Friday, March 31, 2017

March 31, 2017 - Orioles vs. Tides Exhibition

With weeks of preparation, a day off from work and a 2.5 hour drive to Norfolk, I had hoped that I would rack some autographs.  I braved the rain this morning and waited outside Harbor Park to see if I could "graph" the Orioles or Tides pre-game.  I wasn't successful at all.  It rained the whole time I was outside the park, and when the players got off of the charter buses, they went inside without stopping.  I did have company the whole time, though.  I met an older fellow named Joe, a fellow grapher, and very talkative guy.  It helped to pass the time as we waited patiently for folks to arrive and/or the weather to slack off.

I got to the park just after 10:00AM and they allowed us in just after 1:00.  It was still raining pretty hard when I got in the park (see the pools of water in the above photo?).  I was starving, so I went ahead and got lunch while I waited for the rain to stop and head to my seat.
I bought an "Oriole Dog" that consisted of a jumbo all-beef hot dog, mac n cheese and crab meat.  I don't normally go for odd dogs; usually just chili, slaw, ketchup and mustard, but I figured I would try something new.  I'm glad I did!  This was a really amazing hot dog, and I would get another one!
The rain let up, and I made my way to my seats.  I had two seats, but my good friend, Ryan, was unable to make the trip.  It is a shame that he couldn't make it, because the rain did clear out, and a game was played.
This was the last game on the exhibition schedule; before a couple real games on Sunday and the rest of Opening Day on Monday.
I got to see all of the Orioles stars (at bat is Chris Davis), and a home run by J. J. Hardy.  THe game ended in a tie,  3-3.  They stopped the game at the conclusion of the 9th inning due to more bad weather that was on the way.
I waited outside the clubhouse entrance with a bunch of other people, and my weeks of preparation for autographing finally bore fruit.  I got ONE card signed!  I had a chance to get a few others (Davis, Buck, Adam Jones), but I wasn't fast enough locating their pages in my new graphing book (despite it being in alphabetical order), and getting my Sharpie out.  I learned that "graphing" is best when you have a partner to help you hold things, get pens out, get cards ready, etc.  However, I did get this 2014 Bowman RC signed by Jonathan Schoop.  I would call this a success, for sure.  I actually thought I had gotten a 2015 Bowman signed, which would have been ok, too, but I do love 2014 Bowman, and this is his RC.

So, there you have it, my first real attempt at "graphing" a team.  It wasn't a failure by any stretch.  I had a blast.  The weather sucked pre and post-game, but it was beautiful during the game.  I had a nice long chat with the guy beside me, and laughed a lot at the drunk folks behind me heckling the players from both sides.

I plan on "graphing" a lot more, especially since Kinston finally has a team again.  I think by next season, I will have this whole thing worked out to a science, much like my TTMs.  In the meantime, I will enjoy my ONE Schoop auto.

TTM Success - Joe Vitiello

My "to be blogged" TTM stack is getting smaller.  I've been really busy with getting things together to do some autographing during the upcoming season, so I haven't had as much time to send out as many TTMs.
I had a bunch of minor league cards of Joe Vitiello, so it was kind of nice to add some of them to the album.
These two UD Minors cards turned out great.  They are some nice exapmles of horizontal cards.  I don't know where I got all of his minor league cards from, but I was happy to send them out.

Vitiello (b. 1970) played in the majors from 1995 to 2000 and 2003 for the Royals, Padres and Expos.  He had 172 hits, 26 home runs and a .248 batting average.  He was a first round pick (7th overall) in the 1991 Amateur Draft by the Royals.

