Thursday, November 30, 2017

1989-90 Pacific Senior League, Dave LaRoche

#97 Dave LaRoche

Here is the most recent card from this set that I have got signed. I got this card signed this summer when Dave was the pitching coach for the Kansas Stars. This was the first card from this set that I have got signed in two years.

When I went to my first Stars game in 2016, I did not expect Dave to be there. I should have known better since Andy and Adam were both there, but I was not prepared. So, I came ready this year with the only two cards of him that I owned and one from the '74 set that I picked up beforehand. I was unable to get Dave prior to the game, but I stuck around and was able to get him afterwards. He signed all three for me.

At the games I went too both years, there was a fourth LaRoche there, Jeff. I am assuming that he is the eldest brother, but there is not a lot of info on him.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

1989-90 Pacific Senior League, Dennis Leonard

#84 Dennis Leonard

To my surprise, this is only the eighth card of Dennis Leonard that I have posted on here. Dennis is such a huge part of the Royals family, it seems like he is always signing autographs at events, whether it is Fanfest, alumni autograph Sundays, or the old winter caravan. This signature was obtained at one of the autograph Sundays at The K in 2015.

This was the first time that I got a senior league card signed at a signing. All the rest were either by the dugouts at games or through the mail. Since this was the only card I got signed by Dennis, I asked him his thoughts on the short-lived league. He told me that it was a lot of fun, but they could not get much fan support and that is what did the league in.

Personally, I would think that the senior league would be an autograph hunter's go-to place in Florida in the years before Major League ball. They played longer than Spring Training clubs did and most of the guys were former established Major League players, which would be better than 'graphing the Florida State League. But, it was a different time then, so who knows what it was really like.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

1989-90 Pacific Senior League, Leon Roberts

#30 Leon Roberts

This is the third card of Leon that I have posted on here. The first one was a TTM success from 2012. You can see that card here. The second one was his '85 Topps card that my best friend, Dustin, got signed for me while we were at a Sacremento River Cats game in 2015. That card can be seen here. This card was also signed by Leon that day.

Even though Leon played in the Majors for eleven seasons, I have very few cards of him. In fact, all four cards I own are now signed. Leon coached in the Royals system last year, and when I went to Surprise for Spring Training, I had nothing of Leon to get signed. That is too bad because he has some really good-looking cards from the '70s. It is just that I didn't start collecting cards until Leon's playing career came to a close. That is why half of the cards I have of him are from after he retired.

I have four signed cards of Super Sox from this set. All four of them feature less than spectacular action shots. The three batter shots look identical to this, with the one pitcher shot looking a little better. Every other team has nothing but posed shots, with the exception of the Tropics, which has a mixture. Again, I am only going off of the cards that I have signed, so it is a small sample size. But, it seems strange that all of the shots in the set are posed except the Super Sox and a few random others (Willie Aikens being one of those).

Saturday, November 25, 2017

1989-90 Pacific Senior League, Roy Howell

#12 Roy Howell

Here is the second of two cards that Roy Howell signed for me through the mail in 2014. I posted the first card, his '81 Donruss, back in April and that one can be seen here.

Most times, when I send out an '81D in the mail, I will only send that card. But, after that set, this one might be my second favorite one to get signed. So, I will throw in this card with the '81D occasionally. In fact, I did that this morning when I sent cards to Doug Corbett to get signed.

I have about thirty cards from this set signed. I do not really send them out to get signed unless I send them with another card. But, I am seriously thinking about changing that strategy. I might start concentrating on this set more and send them out by themselves to guys that were not in the '81D set. That may be my new focus for 2018.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

1990 Leaf, Don Slaught

#354 Don Slaught

Here is a card that I won in a Twitter contest a couple of years ago. This card, and a couple of others, were being given away by Autograph Rob and I was fortunate enough to win. I believe this is the only contest Rob ever held and his Twitter account has been dormant for the last eight months. To date, this is the only thing I have ever won on Twitter.

With the Milt Thompson 1990 Leaf and this one, I now have four whole cards signed from this set. Dan left a comment on the Thompson card and he hit it on the head- these cards were expensive in 1990. Because of that, I do not have a ton of cards from this set. Back then, I could buy one pack each of Topps, Donruss, Fleer, and Score, or I could buy one pack of Leaf. When I was eleven years old and on a budget, that was an easy decision to make.

