Monday, August 31, 2009

1983 Topps, Jim Morrison

#173 Jim Morrison

This card was given to me by the Collective Troll. He sent me about fifteen autographed cards last month to make up for the Donruss Opening Day set he was unable to get me. This was the oldest card in the lot.

Jim was basically a utility infielder that played twelve seasons with five teams- the Phillies, White Sox, Pirates, Tigers, and Braves. He had his longest stint with the Pirates and mostly played third base for them. Throughout his career he also got some time at every other infield position and he played a few games in left and right field. But the one position that really stands out to me is his pitching.

In his final big league season, he got to pitch for the Braves. And it wasn't just a one time deal either; the Braves put him on the mound three different times. The first time happened at the end of June when the Braves were losing to the Giants 13-6. He pitched 2.1 innings and gave up no runs on three hits and a walk. He recorded his only strikeout of the year in that game and it was against the Giants pitcher, Craig Lefferts.

He was back on the bump two months later. This time, the Braves were down to the Cards, 7-0 (John Smoltz started the game). Jim pitched the final inning and gave up no runs on no hits with one walk.

His final outing occurred seven days later against the Cardinals, again. Going into the ninth inning, the Braves were down 5-0. But Jose Alvarez gave up four runs in the ninth while only getting two outs. So the Braves brought in Morrison to put out the fire. He got Terry Pendleton to ground out for the final out of the game.

Terry Pendleton faced Morrison the week before and popped out to third. He finished his career 0-2 against Morrison. The only players to get a hit off of him were Candy Maldonado, Jose Uribe (a triple), and Harry Spillman.

1982 Donruss, John Wathan

#86 John Wathan

Here is the third and final card that I got signed by John Wathan at the Willie Wilson Classic.

I caught a bit of Game 6 of the '85 World Series today on the MLB Network. John Wathan pinch ran in the ninth for Hal McRea because he is pretty fast for a catcher.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

1981 Topps, John Wathan

#157 John Wathan

Here is the second card of John Wathan that I got signed prior to the Willie Wilson classic last month.

For those of you that do not know, John set the catchers stolen base mark in 1982 when he swiped 31 bases. I have no idea if that is still a record or not. But, according to Ryan Lefebvre and Frank White, the Royals TV announcers, John Wathan hates the phrase "fast for a catcher". According to those two, John thinks that if you are fast, you are fast regardless of what position you play. Whenever they bring it up on a broadcast, it usually goes something like this- "Don't tell John Wathan this, but that guy is fast for a catcher".

1981 Topps, Jerry White

#42 Jerry White

Here is the second autograph from the Twins first base coach that I got while I was in Texas. This Sharpie must have been brand new when he used it. It's a regular Sharpie, but it almost looks like a fine point.

For some reason, I took three cards of Jerry with me to Texas, but I only took one card of Butch when I went to Pennsylvania. I'm not sure why I did that. I guess that it might have been because I expected to get Butch's signature at the minor league game and I wanted to make sure he signed the '81 Donruss card. That probably makes no sense, but it is the best I could come up with.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

1981 Donruss. Butch Wynegar

#529 Butch Wynegar

I got this card signed when I went to the Poconos earlier in the month. I mentioned in that post that I went to the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees game while I was there. Butch is their hitting coach.

That was the day that qualifying for the ARCA series got rained out. So, Joe Petty and I decided to head up to the game. We were running a little behind and by the time we got to the ballpark, there was a good-sized crowd by the Yankees dugout. So, I headed straight for the Durham Bulls dugout where there was only a handful of people congregated. I knew that it was going to be easier to get cards signed over there because there were less people. But, at the same time, I really wanted to get this card signed.

So, I asked Joe if he would try to get it signed for me. He seemed a little unsure of himself, so I gave him a crash course on who I needed and what numbers they were. Joe went on his way and obviously did a great job on getting this card signed for me. He even got an additional card signed by one of the players. Thanks, Joe!

'81 Donruss Tracker: 26/100

Friday, August 28, 2009

1981 Donruss, Jose Cruz

#383 Jose Cruz

Tom, of Astros Baseball Cards, got this card signed recently through the mail with the current Astros first base coach. I might have chosen to take the same route, but I did not have this card. Luckily, Tom had sent two of these cards to Jose and he signed them both. I was able to work out a trade with Tom for this Brian Williams autograph.

Unfortunately for Tom, when I sent him a short list of extra Astros that I had, he picked Brian Williams thinking that it was Brian Hunter. He realized his mistake after I had already sent the card. At least he still needed Williams, so it wasn't a total wash for him.

I just looked at Jose's career stats and learned that he retired from the game as a Yankee. I had no idea that he ever played for them.

This autograph may be the smallest one that I have. It is the complete opposite of Bert Blyleven's.

'81 Donruss Tracker: 25/100

Thursday, August 27, 2009

1981 Donruss, Jerry White

#333 Jerry White

Jerry White is the first base coach of the Twins and I was able to get this card signed last week when the Twins were in Texas. It was an extremely hot day there in Arlington and Jerry was the only person in a Twins uniform that I could get to sign for me. Luckily, he happened to walk out to the area by third base, where I was standing, just before the Twins started taking batting practice. He came over and signed my three cards and then went back to work. Apparently, no one else wanted his autograph.

