Sunday, April 30, 2023

April 29, 2023 Graphing of Long Island Ducks at High Point Rockers

Graphing independent ball is a challenge that is a bit different than affiliated ball.  You have to have a wide range of cards, and a lot of time devoted to finding stuff of the guys on the teams you're going to see.  I had found out that Daniel Murphy had signed with the Long Island Ducks and that they would be visiting High Point on a weekend that the Down East Wood Ducks were out of town.  So, I planned early for a trip to High Point, and took a bunch of cards with me from some older boxes.

I got Murphy on two cards, which was nice.  I got him inside pre-game, and outside after the game.  I wish I had put the Gypsy Queen parallel that I had in my book by itself so I could have gotten that signed, but I was still happy that he hit this 2016 Topps Chrome.
He signed this 2019 Topps outside.  I had hoped he would do more than one outside, but I am still happy with what I was able to add to my album.
Wally Backman was the first signer for me yesterday.  He signed two inside pre-game and one outside as he was walking to the bus.  He was nice enough, even though he didn't say a whole lot.  I was glad to add a couple of these 80s Topps and a 1992 Upper Deck to the album.
I had to raid my factory sealed 2006 Topps set to get the two Lew Ford 2006 Topps cards.  I also had to raid my hand-collated 2005 set for that card, as well.  I went ahead and ordered replacements in case I was able to get him on all three, and I did well.
Adieny Hechavarria was really cool.  I got him on everything in my book pre-game, right before the National Anthem.  I refilled what I had left, traded a 2015 Bowman for the 2010 Pro Debut and got him again outside after the game.  He was super nice, and commented on how he liked the 2018 Topps Big League card.
I was surprised that I had some Sam Travis cards.  He was nice, as well.  I felt bad but I presented a ton of cards to Edward Salcedo, since I didn't want to put any 2010 or 2012 Pro Debuts back in the box.  He didn't seem to mind signing a bunch of the same cards, so I have some stuff I can send out in some blind trades.

Al Albuquerque was nice.  He made like he was going to sign for us, walked away with a hat, then made like he was coming back; then he finally did come back and signed everything I had.  I don't think he was messing around, he looked like he was trying to find someone.
Ian Clarkin was the starter, so I was unable to get him before the game.  So, it was guaranteed that I was going to try to get some autos outside after the game.  He was really cool outside.  He talked to me, along with a couple other graphers about his night.  He also commented on how fun these mini Bowman Chromes are.
I also got three other different Bowman Clarkins signed; his 2014 Chrome, 2014 paper and 2015 Chrome.  He signed some extras, no problem, so I have even more trade bait.
I was worried that I missed Kyle Lobstein, so when a pair of players walked outside, I asked them if Lobstein was still inside.  One of them said "I'm right here" and he signed my cards.  We laughed a bit, but he was really nice.

Matt Vogel got shelled in the game, but was still nice enough to stop and sign my two cards at the dugout post-game.  I appreciated him stopping, even though he didn't have to.
Finally, I got Frank Viola to hit a page in my book of a bunch of different cards.  I was surprised that out of all of the cards he signed for me, only one of them was one I had gotten before.
I had a snap case sitting on a desk here at the house from a past trip to High Point.  I was glad I had found it and got some Violas out of it and into the autograph album.

In all, I got the following autographs: Al Alburquerque x 5, Wally Backman x 3, Ian Clarkin x 7, Lew Ford x 3, Adeiny Hechavarria x 9, Kyle Lobstein x 5, Daniel Murphy x 2, Edward Salcedo x 10, Sam Travis x 4, Frank Viola x 8 and Matt Vogel x 2 (58 total autographs).

TTM Success - Steve Wojciechowski

Here are a couple 90s cards that I got signed TTM from Steve Wojciechowski.  I sent these off as a change of pace to all of the 1960s and 1970s cards I had sent out in a big wave.  The above 1996 Fleer Ultra is a very sharp card, and it turned out well.
The above 1992 Stadium Club also turned out nicely.

Wojciechowski (b. 1970) is not to be confused with the former Duke basketball player of the same name.  This Wojciechowski played in the majors from 1995 to 1997 for the A's.  He had a record of 7-10 with 48 strike outs and a 5.65 ERA.

I mailed to Wojciechowski on January 23 and got the cards back on February 6, for a 14-day TAT.

