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Wednesday, May 24, 2017

TTM Success - Steve Kemp

I had 10 TTMs waiting on me when I got back from Andrew's, the first of which was this success from Steve Kemp.  He signed a bunch of late 70s-early 80s cards for me.  This 1980 Topps turned out really nice.
I had a lot of Kemp's cards, and used the opportunity to add some more Topps cards to my binder.
Kemp (b. 1954) played in the majors from 1977 to 1986 and 1988 for the Tigers, White Sox, Yankees, Pirates and Rangers.  He had 1,128 hits, 130 home runs and a .278 batting average.  He was an All Star in 1979 and finished 17th in the 1979 AL MVP voting.

I mailed to Kemp on May 8 and got the cards back on May 17, for a 9-day TAT.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

IP Graphing Recap From My Trip

One of the things Andrew and I planned on doing while I was visiting him was to go to a Cardinals game, and also a minor league game in his area.  The Bowming Green Hot Rods are the closest minor league team to him, so we were able to find a home game to attend while I was in town.  We also were fortunate enough that the St. Louis Cardinals were also at home while I was there.

One of the highlights of being able to see Bowling Green (the Single A team for the Tampa Bay Rays) was that I could finally meet Jonah Heim.  Heim was a former Orioles farmhand who was dealt to Tampa last year for Steve Pearce.
I had a bunch of Heim's cards, so I split them with Andrew, and we got all of them signed.  I was especially happy about the 2013 Bowman Chrome green mini numbered 65/75.  I also got the blue shimmer, purple ice and refractor signed.
I bought some Garrett Whitley cards for the trip, and I also accepted a 50/50 from my good friend, Gerard, but Whitley only signed two cards for me.  One of them was the above yellow parallel from 2016 Bowman, and a 2015 Bowman paper for Gerard.
I got two cards signed by Lucius Fox.  I had bought three Bowman Platinum, but he wouldn't sign them.  He said that it wasn't him on the card, but how many Lucius Foxes are playing in the minors?
I also bought a bulk lot of Dylan Cease cards.  He was on the DL, but was gracious enough to sign for Andrew and I.  I got a 2017 Bowman Chrome taken care of for Gerard, and the rest of the ones I had signed were from what I picked up.
I really like how this blue parallel of Cease from 2016 Bowman Chrome turned out.  I got it pretty cheaply off of Ebay specifically for the trip.  Andrew is going to try to get the rest of the cards taken care of for me as the season progresses.
I did really well with the coaches, too, with the exception for mistaking the Hot Rods manager for Hector Torres.  Apparently there is about a 30-year age difference between the two, and the manager was happy to have a "serious discussion" (his words) with me.  I'm going to have to get one of his cards and send it to him and have him inscribe it "I am not Hector Torres".  That would be funny, and make my embarrassment worthwhile.
I dug through my mid-2000s Topps boxes at the last minute before I left for Andrew's, and found two Brian Lawrence cards.  I gave one to Andrew, and got this 2005 Topps signed.
I did have a little success at the Cardinals vs. Giants game the day before.  Andrew and I each got one of these 2017 Topps Giants team cards signed by Giants reliever, Josh Osich.  It really is a crapshoot in being able to figure out which MLB players will sign, so I was happy that I brought along the random team card.

I had a really great time at both ball parks.  I now have been to 4 MLB parks (Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Detroit and St. Louis), and countless MiLB parks (I will update my map soon).  I also had fun with Andrew, and hope I can get him down my way to graph the Wood Ducks sometime soon.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Some Recent Chris Davis Pickups

I have added some nice Chris Davis cards to the PC recently, but haven't had the chance to post them until today.  I have a saved search on my Ebay for Chris Davis 1/1, acetate and /5 parallels, since I like them so much.  Those followed searched yielded the above acetate parallel from 2017 Topps, and the cards below.

