Tuesday, December 31, 2013

1986 Donruss, Andy Hawkins

#284 Andy Hawkins

For some reason, when I was scanning cards for the blog, I completely overlooked this card. I thought that it had been in my collection for a while, but that was not the case. In fact, it is one of most recent acquisitions.

I got this card, and one other, signed by Andy outside of Kauffman Stadium before the Royals last home game this past season. I hadn't 'graphed outside the park all year because of the "No Autograph Zones" that had put up two years ago. But, since I had a less than stellar year 'graphing, I decided to give it a go and I am glad that I did.

At some point during the year, they did away with the "No Autograph Zones". It was still nearly impossible to get signatures from the Royals, but the open access to the visiting team made up for that. The Rangers were in town that day and I had my best day of 'graphing all season. I did not get too many cards signed by the players, but I made up for that by getting all of the coaches except for manager, Ron Washington. I think I ended up getting about two dozen cards signed that day, so I finished the year with a bang.

Five years ago, I posted a card of Andy that was given to me by Rod, of Padrographs. That card can be seen here.

See you in 2014!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

1985 Topps, Ned Yost

#777 Ned Yost

Here is the last '85 Topps card and the last Ned Yost card for a while. This is the third Yost card that I have posted in the past month and you can see the first one here and the second one here. This one was obtained the same time as the first one and it is a hurried ballpark signature. The one I posted from Fanfest is the best looking of the three as you can tell that he took his time signing it.

By the time this card came out, Ned's Major League career was winding down. After spending four seasons as a back-up with Milwaukee and Texas, Ned found himself in AAA for most of 1985. He did get called up to the Expos at the end of the season and appeared in five games for them. Those five games were the last of his career. He went on to play two more seasons of minor league ball with the Braves before joining their minor league coaching staff in 1988.

For his career, Ned was a .212 hitter with 16 home runs and 64 RBI. His best season was probably 1983 with the Brewers when he had career-highs in home runs (6), RBI (28), and runs (21).

Friday, December 27, 2013

1985 Topps, Tony Gwynn

#717 Tony Gwynn

Here is a card that I almost did not get signed at All Star Game Fanfest last year.

Tony Gwynn was the most recent Hall of Fame inductee at Fanfest that year and there were quite a few people looking to add his signature to their collection. He was doing two signings that day and I knew when and where he was going to be.

As I walked by the first spot where he would be signing two hours later, I was shocked at how many people were already in line. I did not get in that line at that time because there were other guys signing before Tony that I did not want to miss out on. I ended up getting in that line about an hour later and was told by the guy manning the line that we were not likely to get a signature. Nevertheless, it was worth a shot.

So we slinked out way through that line and we were cutting it close. Finally I realized that we were not going to make it, so I took off for the next line where Tony would be signing two hours later. My dad was with me and we usually go through the lines together so I can double-up on autographs, but I didn't want to miss out on other people because I was standing in line for three others. So, I went to the Gwynn line and my dad went out getting autographs from other guys.

When I made it to the second Gwynn line, I was amazed how long it was considering that Gwynn was still signing at the other line. But, I got on the list anyway and started walking down the line trying to find the end of it. I finally got there and chuckled about how far back I was. This line wrapped so far back that I couldn't see anything because we were stuck behind exhibits. So, I just sat down on the ground and waited.

Not too long into my sitting wait, a guy and his daughter came and sat down next to me. Not in front of me, or behind me, but next to me. They had been off chasing Cal Ripken, Jr. and were getting back into line where they thought they were before they had left. I'm pretty sure they had moved up the line about ten people. But, as long as they were not in front of me, I did not care.

Eventually, the line started to move. It seemed to go rather briskly at first only to eventually bog down. Next thing you know, there are only twenty minutes left and I hadn't even reached the actually roped-off lines. By that time, they were letting just a handful of people into the actual signing line. They would let them in, let them filter down, and then let in another handful.

I finally was about ten people from getting in with less than three minutes left for the signing and they started to let one more small group in. The girl that I had been behind the entire time in line made it through the threshold and I followed her like white on rice. They cut it off right after me and that guy who had been beside me started throwing a fit saying I had cut in front of them. I was about thirty feet down the line and the guy in charge started yelling at me to see if I had cut. I yelled back that I hadn't and I had been in that spot the whole time and turned around and got my card signed.

The guy that had been beside me must have told that guy some sob story because they ended up letting him and his daughter in, too. But, I got this card signed and could not have been happier. It was well worth the wait.

Monday, December 23, 2013

1985 Topps, Tim Stoddard

#693 Tim Stoddard

Here is the second of three cards that Tim Stoddard signed for me last spring. Tim is the pitching coach for Northwestern and I was able to get the cards signed prior to a game at Wichita State. The first card I posted was Tim's '81 Donruss card and it can be seen here.

I went to three non-tournament college baseball games last season. The main reason for going to each of those games was to get cards signed by the visiting teams pitching coach, all of whom pitched in the Majors. The first game I went to was a Kansas State game when they were hosting Nebraska-Omaha. Dan McGinn is their pitching coach and I went home empty handed when I found out that he didn't even make the trip to Manahattan. The second game was also a K-State game. That one was against TCU where Kirk Saarloos coaches. Kirk turned me down before the game and somehow evaded me afterwards. Again, I went home empty-handed. My luck changed when I went to the Shockers game and got Tim to sign my cards. I then immediately left and went across town to see the Wingnuts play and get even more autographs. It turned out to be a good day.

