Friday, June 27, 2014

College World Series Contest Final Results

The College World Series finished up Wednesday night, with Vanderbilt edging out Virginia with a 3-2 game three win. The contest had been down to two contestants- Need More Cardboard and Wilson. Both had nearly identical results through their bracket with each person getting just four picks wrong. It came down to the finals with Wilson picking Virginia and NMC going with Vandy. With Vandy's win, the contest goes to Need More Cardboard. Congratulations! Give me your address and I will get your prize shipped to you at some point next week. Send it to zman40 at hotmail dot com.

Thanks to everyone that entered this year. This was the fifth year that I had held the contest and I had more brackets filled out this year than in any of the past ones.

I hope to see you all back next year!

Here is a look at what Need More Cardboard is bringing home.

1991 Leaf, Dave Eiland

#184 Dave Eiland

Back to back Yankee posts? Considering that I have only posted twenty-eight Yankee cards on this blog, that is a rare feat. I once went two years between posting a card of a Yankee. And it's not like I try to avoid getting Yankee cards signed, because I take whatever I can get. It's just that I do not have much luck getting 'graphs from guys that played in the Bronx. I did add a new one Tuesday, though. Mr. Don Mattingly was nice enough to sign one item for everyone when he showed up to Kauffman Stadium. That was definitely the highlight of the day.

Anyways, on to this card. This card was signed by the Royals pitching coach prior to a game in 2012. Speaking of the Yankees, they were the visiting team that day. It was a Sunday day game, and I knew that the teams would not be taking batting practice, so I only took cards of pitchers. Unfortunately, it was kind of wet that day, so even the pitchers stayed off the field (pretty sure that was the same series Mariano Rivera got hurt shagging). Therefore, the cards that Dave signed for me were the only autographs that I got that day. But, at least I did not come home empty handed.

I really like the way this card came out. For some reason, I like it when a border matches team colors. While the Yankees are technically navy, it is such a dark hue that it looks black most of the time.

Tune back in later today and I will have the final results up from the College World Series Contest.

Monday, June 23, 2014

1991 Fleer, Andy Hawkins

#666 Andy Hawkins

This is the second of three cards that Andy Hawkins signed for me last season. Andy is the bullpen coach of the Rangers and I was able to get the cards signed outside of Kauffman Stadium when he arrived at the ballpark. The first card can be seen here.

Speaking of getting cards signed outside the ballpark, the Dodgers are in town this week and I will be heading up tomorrow to get my 'graph on. With all the big name players, coaches, and commentators on the club, I am hoping to come home with some decent signatures. I am really looking forward to it!

Andy pitched in the Majors for ten seasons with the Yankees, Padres, and A's. He was 84-91 during his career with a 4.22 ERA. His best season was with San Diego in 1985. That year, he was 18-8 with 3.15 ERA. That was his first of four double digit winning seasons for his career. The last one came with the Yankees in 1989 when he went 15-15. That was the third straight year that he hit double digit losses. That streak continued the following season, as well.

In case you missed it, and judging by the attendance you have, Virginia and Vanderbilt are squaring off in the first game of a best of three series tonight for the College World Series championship. If Virginia wins the series, Wilson wins the CWS contest. If Vanderbilt wins, Need More Cardboard wins.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

1991 Fleer, Franklin Stubbs

#518 Franklin Stubbs

Here is a card that was signed by Franklin Stubbs during my Spring Training trip. Franklin is the hitting coach for the Dodgers AAA team in Albuquerque and I was able to get him to sign my three cards after the Dodger minor leaguers worked out the day I was there.

On that particular day, the Major League Dodgers were in Australia. So, I figured it would be a good time to hit up their practice fields. With no parent club around, I thought there would be less 'graphers around and it would be easier to get some cards signed by the Dodger minor leaguers and their coaches. I was right in one regard and that was that there was less people around. That also made it harder because there was less help to identify the players as none of them had names on their jerseys. But, I got a few cards signed by the players and did well with the coaches. I even got Tommy Lasorda to sign a ball. I figured he would have been on the trip to Australia, but that was not the case.

As for Franklin Stubbs, he played in the Majors for parts of ten seasons with the Dodgers, Astros, Brewers, and Tigers. He only played one season in Houston, but it was his best season. He hit .261 that year with 23 home runs and 71 RBI. Both the home run and RBI totals were career highs.