I absolutely love the acetate parallels.  I hope Topps keeps them coming in future sets, but I still have no idea what packs they are pulled from.  I have opened countless packs and boxes of Topps since they started doing the acetate parallels, and still have yet to pull one.
This is a Topps 65th Anniversary Party 1/1 buyback that I got really cheap off of Ebay.  These were exclusive to the party, and is a buyback of the sapphire parallels that came in the 2016 Topps complete sets.
Finally, here is a 2017 Donruss press proof Chris Davis that is numbered 5/5.  I love this design of Donruss, and the card looks really cool.

I hope to have some more mail when I get home.  I have one nice Chris Davis that I picked up before I left town, and it should be there when I get home.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

An Extraordinary Instagram Trade

I received a random direct message on Instagram a while back from a guy who uses the handle "extraordinary_cards".  He had this Tier One Cal Ripken auto that he wanted to trade.  I humored him, but figured that I definitely didn't have anything that would match up in a trade.  I made a comment saying "I don't think I have a lot I can offer, but I do have a Nick Castellanos 1/1 letter patch".  It turns out, he PCs Castellanos, and I didn't need to look for anything else to offer.
He also didn't feel like the Ripken was enough to seal the deal, so he added this Tim Lincecum relic for Chris and two autograph cards.
I didn't have any David Hess certified autos, and I was able to get this Poncedeleon for Andrew.

I think the trade worked out really well.  It took a while to get here, because USPS delayed the package for about a week, but everything ended up getting in safely.

As you can see, I am finally caught up on TTMs, for the moment, at least.  I have some other pickups that I want to get in, so there will finally be a little variety in my posts.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Congratulations Andrew

I had the opportunity to travel to Illinois and witness my good friend, and fellow blogger, Andrew graduate high school.  I have known Andrew for over 5 years and have helped him along the way.  I used to tutor him over Skype, helping him with math and some other subjects.  I have spent time with Andrew in person over the last several summers, including trips to two national card shows.
I'm so very proud of Andrew.  He is a great guy and an even better friend.  I'm really happy to see how far he has come, and how far he will go.  It means a lot to me that he wanted me to come out here and share this moment with him and his family.

Congratulations, buddy, you earned it!

TTM Success - Jeff Fassero

This was the last TTM success in my "to be blogged" pile before I left on my trip.  I had sat on Jeff Fassero cards for a while because he is an in-season signer with the Louisville Bats.  So, I finally got the cards mailed out, and here is what I got back.

I love 1997 Fleer Metal.  I have seen some really cool designs with this set, and I have gotten a few of them signed.  The card looks a lot better in person, however.
Here are the other cards that I got signed.  I added one Topps, a 1995, to my Topps Autograph Project.  I, thern, used the opportunity to add a few other sets to the album.

Fassero (b. 1963) played in the majors from 1991 to 2006 for the Expos, Mariners, Rangers, Red Sox, Cubs, Cardinals, Rockies, Diamondbacks and Giants.  He had a career record of 121-124 with an ERA of 4.11 and 1,643 strike outs.  He finished 9th in the 1996 NL Cy Young Award voting, his only appearance on the ballot.

I mailed to Fassero via the Louisville Bats on May 2 and got the cards back on May 15, for a 13-day TAT.

Friday, May 19, 2017

TTM Success - Dave Goltz

My TTM success stack has dwindled down to just a few players, now.  I have gotten fewer and fewer successes back, mainly due to my sending to more difficult-to-obtain signatures, and a gap in sending once the season started.  Still, I have a few more to go, before I am all caught up, then maybe I can show off some recent trades and EBay pickups.  I also have something non-baseball related for tonight, but we will see how time shakes out this evening.
I was able to get several Topps cards signed by former pitcher, Dave Goltz.  I wanted to add another 1973 Topps to the album, and did so, along with a 75, 78, 80 and 82.  Not too bad!

Goltz (b. 1949) played in the majors from 1972 to 1983 for the Twins, Dodgers and Angels.  He had a career record of 113-109 with 1,105 strike outs and an ERA of 3.69.  He was a 20-game winner in 1977 and finished 6th in the AL Cy Young Award voting.  He won the World Series with the Dodgers in 1981.

