Who is this?Doug DeCinces, a third baseman for the the Baltimore Orioles and California Angels in the 1970s and 80s
What is this? An autographed card from the 1982 Fleer set
Where'd I get it? I wrote to DeCinces and asked him to sign it. I got it back about 10 days later.
How much did it cost? Postage, basically.
Why is this so special? Doug DeCinces who had to follow Brooks Robinson as the Baltimore Orioles' third baseman. While it couldn't have been an easy task, DeCinces did it well enough to get inducted into the team's Hall of Fame in 2006.
Over his 15 year career, DeCinces accumulated over 1500 hits, 237 home runs and over 800 RBI. He was an All-Star in 1983 and he won the Silver Slugger in 1982.
There aren't many fans of the early 1980s Fleer sets. There were a ton of errors and variations, and the photo quality really isn't all that it should be in a major league set. But that's part of the charm for me.
Most of the shots in the 1982 set don't really look like the work of professional photographers. They remind me more of the photos a fan might take with consumer-level equipment. Can't you imagine some fan with a field access pass asking DeCinces to pose for a quick photo when you see the shot on this card?
DeCinces has a reasonably neat autograph, but it looks a little cramped.
What is this? An autographed card from the 2009 Topps Heritage High Number Series
Where'd I get it? I wrote to Kawakami at the Braves' spring training camp and asked him to sign it. I got it back on Tuesday
How much did it cost? The card was about fifty cents, plus postage
Why is this so special? Kawakami had a decent, if not spectacular season for the Atlanta Braves last year. He started 25 games and appeared in seven more out of the bullpen. He finished the season with a 7-12 record and a 3.86 ERA. He also earned one save, by pitching four scoreless innings against the Mets in an 11-3 victory on Sept. 21. I was at that game.
In Japan, Kawakami was a star for the Chunichi Dragons. He was the Central League Rookie of the Year in 1998, when he went 15-6 with a 2.57 ERA.
In 2004, he had the best season of his career - 17-7 with a 3.32 ERA. He helped the Dragons to win a Central League title, was named the league MVP and took home the Eiji Sawamura Award given to the best pitcher in Japan. He also threw a no-hitter.
In 2006, Kawakami again won 17 and helped the Dragons to another Central League title.
Kawakami signed a quick version of his English signature in ballpoint. Fortunately, he was able to find a fairly light spot to sign the card so the signature is pretty visible.
What is this? An autographed card from the 1991 Leaf set
Where'd I get it? I wrote to Smith earlier this month and asked him to it
How much did it cost? Just postage, really. The card came out of a cheap wax box I bought a few years ago.
Why is this so special? I wrote about Smith's early career yesterday, when I showed you the 1982 Fleer card Smith signed. After wearing out his welcome in Kansas City, Smith signed a contract with the Atlanta Braves for the 1988 season.
Smith continued to struggle in his first year in Atlanta, but he rebounded in 1989 to win the National League Comeback Player of the Year award. He hit .315 with 21 home runs and 79 RBI and led the National League with a .415 on base percentage. Smith continued to be a starter for the Braves in 1990 and 1991, when they began their string of playoff appearances.
Smith settled back into a part-time role in his final year in Atlanta in 1992. He moved to Pittsburgh in 1993 and finished his career with Baltimore in 1994.
The 1991 Leaf set isn't one of the most exciting designs of the 90s, but this card looks great signed.
Who is this?Lonnie Smith, a former outfielder for the Philadelphia Phillies, St. Louis Cardinals, Kansas City Royals and Atlanta Braves
What is this? An autographed card from the 1982 Fleer set
Where'd I get it? I wrote to Smith a couple of weeks ago and asked him to sign it.
How much did it cost? Just postage.
Why is this so special? Lonnie Smith was a member of the 1980 World Series Champion Phillies. Though he was only a part time player, he had a good enough season to finish third in the Rookie of the Year balloting. Smith hit .339 with 3 home runs, 20 RBI and 33 stolen bases in 100 games.
Smith was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals before the 1982 season. He had an All-Star year for his new team, hitting .309 with 8 home runs, 69 RBI and 68 stolen bases. He led the league with 120 runs scored.