As for the College World Series contest, the tournament is down to two teams- Virginia and Vanderbilt. Fittingly, the contest is down to two contestants. Wilson and Need More Cardboard picked both teams in the final. They filled out some nice brackets and got all of the games right except for four each. They are both tied right now, but that will change in the next two to three days. Wilson had picked Virginia to win it all and NMC picked Vanderbilt. The championship team will determine the contest winner.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

1991 Fleer, Ken Oberkfell

#511 Ken Oberkfell

Here is the fourth and final card that Ken Oberkfell signed for me last summer. Ken is the manager of the Lincoln Saltdogs of the American Association and he signed the cards for me and my kid before a game in Wichita. I got a card signed by him as a Cardinal, a Brave, a Giant, and now an Astro. Now I just need to get a Pirate card signed by him to have all his teams covered. Or at least all his teams where he got a card since there does not appear to be an Angels card of him.

Ken's tenure in Houston lasted a season and a half. He played in 130 games with them, but hit just .213 with a home run, 10 doubles, and 26 RBI. He was released in July of 1991.

Nobody picked him up after his release until the off-season when the Angels gave him a shot. He went on to .264 in the 41 games he played with the Angels in 1992. That was Ken's final season in the Majors.

Ken started managing in 1997 in the Phillies organization. He managed for them for four seasons and then managed for the Mets for ten seasons, including six years at the AAA level. He has been managing independent teams for the last two and a half seasons. Right now his Saltdogs are 15-19.

On the College World Series contest front, Virginia cliched a spot in the finals today. They will take on the winner of tonight's Texas/Vanderbilt game. So far, seven people have picked Virginia to be in the finals. Five people have Vanderbilt picked to advance and six people have picked Texas. For the ones that got Virginia right, three of them picked Vandy to face them and one picked Texas. This thing is still up for grabs.

Friday, June 20, 2014

1991 Fleer, Bob Melvin

#482 Bob Melvin

This is the first of three cards that Bob Melvin signed for me in Spring Training. Bob is the manager of the A's and he signed the cards for me before the White Sox game at Camelback Ranch. The other two cards he signed were older than this one, so it may be quite some time before those ever get posted.

Bob played in the Majors for ten seasons with the Tigers, Giants, Orioles, Royals, Red Sox, Yankees, and White Sox. He was mainly a back-up catcher throughout his career as he never started more than 76 games in a season. He hit .233 during his career while smashing 35 home runs and driving in 212 runs.

No season really stands out as the best of his career because most of his career highs were scattered across various seasons. His personal bests for home runs was 11 ('87), average was .314 ('92), doubles was 14 ('86 and '90), and RBI was 37 ('90). I guess since 1990 was mentioned twice, that might have been his best season.

Bob has a unique signature. For someone who played in the '80s and '90s, he has a signature that is impossible to make out. The autograph example on his Baseball Almanac looks much different than this one. I wonder if that is a bad example or if this one is of the hurried-up ballpark variety.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

1991 Fleer, Curt Young

#28 Curt Young

This is the second of three cards of Curt Young that I got signed at Spring Training. Curt is the pitching coach for the A's and he signed the cards for me before a game against the White Sox at Camelback Ranch.

Curt spent eleven seasons in the Major Leagues, spending ten of them in Oakland. He was mostly a starter and he finished his career with a 69-53 record and a 4.31 ERA. His best season was probably the 1986 season when he went 13-9 with a 3.45 ERA and 116 strikeouts. That season was the first of three consecutive ones where he hit double digit wins.

Curt spent his entire career in the American League, yet he did manage to get one at-bat. That came early in the 1987 season when Curt made a start against the Mariners. Mickey Tettleton started behind the plate for the A's and Terry Steinbach was the designated hitter. For some reason, Tettleton had to leave the game after striking out looking in the fifth inning. Steinbach had to be moved to catcher and the club lost their DH. Curt came up in the seventh and grounded out to short off of Mark Langston. At least he didn't embarrass himself.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

College World Series Contest Prizes

Here is what everyone has been waiting for. This is the loot that I brought home with me from Omaha this past weekend. Whoever wins the contest will be bring home these.