Saturday, April 29, 2023

TTM Success - Rich Troedson

This is a nice 1974 Topps that I got sig Ed TTM by Rich Troedson.  His auto looks like one of the facsimile autos found on some cards of that era, but this one is real.  The card also features early Padres colors, which always strike me as interesting on a card.

Troedson (b. 1950) played in the majors in 1973 and 1974 for the Padres.  He had a record of 8-10 with 92 strike outs and a 4.74 ERA.

I mailed to Troedson on January 24 and got the card back on February 6, for a 13-day TAT. 

Friday, April 28, 2023

TTM Success - Buzz Capra

A few more 70s cards were added to the album with this TTM success from Buzz Capra.  Again, here is a 1975 Topps Mini (above), followed by a 1975 Topps (below left) and a 1976 Topps (below right).
Capra (b. 1947) played in the majors from 1971 to 1977 for the Mets and Braves.  He had a record of 31-37 with 362 strike outs and a 3.87 ERA.  He was an All Star in 1974, a season where he also finished 9th in the NL Cy Young Race, 20th in the NL MVP race and also led the league with a 2.28 ERA.

I mailed to Capra on January 30 and got the cards back on February 6, for a 7-day TAT. 

Thursday, April 27, 2023

TTM Success - Billy Sadler

Here are some mid-2000s cards that I got back signed TTM from Billy Sadler.  The above 2007 Topps Rookie 52 turned out nicely.  He inscribed the card to me with a bible verse inscription.
I also got a 2005 Topps update and a 2007 Upper Deck First Edition signed.  Both of these cards also turned out great.

Sadler (b. 1981) played in the majors in 200, 2008 and 2009 for the Giants and Astros.  He had a record of 0-1 with 50 strike outs and a 4.53 ERA.

I mailed to Sadler on January 18 and got the cards back on February 3, for a 16-day TAT.

Wednesday, April 26, 2023

Another TTM Success From Eddie Fisher

Back in 2017, I got Eddie Fisher to sign a 1967 and a 1969 Topps TTM for me.  I found a few more of his cards, including the 1991 Crown Orioles card, so I decided to send to him again.  He has a great signature, and all of the cards turned out great.
I was really glad to get the above 1964 Topps and 1973 Topps signed.  Both are in great shape.

I mailed to Fisher on January 23 and got the cards back on February 2, for a 10-day TAT.

Tuesday, April 25, 2023

TTM Success - Lloyd Peever

This 1992 Topps Stadium Club was a card that I pulled out of a box of cards given to me by my aunt.  There were several of these draft picks cards from that year of Stadium Club, so I thought I would send a few off TTM and see if I could get some back.  This one turned out nicely.

Peever (b. 1971) was a fourth round pick by the Rockies in the 1992 July Amateur Draft out of LSU.  He played in the minors from 1992 to 1995 and 1997 in the Rockies system, reaching AAA.  He had a record of 22-21 with 324 strike outs and a 4.13 ERA.

I mailed to Peever on January 25 and got the card back on February 2, for an 8-day TAT.

Monday, April 24, 2023

TTM Success - Tom Dukes

Here is a nice vintage card that I got signed TTM by Tom Dukes because he was in the 1991 Crown Orioles set.  I had found the above 1971 Topps in the boxes I have on loan from Conrad, and sent it out for signature.  The card turned out nicely.
This 1991 Crown Orioles card also turned out nicely.

Dukes (b. 1942) played in the majors from 1967 to 1972 for the Astros, Padres, Orioles and Angels.  He had a record of 5-16 with 169 strike outs and a 4.35 ERA.

I mailed to Dukes on January 24 and got the cards back on February 2, for a 9-day TAT.

Sunday, April 23, 2023

April 18-23 2023, Graphing of Mudcats at Wood Ducks

This past week, the Mudcats visited historic Grainger Stadium to take on the Wood Ducks for a 6-game series.  The Wood Ducks lost the series 1-5, which was pretty rough.  I got to 5 of the 6 games, with Wednesday being an Education Day, with an 11am start.  I missed that one since I had to work.

