Wednesday, December 30, 2020

TTM autographs received: Dan Pasqua

The former big leaguer from the mid 1980s through early 1990s signed a couple of my cards, responded briefly to the what I'd written him and returned my other two cards unsigned - Pasqua played through the junk wax era as more of a rank-and-file player, who didn't put up the sexiest numbers as a hitter, but had some pop in his bat.

Flipping through his early 1990s cards, the bespectacled Pasqua didn’t look like any sort of athlete - while his MLB career petered out after turning 30, to cherry pick a run of years where he was most successful, Pasqua put up a decent slash line [.251 / .337 / .455, including a 118 OPS+] through his 20s.

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

TTM autographs received: Nancy Faust

The longtime Chicago White Sox organist signed my three cards in ballpoint pen and send back a letter with response to what I'd written her - it doesn't happen much, but once in a while I've sent out 'oddball' non-player requests just to see what response I might get.

I found some actual cards of Faust but may not have had immediate luck in finding a mailing address for her - until someone reported a success [with an actual mailing address listed] in an autograph group I belonged to.

I mailed out [to an Illinois address], hoping for my own success and I got a response within a couple of weeks - in addition to responding to my letter, she also wrote my request was forwarded to Arizona and she would have had some extra photos to send if she was back in Illinois.

Monday, December 28, 2020

TTM autographs received: Adam Haseley

The Philadelphia Phillies outfielder signed my cards in three weeks - Haseley was a first round pick in 2017 and probably getting to the big leagues due to his lofty draft status, may end up as a useful player, who sticks around the big leagues for 10 years.

Saturday, December 26, 2020

TTM autograph received: Dick Drago

I got an return to send earlier in the year even as other collectors seemed to report regular successes with the former big league righthander - there are a couple of addresses posted for him in collecting forums I belong to and I guess the one I used in my first request was the wrong one.

I waited a little bit and took another shot, using the other address and finally - got my card signed in about a month or so arriving a couple of days before Christmas.

I only had a 1970 Topps card in my collection, featuring a cleaner cut Drago, who was a dependable starter early in his big league career with the Kansas City Royals - through the late 1970s, he became a reliever who bounced around several MLB teams and had started to grow out some prominent facial hair for for his era.

Friday, December 18, 2020

2020 Topps 34-card jumbo pack recap

I ended up at a Target I don't usually go to and found some baseball cards - some 2020 Topps Update, which may not be great as far as the rookie cards found in the set, but I'll humor myself and grab some baseball card packs to bust.
I wouldn't have known Topps put out these 2-pack blister packs with one exclusive Red parallel card - so out of the loose 'leftover' blisters, I got the one that had the Angel card of reliever Ty Buttrey.

Maybe the blister 'bubble' was loose, peeling off the paper backing - so someone had messed with them at some point.

I got a jumbo pack as well because who knows what I may pull - even if we are talking about retail here.

#U-192 Ian Miller
#U-127 Ryan Weber
#U-5 Starlin Castro
#U-38 Kevin Plawecki
#U-242 Ty France
#U-228 Starling Marte
#U-266 Andrew McCutchen
#U-267 Albert Pujols
#U-104 Grayson Greiner
#U-213 Keury Mella
#U-272 Joey Votto
#U-11 Chris Owings
#U-130 Richie Martin
#U-16 Phillip Diehl
#U-222 Scott Barlow
#TR-3 Ozzie Albies - Turkey Red insert; Green parallel serial #’d 08/10
Albies has flown under the radar, but he's been a solid player for the Atlanta Braves at second base - pulling any low numbered parallel out of the most random pack break is quite the feat for me.
#U-33 Alex Verdugo - Advanced Stats parallel serial #’d 202/300; I'm probably more of an old-school baseball guy who likes the traditional counting numbers, but it's fun to figure out what the advanced numbers mean and what they actually spell out is pretty simple, giving more context to players' performances.