Friday, December 20, 2013

1985 Topps, Jim Beattie

#505 Jim Beattie

Here is the second card that I sent to Jim Beattie last year. I wrote to him to get his '81 Donruss card signed and I decided to throw this card in, too, because I love this set so much. The '81 Donruss can be seen here.

Now onto a rant about a totally unrelated topic.

This year, my fiance and I decided decided to donate gifts for a needy child. We picked a kid through the Salvation Army's Angel Tree. I work at a retail store and we did most of the shopping for the child there so I could use my employee discount. We got everything on the kid's list of things he needed and it was all in the latest Nike, Adidas, and Under Armour gear.

Yesterday, I come out of the back room at work and there is a lady at the register returning some items. Sure enough, it is all of the stuff that I had bought for the Angel Tree recipient. The lady had some stupid story about how her dad had bought the stuff and none of it fit. When I told her that I was the one that had bought those items, she was a little surprised. She told me that she appreciated my generosity, but none of the items worked out because the kid had a weird build. Since all she had was the gift receipt, she could only get merchandise credit and that was what she did.

At that point I was a little flabbergasted about what had just happened. After she left, my assistant told me that she had called the day before and was trying to figure out how she could get cash back for the items and that she was really frustrated about the whole thing. When I heard that, I immediately went from flabbergasted to pissed off. The lady is probably going to sell that card so she can buy booze or drugs for herself. That is obviously worst case scenario, but I highly doubt that much of it goes towards the kid. Had I known that she had called the day before prior to giving her merchandise credit, I would not have let her return the items. I would have told her to bring the kid in over the weekend and he could pick out what he really wanted from my store. But, that obviously did not happen.

Like I said, this was the first year that we had done the Angel Tree. If I hadn't purchased the items at my store, I would not have known what had happened to the items I donated and everything would had been fine. But, knowing what I know makes me sick. We were trying to help a needy child have a better Christmas and his crummy mom had to take advantage of the system. Hopefully, I pulled a 1/1 when we picked that kid and that kind of behavior is a rare occurrence.

Nonetheless, we were really bummed out over how everything turned out and will be re-thinking about how we help out the less fortunate next Christmas.

Sorry to drag my personal issues into my blog, but this whole ordeal has been eating me up and I felt like I needed to share it.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

1985 Topps, Joel Skinner

#488 Joel Skinner

A few posts ago, I posted a card of Oddibe McDowell from this set. In that post, I talked about how I upgraded the McDowell card that I had because the original one was opened out of a pack by a six year old in 1985. This just happens to be one of those such cards. I normally don't try to get those cards signed, but I happened to come across this card before heading to Arizona this past spring. I got Joel to sign for me once or twice when he was a coach for the Indians, so I wasn't too concerned about finding cards of him for the trip. But, when I was looking for a card of Gary Ward, I found this one and said "what the heck, I probably won't get him anyway".

So, I took the card and, sure enough, I got him to sign my first morning out 'graphing. Joel is the manager for the White Sox AAA team in Charlotte and I was able to get him to sign after the minor leaguers scrimmaged.

This card shows obvious signs of being over-handled by a six year old. The corners are well rounded, there are some (surprisingly) light wrinkles, and some surface wear from me showing my cards off on the concrete front porch.

1985 Topps were the first cards I ever saw and I love the set because of that. Since most of my cards look like this card, I ended up buying some unopened cello packs five or six years ago (about the time I bough a box of '81 Donruss). Thanks to those random ebay pack pick-ups, I now have some cards from that set that are in good shape and those are the ones I usually try to get signed.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

1985 Topps, Gary Ward

#414 Gary Ward

Here is the second of three cards that Gary signed for me in Glendale, Arizona this past spring. Gary is the hitting coach for the White Sox AA team and I was able to get the cards signed after the Sox minor league players scrimmaged.

Gary's signature looks a little rushed. But, it doesn't vary too much from the other signatures I have from him.

I just checked the Birmingham Barons website and it appears that Gary is going to be back with the team next season.

Monday, December 16, 2013

1985 Topps, Oddibe McDowell

#400 Oddibe McDowell

Last week, I posted a card of Oddibe McDowell that I had in my incomplete complete set of 1985 Fleer Update. That only reason that I sent that card to him to get signed was because I was finally sending him this card. I originally got this card in a pack in 1985 when I was six. Being that young, I wasn't too careful with my cards and all of my original cards from '85 and '86 are not in the best of shape.

I noticed a few years back that Oddibe is a good TTM signer and I have been trying to get this card to send his way. I first began by trying to acquire it in a trade on the Topps Million Card and Diamond Card giveaway sites. Unfortunately, not too many of these cards were unlocked and I could never get anyone to agree to a trade. I then started checking out Check Out My Cards occasionally. But, I could never find one for the price I wanted to pay for it. Finally, after periodically checking that site for a year, I found this card from the Topps Tiffany set. The Tiffany set is the glossy version of the set and I believe it only came in set form. So, I picked up the card, even though it has yellowed some through the years, because it was cheaper than the base card.

