Monday, September 16, 2019

A Few More Autos From Gerard

My friend, Gerard, took on a bunch more 50/50s for me this season, and I finally have gotten around to posting two of the batches that were sitting here on my desk.

I had found this 2018 Bowman Chrome blue refractor of Josh Ockimey at the National this year (I think), and it turned out really well when it was signed.
I also was surprised that I had missed this Chaf De La Guerra card from the 2015 NY-Penn League All Star game.  I have had those cards for a couple seasons, now, and have hit a wall on getting any of the remaining ones signed.  I was glad to take this one out of the box, though, and now it will be put away.
Here are some other cards that Gerard was able to take care of for me.  All of them are ones that I had for quite a while, so it is always nice to see them come back signed.
I know I have had these Jeff Niemann cards for a long time, and I was beginning to think this was a player who I wouldn't be adding any time soon.  I had looked him up fairly recently to see if he signed TTM, and he did not.  It doesn't matter, now, because these are done.
Finally, Gerard helped knock off a card from my 1987 set.  I was hoping to get Jose Guzman sooner, but it never worked out.  I have him now, and am crossing him off of the list.

Thanks for the cards, Gerard!

Sunday, September 15, 2019

TTM Success - Ben Petrick

The TTM I sent ended up being a bunch of cards, but Ben Petrick signed them all, and I added some different stuff to my autograph album.

This 2000 Skybox turned out to be a pretty sharp card, and I liked how it looked.  I'm pretty sure it was something I found at my LCS a while back, and it finally came in signed.
Here are three different Bowmans from a long time ago, and a 2000 Topps Stadium Club.  The Bowmans are 1996, 2000 and 2001.  The 1996 (bottom left) was one of the cards I got out of a box while visiting Andrew a couple years ago.
Finally, some Fleer offerings, a 2001 Fleer Futures and a 2000 Fleer Tradition.  These are some pretty cool cards, as Fleer had some cool designs in the early 2000s.  Their problem was that they flooded the market with products and ran themselves out of business.

Petrick (b. 1977) played in the majors from 1999 to 2003 for the Rockies and Tigers.  He had 172 hits, 27 home runs and a .257 batting average.

I mailed to Petrick on March 25 and got the cards back on August 24, for a 152-day TAT.

Last Graphing Trip of 2019 - Knights at Tides

The weekend of Labor Day, Chris and I went to Norfolk to catch a Tides game.  It was the Saturday game, and with it being so short notice, I feel like we still did pretty well in getting some stuff signed.

We had gotten to the field about an hour or so before the gates opened, so he and I walked around a bit so I could get my steps in.  While we were walking, one of the Tides players walked out into the parking lot.  He was on his phone when he walked out, but I got a good look at him.  I consulted the Tides roster and had a decent idea who it might have been, but Chris, having no fear, asked him when he came walking back, who he was.  It was David Hess.  I was glad, because I actually had a card of Hess, so he stopped and signed for me.  He was really nice, and thanked us for coming to the game.
We didn't wait on the Tides side pregame, so we had to try to get some of them outside after the game.  I met a fellow instagrammer, Connor, whom I had done a few 50/50s with.  It was really nice chatting with him, and graphing.
I could have waited outside on the Knights side, but I figured I would recognize the Tides guys a little better, and I knew that a lot of them that I had cards of might not be with the Orioles when Fan Fest comes around.  This was an opportunity to clear out some space in my box.
We were pretty excited to get Ryan Mountcastle again.  I hadn't seen him since he was with Frederick, and his offense has blown up pretty well this season.  He will likely be at Fan Fest in January, but I have one specific card I can take to that when it comes time for it.
We were able to add to these two trio cards, by having them signed by Austin Wynns and Austin Hays.  I can probably get Mullins at Fan Fest, and same with Renato Nunez (if he isn't traded in the offseason).
I wasn't as lucky when I tried to get the Knights guys.  The same woman who ran Chris and I off last season was back, but she wasn;t near as rude.  Still, I'm pretty sure I saw her talking with one of the ushers, who eventually ran us off.  The usher had tried right at the start, but another woman in the area told her "They aren't bothering anyone and have been very respectful, so they can stay, I don't mind."  I wish the other woman had been so courteous.

