Sunday, July 15, 2018

TTM Success - Mike Mason

I've really added a bunch of 1987 Topps to my set, lately.  I'm up around 260 cards out of the set, and am still looking strong.  Here is a TTM success that landed me one that I needed, Mike Mason.
I also added his 1985 Topps.  His uniform matches the colors on the card almost perfectly.

Mason (b. 1958) played in the majors from 1982 to 1988 for the Rangers, Cubs and Twins.  He had a career record of 29-30 with 363 strike outs and a 4.53 ERA.

I mailed to Mason on March 21 and got the cards back on April 16, for a 26-day TAT.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Graphing the Salem Red Sox at Wood Ducks

Last year, I missed the Salem Red Sox when they came through Kinston.  I ended up seeing them in Zebulon at the Mudcats last July 4, but didn't come away with very many autos.  This year, I caught them in Kinston, and I did much better.

The highlight was this 2014 Bowman Red Ice Jake Cosart.  I had found the card at the Chantilly show in April, sent it to my friend Gerard for a 50/50, then it came back here when Cosart was sent down to Salem.  It has some frequent flier miles, but I finally graduated it to my autograph album.
Cosart was really nice, and called me "sir".  Over two games, I got most of the Salem guys that I had brought with me.  I was glad to get the Roldani Baldwin and Trenton Kemp done.  The Kemp came out of my 2013 Perfect Game boxes that I got at last year's National.
I got some 2018 Bowman out of my box, as well.  I have done pretty well in getting some of those signed already this year.  The cards look nice when signed.
Brett Netzer only will do two-per when he signs, but his signature looks great.  I had a couple of his cards left over, but I may try to catch Salem if they come to one of the neighboring teams.
Bobby Dalbec was awesome.  He signed everything we had.  I missed a couple cards in my box, so I have some more to bring with me if I try to see them again.
I had some cool cards of him, though.  The Team USA and South Atlantic League set cards turned out really well.
I pulled the green Dalbec Heritage when I got my box, and was glad to get it done.  The others were from 2017 Pro Debut and 2016 Bowman.
Finally, I got these two Wood Ducks cards done.  I had the 2010 Pro Debut Robby Rowland since i bought the box in 2010.  Been in my box for a long time.  The Ricky Valencia was from my South Atlantic League All Star set, but he had been hurt for a while.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Another TTM Success From Tony LaRussa

I needed Tony LaRussa on a second 1987 Topps card, so I decided to send to him TTM a second time.  This time around, in addition to the 1987, I sent him the above 1990 Score depicting the 1989 World Series Earthquake.  I thought the card was really cool, and figured LaRussa would be someone good to get on it.
I had sent him this 1987 Topps in the past, but it came back unsigned.  He signed my 1992 Topps and 1987 Topps A's Team Leaders card.  So, I now have both of his 1987s signed.

I mailed to LaRussa on March 26 and got the cards back on April 12, for a 17-day TAT.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Day 3 of the Texas Trip - Reunited With Some Wood Ducks

The third day in Texas with Chris brought us to Dr. Pepper Ballpark, home of the Frisco Roughriders.  We were there to see where the Wood Ducks players go when they move up to Double A.

We got to the ballpark early, then met up with my friend, Ethan, and bought his lunch.  Chris and I weren't hungry, since we had eaten at our first Brazilian steakhouse earlier that day.
All of the pictures I had seen on Dr. Pepper Ballpark showed me that it was a really beautiful place.  I wasn't disappointed, as it definitely was one of the nicest looking parks I have ever been to.
While we were there, my friend, Sam, met us and graphed with us for a bit.  He actually helped Chris and I get a few Anthony Gose cards signed, since Gose only signs one per.
We also were able to get cards signed by some of the former Wood Ducks on out team set.  Josh Morgan, Brett Martin, Anthony Gose, Adam Choplick, CD Pelham, Jonathan Hernandez and Edgar Arredondo all remembered us.
I took a few 50/50s for Gerard for the Roughriders and their opponent, the Springfield Cardinals.  I was especially happy to get the 2010 Bowman USA 18U card signed by Chris Chinea.  I picked those cards up from a dime box at the 2012 National.
I got most of these cards from Gerard for the 50/50.  I think one of the Lane Thomas cards was mine, but I'm not even sure now.
I got a Gose card signed for my good friend, Cal, as part of a 50/50 with him.  Max also sent me a few, so I'm going to hook him up with one, as well.
This Victor Roache card was actually mine.  I foundit fairly quickly when I was looking through my box.
I also met up with fellow Instagrammer, John, who I had done 50/50s with earlier in the year.  He hooked me up with two 1987 Topps that I needed for my set.

This was our last baseball day of the trip.  We spent the next day hanging out at Dinosaur Valley State Park in Glen Rose, Texas, and returned home that Saturday.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Texas Trip Day 2 - Meeting Raffy