I mailed to Goltz on April 24 and got the cards back on May 15 for a 21-day TAT.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

TTM Success - Joe Nathan

I was really excited to add this success to my autograph binder from Joe Nathan.  Especially so, since I was able to get signed one of the limited edition 2015 Topps minis that my good friend, Ryan, gave me.  You can't tell from the scan, but it is a mini.  It turned out really nice, I think.
I also was able to get the 2007 Topps and 2012 Topps signed to help add a couple more recent Topps cards to the ledger.  I have noticed that it is a lot harder for me to get more recent guys to sign TTM, thus leaving me with a lot fewer autographs on cards from 1999 to 2017.  I'm working on adding more, though.
Finally, his 2009 Topps Update turned out really well.  I like the All Star logo on the card.  The only drawback is that the foil doesn't show up really well in the scan.

Nathan (b. 1974) played in the majors from 1999 to 2000, 2002 to 2009 and 2011 to 2016 for the Giants, Twins, Rangers, Tigers and Cubs.  He has a career record of 64-34 with an ERA of 2.87 and 976 strike outs.  His 377 saves rank 8th all-time.  He was an All Star 6 times (2004, 2005, 2008, 2009, 2012, 2013) and finished 4th in the 2004 AL Cy Young voting (his best finish).  He also has finished 12th on the AL MVP voting (also 2004).  He is currently in the Nationals' system with the Syracuse Chiefs.

I mailed to Nathan on May 3 via the Syracuse Chiefs and got the cards back on May 13, for a 10-day TAT.

I also want to take a moment and change the subject away from baseball.  I am a huge Pearl Jam fan, so today's news of the passing of Chris Cornell cuts me really deeply.  I have listened to Call me a Dog from his acoustic album called Songbook (originally recorded with Temple of the Dog as a tribute to the passing of his close friend, Andrew Wood) at least 5 times already this morning.  You never know what someone is going through, so please, take the time to tell those close to you what they mean to you.  They may be gone tomorrow. #RIPChrisCornell

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

TTM Success - David Nied

I added some more cool cards to my album when I got these back from former pitcher, Davis Nied.  A lot of folks like cards with pitchers batting, so I thought this would be a cool one to send off.
I have very few 1994 Topps in my binder, so I made sure that this one went along with the TTM request.  It turned out pretty nice.
Here are the other mid-90s cards that I got back.  I do like seeing the Score Gold Rush cards come back signed.  1995 Score might have been one of my favorite sets from the 1990s.

Nied (b. 1968) played in the majors from 1992 to 1996 for the Braves and Rockies.  He had a career record of 17-18 with 146 strike outs and an ERA of 5.06.

I mailed to Nied on May 2 and got the cards back on May 13, for an 11-day TAT.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

TTM Success - Denny Walling

I added a bunch of cards that had been sitting in my TTM box for quite a long time with this success from Denny Walling.  They were near the back of the box behind a otn of other players, so I finally decided to send them out.
I added 6 Topps cards to my autograph list, upping the totals for some sets that I have a bunch of.  I also added a bunch that had some really cool Astros jerseys like the 1986 and 1981 above.
Walling (b. 1954) played in the majors from 1975 to 1992 for the A's, Astros, Cardinals and Rangers.  He had 799 hits, 49 home runs and a .271 batting average.

I mailed to Walling on May 2 and got the cards back on May 13, for an 11-day TAT.

TTM Success - Joe Morgan

I received a TTM success from Joe Morgan (not the Hall of Famer, Joe Morgan - more on him later) recently on a couple nice cards.  The above 1960 Topps was in my vintage box, and turned out pretty nice.  You can see that the photo was taken at Yankee Stadium.  The old Yankee Stadium, that is.
This 1990 Topps is also pretty cool, 30 years after the 1960.  Funny how much the cards changed.  By this time, Morgan was a manager for the Red Sox.