I always thought it was odd that they just called this set Leaf. For all of the '80s, Leaf was to Donruss what O-Pee-Chee was to Topps. They were just a Canadian clone. You would have thought Leaf would have came up with a better name, something flashy that justified the price increase.

Don played in the Majors for sixteen seasons with the Royals, Rangers, Yankees, Pirates, Angels, White Sox, and Padres. Over that time, he was a .283 hitter with 77 home runs and 476 RBI. His best season was with the Pirates in 1993. That year, he hit .300 with career highs of 10 home runs and 55 RBI.

Monday, November 20, 2017

1990 Leaf, Milt Thompson

#308 Milt Thompson

Here is the third and final card that I got signed by Milt Thompson at Spring Training earlier this year. Milt was the hitting coordinator for the Reds and I was able to get him to sign while switching fields at the Reds minor league workout. At first, he told me he couldn't sign because he was working. But, once he realized I was by myself, he motioned for me to come over and he signed all three cards for me. You can see the first card I posted here and the second one here.

That first card had Milt with the Braves and the second one had him with the Phillies. Here he is with his third team, the Cardinals. He played with them from 1989-'92 and had some productive years there, hitting .274 with 20 home runs and 149 RBI with the club. His best offensive season was with them in 1989 when he hit .290 with 8 homers and had career highs in doubles, 28, and RBI, 68.

After the Cardinals, he went back to the Phillies for a couple of years before finishing up with the Astros, Dodgers, and Rockies. Unfortunately, I do not think there are any mainstream cards of him playing for those last three teams.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

1990 Fleer, Ozzie Canseco

#U-117 Ozzie Canseco

Here is the second of three cards that Ozzie Canseco signed for me at a Wingnuts game in 2015. He was the hitting coach for the Sioux Falls Canaries at the time, but has since been replaced. I posted the first card of Ozzie a few weeks back and that one can be seen here.

About seven or eight years ago, I got a Christmas gift from my best friend. It was a pre-packaged baseball card stocking that he bought at Ace Hardware. In it was some junk wax packs, a minor league team set, and a boxed update or traded set. The boxed set was the highlight of the stocking and I went to Ace the next day and bought four more of them. Out of them all, I ended up with '85 Fleer Update, '86 Topps Traded, '88 Donruss Rookies, '91 Score Traded, and this set. The Topps set was missing the main top rookies, but all the rest were complete sets.

Out of all of those sets, I have at least four cards from each one signed. They are still in their boxes and they are small, so they are really easy to look through to find a card to get signed. But, this Canseco card is the only one from the '90 Fleer Update set that I have signed. I am not sure why that is exactly. I know I have taken a few cards out to get signed and had no luck, so it is not because I overlook the set. It must be because I don't really like 1990 Fleer. There is just too much white on them.

That is probably why '91 Fleer is blinding yellow. They got too much grief for this set being boring, so the spiced things up the next year.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

1990 Donruss, Tony Fossas

#457 Tony Fossas

Here is the first of three cards that I got signed by Tony Fossas at Spring Training this year. Tony was the Reds pitching coordinator last season and I was able to get him to sign while the club's minor league players were participating in their morning practice.

Tony pitched in the Majors for twelve seasons. He pitched for seven teams during that span- the Brewers, Red Sox, Cardinals, Mariners, Cubs, Rangers, and Yankees. It looks like he bounced around all the time, but that really didn't happen until the last two years of his career when he played for four different teams, including three alone in the 1998 season.

It is amazing that he had such a long career considering how long it took him to get to the Major Leagues. Tony was drafted by the Rangers in 1979. He would get released or granted free agency four times before finally making his big league debut in 1988 at the age of 30.

Over his career, Tony never started a game and he was not a closer. He was mainly a left-handed specialist who logged 415.2 innings over 567 appearances. During that time, he racked up a 17-24 record with 7 saves and a 3.90 ERA.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

1990 CMC, Tony Perezchica

#547 Tony Perezchica

Here is one of my most recent additions to my collection. Tony is the third base coach for the Diamondbacks and they finished off their regular season in Kansas City this year. I was able to make it up to two of those games and I got him to sign for me outside of the ballpark on the final day of the season. He made it be known to me that he was in a hurry for a meeting, but he still stopped and signed both of the cards I had of him.

Even though Tony only played in the bigs for four seasons and 69 games, he still had seven base cards printed of him between 1989 and 1992. I looked in my collection for every single one of those cards and I only had one. Luckily, I had this card of him and was able to get two cards signed.