Anyway, Chris and I did our best to stay out of folks' way, and we were able to add these two cards to the album.  I was really disappointed that I left a Panini Diamons Kings card of Thaygo Viera on my desk, as he walked right by us, and stopped to say hello.

Since the Wood Ducks lost in the first round of the Carolina League playoffs, this trip turned out to be our last graphing trip of the season.

Beginning with the Wood Ducks hot stove event in January; encompassing that event, Orioles Fan Fest and the Johnny Bench signing, as well as 63 different minor and major league games, Chris and I got 2,027 autographs this year.  We went to 51 Wood Ducks home games this year.  We also went to home games for the Fayetteville Woodpeckers (their first ever home game), Carolina Mudcats, Augusta Greenjackets, Nashville Sounds, Louisville Bats, West Virginia Power, Bowie Baysox, Hickory Crawdads, Greensboro Grasshoppers, High Point Rockers, Burlington Royals and Norfolk Tides.  We also went to MLB games in Baltimore and St. Louis.  I could have added Columbia to the list, but we were rained out.    I was 28 autographs short of my total from last year, but had I counted the cards I got signed at the National, I would have probably exceeded that total.  Not that it really matters.

All of that being said, it is safe to say that I am tired, and am glad to be gearing up for the offseason.  I am excited about 2020, though, and Chris and I will try to add some more stadiums to my map (which has finally been updated).

Thanks to everyone who I graphed with this summer: Jackson, Dugan, Connor, Adam, Josh, Kaleb, Braden, Tanner, Ben, Billy, John, Erika, Jesse, Keegan, Andrew, Michael, and anyone else I may have forgotten to mention.  I know he won't read this, but I also want to thank my travel partner, and the best graphing helper, Chris.  I know this isn't really your thing, but you are a good sport with it, and help a lot more than you know.  I am just glad that I have a simple enough hobby that I can take my son along and spend some time with him.  Our trips last year to Texas, and this year to Illinois/Kentucky, etc were a lot of fun.  Now, go wash that Augusta shirt!

Saturday, September 14, 2019

TTM Success - Mason McReaken

My friend, Gerard, told me that Mason McReaken was signing cards TTM at his home address, and had recently been released by the Braves.

I sent two 2019 Pro Debut cards to him to sign, and he sent them both back, one personalized, the other with just a signature.

McReaken also wrote me a letter thanking me for writing to him, and also telling me that he is working on getting the 2019 Pro Debut set signed.  So, I will have to get up with him and see his needs list and see if I can help him!

McReaken (b. 1996) played one season (2018) in the Braves system, reaching Danville of the Appalachian League (short season single A).  He went 0-1 with a 1.50 ERA in 7 games.  He was an undrafted free agent out of Southern Illinois Edwardsville.  From the back of the baseball card numbers, it looks like McReaken was doing pretty well.  I'm not sure why he was let go, but maybe if I do some trades with him, and get to know him, an appropriate time may come where I can ask that question.

I mailed to McReaken on August 14 and got the cards back on August 22, for an 8-day TAT.

Friday, September 13, 2019

August 2019 Graphing Recap of Keys at Wood Ducks

The Frederick Keys made their last stop in Kinston on August 26-29, culminating with a meet and greet with the Wood Ducks team on August 29, since that was the final home game of the regular season.