I mailed to Vitiello on February 21 and got the cards back on March 7, for a 14-day TAT.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

TTM Success - Tommy Helms

I added a bunch of nice 60s and 70s cards with this success from Tommy Helms.  The above 1966 Topps is a nice one; Dick Simpson actually signs, so I will probably try for his signature on this one as well.  It is always fun to get both (or more) guys on the same card.
Helms had a lot of cards to choose from, so what ended up being sent with the 1966 RC was this lot of Topps base (1968, 1971, 1976 and 1975).  He has a really nice signature, and it showed up well on all of the cards.
Finally, here is a nice 1976 Topps Traded.  I like the airbrush job on the Pirates hat.  Could be a worse airbrush attempt, I suppose.

Helms (b. 1941) was bown in Charlotte, NC and is the uncle of Wes Helms, another TTM success that I have had.  He played in the majors from 1964 to 1977 for the Reds, Astros, Pirates and Red Sox.  He had 1,342 hits, 34 home runs and a .269 batting average.  He was the NL Rookie of the Year in 1966, was an All Star twice (1967 and 1968), won the Gold Glow Award twice (1970 and 1971) and finished 25th in the 1968 NL MVP Award voting.  He appeared in the 1970 World Series in a loss to the Orioles and also appeared on the 1983 Hall of Fame ballot where he received 0.3% of the vote.

Helms managed the Reds in 1988 and 1989 to a won-loss record of 28-36.

I mailed to Helms on February 21 and got the cards back on March 7, for a 14-day TAT.

TTM Success - Eddie Watt

I was able to take a card that had been in my Orioles box forever and add it to the autograph album.  This 1974 Topps Eddie Watt had been in my Orioles box for as long as I can remember; probably since I put the box together back on 2005.
I had gotten the 1972 recently, as part of the blogger Secret Santa.  It actually is a 1972 O Pee Chee, which I didn't think was around back then.  I also had the above 1975 that came in one of my first trades with my friend, Max.
Here is the back of the 1972 O Pee Chee, so you can see what makes it different.  The text is in English and French, and the back is a different color that 1972 Topps.

Watt (b. 1941) played in the majors from 1966 to 1975 for the Orioles, Phillies and Cubs.  He had a career record of 38-36 with 462 strike outs, a 2.91 ERA and 80 saves.  He was part of the 1966 World Series Champion Orioles, but did not appear in that World Series.  He did appear in the 1970 World Series for the O's where he went 0-1 with a 9.00 ERA.  They won in spite of that appearance.

I mailed to Watt on February 27 (while I was watching the Oscars) and got the cards back on March 7, for an 8-day TAT.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

TTM Success - Joe Cunningham

It has taken me four hours to post this TTM success.  Why?  Well, my laptop up and died on me.  When I say it died, it died.  Everything on there is gone.  All of my pictures, videos, documents, everything.  No, I didn't back anything up.  Lots of what I had is posted on here or on my Facebook, but there are a few things that I know are gone.  That really sucks.  I kept the old laptop with the hope that someday, someone will come along who can pull the stuff off of the damaged hard drive.  Until then, I'll be getting used to a new laptop and looking into an external hard drive.

So, here is a TTM success from Joe Cunningham on some nice vintage.  The above 1960 Topps turned out really nice, I think.
I like the 1959 Topps, as well.  Cunningham also provided the custom "1969 Topps".  That was really nice of him.

Cunningham (b. 1931) played in the majors from 1954 and 1956-1966 for the Cardinals, White Sox and Senators.  He had 980 hits, 64 home runs and a .291 batting average.  He was an All Star in 1959 for the Cardinals, a season where he batted .345 and finished 13th in the NL MVP voting.

I mailed to Cunningham on November 21 and got the cards back on March 7, for a 106-day TAT.

Instagram Trade With Wrigleywarrior

 I completed a trade on Instagram recently that landed me some nice Orioles parallels that I didn't have in my collection.  This 2016 Topps Chrome Zach Britton pink refractor is pretty cool.  I'd like to try to get it signed at some point.  These aren't numbered, but still a nice parallel.
I also got a Frank Robinson Gypsy Queen mini (unnumbered) and a 2005 Topps retired Brady Anderson.  This gold parallel from 2005 Topps Retired was also included.  It is numbered 313/500.