The signature came out nice and Oddibe even included an inscription. I always think it is neat when a player that inscribes Bible verses on the card inscribes two different verses on the cards.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

1985 Topps, Don August

#392 Don August

Here is a card that I sent out to get signed just because I love the subset. 1984 was the first year that baseball was in the Olympics, even though it wasn't a medal sport. To commemorate the event, Topps included these cards in the '85 set. All of the players were amateurs and a few of them went on to successful Major League careers.

Baseball became a medal event for the '92 games and lasted through 2008. Baseball was eliminated from the Olympics after that mainly because the best players in the world are not involved. The only way I see baseball back in the Olympics is if Major League Baseball finds a way to let its best players compete. The NHL does it by pausing its season for two weeks every four years. Personally, I think MLB is happy enough with its World Baseball Classic that it could care less if baseball was in the Olympics.

In five Olympics, gold medals were awarded to Cuba three times, with the USA and South Korea each with one. Team USA also won two bronze medals. Other countries to medal in baseball have been Japan, Chinese Taipei, and Australia.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

1985 Topps, Steve McCatty

#63 Steve McCatty

This is one of the reasons why I need to get a complete set of 1981 Donruss. Steve is in that set and I do not have his card. Because of that, I was not able to get the card signed when I came across him this past season. At one point, I was actually working on which cards I needed for the complete set. But I got sidetracked and never got one posted to this blog. One of these days...

Steve was the pitching coach for the Washington Nationals this past season and I was able to get three cards signed by him when the Nats came to Kansas City. Since I work in retail, I have to work most Saturdays. Because of that, Sundays are the days I get to go to Royals games. Batting practice is rarely taken on Sundays, so I mainly focus on pitchers because they usually take the field to get some form of workouts in. And I can go by the bullpen to get 'graphs from the bullpen and/or pitching coach. That is how I got this card signed.

This past season was not very good for me at the Major League level. While I never left the ballpark without at least one signature, I did not have as much luck with the pitchers as I have had in years past. It wasn't like I was getting turned down by everyone, though. It just seemed as if fewer pitchers were getting their work in after the gates had opened. I don't know if there were just doing it inside or if they got to the park earlier to beat the crowds. Either way, I hope it was just a one-year thing and not a continuing trend.

Friday, December 13, 2013

1985 Fleer, Rich Thompson

#U120 Rich Thompson

Here is a card that I got signed through the mail last December. The reason why I sent this card to Rich is because I had the privilege of watching a Spring Training game with him in 2006.

That spring, I drove down to the Tampa Bay area to watch a couple of games on a weekend. One of the games I went to was a Devil Rays game at the old Al Lang Field. The Rays were hosting the Twins that day and my friend, Terry Tiffee, was still with the Twins at the time. He left us tickets for the game and we ended up sitting next to Rich, who was Terry's agent. He was a nice guy and we did a lot of talking that day. You think you know a lot about baseball until you are sitting there watching a game with someone that played it at the highest level. Still, it was a fun experience.

Rich appeared in the Majors in three seasons with the Indians and Expos. He owns a 3-10 record with 5 saves and a 5.05 ERA.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

1985 Fleer, Oddibe McDowell

#U80 Oddibe McDowell

Here is another card from the '84 Fleer Update set that I got signed through the mail. I actually got this card back from Oddibe one year ago today after waiting just two weeks for it.

Oddibe was one of those rare talents that make it to the Majors really quick. He was drafted in 1984 and made his professional debut in 1985 in AAA. He spent a month and a half there and hit .400 before getting called up to the Rangers. He spent the rest of the season at the Major League level and hit just .239 with 18 home runs and 42 RBI. He got one first place vote for rookie of the year, but ended up finishing fourth.

Nonetheless, it is still cool seeing a Major League card (not counting Bowman) of a player that was drafted the previous year. It doesn't happen too often.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

1985 Fleer, Steve Kemp

#U64 Steve Kemp

A few years back, my best friend gave me a baseball card stocking for Christmas. The stocking contained some random unopened packs, various baseball related stuff, and a traded/update set from the mid '80s. The set was what intrigued me the most and I demanded to know where he had got it from. Turns out it was from a local hardware store, so I went over there the next day and bought three or four more stockings for myself. They each contained a different update set and I think I got one each from Score, Topps, Fleer, and Donruss (The Rookies), each from different years. Unfortunately, most of the sets had been searched and were missing some of the key rookies, especially the '86 Topps Traded set. This set was mostly intact, but it was missing Ozzie Guillen's XRC. But, since the set was not completely intact, I had no problem sending the cards out to get signed through the mail. So, that is how I got this card and the next two signed.

This is the third card that I have posted of Steve Kemp. The first one can be seen here and the second one here.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

1985 Donruss, John Wockenfuss

#549 John Wockenfuss

Today is opening day for deer hunting here in the state of Kansas and I cannot think of a better card to post than this one of John Wockenfuss. Even though John is a bow hunter and rifle season is what opened today, I can't help but think of him when I think of deer hunting in Kansas. The reason for that is because when I sent him his '81 Donruss card to sign, he sent that card and two more signed cards back to me along with a note with his phone number stating that he was looking for a place to bow hunt in Kansas. It is still the most unique response that I have received on a through the mail request.

I am glad that he included a Phillies card, too, as I always like getting cards from different teams signed by players. Variety is always nice.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

1984 Topps, Ken Oberkfell

#102 Ken Oberkfell

Here is a card that I got signed at a Wichita Wingnut game this past season. Actually, my girlfriend's boy got it signed after I gave him the card. He was excited as it was the oldest card that he had ever got signed. He got a few cards signed by the Wingnuts that day, too.