During this series, I got everything I had of Cadyn Grenier signed, which turned out to be a ton of cards.
I had help from Chris and a few other folks who were at the games.  Grenier was really nice, but if you had multiples of the same card on a page, he would not sign more than one of them.
He also wouldn't call you out if you got him more than once in the series, which really helped.  So, I got a lot of stuff done, and also helped out a bunch of folks with their 50/50s.
I got cards from a couple different Delmarva team sets, along with the Carolina League All Stars from the Keys, and this season's Keys team set.
I really like this season's Keys team set, and was able to get a bunch of the cards signed.
Chris and I enjoyed talking with the Keys players, as always, and one of the best was Brenan Hanifee.  He was really cool the last time I saw him come through, and this time around, Chris was there, and spoke with him at length.
I was surprised at all of the team set cards I was able to get done.  I don't think I missed anyone, save for one Bobby Rose card from the Carolina League All Star set.
I was disappointed to learn a couple days ago that all of the coaches for the Keys will not be retained for next season.  While that may provide an opportunity to see some new faces coaching them, I liked Ryan Minor, and will miss talking to him next season.
I was glad to get a lot of these cards signed, so I won't have to keep up with many unsigned ones from the sets for next season.  I don't necessarily mind, as a lot of the guys will show up at Orioles Fan Fest, or be at other MiLB stops in their system.
This series marked the last home series of the Wood Ducks regular season.  I knew Chris and I would be out of town for the first round of the playoffs, so he and I treated it like it would be the last seried of the year.  Unfortunately, we turned out to be correct.  I am glad we were able to meet and greet the team during that last game.

Thursday, September 12, 2019

TTM Success - Jose Cruz

I gave it a shot, not expecting to get the cards back, but I sent two cards to Jose Cruz and was surprised with a quick return.

Obviously, I needed this one for my 1987 set, and it turned out really well.
I also took a chance and sent this 1977 Topps, and it turned out ok.  He signed it over the faux signature, and it looks kind of goofy like that, but I especially like the old Astros uniform.

Cruz (b. 1947) played in the majors from 1970 to 1988 for the Cardinals, Astros and Yankees.  He had 2,251 hits, 165 home runs and a .284 batting average.  He was an All Star in 1980 and 1985.  His best finish in the MVP voting was 6th in 1983 (NL).  He was also a Silver Slugger Award winner in 1983 and 1984.  He appeared on the 1994 Hall of Fame ballot, but received only 0.4% if the vote.

I mailed to Cruz on July 23 and got the cards back on August 20, for a 28-day TAT.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

TTM Success - Omar Moreno

I took part in another private signing through SCN and landed this Omar Moreno signed 1987 Topps.  The problem is, though, I was supposed to have the card already.  I had sent a bunch of Moreno's stuff off last year to a former friend of mine who was to see Moreno (and a few other guys in the 87 set).  He was going to 50/50 for me, but out of the blue, he messaged me saying he was done getting card signed and quitting Instagram altogether.  I asked him if he was going to send me my stuff back, and he said he would.  I haven't heard from him since.  It is kind of sad, in my opinion.  Anyway, I got the card for my set, and can cross him off of the list.

Moreno (b. 1952) played in the majors from 1975 to 1986 for the Pirates, Astros, Yankees, Royals and Braves.  He had 1,257 hits, 37 home runs and a .252 batting average.  He finished 15th in the 1979 NL MVP voting, and won the World Series with the Pirates that same season.

I mailed to the private signing on July 19 and got the card back on August 19, for a 31-day TAT.  I paid a fee of $10.00.

TTM Success - Eric Plunk

I waited a while, but finally got a TTM success back from Eric Plunk via PastPros.  I needed him for my 1987 set, and the card turned out pretty well.  It got a bit damaged in transit, but really, it looks fine.

Plunk (b. 1963) played in the majors from 1986 to 1999 for the A's, Yankees, Indians and Brewers.  He had a career record of 72-58 with 1,081 strike outs and a 3.82 ERA.

