Sunday, December 28, 2008

1999 Upper Deck SP Chirography Ed Yarnall

Who is this? Ed Yarnall, a pitcher for the New York Yankees in 1999 and 2000

What is this? An certifed autograph insert card from 1999 Upper Deck SP

Where'd I get it? I picked this up out of the $1 cards box at a baseball card show this summer.

How much did it cost? $1

Why is this so special? Yarnall pitched in a handfull of games for the Yankees in 1999 and 2000, but I'd say his biggest claim to fame is being traded for Mike Piazza. (Yarnall was originally drafted by the Mets and was included with fellow minor league pitcher Geoff Goetz and outfielder Preston Wilson in the trade that brought Piazza to New York.)

I've watched Yarnall pitch for the Long Island Ducks in the independent Atlantic League in recent seasons. Though the autograph on this card isn't likely to win Yarnall any penmanship awards, it is far neater than his "at the ballpark" signature. 

Saturday, December 20, 2008

1991 Fleer Danny Darwin

Who is this?
 Danny Darwin, a former Major League pitcher who played for a bunch of teams from 1978-1998.

What is this? An autographed card from the ever-popular (and very yellow) 1991 Fleer set

Where'd I get it? I got this card signed through the mail earlier this year.

How much did it cost? Less than a dollar, counting the value of the postage stamps used for the autograph request.

Why is this so special? Danny Darwin may not have been the best pitcher in baseball, but he spent 21 years in the big leagues and has 171 more Major League wins than me (and most of the people reading this blog.)  He led the National League with a 2.21 ERA in 1990, and he's got a pretty nice autograph. :)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

2001 Topps Rafael Furcal

Who is this? DODGERS shortstop Rafael Furcal.

What is this? An autograph card from 2001 Topps, card number GAA-RF.

Where'd I get it? Probably an auction.

How much did it cost? Too much.

Why is this not so special? RAFAEL FURCAL IS A FINK.

Take yer stupid hurt back and yer stupid agents and your stupid DUIs and go back to LA ya bum! Kelly Johnson's a better second baseman anyway! Yunel Escobar's a WAY better shortstop! You better hope you're back on the DL on July 31st when you come back to Turner Field or you'll hear a chorus of drunk rednecks booing lustily! BOOOOOOOOOO! You're dead to me Fookie! No, wait. I have sympathy for the dead. I have respect. I HAVE NONE OF THAT FOR YOU. you, you, turncoat... backstabber... dasher of hopes and dreams... you.... you...


Whew! I feel better now.

Friday, December 12, 2008

2001 SP Authentic Chirography Gold Pat Burrell 1/5

Who is this? Pat Burrell, free agent LF, formerly of the Philadelphia Phillies

What is this? An autograph card from 2001 SP Authentic, card number G-PB

Where'd I get it? eBay

How much did it cost? Considering I bought it in 2001-2002, a lot more than it's worth now.

Why is this so special? In my previous posts, I have displayed some of the autographs that I have personally pulled. But this card is the centerpiece of my entire collection. It's not the card that really hooked me into collecting. No, that's the 1994 Lenny Dykstra Topps card. This card is one of 34 Pat Burrell autographs and 732 Pat Burrell cards I own. Until recently, this was the lowest numbered Burrell card I owned.

As long as I can remember, I've been a Phillies team collector. I've always had a favorite player or two on the team who earned my collecting focus. First Lenny Dykstra and Darren Daulton, then Rico Brogna (OK, the late 1990s Phillies stunk), and from 2000-2008, Pat Burrell. Today marked the end of Pat Burrell the Phillie. For the next three years Raul Ibanez will man left field for the Phillies. Nevermind that he's another left-handed bat behind Chase Utley and Ryan Howard or that he's roughly four years older than Burrell. I can't even consider those rational thoughts right now. Pat Burrell's gone!