#DB-3 Early Wynn - Decades’ Best insert
#85TB-50 Lewis Brinson - 1985 Topps Baseball insert
#TR-13 Andrew McCutchen - Turkey Red insert
#TR-4 Hunter Pence - Turkey Red insert
#U-142 Albert Pujols
#U-206 Asher Wojciechowski
#U-170 Travis Shaw
#U-120 Stevie Wilkerson
#U-286 Chase Anderson
#U-177 Andy Burns
#U-28 Eduardo Nunez
#U-150 Ken Griffey Jr.
#U-178 Jarrod Dyson
#U-34 Justin Verlander
#U-138 Tommy Pham
#U-263 Miguel Cabrera
#U-106 Meibrys Viloria
#U-145 Ronald Acuña Jr.
#U-12 Aaron Bummer

Thursday, December 17, 2020

TTM autographs received: Sherman Corbett

The former big league reliever and one time Angel from the late 1980s through early 1990s signed my cards and added a tract business card in about a month - even for rank-and-file guys like Corbett, who may not get as many requests and can take the time, I really appreciate it when cards I've sent comes back with clean, bold signatures.

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

TTM autographs received: Ken Tatum

The former big league reliever and one time Angel from the late 1960s through early 1970s signed my card and added a signed postcard in about a month - though only the card will be tallied for my Angels all-time autograph collection, it's nice to get something extra such as personal response or extra item enclosed.

Monday, December 14, 2020

TTM autographs received: Terry Leach

The former big league reliever signed my cards in about a month - including a 1982 Topps multiplayer Future Stars card I had longtime MLB manager Ron Gardenhire sign in-person.

All I need to finish off my card is Tim Leary, who might have done his share of former LA Dodgers appearances in So. Cal over the past 10-15 years - he's never been someone I've been compelled to be interested in, but now I have to see where someone might do a signing with him.

Tuesday, December 08, 2020

Featured autograph - Vic Davalillo

To add another autograph to my Angels all-time collection, I grabbed this autographed card from Facebook - Davalillo was a Venezuelan outfielder who played 16 years in the big leagues and spent parts of 2 seasons with the Angels back in the 1960s.
The card was descibed as a custom but looks a little fancier with an actual, detailed card back - I'm not sure what the details spell out, but there is a serial #'d notation on the back [36/80] and the cards may have been whipped up by a collector in Venezuela specifically for a card show event.

Saturday, December 05, 2020

TTM autographs received: Jim Rice

After holding off since my last success in 2017, I finally sent another request with $20 to Rice and he returned my cards signed in 8 days - the 2013 Topps Allen and Ginter was the only non-insert Ginter I still needed, so that was a priority.

I also sent a 1985 Fleer I found in a Dollar Tree repack - the 'pre-junk wax era' cards through mid 1980s holds some allure, probably because that is where the good rookie cards from that era came from and there is some trickle down interest, even if the cards came out before my time.

The flap on my SASE was loose and I was might have panicked a little- but the cards were still in envelope.

Friday, December 04, 2020

Angels all-time autograph collection adds

I dug around COMC at various points last winter and picked up these miscellaneous certified autographs for my Angels all-time autograph collection - an on-card autograph of Dylan Bundy was probably the most prominent.

After he was traded to the Angels last off-season, I wanted to see if I could snag one at some point - I still remember Bundy coming into the pro ranks as a hyped up prospect and still have some a couple of loose, empty boxes of 2012 Bowman Draft with his picture on them.

Maybe I could have picked up a certified autograph from one of the Bowman releases from the time Bundy was a stud prospect, just to have something with him pictured in a big league uniform - but something more 'generic' and almost without a team affiliation listed, might have been the more ideal card since he was going to be Angel anyway.

One of the things I like is being able to rummage around and see if I can find some of the most random cards to add to my Angels all-time autograph collection - maybe I have to double check if each of the players such as Matt Ramsey, Thomas Field and Tony Campana actually played for the Angels, but I can nerd out a little finding out they did and can squirrel away their 'junk certified autos.'

