Monday, November 30, 2009

1996 Ultra, Scott Livingstone

#560 Scott Livingstone

I started out my 1996s with a Padrograph and I am going to end it with one as well.

This one features Scott Livingstone. Scott had a eight-year Major League career with the Tigers, Padres, Cardinals, and Expos. He was originally drafted by the Blue Jays in the sixth round in 1984, but he decided to go to Texas A&M instead. The Yankees drafted him in the twenty-sixth round two years later, but he still didn't sign. The A's took their chance in the third round the following year without any luck. Finally, in 1988, the Tigers drafted him in the second round and signed him.

Scott hit .281 as a big-leaguer, but his power numbers weren't there. Luckily, I got to see him play one time in a game that I will never forget.

The game was in 1996 in Denver Colorado while Scott was still a Padre. San Diego jumped to a quick lead early in the game and had a nice 9-2 lead after the top of the seventh. Then the skies opened up and it poured for a good thirty to fourty minutes. The field was drenched and I didn't think that there was any way that they were going to finish the game. Luckily, the game was at the year and a half old Coors Field which had a very good drainage system.

When the game restarted, many people had left. So we moved up from the Rock Pile to the left field bleachers to watch the remainder of the game. I wish I would have had a camera then because we were sitting pretty close to Ricky Henderson.

In the bottom of the seventh, the Rockies managed to put 11 runs on the board off of five different Padre relievers. The best part about it was how they did it. The first batter of the inning grounded out. Then, it went HBP, single, single, single, walk, single, double, intentional walk. By this point, the Rockies have scored five runs to make the score 9-7 San Diego. Plus, they have the bases loaded. Vinny Castilla is up and he is the only batter to make an out that inning so far. Vinny hits the first pitch he sees for a grand slam and gives the Rockies an 11-9 lead. They tack on two more in the inning for a 13-9 lead. But, what does this have to do with Scott Livingstone?

Well, Scott ended up pinch hitting in the top of the ninth. He had two on with one out and was down in the count 1-2 when he hit a home run to make it a one-run ballgame. Rickey got a single after him, but the next batter hit into a game-ending double play. Final score was 13-12 Colorado. That was only the second Major League ballgame that I had been to and it is one that I will never forget.

To this day, Scott and Jeff Blauser are the only two players that I have seen for only one at-bat and have hit a home run.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

1996 Topps, Chris Hoiles

#191 Chris Hoiles

This is the final card that I got signed at the Orioles alumni signing at Camden Yards in September. Joe Orsulak and Ken Dixon were the other two alums that signed that day. Just like those two, this card was provided to me by Ryan of the Great Orioles Autograph Project. He had a few Hoiles cards to choose from and I picked this one because I didn't think I had a card from this set signed. I guess that I forgot about the Eisenreich card I posted yesterday.

Chris had a pretty good ten-year career, all with the O's. He was a career .262 hitter that slugged 151 home runs including a career high of 29 in 1993. According to Wikipedia, Chris is the only player to ever hit a grand slam in the bottom of the ninth with two outs, a 3-2 count, and down by three. That is pretty cool. He even had a two grand slam game a couple of years later. He finished with eight grand slams for his career.

Chris managed the York Revolution for two and a half years. He stepped down during this past season. Paul, from Paul's Random Stuff, was going to try to get a card signed for me, but Chris left the team before that could come about. So, I was pretty happy that Chris was present at the alumni signing.

This is an interesting looking Topps set. It could have been a little better if a different picture was used by the name. Just cropping a picture of the face on the main picture doesn't quite do it for me. I'm glad that they didn't do that on their '83 or '84 set.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

1996 Topps, Jim Eisenrreich

#66 Jim Eisenriech

This is the third and final Jim Eisenreich card that I got signed at last years Royals Fanfest. You can see the first one here and the second one here. The first two were Royals cards. So, I had to mix it up a bit with a Phillies card.

Prior to that Fanfest, I had two Eisenreich autographs and neither one was on a card. Here is the first one that I got.

This is a roster from a Dodger-Cardinal game that I attended in 1998. I realize that it is upside down, but that is the way that it is signed. Jim's signature is on the right. I'm not positively sure who signed the other side, but my guess is Wilton Guerrero. You can see that Jim's signature changed slightly since 1998.

Here is the other autograph that I had from him.