Those are signed 8x10s from Aaron Boone, John Kruk, Steve Carlton, and Dennis Eckersley.

I have not been checking to see how all of the brackets are going, but hopefully there will be a battle for these. As always, good luck!

Monday, June 16, 2014

1991 Donruss, Mike Benjamin

#432 Mike Benjamin

Here is the first of two cards that Mike Benjamin signed for me this past spring. Mike is the assistant coach for the Arizona State baseball team and I was able to get the cards signed at one of their home games on this years Spring Training trip.

When we were planning out trip this spring, I always look for ways to maximize the amount of games that we go to. That is for my benefit, not the rest of the family's. Since most of the spring games are day games, it is hard to book two games in one day. Because of that, I will check Arizona State's schedule to see if they can help me out. This year, when I saw they were playing Wichita State, I knew we had to go. So, I went to a A's at White Sox game during the day and then took the family out for a WSU/ASU game that evening.

Plus, this season was the final one that the Sun Devils played at Packard Stadium. I believe that it is being torn down for possibly more parking. As a fan of ballparks, it was a no-brainer to go to the game, even if it did cost more than the White Sox game earlier that day.

I got a couple of cards signed by Mike four years ago when the Devils were in Omaha for the College World Series. I mentioned in that post that I was able to find Mike because he was sporting mutton-chop sideburns. I am happy to say that those things still grace his face.

Speaking of the College World Series, I got back from my weekend in Omaha yesterday. Despite my tent getting knocked out of commission by a cottonwood branch, I had a great time and came home with some nice prizes. I haven't decided if I am going to show them all at once or post them one by one over the next few days. Either way, I hope to have some sort of glimpse up tomorrow evening sometime.

Monday, June 9, 2014

College World Series Contest, Phase 2

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

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

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

For instance, group A has UC Irvine and Texas squaring off in game 1 and Vanderbilt and Louisville going in game 2. Pick who is going to win each of those games and then those two teams will square off in game 3. The losers of games 1 and 2 will then square off in game 4. Then, the loser in game 3 plays the winner of game 4 in game 5.

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

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

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

A1: Texas
A2: Vandy
A3: Texas
A4: Louisville
A5: Vandy
A6/7: Vandy

B2: Ole Miss
B4: Texas Tech
B5: Ole Miss
B6/7: TCU

Vandy over TCU in two game, 16 runs scored

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

If you guess every game right, including how many games will be played in the finals, you can come out with 22 points. As for the prizes, I haven't figured that out yet. It will probably mostly consist of stuff brought home from Omaha.

The CWS begins at 3:00 PM, eastern, on Saturday, June 14. So, all entries must be in by that point. If you have any questions at all, feel free to email me at zman40 at hotmail dot com. Or, just ask in the comments.

Here are the standings through Phase 1
SuperDuperman: 0
Lost Collector: 4
Greg Z: 1
Spankee: 0
Padrographs: 0
Deal: 1
Oriole Magic: 4
Writers Journey: 2
Brandon: 1
Play at the Plate: 4
Caitlin: 2
Brady U: 2
Tony L: 2
John H: 6
Matt S: 4
View From Skybox: 3
Jeff: 2
Wilson: 3
Capt Canuck: 2
Mark H: 3
defgav: 0
Alex M: 2
Keith G: 3
Joey D: 0
Need More Cardboard: 3

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

If you think I might have made an error in the scoring, just let me know. I will be happy to look into it.

Friday, June 6, 2014

1991 Donruss, Mike Gallego

#158 Mike Gallego

Here is the second card that Mike Gallego signed for me this past Spring Training. Mike is the third base coach for the A's and he stopped and signed three cards for me before a game at Camelback Ranch against the White Sox. The first card I posted can be seen here.

Mike spent eight of his thirteen Major League seasons with Oakland and that is always the team that I associate him with. He was pretty much an everyday player for them when they made their World Series run from 1988-90. But, for whatever reason, he was not any everyday player for them during the Series. He did start all four games during the 1990 Series. But, in the prior two, he got into just three games and started none of those.