I am slowly catching up on my posts, but I still have a ton of cards that need to be scanned and posted.  Bear with me; I will be trying to mix in some more non-TTM posts over the coming days.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Christmas Gift From Nate

March is almost over and with that, I am at a point where I can say that I am posting my last Christmas gift from 2016.  I apologize for the delay, but TTMs are backlogged, and other cards that aren't TTMs are backlogged further than that.

I got this 2015 Topps Tier One Chris Davis relic from my buddy, Nate, who I have been chatting with for a few months, now.  He is a really nice guy from Pennsylvania who I met when he sent me a random DM about a box break that he was hosting.  I rarely buy into box breaks, but I decided to join, then he and I hit it off.

Nate surprised me with this nice Davis card for the PC.  I wasn't expecting him to spend any money on me, but when he did, it was much appreciated.  The card is numbered 186/399.

Thanks so much for the Christmas gift, Nate!

TTM Success - Clay Dalrymple

I was able to add another vintage Oriole to the binder with this success from Clay Dalrymple.  The 1971 Orioles card was actually a toss-in after a search through my Orioles box just before I sent off to him.  I was set on three cards to send, and since Dalrymple charges for his signature, I was going to hold at that amount.  Thankfully, I found this Orioles card and included it for an additional $5.
These two cards were in my vintage box.  I found them after I decided that I wanted to mail to Dalrymple.  The 1964 is a really nice card.  Not that the 66 isn't but there is something about a 1964 Topps that I really like.
The card that started me on trying to get Dalrymple was this 1961 Topps that I picked up back in January from the Columbia antique shop.  It is one of the last ones that was sent out and received, and turned out really nice.

Dalrymple (b. 1936) played in the majors from 1960 to 1971 for the Phillies and Orioles.  He had 710 hits, 55 home runs and a .233 batting average.  He appeared in 2 World Series games in the Orioles loss to the Mets in 1969, collecting 2 hits in  2 at bats, for a 1.000 batting average.

I mailed to Dalrymple on February 18 and got the cards back on March 6, for a 16-day TAT.  He charges $5/card.

TTM Success - Don Robinson

I added a nice run of Topps cards and interesting uniforms with this TTM success from Don Robinson.  The above 1979 Topps card showing a pinstriped Pirates uniform and pillbox hat might be the best card of the bunch.  Those are really cool uniforms.  I like the bright yellow ones better, but these are pretty good.
Here is another 1987 Topps for the binder, and another pillbox hat.  I don't know if I would wear one of these hats in public, but they still are pretty cool.
Wow, there are three more cards with that Pirates hat.  Now we have three of the yellow uniforms.  The 1981 Topps takes the yellow to a whole new level.  The 1986 looks really nice with the black and white border.  THen you have a 1992 Topps with a basic Giants jersey.  It turns it into an SAT question; which of these does not belong?

Robinson (b. 1957) played in the majors from 1978 to 1992 for the Pirates, Giants, Angels and Phillies.  He had a career record of 109-106 with 1,251 strike outs and a 3.79 ERA.  He was a three-time Silver Slugger Award winner (1982, 1989 and 1990) and finished third in the 1978 NL Rookie of the Year Award voting.  He also finished 8th in the 1978 NL Cy Young Award voting.  In his career, he had 146 hits, 13 home runs and a .231 batting average, not bad as a pitcher.  He also won the World Series with the Pirates in 1979.  He appeared in the 1989 World Series with the Giants, but lost to the A's and was batted around in his only start.

I mailed to Robinson on February 15 and got the cards back on March 4, for a 17-day TAT.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Facebook Deal With Zach W.