This is a picture that I took of Jim signing autographs at the Dodger-Cardinal game. I got this 8x10 signed at the Turkey Bowl in 2003. Jim told the other players around him that this was one of the rare photos of him as a Dodger since he didn't play too much with them. The signature is kind of hard to make out over the jersey, but that is the way it goes sometimes. It is still a neat piece of memorabilia.

Friday, November 27, 2009

1996 Signature Rookies Autobilia, Johnny Damon

#B4 Johnny Damon

First off, I don't know too much about this card. It is a preview card for a set that never came out. I can't even remember which set I got it out of. It might have been from the Autobilia football cards that Signature Rookies defaulted on. I can't even find this card on There were a few more preview cards, but the only other one I remember is A-Rod. But, I think that it is a good looking card. If nothing else, it is original.

I got this card signed at a Royals Caravan appearance at the mall when I was in high school. Johnny was there with Micheal Tucker. That was probably the best caravan I attended until 2008. They usually had some rookies signing prior to that, but it was more like Kevin Koslofski than anyone that would be around for awhile.

I wish that I would have had him sign another card for me. But, this was the only card I took. I bought a pennent there and had him and Tucker sign that. I still have that. I may have a signed Royals-issued photo, too. I'm not sure if I grabbed one of those or not.

I first became a Royals fan in college when I realized I only had to drive an hour and forty-five minutes to get to the ballpark. That was in 2000 and the Royals had the best offense in team history. Unfortunately, their pitching was horrible. The outfield consisted of Damon, Carlos Beltran, and Jermaine Dye while Joe Randa and Mike Sweeney were the main guys in the infield. That was a fun ballclub. You could pretty much expect a 9-7 game every night.

Here is a picture of Johnny from photo day that year.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

1996 Score, Marc Kroon

#498 Marc Kroon

This is the third Padrograph of the week and the second Marc. If you have never heard of Marc Kroon, don't feel bad. He never had much Major League success.

He pitched in 16 games for the Padres between 1995 and 1998. In limited work, he had an ERA of 6.46. The Padres traded him to Cincinnati during the '98 season and in 5.33 innings with them, he gave up 8 earned runs. He wouldn't appear in the Majors again until the Rockies gave him a chance in 2004. It was more of the same with them.

For some reason, I cannot find any stats for him between the 2000 and 2004. He was signed by Anaheim during the 2003 season, but he has no stats. Either he was hurt for an extended period of time or maybe he pitched in Korea. I have no idea.

Anyway, after his failed endeavor with the Rockies, he headed over to Japan and has been a dominant closer over there. In 2008, with the Yomiuri Giants, he led the Central league in saves with 41. He even has his own website. Unfortunately, it is partly in Japanese. But, if you have some spare time, make sure to listen to his rap about himself during the intro. It's classic! Also, he makes a big deal about pitching 161 kph. I am assuming that is fast, but I'm too lazy to figure it out on Thanksgiving.

"K, to the R, to the O-O-N"

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

1996 Score, Derek Jeter

#384 Derek Jeter

Here is another great through the mail success that I had in the mid-90s. By this point in my life, I was over half-way through high school and hardly bought any cards, let alone sent them off. But every now and then, that little kid in me would send off a few TTMs. This is one that I am glad that I sent off. I just wish that I would have sent a card without starry night on it.

For most of my childhood, the Yankees were bad. They weren't Evil Empire bad, they were just bad at being competitive. So I had no reason to dislike the Yankees. What is the point in not liking a bad team? But, strangely, prior to getting back into autographs in 2008, I only had three signed Yankee cards from my school days. There is this one, J.T. Snow (that was probably signed when he was an Angel), and a Sam Militello Jr. minor league card. I had many more signed Royals cards (in-person and TTM) and I could not stand them growing up. But, I guess the reason for this is because the Yankees were pretty awful there for a few years. Besides Don Mattingly (who didn't sign TTM), they didn't have a whole lot of players I felt like writing to.

Enter Derek Jeter.

Obviously, the Yankees have been a different team the last decade and a half than they were the prior decade. Much of that revolves around Derek Jeter, the future Hall of Famer and 3,000 hit club member (he's only 253 hits away). While I can't stand the Yankees, and am in no way, shape, or form a Jeter fan, I certainly appreciate what he brings to the table and the professionalism with which he does it. The guy truly seems like a class-act.

