 Donruss card signed, I have been going all-out with the TTMs. I sent out twenty last Monday and probably another twenty in the month prior to that. I even went to my first card show in decades yesterday where I loaded up on some more vintage cards to send out TTM, though none of them were '81 Donruss. I got eight TTMs back in the mail today and it was like an early Christmas present for myself. That was the most that I ever got back in one day. I thought about opening one a day until Christmas, but I lack the control to spread them out like that.

Fred played in the Majors for parts of fourteen seasons with the Pilots/Brewers, Indians, Padres, Yankees, and A's. He spent a majority of that time with the Yanks and he played in three World Series with them from 1976-'78.

Fred was a light-hitting middle infielder that hit .216 for his career. He only got into 100 or more games during three seasons and he never hit more than two home runs in a season, which he did three times. He only hit ten home runs in the Majors, but two of them were off of Royals Hall of Famer, Paul Splittorff.

I am curious as to what hat Topps airbrushed over in this picture. Fred was with Cleveland in 1971 and he only played in six games for the Brewers in 1970. Prior to that, he played in seventeen September games in 1969.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

1972 Topps, Bobby Valentine


#11 Bobby Valentine

Here is a card that I got signed during the final month of the baseball season. I have had this card since the early '90s. I got it from a friend just because I had never seen a card of Bobby as a player at that time. When I first started collecting, Bobby was managing the Rangers and I thought it would be cool to have a card from his playing days.

Fast forward to this season and Bobby was named the manager of the Red Sox. He seemed to be a signing machine and I had been intending to send him this card. But, I kept putting it off and putting it off until the end of August when it became apparent that he would not be returning to Boston next season. I then made it a priority to send it to him and it took just over two weeks to get it back. Despite the fact that Bobby had always been a good signer from his home address, I think it is more fun sending stuff to team addresses. I guess it just takes me back to my childhood.

Bobby played in the Majors for parts of ten seasons with the Dodgers, Angels, Mets, Padres, and Mariners. He was a .260 career hitter that tallied 12 home runs in the Majors. He was a starter for a few seasons early on in his career, but spent the better part of it as a backup. After his playing days, Bobby went on to manage the Rangers, Mets, Red Sox, and Chiba Lotte Marines of Japan.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

1970 Topps, Larry Stahl


#494 Larry Stahl

About a month ago, I posted a dual signed '66 Topps "Rookie Stars" card of Ron Tompkins and Larry Stahl. I had originally sent the card to Mr. Tompkins first and the card came back mangled, care of the USPS. When I finally got around to sending the card out to Mr. Stahl, I decided that I should get a card of him that was in decent shape and this is the card I picked out. I picked this card over his '73 Topps card just because I love the early Padres uniforms and this card shows them off beautifully.

Larry played in the Majors for ten seasons with the A's, Mets, Padres, and Reds. He was a .232 career hitter who enjoyed his best season in 1971 with San Diego. That year he had career highs in home runs, doubles, average, and RBI.

For a career .232 hitter, it is kind of funny that Larry had some of best success off of Hall of Famer Bob Gibson. In 41 match-ups, Bob struck Larry out 11 times. But, Larry got 13 hits off him which was good for a .325 average. Three of the hits went for doubles and one for a triple.

This is now the oldest signed Padre card that I have.

Monday, November 26, 2012

1970 Topps, Bobby Wine


#332 Bobby Wine

Here is a card I unlocked in the Topps Diamond Giveaway that I had a little trouble getting signed through the mail. I originally sent this card to Bobby last November and about ten days later it came back returned to sender. I don't remember the wording on the RTS stamp, but it might have been undeliverable as addressed. My SCN membership had expired by the time I sent the card out and I didn't feel like paying for a new one then The best I could figure out was that he lives on an Avenue and I put something besides that (Road, or Circle, or something).

Since I was too cheap to re-up my membership for one address, I kept checking SCN this past spring in the free latest successes section. Eventually, someone had success with Mr. Wine and it was at the address that I had on file for him. So, I sent this card back out to him at the end of April and I was fortunate enough to get it back four and a half months later. It was one of my longer waits over the past year and I had pretty much forgot about it by the time it had come home. It's always nice to get a little surprise like that.

Bobby played in the Majors for twelve seasons with the Phillies and Expos. He was a light-hitting shortstop that hit .215 for his career while notching 30 home runs. He won a Gold Glove for the Phils in 1963.

It seems to me that the type of player Bobby was does not even exist in today's game. On Baseball Reference, it lists the ten players that were the most similar to Bobby and the two most recent ones last played in the '80s. I guess that goes to show how much offense is valued in today's game.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

1969 Topps, Juan Marichal


#370 Juan Marichal

Here is another card that I got signed at All Star Game Fanfest this past summer. Actually, my dad got this card signed. I already had this Marichal card in my collection and didn't feel like purchasing another one. So, I only took one card of him to the show. When Marichal signed, my dad stood pat in that line and I went ahead and got in the Tony Gwynn line. And, as always, my dad came through for me.

I had the opportunity to stand in line for Jaun's autograph before. I went to a Devil Rays game once in 2004 and it was Latin Heritage night. I knew that going in, but I did not know that Jaun was going to be there doing a free autograph signing before the game. So, my roommate and I spent a little too much time at the Bullpen (sports bar by the Trop) and were at the tail end of the autograph line once we made it inside. Of course, they shut the line down when we got within three spots to making it to the table where he was signing. I didn't have this card with me that day, so I guess it worked out alright in the end.