Morgan (b. 1930) played in the majors from 1959 to 1961 and 1964 for the Braves (Milwaukee), A's (Kansas City), Phillies, Indians and Cardinals.  He had 36 hits, 2 home runs and a .193 batting average.

He managed in the majors from 1988 to 1991 for the Red Sox.  His career managerial record was 301-262 (.535 winning %).

I mailed to Morgan on May 4 and got the cards back on May 12, for an 8-day TAT.
That Joe Morgan is not to be confused with this Joe Morgan, the Hall of Fame second baseman for the Big Red Machine.  I did send a photo to the Hall of Fame a while back and got it signed for Chris.  I need to get it in a frame for him, but I figured now was as good a time as any to post it here.

Monday, May 15, 2017

TTM Success - Casey Blake

I added some more recent cards to the bunder with this success from Casey Blake.  I didn't have any trouble finding his cards, as I had quite a few to choose from.  This 2008 Topps was a nice one to add to the Topps Autograph Project.  I like that it is a horizontal card, even though there isn't much to the background of the photo.
These two cards were some really cool ones to get signed.  I like the 1962 Topps design on the 2011 Heritage.  I didn't have any signed 2010 Topps Attax, so this one is pretty cool.
Finally, I added two Topps cards to my ledger.  These ae two sets of Topps that I have very few of, so getting these really helps.

Blake (b. 1973) played in the majors from 1999 to 2011 for the Blue Jays, Twins, Orioles, Indians and Dodgers.  He had 1,186 hits, 167 home runs and .264 batting average.  His time with the Orioles lasted 6 games during the 2001 season when he was a waiver claim from the Twins.  After that season, he was placed on waivers and the Twins picked him up again.

I mailed to Blake on February 20 and got the cards back on May 12, for an 81-day TAT.

TTM Success - Roger Craig

I got a really cool TTM success from former manager, Roger Craig.  I really liked this 1992 Topps with the throwback jerseys.  This is actually the card that made me want to send to Craig.  I just think the retro jersey is really cool.
I didn't think about it at the time, but I also sent these two cards, a 1962 and a 1987.  When they came back signed, I realized that I had the same guy signed on a 1962 and 1987 Topps.  I think this is really cool, side-by-side.
Finally, I got this 1986 Topps signed as well.  These cards always look cool when scanned.  Craig signed for a $5 fee per card, and this was $20 well spent.

Carig (b. 1930) played in the majors from 1955 to 1966 for the Dodgers (Brooklyn and LA), he was an Original Met, and played for the Cardinals, Reds and Phillies.  He had a career record of 74-98 with 803 strike outs and an ERA of 3.83.

Craig was a graduate of NC State University and was born in Durham, NC.  He managed in the majors for the Padres in 1978 and 1979, then the Giants from 1985 to 1992.  He led the Giants to the NL Pennant in 1989 and to the infamous earthquake World Series that season.

I mailed to Craig on May 3 and got the cards back on May 12, for a 9-day TAT.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Two Days of Graphing the Wood Ducks and a Walk Off Grand Slam

I had a really productive weekend this weekend with two Down East Wood Ducks games.  I had bought a few lots of cards off of Ebay to replenish some of the players that I had gotten already this season.  I also needed some cards of a few guys that I didn't have before.  I got this really sweet 2013 Bowman red ice parallel of Ducks coach, Jeremy Moore really cheap.  I had a few conversations with Moore this weekend.  He is always friendly with us, and has been willing to sign whatever we have had.  That is always nice, when you are standing there waiting for the game to start.
I hadn't really looked for any Buies Creek players until my friend, Sam, messaged me the night before last, asking if I was planning on getting Kyle Tucker's auto.  Luckily enough, I had three of his cards in my 2017 Bowman box.  Tucker was really nice.  He signed a ball for us, and the three cards that I had.
 This was the third card that I had.  I don't know if I will be able to get the other two guys or not, but it still looks cool with Tucker's auto on it.  Chris and I actually arrived to the part too early (I thought I saw that Saturday's game was at 4, but it was really at 6), but we were able to get Tucker when he got off of the Astros team bus.  It worked out fortuitously.  In the time that Chris and I were waiting for the gates to open, we took a few laps around the stadium and found a baseball in the empty lot behind the stadium.  I don't know if it was a home run ball from the night before or a BP ball, but it was still really cool to find one.