Before I get too deep into this post, I have to acknowledge the amazing Wofford jersey on the above Brandon Waring card.  I should have known it sooner, but there it is, a Wofford jersey on a legit baseball card.  Take it in.  Admire it.  You don't see it often, but there it is.  I didn't go to school at Wofford, in case anyone wasn't sure.  My younger brother did.  When the Orioles traded for Waring, I was pretty excited to have a Wofford alumni in the organization.  I would actually meet Waring a few times and I introduced myself to him, saying that my brother was a senior at Wofford when Waring was a freshman.  Waring actually remembered Adam, which was the best part.  He, then, signed a baseball for him.  I believe Adam still has it, but I know it is faded to crap because I didn't know not to use a China ball at the time.  I keep looking to see if Waring signs TTM, so I can replace the ball, but I haven't seen that he does, yet.  I keep holding out hope.

So, when my friend, Zach messaged me recently about wanting to sell off some of his O's collection to raise money for some family things that had come up, I really was hesitant to part with any money.  He had some nice Chris Davis relics that I thought would look great in the collection, but when he started showing me some of the IP autos that he had picked up, especially the Waring, I jumped on the deal.
Zach had several Davis relics that he used to keep sweetening the deal.  This 2013 Topps Five Star jumbo relic is only numbered 10/15.  I had one already, but another wouldn't hurt, and at least Zach knows it is in a good home.
This 2015 Topps Triple Threads three color patch card was pretty sweet.  It is numbered 6/9.  This was the original card Zach showed me, I think, and the deal built from there.
I found one of these Panini Classics at the National a couple years ago, but adding this one didn't hurt.  I believe this was a throw in to the deal.  Zach will correct me, I'm sure.
Finally, Zach offered me a multitude of former Oriole prospects to choose from.  I had met Dustin Yount when he was a player/coach for the Chattanooga Lookouts a while back, but got him on a (you guessed it) China ball.  That ball is in a cabinet somewhere probably fading into nothingness.
I keep checking to see if Yount is signing TTM because I have the above Bowman's Best, but now I can let that rest since I have this one.  It is a really cool card, though.  I think I will keep the other with my O's stuff and not worry about getting him TTM anymore.
I had to pick up Zach's Reimolds that he offered.  They had to come here and be with the rest of my Nolan collection.  I did get a third Nolan auto out of the deal, but I sent it to my friend, Max, since he asked me politely if I would part with a Nolan for him.  Max has heard me talk about Nolan so much, he wanted to add him to his collection.
The last former O's "prospect" in the bunch was Jeff Fiorentino.  Fun fact, Fiorentino's nickname was Screech.  Apparently it was because he looked like the Saved by the Bell character and was in no way given the name by his grandfather because he sounded like a screech owl.  Or so I'm told.  Maybe people wouldn't sound like that if their brother would quit antagonizing them on the way to church.  Just saying.

Anyway, I really enjoyed the deal with Zach.  I actually have decided to jump into the "graphing" game.  I constructed a graphing book to take with me to Wood Ducks games this season.  I am way late to the game, but I have enjoyed adding different cards to my album so much, I thought I would continue to parlay that into a new venture.  We will see how it goes.

TTM Success - Jeremy Bonderman

I've been trying to mix some more recent cards into my TTM requests, and this success from Jeremy Bonderman adds a few nice ones to the album.

I loved Allen & Ginter when it first came out in 2006, so having a card from that set represented in the album was a must.
I went overboard with the Ginter, though, because I also added this 2007, as well.  I'm glad I did, though, because it might look better than the 06.
I also needed a few recent Topps, so I sent off the 2010 and 2008 shown above.  I have a ton of 2010 Topps, I just need to sort it, and pull guys that sign.  I think we are far enough removed from that set to have some retired players who sign pretty regularly now.  When it comes to a point where I am struggling to find TTM subjects, maybe I will work a bit harder on sorting the 2010s.  Until then, I have plenty to keep me busy, and definitely plenty to keep me blogging.