As the case maybe these cards often picture players from a hodgepodge of teams, from the minors to the major leagues - I'd really like to put a premium on cards that picture players as an Angel, but I'll take what I can get.

I did find an an an autograph of Jose Suarez, who might have been the team's top pitching prospect entering the 2019 season, thought that may be the equivalent of the No. 15 [or lower] ranked prospect in a deeper MLB organization - I don't know if he's gotten a real extensive look the past two seasons but he's still either young and inexperienced or just doesn't know how to get big league hitters out to stick for good.

I grabbed an autograph of Mike Mayers, pictured as a one-time St. Louis Cardinals prospect years ago - he was an an under the radar find that actually had a great year out of the Angels bullpen in 2020.

I grabbed an autograph of Julio Teheran, just so I don't have to worry about digging up the random in-person autograph card I got when he was still a top prospect at the 2010 Futures Game - he was a longtime starter with the Atlanta Braves with mostly positive results, though maybe the writing was on the wall with his peripherals in recent years and the gamble the Angels took on him failed.

Finally I grabbed an autograph of Tommy La Stella, a previously useful if unheralded platoon player with the Atlanta Braves and Chicago Cubs - who had a chance to play on an every day basis with the Angels a couple of years ago and continued to play well for the Angels this past year before being traded to the Oakland Athletics.

La Stella found some pop in his bat and was named to the All-Star team in 2019 - before a broken leg derailed his season.

I might have gotten a couple of La Stella in-person autographs, once in the Arizona Fall League and once in spring training - I think since he signed only one, the cards I'd gotten inked up were for sets I was chasing, so I wanted one outright.

I hope nothing 'funny' was going on when the certified autograph card from 2014 was signed - but it looks more of a complete, 'fancier' autograph, than any other versions of La Stella's I've seen.

Thursday, December 03, 2020

Some decade / binder stars updates Pt.2

Andruw Jones - he ends up being a ‘bounce back’ guy in my binders.
While I don’t believe 'Andruw' is a serious candidate to be inducted into the Hall of Fame any time soon - is he gaining support as a guy who actually has a case, notably when evaluating his reputation as one of the best centerfielders in MLB history either through the eye test or advanced stats?
Ernie Banks - I just don't seek out vintage playing days cards of Hall of Famers, but over the years may just have enough retro stragglers to fill out a page.
Garret Anderson
Mo Vaughn - Angels - he was a decent hitter who struck out his fair share while on the Angels.
Mo Vaughn - Boston Red Sox - he probably didn't deserve to be honored the 1995 American League MVP over Albert Belle but as he blossomed into a superstar through the early 1990s, this was the all-world slugger I was hoping the Angels would eventually get as a free agent 21 years ago.

I could care less either way but I'm thinking whether his Angels pages should go with my other Angels - perhaps they can be hidden away with his Red Sox pages.

Jorge Posada - A Core Four guy, I was never able to get his autograph in-person or through the mail but was able to pull a redemption for a certified autograph.
Tyler Skaggs
Kyle Tucker - he may need to up his walk rate but it looks like he has started to put things together as a future star.

Maybe it's just a random thing, but him not wearing batting gloves during his at-bats - makes him more of a 'real' player to me.

Will Smith - I thought I had all these loose cards of him to rein in but came up with less than I'd thought.

Despite a relatively impressive rookie season in 2019, I don't know if I was ever aware of him enough - to predict he was going to blossom into Buster Posey lite this past season.

Christian Yelich - his hitting numbers came down a bit from previous years, though that maybe due to bad luck and not being able to get on a real good roll during the 60-game 2020 season.

Monday, November 30, 2020

TTM autographs received: Buck Martinez

The 17-year big league catcher and longtime color commentator signed my 1983 Topps card and my 1985 O-Pee-Chee posters insert in about 5 months - I probably found the oddball insert at my old card shop and thought it would be something just a little more unique than a regular card to try and get inked up, even though it was folded up and may not be as handy.

