Friday, November 28, 2008

Adam Virchis, Winston-Salem Warthogs.

Who is this? Why, it's Adam Virchis, Warthog.

What is this? A minor league baseball card. Did we mention Warthogs?

Where'd I get it? This came to us in October from the famous David at Indian Cards. Always.

How much did it cost? See above.

Why is this so special? We like minor league signed cards, but this one is extra great because of the wild grin; because the pitching motion itself doesn't look all that formidable--what exactly is going on here?; because Mr. Virchis has been affiliated with the White Sox organization for many years (he is still a scout there); and... the Warthog factor. EDIT: Did we forget to mention the pencil-thin mustache?

Thursday, November 27, 2008

2008 Timelines Nick Blackburn

Who is this? Twins pitcher Nick Blackburn.

What is this? An autograph card from 2008 Upper Deck Timelines, card number 201.

Where'd I get it? Retail pack from Wal-Mart.

How much did it cost? $1.99 for the pack.

Why is this so special? Last night I realized I hadn't bought the onions for Thanksgiving. I needed to bring a side to dinner and I was going to bring some creamed onions. I like onions, it's easy to make and it's something that no one else would make. Here's how to make it:

1lb pearl onions
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
2 cups milk
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
salt & pepper to taste

Get about a pound of pearl onions. I bought two packages of them at Wal-Mart which I think was a pound.
Boil some water. Put the onions in the water for about three minutes. A little longer will make them more tender, but harder to work with.
Take out the onions and rinse them in a cold water bath until they are cool.
Cut off the top and bottom of each onion and remove the peel.
Once the onions are all peeled, melt the butter in a pan on low heat.
When the butter is melted, slowly add the flour, stirring the whole time to make a roux. I didn't exactly measure the flour and butter, I just kind of eyeballed it. Don't cook too long because burned roux is not Good Eats. Stir it until it combines into a golden paste.
Sloooowly add the milk, stirring like mad the whole time. If you add the milk too fast you'll have lumpy gravy. Great album, lousy dinner. This I eyeballed as well, just add milk to the roux until it's the thickness you want. I like it thick.
Add salt and freshly cracked pepper to taste and stir in the parmesan.
Once the sauce is complete, add the onions and let it simmer for a few minutes.
Plate and eat!

So the plan was to make that, but I had no onions. I trucked out to Wally World late last night grumbling the whole way since I hadn't planned this out properly as usual. I got the onions, a couple of other things I was low on and swung by the card aisle, hoping to find some Stadium Club. No dice. This Wal-Mart always gets things two or three weeks after everyone else. They had some Timelines though, so I picked up three packs hoping to get a Timeless Teams short print to add to my Stadium collection. I got home and ripped. First pack, CC Sabathia with a Miller park back, sweet! Second pack, Jed Lowell, Fenway back. Dang, I've got Jacoby Ellsbury already. Third pack, rats. '94 All-Time Heroes Ryan Braun. No stadium back in that pack. Well, let's look at the other short print - whaaa? Autograph?

So that's how my Thanksgiving creamed onions dish got me an autographed card of Nick Blackburn, who looks like he could be a pretty decent major league pitcher for the Twins. It's a nice readable blue autograph on a shiny clear sticker that is placed in the dead center of a lightned space on the card reserved for the signature. Not bad, eh? There's one more reason to love onions.

2008 Upper Deck J.R. Towles

Who is this? Houston Astros catcher J.R. Towles

What is this? A signed 2008 Upper Deck season highlights cards

Where'd I get it? One of my trading partners got it signed at a Round Rock Express game this summer.

How much did it cost? I forget what I traded for it.

Why is this so special? J.R. Towles went all the way from A-ball to the majors in 2007. In September, Towles set a new Astros team record by driving in 8 runs in an 18-1 win against the St. Louis Cardinals. It looked like he would be a future star.

Well, he still might -- Towles doesn't turn 25 until June. But he didn't help his cause in 2008.  Towles was expected to be Houston's primary catcher this year, but he struggled at the plate. He batted just .137 with 4 home runs and 16 RBIs in 54 games over three different stints in the big leagues this year.

