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, 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.