I just took a peek at Juan's stats and I was surprised to see that he never won a Cy Young award. He was a nine time All Star that had six 20+ win/200+ strikeout seasons in his career. I guess that just goes to show how tough the pitching was in the National League in the late '60s.

I was lucky enough to have this card given to me by a friend in the early '90s.

Two Hall of Famers in two days? Don't get used to that.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

1968 Topps, Gaylord Perry


#85 Gaylord Perry

Here is a card that I got signed at the All Star Game Fanfest this past summer in Kansas City. Gaylord did one free signing there and I made sure to get in that line to get this card signed and one other. I wonder what other card of Gaylord's was that I wanted signed.

I mention that he only did one free signing. For most of Fanfest, Gaylord could be found over at a booth signing for a charity. At that booth, you could get a ball signed by who ever was signing at the time for $20. The best part about it was that they supplied the ball as well. I doubt that they were official Major League balls, but that still sounded like a decent deal. I do not remember what the charity was for, but the three guys I saw there the most were Gaylord, Rollie Fingers, and Fergie Jenkins. If I wasn't so wrapped up in getting cards signed, and I hadn't got all three guys to sign for free at some point over the weekend, I probably would have donated some money for an autograph.

Unfortunately, when I think of Gaylord Perry, I usually think of him as a Royal or Mariner since those were the last two teams he played for. I was only five years old when he retired, so those two teams are about the only teams he played for on cards I own. So, when I saw he was going to be at Fanfest, I knew I had to have an older card of him. I bought this card from COMC.com for about two bucks and I am thrilled with the results.

Monday, November 19, 2012

1968 Topps, Pete Ward


#33 Pete Ward

Here is another card that I unlocked last year in the Topps Diamond Giveaway. I didn't do as good with the '68 Topps in the giveaway as I did the '67 set as this is the only one I was able to acquire. But, I was still able to get it signed and that is all that really matters. I sent this card to Pete in early November last year and I had it back in hand twelve days later.

Pete played in the Majors for nine years. He mainly played for the White Sox, though he did play a few games with the Orioles and Yankees. His best season came with the Sox in 1964 when he had career highs in home runs (23) and RBI (94). He hit .282 that season as well. After that year, his numbers dropped off quite a bit and he never reached the twenty home run mark again and he never hit over .250 in a full season again. Pete never made an All Star team and he never played in the postseason. He didn't even get a chance to pitch in the Majors.

For his career, Pete was a .254 hitter who tallied 98 home runs (four were grand slams)and 427 RBI.

Pete was born in Montreal and he probably has the least French-sounding name of anyone ever born in Quebec.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

1967 Topps, Dennis Bennett


#206 Dennis Bennett

Here is the fourth and final 1967 Topps card that I acquired through the Topps Diamond Giveaway. Prior to that giveaway, I had two cards from that set signed. Now, after getting another card returned in the mail this last week, I have seven signed cards from the set. I'm hoping that Topps does another card giveaway in the 2013 set as that was a cheap, easy, and fun way for me to get some older cards signed.

Dennis pitched in the Majors for seven seasons with the Phillies, Red Sox, Mets, and Angels. He both started and relieved during his career and only reached double digits in wins once when he recorded 12. That season was the 1964 season with the Phils and he also reached double digits in losses that year with 14. Dennis finished his career with a 43-47 record with 6 saves, a 3.69 ERA, and 572 strikeouts.

I sent this card to Dennis in early November last year and I had it back ten days later. Sadly, Dennis passed away about three months after signing this card.

I like how he signed the card right above his pre-printed signature. Luckily he signed it in blue instead of black so you can easily tell which one is which. It is pretty impressive how little his signature changed over the years.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

1967 Topps, Sammy Ellis


#176 Sammy Ellis

This is the third of four '67 Topps cards that I unlocked over a year ago in the Topps Diamond Giveaway. I sent this card to Sam last November and I got it back eight days later.

Sammy had an up and down career. He made his Major League debut with the Reds as a twenty-one year old in 1962. He pitched 28 innings that season and he walked 29 batters while posting a 6.75 ERA. He played in the minors all of 1963 before making it back to the Bigs in '64. That season, he got his command under control and walked only 28 batters in 122.1 innings. His ERA fell to 2.57 while he picked up a career-high 14 saves.

The following season was Sammy's big year. He finished the season with a 22-10 record while recording 2 more saves. He struck out 183 batters while posting a 3.79 ERA. Sammy also made his lone All Star team that season.

Unfortunately, Sammy's career went downhill after that season. His record slipped to 12-19 the next year while his ERA ballooned to 5.29. In '67, he posted a record of 8-11 while lowering his ERA to 3.84. After that season, the Reds dealt Sammy to the Angels and he went 9-10 in his lone season with LA. He was dealt to the White Sox before the next season and he was 0-3 with a 5.83 ERA before being shipped to the Indians in June. He never played in the Majors for Cleveland and, though he pitched in the minors for two more seasons, his Major League career was over at the age of twenty-eight.

But, thanks to Sammy's 1965 season, he still finished his career with a winning record of 63-58 and 18 saves.

Here is a fun fact about Sammy. He made his Major League debut against the Giants and the Giants starting pitcher that day was future Hall of Famer, Gaylord Perry, who was also making his Major League debut. Neither pitcher made it out of the third inning.

Monday, November 12, 2012

1967 Topps, George Altman


#87 George Altman

Here is the second 1967 Topps card that I acquired through the Topps Diamond Giveaway. This one features the former Cub, Cardinal, and Met, George Altman. I sent this card out the same day as the Ken Berry card I last posted. This one didn't quite make it back as quick as Ken's did, though. This one made it back in about twelve days, which is still a good turnaround. It's just impossible to compete with Ken's three day return.