I got in everything I had ordered from Ebay, as well as 11 batches of 50/50s.  I already can tell that I will be cutting down on the number of 50/50s that I take, because this was a mess.  I got everything sorted out and most of it already taken care of, however.  I just have a few loose cards that I was unable to get for folks.  Those will have to wait, unfortunately.
Still, I had a great series, with some helping hands that knocked out a few cards for me, and almost finished off a couple of the Wood Ducks.  I had some really cool cards come in like some of the 2022 Bowman Heritage (bottom left), as well as the blue parallel Anthony Gutierrez (top of post).  I got an Invicta chrome signed by Gutierrez.  That card turned out great.
I had a bunch of Danyer Cueva come in, and he was the first player to start limiting us.  I'll have to ration out the rest of the cards I have of him so I don't burn him out.  I did get the stuff that I ordered taken care of, so that was nice.
I finally got Brock Porter on is Perfect Game card, as well as a few random Woodies that I needed to finish off.  Funny thing I figured out tonight, I still need to get a Yeison Morrobel base chrome signed.  I hae a refractor and a mojo refractor, but not a base chrome.  That's a little strange.
Hedbert Perez was pretty cool.  Last season, he was pretty much one-per, so I was afraid I would be strictly limited on him, but he hit whole pages a few times on this trip.  I have only a handful of his stuff left, and won't be taking any more, so I should be able to finish him off.  He has some nice cards, though, and I was really happy with the ones that got signed.
Jacob Misiorowski was really nice.  He was a strict one-per, but signed for us every time we asked.  I finished off a bunch of cards for folks, so that worked out nicely.  I also got my pack-pulled 2022 Panini Prizm Draft pink parallel signed, which was cool.  I found the above Matthew Wood after the first game, and worked it into the book for Thursday's game and got it signed.
The Perfect Game Chase Costello was given to me by a fellow grapher who was visiting all the way from California.  Costello was really cool, and I was happy to trade the card for one of my extra Danyer cards.  Jheremy Vargas informed us that it wasn't him pictured on the front of his 2022 Heritage Minors card, so he signed the back for us.  This will be an interesting one to look back on in the album years from now.

In all, I got the following autographs: Jojo Blackmon x 2, Cam Cauley x 28, Danyer Cueva x 19, Jeferson Espinal x 3, Anthony Gutierrez x 33, Dylan MacLean x 4, Ian Moller x 16, Yeison Morrobel x 26, Brock Porter x 13, Luis Ramirez x 4, Chase Costello x 1, Jacob Misiorowski x 12, Hedbert Perez x 32, Jheremy Vargas x 7, Gleider Figueroa x 2, Andres Mesa x 2, Carlos Maldonaldo x 2 and Matt Wood x 1 (209 total autographs).

Saturday, April 22, 2023

Another TTM Success From Ken McMullen

Ken McMullen signed two cards for me TTM back in 2018, so when I found these five cards in my boxes, I thought it would be a good time to send to him again.  I had McMullen sign this 1975 Topps Mini, which turned out great.
He also signed a 1964 Topps, 1973 Topps, 1976 Topps and a 1977 Topps.  All of the cards look awesome.  I am glad I found what I did and sent them along.

I mailed to McMullen on January 25 and got the cards back on February 2, for an 8-day TAT.

Friday, April 21, 2023

TTM Success - Ray Washburn

Here is a nice 1968 Topps that I found in my vintage box of Ray Washburn.  The card turned out great; I'm glad I sent it out.

Washburn (b. 1938) played in the majors from 1961 to 1970 for the Cardinals and Reds.  He had a record of 72-64 with 700 strike outs and a 3.53 ERA.  He won the World Series with the Cardinals in 1967.  He was a member of the 1964 Cardinals that won the World Series but did not appear in the series.

I mailed to Washburn on October 26 and got the card back on February 2, for a 99-day TAT.

Thursday, April 20, 2023

TTM Success - Skip Pitlock

Here are some more 70s cards that came back signed TTM, this time from Skip Pitlock.  Again, I got a 1975 Topps Mini and a 1975 Topps.
Both of the 75 cards turned out great, as did the 1971 Topps (left).

Pitlock (b. 1947) played in the majors in 1970, 1974 and 1975 for the Giants and White Sox.  He had a record of 8-8 with 124 strike outs and a 4.53 ERA.  I mailed to Pitlock on January 20 and got the cards back on January 31, for an 11-day TAT. 

Wednesday, April 19, 2023

TTM Success - Ken Aspromonte

What a difference ten years makes.  The top card, a 1974 Topps is 10 years later than Ken Aspromonte's 1964 Topps, shown below.  In that time, he went from playing for the Cubs to managing the Indians.  I got both of these cards signed TTM by Aspromonte, and they look great.
This 1964 Topps was in great shape, so I was really glad when it came back with a nice, clean signature.  It really is a great looking card.