Besides a few broadcasters, these were the only cards that I got signed that day. I think that I have two reasons for that. The first is the heat. It was around 100 degrees and I doubt that the players wanted to be out there any more than they had to be. As soon as BP was over, they all took off for the clubhouse.

The second reason is the set-up this year at Rangers Ballpark. The Rangers block off the first two rows of seats at the ballpark, so fans can only stand in the isles. It was like that last year, too. But this year, they have the isle blocked off that is between the dugout and the net behind home plate. That was not blocked off last year and that is where I got most of my cards signed. While I may not have got many players there, I probably could have gotten a few more coaches. So, I guess that I was lucky that Jerry ventured out to where I was.

After batting practice, three Twins players went by the stands to talk to friends or family that was at the game. They were Jeff Manship, Carlos Gomez, and Bob Keppel. Carlos was talking three feet away from me. As soon as his conversation was over, I (and a few others) asked if he would sign and he completely ignored everyone. After that, Bob Keppel ran by. This time, I was the only one to ask for his autograph and he blew me off, too. At least he didn't ignore me. He just said "not right now". Finally, Jeff Manship came by and the dehydrated kid next to me asked him to sign. Jeff stopped and signed a few autographs. Unfortunately, I don't have any cards of him.

'81 Donruss Tacker: 24/100

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

1981 Donruss, Bert Blyleven

#135 Bert Blyleven

Before I get any further, I would like to announce that I have set a goal for myself. I am going to get 100 different cards from this set signed. If I accomplish that feat with ease, I may try for 200. But I doubt that I will aim any higher than that. There are too many deceased players in the set to bother going for the whole thing like the '83 Fleer Project. For instance, I think that it would be nearly impossible to get a card from this set that has a real autograph from Steve Macko. So, instead, I am just aiming for 100 signed cards. Usually, I try to get anything and everything signed. While I am still going to do that, if the opportunity arises to get an '81 Donruss card signed, I'm going to jump at it.

On to the Blyleven card. I got this card signed last Monday while I was at the Rangers game. The Rangers have a cool setup at the ballpark where the press box is on the same level as the club seats. I found this out when I was there last year and a fellow autograph collector gave me a card of Jose Guzman to get signed. So, I was pretty excited to go to a Rangers game while they were playing the Twins since Bert has been the color commentator for them for a few years now.

When I finally made it up to the club level, the usher stopped me in my tracks. He must have been new because he didn't like the thought of a non-ticket holder entering that section. After a little bit of pleading (and maybe a little begging), he finally let me through and told me to make it quick. When I walked through the area, I couldn't positively identify anyone that I was looking for. So I left the area and made my way down the foul line so that I could get a better look. All of those ushers stopped me too, but I made like I was taking some pictures of the field and they left me alone.

When I finally spotted the booths that had the former players in it that I needed, I went back to the area. I entered from the opposite side this time and simply told the usher that I was going to take some pictures. She let me through without any hassle and I went straight to Bert's booth. I hollared up to him and he quickly poked his head out. I asked him for an autograph and he said sure. I handed him my book and a Sharpie. The Sharpie still had the cap on it. When he realized that, he stuck it back towards me and said "pull my finger". I thought that that was a funny way to tell me to take the cap off for him.

Instead of giving him three cards to sign, I only gave him this one. I didn't want to risk him only signing one and that one not being this one. That is what I mean by focusing on this set.

When I was done getting autographs from the broadcasters, I left the way that I orignally entered. When I walked by the first usher, he told me that I owe him one. Yeah, I'll get right on that.

This is now the second Blyleven card that I have signed. The first one that I got was through the mail in the early '90s.

So, what do you all think? Is Bert Blyleven Hall of Fame material? I think that he is. What is your opinion on the subject?

'81 Donruss Tracker: 23/100

1980 Topps, Von Joshua

Here is the third and final autograph from the Chicago Cubs, and former Iowa Cubs, hitting coach, Von Joshua. If you would like to see the other two, just scroll down and maybe click on previous posts once.

This is my first signed card from the 1980 Topps set. To be honest, I'm not sure if I have any other cards from this set except for one, and it's not Rickey Henderson. Luckily, I was able to talk Night Owl (the guy that has too many Dodgers) into sending me one of his extras. The autograph turned out really nice and because of this one card, I now have at least one card signed from each year between 1968 and the present. That is something that I didn't realize until just now. Hopefully, my beat-up 1967 card that is out in the mail somewhere will make it back and extend the timeline.

Thanks for the card Greg!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

1978 Topps, John Wathan

#343 John Wathan

I got this card signed at the Willie Wilson Classic this year. I was able to get all of my cards signed as John was walking up to the ballpark from the parking lot. John was mobbed by a ton of fans and he signed for every single one of them. It was cool to see.

