Tuesday, September 29, 2020

TTM autograph received: Eddie Robinson

Robinson took about a week to sign my card in black ink - in the 'here and now,' I couldn't imagine actually writing an autograph request to someone born in 1920, but did some digging around to find a 1952 Topps reprint card to send off with the $10 Robinson usually requires.

Another collector posting on a forum I belong to worried about his request being MIA, but that wasn't the case for me and I'm glad my card was actually signed - for better or for worse, I didn't get any extra messages or notes added like I've seen with other posted returns.

Monday, September 28, 2020

TTM autograph received: Jim Lonborg

The former big league starting pitcher and 1967 American League Cy Young Award winner signed my card in blue ink in about three weeks - while I have a couple of previously signed cards of Lonborg in my award winners collection, this retro card from 2004 remained unsigned for the longest time in my A-Z archives, so I wanted to send it out when the person pictured is still signing.

Sunday, September 27, 2020

TTM autograph received: Bobby Shantz

The former big league lefthander signed my trading card in blue ink and wrote a thank you note on the my letter he sent back to me - go figure, I got my request back in about a week, on the day he turned 95.

Not that I try to play the death pool game or anything, but there might not be too much time left to get something signed by one of the all-time autograph signing greats - so like Roy Face, I whipped up a letter and put together a request [with $5] to see if I'd get back a positive result, sending a 1955 Bowman beater picturing Shantz with his brother.

I can’t account for the inevitable but I think I just keep on and see which guys to send to - maybe I think about the accomplishments of the person, not as someone to be objectified because they it might be their time NOW.

Saturday, September 26, 2020

TTM autograph received: Balor Moore

The one-time Angel and first ever draft pick of the Montreal Expos signed my card in about four weeks - as it goes I have to face the idea I'm in a perpetual catch-up mode as far as trying to collect an autograph from as many different Angels players in team history.

I’m worried about not being able to reach all the one-time Angels I can, because there is always someone who’ve I’ve never gotten before, much less heard about - if it's a vintage / old-school guy I have no card (s) for, I worry about picking up unsigned cards up online on a whim, having to wait for the cards to arrive and then try to send them off.

Due to circumstances, there maybe harder to get and/or simply ‘impossible’ players’ autographs I need - but an option would be to purchase as many of the rank-and-file guys’ autographs either on cards or possibly on cuts like index cards just so I can add to what I already have outright.

On the other hand, I want to send TTM requests to the one-time guys that are still living and can sign - relying on purchases may not be as natural for me and in the quest to build up numbers, I may actually get ‘faked out’ more often than not.

Thursday, September 24, 2020

TTM autographs received: Jim Walewander

The former big leaguer signed my cards in about three weeks and included a signed two-sided custom card he added an inscription on - I have nothing cool to add about Walewander that hasn't been mentioned somewhere else, though I was aware of his story as a pro ballplayer who was a little offbeat and marched to the beat of his own drummer.

A fun fact was Walewander actually had a 12-game stint with the Angels in 1993, which wasn't on my mind as I put together a request for him - now, I can count one of his cards I got back as part of my Angels all-time autograph collection.

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

TTM autographs received: Storm Davis

I didn’t know if I would get back a good response from Davis after sending him a letter meant for someone else - I had written out several TTM letters, folded them up to fit a business sized envelope and left them loose overnight.

The next day, I was putting together my request for Davis and even took a picture of what I was sending - however in the rush to jam everything into an outgoing envelope to place in my mail box, things got mixed up and only after the fact did I realize I still had my handwritten letter to Davis.

I was sweating out this request, wondering if I'd be scolded for sending a letter to the wrong guy - what if I just didn't get my stuff back?

However, after four weeks, my cards came back signed and there was no note or anything - I was almost disappointed that I didn't get a reaction, though my best assumptions are the guys who have signed regularly for decades don’t particularly read their mail and / or have seen it all.

Maybe someone presumably helping Davis go through his mail, saw and pointed out my goof - but I did send Davis his cards and not another former player, so the intent was there to show my request was for him otherwise.

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

TTM autographs received: Bill Krueger

The former big league lefty and longtime Seattle sports analyst signed my cards in about three weeks - his assorted cards may have been in my Seattle Mariners IP box for the longest time, in case I ever ran into him at some point during spring training or at some point in the regular MLB season.

With MLB in-person autographs not really a serious thing for me the past 5 or 6 years, along with COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 - I wanted to see if I can track down former MLB players from the junk wax years [1986-92], who've ended up being scratch the itch curiosities for me.