This just goes to show you why it pays to write to the younger players. They get less fan mail than the established players and are more likely to sign. While you may get a bunch of autographs from guys that never make a name for themselves, every once in a while you may get a future ten-time All Star. You just never know.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

1996 Score, Andy Ashby

#216 Andy Ashby

Here is another Padrograph from Rod. This one features the two-time All Star, Andy Ashby.

Andy pitched for 14 seasons with five teams- the Phillies, Rockies, Padres, Braves, and Dodgers. I don't remember much about him. In fact, when I started this post, I had it titled as "Andy Benes". In 1998, he was 17-9 with the Padres and he had a 3.34 ERA and struck out a career high 151. He made his first All-Star appearance that year and he also helped take the Padres to the World Series. He made another All Star appearance the following year. Then, the Padres decided to sell high and they traded Andy to the Phillies.

For Philly, Andy went 4-7 with a 5.68 ERA in 16 starts. The Phils then flipped him to the Braves prior to the trading deadline and he went 8-6 with a 4.13 ERA down the stretch. He made two relief appearances during the NLDS that year. That would he his final post-season experience.

He then signed a three year/ 20+ million dollar contract with the Dodgers and made two starts in the first year of the deal (and no relief appearances). He made 30 starts the next year and went 9-13 with a 3.91 ERA. His finished his Dodger tenure the next year with 21 appearances (12 starts) and a 5.18 ERA. He signed with the Padres after the season and made two relief appearances for them before shutting it down. He made two minor league starts the following year before deciding to call it a career.

Andy has an interesting signature. It is hard to make out on this card. But, if you click on his name at the top of the post, you can see the one that the Baseball Almanac has.

Monday, November 23, 2009

1996 Pinnacle, Marc Newfield

#51 Marc Newfield

Here is another Padre autographs courtesy of Padrographs. This one features Marc Newfield. I remember Marc's rookie cards. He seemed to have a few prospect cards in various sets in the early '90s as a Mariner.

Unfortunately, he could never live up to the prospect status. In a three year period, he only played in 58 games as a Mariner and hit around .200. The M's shipped him and Ron Villone off to San Diego for Andy Benes. Marc played for the Padres for basically one year and got into 105 games and hit .264. With those numbers, the Padres were able to trade him and Ron Villone (and Bryce Florie) to the Brewers for Greg Vaughn. So in the end, the Padres basically traded Bryce Florie, Andy Benes, and some guy named Greg Keagle for Greg Vaughn. I would say that that was a very good trade.

After the trade, Marc hit .307 with 31 RBI in the final 49 games of the season. He only got into 50 games the next season and he hit .229. The next year, he got into 93 games and hit .237. That was the last time he appeared in the big leagues. The following season, he appeared in 4 games with Boston's AA team and 7 games with Oakland's AAA team. He appears to have hung them up after that.

I have no idea what is going on with his signature. All I can say about it is that it is unique.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

1996 Leaf Signature Extended Autographs, Jack Howell

NN Jack Howell

Here is the autograph that I got out of the other pack of this stuff that I bought. After these two autographs, I didn't even bother with the set any more.

When I got the two cards, I thought that the Jack Howell was the better player of the two. But, after looking at the career stats now, I'm not so sure about that. Both played every infield position and Jack also got some time in the outfield. Alex's batting average was .26 points higher (with almost 900 less at-bats) than Jack's. But, Jack had over five times as many home runs as Alex. OK, maybe they aren't the same type of player offensively. With the exception of average, Jack has much better offensive numbers.

So, maybe Jack is the better of the two. He was at least better known to me at the time since he had been around longer.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

1996 Leaf Signature Extended Autographs, Alex Arias

NN Alex Arias

I got this card in a pack in 1996. The only reason I even bought the two packs was for the autographs. Leaf borrowed a concept from Signature Rookies and made a set that included one autograph per pack. The only problem was the these packs were pretty pricey. I can't remember how much they cost, but I do know that two packs was all that I could afford.

Alex played parts of 11 seasons with the Cubs, Marlins, Phillies, Padres, and Yankees. He played all four infield positions, but he got the most playing time at shortstop. His best season was probably 1999 with the Phillies. That year he had career highs in every offensive statistic (except for triples) including 20 doubles and a .303 average.

There is no number on the back of this card. Beckett lists the card number as 4.