John only signed two of my three cards. But after the mob started to thin out, I sent my dad over to get this card signed.

John was the only player playing for the old-time Royals that night that wasn't a member of the team Hall of Fame. But, they needed a catcher and opted for John Wathan over Jamie Quirk. John is almost 60 years old, but he went out there and started the game behind the plate. I was definitely impressed.

Monday, August 24, 2009


No, I am not running a contest right now. I'm not even pimping a contest right now (but I should be). What I am talking about is the most unusual sight that I have ever seen at a professional baseball game. This occurred Saturday night at a Kansas City T-Bones game (independent, Northen League). Keep in mind that I have been to games in over sixty ballparks in three countries, over twenty states, and over ten leagues. But what I saw on Saturday night was deffinitely a first. Before I even try to explain it, check out the picture. Make sure you click on it so you can read it better.

In the T-Bones bullpen, the pitchers were hosting a game of chance. All you had to do was toss a quarter down onto the bullpen mound. If your quarter landed in a cup, you won whatever prize was sitting next to that cup. Sounds pretty simple right. The only drawback was that the bullpen was ten feet down (which really messed with ones aim).

I first saw this after the second inning when I was moving from the bleachers to the concourse behind home plate. When I saw this, I didn't know what to think. I think that most of the other people were thinking the same thing since there were not too many quarters on the ground. And the "5qtrs 4 $1" didn't make any sense to me either.

So I headed to the area behind home plate and...

Did I mention that Willie Wilson was the T-Bones starting centerfielder that night? He signed a one day contract with the team to help raise money for his charity. He played two innings in the field and batted leadoff. He ended up striking out swinging in his one plate appearance and didn't record any outs in center. It must be noted that he didn't get burned, either. He took his spot in center for the third inning and was replaced before the inning started. He got a loud, standing ovation and the PA announcer proclaimed that "Willie has officially retired from pro ball in a Kansas City uniform".

Here is the only halfway-decent shot I got of Willie in center. He was the only player on the team to have his pants up.

After Willie came out of the game, he took a little breather before heading to the team store to sign autographs. Before he got there, it was announced that he would be signing there for $10 per autograph. I had taken about five cards with me to try to get signed, but I wasn't about to spend any money to get them signed. I got three signed from him at the same ballpark last year after the Willie Wilson Classic for free. Plus, I'm pretty sure that he will be at Fanfest this year if I want any more. But, I did go by the store to check out how long the line was and was pretty surprised at its length. Here is a picture of Willie signing.

After that, I headed back out to the bleachers. Before I got there, I ran across the T-Bones bullpen pitcher's game of chance. By that time, the games were in full swing. It was hard to find a good spot to shoot from and both bats had already been won. Most of the balls had been won, too, and they were all replaced. The whole time I was there (the second time), they had a couple of pitchers picking up quarters and another one making change. Apparently, if you gave the 'pen a dollar bill, they would give you five quarters. That was what the "5qrts 4 $1" meant. It may sound pretty simple now, but when I was there the first time, there was no one out there making change. In this picture, you can see 15 making change with a fan.

I probably spent two dollars there trying for a hat. I wanted a ball, but the hat cup was closer to me. After the sixth inning was over, they called it quits because a pitcher had to warm up.

As for the game, I really didn't get to see a whole lot of it. I watched the first two innings before moving around to the chance game, beer garden, and team store. I was able to watch some ball from the open concourse, but the team store was kind of tucked away. By the time I got back to my seating area, I became very intrigued by the bullpen game. By the time that was over, there were only a few innings left in the game.

The second most interesting thing about the night was the crowd. When I got to the ballpark one hour before the game was slated to start, the parking lot was nearly full. There were all kinds of people out there tailgating. The announced attendance for the night was 9,613 fans. That is an incredible number for a minor league team, let alone for an independant team playing at home the same night as the local Major League team. That was the third highest attendance in their relatively short history. I don't know if it was Willie Wilson, the fact that it was the last Saturday home game, or the two dollar brews, but it was an awesome crowd (I know it wasn't the dollar dogs because they have those every game).

Here is one last photo for the night. This one shows the packed bleachers and the unusual infield setup. This is a grass field that looks like it should be turf based on the sliding pits. The field used to be a dirt infield until last year.

Because of the renovations to Arrowhead Stadium, the Kansas City Wizards (MLS) needed a temporary home. The best that they could do was the T-Bones park, Community America Ballpark. To accomodate the Wizards, a tougher grass was put in and they tried to minimise the dirt (they also added the bleachers, I think). I think that the Wizards will be moving back to Arrowhead next year.

Cards from the Great Orioles Autograph Project

On Saturday, I got an unexpected package in the mail from Ryan of "The Great Orioles Autograph Project". Well, it was almost unexpected since he mentioned in a comment on his blog that he had sent it. In the package was a healthy assortment of Royals cards ranging from 1980 to the present. I have picked out eighteen cards to show on here. All of these cards stood out to me for some reason or another.