In 1988, he played in all four ALCS games, starting in three, but hit just .083. That might explain why he didn't play much in the World Series. Then, in 1989, he played in four of the five ALCS games and started all four of them. He hit .273 that time around, but it netted him just one at-bat in the Fall Classic. He went on to hit .400 in the 1990 ALCS and that must have been good enough to get him some starts in the '90 Classic. Unfortunately, he would only hit .091 in those four games.

I guess what I am trying to say that I was a little surprised by Mike's lack of playing time in the Fall Classic. He went there three strait seasons and has just twelve at-bats to show for it. I was expecting to see some stats from eleven to twelve games of work. That was not the case.

On the college baseball front, there were four Super Regional games today. Texas beat Houston. Louisville beat Kennesaw State. Vanderbilt beat Stanford. And UC Irvine is beating Oklahoma State 8-1 in the eighth inning.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

1991 Classic, Brian McRae

#T49 Brian McRae

Here is the umpteenth Brian McRae card that I have posted on here. By my count, I now have ten cards signed by him. I should have more, but I always try to get cards of him signed for other people. Otherwise, I would have a couple dozen cards signed by him.

When I saw he was going to be at Royals Fanfest again this year, I looked for some specific cards of him. My first priority was to get a Mets card of him signed. For some reason, I hadn't done that yet. Then, I had to get a couple of his minor league cards, that had been in my collection for over twenty years, signed. Then, I looked for some oddball cards and that is why I took this one. As of right now, this is the only Major League Classic card that I have signed.

I do not remember much about about the Major League Classic cards. I do know that they were not available in packs, which is why I hardly have any. I think that they were sold as a parts of a board game, but that might not be entirely correct. So, if anyone has any fond memories of Classic cards, feel free to chime in in the comments.

I will say that I love the blue border with the blue jersey and hat, though.

College World Series Contest Update

Here are the matchups for the Super Regionals, which are two out of three.

1. Oklahoma St vs 3. UC Irvine
2. Texas vs 2. Houston
1. Louisville vs 3. Kennesaw St
1. Vanderbilt vs 3. Stanford
4. College of Charleston vs 2. Texas Tech
1. TCU vs 3. Pepperdine
1. Louisiana-Lafayette vs 1. Ole Miss
1. Virginia vs 2. Maryland

Here is a breakdown of which teams each contestant still has alive in the tournament. Remember, each team still has to win their Super Regional to net you some points.

No teams

Lost Collector
1. Louisville
1. Vanderbilt
1. TCU
1. Ole Miss

Greg Z
1. TCU

1. Oklahoma St
3. Stanford

No teams

2. Houston
1. Louisville
2. Maryland

Oriole Magic
1. TCU
1. Ole Miss
1. Virginia

Writers Journey
1. Louisville
1. Ole Miss

1. Louisiana Lafayette
1. Virginia

Play at the Plate
2. Texas
1. TCU
1. Louisiana Lafayette

1. TCU
2. Ole Miss

Brady U
1. Ole Miss

Tony L
1. Oklahoma St
1. Vanderbilt

John H
3. UC Irvine
2. Texas
1. Ole Miss

Matt S
2. Texas
1. Louisville
1. Ole Miss

View from the Skybox
1. TCU
1. Ole Miss
2. Maryland

2. Texas

1. Oklahoma St
2. Texas

Capt Canuck
2. Texas
3. Stanford
3. Pepperdine

Mark H
1. Vanderbilt
1. TCU
1. Ole Miss

3. Pepperdine

Alex M
1. Louisville
1. Virginia

Keith G
1. Oklahoma St
2. Texas

Joey D
no teams

Need More Cardboard
2. Texas
1. Ole Miss

This is still unofficial, but if I omitted one of your teams that is still in, please let me know. Good luck this weekend!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

1990 Upper Deck, Gary Pettis

#385 Gary Pettis

This is one of the strangest signatures that I have ever seen. It looks fairly normal, though crooked, when looking at it. But the strangeness lies in the way it was signed.

I got this card signed before a Royals game last year. The Rangers were in town and I was 'graphing the parking lot early on a Sunday morning. Gary showed up with a couple of other Ranger coaches and he was nice enough to sign one of the three cards I had of him. I handed him my autograph book and he signed this card in what appeared to be a normal way. But, when I saw the signature on the card, I knew that was not the case.

