Tuesday, April 30, 2019

TTM Success - Bob Molinaro

Some more late 70s/early 80s cards were added to my autograph album with this TTM success from Bob Molinaro.
I added cards from 1979, 1981, 1982 and 1983 Topps, and they all turned out nicely.  Molinaro has a pretty nice auto.  I like how he signed the 1979 Topps along the side; that was kind of different.

Molinaro (b. 1950) played in the majors in 1975 and from 1977 to 1983 for the Tigers, White Sox, Orioles, Cubs and Phillies.  He had 212 hits, 14 home runs and a .264 batting average.

I mailed to Molinaro on March 12 and got the cards back on March 19, for a 7-day TAT.

Monday, April 29, 2019

TTM Success - Bill Madlock

I could have sworn that my friend, Max, had given me a signed 1987 Topps Bill Madlock.  I checked my albums, and there was no Madlock to be seen, so I sent this one off to a private signing.  The card came back, and looks awesome.

Madlock (b. 1951) played in the majors from 1973 to 1987 for the Rangers, Cubs, Giants, Pirates, Dodgers and Tigers.  He had 2,008 hits, 163 home runs and a .305 batting average.  He was the NL batting champion 4 times (1975 - .354; 1976 - .339, 1980 - .341 and 1983 - .323).  He batted over .300 in 8 of the full seasons in which he played.  His best MVP finish was 6th (1976 - NL) and was an All Star 3 times (1975, 1981, 1983).  He won the World Series in 1979 with the Pirates.  He appeared on the 1993 Hall of Fame ballot and received 4.5% of the vote.

I mailed to the private signing on February 11 and got the card back on March 19, for a 36-day TAT.  I paid a fee of $19.00.

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Another TTM Success From Wally Westlake

I'm back from my 2019 graphing road trip, and left a bunch of stuff unposted due to how hectic our schedule was.  I need to get caught up yet again, but I think I have a plan.

Anyway, I had gotten some vintage Topps back from Wally Westlake a while back, since I had been wanting to add to some of those years on my ledger before these guys pass on.  Westlake is 98 years old (99 in November) and is still signing nicely.
I added to 1952 and 1955 Topps, and both cards turned out great.  I had picked them up on Ebay and sent them out immediately when they came in.
Westlake also sent some signed photos, which turned out really well.  I added those to my signed postcard album.
I mailed to Westlake on March 5 and got the cards back on March 19, for a 14-day TAT.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Graphing Recap of Lynchburg Hillcats at Down East Wood Ducks

The Lynchburg Hillcats rolled into town a couple weeks ago, and Chris and I got a good many cards signed.  I was glad to get this Eric Ortego card signed, as it was the last one I needed for the 2018 Carolina League All Star set.  I missed Ortego last season when Lynchburg came into town, so I was glad he returned this season, and signed the card for me.
Nolan Jones was super nice.  He came out late the first game, but the next two, he signed all we had.  He had a rough game the second game.  After committing 2 errors in the inning, he was being heckled pretty hard by a local community college team.  Even after the tough game, he came over and cut up with a group of kids after the game.  It showed me that Jones is a good guy, and would be able to handle some of the tough crowds thart he would likely see when he is called up to the majors.
Juan Hillman was also really cool.  He couldn't sign pregame before the first game, but agreed to sign outside afterward.  He signed every single card that we had, and was really cool about it.
I was able to get some old cards out of my Donruss box and have them signed by Jim Pankovits.  I also got a 2013 Perfect Game card signed by Jonathan Teaney.
I got more of my Hickory and Spokane team set cards done.  I've almost finished what I can of the guys who are with the Wood Ducks this season.
The pitchers have been the toughest.  Since I don't see them all face to face each time, it is hard to recognize them sometimes.  They also don't always come by where we sit, so you have to be patient.
The Woodies have been playing really well lately, and I'm exciting to be getting back to my season ticket seats this weekend.

TTM Success - Dick Lange

I got a couple nice autos back TTM from former pitcher, Dick Lange.  He signed a 1975 and 1976 Topps for me, and each turned out really well.
Lange (b. 1948) played in the majors from 1972 to 1975 for the Angels.  He had a career record of 9-15 with 137 strikeouts and a 4.47 ERA.

I mailed to Lange on March 11 and got the cards back on March 18, for a 7-day TAT.

Monday, April 22, 2019

TTM Success - Pat Venditte

I got another autograph back from Spring Training with this success from Pat Venditte.  He is the "switch-pitcher" that got some attention a few years ago.  There have been ambidextrous pitchers in the past, but there hasn't been one in quite a while.