Smith had another good season in 1983, but his star was beginning to fade by 1984. He soon found himself on a new team, the Kansas City Royals.
Lonnie Smith has a surprisingly neat autograph, though this one is a little bit smudged. You don't see that too often on 1982 Fleer cards.
What is this? An autographed card from the 1969 Topps set
Where'd I get it? I wrote to Shaw and asked him to sign it for me earlier this month. I got it back today.
How much did it cost? Around a dollar for the card and postage costs
Why is this so special? Don Shaw's major league career wasn't spectacular -- he played for four different teams over five season, appearing in 138 games and earning a 13-14 record with a lifetime 4.01 ERA.
He has a unique claim to fame - he won the very first game in Montreal Expos history. The victory came at the expense of his former team, the New York Mets, on April 8, 1969.
The card is another great example of the Topps airbrushing skills common in the 1960s and 70s. Shaw was number 182 that year, so there weren't any photos of players in Expos uniforms when it was produced. I wonder if the card company even knew what the hats would look like.
Instead of showing Shaw's blue Mets cap, the airbrush artists decided to black everything out but the bill. If they'd only left the orange NY logo, we'd have the forerunner of the Mets' current alternate cap. :)
Shaw has a small, quick signature. It's easier to read on a lighter background, but his first name gets a little lost here because he signed in ballpoint.
Who is this?Frank Catalanotto, a utility player trying to win a bench spot on the New York Mets
What is this? An autographed card from the 2009 Topps set
Where'd I get it? I wrote to Catalanotto at Mets camp and asked him to sign it. I got it back today.
How much did it cost? About a dollar for the card and postage.
Why is this so special? Frank Catalanotto started playing professional baseball in 1992, back when George H.W. Bush was President, Microsoft was introducing Windows 3.1 to the world, and Jay Leno was beginning his run on the Tonight Show.
He's signed thousands and thousands of autographs since then, but he's still willing to take the time to scribble his name on cards that people mail to him. That's pretty amazing.
The first letter in his autograph looks more like a "P" than an "F," but maybe that's just me. :)
Who is this?Frank Catalanotto, a former Texas Rangers' utility player who is trying to win a job with the New York Mets this spring
What is this? An autographed card from the 2008 UDX Signatures insert set
Where'd I get it? Purchased at a local card show
How much did it cost? $5 (yes, I know I probably could have found a Frank Catalanotto autograph on eBay for 99 cents, but by the time I paid for shipping I wouldn't have saved that much.)
Why is this so special? Frank Catalanotto is a scrappy utility player who managed to make a nice career for himself in Major League Baseball. In 13 seasons, he has a career .292 batting average, 84 home runs an 456 RBI.
Catalanotto once went 6-for-6 in a game for the Toronto Blue Jays, setting a team record, and he's played for Italy in both World Baseball Classic tournaments.
For a guy with a long name, Catalanotto has a nice autograph. It might even look a little better if he wasn't trying to squeeze it on to Upper Deck's sticker.
Who is this?Matt Wood, a Hollywood sound editor and sometime voice actor
What is this? A photo of General Grievous, the half-alien, half-robot commander of the Trade Federation droid army in Star Wars: Clone Wars and Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith
Where'd I get it? I got the photo from OfficialPix, and I mailed it to Wood at an address that can be found online.
How much did it cost? Between postage and the cost of the photo, around $8 or $9.
Why is this so special? I grew up with Star Wars -- The Empire Strikes Back is the first movie I remember seeing in the theater. While the new movies don't hold the same place in my heart, it was fun to re-capture a little piece of my childhood again.
I loved all of the aliens and the droids when I was a kid, and I still do. Of the three new villains created for the prequel trilogy, Grievous was the coolest. Sure, Darth Maul had the cool tatoos and the double-bladed lightsaber, but Grievous could handle four lightsabers at one time!
I met Wood at a comic convention in New York a few years ago, and he seemed like a pleasant guy. He took the time to talk to everybody who lined up for his autograph, and he even did the General Grievous voice for some kids who asked.
Wood's signature isn't the most legible in the world, but he certainly made up for it by personalizing the photo and including a quote and his character name.