Sunday, September 20, 2020

TTM autographs received: San Diego Chicken

The longtime mascot signed my three cards and sent a note back in about a week or so - maybe the plan was to pick up some of the nicer base cards / parallels Panini released 3-4 years ago or even his old-school his early 1980s Donruss cards.

After not knowing where they went and doing an extensive loose card dig, I felt like I might as well send out the cards I had originally put together a couple of years ago - including a 2016 Donruss [#151] and a couple of 1992 Upper Deck Cecil Fielder [#255] cards where the SDC makes a cameo.

Friday, September 18, 2020

TTM autographs received: Roy Face

The longtime relief ace for the Pittsburgh Pirates signed my two cards in blue ink in about a couple of weeks - I don't know if I've ever gotten the 92-year old to sign something in the mail and it makes me wonder if I should have Face when he was still relatively younger, 15-20 years ago.

I had to whip up a letter and put together a request [with $5] - to see if I'd get back a positive result with my loose, straggler cards.

While I cannot believe a person who has lived as long as Face is still signing his 'fan mail,' I assume there is someone that helps him out [hopefully short of signing for him] - collecting all the requests sent, opening the mail and making it where Face takea a little bit of his precious time to sign items the easiest way possible.

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

2020 Topps Archives blaster recaps

Originally anticipating not being able to find anything at a big box store
- I ordered 2 blaster boxes online that was MIA for about three weeks.

While the shipment was out of the seller's hands, it remained idle with the UPS somewhere - until tracking started to pick up again and a package finally showed up at my doorstep.

Box one
1964 Topps Giants pack
#64O-FTJ Fernando Tatis - the back seems off-center and/or miscut

Pack one
#79 Matt Chapman
#42 Jeff McNeil
#8 Kyle Schwarber
#142 Cal Ripken Jr.
#136 Ty Cobb
#60AR-SO Shohei Ohtani
#208 Chris Sale
#216 Robel Garcia

Pack two
#64 Joey Votto
#87 Juan Soto
#27 Mookie Betts
#186 Willie McCovey
#177 Hyun-Jim Ryu
#152 Corey Kluber
#259 Anthony Santander
#219 Rollie Fingers

Pack three
#37 Kyle Lewis
#73 Ryne Sandberg
#60 Carl Yastrzemski 
#180 Gleyber Torres
#133 Tony Gonsolin
#308 David Ortiz - Big Papi
#281 Lou Gehrig
#226 David Wright 

Pack four
#52 Catfish Hunter
#91 Jordan Yamamoto
#156 Clayton Kershaw
#108 Mike Piazza
#121 Frank Robinson
#76TT-320 C.C. Sabathia
#273 Adrian Morejon
#248 Christian Yelich

Pack five
#24 Xander Bogaerts
#57 Ozzie Albies
#109 Randy Johnson
#172 Zac Gallen
#199 Giancarlo Stanton
#60CC-SM Just Dingers - feat. Will Smith and Max Muncy
#271 Jose Ramirez
#265 Ryan McMahon

Pack six
#54 Max Muncy
#93 Mallex Smith
#4 Nick Senzel
#158 Brooks Robinson
#194 Christian Walker
#69AR-GT Gleyber Torres
#270 Jose Abreu
#284 Wil Myers

Pack seven
#92 Matt Carpenter
#48 J.D. Martinez
#197 Danny Jansen
#174 Trey Mancini
#132 Buster Posey
#B55-8 A.J. Puk
#292 Yu Chang
#247 Craig Biggio

Box two

1964 Topps Giants pack
#64O-NH Nico Hoerner - this was bent coming out of a blaster, probably due to my boxes bouncing around different places.

I don't know what to make of it besides trying to store the odd-sized card in an 8x10 top loader and hope the applied pressure flattens the card out eventually - even if it takes a couple of years.

Pack one
#77 Paul DeJong
#23 Francisco Lindor
#163 Max Scherzer
#138 Blake Snell
#112 Stephen Piscotty
#60CC-YH Master & Apprentice - feat. Yelich and Hiura
#258 Roger Clemens
#244 Brendan McKay

Pack two
#7 Shohei Ohtani
#82 Luis Aparicio
#29 Robin Yount
#170 Rowdy Tellez
#143 Brandon Crawford
#307 Chris Sale - The Conductor
#300 Freddie Freeman
#277 Joe Morgan

Pack three
#95 A.J. Puk
#51 Brock Burke 
#3 Charlie Blackmon
#120 Carlos Correa
#127 Roberto Alomar 
#237 Trevor Hoffman - Purple parallel serial #’d 043/175
#254 Rougned Odor
#253 Aaron Nola