Venditte (b. 1985) has played in the majors in 2015, 2016 and 2018 for the A's, Blue Jays, Mariners and Dodgers.  He has a record of 2-2 with 51 strikeouts and a 4.45 ERA.

I mailed to him via Giants Spring Training on March 5 and got the card back on March 18, for a 13-day TAT.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Another TTM Success From Johnny Groth

I have sent to Johnny Groth a few times now, and I have always been happy with the results.  This time, I sent a 1951 Topps Blue Back to him, and got it back signed.  I only have three signed Blue Backs, because there aren't many players left living who were in that set.

I mailed to Groth on March 4 and got the card back o n March 18, for a 14-day TAT.  I paid his fee of $5.00.

Saturday, April 20, 2019

TTM Success - Bert Roberge

I got a TTM success back from Bert Roberge recently that helped get an old Fleer card out of my box.  That box is at the bottom of the closet, so it is always tough getting in there, but sometimes I make it through.  This is a 1986 Fleer, a pretty basic design, but it is a nice set, nonetheless.
I also got 1980 Topps, 1983 Topps and 1986 Topps signed by Roberge.  He used a ballpoint pen, but the auto is still nice.

Roberge (b. 1954) played in the majors in 1979, 1980, 1982 and 1984 to 1986 for the Astros, White Sox and Expos.  He had a record of 12-12 with 119 strike outs and a 3.98 ERA.

I mailed to Roberge on March 5 and got the cards back on March 16, for an 11-day TAT.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

TTM Success - Kevin Hagen

I saw that I had this Kevin Hagen card in my box and that he signed TTM, so I sent it off.  It got damaged by the USPS when it came back, but it is still in my autograph album.  The 1984 Topps design made a comeback this year, as it was included in the inserts with 2019 Topps.  It definitely is a nice design, and looks great in chrome.

Hagen (b. 1960) played in the majors in 1983 and 1984 for the Cardinals.  He had a career record of 3-2 with 9 strike outs and a 4.25 ERA.

I mailed to Hagen on March 8 and got the card back on March 15, for a 7-day TAT.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

TTM Success - Rob Deer

As of today, I have 460 signed cards for my 1987 Topps set.  I have really made some headway with the set by using the private signings on SCN.  This success came back from Rob Deer not too long ago.

Deer (b. 1960) played in the majors from 1984 to 1993 and 1996 for the Giants, Brewers, Tigers, Red Sox and Padres.  He had 853 hits, 230 home runs and a .220 batting average.

I mailed to the private signing on February 13 and got the card back on March 15, for a 30-day TAT.  I paid a fee of $10.00.

Monday, April 15, 2019

Another TTM Success From Pat Neshek

When 2019 Heritage came out, I had to get the Pat Neshek from the set signed.  The card is cool as it is, but when you read more into it, it is even better.  Topps wanted to throw some subtle winks into the set, like they always do, and this card pays homage to the original set in that it resembles the Lowell Palmer card from 1970.  Neshek, himself, is a huge fan of that set, and was apparently elated when Topps approached him about recreating the Palmer card.

The card turned out really when when signed, and I am happy to be adding it to my album.
I got these two cards back from Neshek, as I always send him autos for his collection.  These were really nice cards to get back from him.
I had originally thought I was done sending to Neshek, but since the Heritage came out, I tossed this 2018 Topps in as well.

I mailed to Neshek on March 5 and got the cards back on March 14, for a 9-day TAT.  I sent to him via Phillies Spring Training.

April 2019 Graphing Recap of Pelicans at Wood Ducks

I have been super busy with this current homestand of the Wood Ducks.  I've already used a bunch of my season tickets, which is helping me justify what I spent on them.  The Woodies just wrapped up the current homestand and are hitting the road, which will give me some time to reset and relax for a bit.

I didn't have too many cards of the Pelicans, but what I did have, I got signed.  I have nothing leftover for them, which is nice.  I was able to get a few cards removed from my box and also was able to take care of a few 50/50s.

Aramis Ademan is still the toughest signature for the Pelicans, and also probably the best looking.  The above 2018 Bowman Peaks of Potential really turned out nicely.
I also got Ademan on these 4 cards.  He was pretty nice, but doesn't say a whole lot.  He takes his time to sign a nice signature, which probably plays into why he only signed one-per.
We missed Grant Fennell the first game.  He came by, but said he was running late, and couldn't sign.  We weren't able to get his attention after he came off of the field that game, as well.  The second game, however, he walked right over, smiled and said hello.  I think he remembered us from the day before.  We chatted for a while, starting with how old the 2013 Perfect Game card was, and then onto the differences between being in Eugene, Oregon and Myrtle Beach, SC.  Being from San Diego, originally, Grant and I joked about how he should be getting some frequent flyer miles, but the team takes care of all of that.  He seemed like a really good kid.

