Tuesday, September 27, 2011

I Finally Got an Antique Baseball

I picked up this awesome baseball from Ebay recently.  I have been looking for antique baseballs over the last couple months and have finally gotten one.  I had no idea how expensive they were (I've seen some figure eight style baseballs selling for $200.00 on ebay).

 After doing a Google search on antique baseballs, if this is an Official ball, then it would date to between 1901 to 1934.  The A. J. Reach company manufactured baseballs for the AL with red and blue stitching beginning in 1901 and ending in 1934.  Spalding made baseballs for the NL with black and red stitching starting in 1911.  Looking closely at the ball, the stitches look blue.  Some previous owner of the ball scratched 'Babe Ruth' into the ball.

No, there is no way it is an autograph.  It is clearly scratched into the ball.

I imagine some kid owned it back in the late 20s - early 30s and imagined themselves calling a home run shot.  What would be really awesome, but never able to be proven would be if this ball was a Ruth home run ball.  Or maybe a foul ball?  The speculation is endless.
My thinking is that this ball looks amazing and I am really happy to have it in my collection.  If anyone knows more about antique baseballs and would like to shed some light on this, please feel free to do so.  I'm curious as to the origins of this beauty and would like to know more.

Something Cool From The Card Show

 I picked up this Official AL Baseball, new in the box, from a vendor at the card show this past weekend.  I've been looking for older baseballs for some time now and was able to snag this one for only $10.00.  The guy had maybe 4 or 5 more that he was willing to sell me really cheap, but I was on a budget and didn't want to exceed it.

The ball is a Bobby Brown ball, which is really cool, since I just got him TTM.  Would have been a good idea to wait and send this to him, but oh well.

Something I found to be odd/funny, though...  The ball is an official AL baseball, the box even says so, but the stadium pictured on the box is old Busch Stadium.  I saw The Who play there live in 1989.  My first concert...
The ball looks great.  The guy told me that they had bought a bunch of them so someone could sign them, and I guess he didn't sign them all.  The box says copyright 1985, so this was early in Brown's AL presidency, which he was elected to in 1984.

Monday, September 26, 2011

53 Years Ago Today....

It was 53 years ago today that friend of the blog, Virgil Trucks, pitched in his final MLB game.  On September 26, 1958, Mr. Trucks (pitching for the Yankees) was on the losing end of a 12-inning affair against the Baltimore Orioles.  The game featured Hall of Famers Hoyt Wilhelm and Whitey Ford starting for the Orioles and Yankees, respectively.  

With the game tied 1-1, Trucks replaced Art Ditmar in the top of the 11th inning and got the Orioles' 8-9-1 hitters out on a fly ball and two strikeouts, respectively.  He wasn't as lucky in the top of the 12th inning, though.  He retired Dick Williams on a fly ball to 2nd base, then gave up a single to Gene Woodling.  With Jim Busby pinch running for Woodling, Bob Nieman singled.  Trucks would then load the bases with one out by walking Gus Triandos.  Bob Boyd would hit a sacrifice fly to center, scoring Busby.  Trucks would then walk Billy Gardner to load the bases again, this time with two out.  Another walk to Jack Harshman would score Nieman, bring the score to 3-1, Orioles.  Finally, Trucks would strike out pitcher Billy Loes to end the inning.

A solo home run in the bottom of the 12th inning would inch the Yankees to within one run, but it was not meant to be, with Gil McDougald fouling out to the third baseman to end the game and handing Virgil Trucks a loss in his final game.  The Yankees would go on to the World Series that year, but Trucks was left off of the playoff roster.  He received a ring when the Yankees won the series, but would not play in the majors after that season.

It is with this in mind that I showcase a pickup from this weekend's Raleigh Toy and Hobby Show.  I could have sworn I had the above 1957 Topps Virgil Trucks card, but apparently, I didn't.  I was able to buy it from a dealer for $7.  I later found another lower grade version for the same price of $7, so I feel like I did pretty well.