Pack four
#26 Keston Hiura
#33 Will Smith
#25 Jackie Robinson
#122 Sandy Koufax
#107 Kerry Wood
#60AR- EJ Eloy Jimenez
#236 Bryce Harper 
#295 Kyle Seager

Pack five
#80 Ramon Laureano
#40 Sam Hilliard
#149 Roberto Clemente
#184 Trent Grisham
#200 Marco Gonzalez
#76TT-316 Randy Johnson
#241 Ronald Acuña Jr.
#246 Kole Calhoun

Pack six
#34 Brusdar Graterol
#75 Mike Mussina
#14 Harmon Killebrew
#146 Ketel Marte
#131 Eric Hosmer
#309 Noah Syndergaard - Thor
#207 Carter Kieboom
#202 Anthony Kay

Pack seven 
#53 Lou Boudreau
#31 Alex Bregman
#113 Hunter Dozier
#134 Jon Lester
#129 D.J. LeMahieu
#B55-23 Logan Allen
#293 Anthony Rendon
#220 Chipper Jones

Sunday, September 13, 2020

A couple of new 2020 pack breaks

2020 Topps Fire value pack

It maybe a case where even one lousy pack of Topps Fire is enough for the year - but I should appreciate the idea these cards are supposed to be a little funky looking, rather than a little more conventional.

#98 Aristides Aquino
#100 Luis Castillo
#155 Luis Robert
#131 Cole Tucker
#116 Andrew McCutchen - Green parallel serial #171/199
#FIU-12 Mookie Betts - Fired Up insert
#SS-1 Pete Alonso - Shattering Stats insert
#40 Danny Mendick - Blue Chip parallel
#12 Eric Hosmer
#62 Kolten Wong
#104 Alex Verdugo
#27 Clayton Kershaw

2020 Topps Archives value pack
#210 Ralph Kiner
#217 Cody Bellinger
#294 Elvis Andrus
#245 Yuli Gurriel
#287 Jonathan Villar
#33 Will Smith
#25 Jackie Robinson
#80 Ramon Laureano
#40 Sam Hilliard
#34 Brusdar Graterol
#B55-20 Luis Robert
#301 Pete Alonso - Polar Bear
#60AR-SO Shohei Ohtani
#186 Willie McCovey
#177 Hyun-Jin Ryu
#152 Corey Kluber
#180 Gleyber Torres
#133 Tony Gonsolin

Wednesday, September 09, 2020

A taste of some actual retail therapy

Whenever I go into Target, I always 'fly by' the card section, but most of the time in 2020, I've come to expect nothing - I was headed to the card section for another fruitless check, when I saw a dolly [near the games section, closer to the toy aisles, where other non-sport gaming cards are located] holding a box with a MJ Holding logo, which I know as one of the companies [there is more than one?] that puts trading cards on the shelves for Target.

I was hoping that was a good omen for the actual card section that matters and sure enough, the shelves that usually resembled a Cold War era Soviet supermarket had been replenished with some actual baseball cards - there were no retail flippers looking to pounce at the seemingly fresh setup, so I was all alone by myself to take things in for at least a couple of minutes.

Maybe what sort of caught my eye were the supplies - since Ultra Pro makes their products in China, I'm not sure if there is still an obstacle to getting new batches of supplies through a pandemic.

However, the various things that hold and protect cards should be as important to the average card collector - there was a 5-pack of Ultra Pro magnetic holders [too bad they were 130-pt and not the 55-pot I usually like to use], a 4-pack package of penny sleeves and an 'odder' toploader combo.

Maybe these retail offerings were repacked from older, inferior stock - but for the moment, I was glad to see them in-hand.

As for actual baseball cards, I'm not sure if 'Topps Fire,' 'Topps Archives' or 'Topps Stadium Club' will ever be sought after 'for value' like the Bowman Mega Boxes, Topps Series 2 or Topps Chrome I've whiffed on - but after a long drought, the former are baseball cards to me just the same [TSC is always a 'fan favorite' in my book] and tried to see what combination I could pick up.

I don't expect to see this card section to be as fruitful in my next visit, but like a good boy scout, I only grabbed what seemed reasonable to me at the moment - a couple of blasters of 2020 Topps Stadium Club, a hanger pack of 2020 Topps Archives [I have a couple of blasters I'd ordered online that are still MIA after three weeks] and a hanger pack of 2020 Topps Fire.