The second day of our trip was exciting for me, because I planned for that day to be a trip to Cleburne, Texas.  In Cleburne, there is an independent league team, and one of their players just happened to be Rafael Palmeiro.  The stadium is new, so new that it didn't pop up in the rental car GPS.  Luckily, I had decent enough service that I used Google Maps to get there.
For an independent league team, they have a really nice stadium.  It reminded me of Jim Perry Stadium at Campbell University, where the Buies Creek Astros play.  Everything was turf, which is kind of cool.  I don't think I would want to see an all-turf field all of the time, but when it is at a game here and there, it's ok.
Everyone we talked to while we were there was very friendly.  We told anyone that would listen that we were visiting from NC.  Chris and I had gotten there several hours before the gates opened, because I thought we would have some other things to do in the area.  Unfortunately, when we got there, the temperature was 115 degrees, so after a few laps around the stadium looking for home run balls (we found three), we drove to a nearby Sonic and got some massive slushies.
We got tickets right beside the dugout, front row, for $12 a piece.  Raffy came out and signed autographs pre-game, and posed for a photo with me.  He signed 4 of the 8 cards I put out and signed as many for Chris.  While Raffy was signing for us, a girl from the promotions department had come down to talk to us about how we traveled all the way from NC.  She invited Chris to come onto the field to say play ball, which he reluctantly agreed to do.  I also told Raffy that I had been a big fan since I was really young, and we traveled all the way from NC to see him.  He thanked me, and shook my hand.
While Chris was on the field getting ready to say "play ball", Patrick Palmeiro (who is also on the Cleburne team) told Chris he would give him a bat.
The bad turned out to be a broken Rafael Palmeiro bat!!  We ended up shipping it back home the day after the game.  I was stunned by being able to take it home.
My cell phone doesn't do terribly when it comes to action shots, I've found.  Here is a pitch being delivered to Raffy, which he hit out of the park.
That's right, Rafael Palmeiro hit a home run in his first at bat while we were there.  When he returned to the dugout, he chatted with Chris, since we were beside the steps.  Chris congratulated him on the homer, and asked Raffy if he would sign the bat we had gotten.  Raffy agreed to.
The Railroaders provided a really fun experience, and a really nice ballpark.  There were train engines and cars all around the stadium, and there were a good many people there.  I bought a hat, a shirt, and a mini bat for Chris.
Here is a pic of Chris in front of the stadium as we were leaving.  I definitely would go back to Cleburne for a game, even if Raffy isn't there.  The Railroaders lost the game to the Sioux Falls Canaries 6-3.  Raffy went 1-4 with the homer, his third of the season.
Like I said above, Raffy signed 8/16 cards for us.  I wasn't sure how many to show when he was graphing, so I just laid my book out, opened, with 4 cards on each page.  He chose a page and signed/  Luckily, the pages he chose out of my and Chris's books were all of the main cards I wanted signed.  The above 2005 Bowman Heritage mahogany parallel was the #1 card I wanted to come back with signed.  I definitely wanted one in my album, and this one was really awesome paired with my Staedtler pen.
I also wanted to put this goofy Bazooka Comics insert card into my album.  I definitely didn't have one of these signed, and it actually turned out pretty nice.
Chris wanted to keep two of the cards he got done, and I sent one to my friend, Max.  We also got two extra ones signed because I loaned my pen to a lady beside us, and she had her grandson get two of my cards signed post game.  He didn't want to keep them, so that worked out for me.
My good fried, Gerard, was kind enough to figure out which players on the Railroaders and Canaries had cards, and also sent me some for 50/50s.  He had a bunch of Angelo Gumbs, who was really nice.
I actually had this card of starting pitcher, Josh Hodges.  It felt really good to get this 2009 Bowman out of my box and into my album.  That was really gratifying, especially since I went through so many cards to find one that I had of one of the Railroaders.

Stay tuned for the next day of our trip: where Chris and I were reunited with some old friends from the Wood Ducks.

TTM Success - Mike Fischlin

I've got to get a whole bunch of stuff posted before I leave for the National, or I am going to be so far behind, I won't know what to do.  So, here is a TTM success from Mike Fischlin that got me this cool 1984 Fleer signed, and an 87 for my set.
The 87 turned out really nice, and I can't forget the 1986 beside it.  I still can't believe the prices that some of the 1986 boxes are going for now.  I had bought a bunch for $5 back when I got back into collecting.  People are getting them and grading them for some reason.

Fischlin (b. 1955) played in the majors in 1977, 1978 and 1980 to 1987 for the Astros, Indians, Yankees and Braves.  He had 207 hits, 3 home runs and a .220 batting average.

I mailed to Fischlin on March 30 and got the cards back on April 12 for a 13-day TAT.

Monday, July 9, 2018

Texas Trip Day 1 - Texas Rangers vs. San Diego Padres

Chris has always struggled with school.  It just comes easier to some people, than it does to others.  We have tried a bunch of ways to keep him motivated, but this year was especially tough.  Finally, the Rangers signed Tim Lincecum to a minor league deal, and I told Chris that all he had to do was put in the effort to bring his grades up, pass his EOGs, and I would take him to Texas so that he could finally meet Lincecum.  The day that Chris got his EOG results back, the Rangers released Lincecum.  I told Chris that we could still go to Texas if he wanted to, and he said sure.  So, we booked a trip and took it from June 26 to 30.

Our mail destination was Dallas, and went from there to a few ballparks at various levels of play.  The first stop, after meeting my good friend, Brayden, in person, was Globe Life Park in Arlington; the home of the Texas Rangers.
Although he looks pissed here, Chris actually enjoyed the game.  The Rangers lost the game to the Padres 3-2.
The food was really good.  I got this bacon wrapped hot dog, which was pretty awesome.  It may have shaved a few years off of my life, but those are the bad years at the end where I'm peeing on myself, so it's all good.
This was about the best smile I could coax out of Chris for a photo.  He doesn't like his picture taken, but this one turned out pretty well.
I thought the stadium was really nice.  It wasn't Camden Yards, but what other stadium is?
Chris and I did try some graphing, and we were each able to come away with Rangers catcher, Carlos Tocci on a 2018 Topps Rangers team card.

Stay tuned, as our next stop put us face to face with one of my childhood heroes.