Friday, November 20, 2009

1996 Donruss, Jeff Montgomery

#271 Jeff Montgomery

This is the third and final Monty card that I got signed at Royals Fanfest last year. You can see the first one here and the second one here.

I got this card about a year ago from Stats on the Back. He sent me quite a few Royals cards and there may have been five or six from this particular set. Before that package, I had never seen this set before. I still don't really know what to think about it. It is unique. That I do know.

There is a big foil box on the card that holds a ton of information. It has the brand name, the name of the team, the team's city, the players position and number, and the team's logo. Luckily, the foil fit right between Jeff's legs. I am sure that some others weren't as lucky.

Jeff is wearing the Royals short-lived road cap on this card. I thought that the hat was the ugliest hat in baseball at the time. It is kind if funny that I thought that since my high school baseball team had the same style of hat and I loved it. I was pissed when we went from the grey hat with forest green bill to all green.

Somehow, this signature got smudged. It obviously isn't a big deal since I didn't notice it until I saw the scan.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

1996 Emotion XL, Joey Hamilton

#278 Joey Hamilton

For some reason, I thought that I already had posted a Joey Hamilton autograph on here. It turns out that I was wrong. Luckily, I am posting one now, courtesy of Rod.

Joey had a ten-year Major League career with the Padres, Blue Jays, and Reds. In 1996, he had a career high 15 wins and 184 strikeouts. He ERA was 4.17 that year and that would be his lowest over a whole season for the rest of his career. It just kept balooning as the years went on. But, he did finish his career with more wins than losses (by one), a 4.44 ERA, and 4 home runs at the plate. He also made one appearance in the 1998 World Series and pitched a scoreless inning.

This card is the only card from this set that I have. It is kind of weird. The brown border is raised like it is supposed to be a picture frame or something. Plus, I have no idea why it says "CONTROLLED" on the left side. I'm sure I could figure that out if I looked at the back of the card. But what would be the fun in that?

This card was made by Fleer.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

1996 Collector's Choice, Mark McLemore

#324 Mark McLemore

This is the third and final card that I got signed by Mark McLemore prior to the Rangers pre-game show this summer. You can see the first one here and the second one here.

Mark is one of the few players that signs his first name above his last name. That has got to be something that just comes from signing baseballs, bats, and cards for years. I wonder if it is strange for him to sign on a line anymore.

Mark's career lasted 19 seasons. During that time, he played for the Angels, Indians, Astros, Orioles, Rangers, Mariners, and A's. He was a career .259 hitter that could play just about anywhere. He spent most of his time and second base, but he also logged time at all three outfield positions as well as third base and shortstop.

I miss Collector's Choice.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

1996 Bowman, Juan Melo

#127 Juan Melo

First off for the 1996 cards is a Padrograph. This one features Juan Melo.

Juan is a former Padre prospect that never really panned out for them. He was in AAA by his fourth season in pro ball, but I guess that he wasn't producing up to the Padres standards. So, in his sixth season, the Padres traded him to the Blue Jays who traded him to the Reds 41 AAA games later. That off-season, the Yankees signed him and then traded him during Spring Training to the Giants. He spent most of the year of with the Giants AAA team, but he did get an 11 game cup of coffee with the Giants. He went 1-13 with the Giants and even had an RBI. That was his only time spent in the Majors.

After that, he spent eight more years bouncing around between affiliated leagues and indy leagues. He spent some time in the Pacific Coast League, Northern League, Atlantic League, Mexican League, Eastern League, Golden League, and the Northeast League. The last season he played was in 2008.

When I first got this card, I assumed Juan was a pitcher based on the photo. Many months later, I discovered that he was a middle infielder.

I think that this is the only 1996 Bowman card that I own.

Monday, November 16, 2009

1949 Bowman, Lou Brissie

#41 Lou Brissie

Normally, I would have waited to post this card after I finished off my 1996 cards. But, I was so excited when I got it back in the mail today that I didn't want to wait.

I got the idea to write to Lou Brissie from Carl Crawford Cards. A couple of months ago, he did a post on Lou and I learned a lot about him from that post. Lou took some shrapnel in his leg during World War II. The doctors wanted to take his leg, but Lou wouldn't let them. He still wanted to play ball. So after countless hours of rehab and almost two dozen surgiries, Lou was cleared to play ball agian with a brace on his leg.