2000 Pacific Crown Royale, Mark Quinn- I was a big Mark Quinn fan when he broke in with the Royals. In his first game ever, hit hit two home runs in the game. He went on to hit 45 homers for the Royals in just over two seasons before injuries (like freak kung fu injuries in his basement) derailed his career.

1995 Topps, Juan LeBron- I have never heard of Juan, but I know Carlos Beltran when I see him.

1996 Collector's Choice, Mike Sweeney- An older rookie card of Mike Sweeney from his catching days.

1983 Donruss, Hal McRea- I think that this is from the first Diamond King subset and it is only the second card from the subset that I have. I like the picture in picture.

1992 Bowman, Joe Randa- If Joe is at Royals fanfest this year, this card will be going with me to get signed. I love the Freddy Krueger sweater.

2008 Topps Heritage, Tony Pena- I have no idea who that is pictured on the card, but it is not Tony Pena, Jr. This is the second Royals card from 2008 that I've seen that has the wrong player on it. The first was the Brian Bannister Bowman card that has Luke Hochevar on it.

2007 Tristar, Mike Moustakas- This is the first card that I've got of the Royals 2007 fisrt round draft pick.

2008 Documentury, Mark Teahen- This is only my second Royals card from the set. Of course, the back says nothing about Mark Teahen.

1993 Select, Jeff Conine- Jeff has got to be one of the few players that have had two stints with three different clubs (Kansas City, Florida, and Baltimore).

1960 Topps, Ken Hamlin- This was the only card that he sent me of a player that never played with the Royals. But, Ken obviously played for the KC A's, so it is a welcome bonus. It's pretty beat-up and has a home made update on it, but it is still a cool addition.

2005 Fleer, Matt Stairs- Matt was a fan favorite in Kansas City and probably is wherever he plays. I might send this card out to him to get signed.

1994 Signature Rookies, Jamie Bluma- Jamie only got into 17 games with the Royals, but he is still involved with the franchise and is at Opening Day every year. I wish that I would have had this card in the spring when he came to town to teach a youth clinic. Hopefully, he will come back next year.

2001 Upper Deck Vintage, Jeff Suppan- This is the first card that I have aver seen from this set. This card is from when Jeff was the staff ace.

2008 Topps, Yunieasky Betancourt- Ryan didn't waste any time throwing in one of the newest Royals.

2005 Topps, Aaron Guiel- Here is another scrappy player that was a fan favorite in Kansas City. I was at the first game that Aaron ever played in Kansas City and he threw me a ball after catching the final out of an inning.

1996 Topps Stadium Club, Joe Randa- This is the first time that I have seen this set and I think I like it.

1985 Fleer, Bret Saberhagen- A Bret Saberhagen rookie! Very cool! It's too bad that Bret doesn't ever make it back to Kansas City to sign. I wouldn't mind an autograph from him.

1980 Topps, Darrell Porter- This was the oldest Royals card that was sent. This is probably my fifth card from the set.

So, all in all, Ryan sent me some great cards. There was way too many to show on here individually, but these two scans have a pretty nice cross section of what was sent. Thanks Ryan!

1978 Topps, Von Joshua

#108 Von Joshua

Here is the second card that I got signed by Von in Des Moines this June. This is the first Von Joshua card that I ever owned and I picked it up at the local card shop about a month before I went to that game. While I was going through the boxes of older cards, I ran across this one and grabbed it up since I was planning on going to the Iowa Cubs game.

This is the second Brewers card from this set that I have got signed. I happen to like the fisrt one better, though, just because of the powder blue uniform and the two-tone hat.

1976 Topps, Bert Campaneris

#580 Bert Campaneris

Here is the second card that Bert signed for me at this years Willie Wilson Classic. When I was getting my cards ready for the event, it came down to either taking this card or Bert's '75 Topps card. I love getting the '75 cards signed, but the photo on that card has Bert sitting on the edge of the dugout and it is really dark in the photo. So, I took this one with me instead and am really pleased with the result.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

1975 Topps, Von Joshua

#547 Von Joshua

I got this card signed during my College World Series trip. When I went to the Iowa Cubs game on the opening day of the World Series, I was able to get three cards signed by Von Joshua. I wasn't able to get him to sign between games of the doubleheader, but he signed for everyone after the game on the way to the parking lot.

I was lucky that I went to that game when I did. By the time I got home from my trip, Von had been promoted up to the big league club to serve as their hitting coach.

I picked up this card off of for $0.15.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

1972 Topps, Chris Speier

#166 Chris Speier

This is one of the other cards that I got Chris to sign for me in June. When I went to the College World Series, I stopped by Kansas City on the way and saw the Royals take on the Reds. Chris is the Reds bench coach and he signed all three cards for me. I posted one of those already and it can be seen here.

On my first Chris Speier post, Night Owl left a comment that he had sent Chris a couple of cards to get signed and that one of them was pretty beat up. As it turns out, his beat-up card just happens to be this card. So, it will interesting to see how that card turns out.