George played in the Majors for nine seasons and all but two of them were with the Cubs. He had some solid numbers in the first half of his career which included back-to-back All Star teams in '61 and '62. He hit over .300 in both of those seasons and had 27 home runs and 96 RBI in '61.

After the '62 season, George was traded to St. Louis and his numbers started to slip. His average fell to .274 that season and his home run total dipped to just 9. He was traded to the Mets after just one year with the Cards and his numbers fell even more. With the Mets, he hit just .230 and they gave up on him after one season like St. Louis had done the previous year.

The Mets traded George back to the Cubs and he played out his final three seasons with them. His production continued to decline and, as a result, so did his playing time. By 1967, George was splitting time between AAA and the Cubs and not hitting so hot at the Major League level. Rather than call it quits, he went to play in Japan. He re-sparked his career there and he hit .309 with 205 homers in eight seasons overseas.

George made an appearance at All Star Fanfest this past summer. Unfortunately, this is the only card I have of George and it was already signed when Fanfest took place. He was a late addition to the show and I was unable to find a card of him, so I had to skip his line.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

1967 Topps, Ken Berry


#67 Ken Berry

This card was signed through the mail and it was my quickest TTM success ever. Ken lives down the road about 100 miles from where I lived at the time and it took just three days, from the day I dropped this card off at the mailbox, for it to make it back home. Considering that one of those days was Veterans Day and the feat is even more impressive.

Ken played in the Majors for parts of fourteen seasons with the White Sox, Angels, Brewers, and Indians. He was a light-hitting outfielder with a good glove that was good enough to earn him two Gold Gloves in his career. The most home runs that he hit in a season was 12 in 1965 and he finished with 58 for his career. He was a .255 hitter and made one All Star team as a member of the White Sox in 1967. In his lone All Star Game plate appearance, Ken struck out in the bottom of the 15th inning to make the final out of the game. The American League was down 2-1 with the tying run on first. The pitcher he faced was some guy named Tom Seaver, closer extraordinaire.

This card was unlocked in the Topps Diamond Giveaway.

There will be no more posts this week as I am headed to Texas to see my #2 Kansas State Wildcats take on the TCU Horned Frogs. Go Cats!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

1966 Topps, Dave Giusti


#258 Dave Giusti

Here is the fourth and final '66 Topps card that I have to post for now. This card was unlocked in the Topps Diamond Giveaway last year. I sent it to Dave to get signed a year ago and it took only ten days to get it back.

Dave pitched in the Majors for fifteen seasons with the Colt .45s/Astros, Cardinals, Pirates, A's, and Cubs. He broke in with Houston in 1962 and he both started and relieved until becoming a full-time starter in '66. That year, he won a career-high 15 games and he had double digit wins the following two seasons as well (through he had a losing record over those three seasons). He was traded to the Cardinals after the '68 season and he appeared in only 22 games with them and went 3-7 with a 3.61 ERA.

After his lone season in St. Louis, Dave was dealt to the Pirates where he became the Bucs closer. He racked up 20 or more saves in his first four years with Pittsburgh including a career-high and league-leading 30 in 1971. In 1973, he made his lone All Star team..

He pitched in Pittsburgh into the 1976 season before he was sent to Oakland halfway through that season. He was then sold to the Cubs after the season and he finished his career with the Cubbies in '77.

For his career, Dave was 100-93 with 145 saves, a 3.60 ERA and 1,103 strikeouts.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

1966 Topps, Cookie Rojas


#170 Cookie Rojas

This is another card that I got signed at the All Star Game Fanfest this past summer. Since the game was in Kansas City, many of the former players that signed autographs had some sort of tie to KC. Cookie spent the last part of his career with the Royals and had his best seasons with them. But, since my collection includes so many Royals autographs as it is, I had to make sure to get a non-Royals card signed by him. So, I picked up this card for less than a buck and I made it happen.

Cookie made his Major League debut with the Reds in 1962 at the age of 23. His time with Cincy was short-lived, however, as he was traded to the Phils after that season. He played in Philadelphia for seven seasons and made his first All Star team as a Phillie in 1965. That season, Cookie hit over .300 for the first time in his career.

Prior to the 1970 season, Cookie was traded to the Cardinals in the great Curt Flood trade. He got off to a miserable start in St. Louis and was hitting .106 through 23 games. The Cards then traded him to Kansas City and a star was born. But, I'll get into that when I post my next Cookie card.

All I have to say about this card is that I love the glasses!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

1966 Topps, Rene Lachemann


#157 Rene Lachemann

This is the third and final Rene Lachemann card that I have to post. I got the cards signed in the summer of 2011 when I went to Colorado Springs for a game. Rene was the batting coach for the Colorado Springs Sky Sox and I was able to get my cards signed just before the game started. For a minute, though, I didn't think he was going to sign because he said he didn't have time. Then he stopped and talked to one of the grounds crew for a bit. After he finished up that conversation, he came straight over to me and signed all three cards that I had. The game was about to start and people were leaving the dugout area to find their seats, so maybe Rene just didn't want to get stuck signing for a crowd. Whatever reason, it worked out for me.

Rene played in the Majors for parts of three seasons. The bulk of his playing time came in his rookie 1965 campaign when he played in 92 of his 118 games. That year he hit just .227 for the A's while clubbing 9 home runs and 29 RBI. It is kind of odd that he had more homers than doubles (7) and triples (1) combined. It must have had something to do with his catcher speed.