The Philadelphia A's went ahead and signed him. After two years in the minors, Lou got a cup of coffee with the big club at the end of 1947. In '48, he stuck with the A's and made numerous appearances for them, both in relief and as a starter, until he was traded to Cleveland in 1951. He pitched for them into the 1953 season before he called it quits.

In 1949, Lou made the American League All Star team. He pitched the final three innings of the game and probably would have recorded a save if that was a stat then.

When I wrote Lou, I told him that I was sure that he had been awarded numerous awards and medals for his service. I asked if he would inscribe the card with the one that meant the most to him. He picked his Purple Heart.

I was lucky enough to find this card on ebay with a buy it now price of $2.29, with free shipping. Sure, it is a little beat up, but the card is sixty-years old. That seemed like a good deal to me. Plus, I now have a new oldest signed card. It is going to be hard for me to top this one.

Thanks CCC for the inspiration and the address!

1986 Topps, Bill Russell

#506 Bill Russell

This is the third and final Bill Russell card that I got signed through the mail last month. You can see the first one here and the second one here.

When I send multiple cards to players or former players, I take the time to carefully choose which cards I send. I don't worry about the '81 Donruss cards, I just send those. Many times, when I send one of those cards out, it is the only card that I send becuase I want to make sure that I do get that card signed.

With Bill Russell, I sent along his '71 Topps card just because I had it sitting in a box and I wanted to put it to good use. I sent this card for a different reason. Sure, it was sitting in a box just like the '71 card. But, this one was different. I remember this card very well from my early days of collecting. The reaon why I remember it is because of the photo.

When I was a seven-year old in 1986, I was convinced that Bill looked just like Clint Eastwood.

I got a vintage card in the mail today and rather than waiting to wrap up the 1996 cards (which will begin tomorrow) before I show it off, I'll post it tonight after work. So, stay tuned.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

1986 Fleer, Ken Dixon

#273 Ken Dixon

Here is another card that I got signed in Baltimore. Ken was one of three Orioles alumni signing before the game. Luckily, Ryan, from the Great Orioles Autograph Project, knew Ken was going to be there and he brought me this card. This was the only Ken Dixon card that he had to spare, so I feel pretty lucky that I was able to get it signed. Thanks Ryan.

I was surprised to see that Ken's career lasted less than four seasons. While I don't really remember Ken's cards from my early collecting days, I do remember the name for some reason. Because of that, I assumed that he played at least into the '90s, but that is not the case.

Ken got two starts in 1984. He spent all of '85 and '86 with the O's and most of '87 with them. He spent time starting and relieving. But, he must have hurt his arm because he missed all of '88. He came back in '89 and made ten appearances (four starts) with the Hagerstown Suns. He posted a 1.86 ERA before calling it quits.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

1985 Topps, Bobby Ramos

#407 Bobby Ramos

This is the second and final Bobby Ramos card. I got this card signed the same day as the John Shelby card I posted yesterday. Bobby signed this as the Rays bullpen coach. I'm not positive, but I think that he will be back with the Rays next year. Here is the first card I posted of him.

I only took the two cards of him since those were the only two I had of him. Well, actually, I had his Topps rookie card. But, that card also has Tim Raines on it, so I decided against getting it signed by Bobby.

With that uni-brow, Bobby looks like the Cuban version of Wally Moon. Also, I like the numbers on the sleeves. Are the Phillies the only team sporting sleeve numbers anymore?

Friday, November 13, 2009

1984 Topps, John Shelby

#86 John Shelby

This is the third and final John Shelby autograph. Like the previous two, this one was obtained in Baltimore this past September while John was the O's first base coach. You can see the first one here and the second one here.

John told me an interesting story while he was signing this card. He said that you have to be really careful with this card because it likes to smear. I just thought "whatever" and kind of chuckled. Then he said that he was serious; for some reason, this particular card smears more than his other cards. I just said "ok" and left that converation confused. Ryan, from the Great Orioles Autograph Project, was right beside me and I asked him if he knew what John was talking about and he didn't have a clue.

Is there a glossy version of this card? Was there a Tiffany set or were the Nestle cards glossy?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

1981 Donruss, Jim Tracy

#520 Jim Tracy

Here is another TTM that I got back last month. Jim is the manager of the Rockies and I sent the card to them at the end of August. I got it back shortly after the Rox were eliminated from the playoffs. I sent this out not knowing if Jim signs or not, so I was pretty happy to get it back.

