Tuesday, August 22, 2017

1987 Fleer, Bob Melvin

#281 Bob Melvin

Here is the third and final card of Bob Melvin that I got signed at Spring Training in 2014. Bob and his A's were visiting the White Sox that day and I did pretty well with the A's coaches. I only got a few players to sign that day since the bigger named A's did not make the road trip. Along with Bob, I also got Chili Davis, Curt Young, Ariel Prieto, and Mike Gallego.

With this card, I have signed cards from Bob as a Giant, Oriole, and Tiger, the first three teams he played with. He also played for the Royals, Red Sox, Yankees, and Red Sox over the final three seasons of his career. Of those four teams, I don't think he has a Yankee or White Sox card and he only has a couple of Royal and Red Sox cards. When I went and saw the A's this past Spring Training, the three cards I took with me to get signed by him were all managers cards. I took one of each team he managed, the Mariners, Diamondbacks, and A's. I did not get him this year, so I still have some work to do to get a card signed for each team he was with.

Bob played for the Giants for three seasons. Over that time, he played in 265 games and hit .220 with 24 home runs and 83 RBI. His only postseason action came with the club in 1987. That fall, he got into three games of the NLCS and was 3-7.

Monday, August 21, 2017

1987 Donruss Opening Day, Mariano Duncan

#84 Mariano Duncan

Here is the second card of Mariano Duncan to be posted on here. The first one was posted in 2014 and it can be seen here. The two cards were signed at the same time, during a Cubs minor league Spring Training workout in 2014. Mariano was the hitting coach for the Daytona Cubs at the time. The Daytona Cubs are no more and Mariano has moved up to AAA to fill the same role for the Iowa Cubs.

Mariano played for the Dodgers for parts of four seasons before being dealt to the Reds for Lenny Harris and Kal Daniels. Over that time, he hit just .234 with 20 home runs and 95 RBI. More impressively, he stole 100 bases for the Dodgers, including a career high of 48 in 1986. The most bases he would steal in a season with any other organization was 23 with the Phillies in 1992.

Mariano did not do as well as Franklin Stubbs did on Opening Day in 1987. While Franklin went 3-4, Mariano went hitless in four at-bats while striking out three times.

Friday, August 18, 2017

1987 Donruss Opening Day, Franklin Stubbs

#83 Franklin Stubbs

Here is the third and final card of Franklin Stubbs that I have to post on here. The first two were posted in 2014, shortly after I got them signed at a Dodger minor league Spring Training workout. You can see his Astros card here and Brewers card here.

Franklin spent parts of six seasons with the Dodgers, his longest tenure with any club. Over that time, he would play fist base and outfield and hit .227 with 59 home runs and 178 RBI. His best season with them was in 1986 when he clubbed 23 homers and drove in 58. He was a member of the '88 World Championship team and hit .294 with two doubles and two RBI in the Series.

If you are not familiar of the '87 Donruss Opening Day set, let me tell you about it. It was only available as a set and it only featured players that started on opening day in 1987. I wish Topps Opening Day set was like that. The back of the card even tells how opening day went for the player. On the back of this card, we learn that Franklin went 3-4 with a double and a run in a 4-3 loss to the Astros.

One of my local card shops in 1987 broke up a few sets of these and sold team sets and grab bags. Because of that I have a few cards from the set, but not many. I have only posted one other card from this set and it can be seen here.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

1987 Donruss, Ray Hayward

#632 Ray Hayward

Here is the first of three cards that I got signed by Ray Hayward at the College World Series in 2014. Ray is the pitching coach for Texas Tech and was nice enough, and a little surprised, to sign for me before the Red Raiders opening game of the series.

This is the only Padres card of Ray that is out there. He made three starts for San Diego in 1986 and did not fare too well. He only lasted 10 innings and went 0-2 with an ERA of 9.00. He gave up 16 hits, walked 4, struck out 6, threw 5 wild pitches, and even balked once.

Two of those three starts were really bad. But, he did have one quality start in there against the Dodgers where he pitched six innings, allowing two earned runs on four hits and a walk while striking out six. The Padres were down 3-1 when he came out, but he got the no-decision when they rallied for a 7-6 victory.

Ray made four relief appearances with San Diego in 1987 and posted a 16.50 ERA in 6 innings of work.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

1986 Topps, Milt Thompson

#112T Milt Thompson

It has been a nice run with the '86 Topps set, but this is the final one this time around. I already got a new '86T that is ready to go whenever I make it back to this set.

Here is the second card of Milt Thompson that I got signed at Spring Training this year. The first one was his '86 Fleer card and it can be seen here. I originally wanted both of his '86 Topps cards signed, but the base card that I had was not in the best of shape. So, I settled with the Fleer just to have a card of him as a Brave.

Milt was traded to the Philliies after the '85 season. The Phils sent over Pete Smith and Ozzie Virgil and got got back Milt and 1987 Cy Young Award winner, Steve Bedrosian. I think the Phillies got the better deal in that trade.

Milt stayed in Philly for just three seasons before heading to St. Louis, only to end up back in Philly four years later. Thanks to the two stints with the team, that was the club that he played for the most. Over his years as a Phillie, Milt hit .279 with 22 home runs and 173 RBI. His best season was with them, too, when he had career-highs in hits (159), home runs (7), and stolen bases (46) during the 1987 season.

Milt's lone postseason exposure was with the Phils in 1993. In the Fall Classic, Milt had a very respectable series, hitting .294 with a home run and 6 RBI in the six games.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

1986 Topps, Bob McClure

#71T Bob McClure

This is the fourth card of Bob McClure that I have posted on here. Ten years ago, Bob was the pitching coach for the Royals and I got three cards signed by him one day at The K. Those three cards were posted on here back in the early years of this blog. When I posted Bob's '81 Donruss card on here, it was just the eleventh '81D to be posted. I have now posted 223 cards from the set.