I mailed to the private signing on March 25 and got the card back on August 19, for a 147-day TAT.  I paid the PastPros fee of $12.00.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

TTM Success - Felix Mantilla

I raided my vintage box once again when I sent off these two cards to Felix Mantilla.  I got a nice 1960 Topps signed, that turned out really well.
This 1962 Topps also looks great.  Mantilla has a really nice autograph.

Mantilla (b. 1934) played in the majors from 1956 to 1966 for the Braves (Milwaukee), Red Sox and Astros.  He had 707 hitd, 89 home runs and a .261 batting average.  He was an All Star in 1965 and finished a career-best 29th in the AL MVP voting that season.  He won the World Series with the Braves in 1957.

I mailed to Mantilla on June 20 and got the cards back on August 13, for a 54-day TAT.  I paid a fee of $10.00.

Sunday, September 8, 2019

TTM Success - Doc Medich

I received this TTM success from George "Doc" Medich that added a few nice 70s cards to my autograph album.

This 1976 Topps Traded turned out really well, I think.
I also got a 1977 and 1978 Topps signed by Medich.  His signature is pretty small, but it turned out well on all of the cards.

Medich (b. 1948) played in the majors from 1972 to 1982 for the Yankees, Pirates, A's, Mariners, Mets, Rangers and Brewers.  He had a career record of 124-105 with 955 strike outs and a 3.78 ERA.

I mailed to Medich on July 24 and got the cards back on August 12, for a 19-day TAT.

Saturday, September 7, 2019

August 2019 Graphing Recap of Pulaski Yankees at Burlington Royals

Chris and I were finally able to get out to Burlington for a game a couple weeks ago, after trying to get there for the past few years.

I was glad to be able to get Andy LaRoche on this 2007 Turkey Red card, finally, because I had originally sent TTM so him, but he didn't sign.  I got rid of a lot of his cards when I let a box of random stuff go at a yard sale.  I put his stuff in there because I figured I wouldn't be able to get them signed.  Thankfully, I didn't get rid of every one of them, and I got two of his cards done.
I did have a whole bunch of Kevon Jackson's cards, and I get all but one of them taken care of.  He was really nice, but wasn't in the lineup.  He came out in a warmup hoodie and we had to have help from his teammates in identifying him.
I started the day with just a few cards and a few players to get autographs from, but the team store was doing a sale of everything 50% off, and all teams sets were really cheap.  I got a couple of sets from previous years at $2.00 a piece, and this year's set for $4.50.
Graphing at Burlington was pretty easy, and we were able to get a good many of the players.  I missed a few, but was overall pretty happy with what I got done.
I even got the mascot on his card.
I got a few of the Pulaski Yankees guys, hitting coach Scott Seabol, and Ryder Green.
I was disappointed that both Anthony Volpe and Jake Agnos were listed on the roster, but were not in attendance.

Chris and I had a good time, but we had to leave the game early so he would be back home in time to get to bed at a decent hour.  The next day was his first day of 8th grade.

Friday, September 6, 2019

TTM Success - Dwight Gooden

I added the second of two Dwight Gooden cards to my 1987 set when I took advantage of a private signing that my buddy, Jacob, told me about.  My good friend, Max, got me the base card, so this All Star card was the other one that I needed.

I mailed to the signing on February 19 and got the card back on August 8, for a 170-day TAT.  I paid a fee of $19.00.

Thanks for letting me know, Jacob!

Thursday, September 5, 2019

August 2019 Graphing of Woodpeckers at Wood Ducks

 The Fayetteville Woodpeckers came through town August 20-22, and I was able to catch the games on August 20-21.  I didn't have much left for anyone to sign, but I did have this Miguelangel Sierra from the National to get done.
I also had a ton of Cody Deason, which he signed every one of!
I also had these cards out of the Carolina League All Star set.  I missed one of the coaches, but got these done.
I also had these two Midwest League All Star cards that I got done, as well.

The season was winding down at this point, and a lot of weather was coming through the area.  The last game of the series was rained out and tacked onto the end of season series in Fayetteville as a double header.