Then we got home and he sat all the cards by his TV. And they sat there. And sat there. Two months later, I walked into his room and this card had fallen on the ground. So, I picked it up and claimed it for myself. If he ever wants it back, it is his. But, that was three months ago that I snatched it up off the floor and he hasn't even noticed. The signed Wingnut cards are still by the TV.

Ken is the manager for the Lincoln Saltdogs and I came home with four cards signed by him that day. I had gotten Ken through the mail before on an '81 Donruss and that card can be seen here.

Monday, December 2, 2013

1984 Fleer, Ned Yost

#U130 Ned Yost

Yesterday, I posted the first card from the '84 Fleer Update set. Here is the last card.

This is another card signed by Ned Yost. I posted a card signed by him last week that I got signed at a Royals game two seasons ago. This one is a little more recent as it was signed at Royals Fanfest earlier this year. This was one of three cards from the '84 Fleer sets that I got signed that day.

Ned is the manager of the Royals and he recently got rewarded with a contract extension in October. This past season, Ned led the club to their first winning record in ten years and had the team in the hunt for a Wild Card spot until the last week of the season. He is now signed with the team through 2015.

I just wish that he would grow that mustache back.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

1984 Fleer, Willie Aikens

#U1 Willie Aikens

Here is a card from the '84 Fleer Update set that I got signed at Fanfest last winter. I now have the first card from the regular Fleer set and the Update set signed. And I just happened to get them both signed the same day.

Since getting released from prison, Willie has become a regular at Royals alumni events. That is great as he is a pleasure to talk to. At Fanfest, I was trying to ask him about his new book, "Safe At Home", but he kept asking me where the booth was where he was going to be selling it. My dad ended up getting the book for me just before he left and my dad agreed that Willie was fun talking to.

The book itself was a good read. I had never heard much about the early '80s Royals drug usage besides the obvious suspensions. Willie's book went into a lot of details about that club and his personal problems off the field. If you ever get a chance, pick it up. It is well worth it.

This coming season, Willie will be a coach for the Royals Rookie ball team in Idaho Falls. If there is one person that can get through to some young kids about doing the right thing, I bet it will be Willie.

In case you forgot, Willie was the first player to have two two-home runs games in the same World Series when he did it in 1980 against the Phillies. Chase Utley is the only other player to accomplish that feat.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

1984 Fleer, Gary Ward

#576 Gary Ward

Here is the first of three cards that Gary Ward signed for me during Spring Training this past spring. The day I got the cards signed was when I went to see the White Sox play a home game at Camelback Ranch. I got to the game really early to get autographs at the practice fields and found out that the Major Leaguers were not practicing that day. So, we headed off to the minor league fields and got there right as the scrimmages were starting. None of the coaches had names on their jerseys, and there weren't any 'graphers there, so I was having a heck of a time identifying the coaches. Finally, I checked the Birmingham Barons website and found a picture of Gary and was able to ID him that way. I asked him to sign my cards, but he said he was busy with the scrimmage. Luckily, I got him afterwards when all of the guys were heading into the clubhouse.

My search feature on this blog is not working for me right now, but I know that I have posted at least two cards from Gary on here previously. Here is his '81 Donruss card and here is his '86 Diamond King card. Both of these were signed for me through the mail in 2010.

Somehow, I managed to post twenty different cards this month. I'm not sure how I did it and I doubt I will be able to do it next month. But, it would be great if I can come close, and maybe even do a little better, in January.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

1984 Fleer, Mike Boddicker

#1 Mike Boddicker

Here is a card that I got signed at Royals Fanfest last year. Mike has only been to two Fanfests and I was able to get cards signed by him both times.

This card looks like it might have been taken at night, or at least in the evening. That is kind of unusual for mid-80's cards, so I asked Mike if the photo was taken during the World Series in 1983. He stared at the card for a second and then told me that he had no idea.

Speaking of Fanfest, it is right around the corner. Even with my more than usual posts this month, I am probably going to be posting cards from this year's and last year's fanfest at the same time.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

1984 Donruss, Ned Yost

#271 Ned Yost

Here is a rare '84 Donruss sighting for this blog. This is only the fourth card from this set to be on here.

Ned is the manager of the Royals and I got this card signed before a Royals game at the end of 2011.

My dad and I always try to go to the last Royals home game of the season. When we went in 2011, we went early enough for me to try to get autographs outside of the ballpark while the players were arriving. I didn't have a lot of luck that day outside the park. But, when hanging out with the other 'graphers, I found out about the Royals early bird stadium tour. It cost just ten dollars and all it really does is get you into the ballpark an hour before the gates open. It is dominated by the 'graphers as they are able to see the Royals take batting practice or head over to the visiting dugout to get the best spot.

That day, I went to the Royals dugout to 'graph and I had my dad go to the visiting side to save me a good spot. I ended up doing a whole lot better with the Royals that way than I did outside the park. That was when I got this card, and two others, signed by Ned.

Now, I try to hit up the early bird tour at least once a year.

Monday, November 25, 2013

1983 Topps, Ed Ott

#131 Ed Ott

Here is the third and final card that Ed signed for me at a game in 2012. Ed was the pitching coach for the New Jersey Jackals and he signed the cards for me when the Jackals came to Wichita for interleague play. The first card can be seen here and the second one can be seen here.