I finished off what little I had left of Alex Lange on the second day.  We missed the third game, since that one was Education Day, and an 11AM game.  There was some action that day, as Lange was tossed in the bottom of the second for having  foreign substance on his arm.  The manager was then tossed, and finally the third base coach was ejected later in the third inning.  I hate that we missed an exciting game.
I wasn't even aware that I had any Luis Lugo cards, until I received a batch of 50/50s from Gerard.  I spent a few minutes before we left for the second game looking through the 2015 Bowmans that I had, and found this one card.  It was nice to get it out of my box, since the opportunity to get 2015 Bowmans signed is getting smaller and smaller.
Leody is getting even tougher to graph, these days.  He has started pulling a Spike Owen and is going under the bleachers and onto the field.  I have strong feelings about that; I am thankful for all of the stuff he has signed for us, but skipping over interacting with all of the fans just isn't cool.  He can just come out onto the field like normal and tell us no, and still sign for kids.  I honestly believe he is doing this because he is upset that he is still here, instead of having been called up to AA Frisco.  It is only a matter of time before he is moved, so we shall see if his mood improves.
Bubba Thompson, still at one per, has been pretty cool.  He at least talks with us each time.  I still have maybe 7 cards left in my snap case, but I'm not sweating over getting any signed.  I have just left them out of the book, and have talked to him each time he comes by.  Currently, he is struggling with the bat, so instead of asking him to sign stuff, we just offer him encouragement, tell him to "go get em", and he has been seemingly cool.
We also got some more of our Spokane stuff done.  It is always tough getting pitchers done, especially this early in the season.  I'm still learning faces, and uniform numbers.
I've almost finished my Wood Ducks cards.  Aside from Bubba and Leody being one per, I have been able to get the pitchers that I have needed.

The Wood Ducks seem to be a pretty good team, so far.  The pay a lot differently under Corey Ragsdale, than they did under Spike.  I think I like this team more than the one that was here last year, but it is still early, so I am reserving judgment.  Still, I love the Wood Ducks altogether, and am so glad that I made the decision to buy the season tickets.

Sunday, April 14, 2019

TTM Success - Brusdar Graterol

Another Spring Training TTM success added these two prospect cards to my collection.  I had heard that my friend, Dugan, was going to send to Brusdar Graterol, so I found a couple cards and sent a few, myself.  They didn't take too long to come back, which was nice.
I got Graterol on a 2018 Heritage Minors and a 2018 Bowman Draft.

Graterol (b. 1998) has been in the Twins system since he was 16.  He played for the Dominican Summer League in 2015, then moved up to Rookie League in 2017 (he didn't play in 2016), A and High A in 2018, and AA this season.  Overall, he is 13-6 with 179 strike outs and a 2.59 ERA.

I mailed to Graterol on February 27, and got the cards back on March 14, for a 15-day TAT.  I mailed to him via Twins Spring Training.

TTM Success - Vince Colbert

Another 1972 Topps was added to my album, thanks to this TTM success from Vince Colbert.  I actually sent him two of these, and he signed both.

Colbert (b. 1945) played in the majors from 1970 to 1972 for the Indians.  He had a record of 9-14 with 127 strike outs and a 4.57 ERA.

I mailed to Colbert on March 5 and got the cards back on March 14, for a 9-day TAT.

Saturday, April 13, 2019

TTM Success - Robin Yount

Another private signing helped me grab a Hall of Famer for my 1987 Topps set.  This Robin Yount turned out really nicely.  I had a ton of his cards in my 87 box, so it was nice to be able to pull one and get it in my album.

I paid $40.00 to get my card signed, but that was much cheaper than it would have been if I had tried to get him at a show.  I'll use that opportunity to get someone else.

I mailed to the signing on 2/7 and got the card back on March 14, for a 35-day TAT.

Lots of 87s Off The List Thanks To Nick

I helped a guy named Nick by getting some Wood Ducks cards signed for him, and in return, he sent me 10 signed 1987 Topps for my set.  One of the cards he sent was one I needed, but between the time it took me to get the cards scanned, that player sent back a TTM success.  Still, these were some tougher ones, and I was happy to knock them off of the list.
Adding these to the set puts me at 460 cards and at 58% completion.  That's not too bad, if you think about it.
A couple of these guys are players who I sent TTM to, and am waiting on a return.  So, if they do come back, I'll probably upgrade any cards that need it, then I will pay forward Nick's generosity and send some to some other collectors.