Bob was the pitching coach for the Phillies in 2015 and I got him to sign three more cards for me at a Giants game I attended that year. To my dismay, those were the only autographs that I got that day. But, at least I didn't come home empty handed.

With the first three posts of Bob, I had two Brewers cards and a Cardinals card. With these new additions, I added this Expos card and a Mets and Angels card. I only need a Royals card and a Marlins card signed by him to have all of his teams covered. The only problem is that I do not own a Royals or Marlins card of him and I have no plans on seeing the Phillies play anytime soon.

Bob pitched for the Expos for one full season and two partial seasons. Over that time, he went 9-9 with 13 saves and a 3.63 ERA.

That is a fantastic airbrush job on this card. Just look at the size of the top button on the jersey.

Monday, August 14, 2017

1986 Topps, John Kruk

#56T John Kruk

Here is the first John Kruk card that I have posted on here in three years. I posted three Phillies cards of him the last time around and now I finally have a Padre card to show off. This card, like the previous three, was signed at the College World Series in 2014. That was during the good old days when corporate sponsors brought in former players to sign autographs.

Unlike Pete Incaviglia in the previous post, John played some minor league ball before making his Major League debut. And I am sure that there was much less hype around his debut than Inky had. Nevertheless, John had a solid, yet unspectacular, rookie campaign with the Padres in 1986. He got into 122 games that year, but only started 68 of those. The rest of them he entered as a pinch hitter. He only had 4 home runs and 38 RBI, but he did hit .309. Surprisingly, John received a vote for Rookie of the Year while Pete did not.

On a side note, I recently chose to become unemployed. So, I am hoping that this downtime will allow me to do some catching up on this blog and get a card a day posted until I find a new job. But, I am so far behind on here that, even if I go forty days without finding work, I will only be posting cards from the early '90s at that point.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

1986 Topps, Pete Incaviglia

#48T Pete Incaviglia

In some cases, this card is almost like a draft pick card. Pete was taken eighth overall by the Expos in the 1985 draft. But, he refused to play in the minor leagues and never played a game with the Expos. Montreal ended up trading him to the Rangers after the '85 season and Pete spent the entire '86 season with the big league club. Because of that fiasco, there are no stats on the back of this card.

For never playing a pro game before his Major League debut, Pete did not do too bad. He hit .250 and had a career high of 30 home runs. It's pretty bad when you max out your dingers during your rookie season. The one drawback was that he lead the league in strikeouts with 185.

Pete ended up playing five seasons with the Rangers before getting released. He hit .248 during the tenure and he had at least 21 home runs each season.

For the record, Pete would eventually play in the minors. It wasn't until 1997 that it first occurred, though.

I got this card signed by Pete at a Wichita Wingnuts game 2014. Pete was the manager of the Laredo Lemurs.

Friday, August 4, 2017

1986 Topps, Mike Heath

#46T Mike Heath

Here is the second card that I got signed by Mike Heath through the mail in 2014. The other card was his '81 Donruss card and that one can be seen here.

After spending seven seasons with Oakland, Mike got traded to the Cardinals after the 1984 season concluded. It was Mike's first foray into the National League and it did not go as well as he would have hoped. Through 65 games with the Cardinals, Mike hit just .205. He was doing so bad for them that they traded him to Detroit in August. Because of that, I feel like this card should feature Mike as a Tiger instead of a Cardinal.

Mike did better, though, back in the American League. He got into 30 games with the Tigers and managed to hit .265 to raise his season average up to .226. That was the lowest single season average Mike ever posted until his final season, which happened to be with another National League team (Braves).

I love the photo on this card. If that picture does not scream action shot, than nothing does. Plus, this kind of shot is rare in this traded set. If you do not believe me, just wait for the next three or four posts.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

1986 Topps, Darnell Coles

#26T Darnell Coles

Here is the first of three cards of Darnell Coles that my oldest boy got signed for me at Spring Training this year. Darnell is the hitting coach for the Brewers and he was nice enough to sign before a game against the Reds at Goodyear Ballpark.

We were supposed to go to three Spring Training games this year, but ended up skipping the third one. But, in all three games, the Brewers just happened to be the visiting team. So, I made a deal with my boy and I put him in charge of 'graphing the Brewers for me. For every card that he got signed, I would give him a dollar.

I gave him a fat stack of Brewers cards and he thought he was going to really cash in. The only problem was that 'graphing is not his thing. I tried to set him up with some 'graphers to help him out and a father/son duo at the Reds games helped him get more than he would have otherwise, like this card. But, in the end, over the two games he made $14. He was a little bummed, but I certainly appreciated the effort. I ended up getting him a cheap $20 skateboard from Wal-Mart and I think everyone was happy.

Darnell had a career year for the Tigers in 1986. After being sent there from the Mariners in the offseason, he would end up playing in 142 games and hit .273 with 30 doubles, 20 home runs, and 86 RBI, all career highs. The following season did not go as well, though. Darnell was hitting .181 through 53 games before being shipped off to Pittsburgh for Jim Morrison.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

1986 Topps, Mark Salas

#537 Mark Salas

Here is the second of three cards that Mark Salas signed for me from the visiting team's bullpen at Kauffman Stadium in 2014. I posted the first card three years ago and it can be seen here. I had posted two cards prior to that and those two can be linked to from the last Salas card I posted.

For those of you that are unaware, Mark is the bullpen catcher for the Chicago White Sox. Not the bullpen coach, but the bullpen catcher. That still amazes me every time I say it, think it, or type it. The reason for that is that Mark is fifty-six years old. I have no idea how his knees are still able to squat down like that still.

Mark played for the Cardinals, Twins, Yankees, White Sox, Indians, and Tigers during his career. Yet, for whatever reason, I only have Twins and Tigers cards signed by him. While he doesn't appear to have a single Indians card, he does have one Cardinal card, three Yankees cards, and a handful of White Sox cards. Considering that the Sox come to Kansas City pretty regularly, it looks like I need to grab a Cardinal and Yankee card of him.