The American Association and the Can-Am League had interleague games all season long the last two years as both leagues fielded an odd number of teams. For this next season, though, the American Association should have an even number of teams after losing El Paso to AAA ball. So, I am assuming that the two leagues will no longer play each other, barring the Am-Ass gaining or losing a team.

It is odd that Ed appeared on a card in the '83 Topps set. The last game he played for the Angels, and in the Majors, was in 1981.

Ed appears to be tied with Ed Hug for the shortest names in MLB history.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

1983 TCMA , Jack Maloof

#21 Jack Maloof

Here is an old minor league card that my girlfriend got signed for me at a Spring Training this past spring. Jack was the hitting coach for the Royals and she was able to get it signed after the game we attended. Jack saw this card and said "now that is an old picture". It is always cool to get a reaction when you get an unusual card signed.

Like I said, Jack was the hitting coach for the Royals when the season started. But, the team hit a major slump early in the season. So, he and assistant hitting coach, Andre David, were reassigned to other roles. George Brett stepped in as the interim hitting coach before Pedro Grifol was ultimately named the hitting coach.

I like this card because it shows a team that I had never heard of before- the Beaumont Golden Gators. The Gators were the AA team for the Padres in the Texas League. They only lasted for four seasons before moving to Wichita. At least they had a cool jersey. I wish I could say the same about their hat.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

1983 Fleer, Bill Castro

#109 Bill Castro

Here is the second card that Bill Castro signed for me last year. I sent the cards to Baltimore while he was coaching with the O's and I had them back a few months later when the season was done. You can see the first card I posted here.

When I posted that first card, Bill was interviewing for the O's pitching coach position. He was previously the interim pitching coach and the bullpen coach before that. Well, it seems that he did not get the job as the club now lists Dave Wallace as their pitching coach. They also got a new bullpen coach, as well, so Bill is now looking for a new job. He was offered a scouting position with the club, but he decided to look for an on-field job elsewhere.

Bill's pitching career spanned ten seasons with the Brewers, Yankees, and Royals. The majority of that time was spent in Milwaukee and Bill racked up a 31-26 record with 45 saves and a 3.33 ERA for his career.

I now have three cards from this set signed and they all just happen to be Royals. I had a card signed by a Dodger at one point, but that card quickly got flipped to the '83 Fleer Project for a signed '81 Donruss card.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

1983 Donruss, Steve Kemp

#269 Steve Kemp

In honor of "No-Shave November", here is a signed bearded card of Steve Kemp. As far as I can tell, Steve only sported a beard during the 1982 season. All of his cards from '83 show him in a beard, as does his '82 Traded card. Steve was signed as a free agent by the Yankees prior to the '83 season and, because of the Boss's (is that even spelled right?) no facial hair policy, the beard had to go. It hasn't been seen since.

I have had this card for some time and I have no clue how I came into owning it. But, when I found that Steve was an active signer and I decided to send him an '81 Donruss, I just knew that I had to send this card to get signed, too.

Fear the Beard!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

1982 Topps, Frank White

#646 Frank White

Just like Jamie Quirk a few days ago, here is another former Royal that is no stranger to this blog. Frank also used to be a regular on the Royals alumni circuit, but he and the club had a split after they fired him as the color commentator. Luckily for Kansas City fans, Frank can still be found coaching first base for the Kansas City T-Bones of the American Association. I got this card signed this past summer when the Bones visited the Wingnuts.

This is one of my favorite Frank White cards. The reason for that is because I had never seen this card until another blogger sent it to me a few years ago. When I think of 1982 Topps In Action cards, I think of Rod Carew, Reggie Jackson, or Carlton Fisk. I never would have thought of Frank. So, once I finally found out that he had a card in that subset, I was a little shocked. It's just too bad that they didn't use a picture of him in the field, since that is what the eight-time Gold Glove winner was mostly known for.

The T-Bones recently hired a new manager and it is yet to be known if Frank will be rejoining the team next season.

Monday, November 18, 2013

1982 Topps, John Harris

#313 John Harris

Here is the fourth and final card of John Harris that I have to post. This one, like the last two, was signed at a Wingnut game in 2011 while John was managing the Amarillo Sox.

John's big league career spanned parts of three seasons with the Angels from 1979 to 1981. During that time, he got 120 at-bats over 56 games and hit .258 with 5 home runs and 16 RBI.

John's ascent to the Majors was fairly quick as he made his debut at the very end of his third professional season. Unfortunately, the Angles had some guy named Rod Carew manning first base at that time and it was hard for John to get any decent playing time. Nevertheless, he kept playing AAA ball through the 1985 season, but he never made it back to the Major Leagues.

Maybe I am a little bit strange, but John looks like a young Steve Guttenberg in this photo.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

1982 Topps, Jamie Quirk

#173 Jamie Quirk

Here is the latest Jamie Quirk autograph that I have added to my collection. Jamie is a regular at Royals alumni events, like Fanfest, so I have a handful of his cards signed. By my count, this is the seventh card of him that I have posted on here.

This card, however, was signed at a ballgame. Jamie was the bench coach for the Cubs this past season and I was able to get this card signed before a Spring Training game in Peoria, Arizona. I almost didn't take a card of Jamie to Spring Training since I have enough cards signed by him already. But, I happened to find this card while looking for cards of other coaches and I took it anyway.