Burrell's rise to the majors came in 2000, immediately replacing Brogna at first base and as my favorite player after Brogna suffered a broken arm. He broke out in 2002, hitting 37 home runs and 116 RBIs. The 37 home runs were the most by a Phillie since Schmidt hit 37 in 1986. He seemed like the second coming of Michael Jack Schmidt at the time. After that year Burrell was rewarded with a six year contract. In 2003 he hit .209 with 21 HRs and quickly became the subject of Philadelphia's famous ire. Burrell never quite lived up to the promise of that 2002 season, but he settled into a fairly steady and consistent pace year in and year out. He balanced dreadful slumps with torrid hitting streaks to reach the same numbers every year. I think the arrival of Jim Thome and then Ryan Howard took the pressure off Burrell and he became, once again, quite the fan favorite.

From those majestic home runs off Mets closers (especially "The Rat" Billy Wagner) to the lead-off double in the 7th inning of Game 5 that, by a cruel twist of fate, was hit to the deepest part of Citizen's Bank Park to leading the parade down Broad Street, thanks for the memories Pat.

This auto is a pretty standard Burrell issue PBll. It's recognizable, at least to me, and unique. I enjoy the slightly darker background on the gold version as opposed to the stark white of the base autograph. I love the picture. It's an admiration of a job well done on another ball smoked into the left field seats. The only thing I dislike about this card is that he is wearing number 33, which he wore in 2000. Ron Gant departed Philly after the 2000 season and Burrell took his number 5 and his spot in left field.

I look forward to collecting Burrell cards in a new uniform, as long as that uniform is not orange and blue. The move to a new team could mean more cards for Burrell. He's been pretty much the forgotten man in Philly as far as cards go, largely because most smaller sets don't get past the big four of Hamels, Howard, Utley, and Rollins. If he moves to the Reds or Giants (two of the teams he's been linked to), he would possibly make it into some of those smaller sets. As for me, I think I'm going to move onto one or two of the Phillies best prospects, like Lou Marson and Michael Taylor.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

2008 Topps Heritage High Numbers Frank Robinson

Who is this? Reds and Orioles legend Frank Robinson

What is this? An autograph card from 2008 Topps Baseball Updates & Highlights Presents 2008 Topps Heritage High Number Series, card number ROA-FR

Where'd I get it? I stopped into my local card shop to pick up a new super jumbo card box that I will be using in the course of my collection reorganization. I picked up three loose packs of Heritage High Numbers and this was in my second pack. And that kiddies is why I buy hobby.

How much did it cost? $3 for the pack

Why is this so special? It's Frank Robinson! Robinson retired with 586 home runs, behind only Mays, Ruth and Aaron at the time. He is the only person to win the MVP in both leagues and he won the Triple Crown and the World Series MVP in 1966. He also won the NL ROY in 1956. He was the first black manager in the majors and won the AL Manager of the Year Award in 1989. He was a first ballot Hall of Famer, being selected in 1982.

Here's the original 1959 Topps card, swiped from eBay:

Topps made a few changes to the card for the Heritage version. Gone is the McCarthy era "Redlegs" replaced with the proper Reds. Topps replaced Robinson's position with the words Topps Certified Autograph Issue and added the Heritage logo in the top right corner. Topps also removed the facsimile auto to make room for the real deal. Finally, the Heritage version is a much tighter version of the same photo, which has made the photo a little blurry, particularly on Robinson's face.

This is just a tremendous card and far and away the best autograph on the Heritage High Numbers checklist. Robinson is one of the greatest players of all time and this is certainly the best autograph I've ever pulled out of a loose pack. It also probably nudges out the Ernie Banks I pulled out of a box back in 2001. This pull also makes up for the two hitless boxes of 2006 Heritage I recently opened.

The auto itself is great - legible, noticeable on the card. The signature is also on-card, which is always a plus. Robinson's auto reminds me of a lot of the autographs of players from that era. It looks like handwriting as opposed to the illegible scrawls of many of today's players. Here's to you, Mr. Robinson.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Jeremy Giambi, Topps Heritage 2003.

Who is this? Jeremy Giambi, younger brother of Jason.

What is this? A 2003 Topps Heritage card.

Where'd I get it? Through the mail.

How much did it cost? Postage plus a few cents for the card.

Why is this so special? It made us wonder why if you're going to bother signing a card you would kind of deface your own photograph. We suspect that we mailed this a long time ago, before knowing much, including that Mr. Giambi got in trouble a while ago for use of marijuana and also steroids. Still, he was nice enough to sign the card and bother returning it. Still again, he signed it across his own face, thus obscuring the smile that probably led us to mail it in the first place. Sometimes, life is complicated.