I've actually had this card since I was in grade school or middle school. One of my friends had a box of cards from 1968-1972. Most of the cards were in decent shape, but there wasn't any big name players in it. So, every once in a while, he would let me rummage through the box and grab a few cards. At the time, I'm not sure why I picked out this card. But, now that it is signed, I am happy that I did.

Friday, August 21, 2009

1971 Topps, Maury Wills

#385 Maury Wills

Here is the second card that I got signed by Maury Wills one week ago. I bought this card a few days before I left for my trip. It is a little beat up, but I don't care since this is the first 1971 Topps card that I have got signed. I also have a couple out in the mail right now. Hopefully, I will at least get one of those back.

Sorry about the short post today. I got off work late and it is Friday. I'm sure you understand.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

1969 Topps, Bert Campaneris

#495 Bert Campaneris

This is one of the cards that Bert signed for me at this years Willie Wilson Classic. He was the only player that signed for me prior to the game. He actually signed for many people and was willing to sign anything that anyone wanted signed. It it wasn't for him, my trip to the old-timers game would have been almost a complete wash.

I got a card signed by him at last years game, too. At the time, it was the only card of him that I had (or so I thought). So, this past year, I have grabbed any older cards of him that I could find in anticipation of this years event. So, I was lucky to at least get him to sign for me.

The black Sharpie I used for this card looks a little better than the blue I used on Maury's card yesterday. But, the next two Maury Wills cards look good in blue, so I can't complain.

Speaking of the Willie Wilson Classic, I am heading to a Kansas City T-Bones game on Saturday. When I checked the promotional schedule a couple of weeks ago, Saturday was listed as having an appearance by Willie Wilson. When I checked it yesterday, it is no longer listed as an appearance. Instead, Willie is now signed to a one day contract and is slated to be the starting centerfielder that night. I wonder how that is going to work out.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

1969 Topps, Maury Wills

#45 Maury Wills

Here is another card that I was able to get signed in Ft. Worth on Friday. The game I happened to attend just happened to be the day that Maury was at the park signing autographs. I didn't know about this signing until two days before I left when I checked the Cats promotional schedule. That said that they were giving away Maury Wills photocards and usually when they give something like that away, that player is going to be there. So, I went by the card shop and was able to pick up a couple of Wills cards.

Maury is probably mostly famous for his stolen bases. In 1962, he became the first player to ever steal more than 100 bases when he stole 102 as a Dodger. He ended up winning the MVP award that year, as well.

When I was looking for some cards of Maury to take with me, I noticed that he didn't have any Topps cards from his early seasons. The earliest card of Maury that I saw on was his '63 Fleer card. His next card was a '67 Topps card of him as a Pirate. Did Maury have some kind of exclusive contract with Fleer? Even the 1987 Topps "Turn Back the Clock" card of Maury (#315) seems to feature a card that doesn't exist according to

This card is interesting because it shows him as a Pirate, but lists him as an Expo. Prior to the 1969 season, Maury was picked by the Expos in the expansion draft. He was hitting .222 for them when he got traded back to the Dodgers mid-season.

The card is signed across Expos and the signature is kind of hard to make out in the scan. It doesn't seem that bad in person, though. Also, you can notice a blue speck on the left border of this card. That is from Maury doing his little underlying thing on the card I had to the left of this one.

1959 Topps, Wayne Terwilliger

#496 Wayne Terwilliger

Here is another card of Wayne Terwilliger that I got signed on Friday. I picked this card up off of Ebay around this time last year. When I went to the grandparents then, I was planning on going to an American Association playofff game. All I knew at the time was that Ft. Worth and Grand Prairie were playing each other in the first round. So, one of them was going to host the first game of the championship series. I didn't know who the winner was until I got to my grandparents, so I took this card with me in case Ft. Worth won and I took some Pete Incaviglia cards with me in case Grand Prarie won. Obviously, Grand Prarie won the series. But, at least I was able to get this card signed a year later.

If you look closely at this card, you will notice that it is an uncorrected error card. Athletics is misspelled with an "f" rather than an "e".

This is actually my fourth signed A's card from before their days in Oakland. I now have three KC A's cards and one Philadelphia A's card signed. The only other cards of relocated teams that I have signed (besides the Expos) are a Senators card and a Brooklyn Dodger card.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

1950 Bowman, Wayne Terwilliger

#114 Wayne Terwilliger

A little over a month ago, my grandma called me to let me know most of the family was converging at her place in southern Texas and she wanted to know if I could make it. The first thing I did was to check the Ft. Worth Cats schedule to see if they were going to be home that weekend. They were, so I told Grandma that I would see her in a month.

The reason that I checked the American Association Cats schedule was because I have this card of Wayne Terwilliger that I have been wanting to get signed all year. I bought this card off of Ebay before the season started, hoping that I could get it signed in Wichita this year. When the schedule finally came out, Ft. Worth was not coming to Wichita; Wichita was instead heading to Ft. Worth. The closest to me the Cats would come was Lincoln. So, back in May, I headed up to Lincoln. I was able to get a cool autograph there, but Wayne had a staff infection at the time and didn't make the trip. So, when this oportunity came, I jumped on it.