Jim's Major League playing career lasted two seasons and 185 at-bats in 87 games. He was a .249 hitter who had 5 doubles, 4 triples, and 3 home runs. After that, he played two more years in AAA and one year in Japan.

Jim is probably better known for being a manager than a player. He managed the Dodgers for five seasons. He had a winning record every year but one and he led them to the playoffs in 2004. His final season with them was 2005. After the Dodgers let him go, the Pirates quickly picked him up and he spent two seasons in Pittsburgh. He lost over 90 games in each of his two seasons there before they let him go.

I have no idea what he did last year, but he started this year as the Rockies bench coach. After Clint Hurdle got fired, Jim took over an under-achieving team and got them back on track. Under Jim, the Rockies went 74-42 and almost caught the Dodgers in the West. Instead, they settled for the Wild Card and lost in the first round to the Phillies.

I thought that it was pretty cool that Jim included his number from his playing days on the card. I liked that he put it in an easy to see spot, too.

'81 Donruss Tarcker: 39/100

1981 Donruss, Jerry Reuss

#417 Jerry Reuss

This is the second of two Jerry Reuss cards that I sent to him at the end of August. Here is the first one I posted. Compared to that one, this one looks more like I thought it would. Jerry looks like Jerry and Jerry didn't sign across his body.

Jerry had a long career, 22 seasons long to be exact. During that time, he was a two-time All Star, a three-time 18 game winner, and he won one World Series. He finished his career with 220 wins and 1,907 strikeouts. He even pitched for three teams in one season. That has to be worth something.

If this picture were taken today, you would see the rooftop bleachers and I think that the words "Eamus Catuli!" would be visible over Jerry's right shoulder.

'81 Donruss Tracker: 38/100

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Happy Veterans Day

In observance of Veterans Day, there will not be a regular post today. Thanks to all that have served and those that are currently serving.

Come back tomorrow for some more autographs.

"Bandits for Life"

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

1981 Donruss, Gene Garber

#77 Gene Garber

Here is the second of two autographs that I got from Gene Garber last month. You can see the first one by scrolling down a bit.

Since I mainly talked about how much I supposedly look like Gene on the first post, I will talk about his playing career on this one. During a 19-year career, Gene pitched in 931 games. All but nine of them were in relief. He pitched for the Pirates, Royals, Phillies, and Braves and had 218 saves. He had a career high of 30 saves in 1982 with Atlanta. He was never an All Star and he never appeared in a playoff game.

Two stats stand out to me. One is that he made nine career starts (one with Pittsburgh and eight with Kansas City). In those starts, he recorded four complete games (all with KC). I guess that just goes to show how much the game has changed in the past 35 years.

The other stat is his 1979 line with Atlanta. That year he recorded 25 saves, which tied a career best at the time and was the second most in a season for him during his career. He finished third in the league in saves that season. But, he also finished the season with a 6-16 record and a 4.33 ERA. I don't know how to look that one up, but 16 losses by the closer with the third most saves in the league has to be some kind of record.

Finally, I can't finish my final Gene Garber post without showing off his business card that he sent along. Apparently, Gene is now an emu farmer. So, if you are ever in need of emu oil for pain relief or as a skin conditioner, you now know where to go.

'81 Donruss Tracker: 37/100

1981 Donruss, Bill Russell

#57 Bill Russell

Back to the good stuff, and yes, 1981 Donruss is the good stuff (when it's signed at least).

Here is the second Bill Russell card that I got back in the mail last month. You can see the first one if you scroll down a bit. If it wasn't for this card and my goal of getting 100 cards from this set signed, I probably wouldn't have sent the cards to him. But now that I did, I am gald that I did it. I especially like the third and final card that I'll show next week.

'81 Donruss Tracker: 36/100

Monday, November 9, 2009

1977 Topps, Steve Luebber

#457 Steve Luebber

Here is a card that I got signed at the Wilmington Blue Rocks playoff game in September. Steve is the Rocks pitching coach and he doesn't seem to like signing too much.