The White Sox website points out that Mark is one of five players to have a last name that is a palindrome. Any ideas who the other four are?

Thursday, July 27, 2017

1986 Topps, Joe Carter

#377 Joe Carter

Here is the second card of Joe Carter that Rod, from Padrographs, gave me at a Hillsboro Hops game in 2015. I posted the first one earlier this month and it can be seen here.

After looking at these last two cards of Joe, I might be starting to doubt their authenticity. The reason for that is because of the star shaped "t" that is scribbled on each card. The two cards that I got signed by Joe in-person had nothing like that. In fact, those two cards had two distinct letters after his "t", while the signature on this one stops after the star shape. Plus, I looked at a bunch of Carter autographs on COMC and I did not see anything that resembles the star shape.

But who knows? My cards were signed in a controlled environment. Maybe these newer ones are actually hurried ballpark sigs from Joe's playing days. Or, maybe they are not.

When I was about five or six years old, my grandparents bought me a Cleveland Indians helmet as a souvenir from their trip to Disneyland. I thought it was pretty cool except nobody in my family really knew which team it was from. I didn't figure it out until I saw the Indians hats on an '85 Topps card.

Speaking of Joe's autographed cards on COMC, they must be a hot commodity. COMC has sold over thirty different autographs of Joe Carter. But right now, there is only one for sale and it is listed at $65.25. It is numbered 2/2, though.

Monday, July 24, 2017

1986 Topps, Razor Shines

#132 Razor Shines

Here is the second card that Razor Shines signed for me at Spring Training in 2014. Razor was the manager of the Dodgers AA team in Chattanooga at the time and he signed my two cards after the minor league workouts. I posted the first card of Razor in 2014 and that card can be seen here.

Razor's time in the big leagues consisted of 68 games over four years with the Expos. Over that time, he got 81 at-bats and had 15 hits, good for a .185 average. All of his hits were singles except for a lone double. He never scored a run, but he did drive 5 in.

Razor even had the privilege of pitching one inning for Montreal in 1985. The team was getting shelled by the Phillies 11-0, so they threw Razor out to pitch the ninth. He ended up giving up a single to Steve Jeltz while getting the other three batters to ground out.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

1986 Leaf, Bert Blyleven

#88 Bert Blyleven

Here is the third card of Bert Blyleven that I have posted on here. I posted the first two cards in 2009, though one was a TTM success from the early '90s and the other was in-person at a Rangers game that year.

This one, on the other hand, was signed in-person this year at the Twins/Royals game I attended in Kansas City this May. Bert is the color commentator for the Twinkies and I was lucky enough to get him to sign one of three when he got off the team bus outside the park.

I had a buddy with me at that game and he was helping me get some Twins autographs. Many of the bigger names on the Twins would only sign one card and my buddy would go and get a second card signed for me. When Bert only signed the one card, my friend came over to grab a card to get signed by Bert. I told him not to worry about is as I now have three of him. What I didn't realize until later was that I should have sent him over with my ball to get signed. I was saving the ball for Paul Molitor and he had already entered the park without signing for anyone. Why I did not think of getting Bert on it is still has me kicking myself in the butt.

I have no clue why I grabbed this card to get signed by Bert. I guess I still consider '80s Leaf as more oddball than mainstream and who does not like an occasional signed oddball? The only thing I do not like about is that I sort my autographs by year and set. Within the year, I sort the sets alphabetically. My Fleer cards separate this Leaf card from its Donruss twins and it just looks lonely and out of place in my binder.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

1986 Fleer, Neil Allen

#U-3 Neil Allen

Here is the first of three cards that I got signed by Neil Allen earlier this season. Neil is the pitching coach for the Twins and I was able to get him outside of Kauffman Stadium when the Twins bus rolled up.

The one bad thing was that I did not get his '81 Donruss signed that day. The reason for that is because I do not have it. So, you will notice that I have a want list up on the top right side of the screen underneath the header. Take a look at it and help me out if you can. If you are wondering, Neil Allen's card from that set is #276.

Neil pitched in the Majors for eleven seasons with five different clubs- the Mets, Cardinals, Yankees, White Sox, and Indians. Over that time, he accumulated a 58-70 record with 75 saves and a 3.88 ERA. He never made an All Star team and he never appeared in the playoffs.

When Neil joined the White Sox for the '86 season, they decided to move him into the rotation. He made 17 starts with the club and did well, going 7-2 with a 3.82 ERA. Things did not go that good the following season, though, as he was 0-7 through 10 starts and 5 relief appearances. On top of that, he had a 7.07 ERA. The Sox released him in August and Neil would finish up the season pitching out of the bullpen in the Bronx. He fared a little better there, going 0-1 with a save and a 2.76 ERA over 29.1 innings.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

1986 Fleer, Mike Aldrete

#U-1 Mike Aldrete

Here is the second card of Mike Aldrete that I have posted on here. But, unlike the first one, his '96 Leaf Signature Series card, I got this one in person. Mike is the hitting coach for the A's and he was nice enough to sign two cards for me at a Spring Training game this year.

At that game, there was a decent crowd 'graphing the A's at home. I was mixed in with that crowd on the outfield side of the dugout. I got a couple of players there, but there wasn't too much action. The game was about to get underway, so I went over to the home plate side of the dugout to see if I could get anyone over there. Mike was nearby and I asked him to sign. He came over right as the players were leaving the dugout for the National Anthem. Now he had to hurry, but he has a nice and slow deliberate signature. So, he only signed two of the three cards and ran up the stairs to get on the field. He ended up tripping on the top step and fell onto the field. At that point I cringed and felt bad for him because he was in such a hurry because of me. Lucky for him, his team had their backs to the dugout and no one noticed.

I stayed in that spot after the anthem and thanked him for signing and to make sure he was okay, which he was.