I've pretty much got his PC locked down, needing only his 1948 Leaf.  That card is his RC and it is a SP, so it usually commands a hefty price tag.  I hope I am able to snag one off of Ebay, much like I was able to get the 55 Clemente.  We'll see...

Sunday, September 25, 2011

New For Sale-Trade Page

I have decided to add a For Sale/Trade page to my blog in hopes to get some of the things I have for sale at card shows out so more people can see them.

It is hard sometimes to go through all the cards I have, price and label them so that people walking by my booth at shows can see everything.  I also have learned recently that it is really convenient to be able to trade a big hit for a Hall of Fame ball (like I was able to do with my Pujols triple relic/auto for the Mazeroski and Drysdale balls).

So, that being said, here are a couple featured items that I would love to sell or trade for something significant.  If any of it interests you, please shoot me an email at wregenthal@hotmail.com.

I won't refuse reasonable offers, but please, don't do me like the people on the Topps Diamond Giveaway are doing...  don't offer me a 1995 Topps Mike Macfarlane for an auto or something like that.

Below are the first items that will be added to the page...  Check the page for descriptions of each item.  Thanks for looking.

1970 Topps OJ Simpson Rookie Card

2008 UD Heroes Mike Schmidt Jersey #ed 115/125

2011 Topps Logan Morrison Auto

2011 Topps Alfonso Soriano Sparkle SP

2011 Topps Starlin Castro Auto

2011 Topps Mark Teixeira Sparkle SP

2011 Topps Travis Snider Silk Collection #ed 36/50
Manny Machado Auto Baseball - signed in person July 4, 2011

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Hall of Fame Baseball - Gary Carter

I went to the Raleigh Toy and Hobby show today with my son and was able to pick up some good stuff.  The first of which is my 48th Hall of Fame Signed Baseball: Gary Carter.

Carter has not been doing well lately, health-wise.  He was diagnosed earlier this year with brain tumors and has undergone extensive chemotherapy in an attempt to combat the disease. 

Born in 1954, Carter played in the majors from 1974 to 1992 for the Expos, Mets, Giants and Dodgers.  He had 2,092 hits, 324 home runs and a .262 batting average.  Not bad for a player who played 2,056 games over 19 seasons as a catcher.

I'm really happy to be able to add this Carter ball to my collection as I continue to inch closer to 50...  I wonder who my next two will be?

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Final Regular Season Home Game For the Kinston Indians... Ever

 I'm late posting this, but we went to the last ever regular season home game for the Kinston Indians on September 2, 2011.  They were playing the Keys in that final home series and funny thing is, the Indians were able to stretch that into a playoff run and play the Keys again in the Mills Cup finals.  We went to a game in that series as well.
 We had to get general admission tickets and sit on the grass, which wasn't bad.  The game ended up being sold out.  I had to wait an hour and a half in line for concessions and then another hour was spent in line for the souvenir shop because everything was 50% off.  I got my wife a shirt; my son a foam hand; and myself a pennant and a team ball.
 We were able to watch Orioles prospects play for the Keys.  Here is Jonathan Schoop who is one of the few international prospects (he is from Curacao) that the O's have signed lately.
 Schoop laid down a pretty nice bunt and almost beat the throw.
 We also got another look at Orioles 2010 first round pick, Manny Machado.  Manny looks to be a pretty good player and has been compared to a young Alex Rodriguez.  I'm not sure I'd go that far, but he does seem to be a good player.
 Here is my last view under the lights during a regular season MILB game at historic Grainger Stadium.  I love going to games there and I hope another team will be taking their place.  I wouldn't mind a lower A team.
The Indians closed out their home series with fireworks, which was really awesome.  I'll sure miss spending 4th of July at the park watching the fireworks.  I'll have to take my July 4th tradition to another park somewhere else, I suppose.

So, goodbye, Kinston Indians.  Since 2009, you have been my home team and my way to see some top prospects come through town.  I've had some good times there with people like my good friend Jim, my wife, my younger brother Andy and especially my son.  I'll always remember those good times at Grainger Stadium.

Funny... this was my 700th post.  Congratulations to me, haha.