Bonderman (b. 1982) played in the majors from 2003 to 2010 and 2013 for the Tigers and Mariners.  He had a career record of 69-81 with an ERA of 4.91 and 961 strike outs.  He went 14-8 with the Tigers in 2006 en route to a World Series loss to the Cardinals.  In his lone World Series start, he pitched 5.1 innings with 2 earned runs and 4 walks.

I mailed to Bonderman on February 23 and got the cards back on March 4, for a 9-day TAT.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

TTM Success - Wayne Kirby

I added another Orioles Spring Training success with these cards from Wayne Kirby.  He is the Orioles first base coach and outfield instructor.  He helps align the OF during the game, among other duties.  He's also really close with Adam Jones; during games, you can see them communicating back and forth, usually with a bunch of laughter in between.
I sent Kirby five cards, but he kept my 1995 Topps, the one I wanted to get back the most.  It is one of those multi exposure cards, and would have looked really cool signed.  Oh well.  I did get some mid-90s stuff signed.  I liked the 1994 Donruss set when it came out.
One could get the 1994 and 1995 Donruss sets mixed up pretty easily.  1995 Donruss was one of the first sets I ever put together, so I had to get one of the cards signed.

Kirby (b. 1964) played in the majors from 1991 to 1998 for the Indiens, Dodgers and Mets.  He had 302 hits, 14 home runs and a .252 batting average.  He had one at bat with the Indians in their losing effort in the 1995 World Series, but failed to get a hit.  Kirby has been the Orioles first base coach since 2011.

I mailed to Kirby on February 20 at Orioles Spring Training and got the cards back on March 4, for a 12-day TAT.

TTM Success - Jerry Koosman

While it might have been fun to send out Jerry Koosman's rookie card for a TTM signature, I'm not that crazy.  Known as "the other guy from the 1968 Topps Nolan Ryan Rookie", I was pretty excited to get back the two cards I did send out.  I had been sitting on this 1971 Topps to send to him for quite a while, but since Koosman charged $10/card, I waited a while.  I finally got around to sending, and had several cards set aside to choose from.  In the end, I chose this 1971 so I would have another one of them in the album.  I had a lot of other Topps years to choose from, but they were a little more populated in the album.
I actually subbed this 1973 into the request ahead of the other cards I had put aside because this one came out of an album of cards that my mom found for me.  Someone marked the album "Hall of Fame" and had pages and pages of cards of guys who actually were Hall of Famers.  They also had a few pages of guys who were probably pretty big at the time the album was put together, but not in the Hall.  The latest series of cards in the album seems to be 1987, so that album could very well be that old.  It makes sense based on the guys that are in there.  I don't have many 1973 cards that I've been able to get signed, but the ones I do have are pretty nice.  This one fits the bill as well.

Koosman (b. 1942) played in the majors from 1967 to 1985 for the Mets, Twins, White Sox and Phillies.  He had a career record of 222-209 with 2,556 strike outs and an ERA of 3.36.  A 20-game winner in 1976 and 1979, Koosman would come up short for the Cy Young Award in both of those seasons.  He finished second in 1976 to Randy Jones and 6th in 1979.  He was an All Star twice (1968 and 1969) and finished second in the 1968 NL Rookie of the Year Award voting.  He finished second to Johnny Bench.  Not a bad guy to finish second to.  Koosman won the World Series with the Mets in 1969.  Koosman pitched in two World Series (1969 and 1973) and owns a record of 3-0 with a 2,39 ERA across those series.

I mailed to Koosman on February 22 and got the cards back on March 3, for a 9-day TAT.  I also included a check for $20.

TTM Success - Michael Cuddyer

This is one of those TTM successes that really makes you enjoy the hobby.  Michael Cuddyer, early in his career, received some advice for Hall of Famer Harmon Killebrew.  Killebrew taught him the value of having a good signature, and it really shows here.  Add in the fact that I got a nice auto on a 2013 Topps Update emerald parallel, and you have a really nice addition to the album.