When I got this card signed, I must have been the only person that recognized him, or had anything to get signed, because he didn't sign anything for anyone else.

Jamie's signature has changed quite a bit since he signed his first Topps contract.

While this card is a little miscut, it is not nearly as bad as it looks. My scanner lopped off a chunk of it and I didn't feel like re-scanning it.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

1982 Fleer, John Harris

#463 John Harris

Here is the second card that John signed for me in Wichita in 2011. As I said in the last post, John was managing the Amarillo Sox of the American Association that summer. A friend and I went to Amarillo the previous season to check out a game. While I was unable to get my cards signed by John at that game, I did get some good pictures of a rather outdated ballpark.

Here is the ballpark from the outside.

They say everything is bigger in Texas, but that is not always the case. Take the enlarged hats on the outside of the park, for instance. They do not even come close to the ones in Anaheim.

This park was built in 1948 and feels that way in every way, from the stands to the restrooms to the playing surface. Here is a pic of the seating bowl, followed by one of the outfield. Notice the little league-style scoreboard and badly manicured lawn.

The Sox got trounced at the game we attended. In fact, the first eight guys to bat for the opposing team all scored. The eight hole hitter hit a grand slam in the top of the first to put the team up 8-0 with no outs. It was quite impressive to say the least.

Here is one of the concession stands that reminds me of a carnival. I bought a brat at the game and Amarillo is the only place I have ever been where I had to decide if I wanted it in a bun or a tortilla. I picked the tortilla just because it was so different.

Overall, I had a great time at Amarillo National Bank Sox Stadium. There are not too many dinosaurs like this that are still around, so it is fun to take one in when you get the chance. There are talks about the city building a new park and I can easily understand where they are coming from. While I enjoyed my trip there, it would be hard to go there ten or more times in a season. And it has got to be hard to draw talent there with the rough playing surface and outdated clubhouses.

The Sox have some of the cooler uniforms in pro ball today. They remind me of some early Padres unis.

When I first started this blog, I was just doing it so I could get used to blogger. My main goal was to start a blog about all of the ballparks I had been to. Sadly, that blog never came to be.

1982 Donruss, John Harris

#444 John Harris

Here is the next card of John Harris that I have. I posted the first one a few days ago and that card was signed this past summer while John was working as the hitting coach for the Lincoln Saltdogs. This card was also signed at a Wingnut game. But, it was signed two years ago while John was the manager of the Amarillo Sox. John managed the Sox for their first two seasons in the American Association and posted a 90-110 record.

I'll get another post up later tonight. It, too, will feature another card of Harris. I might even add some photos from his time with the Sox.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

1981 Topps, Bob Lacey

#481 Bob Lacey

Here is the second card that Bob Lacey signed for me when I wrote to him to get his '81 Donruss card signed. The cool thing about this card, though, is that I did not send it to him. He was nice enough to include it as an added bonus. Out of close to a hundred '81 Donruss TTM attempts, Bob was one of two people to include an additional card. Thanks, Bob!

And he has a great-looking signature, too!

Monday, November 11, 2013

1981 Topps, John Harris

#214 John Harris

This is a rookie card of John Harris (and two other guys). John had four cards of him come out between 1981 and '82. I have all four of them signed, so you are going to be seeing a lot of John Harris over the next week or so.

I got this card signed in Wichita this past season when the Lincoln Saltdogs came to town. Lincoln was the best team to see this past year (for autographs) as all three coaches had Major League experience. John was their hitting coach and I was able to get this card signed prior to the game I attended.

My SCN subscription ran out at the beginning of the month, so I have no idea if the other two guys sign through the mail. They are both obscure players as they only appeared on Topps Future Stars cards with two other guys on it. Whenever I get around to renewing my subscription, I will have to look them up and see if I can get this card finished through the mail.

Happy Veteran's Day!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

1981 Topps. Jim Palmer

#210 Jim Palmer

Here is the second of two Jim Palmer autographs that I was able to acquire at the College World Series in 2012. The first card was his '81 Donruss card and that card can be seen here.

When the CWS announces who is going to be signing at Fanfest, it is usually at the last minute. When I saw Jim's name appear, it was a mad scramble to get a couple of his cards put together. Apparently my collection is void of Jim Palmer cards as all I could put together were these two cards from 1981. It would have been nice to have gotten something a little bit older signed, but there was no way that was going to happen because of the time constraint. So, it was either get these two cards signed or a modern Topps insert card. I briefly thought about getting his rookie reprint signed from the Cards Your Mom Threw Out insert set. But, that thought was very brief. So, the two '81 cards it was. They came out looking good, too.

Friday, November 8, 2013

1981 Fleer, Carlos Lezcano

#307 Carlos Lezcano

Here is the second '81 Fleer card that I was able to add to my collection over the past year. This one was acquired at a Wingnuts game when the El Paso Diablos came to town. Carlos also signed his '81 Donruss card for me and that card can be seen here.

Carlos' Major League career spanned parts of just two seasons and he saw action in 49 games. 42 of those came in 1980 and the other 7 were in 1981. During that time, he managed to hit .186 with 3 home runs and 14 RBI.