Friday, September 16, 2011

 We went to game 3 of the Mills Cup last night in Kinston, NC.  The Mills Cup is the World Series of the Carolina League and this year it features the Frederick Keys and the Kinston Indians.  This series is a win-win for me, because the Keys are the Orioles' High A team and this is the final year of the Kinston Indians (who have become my home MILB team, since we moved in 2009).

Of course, I left the house without my camera, so I have no actual photos of the game, but I was able to leave with 2 mementos.

 We had to leave the game early because my wife had to be at work at 5am, and our son gets on the bus at 6:55am.  On our way through the parking lot, I spotted something between two cars.  I walked over and looked closer and found this foul ball.  I have several Carolina League balls, and it is always cool to get others, but this one is especially nice because I nabbed it during a championship series.  Not bad.

Also, I got another autograph of the Orioles' 2010 first round draft pick, Manny Machado.  This time he signed my ball on the sweet spot.  My son got a ball signed by a bunch of the Keys' players, especially after one of the pitchers asked him to throw it to him.  The pitcher (named Will Startup) took the ball and had everyone in the bullpen sign it for him.

We had a great time on a beautiful night.  I hated leaving early, but being able to get my son out of bed easily was a nice reward for getting home at a reasonable time.

Monday, September 12, 2011

TTM Success - Bill Pierce

I got my 33rd TTM success on Friday, September 9, 2011 (the same day as my Phil Niekro success) from former pitcher Bill Pierce.
I mailed to Pierce on August 26, 2011 and got the ball back on September 9, making him a 14-day TAT.  Not too bad.

Pierce played in the majors from 1945, 1948-1964 for the Tigers, White Sox and Giants.  He twice won 20 games (in 1956 and 1957) and retired with a record of 211-169, 3.27 ERA and 1,999 strikeouts.  Looks to me like he was a pretty good pitcher who should get a little more love for the Hall of Fame.  Not saying he should get in outright, but a little more thought toward it, maybe.  His HOF balloting was unimpressive (5 years on the ballot and averaged 1.36% of the vote), but I can think of recent pitchers getting much more support with similar numbers.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Hall of Fame TTM Success - Phil Niekro

I got my 32nd TTM success and my 47th hall of fame signed baseball on Friday, September 9, 2011 from former Atlanta Brave Phil Niekro.

Niekro played from 1964 to 1987 for the Braves, Yankees, Indians and Blue Jays and had a career record of 318-274, 3,342 strikeouts and an ERA of 3.35.  He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1997 (his 5th ballot).

I mailed to Niekro on August 29 and got the ball back on September 9, making him an 11-day TAT (but this might have been shorter had I not sent so close to the Labor Day holiday).  He signs for a fee of $20 for baseballs and inscribed my ball with his HOF induction year.  Pretty nice signature, too.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Hall of Fame - Asterisk Edition

When I went to the Hall of Fame this summer, one of the things I saw that really stuck out was the infamous 'asterisk ball.'  When Barry Bonds broke the career home run record held by Hank Aaron in 2007, he was vilified by baseball fans across the country.

I've never been a Bonds fan, even before the steroid issues.  He always came across as a kind of jerk, so he wasn't a player I really cared for.  I could see myself as a huge Hank Aaron fan had I grown up in his era.  I think Hammerin' Hank got a point across when a previously taped message was aired when Bonds broke his record as opposed to being there in person.  Message received Hank!

Unfortunately, it doesn't appear as if Bonds' record is going anywhere for a while.  Many felt like Alex Rodriguez would break the record, but injuries seem to be taking a toll on him.  Pujols might have a chance.

I liked seeing the 'asterisk ball' because it is a hot topic still and probably always will be.  I'm glad the Hall didn't sugar coat anything by not displaying the ball.  It would have been nice if they had explained the purpose of the asterisk.  We all know what it means, though.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Another Birthday Gift From Drew - Bob Watson Signed Baseball

A nice surprise in the birthday box from Drew was this baseball he had signed by Bob Watson.