This card is the only card from the '60s that I have ever got signed by an active coach at a game. It is pretty cool that he is still active at the highest level of the minor leagues even though he broke into the Majors over forty-five years ago.

The other two cards that Rene signed for me were a Mariners manager card and a Brewers manager card, both from the early '80s.

Monday, October 29, 2012

1966 Topps, Ron Tompkins/Larry Stahl


#107 Ron Tompkins/Larry Stahl

This is a card that I originally posted a little over a year ago. The only difference is that when I first posted it, it did not include Larry Stahl's signature on it. I sent the card to Ron Tompkins first since I bought the card to try to get signed in person at a Kansas City A's reunion. When I failed at that attempt, I sent the card to Ron and it came back signed, but with many creases in it. Needless to say, I was a little bummed out when that happened.

When I first posted the card, I asked if I should send that card to Stahl as is or try again with a new card. Ryan, from The Great Orioles Autograph Project, thought that I should send the card as is as "it's got some character now". I was a little reluctant to do so at first, but I eventually tracked down Larry's address and I sent the card out. I mailed it off in the middle of September and I had it back five days later. It was a nice and speedy return.

I'm glad that I took Ryan's advice and sent the card to Stahl as is. The card now has two signatures on it, so who cares if there are eight creases on one side of it. At least it is complete and that makes it a gem mint ten in my book!

This is the second oldest dual signed card that I own.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

1965 Topps, Ty Cline


#63 Ty Cline

Yesterday, I said that I had a signed card from every team that played in the Major Leagues since 1952. I made that assumption based off of the Colt .45 card that I posted yesterday and the fact that I had gotten this card signed before that one. This is my first and only signed Milwaukee Braves card. The only problem is that I overlooked one thing. The Braves played in Boston in 1952 before moving to Milwaukee the following year and I do not have a signed Boston Braves card. So, I now have another goal to achieve.

Ty played in the Majors for twelve seasons with the Indians, Braves, Cubs, Giants, Expos, and Reds. He was mainly used as a reserve as he only got 300 or more at-bats in a season once and that was with Cleveland in 1962. He was a career .238 hitter that tallied 125 RBI and 6 home runs in his career. Two of the home runs he hit were off of future Hall of Famers Don Drysdale and Jim Bunning.

I unlocked this card in the Topps Diamond Giveaway in 2011. I sent the card to Ty in the beginning of November last year and I had it back seven days later. I wish I was getting ready to send out my Topps Golden Giveaway cards right now. If only cards were unlocked in the giveaway and not virtual coins.

Does anyone have any suggestions for former Boston Braves players that sign through the mail?

Friday, October 26, 2012

1964 Topps, Hal Brown


#56 Hal Brown

1964 Topps was the last Topps set that I did not have an autograph from. That all changed this past July when I got this card back from Hal Brown. I now have a signed card from every Topps base set since 1952. Also with this card, I have a signed card from every team that played in the Majors since '52 including both renditions of the Senators, Pilots, Browns, Brooklyn Dodgers, Philadelphia and Kansas City A's, and New York Giants. So, crossing off the Colt .45s and 1964 Topps was a nice little milestone I accomplished.

Hal had a long career in the Majors that spanned fourteen seasons with the White Sox, Red Sox, Orioles, Yankees, and Colt .45s. He started and relieved and spent a bulk of his time with Baltimore. He reached double digits in wins four times while attaining a career-high of 12 in 1960 with the O's. He finished that season 12-5 with a 3.06 ERA. For his career, Hal was 85-92 with 11 saves and a 3.91 ERA and 710 strikeouts.

I sent this card to Hal during the first week of June and I got it back in the final week of July. For a bit, I was wondering if I was going to get this card back.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

1962 Topps, Roy Sievers


#220 Roy Sievers

Here is the second card that I sent to Roy when I sent him his '58 Topps card. I had bought that card about three years ago with the hopes of sending it to him. Then, 2011 rolled around and Topps Heritage came out in the form of the 1962 Topps set. That was when I realized that I didn't have a signed card from the '62 set. So, I picked up this card from checkoutmycards and then it took me another year to get around to sending it out to him.

When I finally did get this card back in the mail, it got me thinking about which Topps sets I did not have any autographs on. That prompted me to figure it out and pick up some cards from the Topps sets where I was lacking autographs. After I post my next post, I will have posted a card from every base Topps set up to 2006. Now, I just need to figure out which early Bowman sets I need autographs on and add those to my collection, too. It is fun to get autos on the early sets.

No, this card is not badly mis-cut. For some reason, I put my cards into my scanner upside-down. I was going to re-scan it, but I figured it wasn't worth the time of digging the card back out and warming up the scanner again. It is not like the scanner lopped off anything important.

Monday, October 22, 2012

1961 Topps, Minnie Minoso


#380 Minnie Minoso

Here is a card that I was able to get signed at the All Star Game Fanfest this past summer in Kansas City. I took two cards of Minnie with me to the event with the hopes of getting them both signed. Minnie, however, only had one signing while I was there and I was stuck in the Tony Gwynn line at that time. Luckily, my always willing to help out Dad struck out on his own and stood in the Minoso line to get this card signed for me.

Minnie played in the Majors for about seventeen seasons with the Indians, White Sox, Cardinals, and Senators. He was a nine-time All Star and a .298 career hitter that finished with 186 home runs and 1,023 RBI. Minnie's claim to fame is being the last player to play in the Majors in five different decades. He made his debut in 1949 and then played every season from 1951 through 1964. Minnie left the Majors after the '64 season and he kept playing in Mexico through 1973. Then, the White Sox brought him back for three games in 1976 so he got into a game for a fourth decade. They then did the same thing again in 1980 to get him into a game for a fifth decade.