The signature on this card is at an angle, which is not that uncommon. But, if you look at the extreme slant in it, it would appear that Gary was holding the card upside down when he signed it. That was not the case. Gary signed his name upside down. AND, as if that were not enough, he signed it backwards. That's right. Gary held this card as you see it now and then signed it left to right, upside down and backwards.

Has anyone else noticed this strange habit from Gary or anyone else?

Gary played in the Majors for eleven seasons with the Angels, Rangers, Tigers, and Padres. He was a speedy light-hitting outfielder with a good glove. He hit .236 for his career with 21 home runs, 259 RBI, 568 runs, and 354 stolen bases. His speed never got him to an All Star Game, but he did bring home five Gold Gloves for his defensive mastery of center field.

Last night, the UC Irvine Anteaters knocked off the number one team in the nation, Oregon State, to advance to the Super Regionals. The Super Regional field is set and I will post an update later today.

Monday, June 2, 2014

1990 Topps, John Wathan

#789 John Wathan

Here is another John Wathan autograph from the collection. This one was obtained at Royals Fanfest this last winter. By my count, that is the eleventh different card of John that I have posted on here. It is a classic managerial shot of him standing by the cage during batting picture. Unfortunately, he is not wearing his batting helmet.

John managed the Royals for parts of five seasons. His club finished with two winning seasons and even went 92-70 in 1989. 92 wins would have nabbed them the AL East. But, instead, they finished seven games back of the A's in the West. The team slipped to 75-86 the following year and John was released from his duties after a 15-22 start in 1991. John was later an interim manager for the Angels in 1992 when Buck Rodgers had to take a leave of absence.

Today, John scouts for the Royals and can be seen in the stands at Kauffman Stadium from time to time.

It has been a crazy weekend for the college baseball regionals. There have been many upsets and a few up-and-coming programs advancing out of the first round. There is one final game still going on. But, the other fifteen teams are known and here are how the Super Regionals are looking. The Super Regionals are a two out of three series that starts Friday. The first number is the seed and the number in parentheses is how many contestants picked that team.

1. Oklahoma St(4) vs 1. Oregon St(13) OR 3. UC Irvine(1)
2. Texas(8) vs 2. Houston(1)
1. Louisville(5) vs 3. Kennesaw St(0)
1. Vanderbilt(3) vs 3. Stanford(2)
4. College of Charleston(0) vs 2. Texas Tech(0)
1. TCU(7) vs 3. Pepperdine(2)
1. Louisiana-Lafayette(2) vs 1. Ole Miss(10)
1. Virginia(3) vs 2. Maryland(2)

Looks like no one is getting any points out of slot five.

Oregon State is up 1-0 in the fourth.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

1990 Topps, Jeff Russell

#395 Jeff Russell

Jeff Russell is the new pitching coach for the American Association's Grand Prairie AirHogs and he was nice enough to sign three cards for me on Opening Day in Wichita last month.

I was pretty excited when I saw that the 'Hogs picked up Russell as their coach. You don't see too many managers/coaches in the American Association that were Major Leaguers, let alone All Stars. Frank White is the first base coach with the Kansas City T-Bones, but he doesn't always travel with the team. For the most part, the coaches are guys that never even played in the big leagues. So, when a former player joins an Am-Ass coaching staff, it is an exciting day for me.

I had actually picked up a Jeff Russell autograph a couple months prior to getting my cards signed at the game. I acquired some extra autographs from Royals Fanfest for set collector Tom of The Angels, In Order. He was nice enough to give me a list of dupes he had sitting around and he let me pick a few. One I picked was Jeff's 1984 Topps card. Had I known that he was coming to the American Association, I might have chose differently.

Jeff was an All Star for the Rangers in 1988 and 1989. He lead the American League in saves in 1989 with 38.

On the college baseball front, there have been quite a few teams eliminated so far. As of right now, that list includes Bryant, Indiana St, Youngstown St, Liberty, Bucknell (1), Campbell (1), Old Dominion (4), Columbia (1), Bethune-Cookman (1), North Dakota St, Dallas Baptist (2), Florida (9), George Mason, San Diego St (6), Kent St, Kansas (1), Clemson (3), Xavier, Jacksonville St, Arizona St (8), Binghamton, Nebraska (3), Florida St (13), and Georgia Southern (1). The number in parentheses is how many people picked them to go on to Omaha.