Carlos started last season as the Diablos hitting coach, but he eventually took over the managerial role after Tim Johnson left the team. He is going to have to find a new job this next season though as the Diablos are no longer around. They got booted out of town when AAA baseball decided to move the Padres top team there. They are going to be the El Paso Chihuahuas. I think it is kind of strange when a city loses a AA team, switches to an independent team, and then ends up fielding a AAA team. I guess that just goes to show what a new ballpark can do for a city. I wish Wichita would end up AAA.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

1981 Fleer, Steve Busby

#33 Steve Busby

After eight months and ninety straight posts of 1981 Donruss, here is something a little different. I am going from my 175th '81 Donruss card to something that has never been posted on here. That is right. This is my first ever signed card from the '81 Fleer set. For whatever reason, I just never got any cards from this set. I doubt I ever bought a pack of this stuff and the few cards I do have were just acquired along the way. Take this card for instance. This card was sent to me by a blogger a few years back just because I am a Royals fan.

Unfortunately, Steve Busby's short career was winding down in 1980. Because of that, he was not included in the 1981 Donruss or Topps set. This was Steve's final card and it seemed like a good one for him to sign for me. I sent this card to Steve last November and I had it back in about a week.

I wrote to Steve because he is in the Royals Hall of Fame and I do not have his autograph.

Steve's career was marred by injuries, but he had a great three-year run from 1973-'75. Over that time, Steve won 56 games, made two All Star teams, and threw two no-hitters. His best season was 1974 when he went 22-14 with a 3.39 ERA and 198 strikeouts. His 22 wins were a team record that lasted fifteen seasons.

Steve still works in baseball today and can be heard on Ranger television broadcasts as the color man.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

1981 Donruss, Mike Proly

#596 Mike Proly

Here it is. This is the last card from the '81 Donruss set that I will be posting for some time. It has been a long run at the set and it is finally time to move on to something else. I am gradually working my way up to my 2007 signed cards. I have a ways to go, though, and it might be a couple of years before another '81 Donruss card graces this blog. But, there will be more at some point.

This is the Mike Proly card that I got signed through the mail in February. It took Mike just eight days to get this card back to me.

Mike pitched in the Major Leagues for seven seasons with the Cardinals, White Sox, Phillies, and Cubs. He pitched primarily out of the 'pen and had his best success during his tenure with the Sox. In those three seasons, he racked up 19 of his 22 career saves including a career high of 9 in 1979. For his career, Mike was 22-29 with a 3.23 ERA.

Since I have made it to 175 signed cards from this set, I am officially raising the goal to 200. It shouldn't be that hard to achieve. It is just going to depend on how badly I want to start sending out some letters again. I really haven't sent out a great deal of TTMs since the season started as they are not as fun as getting the cards signed in person and they are even less fun to write about than an in-person signature. That is especially true when you are posting about a hundred TTMs straight without much of a break.

'81 Donruss Tracker: 175/200

Sunday, November 3, 2013

1981 Donruss, George Riley

#588 George Riley

Here is the card of George Riley that I was able to get signed through the mail. George is in bad shape while battling colon cancer and asks for donations to help him out. I'm usually not big on sending a fee to get cards signed, but considering his condition, I was more than happy to send two of these cards his way with ten dollars. So, if you have this card or George's '81 Topps card and want them signed, you can send them to him with five dollars per card. He could use the help and you can find his address in this link.

George's Major League career lasted parts of four seasons with the Cubs, Giants, and Expos. He was mainly a relief pitcher and he posted a 1-5 record with a 4.97 ERA over 87 innings. His one win came in a start against the the Dodgers in 1984 when he was with the Giants. He had a shutout going into the ninth inning before the Dodgers knocked in two runs on three hits. He got one out before getting pulled for closer Gary Lavelle. He was 1-0 over four starts and one relief outing with the Giants that season.

'81 Donruss Tracker: 174/100

Saturday, November 2, 2013

1981 Donruss, Fred Stanley

#585 Fred Stanley

Here is the second Fred Stanley card that I got through the mail eleven months ago. The first one was a '72 Topps card that I sent along just because I am really starting to like signed cards from that set. I posted that card as soon as I got it and it can be seen here.

This is one of the fun cards from the set where the picture of the player does not match up with the team name. Here Fred is in a Yankee uniform and it says A's on the card. I have posted a few of these cards already, but haven't said a whole lot about the team name mix-up. Rather than go into detail about that fun part of the set, I will just redirect you over to Garvey Cey Russell Lopes. He did a recap on the guys that were traded to different teams, but were still pictured with their old team, a few months back and that post can be seen here.

'81 Donruss Tracker: 173/100

Thursday, October 31, 2013

1981 Donruss, Andy Hassler

#581 Andy Hassler

Here is the second of two cards that I got signed by Andy Hassler last year. The first card was his '78 Topps card that I acquired in the Topps Diamond Giveaway. That card was posted in February and it can be seen here.

Short and sweet.

'81 Donruss Tracker: 172/100

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

1981 Donruss, Bill Castro

#578 Bill Castro

Here is one of two Bill Castro '81 Donruss cards that I was able to get signed through the mail last year. Bill was the Orioles bullpen coach that year and I originally sent this card to him with about a month left in the season. November rolled around and I had not gotten that card back. But, I had noticed some successes coming from his home address, so I mailed off another card to his home. That is the card that is posted here and it made it back to me after nine days. Then, a month and a half later, I got the first card back that I had sent to Baltimore. So, if anyone is needing a signed copy of this card, let me know. I have got an extra.