Tony made his Major League debut with the Giants in 1988. He played in 34 games with them over three seasons and he hit .220 with no homers and 4 RBI.

Back in the day before the Diamondbacks came around, Phoenix hosted the Giants AAA team, the Firebirds.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

1990 CMC, Neil Allen

#148 Neil Allen

Here is the third and final card that Neil Allen signed for me in Kansas City this past season. Neil was the pitching coach for the Twins and he signed for me after stepping off the team bus outside of The K. You can see the first card I posted of him here and the second one here.

Even though the Twins captured the second Wild Card spot after finishing the year 85-77, Neil was let go by the club after the season was finished. He was replaced by Garvin Alston. That means that I will not be getting Neil to sign his '81 Donurss card next year when the Twins come to town. That is, if I actually had that card ('81D want list posted underneath blog header, hint, hint).

By the time this card came out, Neil's Major League career was over. He appeared in just three games with the Indians in 1989 and was 0-1 with an ERA of 15.00. With Nashville in 1990, he pitched in twelve games before calling it a career.

For his career, he was 58-70 with 75 saves and a 3.88 ERA.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

1990 Classic, Pete Rose, Jr.

#75 Pete Rose, Jr.

Over the past two seasons, Pete Rose, Jr. has been the manager of the Wichita Wingnuts. Over those two seasons, his clubs won their division and advanced to the league championship, losing both times. The Wingnuts were 122-77 under Pete and they decided to not renew his contract for next season. That kind of seems like a Yankees, or Nationals, or Red Sox type of thing to do.

In the few Wingnut games I attended over the last two years, I only got Pete to sign for me once. That was at the first game I attended last year. I had one card of him in my collection and I bought this one and one other and he happily signed all three for me.

It is always an exciting time when the 'Nuts are in a managerial search. The next one will be the fourth one in eleven seasons. As an autograph collector, I always hope for someone with Major League experience that has plenty of cards out there. The last two managers had Major League experience, but only 25 games between the two of them.

This is an interesting card of Pete, Jr. He was drafted in 1988 and played his first pro season in '89. At two different stops that season, he hit .254 with 2 home runs and 33 RBI. I guess that Classic wanted him in the set just for the name, and quite possibly the batting stance. Another interesting thing about this card is that there is not a position listed for Pete. It looks like all the cards from the set might have been like that.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

1990 Best, Tom Martin

#178 Tom Martin

Over the last two summers, my 'graphing highlight each year was going to Wichita and seeing the Kansas Stars compete in the NBC World Series. The NBC World Series is supposed to be a tournament featuring some of the best summer college teams in the nation. While that used to be the case, the Northwoods and Cape Cod leagues do not send teams to it and that is where most of the premier college players play. So last year, Nate Robertson and Adam LaRoche decided to put a team of retired ballplayers together to compete in the tournament and the Kansas Stars were born.

The Stars were an instant hit and brought a new life to a tournament that wasn't what it once was. They brought the likes of Roger Clemens, Roy Halladay, Chipper Jones, Josh Beckett, and Tim Hudson to put the cleats back on and play for free and (maybe) sign some autographs. In their first year, the Stars sold out every game en route to a second place finish. This year, while not selling out every game, they went undefeated and romped every opponent they faced.

But, while most people went to Wichita to see these former Major Leaguers play, I went solely to try to get their autographs. All of the bigger names, I had seen play while they were in their prime. Instead, I was just looking forward to getting autographs from guys that played in The Show at a ballpark that hosts American Association games.

Over the two games I was able to attend, I came home with at least seventy signed cards. Most of the guys would sign more than one, so it is probably between twenty and twenty-five guys that I got signatures from. In retrospect, it was unreal. You cannot go to two Major League games and get seventy cards signed. It just isn't possible.

The worst part about it is that the Kansas Stars will not be participating in the NBC World Series next year. In an official press release, they blame it on the Kansas Star Casino, their sponsor, booking a convention during the Series next year and not having room for the players. That sounds like a load of crap to me. My guess is that people griped about these professional ball players whooping up on college kids and that not being what the tournament is about. But, that is pure speculation on my part. Either way, I am going to miss the opportunity to 'graph the Stars next summer.

