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Wednesday, September 2, 2015

National Gifts From Max

I've almost got all of the stuff written about The National that I can possibly write.  I may have two or so more posts after this one.  I have had a really hard time remembering who got me what, or where I found certain cards.  I had to send a Kik message last night to Frankie and Max in order to verify which cards I got from each of them.  We were handing each other cards left and right, and we were putting them in boxes to keep from letting them get damaged.

It was this that made The National a lot of fun.  Our group would search a table, and after a few minutes, each would say something like "Here, I thought you would like this, I just bought it."  Max and I were discussing last night about how we both realized that we had spent a good amount on money on each other.  I wouldn't have it any other way.  A lot of the cards that I bought ended up going to other people.  Some of ot was for later trades, but most of it was just care package stuff that I thought others would like.

Max really knows the types of stuff that I like, and he surprised me with some really good cards.  The above Kevin Gausman is a really cool card.  It's a 2011 Bowman Sterling numbered 185/199.
Max also helped with the Sonny Gray PC with this 3-piece relic card from from 2010 Topps USA Baseball.  This one isn't numbered, but is pretty awesome.

Thanks for everything you do, Max, and I'm glad we were able to spend the time that we did together at The National.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

National Gifts From Frankie

One of the things I liked the most about The National was the time I was able to spend with some of my closest friends in the hobby.  During that time, I was able to make a new friend, Frankie, who spent the week walking around the venue with us.

Frankie surprised me with this really nice Adam Jones 2014 Topps Supreme auto numbered 5/45.  It was a really kind gesture from a really good guy.
Frankie also surprised me with this 2015 Topps Tier One Jones relic that he pulled out of a box that he busted in the VIP room.  This card is numbered 131/399.

I really appreciated the cards from Frankie, but I appreciated my time with him even more.  It was cool to get to know him, and welcome him into our little group.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Say It's...So?

According to multiple media outlets, MLB is expected to hand down a decision on the reinstatement of Shoeless Joe Jackson tomorrow morning.  An announcement is expected to be made on the Facebook page of the Shoeless Joe Jackson Museum.  This is something that is a long time coming, considering since he died in 1951.  Since it was a lifetime ban and his lifetime is over, this makes a lot of sense.

I know the circumstances around his ban rocked baseball, and the need to be able to trust that the players are on the up and up is very important.  Jackson, if reinstated, would be something of a sure bet for the Hall of Fame.

My hope is that if Jackson is reinstated, that Buck Weaver will also be reinstated as well, especially since it is widely known that he never took any money for the 1919 World Series fix.  Weaver just didn't rat on his teammates.

We will know for sure tomorrow, and I, for one, am really excited.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

2015 National Free VIP Signer - Maury Wills

One of the other highly anticipated autographs that I was able to get at the National was Maury Wills.  He was actually the last VIP signer that I got (even though I still have another to show after this one).  Wills was really nice, and we chatted about the weather (believe it or not) during the signing.  As I walked up to him, thunder could be heard, and the both of us commented on it.  Then we could hear the torrential downpour that was going on outside.  It turns out, a severe thunderstorm was passing through Chicago at that time.  I don't believe any tornadoes were spotted, but I think we were as close to having one as we could.  A few minutes after Wills signed for me, the power went off in the venue.  It was a weird sight, for sure.

Wills (b. 1932) played in the majors from 1959 to 1972 for the Dodgers, Pirates and Expos.  He had 2,134 hits, 20 home runs and a .281 career batting average.  He led the league in stolen bases six seasons in a row.  He was the 1962 NL MVP and won the World Series in 1959, 1963 and 1965.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

2015 National Free VIP Signer - Manny Sanguillen

I think the free signer I looked forward to the most was Manny Sanguillen.  I kind of follow the Pirates a little bit, here and there, especially since I have been to PNC Park twice now.  Sanguillen is a Pirates legend, having won two World Series in Pittsburgh (1971 and 1979).  He played in the majors from 1967 and 1969 to 1980 for the Pirates and A's.

What sticks out most to me about Sanguillen, though, is a story that I read about the memorial service for his former teammate, Roberto Clemente.  When Clemente passed away, the Pirates held a memorial service for him that was attended by all of his teammates, with the exception of one, Sanguillen.  The reason he wasn't at the memorial was because he was busy diving off the coast of Puerto Rico in shark infested waters, looking for Clemente's body.  That's true friendship, right there.

According to Sanguillen's SABR page, it says that Sanguillen was actually supposed to accompany Clemente on his ill-fated flight, but had misplaced his car keys and missed the flight.

Sanguillen was really quiet during the signing at The National, but he was friendly when I spoke to him.  I thanked him for the autograph and moved along, since his line was so long.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

A $5 Mystery Pack At The National

When our group was walking around the National, we stopped by one vendor who had a bunch of mystery packs for $5 each that promised vintage hits like a Bowman Joe DiMaggio, a 1939 Boston Red Sox signed baseball, and stuff like that.  We all thought it would be fun to give the mystery packs a shot, so we all bought in (Me, Andrew, Max, Frankie and Max's dad).  The first mystery pack I bought yielded a 1970 Hoyt Wilhelm and a 1966 Don Schwall.  Not too bad.  It was fun enough, so I figured I would try again, as did my friends, and my second mystery pack was much better.

I pulled this 1982 Topps Cal Ripken RC out of a $5 mystery pack.  Now my fourth '82 Topps Ripken, this was a really cool hit.  Frankie ended up with an early 50s Bowman card, which carried some value, but none of the stuff the guys pulled equaled the excitement I got out of pulling this Cal.

Yeah, I know I have others, but it still was a lot of fun to get a PC item (a rookie, at that).  Maybe I'll take the plunge sometime and get one of them graded.  I don't know.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

2015 National Free VIP Signer - Cecil Cooper

One of the coolest baseballs that I got signed at the National was this 1983 All Star Game ball by Cecil Cooper.  I got the ball for something like $15.00 off of Ebay right before I left for the show.  Max and I had spent some time on Skype trying to find specialty baseballs that would cover some of the guys we were going to meet.  I saw this one and jumped on it.  I know it is aged quite a bit and has that big splotch on it, but I believe it adds character to the ball.
Cooper played in the majors from 1971 to 1987 for the Red Sox and Brewers.  He had a much better career than I first thought.  He had 2,192 hits, 241 home runs and a .298 batting average.  He had over 200 hits in 3 seasons and batted .300 or batter in 8 seasons (7 in a row).  He was an All Star 5 times and finished as high as 5th in the AL MVP voting (three times, 1980, 1982 and 1983).

Max got this 1987 Topps signed for me, since we had extra vouchers for Cooper.  I provided some cards and Max got the signatures.  Since I had 1987 Topps cards coming out of my ears, I figured that getting a few signed would be nice.  They do, in fact, look good signed.