I ripped through my little haul and go figure after finding an IP autograph card I got signed from 2019 spring training maybe the day before - I pulled cards of hot rookie du jour Luis Robert in both hangers and one of the two blasters I ripped.

Tuesday, September 08, 2020

TTM autographs received: Tim McCarver

I think I may have gotten McCarver's autograph once [or not] when he sort of made me follow him after a national TV broadcast [day game] at Angel Stadium about 20 years ago - he said he was running late [to catch his ride out of the ballpark to get to the airport] and then just didn't sign for me [I don't think I would have anything on me like a blank baseball or his actual cards].

Over the years, I have ended up with a couple of straggler cards of his, though it maybe harder to run into him in-persona dn I'm not really sure if he even responded to through the mail requests - the cards may have been pulled from my St. Louis Cardinals IP box to stay loose as I wondered about sending to him.

I have seen some sporadic successes posted on a forum or two, though I'm not sure if they are new or can always be trusted - as it goes, I took my chance and wrote him a letter with my cards [along with $20].

I think the correct distinction is while McCarver is not a Hall of Famer, he is honored by the National Baseball HOF in their broadcaster wing - I thought I had to sweat things out where I might not see my cards for a while and/or my money back at all, but my cards were signed and returned in about 10 days.

Monday, September 07, 2020

TTM autograph received: Rudy Meoli

After being out for a couple of weeks, my first request to Meoli was sent back to me as 'return to sender,' which usually means I used an outdated or incorrect address - in some cases, an 'RTS' may mean my request was refused by the intended recipient, though that did not seem to be the case here.

I did some 'quick research' to find a presumably updated address and sent my request back into the wild - I finally got my card signed in about a week or so.

Sunday, September 06, 2020

Topps Project 2020 Mike Trout #142

I got this card in-hand the same day Trout broke the Angels franchise record for home runs, hitting his 300th to pass Tim Salmon - oddly, as much as Trout has been anointed the best player in the game, once in a while, I still tend to think of him as a boy wonder who first came into the league.

Though speculating can be a waste of time, it will be interesting to see if Trout can hit another 300-400 home runs and beyond - where he puts himself position to challenge the all-time home run record.

As far as Topps Project 2020, the values of individual cards have mostly settled below what they initially have sold for on Topps.com - I have two more Trouts [Naturel and Grotesk] I'm waiting on from purchases made at least a couple of months ago and decided to actually pass on picking up the last two Trouts released [Vides and Efdot].

Saturday, September 05, 2020

TTM autograph received: Al Neiger

The one time big league pitcher signed my card in about 10 days - I found the straggler vintage card rummaging through the old-school / vintage boxes at my old LCS and picked it on a whim.

While I've had the card for at least five or six years, I never thought about getting it signed until this year - I don't have many, if any vintage cards to round up, but it may be a novelty to send out a 60-year old card to someone still alive to sign.

Friday, September 04, 2020

TTM autographs received: Marvis Foley

Foley falls into a group of rank-and-file players I wouldn't have a reason to be particularly familiar with, but I ended up with three of his cards filed away among my Colorado Rockies cards - in case I ran into him at some point during spring training or maybe if he randomly helped out with the Rockies' California League team.

As is it goes, my in-person autograph coverage has always been limited [pandemic or not], so there might not have been a realistic chance of seeing the baseball lifer - I saw Foley signed through the mail, so I sent the cards I had, including a 1981 Topps card I pulled from a pack break and they were finally signed in about a couple of weeks.

A fun Angels related factoid was Foley ended up the last batter Mike Witt faced when he threw a perfect game against the Texas Rangers in 1984 - Foley grounded out to the second baseman to complete the feat for the mid 1980s Angels pitching ace.

Tuesday, September 01, 2020

TTM autographs received: Rafael Palmeiro

The former big leaguer signed my two 500 home run 8x10 photos in exactly a week - I mailed my request off to Palmeiro on a Monday and by Friday, I checked the tracking status on my self-addressed photo mailer and it was already out of Palmeiro's hands.

I was anticipating my results and hoping there were not any complications - because it’s a couple of 8x10s I sent and not just loose cards for his current TTM fee of $20.

The afternoon my photo mailer was to arrive, I hoped to meet the mail man as he drove by to deliver the mail [these COVID-19 pandemic adventures are getting too crazy] - but maybe it was too hot and I was thinking of something else in the small window of time when the mail man had stopped by.

I waited around and when I checked my mail, I found my photo mailer was crammed in the mail box - I had to fish my mailer out out delicately and while the thick cardboard envelope a little bent out of shape, my 8x10 photos survived enclosed a photo sleeve / backing board.