Towles doesn't have the best signature... it's really not much more than some squiggles.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

1990 donruss bob tewksbury

Who is this? bob tewksbury

What is this? an autographed 1990 donruss card

Where'd I get it? perhaps the tewks fairy? i really don't remember. in person at twinsfest or through a trade, most likely.

How much did it cost? not much, i am sure.

Why is this so special? i really like this card. the red border complements the red in the cardinals uniform, and the signature is strong in blue.
bob tewksbury pitched for the twins in 1998, and i saw him go against the cardinals one stormy day in the metrodome. this was during mark mcgwire's home run chase, so the dome was packed. tewksbury had been quoted as saying he was not afraid to use the eephus pitch, and sure enough, he threw it to mcgwire. i think mcgwire grounded out.
he was also part of the 96 padres, who, led by ken caminiti, beat the dodgers for the nl west title. but i won't hold that against him.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

2004 Donruss Estrellas Tim Hudson

Who is this? Braves (and formerly A's) pitcher Tim Hudson.

What is this? An autographed 2004 Donruss Estrellas card.

Where'd I get it? Trade with

How much did it cost? Not much.

Why is this so special? This card came me via Andy from 78 Topps Cards who got it from avid from TribeCards who traded it for a book offered up by Andy on his 88 Topps Cards blog. Now it's with me and will not be going anywhere. Donruss Estrellas was a neat Spanish language set that Donruss put out in 2004. Pacific used to have the monopoly on Spanish language cards, but I guess Donruss picked up the banner when Pacific flopped. This is a simple, attractive set with a few insert sets to chase. I'm not sure exactly where the autograph came from though. There weren't any autograph inserts in that set so this is probably a TTM or spring training autograph. Or is it? Could this just be some fool scribbling on a card? Well, here's a bunch of autos for comparison. Let's see, Big loop to start off? Yep. Two lines for the H? Check. A smaller loop followed by a flourish at the end? Yessiree Bob. Eh, that's good enough for me. If it's not Tim, it's the work of a master forger and I'm a bigger fan of criminal masterminds than I am of All-Star pitchers. Don't count out a master forger creating this masterpiece, with some luck Tim might be able to come back from Tommy John surgery by the end of next year and then this sucker will be worth TENS of cents. Muahaha! I love when an evil plan comes together.

1990-91 Hoops Drazen Petrovic

Who is this? Hall of Fame basketball player, Drazen Petrovic.

What is this? A signed card from the 1990-91 Hoops set, card number 248.

Where'd I get it? I got it through the mail in either 1991 or '92.

How much did it cost? Got it out of a 50 cent pack, plus two 29 cent stamps.

Why is this so special? It's the late, great, Drazen Petrovic. Just like the team he is representing on this card, Petrovic blazed a trail for every European basketball player that has made it to the NBA. I'm not a big enough NBA fan to know if he was the first Euorpean in the league or not, but I do know that he was the first good one. He's the one that made people realize that there might be some talent on the other side of the pond after all.

This card shows Petrovic as a Trailblazer, but he was better known as a Net. That's who he was playing for when I got this card signed. This signature is hard to see because it's signed with a ball point pen. He put #3 under his name, but unless the light hits it right, all you can see is the # on his shin.

For his '92-93 season, Petrovic was named to the All-NBA third team. He averaged 22.3 PPG and shot 45% from beyond the arc. He was in the top thirteen in scoring, but failed to make the All-Star team. That summer he was in a fatal car accident in Germany. He died at the age of 28. In 2003, he was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame.

I remeber Petrovic mostly for his 92-93 season. That season, he was the most consistent player on my fantasy team. The league owners consisted of the players on my middle school basketball team and Drazen, Shawn Kemp, and Clyde Drexler led me to the championship that year. That was the first and last time I played fantasy basketball.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

1996 Fleer Pat Listach

Who is this? Pat Listach, a utility player for the Milwaukee Brewers and Houston Astros in the 1990s

What is this? A signed 1996 Fleer card

Where'd I get it? One of my trading partners got it signed for me at the ballpark this season when Listach was managing the Iowa Cubs

How much did it cost? I'm not quite sure what I traded for it.

Why is this so special? Pat Listach was the 1992 American League Rookie of the Year for the Milwaukee Brewers. He had the best season of his career as the Brewers' full-time shortstop, batting .290 with 1 home run, 47 RBIs and 54 stolen bases.