Thanks for the deal, Nick!  I love the cards, and am happy to cross them off of the list.

Friday, April 12, 2019

TTM Success - Taylor Trammell

I was told by my friend, Kaleb, that Taylor Trammell was signing TTM, so I dropped a couple cards in the mail to see if I could score his auto.  He signed for me, and inscribed each card.  The autos look really cool.
Trammell (b. 1997) was a first round pick (35th overall) by the Reds in the 2016 June Amateur Draft out of high school.  He has made his way to Chattanooga, the Reds AA team.  So far, he has 327 hits, 25 home runs and a .287 batting average across 4 minor league campaigns.

I mailed to Trammell on February 27 via Reds Spring Training and got the cards back on March 14, for a 15-day TAT.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

TTM Success - Tom Hall

Some more 1972 and 1973 Topps cards were removed from my box and upgraded to a spot in my autograph album.  These two cards came back from Tom Hall fairly recently, and turned out really well.
Hall has a nice signature and I like the cards, so it all turned out really well.

Hall (b. 1947) played in the majors from 1968 to 1977 for the Twins, Reds, Mets and Royals.  He had a record of 52-33 with 797 strike outs and a 3.27 ERA.

I mailed to Hall on March 5 and got the cards back on March 12, for a 7-day TAT.

Instagram Trade for the 87 Set

I've been needing Dan Pasqua for my 87 set for some time now, so I was glad when a kid on Instagram wanted to trade this card he got signed at Sox Fest for some White Sox base cards.  I was able to take some Dash cards that I couldn't use anymore and send them to a kid, who could help me with my 87 set.

Pasqua (b. 1961) played in the majors from 1985 to 1994 for the Yankees and White Sox.  He had 638 hits, 117 home runs and a .244 batting average.

I'm glad I got a deal done and glad he was able to get some Sox cards he could get signed.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Graphing Recap of April 2019 Yankees at Orioles

It all started prior to Fan Fest when Ticketmaster oversold the vouchers for Eddie Murray and Beooks Robinson.  I was able to get Chris and I into the Eddie Session, but my good friend, Gerard, was denied, even though it said he had gotten his vouchers in time.  So, he was given the option to see Eddie either on April 6, or June 15.  Gerard couldn't really go either way, so he left it up to me if I wanted to try to use the session.  I definitely wouldn't be able to go on June 15, so I made some arrangements, and was able to go this past Saturday. 

I was really worried, because I came down with some kind of bug on Tuesday, which put me out of work on Wednesday.  Whatever it was seemed to be on the way out by Wood Ducks Opening Night on Thursday, so I was all set to go on Friday up to Baltimore.  Only thing is, that sick day and the Wood Ducks opener left me with very little time to prep for the trip.

I had already sat aside some Orioles because of Fan Fest, and added more to that pile when Topps and Heritage came out.  Then, I grabbed some Yankees from those boxes, and happened upon a couple on my desk, and tossed them in a box.  All of my card prepping took place in the hotel room late at night Friday and early Saturday morning.

I had decided early on that I wasn't going to get Eddie on a ball, because I didn't want to feel like I had a duplicate or want to sell something.  I originally wanted him on the 1988 Topps Record Breakers card, but at the 11th hour, I remembered that I had the above 2010 Topps Short Print, so I decided that was going to be the one I got signed.

Even though the signature is a little tough to see on the card, I was glad I chose it.  Eddie held the card for a bit and said that he had never seen one like it before.  I told him it was a 2010 Topps SP and he said that he thought by looking at the yellow railings on the card that it was taken in Chicago (at old Comiskey).  He remarked on the road gray jersey, as well.  So, the card definitely got his attention.

The biggest moment of the trip came right after Chris and I finished dinner on Friday night, however.  We had eaten dinner downtown, after walking from our hotel.  I had realized on the ride up that I had forgotten my photo edges for Chris's autograph book (and also my laptop, hence, no blog posts this past weekend).  I texted my friend Michael to see if he had any photo edges.  About 15 minutes later, I got a phone call...

