Saturday, November 30, 2013

1984 Fleer, Gary Ward

#576 Gary Ward

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

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

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

Thursday, November 28, 2013

1984 Fleer, Mike Boddicker

#1 Mike Boddicker

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

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

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

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

1984 Donruss, Ned Yost

#271 Ned Yost

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, November 25, 2013

1983 Topps, Ed Ott

#131 Ed Ott

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

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

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

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

Sunday, November 24, 2013

1983 TCMA , Jack Maloof

#21 Jack Maloof

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

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

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

Saturday, November 23, 2013

1983 Fleer, Bill Castro

#109 Bill Castro

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

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

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

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

Thursday, November 21, 2013

1983 Donruss, Steve Kemp

#269 Steve Kemp

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

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

Fear the Beard!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

1982 Topps, Frank White

#646 Frank White

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

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

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

Monday, November 18, 2013

1982 Topps, John Harris

#313 John Harris

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

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

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

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

Sunday, November 17, 2013

1982 Topps, Jamie Quirk

#173 Jamie Quirk

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, November 14, 2013

1982 Fleer, John Harris

#463 John Harris

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

Here is the ballpark from the outside.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1982 Donruss, John Harris

#444 John Harris

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

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

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

1981 Topps, Bob Lacey

#481 Bob Lacey

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

And he has a great-looking signature, too!

Monday, November 11, 2013

1981 Topps, John Harris

#214 John Harris

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

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

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

Happy Veteran's Day!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

1981 Topps. Jim Palmer

#210 Jim Palmer

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

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

Friday, November 8, 2013

1981 Fleer, Carlos Lezcano

#307 Carlos Lezcano

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

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

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

Thursday, November 7, 2013

1981 Fleer, Steve Busby

#33 Steve Busby

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

1981 Donruss, Mike Proly

#596 Mike Proly

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

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

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

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

'81 Donruss Tracker: 175/200

Sunday, November 3, 2013

1981 Donruss, George Riley

#588 George Riley

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

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

'81 Donruss Tracker: 174/100

Saturday, November 2, 2013

1981 Donruss, Fred Stanley

#585 Fred Stanley

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

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

'81 Donruss Tracker: 173/100