Most of you may be wondering why I would go so far out of my way to get a card signed. I think that the main reason was so I could get a card from 1950 signed. I have two cards from 1954 signed, so I now have a new "oldest signed card".

Another reason is because it of the legendary Wayne Terwilliger. Sure, he didn't have a spectacular playing career and he never set any records. But, he is only the second octogenarian to ever coach in baseball and the first since Connie Mack. Granted, most of his recent coaching has been done in the independent leagues. But, he is still a part of the game and I'm sure that there is much that you can learn from a man that played in the '50s and coached in the '70s under Ted Williams. He was also a coach for the Twins when they won their last two World Series titles.

I normally do not show the backs of the cards I post on here. After all, the autograph is the main feature to this blog. But, on this card, I could not help it. This card is so old, it talks about Wayne spending time with the "Los Angeles farm team". I asked Wayne if he played in LA's Wrigley Field and he said that he did. When asked how it compared to Chicago's, he said that it was much smaller. When I asked if the Los Angeles Wrigley had ivey on the fence, he told me that it had been so long that he couldn't remember. Nonetheless, it was very cool talking to someone that has been around the game as long as he has.

I guess that I forgot to mention it earlier, but Wayne is the Cats first base coach. Here is a picture of him in action. And no, the American Association has yet to adopt the base coach helmet rule.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

1994 Upper Deck, Matt Walbeck

#130 Matt Walbeck

This is my third and final Matt Walbeck card. You can see the first one here and the second one here. Like the first two, I got this card signed last year in Kansas City when the Rangers came to town. Matt was their third base coach at the time.

It is kind of fitting that my last post on here until Tuesday features a Twin (although it looks like he might be in a Cubs uni) that was a Rangers coach. On Monday, I'll be seeing the Twins take on the Rangers in Arlington.

Today just happens to be the one year anniversary of this blog. I am surprised that I have lasted this long. I wish that I would have had a contest planned for it, but the event snuck up on me and I didn't realize it had been a whole year until yesterday. Oh well, maybe I will have one when I get back from Texas.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

1994 Ultra, Rondell White

#233 Rondell White

Here is another through the mail success that I had in the mid '90s while Rondell was an Expo. Rondell was a former first-rounder that spent half of his career with the 'Spos before bouncing around to the Cubs, Yankees, Padres, Royals, Tigers, and Twins. He had a few decent years in Montreal, but he never broke the 100 RBI barrier and he only had 20 or more home runs three times in his 15 year career.

In 2003, the Royals picked up Rondell at the trading deadline. He only played in 22 games for the Royals before a hamstring injury shut him down for the year. But in those 22 games, it seemed like he could do no wrong as he batted .347 with 21 RBI. He quickly became a fan favorite in my group and earned the nickname "Ron-D". After the season, the Royals decided not to bring him or Raul Ibanez back. They opted for Juan Gonzalez instead. It has been a downward spiral ever since.

Tomorrow will be my last post until Tuesday. I'm heading down deep into Texas to see the grandparents. I am hoping to be at a game in Ft. Worth on Friday and Arlington on Monday. The Dallas/Ft. Worth area is about the halfway point in the trip, and since I'm riding solo, it will be a good way to break up the drive. Tomorrow just happens to coincide with my last 1994 card. When I get back, I will do my usual rewind to catch up on all of the older cards that I have got since I started the '94s. Hopefully, I will have a signed 1950 card to show on here.

I almost forgot to mention this. Check out the third baseman's pants. Or rather, his lack of socks. I guess that that was a predecessor to today's style? I do not remember that one, myself.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

1994 Ultra, Omar Vizquel

#125 Omar Vizquel

I was lucky enough to get this card signed through the mail in the mid '90s while Omar was with the Indians. While he was a slick fielder back then, I had no idea that he would still be around today. That is pretty impressive.

Last year, I almost had another Vizquel autograph when the Giants came to Kansas City. A native Venzuelan was able to draw Omar over with his Venzuelan flag that he was getting signatures on. He only signed a few autographs, so I didn't get one. But, I did see one of his autographs and it looked very similar to this one. It's good to see a player's signature stay the same for so long.

So what do you think? Is Omar Vizquel a Hall of Famer?

Monday, August 10, 2009

1994 Triple Play, Pat Meares

#257 Pat Meares

This is the second Pat Meares card that I have shown on here. As I said in the first post, Pat was the last big leaguer born in my hometown. Even though I was never a Twins fan (or Pirates fan), I was always pulling for Pat to succeed. If I remember correctly, a wrist injury shortened his career.

I probably got this card signed in 1995. It was during the offseason and Pat was signing at the annual RV/boat show here in town. That was definitely one of the stranger places that I got a card signed.