Aspromonte (b. 1931) played in the majors from 1957 to 1963 for the Red Sox, Senators, Indians, Angels, Braves and Cubs.  He had 369 hits, 19 home runs and a .249 batting average.

He managed the Indians from 1972 to 1974 to a record of 220-260 (.458 win %).  He was succeeded by Frank Robinson.

I mailed to Aspromonte on January 19 and got the cards back on January 31, for a 12-day TAT.  He also included a signed post card.

Tuesday, April 18, 2023

Hall of Fame Signed Baseball - Tony Oliva

My buddy, Drake, hooked me up big time when he was able to get a baseball signed first me at Spring Training by Hall of Famer, Tony Oliva.

Drake was pretty sure he would see Oliva, so he took an OMLB ball from me to try to add Oliva to the collection.

Oliva ended up swapping out my ball for a Spring Training logo ball; Drake was upset thinking I'd be mad about the switch.  I'm actually really happy about it, because I didn't have a Spring Training ball in the collection.  Crisis averted.

Oliva (b. 1938) played in the majors from 1962 to 1976 for the Twins.  He had 1,917 hits, 220 home runs and a .304 batting average.  He was the AL batting champ in 1964, 1965 and 1971.  He hit over .300 in 7 seasons.  He was an All Star 8 times (1964 to 1971).  He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2022 when he was selected by the Veterans Committee.  Oliva is my 169th Hall of Famer on a baseball.

Monday, April 17, 2023

Another TTM Success From Lee Richard

His card may say Lee Richards, but it is, in fact, Lee Richard.  I had gotten him TTM once before, then found a few more cards to send out.  So, I got Richard to sign a 197 Topps Mini, 1975 Topps and a 1976 Topps.
All of the cards came out nicely, with Richard adding his "Bee Bee" nickname inscription.

I mailed to Richard on January 23 and got the cards back signed on January 31, for an 8-day TAT.

Sunday, April 16, 2023

April 15, 2023, Graphing of IronPigs at Bulls

A day of graphing in Durham can be a lot of work, but can also be a lot of fun.  I had planned to go to Durham this weekend to graph several weeks ago.  That allowed me a lot of time to find cards of guys that I needed, and also take a few from a couple friends to add to my inventory.

There were a couple names on the Lehigh Valley roster that I was interested in getting.  That was mostly because there are several guys on their roster who have been around for a while, and I just haven't had the chance to either meet or finish off their cards.

Jeff Hoffman was one of the players that I hadn't been able to get in person.  I saw Hoffman pitch at ECU, and mentioned ECU to him when he stopped and signed for me on arrival.  He is normally one per, but signed two cards for me then, including the above 2015 Panini Contenders showing Hoffman in his ECU gear,
Since I planned this for a while, I made a day of it.  I got to Durham around 11:30, having left a little early so I could have time to stop and get something to eat.  I know myself, and I would have hung out there waiting for guys to arrive and wouldn't have eaten all day, so I made sure to get that done.  That made me earlier than planned.  I usually like to get to Durham around noon to graph arrival.  Getting there a little early helped; I learned that the Bulls have flip flopped locker rooms and entrances, so I was at the wrong spot for about 30 minutes.  I saw two players going in, and I froze.  I'm pretty sure Kyle Manzardo was one of the guys I missed.

Finally getting to the right spot, I broke the ice with former Oriole, Luis Ortiz.  I recognized him, and he finished off the last few cards of him that I could find in my collection.  We talked for a few minutes.  He's a really nice guy, and it looks like he is doing a lot better after leaving Baltimore.
John Hicks helped get some older cards out of my boxes.  I was glad to add a couple 2011 Bowmans to the autograph book  and get them signed.  Adding these to the book is getting rarer and rarer, so it was a nice treat to get a couple of them done.
Speaking of getting cards out of boxes, I have a box of cards of guys who should have or did come through the Carolina League, and I missed.  Hans Crouse never got to Kinston, having skipped over the team and missing time due to injuries and the COVID season.  He was finally traded away from the Rangers, so I had a bunch of his stuff that I had stockpiled and never got signed.
Crouse saw me standing there and walked right up to me with his wife and son.  He signed for me and talked to me for a bit as the other two watched on.  His wife thought it was cool to point out to his son that his dada had cards (his son looks to be a little over 1 or so).  The little guy is adorable.  Crouse was super nice and signed all of the cards I brought with me.  That made a huge dent in the stockpile I had created.