After managing the Iowa Cubs for the past two seasons, Listach will become the Washington Nationals' third base coach in 2009.

The autograph is reasonably clear for a modern player's, but I don't think Listach will be winning any penmanship awards.

Friday, November 21, 2008

2004 upper deck legends timeless teams mickey hatcher

Who is this? mickey hatcher

What is this? an autograph card from 2004 upper deck legends timeless teams

Where'd I get it? ebay

How much did it cost? about $6

Why is this so special? mickey hatcher is one of the stunt men. the backups, pine-riders, role players - whatever you want to call the guys who come of the bench and/or spot start. in 1988, he got the start in left field when kirk gibson couldn't play in game 1 of the world series. all the hatch did was hit a 2-run homer in the bottom of the first, and almost overtake steve sax on the basepaths.

mickey came up through the dodgers' organization. i remember listening to the game he made his major league debut in - i believe his first at bat was with the bases loaded. a chance to do something special. he walked.

traded to the twins for ken landreaux, hatcher missed out on the dodgers 1981 world series championship. then, he was released by the twins and signed with the dodgers prior to the 1987 season. this means, of course, he missed out on the twinkies' first championship, too. so it was nice to see hatcher get his ring in 1988 after just missing out twice.

now a coach with the angels, i had a chance to meet him at spring training this past season. a nice guy all around.

the auto here is nice and clean, on the card and pretty darn cool looking. i love this set, and am glad upper deck is using it again in their current timeline release.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Index Card Brad Komminsk

Who is this? Braves boondoggle Brad Komminsk.

What is this? An autographed index card.

Where'd I get it? BP Sports Card Show 11/16/08.

How much did it cost? A quarter.

Why is this so special? There were several Brad Komminsk autographs in the binder where I found this one, but I purposely picked the ugliest one as it represents Brad's career better. This card wasn't actually signed in lime green, it most likely was black ink that faded after being left out in the light. Brad is the epitome of AAAA player as he utterly ruined pitchers in Triple-A, but couldn't hit his weight in the majors. I'm not exaggerating about that, his lifetime batting average was .218. He was a first round draft pick though and he killed in the minors so he ended up being the future franchise for the Bravos back in the early 80's. Even Hank Aaron labeled him a "can't miss" player and... wait, what does that say?!

In 1983, the Braves reportedly turned down a trade offer that would have sent Komminsk to the Boston Red Sox for Jim Rice.


Ugh... I'm gonna be violently and copiously sick. I-I'm sorry folks, I can't write about Brad Komminsk anymore. I have to go cry for a few weeks.

Oh. God.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Sports World Ministries Herman Weaver

Who is this? Tennessee punter Herman Weaver.

What is this? Um...

Where'd I get it? BP Sports Card Show 11/16/08.

How much did it cost? Ten cents.

Why is this so special? So what is this thing? Answer: I DON'T KNOW. I picked this card up last Sunday at the card show in a dime box if you can believe it. I don't really know how to explain this thing, so I'll describe the card first.

This is not a licensed card obviously, as evidenced by the total lack of logos. It's a simple enough design to look fairly legit though. If the number 18 in the top right corner and the 92 on the jersey is confusing, the 18 was Herman's Pro number. The back is simple white text and a crude drawing of Herm. The back notes that Herman was "one of the top 20 Punters of all time" as chosen by the Sporting news in 1988. The personal info talks about how he used to booze it up in high school due to peer pressure but then he found God and asked the Lord to come into his life. We now know that this is not a Beckett promotional card 'cause Beckett's the DEVIL. Ha ha! I made a blasphemous joke! The testimony is explained by the "Sports World Ministries Inc. Box 500 Tazewell TN 37825" line on the side. Sports World is a ministry that uses former NFL players as motivational speakers that speak to students and Herman is on the list. As for the "Preferred Risk Group / West Desmoines Iowa / America's nondrinkers insurance company" I guess they sponsored the cards? Anyway, it's a really oddball card, that's for sure.