Speaking of my hometown, today we had a hurricane-like storm pass through around noon. There were wind gusts up to 100 mph and a few inches of rain fell in a short time. Afterwards, there were limbs down everywhere and power outages around the county. Here is the picture that I took from my front porch. Unfortunately, you can't see a whole heck of a lot because of the rain.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

1994 Topps, Dave Stewart

#455 Dave Stewart

Yesterday, I had a card from the 1993 National League Champion Phillies team, Pete Incaviglia. Today, I counter that with a card from the 1993 World Champion Blue Jays team, Dave Stewart.

Just like yesterday's Incaviglia card, this is the third and final Dave Stewart card on here. Also like the Inky card, this Stewart card features him on a different team than the previous two. The original Dave Stewart post was posted in August of last year and it shows him as a Dodger. The second Stewart post was done in November and shows him as an Athletic. And, of course, he is a Blue Jay on this card.

I got my Stewart cards signed at the Willie Wilson Classic last year. He was at the event again this year, but I didn't see him sign anything. I wish he would have. I had two cards of him with me- an '85 Topps as a Ranger and an '86 Topps as a Phillie. I don't think that I have five cards signed by a player that show him on five different teams. The most that I think I have is four and that is with Jamie Quirk.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

1994 Topps, Pete Incaviglia

#323 Pete Incaviglia

This is the third and final Pete Incaviglia card that I have posted on here. When possible, I try get three cards signed by a player that features him on three different teams. I suceeded with that goal for Pete. The fisrt card I posted (almost ten months ago) was his rookie card from when he was a Ranger. The second card featured him as an Astro. This card shows him as a Phillie. Trifecta!

Friday, August 7, 2009

1994 Ted Williams, Virgil Trucks

#34 Virgil Trucks

This is the third Virgil Trucks post on here. For the first one, I didn't have a card of him, so I sent him a Tigers sticker. For the second post, I sent him a 1954 Bowman card. On that second attempt, he threw this card in with it. So I ended up with a signed '54 card and a signed '94 card.

I posted a couple of cards from the 1993 Ted Williams set at the end of April. I had actually bought a few packs of that set at a card show. But, this is the first and only card from the 1994 set that I had ever seen. I thought that the Ted Williams set was out for only one year and was done. I wonder if they made a set in 1995.

As a quick reminder, Virgil threw two no-hitters in 1952.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

1994 Stadium Club, Lloyd McClendon

#511 Lloyd McClendon

This is the third card in a row that was basically given to me out of the blue. The first two came from Padrographs last year. This one came from the Collective Troll just last month. The Troll was having a giveaway last month that featured some '87 Donruss Opening Day cards. I chimed in that I wanted the Royals team set, if it was available. CT emailed me back and said that it was mine.

Then the next day, he emailed me again to say that someone had claimed them before I had, but that he would make it up to me. I told him not to worry about it, but he sent me a package anyway. Well, this is the first card from that package that I have shown on here.

Lloyd played eight seasons with the Reds, Cubs, and Pirates. He never played in 100 games in a season despite being versatile enough to play first, third, outfield, or catcher. He was only a .244 career hitter. But, in three playoff series, hit hit .625 in 16 at-bats. He went on to manage the Pirates for five seasons and is currently the hitting coach for the Tigers.

I believe that this autograph was acquired during Spring Training at some point.

Check out how he signs his last name. It looks like a pretzel.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

1994 Stadium Club, Tim Mauser

#200 Tim Mauser

Here is another card that was given to me from Rod. This one features Tim Mauser, a relief pitcher that spent parts of four seasons in the big leagues. He made his Major League debut in 1991 with the Phillies. He pitched in three games that year and posted a 7.59 ERA. He spent all of 1992 in the minors and reemerged with the Phils in '93. After eight games with them, he was dealt to the Padres for Roger Mason.

With the Padres, he appeared in 28 games and posted a 3.58 ERA. He was back with the Padres the next year and he appeared in 35 games and he dropped his ERA to 3.49. In 1995, he only appeared in 5 games with San Diego and he had a 9.53 ERA. The inflated ERA was helped by his 9 walks in only 5.2 innings. He spent one more year in AAA and then his career was over.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

1994 Stadium Club, Ricky Gutierrez

#75 Ricky Gutierrez

This is one of the cards that Rod, from Padrographs, sent me last year. Prior to that package, I did not have any cards from this set signed. Now I have three- two from Rod and one from another blogger that I will get to on Thursday. But, I haven't gotten any of these cards signed in person. I don't have too many cards from this set, but I have one that I am going to try to get signed next month.

As for Rickey, he played twelve seasons with six different teams. He spent most of his career in Houston after being dealt there in the crazy eleven player trade that included Derek Bell, Ken Caminiti, and Steve Finley. According to Wikipedia, he was the only player to reach base in Kerry Wood's 20 strikeout game.

The purple signature looks great on this card.

Trip to the Poconos

Recently, I was asked if I was willing to help out with a friend's racing team. Not knowing much about racing, I was kind of surprised and eager to find out what was needed from me. Well, they didn't need a new tire changer, but they do need some help with some computer related things. I'm hoping that I can fix most of their problems on the computer front. In the meantime, I was invited to their most recent race at Pocono International Raceway.