Monday, July 17, 2017

1986 Fleer, Milt Thompson

#530 Milt Thompson

Here is the first of three cards that I got signed by Milt Thompson at Spring Training this year. Milt is currently the hitting coordinator for the Reds and he was nice enough to sign the cards for me while walking from field to field at the Reds minor league complex.

When I first asked him to sign, he told me he couldn't then because he was working. Then he looked around and, since I was all by myself, he told me to go ahead and come over. He even took the time to chitchat while he was signing. I knew he had worked for the Royals the year before because I saw him at a Storm Chasers game. I asked him how he was liking it with the Reds and he told me he loved it because he got to concentrate on the one thing he loved, hitting. I wish I could say that about my job right now.

Milt was a second round draft pick by the Braves and played for them for two seasons. Over that time, he hit .302 with 2 home runs and 10 RBI. He was traded to the Phillies after the 1985 season.

You just do not see cards miscut like this anymore. Every once in a while, you will see some gold foil misprinted, but that is about it.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

1986 Donruss, John Wathan

#496 John Wathan

By my count, this is the eleventh card of John Wathan that I have posted on here. One gets to the point where they really do not need anything else signed by a player. I am at that point with a few Royals alumni. But, these guys are at so many events that I always take a card of them with me just in case I run into them and they are my best, or only, option.

That was the case at Royals Fanfest in 2014. I hopped in a line and John Wathan appeared before me and signed this card.

Here are the other ten cards that he has signed for me over the years.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

1986 Donruss, Bob Melvin

#456 Bob Melvin

Here is the second card of Bob Melvin that I have posted on here. I posted the first one back in 2014, just a few months after getting the cards signed. Bob was nice enough to sign three for me prior to a Spring Training game when his A's were visiting the White Sox at Camelback Ranch.

Bob was drafted by the Tigers and made his Major League debut with them in 1985. He got into 41 games and, in 82 at-bats, he hit .220 with 4 doubles and 4 RBI. He was then traded to the Giants shortly after the season ended for a trio of players that included Matt Nokes. That trade worked out for the Tigers in 1987 as Nokes made the All Star team and blasted 32 bombs.

If I had to guess, I probably got one pack of '86 Donruss back in 1986. All of my local super markets only carried Topps at the time, so that was what I always got. But, the one pack of Donruss that I did find that year included this card.

Monday, July 10, 2017

1986 Donruss, Ken Howell

#275 Ken Howell

Here is the second card of Ken Howell that I have posted on here. The first appeared here three years ago, shortly after I got it signed. This one was signed at the same time, but it had to wait for its time.

The cards were signed at a Royals game in 2014. Ken was the assistant pitching coach for the visiting Dodgers at the time and he signed the cards for me from the bullpen.

Ken has a really nice looking signature. I wish some of the younger players would take notice.

I love the '80s feel to this card. Ken is pitching a day game in this photo and it is about impossible to tell where he is playing. My guess is Philadelphia, but it could just as easily be Cincinnati, St. Louis, or Montreal.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

1986 Donruss, Bob Boone

#17 Bob Boone

Here is the second card that Bob Boone signed for me through the mail in 2014. The first card was his '81 Donruss card and that one can be seen here. When I mail out an '81D to get signed, I rarely send out another card with it. But, I could not resist adding another signed Diamond King to my collection, so this one went out with it.

After spending his first ten season in Philadelphia, Bob went on to play seven seasons with the Angels. With California, he hit .245 with 39 home runs and 318 RBI. He made his last All Star team as an Angel and he won three Gold Gloves with them. His best season with them was probably in 1982, his first year with the team. That season, he hit .256 with 7 home runs and 58 RBI. He even got a few MVP votes that season.

The funny thing about Bob's seven Gold Gloves was when he got them. He got the first two in back-to-back seasons with the Phils in 1978-79 when he was 30 and 31 years of age. He won the next one in '82 at the age of 34. He then won his final four in consecutive seasons from 1986-89 at ages 38-41. It seems Bob catching skills only got better with age, which is usually not the case at that position. For comparison, Hall of Fame catcher Ivan Rodriguez, who has the most Gold Gloves as a catcher, won his final one at the age of 35.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

1985 Topps, Joe Carter

#694 Joe Carter

Nearly two years ago to the day, I had the privilege of doing a West Coast ballpark tour with my best friend, Dustin. On the first day, we went to a Mariners game at Safeco Field. For day two, we drove down to the Portland area to take in a Hillsboro Hops game.

Prior to going on the trip, I was in contact with Rod, from Padrographs, to see if he wanted to meet up in Hillsboro. He obliged and I was able to meet another blogger in person to take in a game. Being Rod, he arrived at the park with a bag of goodies for me to take home. This was one of those goodies. In fact, I think he gave me four signed Joe Carter cards that day. If I had to guess, I would think that he got a good deal on a lot and only needed the Padres cards out of it.

This is now the third Carter card that I have posted on here. I met him at the College World Series one year and got his '84 Donruss rookie card signed as well as a '94 Pinnacle. So, this is the first card of him as an Indian. I am pretty sure the next three will have him as an Indian, too.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

1985 Topps, Tim Wallach

#473 Tim Wallach

Here is the third and final card that I got signed by Tim Wallach in Kansas City in 2014. Tim was the bench coach for the Dodgers at the time and I was able to get him outside of the ballpark when he arrived. You can see the first card that I posted here and the second one here.

Tim had quite the run with the Expos. He played with them for thirteen seasons and racked up 204 home runs and 905 RBI. Over that time, he won three Gold Gloves and made five All Star teams. Baseball Reference still lists him as the fifth best player in Expos/Nationals history with a WAR of 36.

His best season came with the Expos in 1987. That year, he had career highs in average (.298), home runs (26), and RBI (123). He lead the league with 42 doubles and finished fourth in the MVP voting.

Tim is still the franchise leader in games, at-bats, hits, total bases, RBI, and doubles. He is probably going to get passed up by Ryan Zimmerman in most of those categories this season, though.