Herman is easier to write about. He was a punter for Tennessee and went on to kick for the Lions and Seahawks in the NFL. He has a great nickname: THUNDERFOOT. He lasted 11 years in the league, and even holds an NFL record! Unfortunately it's for most blocked punts in a career. Sounds more like Blunderfoot. Hey, he played for the Lions... gotta expect bad things to happen in Detroit. I'm pretty sure I've got one of his legit cards somewhere, I just didn't know I had a card of THUNDERFOOT before now. Like I said, Herm is now a motivational speaker, you can see a somewhat jaded look at his work here. At least he doesn't live in a van down by the river. It's a pretty pedestrian signature, both names start off strong, but devolve into squiggles. Still, an NFL autograph for a dime, can't beat that.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Index Card Felix Fermin

Who is this? Indians shortstop Felix Fermin.

What is this? An autographed index card.

Where'd I get it? BP Sports Card Show 11/16/08.

How much did it cost? Twenty-five cents.

Why is this so special? I totally got this guy confused with Braves shortstop Felix Millan. Oops. Felix wasn't a bad player... he was a terrible hitter, but not a bad player. He knew how to bunt. He was good at defense. I remember him most with the Indians, but he played with the Pirates, Cubs and Mariners as well. He was with the '95 Mariners division winning team that lost to the Indians in the ALCS. The dude is a great manager too as he's won five Dominican league titles and one Mexican league title. So I got the wrong cat-like shortstop. It's still a decent autograph.

So what's up with the index card? Well, a lot of people collect signatures that way. They are easier to send through the mail for one thing. I didn't send it through the mail though, I bought it from a dealer at a card show. He had a bunch of cheap sigs on index cards and bumper stickers and stuff, so I picked up a few of 'em. It's an uncertified auto on a blank index card, but to paraphrase Lewis Grizzard, "It didn't cost but a quarter". The signature looks like the other ones I've found online so it's either legit or a master forgery. It's a nice signature too, starts off strong with bold Fs and Felix gives up on his last name and just scribbles away. I do that too. The bell in my last name just turns into a bunch of loops just like Fermin is now Feeeeeeeeen. I'd say it's worth a quarter. I got a whole post out of it after all!

1989 Pro Set William Perry

Who is this? Bears legend William "The Refrigerator" Perry

What is this? An autographed card from 1989 Pro Set, card number 445.

Where'd I get it? I got this card signed at an Oklahoma Redhawks game this past summer.

How much did it cost? The autograph was free. The card came out of a 50 cent pack in 1989.

Why is this so special? It's "THE FRIDGE"! Without even going back and looking at all of the previous posts on here, I can guarantee that none of the players featured had a G.I. Joe action figure made of them. But, The Fridge did. He even came with a medieval-style mace with a football on the end of the chain.

Besides that, he was one of the main members of the great 1985 Super Bowl winning (and shuffling) Chicago Bears. He also has more Super Bowl touchdowns than the great Walter Payton. He was one of the few 300+ pound players in the NFL in the mid-80s. Because of that, Mike Ditka would throw Perry in at fullback on short yard situations. He had five rushes during the regular season that year for seven yards and two touchdowns. He added a touchdown in the Super Bowl and even tried to pass a ball on an option pass play, but was tackled for a loss instead.

At the baseball game where I got this autograph, The Fridge was not looking very well. He had lost lots of weight from his playing days, which is good, but he was in a wheel chair. He even had a hard time holding the pens to sign with. He had to hold it between his thumb and forefinger. It's hard to explain, but it looked like he was holding chopsticks with two fingers. But, he was in good spirits. He was talking to the fans and taking pictures with them. He even signed two cards for me, which I wasn't expecting. Later on, I learned that he was suffering from Guillain-Barré syndrome. It's a complicated disease that is too hard to explain, but you can read more about it here.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

2000 Upper Deck Ruben Mateo

Who is this? Ruben Mateo, an outfielder who played for the Texas Rangers, Cincinnati Reds, Pittsburgh Pirates and Kansas City Royals from 1999-2004

What is this? A 2000 Upper Deck card that has been signed by Ruben Mateo

Where'd I get it? I got this card signed during the pre-game autograph session before the last Newark Bears game of the season this year.

How much did it cost? I think the card cost a dime. The autograph was free.