What is this? An autographed card from the 2009 BBM Second Version Japanese baseball card set
Where'd I get it? I've been buying up Ryota Igarashi's cards on eBay since the Mets signed him. I mailed a couple doubles to the Mets' spring training camp to see if Igarashi would sign them, and I got them back yesterday.
How much did it cost? I'd guess around $2 for the card and postage.
Why is this so special? Ryota Igarashi had a solid career in Japan, pitching for the Yakult Swallows for ten seasons. He won 45 games while losing 26 and saving 54 in 466 appearances.
Igarashi decided that he wanted to see how he could do in the majors and he signed a two-year contract with the Mets this off-season. Thanks to some stories on Yakyu Baka, an English-language Japanese baseball blog, I became a fan before I ever got to see Igarashi pitch. (YouTube video clips don't really count.)
I really hope that he is able to adjust to pitching in Major League Baseball... I think Igarashi will be a lot of fun to watch if he's successful.
I'm not sure if Igarashi has come up with an American version of his autograph yet, but I'm happy I got the Japanese version. I may not be able to read it, but I'm sure that someone could. That's a big improvement from the illegible signatures of many current players.
What is this? An autographed card from the 2009 Allen & Ginter set
Where'd I get it? I wrote to Duensing at Twins' spring training camp and asked him to sign it. I got it back on Saturday.
How much did it cost? The card cost about a quarter last fall.
Why is this so special? Duensing was part of the bronze medal-winning U.S. team in the 2008 Olympics, the final time the baseball would be a medal sport.
Duensing had a 5-2 record with a 3.64 record in his rookie season with the Twins in 2009. He split time between the bullpen and the starting rotation, and he helped the Twins reach the playoffs.
Because Scott Baker had to pitch in the 163rd game of the regular season to determine if the Twins or Tigers would be advancing to the post-season, Duensing got to start the ALDS against C.C. Sabathia. It was the only time I saw him pitch last season. Duensing did well enough the first time through the order, but he looked overmatched once the Yankees had gotten a look at his stuff.
Hopefully he will be part of more Twins' success in 2010.
This is the first personalized baseball card autograph I've gotten in a while. That's pretty cool.
Who is this?Fu-Te Ni, a relief pitcher for the Detroit Tigers
What is this? An autographed card from the 2009 Topps Heritage High Numbers set
Where'd I get it? I wrote to Ni at the Tigers' spring training camp and asked him to sign it. I got it back on Saturday
How much did it cost? I think the card cost about a quarter last fall.
Why is this so special? Fu-Te Ni is the sixth player from Taiwan to appear in a Major League Baseball game. He began his professional career with the Chinatrust Whales in 2007, but signed a minor league contract with the Tigers in 2009 after the Whales disbanded.
Ni was called up to the majors in June when Nate Robertson was injured, and he pitched well. He appeared in 36 games, striking out 21 in 31 innings and finishing with a 2.61 ERA.
I didn't see him pitch until the 163rd game of the season, the one game playoff between the Tigers and the Minnesota Twins. With the Tigers down 4-3 in the seventh inning and Joe Mauer on first base with one out, Ni came in to retire Jason Kubel to keep the Tigers in the game.
I'm not sure what's going on with Ni's signature. It's not English, but it doesn't look a lot like the traditional Chinese version of his name - 倪福德 - either. It's one of the more unique autographs I have in my collection.
Where'd I get it? I wrote to Uehara at the Orioles' spring training camp and asked him to sign it. I got it back on Saturday.
How much did it cost? I think the card cost about a quarter last fall.
Why is this so special? After a solid career in the Japanese Central League, Uehara decided to test his skills in America. He signed a tw0-year contract with the Baltimore Orioles before last season began.
Uehara made his major league debut on April 8, 2009, beating the Yankees at Camden Yards. He started 11 more games for the Orioles last year before his season was cut short by an elbow injury. He finished with a 2-4 record and a 4.05 ERA.
Uehara will be pitching out of the bullpen this season, a role he was used in later in his career in Japan.
I got the "Koji 19" version of Uehara's autograph on this card as well, but it's a little clearer than the one I posted yesterday.
I'm only putting autograph-related links in this blogroll. However, if you have a blog or a collector site not specifically about autographs, but with an autograph page or an "autograph" label on your blog posts, I'll put that link here.