Friday, June 30, 2017

1985 Topps, Darryl Strawberry

#278 Darryl Strawberry

Last summer, my dad and I were heading to a Wichita Wingnuts game. When we got off the interstate, my dad saw a sign by a church with Darryl Strawberry's picture on it. He pointed it out to me, but it was too late and I did not see it. My dad only caught part of he sign and he knew Darryl was coming to Wichita and that was about it. When I got to the ballpark, I hit up Google to see what it was all about. What I learned was that Darryl was going to be preaching at that church. I am not much of a church-goer myself, but I instantly knew I was going to be in church in Wichita that Sunday.

The church it was at did a really good job hosting the event. They invited everyone to wear their favorite jersey that day and to stay after the service for ballpark snacks and to meet Darryl. They even lead off the service by singing "Put Me In Coach". Darryl preached for about an hour and, even though I don't think it was the best message for the under 12 crowd, it was still a good service.

Everyone there wanted to meet Darryl after the event. Somehow, we ended up towards the front of the line. That was a good thing as it was the slowest moving line ever. There was a professional photographer there taking free pictures and that was what was slowing the line down. We were about forty people deep and it took us about forty minutes to get through it. I felt sorry to 200+ people behind us.

But, we made it through and Darryl was kind enough to sign a card for each of us and take a picture with us. When I post the next card of Darryl, I will show the picture, too.

When we were heading back home that day, my wife was looking at the signed cards and she commented on this one. She was wondering why I got this card signed since it was so dinged up. I explained to her that I pulled this card out of a pack thirty years ago when I was six. When I think of a Darryl Strawberry card, this is the one I think of and that is why I wanted it signed. Luckily, this card looks better than most of cards I have from then.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

1985 Topps, Leon Roberts

#217 Leon Roberts

This post is just like the post from yesterday where I got a players '81 Donruss signed through the mail and then got them in-person a few years later. It was less of a gap for Leon Roberts, though. I got the '81 D signed in 2012 and then got this card signed in 2015.

I didn't actually get this card signed, my best friend did. We were at a Sacramento Rivercats game and he was nice enough to 'graph the visitors while I got the 'Cats. That is basically how it is if you go to a game with me; I am going to put you to work. Leon was coaching for the Fresno Grizzlies at the time and he signed three cards.

Leon played in the Majors for eleven seasons, yet I hardly have any cards of him. The only two Major League cards I have are this one and the '81 D. I had to dig up a Senior League card and minor league coaching card just to have three for him to sign in Sacramento. Leon is now a coach in the Royals system. I saw the Royals practice this spring and I didn't take any cards of Leon because I have none left of him.

Leon finished his career a Royal. He was traded to them by the Blue Jays for Cecli Fielder. I never knew Cecil was in the Royals organization. He got into 113 games with the Royals and he hit .252 with 8 home runs and 27 RBI.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

1985 Fleer, Danny Darwin

#U-32 Danny Darwin

Here is the second card of Danny Darwin that I have posted on here. The first one, his '81 Donruss, was posted almost seven years ago. That one was obtained through the mail. This one, and the next two, were signed at Spring Training this past March. Danny is the pitching coach for the Reds AA affiliate in Pensacola and he was nice enough to sign for me during minor league workouts the day I was there.

Danny only pitched for the Brewers for a season and a half. He went there in 1985 as a free agent and pitched there until being traded to the Astros in August of '86. Over that time, he was 14-26 with 2 saves and a 3.70 ERA.

I am not sure that I have had a seven year gap between posts of a player on here before. Seeing that number makes me realize that I have had this blog going for nearly ten years now. I started this in 2008 and I always post my cards in order by year. After posting all my cards from a year, I go back and post any cards from previous years that I got recently. The sad thing is that after almost ten years, I still have yet to post any cards that were made during the year I started this blog. By the time I get around to my cards from 2008, it is probably going to be 2018 and very few of those players are going to be relevant anymore.

Monday, June 26, 2017

1985 Fleer, Don Schulze

#454 Don Schulze

Here is the first of three cards that Don Schulze signed for me in 2015. Don was the pitching coach for the Nashville Sounds and he signed the cards for me before an Omaha Storm Chasers game.

Don pitched in the Majors for parts of six seasons with the Cubs, Indians, Mets, Yankees, and Padres. He was mainly a starter in the bigs and he compiled a 15-25 record with 5.47 ERA. He never won more than four games in a single season, but he did reach ten losses with the Indians in 1985.

I hate getting cards signed where the player is wearing a dark jersey. But, in this case, I was having a hard time fining three cards of Don. I was pretty happy with the first two I found and I ended up just settling on this one for lack of better options. It turns out that Don was in the '88 Topps set as a Met, and I never bothered to look for that card.

For a dark jersey card, though, the sig on this one actually came out looking fairly decent. It is not much of a signature, but there is not much that can be done about that.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

College World Series Contest Final Results

The College World Series is not over, but my contest is. With nobody picking LSU or Florida to win it all, there is no point dragging this thing on. Running away with the contest this year was Wilson! Great job! I do not think I have your address, so please email it to me at zman40 at hotmail dot com and I will get your prize out to you Thursday.

As for the prize, I have some bad news. The College World Series quit bringing in former star players to sign autographs at Fanfest. Those signed 8x10s were always my go-to prize for this contest. But, I did dig up an old Dennis Eckersly 8x10 that I still had an extra of. And I am throwing in an official CWS bobblehead stadium giveaway and a blaster of Topps Series 2.

Here are the final results. Total (phase 1, phase2)

B Man 9 (8,1)
Greg 4 (2, 2)
Lost Collector 8 (4, 4)
Rod 5 (1, 4)
NMC 9 (3, 6)
Joey 8 (5, 3)
Wilson 13 (5, 8)

Thanks again to all that participated. I hope to see each and everyone of you back next year!