Watson played in the majors from 1966 to 1984 for the Astros, Red Sox, Yankees and Braves.  He had 1,826 career hits, 184 career home runs and a career average of .295.  Pretty solid, if you ask me.  He went to the World Series in 1981 with the Yankees, but lost to the Dodgers and Fernandomania.

I definitely wasn't expecting something as cool as this from my good buddy, but he always surprises me.  I'm happy to add the Watson to my autograph collection.

Thanks Drew!!!

Monday, September 5, 2011

More Birthday Stuff From Drew

 I'm quickly frowning on the new version of Blogger, considering that I already wrote this blog entry, hit submit and found that an error caused NOTHING to be saved.  FAIL.  Anyway, back to what I was saying.....

Among the stuff Drew sent in his awesome birthday box to me were some random Orioles cards.  A few of which came from his 'mysterious binder' that he picked up as part of a craigslist sale.  Head over to Drew's blog and check it out.  I was lucky enough to see the mysterious binder in person, and believe me, it definitely is amazing.

I thought this 1967 Topps World Series Highlights Jim Palmer was really cool.  Also, since I don't believe I had ever seen one before Drew showed me, I was really happy to see that he added it to my 'present'.

 Looking at the box score from this game, oh how I long for the Orioles to return to their winning ways of the past and get away from the joke that they have become.

Drew also threw in this 1960 Topps Billy Klaus.  I've never heard of him, but the 1960 Topps set has always been one of my favorites.  I look forward to the day when I can start building this set.  I need to finish 1970 and 1971 before I start on another year (next will most likely be 1959).

Now onto some 2011 Allen & Ginter that Drew threw in from his recent box break.

I really like this year's black bordered minis.  Here is the Adam Jones, and it looks pretty sharp.  Recent years' black borders were kind of bland, so it was nice to see Topps shake things up slightly.

Finally is a 2011 A&G base Mark Reynolds.  You always know what you are getting with A&G and O's fans knew what they were getting with Mark Reynolds.  A ton of strikeouts, but lots of homers as well.  I am glad to have him on the team and I hope he can add a few more homers before the season is out.

Thanks again, Drew for this awesome stuff.

Check back later on for one more item from the birthday box.  I hope to post it soon.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

TTM Success - Bobby Brown

I know what you're thinking.  That I sent this ball c/o Whitney Houston.  Unfortunately (well, maybe fortunately), this is not THAT Bobby Brown.

I sent to the former AL president and former Yankee Bobby Brown on August 26, 2011 and got the ball back yesterday, September 3, 2011 making this a 8-day TAT.

Bobby Brown played for the Yankees from 1946 to 1954 and 1956.  He had 452 career hits, a .279 batting average and 22 home runs.  He played on 4 World Series Championship teams (1947, 1949, 1950 and 1951) and had career numbers of 18 hits and a .439 batting average in 41 World Series at bats.  He and Yogi Berra are the last two surviving members of the 1947 Yankees.  There are no players remaining from any earlier Yankee World Championship team.

Brown left the Yankees (and baseball) after the 1956 season to become a cardiologist.  He would return to MLB in 1984the early 1980s as the president of the Texas Rangers and then succeeded Lee MacPhail as president of the AL from 1984 to 1994.

Brown is my 31st TTM success.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

TTM Success - Brian Matusz

My 30th TTM success came yesterday (the same day I got Mike McCormick) in the form of the above baseball.  Orioles #1 draft pick (4th overall) from the 2008 draft, Brian Matusz.  I mailed to Matusz on February 10, 2011 and got him back yesterday (September 2, 2011), making him an almost 7-month TAT.  Yikes.  I sent to him during spring training in hopes of a quick return, but had to wait pretty much all season.  Matusz has had a forgettable 2011 campaign.  He is currently 1-7 with a 9.07 ERA.  Pretty darn terrible.  It appears that he didn't take the past offseason as seriously as one would hope and came into spring training out of shape.  He missed a week in spring training after having a wart removed from a finger on his throwing hand and then missed about a month thereafter when he strained his intercostal muscle.  He seems to have not yet recovered fully.