As if that wasn't enough, the independent St. Paul Saints got Minnie into a game with them in 1993 and, again, in 2003. So, Minnie can claim that he played professionally in seven different decades.

In Minnie's stint with the Sox in '76, he got one base hit in eight at-bats to become the fourth-oldest player to get a hit in the Majors at the ripe age of 50.

Minnie signed this card with a straightedge to keep his signature level on the bottom. Also, Major League Baseball was real big on authenticating every autograph at Fanfest. Because of that, you can see part of the hologram that was attached to the back of this card poking out over the top.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

1960 Topps, Fred Kipp


#202 Fred Kipp

Here is the second oldest card that I was able to unlock from the Topps Diamond Giveaway. For the most part, I had pretty good luck with the cards that Topps sent me in terms of condition. This one, however, was the poorest one that I received. While there are no creases in it, the corners are well rounded. But, I was able to get it signed through the mail and that is all that matters. Once that signature is added to the card, it is as good as mint to me.

Fred pitched for the Dodgers and Yankees from 1957 to 1960. The only season that he pitched more than five innings was the 1958 campaign and that season Fred was 6-6 with a 5.01 ERA in 102.1 innings of work. He started 9 games that season and came out of the 'pen in 31 others while striking out 58 batters and walking 45. Fred was a knuckleball pitcher, so that kind of explains his poor strikeout to walk ratio.

Fred is a fellow Kansan and was the first ballplayer that I had written to that lived in Kansas outside of the Kansas City Metro area. I sent this card to him in early November last year and I had it back eight days later.

I didn't notice it when I first got this card, but you can tell that the photo was taken in the Los Angeles Coliseum in the days before Dodger Stadium.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

1959 Topps, Al Kaline


#463 Al Kaline

After the Topps Diamond Giveaway ended last year, I let my Sports Collectors subscription expire. The only reason I signed up for it in the first place was so I could see if the players whose cards I unlocked signed through the mail. I still have the free account on there and I will check the site periodically to see if anyone is having success TTM with a player whose autograph I would like.

That was how I found out that Al Kaline signs TTM. I kept seeing success from Kaline with a note saying he charges a ten dollar fee for cards. Eventually, I broke down and I picked up his '73 Topps card. I got it from checkoutmycards for fairly cheap and was then a little discouraged when I got it in and it wasn't in that good of shape. So, I waited until my next COMC purchase and I was happy to land this card for less than five bucks. It has some wear and a little pen scribble on the back, but it doesn't have a wrinkle in it like the '73 did.

So, I sent this card to Al with a ten dollar check and waited. About ten days later, I had a letter in the mailbox with a Detroit Metro postmark on it. I was excited as I opened it up only to find this card unsigned with my ten dollar check. There was not a note or anything, so I was a little confused.

I decided that maybe Al didn't take checks, so I sent this card back to him with a ten dollar bill. Seven days later, I had another envelope in my mailbox with the Detroit Metro postmark. This time, the card came back signed and I am completely satisfied with the results.

If you want Al Kaline's autograph through the mail, make sure you send cash only. Checks are not accepted and I do not blame him.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

1958 Topps, Mike Baxes


#302 Mike Baxes

I picked this card up in the Topps Diamond Giveaway last summer. I unlocked a '58 Topps card of a guy that no longer signs through the mail and was lucky enough to trade for someone that still does. So, I sent this card to Mike in the beginning of November last year and I had it back nine days later. This was the oldest card that I acquired in either of the Topps giveaway promotions.

Mike's Major League career lasted just two seasons with the KC A's and he got into 73 games with them each season. His first season was 1956 and he got just 106 at-bats and hit .226 with 9 runs, 3 doubles, 5 RBI, and his lone Major League home runs. He didn't appear in the Majors at all in '57, yet he still made it onto this Topps baseball card. Then, in '58, he managed to get 231 at-bats and hit .212 with 31 runs, 10 doubles, and 8 RBI. He was also thrown out trying to steal six out of seven tries.

Mike's brother, Jim, played professionally, too, and saw some Major League action with the Dodgers and Indians in 1959.

Like most of you, I really missed the Topps card giveaway this year. I know I bought more cards in 2011 than I did this year just because of the Diamond Giveaway promotion. This year's promotion did nothing for me even though I was lucky enough to actually unlock a card of Roberto Alomar, which I then traded for an Eric Hosmer. I probably have four or five code cards laying around from the update set that I need to submit, but I am in no hurry to unlock some virtual coins.

Friday, October 12, 2012

1958 Topps, Roy Sievers


#250 Roy Sievers

Here is a card that I got signed through the mail this spring. I had bought this card, and another Sievers card, over three years ago and it obviously took me a while to get them in the mail. I originally bought the cards after seeing a post on Wicked's blog where he had success TTM with Roy. Prior to that post, I had never even heard of Roy before. So I emailed Wicked, and he was nice enough to supply me with Roy's address (that was before I knew about SportsCollectors.net).

Unlike the last three cards I posted on here, Roy had a long and successful Major League career. It spanned parts of seventeen seasons spent with the Browns, Senators, White Sox, and Phillies. He won the Rookie of the Year Award in 1949 when he hit .306 with 16 homers and 91 RBI with the Browns. He made four All Star teams in his career and his best season came with the Senators in 1957. That year, Roy hit .301 with 114 RBI and a league-leading 42 home runs.