Friday, December 5, 2008

1992-93 Upper Deck Wayne Gretzky

Who is this? The Great One, Wayne Gretzky.

What is this? An autograph card from 1992-93 Upper Deck, card number 33.

Where'd I get it? Out of a pack of 92-93 Upper Deck.

How much did it cost? Whatever the pack cost, plus two stamps.

Why is this so special? Because it's WAYNE GRETZKY!!! As a kid growing up in Kansas, I only knew of one hockey player and it was the Great One. Gretzky revolutionized the sport of hockey. There was never anybody better before him and there will never be another one like him again. He scored over 200 points four times (that's averaging about 2.5 points per game) and had at least a point a game every season, except his final one. In the 1981-82 season, he scored 92 goals in 80 games. He currently holds 60 NHL records, including most goals, points, and assists in the regular season and career. In fact, he has over a 1000 more points than the second place guy (Mark Messier) and even has more assists than Messier has points. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame eight months after hanging up the skates. These days, he's the head coach of the Phoenix Coyotes (and part owner, I believe).

I got this card signed through the mail in the early '90s. In fact, just about every card I will be showing on here was signed through the mail in the early '90s. The card was a pretty cool card that celebrated him getting 1500 assists. On the front is a painted picture with three Gretzky's on it. One was a close-up of his face and the other two were full-bodies of him, one as a King and one as an Oiler. There was 1500 in the background. You can see the card front here. As you can see, it would have been a great card to get signed. And it was, but on the back? WTF Wayne? Who the Hell signs the back of their cards? Oh well, it is the Great One.

I read somewhere that Wayne still signs through the mail, but some people think that it is done with an autopen. That may be the case now. But if you compare the suspected autopen signature to the one on this card, they are completely different. Do I know %100 that this card was signed by Wayne? Of course not. But it is still my prime hockey autographs and I am very glad to have it in my collection.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

1972 topps ron cey (with ben ogilvie and bernie williams)

Who is this? the penguin, ron cey

What is this? an autographed 1972 topps rookie card

Where'd I get it? from kit young sportscards mail order catalog about 14 years ago

How much did it cost? i think i paid around $20

Why is this so special? ron cey was the third baseman for the long lasting dodger infield of my youth, that's why. actually, the penguin was arguably the dodgers' best player during his tenure. he was the los angeles dodgers career home run leader until eric karros came along.
this card is his rookie card, a high number to boot. plus it features ben ogilivie and (not that) bernie williams. notice that he is listed as an outfielder. the entire dodger infield were converted from different positions - garvey from 3rd and russell, lopes and cey from the outfield.
cey would appear on another group rookie card in 1973, this time as a 3rd baseman with some guy named schmidt.
the auto itself is pretty nice - strong blue sharpie with cey's uniform number "10" inside the loop of the "R". pretty standard cey auto.

Monday, December 1, 2008

1992 Classic Four Sport Manon Rheaume

Who is this? Female hockey player, Manon Rheaume.

What is this? An autograph card from 1992 Classic Four Sport, card number 224.

Where'd I get it? Out of a pack in 1992, probably from a card shop.

How much did it cost? Whatever the pack cost, plus two stamps.

Why is this so special? As far as I know, this is the first female to play professional hockey with the big boys. During the 1992-93 season, Manon got into two games with the Atlanta Knights (Tampa Bay's top affiliate) of the old IHL. Unlike Cammie Granato, who was known as a good hockey player playing against other women, Manon made her name playing against guys.

I remember the media making a big deal out of this with Classic doing the same by making a ton of cards of her for a few different sets. I sent this card to the Knights. They must have forward the letter to her, since it was unlikely that I actually sent the card to her while she was with the team (life was rough before the internet). In here two games with the Knights, she played sixty-six minutes and gave up seven goals. Ouch.

The next few years she played a few games in the ECHL, PSHL, WCHL and two more games in the IHL (where she did much better than the first time around). All told, she played in twenty-two minor league games (according to

Well, I just checked her Wikipedia page and she was not the first women to play minor league hockey. But, she was the first one to play in an NHL exhibition game, which she did twice. So, that is even cooler.