Considering everything, I probably stopped doing in-person years ago where I might have seen Martinez - however I took a chance in seeing if I could mail something out to him at the beginning of the abbreviated 2020 season.

Sunday, November 29, 2020

Some decade / binder stars updates Pt.1

I relented to buy a pack of these pages [$4.99] at a Target to see if I display some assorted cards of decade / binder stars - the pages feel a little thinner than the Ultra Pro Platinum pages I’ve used in the past, though several years ago I bought [and had to return] a binder / plastic sheets combo [at a Walmart] with the flimsiest, crappiest plastic pages.

Maybe these pages are not going to be as durable for long term storage but hopefully these aren't completely useless - using penny sleeves would probably help secure particular card (s) in the pages to give me some peace of mind.

I want to see if I can make use of these pages ASAP so they don’t necessarily sit around - maybe my last box of plastic pages lasted about 2 or 3 years just because I wasn't necessarilly gung-ho in displaying the assorted cards that had piled up for certain players.

Lucas Giolito - after being up and down early in his big league career, he has fulfilled the potential he showed as a top prospect.
Eloy Jimenez - maybe the attention went to Jose Abreu and Luis Robert as far as Chicago White Sox hitters, but in a partial season, Jimenez looked like he was getting better.
Keston Hiura - looking for a bounce back season in 2021.
Yoan Moncada - I guess it's no reason to exclude the guy from my binders, but before a spring training game a couple of years ago, Moncada simply ignored me as he signed some autographs.

He was once hyped up as the second coming, but after a good 2019 season and a bad 2020 season - I'm indifferent towards the guy.

Griffin Canning and David Fletcher - a pair of non-Trout Angels guys.
Julio Urias - because of an eBay lot I purchased several years ago, I have at least 40-50 cards of Urias, who closed out the 2020 World Series clinching Game 6 with a 3-inning save.

He was a wunderkind pitching prospect, but after getting hurt and needing Tommy John surgery - his star dimmed a little bit where his cards represented a bloat I just didn’t want to see.

Several years ago, Urias had a domestic violence arrest and was accused before nothing eventually came out of it - he gradually made it back to pitching in the big leagues, still possessing the electric stuff that may make him a starter for however long his arm holds up.

Alex Verdugo - he looks like a player to build upon in Boston, but who knows if he'll turn into a star outright.

I tried to think up players who I had enough cards of and wanted to showcase - I didn't want a bunch of partial pages, where I had less than 9 cards to display at the moment, but I made exceptions in some cases where I expect to pull or find more cards to make a full page.

Cody Bellinger and Walker Buehler - it might be hard to ignore the Los Angeles Dodgers players who helped lead the Dodgers to a World Series championship, so even if I'm not a fan of the team, the players really gel well together and they have fun.

In some instances, I just added new page (s) to an already existing decade / binder stars collection of a player - while I wanted to focus on adding new pages of first-time decade / binder stars guys in my book, I also dug out cards from in my A-Z archives that were once displayed in binders, but were weeded out for space considerations.
Bernie Williams - I don't know why he was dropped from my decade / binder stars collection, except he might have become irrelevant over the last part of his career.

As I tried to rejigger my player binders over the past 10 years, I weeded out certain players' cards for whatever reason - Williams might hot have been associated with the Core Four, but he was an important player during the New York Yankees dynasty run from the mid 1990s through the early 2000s.

Thursday, November 26, 2020

Whenever I think about losing a card somewhere...

I start to hate myself because my claptrap is just a mess - my collections consist of loose unsigned cards, loose signed cards; boxes and boxes of stuff I can’t figure what to make of.

At times, I get this itch to dig out a random card, but don't know where it ended up and I worry it's lost to oblivion - most of the time, it's not some high valued PC card I'm freaking out about, but a card worth a quarter or a dollar at most.