I sent this card to Roy at the end of April and I had it back about ten days later.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

1957 Topps, Milt Bolling


#57 Milt Bolling

Here is another card that I got signed to fill a hole in my Topps collection. Before I got this card signed, I did not have a signed '57 Topps. So, I picked this card up from checkoutmycards and mailed it to Milt in June and I had it back seven days later.

Milt played seven seasons in the Majors with the Red Sox, Senators, and Tigers. He saw some decent playing time with the Sox in 1953 and '54 and he hit .263 and .249 during those seasons. He posted career highs in runs, doubles, home runs, and RBI during the '54 campaign. During the 1955 Spring Training, Milt broke his elbow and was limited to just five games that season. In 1956, Milt played in only 45 games. Then, in '57, he was traded to the Senators after playing in just one game. He lasted one season in DC and then one more in Detroit before calling it a career.

This is my oldest signed Red Sox card. It is ten years older than my second oldest signed Red Sox card.

Just to clarify, this card is a little mis-cut vertically, but not horizontally. For some reason, my scanner chopped off the right border in the scan.

Monday, October 8, 2012

1956 Topps, Bill Renna


#82 Bill Renna

Just like the last card I posted, this autograph was acquired just so that I could have a signed card from the 1956 Topps set. So, I bought this card off of checkoutmycards and sent if off to Bill in the beginning of June. I had it back nine days later.

Bill played in the Majors for parts of six seasons with the Yankees, A's, and Red Sox. He got into 123 games with the A's in 1954 and had career-highs in runs, home runs, and RBI despite hitting just .232. Bill hit 28 home runs for his career. Of those 28 dingers, 12 of them were hit during a duobleheader.

This is another cool card from the fifties. It is too bad that the background picture is a posed shot rather than an action shot, but you take what you can get. I can't even tell where that photo was taken. The building in the background looks like it might be Yankee Stadium, but I could easily be way off.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

1953 Topps, Bob Borkowski


#7 Bob Borkowski

This past year, as I was sending out and receiving my Topps Diamond Giveaway TTMs, I realized something. I realized that I was only a few cards short of having at least one signed card from every Topps base set. So, that prompted a new and easily reachable goal and I bought this card of Bob Borkowski from checkoutmycards and off it went in the mail. I sent this card to Bob in the middle of June and I had it back eight days later.

Bob played in the Majors for parts of six seasons in the early 50s with the Cubs, Reds, and Dodgers. He was mostly a part-time player, though he did see action in 126 games with the Reds in 1952. That season, he hit .252 (which was basically his career average)with 19 extra-base hits, 42 runs, and 24 RBI.

One of the home runs he hit that season came off of future Hall of Famer, Hoyt Wilhelm. That home run was an inside that park three run home run at the Polo Grounds, which I'm sure was fairly common with its extremely deep centerfield fence, that put the Reds up 4-1. The inside the parker was part of an eight run fourth inning in a game the Reds won 11-4. Bob recorded two more hits that day and tallied a walk and another run, as well. That was Bob's second home run of the week and the last one he would hit that season.

I absolutely love this card. It looks and feels like it is sixty years old. I love the old navy-colored Reds cap and the billboards on the outfield fence. But the thing I think I like the most about it is the American flag flying next to Bob's head. It looks like it was colored in with a marker. Why that makes me like it, I don't know. It just really caps off a good-looking card.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

1981Donruss, Rick Cerone


#346 Rick Cerone

I know I said that I was going to be posting some vintage cards, but that was before the mailman stopped by yesterday. I got one card in the mail yesterday and it was this card. This may just look like a standard signed 1981 Donruss card to you. But, for me, this is my 100th card from the set that I got signed! I finally reached my goal of hitting the century mark. It took me five years to do, but I finally did it.

I had no idea that Rick Cerone played in the Majors for eighteen seasons. He broke in with the Indians in 1975 and he final season was spent with the Expos in 1992. Between those years, he also spent time with the Blue Jays, Yankees, Braves, Brewers, Red Sox, and Mets. His best season came in 1980 with the Yankees when he had career highs in games (147), doubles (30), home runs (14), and RBI (85).

I sent this card to Rick on the 17th of this month and got it back eleven days later.

Now, I do not know what I am going to do. I still have a couple of '81 Donruss cards out in the mail, so I am not going to just stop collecting them. I would try to get the whole set signed, but that would just be frustrating since there are a number of deceased players in the set. So, for right now at least, I am just going to bump my goal up to 200 signed cards from the set. Maybe I will hit that mark another five years from now.

'81 Donruss Tracker: 100/100

Friday, September 28, 2012

2006 Upper Deck Special F/X, John Rodriguez


#811 John Rodriguez

Here is a card that I got signed at my first Wingnuts game I attended this year. The Nuts hosted the Cam-Am League's New Jersey Jackals that night and I took 36 cards with me to get signed. To my amazement, I came home with 36 autographs that night, which is still my best autographing day of the year. In fact, that is probably my best day ever considering that I went 36-36.

John was the Nuts big signing this year. By big, I mean that he actually had Major League experience. He got 332 at-bats with the Cardinals in 2005-2006 and he hit .298 with them with 7 home runs and 43 RBI. After 2006, it was back to AAA for John and he played at that level through 2009. Since then, it has been a mixture of indy ball and the Mexican League.

John was a major contributor for the Nuts this season. He hit .332 with 16 home runs and 81 RBI. He is even helped out in the community by offering hitting lessons at Lawrence Dumont Stadium. Sure, he charged a fee for the lessons, but it was still a unique opportunity for people in the area. Since his family did not make the move with him to Wichita, I guess he has some free time on his hands.