Before it started to rain prior to that game, I went over to the bullpen where Steve and the starting pitcher were. I asked him if the rain was going to hold off and he just mumbled something to himself. When he was heading back to the dugout the second time (once when the rain came and then before the game actually started), I called out to him twice to come over and sign and he just ignored me. Finally, my buddy yelled out his name loud enough to be heard on the other side of the diamond and he finally acknowledged us and came over and signed this card. Like Luis Pujols, Steve Luebber falls into the Mustafa category.

You just have to ask him three times.

Steve had a very long pitching career. His first season in pro ball was 1967 with the GCL Twins. His final season was 1988 with the Wichita Wranglers. During that time span, he had five stints in the Major Leagues. The first three came with the Twins 1971, '72, and '76. He pitched in 58 games as a Twin, mostly as a reliever. He then appeared in one game with the Blue Jays in 1979 and gave up a run without recording an out. In 1981, he pitched in seven games with the Orioles and posted a 7.56 ERA. That was his last appearance in a Major League game, yet he kept the dream alive and pitched for five more seasons in the minors.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

1977 Topps, Gene Garber

#289 Gene Garber

Here is another card that I got signed through the mail last month. It took about two and a half months to get this card back.

There is one reason why I sent this card off to get signed. That reason is because I supposedly look like Gene in this picture. Last summer, my friend was going through some of his old baseball cards with his girlfriend (now his wife). When his wife saw this card, see instantly thought that it looked like me. A few days later, we all were heading to a game in Oklahoma City and my friend said "hey, I have a card of you". I didn't have a clue what he was talking about. He then pulled this card out and told me that Becky thought that Gene and I looked the same. I thought that it was pretty funny and I asked for the card so I could send it to get signed. It turned out that the card was pretty beat-up. Luckily, I found a replacement at the card shop this summer and I finally sent it off.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

1975 Topps, Bill Lee

#128 Bill Lee

This is the second Bill Lee card that I got back in September. The first one was from the Senior Professional League and I was able to get that one in before I started the '95s.

I had also sent him an '81 Donruss card, but that card did not make it back. So, if anyone out there has his '81 Donruss card (or any of the cards from that set I need), let me know and we can work out a trade.

One of the things I notice about this card is the strange hill in the background. I have no idea what that is. The other thing that stands out is the belt-less pants. I didn't realize that they were used that early. I thought that they were an '80s thing. So I checked Dressed to the Nines and it appears that the Pirates were the first team to go without a belt in 1970.

I'm sorry this post is so short, but the KU/K-State game is about to start.

Friday, November 6, 2009

1971 Topps, Ron Slocum

#274 Ron Slocum

Here is another '71 Topps that I got in the mail last month. But, unlike the other three, this one came in a package from Rod, of Padrographs fame.

Prior to this card, I had never heard of Ron Slocum. After looking at his stats, it looks like he was an original Padre after being picked up in the '68 expansion draft. His short Major League career was spent entirely with the Padres. He got into 80 games with them between 1969 and 1971 and hit .150 while splitting time at second, third, shortstop, and catcher.

The best part of this card is that it is made out to Gary. Gary, if you are out there, I have your card now and I'm keeping it.

Thanks Rod!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

1971 Topps, Bill Russell

#226 Bill Russell

Here is another through the mail return that I got last month. This one came the same day as the Jerry Reuss cards and the day before the Dave Duncan card. It was a good two day stretch that netted me six signed cards, three of which were from this set and two from the '81 Donruss set.

Bill has the distinction of spending his entire career with the Dodgers. His is in the team's top ten in many catagories and is their all-time leader in intentional walks. He was a three-time All Star and he played in four World Series. He even managed the team for parts of three seasons where he had a .537 winning percentage.

This is the oldest signed card that I have of a player wearing a batting glove.

I got this card many years ago from the same friend that I got the Reuss card from. Both cards had just been sitting in a box, so it was nice to get some use out of them and breath some new life into them. It took just over two months to get this card back.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

1971 Topps, Dave Duncan

#178 Dave Duncan

Here is another TTM that I got last month. This one features the Cardinals pitching coach and Tony LaRussa's right hand man, Dave Duncan. I sent this to Dave (c/o the Cardinals) about two weeks before the season ended and got it back about a week after the Cardinals got eliminated from the playoffs (and the day after I got the Reuss card back).