So, on Wednesday, I piled into a truck, officially dubbed the "RV", with Joe (the driver's dad/spotter/gas man), Brian (front tire changer), and Brook (the driver's girlfriend). We got on our way for the 1300 mile trip to Pocono.

With four of us in a four door dually Ford with an air mattress in the back, it was an easy, non-stop drive. We were making such good time that when we got close to Williamsport, Pennsylvania, we decided to make an impromptu stop at the home of the Little League World Series.

I thought that we were only going to check out the main field, but we ended up touring the museum as well.

To be perfectly honest, I was a little disappointed in the museum. Some of the displays seemed to be missing items and other displays seemed that someone had quickly moved some itmes around without moving the corresponding captions along with them. But the main gallery, which was pretty bare, did have a cool map that lit up to go along with Vin Scully's narrative.

Here are a few of the displays from the museum. The first showcases the evolution of the Little League batting helmet.

There was one room in the museum dedicated to Major Leaguers that played Little League. Since I have shown three autographs on here from Orel Hershiser, I decided to take a picture of him as a Little Leaguer.

After touring the museum, we headed out to the field. On the way to the field we passed by the dorms that the teams stay in, as well as a pool and basketball courts for the kids. Here is the first picture of the field that I took.

You see this field on TV every summer, but it is hard to realize how big it is until you are actually there. There is seating from foul pole to foul pole. I could not imagine what it would be like to play in a packed house there as a Little Leaguer. It has got to be a more than a little overwhelming.

Here is "The Mighty Casey" statue next to the scoreboard. This same statue stands in front of Eck Stadium on the campus of Wichita State University. I know that I have seen this statue someplace else, but I am drawing a blank right now.

After that, I headed into the ballpark to get a picture of the field. They were hosting a camp that weekend, so I was able to get an action photo. Check out the left-handed catcher. I wonder how long that will last for him.

After we left the field, we got back in the RV and continued our journey to Pocono. We got there about 23 hours after we left. Once the driver, Jeremy Petty, and the car arrived, we parked it and headed for the motel. Once we were checked in, we ate, ran some errands, and then called it a day.

On Friday, we had to be at the track at 5:30 AM. We were a little late because we missed our exit to the racetrack since it wasn't marked. Once there, I got to see all of the behind the scenes activities that the ARCA/Remax teams go through to get ready to race, like making last-minute adjustments to the car and going through the inspection process. Once all of that was over, the teams got a chance to practice before they qualified. Here is a picture of Jeremy's car during practice.

After the ARCA practice, the Sprint Cup drivers took to the track for their practice. About half way through their practice, the rain came.

It rained pretty good and qualifying for the ARCA and Sprint series got rained out. That meant that we got to leave the track a little early and that worked out in my favor. By that, I mean that I got to go to a baseball game.

The closest game to the track was in Scranton, Pennsylvania. After a quick siesta at the motel, Joe and I headed out to see the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees host the Durham Bulls. By then, the rain had cleared and it turned out to be a great night for baseball.

We ended up getting to the park just as the players were starting to take the field to warm up. We headed to the Durham side since there were a ton of fans on the home team side wanting autographs. That seemed a little unusual to me. At all of the AAA games that I have been to, there has always been more people on the visiting team side. Once we got there, I talked Joe into heading to the home team side to see if he could get any of the Yankee cards signed for me. After I gave him a quick walkthrough of who I needed, Joe headed over there to do his best.

I ended up getting six cards signed by three different Bulls (one was a coach). When I finally met up with Joe, I was happy to see that he had got two cards signed for me. Joe has a ton of autograph potential and I hope that I can utilize him again in the future. I also got three cards signed by Kei Igawa in the middle of the game after I noticed him charting pitches in the stands.

The ballpark in Scranton, PNC Field, is in a beautiful setting. It is at the bottom of a valley and while it is close to the interstate, its lights are not visible from it. Unfortunately, this photo does not do it justice. It looks much better in person.

Scranton was the Phillies AAA team for a long time and apparently the ballpark was modeled after Veterans Stadium. It wasn't as noticeable on the outside as it was on the inside. The first thing I noticed was that the upper deck did not hang over the lower level at all. That sounds like the Vet to me. Plus, if I cut the edge of this photo off, it would not be hard to believe that this was a cookie cutter stadium.

The Bulls ended up winning the pitching duel 3-1. There wasn't much offense, but I did get to see Damaso Marte make a rehab appearance.

The next day was back at the racetrack and I got to see my first race that wasn't on dirt. I also got to see the rest of the Sprint Cup practice and their happy hour.

As for the Jeremy Petty team, they didn't do as well as they would have liked. They finished in the middle of the pack at 20th. Jeremy was great in the corners, but he wasn't getting enough horses out of his engine to compete on the straightaways. Nonetheless, I still had a great time and am looking forward to the next race that I can make it to.

I made sure to get some autographs from Jeremy. I was originally hoping that I could make them some autograph cards to distribute. But, after seeing the ones that they have, I knew I would not be needed. They have some great looking cards. I have a few extras of these if anyone would like one.