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

College World Series Contest, Phase 2

In case you haven't noticed, I've been running a little contest here for the past two weeks that revolves around the College World Series. Seven people have already entered and have a tiny head start. But, it is not too late to get in on the action. There are plenty more points to be earned and no one is even close to locking this thing up yet. So here is all you have to do- fill out a College World Series bracket.

Keep in mind that this bracket is nothing like filling out a March Madness bracket. The reason for that is because of the loser's bracket. But, I am going to try to make this as simple as I can. Here is my homemade bracket. Click on it to hopefully see a bigger view.

Here is a how the bracket breaks down. There are two groups in the bracket- A and B. Each group has six games in it. All you have to do is guess who is going to win each of the games as they advance towards the championship round.

For instance, group A has Oregon St. and Cal St. Fullerton squaring off in game 1 and LSU and Florida St. going in game 2. Pick who is going to win each of those games and then those two teams will square off in game 3. The losers of games 1 and 2 will then square off in game 4. Then, the loser in game 3 plays the winner of game 4 in game 5.

At that point, there will be one team left in the group that is 2-0 (winner of game 3) and one that is 2-1 (winner of game 5). Those two teams play in game 6, which is an elimination game. If the 2-0 team loses, they play a game 7 and the winner advances to the championship. If the 2-0 team wins game 6, they go straight to the championship without game 7. BUT, for the sake of this bracket, I am going to count games 6 and 7 as one game. Just pick who you think is going to advance. It doesn't matter how they do it. I call it game 6/7.

After that, you should have a team advancing out of group A. Do the same for group B. Those two teams are your final teams. In the CWS, they play a best of three series for the championship. Pick who you think will win it all and if they will win it in two games or three. Then, for a tie breaker, guess how many runs will be scored in the championship series (the final two or three games).

It might be easier for you to fill it out on paper first. But to enter the contest, leave a comment looking something similar to this.

A6/7: LSU

B1: L'ville
B4: Florida
B5: L'ville
B6/7: TCU

TCU over LSU in two games
8 runs

For the sake of the tie breaker, DO NOT pick a number already chosen by someone else. Even if your teams do not make it to the finals, the tiebreaker will still apply to you in the event of a tie.

If you guess every game right, including how many games will be played in the finals, you can come out with 22 points.

The CWS begins at 3:00 PM, eastern, on Saturday, June 17. So, all entries must be in by that point. If you have any questions at all, feel free to email me at zman40 at hotmail dot com. Or, just ask in the comments.

To see the standing through this point, see the bottom of the previous post.

This thing is anybody's to win. Good luck!

1985 Blue Jays Fire Safety, Willie Aikens

#24 Willie Aikens

Here is another oddball that I was able to get signed at Royals Fanfest in 2014. This is a very blue set that was distributed by the Toronto Star and Midas. I cannot find any info about the set, but they are readily available from COMC, where I got this card. It is fun to note that the only positions listed on the cards are pitcher, catcher, infielder, and outfielder.

By the time this card came out, Willie Aikens Major League career was pretty much over. He only played in 12 games in 1985, hitting .200 with a double, a dinger, and 5 RBI. That home run that he hit was pretty memorable, though. It was of the pinch hit variety in the top of the ninth to tie the game. The Blue Jays went on to win in the tenth and Willie never played another game in the Major Leagues.

The College World Series field is set. Every team that is in was picked by at least one entrant. There were six number one seeds that advanced. There was one two seed and one three seed. Both the two and the three seeds were picked by BMan, who happens to be in the lead. Here are the standings heading into the Series.

B Man- 8 (2CSF, LSU, 3Texas A&M, TCU, pimped)
Greg Z- 2 (OSU, TCU)
Lost Collector- 4 (FSU, LSU, Louisville, Florida)
Rod- 1 (OSU)
NMC- 3 (FSU, TCU, pimped)
Joey- 5 (OSU, FSU, LSU, Louisville, Florida)
Wilson- 5 (OSU, LSU, Louisville, TCU, Florida)

The bracket portion of the contest will be up shortly. If you see any errors I might have made, let me know in the comments.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

1984 Topps, Jeff Russell

#270 Jeff Russell

Here is the last of the three cards that Tom, from The Angels In Order, sent me. The cards were in exchange for getting some cards signed for him at Royals Fanfest.

I had gotten three cards signed by Jeff in 2014 when the Grand Prairie AirHogs came to Wichita. Jeff was the pitching coach for the 'Hogs and I got him to sign cards for me as a Ranger, Red Sox, and Athletic. With the addition of this Reds card, I got a signed card of him with every team he played for except the Indians.

On the last card I posted of Willie Wilson, I guessed that the picture was taken at the All Star Game in 1983. This is another example where it is easy to tell when the picture was taken. In the background, you can see a blurry image of Willie McCovey's retired number in San Francisco.

Jeff only pitched once in San Fran in 1983 and it was on September 5th. He started that game for the Reds and pitched an eight inning complete game, losing 3-2. He had a no-hitter going into the eighth inning before giving up a lead-off double that was followed by a home run. A runner had scored earlier in the game by walking, moving to second on a sac bunt, third on a wild pitch, and scoring on a sac fly. Jeff finished with just the two hits allowed and five walks and five strikeouts.

Three teams have clinched their spots in Omaha. Texas A&M, Oregon State, and Louisville are all in. We will see who gets in today.

Friday, June 9, 2017

1984 Fleer, Willie Wilson

#364 Willie Wilson

Here is a card of Willie Wilson that I got signed at Kauffman Stadium in 2015. On Sunday home games, the Royals bring in alumni to sign in their Hall of Fame. Willie happened to be there on that particular afternoon.

I was just looking at this card and noticed that the photo was taken at Comiskey Park. As a fan of the '81D, I know Comiskey Park. Then I noticed that Willie was in the Royals home whites and wondered what was going on. Turns out that Comiskey hosted the 1983 All Star Game, so that has got to be where this photo was taken. It is not that often that I spot things like that on cardboard.