I picked this card up at the card shop one day while I was rummaging through the boxes of older cards. I always try to pick up cards of current coaches from their playing days, just in case I have a chance of getting one signed. While this card was sitting on my desk with a bunch of other cards, I saw on The Great Orioles Autograph Project that Dave was a good TTM signer. So, I decided to try to get it signed that route since it would be very hard to get it signed in Kansas City. There are always way too many Cardinal fans there when they come to town.

Dave had an eleven year Major League career with the A's, Indians, and Orioles. He was a career .214 hitter that had some pop. In 1971, he was an American League All Star and in 1972, he hit 19 home runs. He finished his career with 109 dingers.

Dave is kind of an odd duck in the fact that he is a former catcher who is a pitching coach. While I am sure that this is not a first, I cannot think of any other former catchers that are Major League pitching coaches right now.

Dave has been Tony LaRussa's pitching coach since 1983. According to his bio on the Cardinals website, his 30 years spent as a pitching coach is a Major League record.

On a side note, that is one ugly uniform that the Dave is wearing. It looks more like a tank-top than a sleeveless jersey.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

1971 Topps, Jerry Reuss

#158 Jerry Reuss

Four months ago, I didn't have a single 1971 Topps card signed. Then, on the way to visit the grandparents, I got my first signed '71 Topps, a Maury Wills. Last month, in a matter of ten days, my signed '71 collection went from one to five. So, the rest of the work week will be focusing on those new additions, starting with this Jerry Reuss.

I got this card signed through the mail on the 16th of last month. It took me about a month and a half to get the two cards back (I bet you can guess what other card I sent along).

I like this card for a variety of reasons. The main reason is that Jerry actually looks young on this card. Jerry pitched for 22 seasons and in most of the cards I have of him, he looks older than the average ball-player. The second reason I like this card is because it lists the team as the Cards. This may have been a common practice back in the day, but the only team that will get their name shortened any more is the Athletics. The final thing that I like about this card is that Jerry signed it across his body. In the few autographs that I have seen of his, it looked like he avoided signing across his body at all costs. That is not the case here. I guess that since there was already one signature across his body, one more wasn't going to hurt at all.

I got this card when I was in grade school. I had a buddy that didn't collect cards, but somehow he had a box with some older cards in it. Every now and then he would let me pick a few out. That is where this card came from.

Also, if anyone cares, I finally updated my want list a bit. I added a few '81 Donruss cards that I would like. If anyone can help me out, just let me know and we will get something worked out.

Monday, November 2, 2009

1952 Bowman, Al Dark

#34 Al Dark

This is actually the second Al Dark autograph that I have received through the mail. I got the first one last year on a Ted Williams Card Company card and I was happy with it. But, a couple of months ago, I noticed that Wicked Ortega, from My Past Time...I Love It, was having a lot of success with many of the players that I wrote to last year and even some that I hadn't written to. So, I thought that I might as well try to find some older cards of some of the players that I have newer cards signed of. It is always cool to have some vintage stuff signed and these guys aren't going to be around forever.

So, this is my first success this year from a player that had signed for me last year. I upgraded from a 1993 card to a 1952 card and this card is pretty sweet. Al is in the middle of batting practice and for some reason, half of the net looks very much like a spider web.

I picked this card up from ebay for a couple of bucks. It took seven days to get the card back from Al.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

1995 Topps, Jeff Montgomery

#182 Jeff Montgomery

This is the second card that Jeff signed for me at Royals Fanfest this past winter. The first one was his '88 Score card where he was a Red. I had the cards in my autograph book and there is only enough room for three cards per page and all the cards are vertical. Most players will rotate the book for the horizontal cards, but Jeff didn't. That is why this card looks like it is signed diagonally down. If you check out the other card that I linked to, you will see that it he usually signs cards diagonally up, which he did on this card. You just can't tell when the card sits horizontally.

This is the last 1995 card. It took me well over a month to go through all of my 1994 cards, but it took just over two weeks to go through my 1995s. 1995 was my second year of high school and the time I started to lose interest in cards. I will go through 1996 slightly faster than '95 and about half of those cards came from Rod, of Padrographs. Most of the years should fly by until I get up to 2003.

Tomorrow, I will start my usual rewind of all of the older cards I got signed since I started the '95s. That should take a couple of weeks. Since the season is over, the rewinds will be getting shorter and shorter as well. I guess what I am trying to say is that it took me 15 months to get to 1995, but time at Autographs Cards is about to speed up.