Cuddyer (b. 1979) played in the majors from 2001 to 2015 for the Twins, Rockies and Mets.  He had 1,522 hits, 197 home runs and a .277 batting average.  He was the NL Batting Champion in 2013 when he batted .330 with the Rockies.  That season he had his best finish in the MVP voting at 20th.  He was an All Star in 2011 and 2013, and won the Silver Slugger award in 2013.  He appeared in 7 playoff series with the Twins, but didn't reach a World Series until 2015 with the Mets (his final season) where he lost to the Royals.

I mailed to Cuddyer on October 13 and got the card back on March 2, for a 140-day TAT.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

TTM Success - Hobie Landrith

I had grabbed quite a few 1955 Bowman cards at the Raleigh card show back in February, with the intention of adding a bunch of them to the album through TTMs.  Hobie Landrith is a player that I had considered sending to in the past, but I held off because he charged a fee.  Once I picked up the '55, I knew it was time to come off of the money and send his cards out.
I picked up the 1957 Topps at the show, as well.  Then, when I got home, I checked my vintage box and saw that I had the 1963 and the below 1960.  Since he charged $5 per card, I went ahead with the four so I could send a check for $20.00.  To me, it is worth it, since I can add some nice vintage cards to the album, and one of them being an Oriole card adds a bonus to it.
Landrith (b. 1930) played in the majors from 1950 to 1963 for the Reds, Cubs, Cardinals, Giants, Mets, Orioles and Senators.  He had 450 hits, 34 home runs and a .233 batting average.

Landrith was the second player chosen in the 1961 expansion draft, which filled the rosters of the Houston Colt .45s and the New York Mets.  With Eddie Bressoud being chosen with the first pick by the Colt .45s, Landrith would be chosen by the Mets.  This essentially makes Landrith the first Met.

I mailed to Landrith on February 13 and got the cards back on February 28, for a 15-day TAT.

TTM Success - John O'Donoghue

I added a really cool TTM success with this one from former Oriole, John O'Donoghue.  I had gotten his dad TTM a while back, and saw that the younger O'Donoghue was signing as well.
The biggest plus of this success, though, was being able to complete this 1994 Topps Coming Attractions with Mike Oquist.  I have completed a couple cards like this, and it is always fun to do a couple of them.

O'Donoghue (b. 1969) played for the Orioles in 1993.  He appeared in 11 games for the O's that season working toward an 0-1 record, 16 strike outs and a 4.58 ERA.

I mailed to O'Donoghue on February 8 and got the cards back on February 28 for a 20-day TAT.

TTM Success - Randy Jackson

It may not be a samurai sword, but I can now add Randy Jackson's autograph to my album.  Oh, that's a different Randy Jackson.  Anyway, I added another 1957 Topps to the album with this success from a former Brooklyn Dodger.

Jackson (b. 1926) played in the majors from 1950 to 1959 for the Cubs, Dodgers (Brooklyn and LA) and Indians.  He had 835 hits, 103 home runs and a .261 batting average.  He was an All Star in 1954 and 1955 for the Cubs.

I mailed to Jackson on February 13 and got the card back on February 28, for a 15-day TAT.

Friday, March 24, 2017

TTM Success - Carmen Fanzone

The first thing I have to say is that this guy must have a really cool name for his man cave at home.  Fanzone's Fan Zone?  Something like that?  This success from Carmen Fanzone was a pretty cool one.  I found both of these cards at my LCS in the vintage box and saw that he signed TTM.  When I got my return from him, he had sent it in his own postage paid envelope.  Inside among the signed cards was my self addressed stamped envelope!  He paid his own postage and sent mine back unused!  He also included a little note thanking me for my interest in his career.

Fanzone (b. 1941) played in the majors from 1970 to 1974 for the Red Sox and Cubs.  He had 132 hits, 20 home runs and a .224 batting average.

I mailed to Fanzone on February 13 and got the cards back on February 28, for a 15-day TAT.