Why is this so special? Ruben Mateo didn't have a particularly impressive big league career. On the other hand, the independent Atlantic League where the Bears play isn't exactly the majors. Mateo hit 16 home runs in 50 games this year, and always seemed willing to interact with the fans and sign autographs.

The autograph is really more of a stylized mark than a true signature. I can interpret that first part as an "R" if I stretch my imagination a little, but the only part that's truly legible is the number 19.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Topps Heritage 2007, Mark McLemore.

Who is this? Pitcher...Mark McLemore.

What is this? An autograph card from 2007 Topps Heritage, based on 1952 Topps.

Where'd I get it? Big box store. Little blaster box.

How much did it cost? Fraction of blaster. AKA 'FraBla.'

Why is this so special? Mr. McLemore made his big league debut by pitching one inning of relief against the Diamondbacks. Period. He is wandering in free agent purgatory right now. But the combination of this card's design, its background celebrating flora, the sharp photography, and that sweet signature make this a pleasing card no matter who he is playing for now. Number 52S-MM has that classic card aesthetic.

Friday, November 14, 2008

1999 upper deck retro inkredible steve garvey

Who is this? steve garvey

What is this? an autograph card from 1999 upper deck retro

Where'd I get it? ebay

How much did it cost? i don't remember. i may have overpaid.

Why is this so special? steve garvey was my favorite player. he is the "g" in "gcrl". he led the dodgers to 4 world series in 8 years, was the national league mvp in 1974, won gold gloves (meaningless, i know) from 1974-1977, a ten-time all star and a two-time all star game mvp (again, meaningless), and a two-time nlcs mvp. he was, by all appearances, the all-american guy. i have a ridiculous number of steve garvey cards, inserts, variations, autos, relics, etc.

plus, this is the first card i ever purchased on ebay.

as for the card itself, the little photo of garvey leaves a lot to be desired. there is such a huge space on the card for the autograph, it's almost as if upper deck expected steve to write a short paragraph on why he irritated so many of his teammates.

the signature, while off-centered on the writing surface, is crisp, blue, and on the actual card. no stickers back in the 20th century.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

1969 Topps Dennis Ribant

Who is this?
 Dennis Ribant, a pitcher for the New York Mets, Pittsburgh Pirates, Detroit Tigers, Chicago White Sox, St. Louis Cardinals and Cincinnati Reds (but not the Kansas City Royals) in the 1960s

What is this? An autographed 1969 Topps card

Where'd I get it? Dennis Ribant signed and returned a card that I mailed to him.

How much did it cost? 40 cents for the card, plus 84 cents postage

Why is this so special? Ribant had an unspectacular career in the Major Leagues, but he was the first Mets starting pitcher to finish a season with a winning record. In 1966, Ribant went 11-9 for a team that finished at 66-95. It was his best season in the big leagues. 

This card is interesting because Ribant never played a single regular season game for the Royals. After the 1968 season, Kansas City purchased Ribant from the Detroit Tigers. He went to spring training with them in 1969, and Topps managed to get his photo for this card. However, before Opening Day, the Royals sold Ribant to St. Louis.

Ribant has a nice, clean signature. You can make out every letter of his name. Try to do that with some modern players.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

1978 Topps Rowland Office

Who is this? Braves legend Rowland Office.

What is this? An autographed 1978 Topps card.

Where'd I get it? EBay or something.

How much did it cost? Probably not a whole lot.

Why is this so special? When I was a kid Rowland Office was the Expo who looked like the photographer surprised him on his 1981 Topps card. Today, Roland Office is the patron saint of my favorite Braves blog. Rowland was actually a mainstay of the Braves' outfield in thew '70s, although I didn't know that until much later. Rowland made is debut in 1972 as a nineteen year old, then returned to the Braves in 1974. He manned the outfield for 6 years before he was granted free agency and signed with Montreal. Rowland also played two games with the Yankees and was signed by the Phillies but never got called up to to club.