In that '83 All Star Game, Willie got one at-bat and he hit an RBI double off of Pascual Perez. That RBI put the American League up 11-3 en route to a 13-3 victory.

The '83 Mid-Summer Classic was the second and final All Star Game that Willie would attend.

The Super Regionals started today. Long Beach State, Texas A&M, and Louisville all won their match-ups and Oregon State is about to win theirs. That means that I am a week away from being in Omaha.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

1984 Fleer, Tim Wallach

#291 Tim Wallach

Here is the second of three cards that Tim Wallach signed for me outside of Kauffman Stadium. If you do not remember the first one, don't feel bad. I posted it three years ago, shortly after Tim signed these. Tim was working for the Dodgers at the time and was the only Dodger coach that signed all three cards for me.

Having been going to Royals games for almost twenty years now, it has been a long time since I went to a game really excited to see a certain player play. But, that excitement returned on the evening that the Dodgers came to KC. The reason for that was because I had the privilege of seeing Clayton Kershaw pitch. And, on top of that, it was his first start after his brilliant no-hitter of the Rockies.

While Clayton obviously could not pull off the back-to-back no-no, he still pitched an excellent game. He pitched eight innings without allowing a run and struck out eight.

Tim is now a coach with the Marlins. He followed Don Mattingly to Miami and is in the same role he was in with the Dodgers, the bench coach.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

1984 Donruss, Willie Aikens

#155 Willie Aikens

Here is another card of Willie Aikens that I got signed at Royals Fanfest in 2016. But, more importantly, here is a College World Series Contest Update.

Here are the Super Regional match-ups. Unless noted, all teams are a one seed. Teams in italics were teams that nobody picked to go to Omaha.

Slot One
2 Vanderbilt vs Oregon St

Slot Two
2 Cal St Fullerton vs Long Beach St

Slot Three
3 Sam Houston St vs Florida St

Slot Four
2 Mississippi St vs LSU

Slot Five
4 Davidson vs 3 Texas A&M

Slot Six
Kentucky vs Louisville

Slot Seven
2. Missouri St vs TCU

Slot Eight
Wake Forest vs Florida

Right now, everyone has one seeds alive except for BMan. He still has two twos and a three. Here is how many points everyone can come out with based on the teams that are still alive from their picks.

Greg- 2
Lost Collector- 4
Rod- 6
NMC- 3
Joey- 5
Wilson- 5

Good luck this weekend guys!

Monday, June 5, 2017

1983 Topps Gardner's Bakery, Ned Yost

#21 Ned Yost

Here is a fun card from what I am guessing is a regional set. Right now, there is only one other card from this set listed on COMC and it too is of a Brewer. Beyond that tiny bit of sleuth work, I know nothing about this set. Nevertheless, it is a unique look from Topps that has the same backs as their regular '83 set.

Since Ned is a fairly decent signer, I have to try to find some of these oddballs just to have something new for him to sign. I got lucky this past Fanfest as I was able to get this card and a minor league card of him signed. I would have been much more lucky to get Salvador Perez or Mike Moustakas at that signing, but that is how Royals Fanfest goes. It is a crapshoot.

I never understood how these older non-glossy cards get the ever so slight beading from the Sharpie. It does not happen very often, but my mind is always blown when it does.

It has been an exciting weekend of regional play. I do not think I have ever seen so many games being played on Monday. Hopefully the Super Regionals will be set in a few hours and I can give an update on Tuesday of who has teams still in it.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

1983 Topps, Jack Perconte

#569 Jack Perconte

Here is the second of three cards that Tom, from The Angels In Order, sent me for helping him out with some 'graphs from Royals Fanfest.

Jack played in the Majors for parts of seven seasons with the Dodgers, Indians, Mariners, and White Sox. He did not see a lot of playing time until he ended up in Seattle in 1984. He was then a regular there for two seasons before ending his career with the White Sox in 1986.

For his career, Jack was a .270 hitter with 2 home runs and 76 RBI. His best seasons was with the M's in 1984. That year, he had a career-best average of .294 with 24 doubles and 31 RBI. He even stole 29 bases that season.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

1983 Topps, Steve Carlton

#406 Steve Carlton

With regional play starting today, the first phase of the College World Series contest is closed off. Phase two will start in about ten days and you can get back into the contest then.

Speaking of the College World Series, here is a card that I got signed there in 2014. While I always get autographs when I make it to the opening weekend, I do not always get cards signed. Quite a few of the players will only sign the 8x10s provided. I got lucky in 2014 and got 8x10s and cards signed by both Steve Carlton and Dennis Eckersly.

I really like the 1983 Topps set. Having the second inset picture was a cool addition, in my opinion. Even though the All Star cards lack the inset picture, I still love the way they came out looking. I miss when the days when Topps had a redesigned All Star subset. Nowadays, they just add a logo to what basically looks like a base card.

I'll be heading up to Omaha two weeks from Friday. I am already getting a little anxious to see who AT&T is going to bring in for autograph sessions. I hope it is someone new that signs cards and is a need for the '81 Donruss set.

Monday, May 29, 2017

2017 College World Series Contest

It's that time again! It is time for my eighth annual College World Series Contest.

Today, the NCAA announced the 64 teams that will be competing for the 2017 College World Series championship. To commemorate it, I am holding the eighth annual College World Series contest here at Autographed Cards. It is going to be a couple of weeks before the main phase of the contest starts, but you can earn some bonus points here that could make a difference when the main portion gets going. All you have to do right now is pick the eight teams that are going to be playing in Omaha. Here are the teams to choose from.