I have been very disappointed in Matusz's performance this year.  He was supposed to lead the Orioles pitching staff after posting a strong finish last year.  Instead he has been getting battered around and his rotation spot will be skipped today when the O's take on the Rays.  I really hope Matusz regains the form that brought him to the Majors, but at this point in time, maybe he should be shut down for the remainder of the season and work toward beginning 2012 healthy.

I have signed baseballs from 6 Orioles former #1 picks - Brandon Snyder, Billy Rowell, Matt Wieters, Brian Matusz, Matt Hobgood and Manny Machado.  That is every Orioles first round pick from 2005 to 2010.

Thanks for signing my ball Brian.  Let's hope there are much better days ahead in your future as an Oriole than we are seeing today.

Friday, September 2, 2011

TTM Success - Mike McCormick

You might be asking yourself... Who?  If you are a Giants fan, or a baseball fan well versed in the history of the game, then you will know who Mike McCormick is.  He won the 1967 NL Cy Young award for the Giants after going 22-10 with an ERA of 2.85 and 150 strikeouts.

McCormick played from 1956 to 1971 for the Giants, Orioles, Senators, Yankees and Royals compiling a record of 134-128, 1,321 strikeouts and an ERA of 3.73.

I was looking around, trying to figure out who my next TTM try was going to be and I saw that McCormick lives nearby in Pinehurst, NC and signs 100% of his TTM requests.  This was my 29th TTM success.  I mailed to him on Monday, August 29, 2011 and got the ball back today, Friday, September 2, 2011 making him the fastest I have ever had a turnaround.  Even faster than Virgil Trucks.  Wow.

Early Birthday Present From My Buddy Drew

 Well, as you all know, Drew and I are very close and enjoy talking about cards every chance we get.  Since he knew my birthday was coming up (Sept 14), he decided to surprise me with an early gift.  The gift was actually a box in my mailbox that contained a multitude of baseball goodness.  One of which was the Ozzie Smith baseball that I had asked him to have signed for me.  There was a good bit of other stuff in there too...  Let's start with something off of my 'want list', shall we?

Drew knew that I had been watching this Mike Cuellar 1959 Topps RC for a long time.  I had even sent him an Ebay link to one (happens to be this very card).  The card is beautiful.  A bit off center, but otherwise in mint condition.  I'm really happy to have it added to my Orioles RC collection.

Sadly, Cuellar passed away last year at the age of 72.  He was the AL Cy Young Award winner in 1969 when he went 23-11.  He went 24-8 in 1970 but only finished 4th in the Cy Young Voting (behind Jim Perry, Dave McNally and Sam McDowell and one spot ahead of Jim Palmer).

Cuellar retired with a record of 185-130, 1,632 strikeouts and an ERA of 3.14.  those stats don't tell the full story, however.  Cuellar is regarded as one of the greatest pitchers to have pitched in Baltimore (along with Jim Palmer, Mike Flanagan, Dave McNally and Mike Mussina).  He had 4 seasons when he won 20 or more games and two additional 18-win seasons.  He had 4 seasons with an ERA of below 2.75.  That's a pretty darn good pitcher, right there.  He won a World Series ring with the O's in 1970, and would pitch for the O's in the 1969 and 1971 World Series as well, but they would come up short those years.

So, thanks for the early birthday present, buddy.  I'll be sure to post what else was in the box over the course of the next few days.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Hall of Fame Signed Baseball - Ozzie Smith

I got my 46th Hall of Fame signed baseball in the mail today from my awesome friend Drew.  He went to the White Plains Card Show recently and met Ozzie Smith.  I mailed a ball to Drew and a check for Ozzie's signing fee and Drew was nice enough to take care of me.  You can read about his trip to the show here.

I'm really happy to be able to add Ozzie Smith to my autograph collection.  I watched him while I was growing up as the NL counterpart to my favorite player, Cal Ripken.  Ozzie may not have had the offensive numbers of some other shortstops, but The Wizard was exactly that, a wizard, with the glove.  Thanks for hooking me up, Drew.

Oh, by the way, this wasn't all Drew sent me.  I'll be posting more in the coming days about what else was in the box he sent...