I got this card signed by Tom at the game I attended this summer. In that game, I had the pleasure of watching Doc Halladay take the bump one last time. It was a masterful performance and one unlike any I had ever seen. Roy pitched four innings and struck out five batters. He only allowed one hit and he did not throw one single pitch that resembled a fastball. Every pitch was dipping and diving or moving right to left. The fastest speed to hit the radar gun was 79 MPH. Those poor kids from Everett had no chance against him.

Obviously, I was saddened to hear the news of his death today. He was a phenomenal pitcher.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

1989 Upper Deck, Ozzie Canseco

#756 Ozzie Canseco

It has been a month since I have posted a card on here of a player for the first time. A month ago, it was Don Mattingly. Here is Ozzie Canseco, the lesser of the Canseco brothers. The difference between Mattingly and Ozzie is that I only have one card signed by Donnie Baseball. Ozzie signed five cards for me over the two encounters I had with him.

This one was signed the first time I met him. It was at a Wingnuts game two years ago. The Nuts were hosting the Sioux Falls Canaries. When the season started, Roosevelt Brown was the Canaries hitting coach. I knew I was going to see them play, so I picked up a card of Roosevelt from COMC. When game time came around and I started rounding up cards for the game, I was pleasantly surprised to see that Roosevelt had been fired and Ozzie took his place. Even though Roosevelt had significantly more playing time in the Majors than Ozzie did, I actually had cards of Ozzie. Plus, he is a Canseco. And he was super nice, too.

Friday, November 3, 2017

1989 Upper Deck, Randy Ready

#474 Randy Ready

Here is another card of Randy Ready that was given to me by Rod, from Padrographs. Like the last one I posted a month ago, this one was also slabbed by Historic Grading and Authentication. So, according to their services, this is an authentic signature from Randy Ready. Why someone felt the need to pay eight bucks to get this card authenticated is beyond me, but that is how much HG&A charges.

I got Randy to sign three cards for me in 2008 while he was the manager of the Portland Beavers. He held that position for a season and a half before being promoted to the Padres hitting coach during the 2009 season. He had that role through the 2011 season. But, with the Padres finishing the season last in the league for home runs and average, he was let go.

After coaching in the Rangers and Braves organization for a few years, Randy found himself working for the Marlins last season. He started as the manager of their Florida State League team, the Jupiter Hammerheads, before moving to the AA Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp this past season. The Shrimp made the playoffs this season after winning the second half, but were swept in the first round.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

1989 Topps, Darnell Coles

#738 Darnell Coles

This is the second of three Darnell Coles cards I got signed at Spring Training and it is the last of the '89 Topps cards that I have to show. We would be heading into the '90s with the next post, but a new card company hit the market in 1989 and I have two cards from that set to show before advancing to the next decade.

This card is one of the fourteen cards my oldest boy got signed for me this past spring. At all the games we went to, the Brewers were the visiting team. So, I tasked my kid with 'graphing them for me and I would pay him a buck a signature. Darnell was the Brewers batting coach and he signed three for us before a game against the Reds at Goodyear Ballpark. I posted the first card three months ago and it can be seen here.

When this card came out, Darnell was on his second stint with the Mariners. He made his debut with them in 1983 and played in 102 games with them over three seasons. He was then dealt to the Tigers and then the Pirates before landing back in Seattle prior to the 1988 trade deadline.

Darnell was as hot as could be after his return to the M's. He got into 55 games over the final two months of the season and hit .292 with 10 home runs and 34 RBIs. Unfortunately, that hot finish would not sustain itself through the following season. In 1989, Darnell played in 146 games and hit .252 with 10 dingers and 59 RBI. It was the last season that he would play more than 100 games. He would be traded back to the Tigers during the 1990 season.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

1989 Topps, Danny Darwin

#719 Danny Darwin

The Houston Astros are the World Champions and it just so happens that the next card I have to post features an Astro. Sure, it is an Astro that has nothing to do with this year's team, but it is an Astro nonetheless.

Even though Danny was traded to the 'Stros during their great 1986 season, he was not on the postseason roster and never appeared in a postseason game in his career.

Danny ended up pitching for Houston for about five seasons during his long career. Over that span, he was 47-35 with 12 saves and a 3.21 ERA.

Congratulations Astros, especially former Royals Carlos Beltran and AJ Hinch.

And no, I was not saving this card for the possibility of Houston winning. This card was supposed to be posted Sunday, but I fell behind this weekend and fell more behind when the week started with a sick kid.