Slot One
1. Oregon State
1. Clemson
2. Nebraska
2. Vanderbilt
3. Yale
3. St. Johns
4. Holy Cross
4. UNC-Greensboro

Slot Two
1. Long Beach State
1. Stanford
2. Texas
2. Cal State Fullerton
3. BYU
4. San Diego State
4. Sacramento State

Slot Three
1. Texas Tech
1. Florida State
2. Arizona
2. Central Florida
3. Auburn
3. Sam Houston State
4. Tennessee Tech
4. Delaware

Slot Four
1. Southern Miss
1. LSU
2. Mississippi State
2. Southeastern Louisiana
3. South Alabama
3. Rice
4. Illinois-Chicago
4. Texas Southern

Slot Five
1. North Carolina
1. Houston
2. Florida Gulf Coast
2. Baylor
3. Michigan
3. Texas A&M
4. Davidson
4. Iowa

Slot Six
1. Kentucky
1. Louisville
2. Indiana
2. Oklahoma
3. North Carolina State
3. Xavier
4. Ohio
4. Radford

Slot Seven
1. TCU
1. Arkansas
2. Virginia
2. Missouri State
3. Dallas Baptist
3. Oklahoma State
4. Central Connecticut State
4. Oral Roberts

Slot Eight
1. Wake Forest
1. Florida
2. West Virginia
2. South Florida
3. Maryland
3. Bethune-Cookman
4. Maryland-Baltimore County
4. Marist

All you have to do is pick one team from each slot for a total of eight teams. In the past, for every team that you picked that made it into the College World Series, you got one point. I mixed it up a bit a few years ago and I am going to stick with that format. Now, any team you pick that makes it to Omaha gets as many points as their seed. So, if you make the safe bet and pick the one seed correctly, you get one point. But, if you pick the dark horse four seed and get lucky, you get four points for that pick. If you don't feel like participating right now, that's fine. You can enter the second phase without participating in the first, but you will have some ground to make up.

This blog has been in the doldrums of late since I am lucky to post a card twice a week. So, to get a few extra contestants in the contest, you can get one bonus point just by pimping this contest on your blog and by retweeting my link on Twitter (@zmills40). Just leave a link in the comments and I will chalk you up a point. Yes, you can get two free points just by pimping and retweeting.

Here is the format that your entry (comment) should look like

1. Yale
2. Texas
3. Arizona
4. LSU
5. Baylor
6. Indiana
7. TCU
8. Florida
Link to your blog (which can be left on a separate comment, but must be submitted by Wednesday night)

Keep in mind that the main portion of this contest is filling out a College World Series bracket when that field is determined in a couple of weeks. Every year, there are a couple of people that enter the first phase of the contest that never end up filling out a bracket. Those people have yet to win this contest.

As for the contest winnings, I will be bring back some signed 8x10s from Omaha. Some of the ones that I have given out in the past include Bruce Sutter, Steve Carlton, Dennis Eckersly, Barry Larkin, Rollie Fingers, Jim Palmer, John Smoltz, and Frank Thomas. Who will be there this year is anyone's guess.

All entries have to be left as a comment on this blog. Also, all entrants need to have a blogger profile to enter. No anonymous entries.

If you have any questions, ask in the comments or email me at zman40 at hotmail dot com. The deadline to enter the first phase of this contest is 3:00 pm (central) Thursday and the retweet and link must be posted by midnight Wednesday. Good luck and thanks for playing.

1983 Topps, Rick Burleson

#315 Rick Burleson

Here is a card I got in a trade with Tom, from Angels in Order. Back in the day when I used to rake in autographs at Royals Fanfest, I would offer to get things signed from certain alumni if anyone needed them. Tom took me up on the offer a couple of times, though I was only able to help him out once. In return, Tom sent me three signed cards and this is the first of those three.

Rick Burleson played in the Majors for thirteen seasons with the Red Sox, Angels, and Orioles. After breaking in with the Sox in 1974, he was a mainstay in the Boston infield for seven seasons before being dealt to the Angels prior to the 1980 season. But, with the Sox, Rick played in one World Series and made three All Star teams.

He made one more All Star team with the Halos in 1981 before injuring his throwing arm in 1982, limiting his playing time for the next three seasons. He came back strong in 1986 in time for the Angels AL West title run.

For his career, Rick was a .273 career hitter with 50 home runs and 449 RBI. He hit .318 in three playoff series and won one Gold Glove and one Silver Slugger.

I have no idea how Tom got this card signed. I just know that I need to acquire Rick's card from the '81 Donruss set and get it signed.

Today is selection Monday, so the College World Series Contest will be up and running around seven o'clock tonight.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

1983 Topps, Jim Eisenreich

#197 Jim Eisenreich

It has been a little over two years since I last posted a card of Jim Eisenreich. Jim played for the Royals for six seasons and is a constant at Royals Fanfests, which is where I got this card signed in 2014. At that particular Fanfest, I was finally able to get him to sign a Dodger card and this Twins card. After getting those two signed, I had a signed card for each Major League team he played for. The Marlins and Phillies were the other teams.

This was almost the only card Jim ever had. He made his debut with the Twins in 1982 and he got into 48 games with them over three years. But, he kept going on the disabled list with a nervous twitch and even retired for two full seasons. His twitch finally got diagnosed as Tourette's Syndrome and, with proper medication, he was able to get back in the game and have a long, successful career.

As a member of the Twins, Jim hit .283 with 2 home runs and 12 RBI.

Tomorrow is selection Monday for the college baseball postseason. That means the College World Series contest will be kicking off this week. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

1983 Fleer, Willie Aikens

#104 Willie Aikens

Here is another Willie Mays Aikens from Royals Fanfest. Just like the last Aikens card I posted last week, this one was from the 2014 Fanfest.

I am not a huge fan of the '83 Fleer set. The tan border does not do too much for me. If it was not for the trio of rookies in that set, I think it would be a rather forgettable set. But, that it just my opinion. I'm sure there are plenty of people out there that think the same about '81 Donruss.

I only have four cards signed from this set and all four are of Royals. If I ever mix it up a bit, it will be by sending Wade Boggs his rookie card to sign.

If you look at that batting glove Willie is wearing in this picture, it looks like it has a Phillies logo on it. I'm not sure what is up with that.