Michael needed to know where I was because he had a graphing tip for me that I couldn't pass up.  He had seen Aaron Judge (and Brett Gardner, Clint Frazier and Taylor Wade) go into a restaurant not too far from where I was.  I had to go to my hotel, though, and get my cards, and meet Michael where he was.  I also had to pray that the foursome were slow eaters.  I got to the room and grabbed my cards.  I threw some baby powder on the Aaron Judge card that I thought would look best and put the snap case of cards in my shirt pocket (since I had left from work to head north) and made the mile-long trek across the Inner Harbor area of Baltimore to try and see if I could get Aaron Judge.
Chris actually got Judge first.  He is working on the All Star stamped 2018 Topps set, so he presented Judge with all 4 cards that he pulled out of his box and asked him straight up "how many will you sign?"  Judge told him one, so Chris got one of the cards signed.  I had chosen the 1983 Chrome shimmer that I had gotten out of last year's Silver Packs, and I am so glad that I did.  It turned out amazingly.  I also commented on his height, since I am about a foot shorter than he is (he's 6' 7").  He was so nice, and I was so happy to be able to say that I had gotten him.  Huge credit to Michael.
The next day, prior to the Eddie meeting, Chris and I made our way to the player's parking lot/entrance at Camden Yards.  We saw a bunch of players going in, but very few stopped.  I was able to get Tommy Kahnle on the above Yankee team card from 2018 Topps.
I was also able to get Renato Nunez on the above 2013 Pro Debut that I have had in my box forever.  I was glad to get it signed, and he was really cool.
At the very last minute, before Chris and I left the house, I was thrashing through card boxes, trying to find my Brian Roberts PC.  I had seen that he was on commentary for the series, so I figured I should try to get him on a couple cards if I could.

I liked the white bordered 2006 Turkey Red and then realized I had a duplicate of the 2006 Upper Deck Special F/X and had to get that signed.  You see, back in the day, we didn't have Topps Now that would come out and possibly have the game you went to depicted on a card.  You had to be REALLY lucky.  Well, 2006 Upper Deck actually had a card of the game that I had gone to that got me back into card collecting.  I had taken a friend to Baltimore and that day, I had bought Roberts's jersey.  In extras, he came to the plate and I told my friend that Roberts was going to hit a walkoff homer.  He did, and later that night some Yankee fans bought us drinks.  Now I have a signed version of the card and was able to relay that story to Roberts as he was signing.  He was still really cool, as he had been every other time I had met him.

Prior to the start of the game, the Orioles had a Celebration of Life for the late Frank Robinson.  In attendance were his wife and daughter, as well as several of his former teammates, contemporaries and players he had managed.  Speeches were given by Jim Palmer, Boog Powell and Brooks Robinson.  I also saw Cal and Eddie in attendance.

The Orioles lost the game, but it was really close.  Miguel Castro gave up a three-run home run to Clint Frazier that put the Yankees ahead.  I was able to witness Judge hit two home runs in the innings prior.  This season's Orioles aren't expected to do much of anything, but I was pleasantly surprised to see them hang tough against the Evils (and Judge).

After the end of the 8th inning, Chris and I made our way back to the player entrance and got there right as the game was letting out.  I noticed that Frank's wife and daughter were standing outside, so I approached them.  I thanked Mrs. Robinson for being so kind to me at the National back in July.  She seemed to remember me, thanked me and introduced me to her daughter.  I told the both of them that I really respected Frank, and that Chris and I had mourned for their loss.  They teared up, each shook my hand and thanked me, and Mrs. Robinson pulled Chris in for a hug.  I was really glad that I took the time to approach them.  I feel like although I was a bit awkward, they must have appreciated the gesture.
 We got back to graphing, and I was able to get Jim Palmer outside.  I complimented him on his speech about Frank, to which he replied "my wife didn't like it".  He was really nice, and didn't call us collectors this time.  Michael was there and told me that I would be able to get Ken Singleton, as well.  I was upset that I had forgotten to bring his cards, but then remembered that I had brought the entire 1991 Crown Orioles set, since I knew about the Frank memorial ahead of time.  Singleton would be in there, duh.  So, I was able to get that card signed.  Having that set really came in handy.
I am really terrible with player's faces, and usually have to sponge off of other graphers to be able to tell who's who.  Luckily, I recognized Paul Fry, myself, since I had a nice conversation with him at the National.  He signed two of these 2019 Heritage cards for me, and one for Chris.  I think future Fan Fests will help me complete the other guys on the card.
We waited around for quite a while after the game ended and were about to leave when we saw Aroldis Chapman come outside to text his ride.  He barely acknowledged us, but we were able to get his autograph/  I was super happy to be able to say that I got him and Judge in the same trip.  This was really one of my most successful graphing trips to Baltimore that wasn't a paid Fan Fest.

So, thank you, Michael for all of the help with the tips, thank you Gerard for hooking me up with the tickets.  Thank you Ticketmaster for screwing up in the first place, but most of all, thank you, Chris, for coming along and only complaining minimally (and when I couldn't really hear you anyway).  I had a wonderful bonding time with my son, and I know he had a blast as well.  I also think it is safe to say that the both of us are Aaron Judge fans, and that is ok.