This is the only card from the '06 Upper Deck Special F/X set. I had never heard of the set before I got this card and just assumed it was a subset in the base Upper Deck set. But, thanks to Check Out My Cards, it appears that this was a stand alone set. I guess you learn something new every day.

It has taken me almost a whole year, but I have finally finished posting all of my 2006 autographed cards. I have a bunch of older cards to catch up on before I get to the 2007s. So, with my recent posting habits, it may be some time before I get to them. Hopefully you will enjoy some "vintage" autographed cards.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

2006 Upper Deck, Eliezer Alfonzo


#1172 Eliezer Alfonzo

Here is a card that I got signed last summer on my trip to Colorado Springs. Eliezer was playing for the Colorado Springs Sky Sox at the time and he signed both of my cards for me prior to the game starting.

I had never heard of Eliezer before I went to that game. So, when I just checked out his stats, I was really surprised to see that he has spent some time in the Big Leagues in six different seasons. He made his Major League debut with the Giants in 2006 and had a pretty good rookie campaign. He got into 87 games that season and he hit .266 with 17 doubles and 12 home runs while tallying 39 RBI. His OPS was a very respectable .767.

He only got into 26 Major League games the next season and 5 the season after that. He then played for the Padres in 2009, the Mariners in 2010, and the Rockies in 2011.

Even though Eliezer is a .240 career hitter in the Majors with almost 600 at-bats under his belt, he could not land a gig with an affiliated team in 2012. Instead, he took his services to Mexico. Sounds like Eliezer might be a candidate for the independent leagues next season.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

2006 Upper Deck, Melky Cabrera


#1134 Melky Cabrera

It is hard to believe that I was actually looking forward to writing this post just a couple of months ago. Around that time, Melky was a league leader is batting average and was just coming out of the All Star game as the MVP of the game. I, on the other hand, was only about eight cards away from posting this card and should have had it posted no later than two weeks after the game.

Then, a thing called life got in the way and it took me two months to get eight cards posted and the Melk Man had to get busted for taking testosterone. Damn you, life!!

So, anyways, here is one of the two Melky Cabrera autographs that I have in my collection. Melky was with the Royals in 2011 and I was able to get this card signed at Royals Fanfest prior to that season.

I actually took my time deciding which Yankee card I wanted to get signed by Melky and I put some serious thought into it. I eventually chose this card because of all of the open space and the lack of a facsimile autograph on it. Then Melky got a hold of it and signed his tiny signature on the only dark part of the card. Damn you, Melky!

In Melky-related news, the Melk Man, who technically still leads the league in batting, will not win the batting crown this year. There is some weird rule that would have allowed him to win it by giving him one "hypothetical" at-bat to qualify for the 502 at-bats needed to win the crown. But Melky, being the stand-up guy that he is, asked that the provision be waived this year so that the award would not be tainted. The Players Association and Commissioner's Office complied.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

2006 Upper Deck, Zach Miner


#1068 Zach Miner

Here is a card that I got signed in Omaha last summer while Zach was pitching for the Omaha Storm Chasers. He was hurt for much of last season and spent his time split between AA, AAA, and the disabled list. He must have been recently promoted back to AAA when I was there because the locals I was standing by were not sure who he was. I got lucky and took an educated guess and was rewarded with three signed cards by him.

Last season was Zach's only season in the Royals organization. He was originally drafted by the Braves and he saw his only Major League time with the Tigers. He pitched for them from 2006-2009 and posted a 25-20 record with a save and a 4.24 ERA.

This season, Zach found himself back in the Tiger organization again. He spent a majority of the time relieving for the AAA Toledo Mudhens and he finished the season with a 2-0 record with 2 saves and a 2.50 ERA.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

2006 Upper Deck, JR House


#1086 JR House

Here is a quick post showing the third and final JR House card that I have posted on here. This autograph was obtained in Des Moines in 2009 in between games of a doubleheader. JR was playing for the Omaha Royals at the time and he was nice enough to sign all three cards that I had of him.

You can see the first JR post that I did here and the second one here.

As pointed out by Paul, of Paul's Random Stuff, on the last JR House post, JR was the hitting coach for the Missoula Osprey this year. The Osprey are the D-Backs rookie level team and JR must have done an alright job as they are currently playing for the Pioneer League championship.

Monday, September 3, 2012

2006 Upper Deck, Jim johnson


#1022 Jim Johnson

Here is a card that I got signed at Kauffman Stadium earlier this summer. I went to a Thursday day game that day and Jim is one of the few pitchers that signed. I asked him to sign after he got done getting his work in and all he did was point to the dugout. I wasn't sure if that meant that he was going into the clubhouse or if he was going to sign over there. Since I get cards signed instead of baseballs, the dugout is not one of top choices to get autographs because you have to throw the stuff you want signed over the dugout to the player. So, I just stood where I was to see what was going to happen.

When Jim got to the dugout, he started signing balls for people. I was a little weary, but I made my way over there anyways. On the way, I saw a guy throw Jim a hat to sign. His throw, however, came up a little bit short and the hat landed on the dugout. Jim just leaned forward a bit and grabbed that hat pretty easily and I then had an idea. I didn't need to toss my card book the whole seven or eight feet to Jim. I just had to lob it about four feet onto the top of the dugout. That is what I did and Jim signed all three cards for me. He then winged the book back at me and I thought for sure that I was going to lose at least a card or two, but that was not the case. I really do not like throwing my card book.