Rowland never put up great numbers with the Braves, but then again, no Brave did in the late '70s. He's better known today for his odd name and, um, unique looks. That whole late 70's team has always somewhat alien to me. I didn't really get pathologically obsessed with the Braves until about 1980 or '81, And I wasn't really interested in older Braves other than the Biggies like Aaron, Mathews and Spahn. Then when I started to appreciate more the older teams I dove into the really old ones like the 1914, 1935 and 1948 clubs. Then the '91 Braves hit like a tornado and I had a new set of players to obsess over. As a result, now I'm in my 30's and the Braves of the last '70s are still as foreign to me as they were when I was a kid looking at that '81 Topps card. I've had the cards for years, Rowland, Buzz Capra, Mickey Mahler, Marty Perez, Cito Gaston, Adrian Devine... but they never really connected with me (other than Knucksie, but his career crosses though several Braves eras) like the teams of the '80s.

A few years ago I came across a lot of 1978 Topps Braves cards, all autographed, on one of the auction sites. I knew a deal when I saw one and snatched it up. Now I have about a third of that that team set signed (including this guy, no relation) including Rowland. Now, the 1978 club will never be burned into my mind as indelably as the '82 squad, but this card of one of the icons from that era helps to provide a connection for me. By the way, you can barely see it against the dark warmup jacket, but the signature is gorgeous. Thick, bold and confident. You can see the signature better here, but it's not as nice looking as mine. Cood looking card, good looking sig. Office even manages to draw a walk on the back of his card. That's the way to get on base, Rowland!

Monday, November 10, 2008

1990 topps lance parrish

Who is this? lance parrish, catcher for the (then) california angels - better known as the catcher for the 1984 world champion detroit tigers

What is this? an "in person" autographed base card from 1990 topps aka (in my opinion) the ugliest topps set to date

Where'd I get it? in a trade i made with a co-worker about 12 years ago

How much did it cost? a lot. i traded a bunch of star wars stuff - the original stuff - figures, vehicles, etc. for a bunch of cards. i got a lot of cards, including a 1989 ud griffey jr and a 1971 topps nolan ryan, but i think i got the short end of the trade as time has passed

Why is this so special? is it special? lance did play in the dodgers organization late in his career, but never played in a game for the dodgers. he was a big part of the 1984 tigers, so he has that going for him.
here is my only lance parrish story. in 1989, i was living in orange county. i went to an angels/red sox game - jim abbot vs. roger clemens. i had clemens on my fantasy team, along with lance parrish. bottom of the first, parrish takes clemens deep - part of a 5 run first. clemens gets the hook after 2, and parrish goes hitless the rest of the way. turned out to be jim abbott's first career shutout.

2008 UD Baseball Heroes Ryan Theriot

Who is this? Chicago Cubs shortstop/second baseman Ryan Theriot.

What is this? An autograph card from 2008 Upper Deck Baseball Heroes numbered 025/150.

Where'd I get it? Out of a pack of UD Heroes I purchased a few months ago.

How much did it cost? Maybe $4.50 or $5 for the pack.

Why is this so special? Ryan "The Riot" has been a pretty solid middle infielder for the Cubs these last few years. I've always seen him as a throwback kind of middle infielder with good contact and very little pop in his bat. He doesn't fit in with today's shortstops and second basemen - guys like Utley, Uggla, Kinsler, and Hanley Ramirez, each of whom has at least as many as Theriot's 14 career home runs just this year. Despite the lack of pop, you can't argue with Theriot's .307 BA and .387 OBP last year. The Riot should be a pretty solid player for a long time.

Upper Deck tells me that Ryan Theriot signed the sticker that they have conveniently placed upon my Heroes card, but I could swear that it was signed by somebody named B Uit 2. I'm pretty sure that the 2 is for his jersey number, but that's the only thing that makes sense out of this auto. The signature could be much better, or even recognizable as Theriot's.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

1985 Donruss John Wockenfuss


Who is this? John Wockenfuss

What is this? An autograph card from 1985 Donruss (#549)

Where'd I get it? Out of one of those Tristar "Junk Wax and OMG AN AUTOGRAPH" boxes they used to sell at Walmart.

How much did it cost? The box cost $20.

Why is this so special? I think this was the first autographed card I ever found. As I've stated before, I'm a sucker for anything that has to do with baseball cards. I can even open Tristar boxes and be happy with what I got. Also, he was born in West By God Virginia!

Johnny B. Goode... er, Wockenfuss was born in Welch, WV. He was drafted by the Senators in 1967, but didn't make it to the bigs until '74. He was a fan favorite in Detroit, but he didn't do much in Philadelphia. He only played 118 games over 2 seasons with the Phillies.