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

More 50/50s From Jackson in AZ

My buddy, Jackson in Arizona, sent back some more of the cards that he had gotten signed for me this summer.  He has had to send the stuff back in phases, as he has most of the stuff I sent scattered about his room.
Still, some good stuff got signed, and I am really happy because of it.  Jackson hooked me up, and I was able to add a ton to my album.
I had sent to Eddie Taubensee TTM and got some cards back, but these two above weren't represented, so it was nice to get them out of my box and into the album.  The Donruss Joe Oliver might have been nice to try to get signed myself, but he had gotten really tough last year when he was a coach with Salem.  He didn't return this season, so it was a moot point.
This assortment was also nice.  I was informed later that Jim Gott was not the pitcher on the Giants leaders card, even though he signed it.  I will need to send to the proper pitcher on the card.  Someone told me, but the name escapes me.

Thanks for getting these signed, Jackson!  I really appreciate it.

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Meeting Johnny Bench and Doug Flynn

My friend Billy, who Chris and I met at the Wood Ducks games a while back, told me recently about a signing that was to take place in Wallace, NC with Hall of Famer, Johnny Bench.  The signing was going to happen at the Mad Boar restaurant in Wallace a few days before the Hope For The Heroes golf tournament.  Apparently, Bench has been coming out this way for years, and the benefit has grown.  I went ahead and searched for a ton of cards, as the lady I spoke to on the phone told me that autographs would be between $5-$10.  I knew there was no way, but from what Billy told me, the prices were very reasonable with a donation going toward the cause.  He donated a sum last year and got his items signed, so I figured I had a good chance to get a ton of stuff taken care of.
In all, I got 11 items signed by Bench, and 14 items signed by Doug Flynn for a donation of $330 to the cause.  Bench was a little surly at the start, but during the second time through the line, he had a couple more drinks in him, and he had settled down.
I made the trip with my son, Chris, and met up with my good friend, Jackson, and also Billy.  Jackson made the trip through the line with me initially and got a couple baseballs signed.  He and I went back through with his Doug Flynn cards, and a couple more baseballs, and that was when Bench had warmed up a lot more.  He offered for us to come behind the table with him and take some pictures, which made the initial surliness a distant memory.
 I had to raid some of my sets to have some good Topps cards for Bench to sign.  Also, I had sent most of my Flynns to someone else for graphing, so I was pretty short on his stuff.  I did get rid of a couple 1976 Topps Reds team cards, which is always a plus.  I put Flynn on those and gave one to Chris.
My amazingly awesome friend, Max, sent me an assortment of Flynn cards to go along with the few that I raided from my completed sets.  All of the cards turned out great, and I was glad to get everything signed.  I don't mind replacing what I robbed from the sets at a later date.
I did find a ton of 1983 Donruss Doug Flynn cards, but that was because that box is at the very bottom of my stack of 5,000-count boxes, and apparently, I was too lazy to look through it for the 50/50 I had sent off for earlier on.
This was Surly Bench, early on.  He made a comment about how I wasn't really donating, but paying to get cards signed.  I got the point, but because I believed in the cause was why I spent so much.  If it was a donation to fund an underwater basket weaving class, I wouldn't have spent as much.
Bench was a lot happier when this photo of Jackson and I was taken with Bench and Flynn.  He really ended up being cool, and I imagine he was just trying to bust my chops early on.  I get it, and I definitely am not bothered by it anymore.
The main piece that was signed was this photo from 2013 of Chris and Bench.  Photo cred goes to old friend of the blog, the great Drew!  (Drew, time for you to come back to the blogs)
Finally, I upgraded the Bench ball in my collection with one of these, and I got an extra one done, just because.

I was happy to contribute to the Hope For The Heroes cause, and also spend some time with my son and a couple good friends.  Thanks to Billy for telling me about the event, and thanks to Jackson for making the trip.I definitely will go next year!