Like I said, Bill was the bullpen coach for the O's last year and he started out this past season in the same role. Then the O's pitching coach, Rick Adair, took a leave of absence from the team in August and Bill stepped up to fill that role. It appears that Adair is not going to be with the club next season and Bill is going to interview for the job. So far, Andy Hawkins is the only other name mentioned to be in contention for the job. He was the bullpen coach for the Rangers this past season.

'81 Donruss Tracker: 171/100

Thursday, October 24, 2013

1981 Donruss, Randy Lerch

#574 Randy Lerch

Next up is the Randy Lerch card that was signed through the mail. Randy signed two cards for me in just ten days.

Randy's career spanned eleven seasons with the Phillies, Brewers, Expos, and Giants. He started during the first half of his career before shifting to the bullpen in the second half. He went 60-64 with 3 saves and a 4.53 ERA in his career.

Randy's best season came with the Phillies in 1978. It was his first full season in the big leagues and he responded with career bests in wins (11), ERA (3.96), and strikeouts (96).

This is the last action card that I have to post during this go-around of '81 Donruss. It is also the last card where the picture was not taken at a Chicago ballpark.

'81 Donruss Tracker: 170/100

Sunday, October 20, 2013

19841 Donruss, John Verhoeven

#564 John Verhoeven

Here is the card of John Verhoeven that I got signed through the mail in January. It took just eight days to get this card back.

John pitched in the Majors for parts of four seasons. He spent time with the Angels, White Sox, and Twins and spent his entire short-lived career pitching out of the bullpen. He went 3-8 in his career, winning his first game four years after making his Major League debut. He also recorded 4 saves while posting a 3.79 ERA.

He saw the most action in his career for the Twins in 1980. That year, he pitched in 99.2 innings over 44 games. He went 3-4 with a 3.97 ERA , 42 strikeouts, and 29 walks.

'81 Donruss Tracker: 169/100

Friday, October 18, 2013

1981 Donruss, Tim Blackwell

#559 Tim Blackwell

Back to back Cubs catchers? What are the odds?

It is kind of funny because I had no clue that Tim Blackwell was even a catcher until I started to write this post. I've seen plenty of cards of Tim before, but I just assumed he was a middle infielder. He is listed as 5'11" and 180 pounds. There is quite a difference between him and yesterdays Cubs backstop, Barry Foote, who comes in at 6'3" and 210 pounds. Barry looks like a catcher. I can't say that about Tim. Tim does make up for his smaller frame by wearing one of the more memorable mustaches of the era, though.

Tim played for ten seasons with the Red Sox, Phillies, Expos, and Cubs. He was predominantly a backup throughout his career except for the 1980 season. That year, he started 93 games behind the plate for the Cubs. He responded with career highs in every single offensive category including batting average. He hit .272 that year (almost 50 points higher than his career mark) with 5 home runs and 30 RBI.

For his career, Tim was a .229 hitter with 6 home runs and 80 RBI.

In 1977, Tim and Barry Foote were traded for each other when the Phillies and Expos swapped battery mates.

Since this card does not do Tim's mustache enough justice, here is link to a better picture of it. Check it out.

I almost forgot to mention that Tim signed this card for me through the mail in just seven days.

'81 Donruss Tracker: 168/100

Thursday, October 17, 2013

1981 Donruss, Barry Foote

#558 Barry Foote

Here is the Barry Foote card from the set that I was able to get signed through the mail. I originally sent this card to Barry about a year ago. But, he had apparently moved just prior to me sending the card out and it got returned to sender. So, I sat on the card until March and sent it out to his current address. He signed this card and one other in three weeks on the second attempt.

Barry played in the Major Leagues for ten seasons with the Expos, Phillies, Cubs, and Yankees. He was mainly used as a backup catcher, though he was a starter for the Expos early in his career. He was a .230 hitter who hit 57 home runs and drove in 230 RBI for his career.

Barry played some solid baseball early in his career. In his rookie season, he lead the league in sac flies and assists by a catcher. The following two seasons, he lead the league in double plays turned by a catcher. But, by 1978, he was leading the league in errors by a catcher. He did hit a career high 16 home runs that season, though.

'81 Donruss Tracker: 167/100

Monday, October 14, 2013

1981 Donruss, Pete Redfern

#548 Pete Redfern

Here is an interesting through the mail return that I got. As soon as I opened up the letter and looked at the signature on the card, I got online to find out more about Pete Redfern.

It turns out that Pete severely injured his neck in a diving accident in the early '80s. The accident officially ended his playing career and left him paralyzed. To this day, he is still wheelchair bound, yet an accommodating TTM replier.

Pete's Major League career lasted seven seasons and all were with the Twins. He was mostly a starter and posted a career record of 42-48 with 3 saves and a 4.54 ERA. His best season was probably the 1979 season. That was the one season where he pitched primarily out of the bullpen and he responded with career-bests in ERA (3.49), strikeouts (85), and winning percentage (.700). I wonder why the club bothered to move him back to the starting rotation after that season. Maybe they did not want their former number one overall pick to be pitching out of the 'pen.

It took Pete just eighteen days to get this card back to me.

Most of the time, I send out the cards from this set without knowing a single thing about the subject pictured on the card. It is returns like this that make me truly appreciate the time and effort that the guys go through to help out us autograph collectors.

Thank you, Pete!

'81 Donruss Tracker: 166/100