Jeff Hoffman was really nice, as well.  He was glad to finally be playing back in NC.  I got him on arrival, inside, and post game.
There were a bunch of people there to see Scott Kingery, and I was glad to get him on these two cards.  He signed for me inside pre-game.  Outside post-game, he saw me and asked if he had signed for me before, and I said yes and yielded to everyone else.  He signed a second time for Pete (if you have ever graphed in Durham, you know who he is), so I got one of the other graphers there to take my Archives card (the pink one) and she got it done for me.  I thanked her several times, even though I think she had no idea why I had asked her for her help.  She had Phillies gear on, so of course he signed for her twice.  My Wichita Turbo Tubs jersey was a bit too flashy, I guess.
Francisco Morales was good for one per, which after Arrival and pre-game, left me with one last unsigned card of him.  I missed him post-game, so that card will go in the box of shame.  

I was really happy to take Aramis Garcia out of the box of shame and get some of his cards signed, finally.  I had pulled him years ago for Richmond graphing and never got him, so those cards have sat around for a long time.  That was pre-box of shame stuff.

Ben Bowden hit every card I had in one shot, which was nice.  I liked getting the gold foil 2021 Topps Update taken care of.
Simon Muzziotti was good for 3-per each time I saw him (pre-game and post-game).  Heath Hembree was the only guy I was able to get during BP, but that was probably a good thing.  Once I got him, I went down the street and got something to eat and drink, since I had been out there a good 4 hours by then.

I was glad to add a 2023 Topps to the book and get it signed by Jonathan Aranda.  That's the first IP auto on a 2023 Topps for me, which was cool.  I was able to get a couple Oslevis Basabe cards back signed from my friends Carson and Gerard from Spring Training, so these two were the last ones I had.
My good friend, Max hooked me up with several Ran Buchter and Heath Hembree cards, so I didn't have to hit my older Topps boxes too hard to find stuff.  I did find my own Buchter, so that one got done, as well.

I had Cesar Ramos pulled to try him TTM a while back, and I had never sent them.  I knew exactly where they were (rare) and they are all done now.
Max also provided some 2015 Topps Update Ranos cards,  I got all but 3 of those done.  We missed him outside post-game.

TJ Zeuch was another of the guys that I really wanted to get.  He signed only one card, but this 2020 Panini Select is finally signed.  I had sent it to someone for 50/50s in 2021, they missed him, and the cards of his have been in the box of same since then.  Max sent some Zeuch cards as well, but with him only doing one outside post-game, the Select was the one that got signed.
Finally, I got Kam Misner on a few cards.  I had some help with a fellow grapher outside post-game, so he got me a few extra Misner, Garcia and Nico Hulziser.  All it took was an extra Jeff Hoffman ECU card.

The 2002 Topps Total Brian Reith card is just a random card from a random set that I had seen in my boxes during a recent pass through them to find other stuff.  When I remembered that I had it, and that he was a coach with Durham, I went through 4 boxes to finally find it.  I'm glad I did, but going through 4 boxes to find one card kind of sucks.  Had I not gotten it signed, I probably would have been irritated.  Thankfully, it is done and it looks good.

This was only the second time I have tried a day in Durham by myself.  I have to start getting used to that, since Chris is working now, and all of my graphing friends have gotten jobs that make Saturday (or any, for that matter) graphing impossible.  Still, I had a good time, and enjoyed the beautiful weather at a ballpark that I have come to really love.

In all, I got the following autographs: Ben Bowden x 4, Ryan Buchter x 5, Hans Crouse x 16, Aramis Garcia x 9, John Hicks x 8, Jeff Hoffman x 4, Scott Kingery x 2, Francisco Morales x 2, Simon Muzziotti x 6, Luis Ortoz x 4, Esteban Quiroz x 1, Cesar Ramos x 7, TJ Zeuch x 1, Jonathan Aranda x 2, Oslevis Basabe x 2, Cooper Criswell x 1, Heath Hembree x 6, Niko Hulsizer x 4, Curtis Mead x 1, Kam Misner x 5, Luis Patino x 1 and Brian Reith x 1 (92 total autographs).