We spoke with Tucker inside the stadium as well, and he posed for a photo.  I printed out the photo today and he signed it this afternoon for Chris.
I bought bulk lots of cards of Jeremy Moore and Josh Morgan.  Both of them are really generous with their signatures, so all told, I picked up 7 signed 2013 Bowman and one 2013 Bowman Chrome from Moore (not to mention the Bowman Ice at the top of the page) and 10 Josh Morgan signatures on 2014 Bowman.  I plan on sending the extras out to friends who have helped me get autographs in the past, so adding the bulk cards will really help out.
 I also added two more signatures on the Hickory Crawdads cards that I picked up early in the season.  If it weren't so expensive to buy the sets, I would pick up a couple more.
I ran into a few familiar faces this weekend.  One guy was graphing next to me was someone I see at the Raleigh card shows all the time.  He was nice enough to give me a blank Brett Adcock card for me to get signed in exchange for me getting an extra for him.  I had no problem with that, as we worked together to get autographs Saturday, making easy on each other.  I see a lot of folks treating graphing as a competition, but I like it a lot better when the folks out there are working together.  There's no sense in being a jerk about getting autographs.  Don't ruin the hobby for others.
I was able to get some more cards signed by Wood Ducks manager, Howard Johnson.  He is usually really busy as he is coming out of the clubhouse, but he has always stopped for us.  I have enjoyed getting all of these different cards signed.  This 1986 Fleer turned out really nice.  It really matches the Mets color scheme.  I did ask Johnson today the $100,000 question.  He did not have any relation to the old Howard Johnson hotel chain, even though their color scheme was very close to that of the Mets.  He did mention that he wished he had done something with them in the past, as it would have been pretty cool.
My wife was a real trooper this weekend.  She was tired from work yesterday, so Chris and I went by ourselves to the game last night.  She met us at the park today (she passes by it on her way home from work) and spent Mother's Day with us there.  She was able to "run" the bases with Chris (they actually walked them) after today's game.  She also got in free this afternoon.  She stood with us today and got this card signed for me.
Chris also helped get autographs for me, and also some for himself.  He really wanted the Flair card (bottom left), so that one is going into his collection.  He hasn't come in here yet to tell me which other cards he wants, but I plan on at least giving him the 1986 Topps as well.
Luckily, Chris got the 1989 Fleer signed.  That one is going to a graphing friend of mine who is building that set.  We have worked out a deal for it, and I imagine it will be shipped out soon.
Like I said before, Josh Morgan is really generous with his time and his signature.  I think because he always has stopped and talked to Chris and I at games, I will be starting a PC of him.  I also want to get some more of his shimmer cards like the one above and get them signed.  They look so great.  This one, I got off of Ebay for around $4, and it is numbered 29/50.  I really want to get the orange parallel, but have missed out on it so far.
Finally, the Wood Ducks won today's game and snapped a 6-game losing streak.  They won the game in grand fashion (pun intended) when Morgan launched a grand slam to beat the Astros 10-6.  It was the first time I have seen a walk off grand slam live.  I called the shot to my friend, Jacob.  I think it was really awesome that Morgan was kind enough to inscribe this card with "walk-off grand slam".  I had given Jacob my remaining Morgan cards, but he was nice enough to give me this 2017 Bowman Chrome.  This card will definitely look awesome in my album!

I am not too sure when I will be graphing the Wood Ducks next.  I am taking some 50/50s now for a few friends, especially my good friend, Gerard.  He has a package on the way containing a few guys that he needs, and he will be returning the favor by getting me some Pawtucket Red Sox.

Stay tuned next week for what is going to hopefully be my next graphing recap, of the Bowling Green Hot Rods.