I like the fact that he was able to fit his whole name on the card (even though he had to turn it diagonally to do so), and his signature is extremely legible.

In conclusion, even though this isn't my favorite autograph in my collection, it was (probably) my first, and as such, it holds a special place in my collection.

Oh, and check out his horseshoe mustache!

2008 Topps Stadium Club Jeff Niemann

Who is this? Tampa Bay Rays prospect Jeff Niemann

What is this? An autograph card from 2008 Topps Stadium Club, card number 159

Where'd I get it? Out of a pack of Stadium Club

How much did it cost? $29/pack

Why is this so special? When I got to my local card shop (J&L SportsCards in Charlottesville, VA), I was tempted into purchasing two packs of the new high-end Stadium Club. The price is a little steep for a prospect auto and two or three numbered cards, but the photography is great, as usual.

Niemann is one big dude - 6'9" 280 lbs. He was the fourth overall draft pick of the former Devil Rays in 2004 out of Rice University. He made his major league debut with the Rays back in April but was optioned back to Durham a week later. His minor league stats show that he's still a pretty solid prospect, averaging about a strike out an inning with a sub 4.00 ERA. Despite his impressive minor league numbers, he's probably blocked by that solid, young rotation in Tampa Bay. Look for him to show up elsewhere in the next year or two.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Joel Hanrahan Topps Heritage card TTM.

Who is this? Joel Hanrahan, right-handed pitcher for the Washington Nationals. He ended the 2008 season promoted to the position of closer; he had 93 strikeouts in 84.1 innings pitched.

What is this? A Topps Heritage (based on the 1952 design) rookie card.

Where'd I get it? First in a pack, then returned from Hanrahan through the mail.

How much did it cost? Fraction of pack cost plus two first-class stamps for TTM.

Why is this so special? Because our daughter Lucy's second favorite team after the Mets is the Washington Nationals. She just likes them. And the only baseball card collecting experience more enjoyable for us than finding a fun card in a pack--GU, auto, or whatever--is receiving an autograph through the mail. It lends at least the illusion of a personal connection to the player, especially when they add a note or personalize the signature. You can't imagine how much fun this is for a kid learning about baseball. As for Topps Heritage: they are built like cards of yore. Cardboard, no gloss, no refractometry. Just player picture and card design. And...they have never met a Sharpie they didn't like.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

corey koskie has a message

Who is this? former twins third baseman corey koskie

What is this? A 2001 topps base card signed by koskie

Where'd I get it? this was a through the mail success (took about a year, though)

How much did it cost? i think i got the card in a hobby pack, so i'm going to say about $0.20 plus a couple of stamps

Why is this so special? my son was born in 2000. i took him to his first game on july 1, 2001 - tigers vs. twins at the metrodome. we got there a little late (hey, i'm from southern california), and the twins were already at bat in the bottom of the first. the first batter we saw was corey koskie, who promptly hit a home run.

i have to admit that, even prior to the game, i felt a certain kinship to koskie, a manitoban, as my parents are both canadian. afterwards, i thought it would be nice to have a koskie memento from the game, and so i mailed a couple of cards to him at the metrodome. about a year later, he returned both cards. they were both signed, with an extra notation - matt 11:28-30.

the autograph itself is not so nice, in fact, the scripture notation is clearer on both cards. this is due, in part, to the cards i chose - there is a darkness to the background that makes the pen difficult to see.

corey had his best season that year, going 20/20 with over 100 rbi. after a few more years with the twins, he went on to play for the blue jays and the brewers before suffering a concussion in 2006 on a freak play. he hasn't played since, which is too bad. the last time i saw him was at twinsfest last year - not as a former player signing autographs, but as a father with his kids enjoying the activities on the field of the metrodome.

i have to admit, i still haven't looked up the scripture. sorry corey.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Do You Want To Write For Auto-Matic for the People?

If you do...

Follow the following steps:

1) Send me an e-mail at dayf13 at gmail dot com.

2) Await a follow up e-mail with the ground rules.

3) If the rules are ok with you, accept the invite I will send.

4) Start writing.

That's it, pull out your autograph cards and get a postin'!