Jim is having an impressive season, so far. Through 134 games, Jim has racked up a career-high 41 saves. He is currently tied with Fernando Rodney for the Major League lead in that category.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

2006 Upper Deck, Matt Belisle


#576 Matt Belisle

Here is a card that I got signed at Kauffman Stadium in 2010. I went to The K that day for the 1985 World Series softball game and I got there before the gates opened in the hopes that I could get some autos from the old-timers when they arrived at the park. Unfortunately, all of the old-timers arrived in a bus and didn't sign at all outside of the park. But, I did get lucky enough to get a few of the Rockies players when they arrived and Matt was nice enough to sign both cards that I had of him.

I took a couple of friends with me that day and one was a really good friend that is never able to get out to the ballpark. He had always heard of my autographing exploits and was looking forward to see me in action. So, we got to the main gate and he pulled up a seat on one of the limestone blocks outside of the park and opened a beer. Minutes later, a cab pulled up and it was time for me to get to work.

One of the things I hate about 'graphing outside of the park is identifying the players without their uniform on. It is hard enough to do it when they are warming up in jackets and it is a whole different ballgame when they are in their street clothes.

Anyways, a guy got out of the cab and I had no clue who he was. Luckily, there was a nice crowd outside of the park that day and someone pointed out that the guy was Joe Beimel. So I walked up to him as he was signing some things and I handed him my cards to sign. He took one look at them and handed them back to me and said "that's not me". I didn't have any cards of Joe and, in the heat of the moment, I got Joe Beimel and Matt Belisle mixed up and I handed him my Belisle cards.

To this day, whenever I am around my friend and the conversation turns to baseball or autographs, he always pulls out the story of the first time he saw me try to get an autograph. It is a little embarrassing for me, but he sure gets a good chuckle out of it.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

2006 Upper Deck, Bruce Chen


#525 Bruce Chen

This is one of the first Bruce Chen autographs that I ever got. I got this card signed in June of 2009 in Des Moines, Iowa while Bruce was a member of the Omaha Royals. The O-Royals played a doubleheader that day and Bruce pitched a complete game shutout in the second game that night. It was only a seven inning complete game because of minor league doubleheader rules, but a shutout is still a shutout.

Most of the cards that I got signed that day were autographed between games of the doubleheader. Two of the exceptions, though, were the two cards that Bruce signed for me. Since he was pitching the second game, he did not sign between games, but I was lucky enough to get him outside of the ballpark after the game. I was actually kind of surprised that Bruce signed because his wife and kid were waiting outside of the park for him. Nevertheless, Bruce still signed for everyone. He only signed 2/3 for me. But, under those circumstances, I was really amazed that he even signed at all.

Bruce has been a consistent presence for the Royals pitching staff since the end of that season. His 12-8 record and 3.77 ERA last season was even good enough for him to be named the Royals Pitcher of the Year. He has had a rocky 2012, though, as his ERA is currently at 5.68 while his record is 7-9.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

2006 Upper Deck, Lance Cormier


#522 Lance Cormier

Here is the third and final Lance Cormier card that I got signed at a Royals game in 2010. Lance was playing for the Rays at the time and he was nice enough to stop and sign all three cards for me. The first card I posted of him can be seen here and the second one here.

When I posted the last card of Lance last season, he had just been designated for assignment. That appears to have been the end of his career as I cannot find any stats of him for this season. He finished his career having pitched for the Diamondbacks, Braves, Orioles, Rays, and Dodgers and he was 24-28 with 3 saves and a 5.03 ERA.

I am pretty sure I mentioned this on the last two cards I posted of him, but I really like Lance's signature. Out of the three cards he signed for me, though, this one is my favorite. I like how his autograph kind of blends in with the blue line on the tomahawk on his chest. If one did not know any better, it might be thought that that was part of his signature.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

2006 Upper Deck, Wilson Betemit


#520 Wilson Betemit

Here is the second Wilson Betemit card that I have posted on this blog. I posted the first one almost two years ago and it can be seen here.

This is one of the first Betemit cards that I got signed and I got the autograph in late June 2010. Wilson was with the Royals at the time and the day I got this card signed was the last time I 'graphed the Royals parking lot before the game. That was also the only time that I made the trek up to Kansas City just just to 'graph the lot without going to a game.

Wilson is playing for the Orioles this year and, through 89 games, he is hitting .254 with 12 home runs and 35 RBI.

While Wilson was a Royal, he seemed like a decent signer. I got him by the Royals parking lot on at least two different occasions and I even got him a week after being traded to Detriot last summer. I'm not sure how his signing habits have been this year, but I am sure that Ryan, from the Great Orioles Autograph Project, will let us know after the season.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

2006 Upper Deck, Walter Young


#55 Walter Young

Here is a card that was given to me by Rod, from Padrographs, about three and a half years ago. When I received this card, this was the lone signed 2006 Upper Deck card in my collection. Since then, my collection of autographed '06 Upper Deck cards has grown a bit and, thanks to my sporadic posting, I should have enough cards from the set to get me by over the next month. I really should post more often since I have acquired a lot of older signed cards that I am looking forward to posting. I just need to make the time.

If I am not mistaken, Walter Young has to have been the largest individual to ever play in the Major Leagues. His Baseball Almanac page lists him at 6'5" and 315 pounds. He played in 14 games with the Orioles in 2005 and that was the extent of his Major League career. In his brief cup of coffee, he hit .303 with a double and a home run. The dinger came off of R.A. Dickey.

I like how this card lists Walter as a Padre even though he is clearly wearing an Orioles pullover. That is one thing I liked about Upper Deck- they didn't bother with all of the crazy photoshopping that Topps is known for. You know Topps has gotten carried away when they start photoshopping cards just to put a team's new logo into the picture.