This time, I was trying to figure out where a 2014 Ogden Raptors Victor Gonzalez card ended up - maybe the Mexican lefty didn’t just come out of nowhere, but to reach the big leagues in 2020, Gonzalez took the scenic route through the Los Angeles Dodgers system.

I bought the Raptors team set years ago because it had what I think was Cody Bellinger’s first minor league team set card - I wanted to have an early pro card of the hot rookie back in 2017.

I didn’t know who Gonzalez was, but took note when he was at Rancho Cucamonga for part of the 2019 season - most minor leaguers from a minor league team set end up being cut and five years after the fact, it was funny to have a card of a guy still jugging along.

In a closet, I looked through my assorted bags that made up my 2019 spring training trip - the card wasn’t there in my main Los Angeles Dodgers binder.

I always try to believe any card I'm missing at the moment isn't really gone - but logically somewhere relatively safe, even if I don't have it handy.

I thought must have the Gonzalez card a tiny loose pile somewhere on the dining room - where it was obscured by the other cards that accumulated.

I dug around through the boxes I’d brought to my room from the dining room - servicing as other temporary places I’ve squirreled some team related cards away.

I decide to dig around through the closet again because sometimes I don’t take the time to look through things - go figure, the card was in a binder I’d prepped for some Dodgers backfield action, specifically the day when Corey Seager was playing in one of the minor league spring training games.

I probably looked through the binder at least once already but missed seeing the Gonzalez card the first time around - I took the card out of the photo corners and placed in a plastic sheet in the binder, so the surface is protected a little bit as opposed to being left as is for probably a few more years.

Sunday, November 22, 2020

More contemporary Angels pick-ups

At times there is no rhyme or reason for picking up random Angels cards because frankly the idea of being a team collector seems overwhelming - I'm not ever going to be hyper focused trying to keep track of all the releases [past, present and future] and working around [trades, purchases, etc] to see if I can have ownership of a perpetual number of team sets.

As is, I do consider the Angels my team and one of my ideals is to have that one big league team to focus on - where it's fun to have new team related cards to go through, even if they don't go towards team sets other collectors may boast about completing at some point.

The lone Mike Trout is 2019 Bowman Sterling Continuity insert #BS-20 - I like to imagine the card is a harder to find pull, but it's a $2 card at best.

I mentioned picking up the trio of quarter century old Garret Anderson cards last year - they are probably binder material that helps make collection of 'GA' cards pop.

I picked up a couple of random Topps On-Demand issues featuring pitcher Griffin Canning and infielder David Fletcher - while they might not be outright stars, each gives a couple of current 'second tier' Angels players to collect.

There was some uncertainty about the health of Canning's arm during spring training - but the righty seemed good to go for much of the shortened 2020 season and was awarded a Gold Glove at his position.

Fletcher has established himself as this generation's David Eckstein as a runty looking guy - who can play all over the diamond and can be a spark plug at the plate or on the bases.

I picked up a Shohei Ohtani is a 2019 Donruss Action All-Stars insert / Pink Fireworks parallel No. AA4 because it pops nicely without costing much - though it may get confusing describing what these alternate versions of non-base set cards are supposed to be.

Finally I picked up a 2020 Finest Flashback Anthony Rendon #58 - I might only have 2-3 Angels cards of the third baseman and maybe they mean a bit more at the moment.

While the original 1993 Topps Finest was never a thing in my collecting universe - after the fact, it's nice to travel back in time to see a re-imagined version of the first Topps Finest cards, featuring current players.

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Some vintage Angels pick-ups for TTMs

These were more 'here and now' finds off COMC when I tried to get my cards shipped last month - digging around collecting forums I browse, I've seen random autograph successes by mail with these former players and hope to get their autograph in my collection while they are still signing.

As it goes, I've already gotten back Billy Moran and Leo Burke, both signing the card I sent to each one - due to the lack of familiarity and the passage of time, I feel like I'm not really in a position to add autographs of the countless old-timers [1960s, 1970s for example] from my favorite team's history, but I need to find a way to try.