Friday, December 2, 2016

Autographs from My Weekend in Minneapolis

I had a great weekend over the Thanksgiving break. To start off, my wife and I celebrated out 10-year anniversary last Friday, the 25th, and of course, we went to a hockey game. It may be a tough sell for some to convince their wife to watch hockey on such a momentous day, but I am a die-hard Pittsburgh Penguins fan, and they were playing the Minnesota Wild on that very day. Knowing how important the once-per-year game is to me, she graciously agreed to go, and not only that, was actually looking forward to it.

We made the three-and-a-half-hour trip from Moorhead, MN to the Twin Cities, and met up with my cousin and a few friends, all proudly wearing the black and gold. We had a great time and enjoyed the event, but man, the Penguins were having an off day, and lost 6-2.

We stayed the night at my cousin's place in St. Paul, and the next day, she wanted to get some shopping done, so off we went. There are a number of malls in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area, many of which have sports memorabilia stores that host autograph signings. As luck would have it, there was a hockey one that very day, which meant that was the mall we would be heading to.

AME Sports just opened a new location at the Burnsville Center, which is just south of Minneapolis, and was hosting 1980 Olympic Hockey Team members Neal Broten and Buzz Schneider.

I was able to add Schneider to a 16x20 of the "Miracle on Ice" celebration that I got signed by Broten at an autograph signing two years ago. Schneider was part of the "Conehead" line with Mark Pavelich and John Harrington that would become the top scoring line of the 1980 Olympic Games. Of course, with the recent passing of Bob Suter, this is a project that will be impossible to finish, but it will still be fun to get as many as I can.

I already have Broten's autograph on a few items, including the main one above, but I still wanted to get something, so I found this really nice 8x10 collage featuring some of his notable career accomplishments, like the 1980 Olympic Gold Medal and 1995 Stanley Cup. He also won the NCAA Championship with the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers in 1979, and is only one of two players (Ed Belfour is the other) to win all three championships.

AME's Black Friday deals extended throughout the weekend, and one of their promotions was that with any $50 purchase, you would be put into a drawing for a free autographed item. Little detail was given apart from that, but being just $10 short of the mark, I figured I'd try and find something, just to see what happens. I ended up finding a Scott Stahoviak autographed baseball on clearance for $15, which was perfect. Stahoviak spent parts of five seasons in the majors, with his most notable being in 1996, when he played in 130 games, hitting .284, with 13 home runs and 61 RBIs.

Lastly was an item I almost didn't find, but I'm really glad I did. While I was waiting for my wife to finish shopping, I was browsing through their card binders. They had various items, from base cards, to memorabilia cards, to certified autographed cards, and even some in-person autographed cards from signings they have conducted in the past. I was looking to see if just maybe they'd have a signed card or two from a set that I'm working on, and sure enough, I found one, with this 2014-15 Ultra Erik Haula card. Luck was on my side, too, as I just missed sending this very card in to the signing they hosted just three weeks ago. Well, instead of spending $20 on the signing fee for the event, I managed to pick this one up for just $3!

That's it for this weekend's ink. I had a great day Friday, and another amazing day Saturday. Now, it's time to get back to reality, until another game or special event brings me back to the Twin Cities.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Private Signing with Raven and Justin Credible

A couple weeks ago, I had the opportunity to get a couple autographs of one of my all-time favorite professional wrestlers, when Past Pros and Power Trip Media hosted a signing with ECW legend Raven.

Now, I never watched ECW in its heyday, since it never aired anywhere near the Huston area, so my introduction to Raven was in WCW, when he formed The Flock with a bunch of WCW rejects. For me, I always loved his promo work. While most guys of that era where just spouting off catch phrases, Raven was way more poetic with his messages to his opponents. While his overall look would evolve over time, when I first saw him, it was the denim, flannel and leather of the '90s grunge movement, which also really appealed to me at the time. He eventually made it to the WWE, but never quite became the big name he was in the other two groups. I had him sign three cards, two WWE ones that I already had, and one WCW one that I purchased from the signing, as that was my favorite era of the Raven character.

Also signing with Raven that day was former ECW wrestler Justin Credible. Like Raven, he made it to the WWE, but his greatest accomplishments came while he was in ECW, where he was a World Heavyweight Champion and a two-time World Tag Team Champion. I had two cards of his that I sent in, but one got severely smudged. PastPros offered me a refund for that one, but the fee was only $2 a piece, which didn't really bother me enough to make a fuss over.

Being as big of a pro wrestling fan as I am, I am always surprised at how few wrestling autographs I have in my collection. Luckily, with companies like PastPros hosting so many signings, I have a great chance of adding to what I already have.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

TTM Return: Week Ending 11-26-16

I had just one TTM return this week from Boston Bruins prospect Tyler Randell

Saturday, November 19, 2016

TTM Returns: Week Ending 11-19-16

Here's a quick look at my TTM returns for the week ending November 19, 2016:

Nail Yakupov

Devan Dubnyk

Nikolay Goldobin

Brendan Ranford

Michael Mersch

Chandler Stephenson

Logan Shaw

Taylor Leier

Sunday, November 13, 2016

TTM Returns: Week Ending 11-12-16

Here's a quick look at my TTM returns for the week ending November 12, 2016:

Ryan Suter

Travis Moen

Alexandre Grenier

Dylan DeMelo

Saturday, November 5, 2016

TTM Returns: Week Ending 11-5-16

Here's a quick look at my TTM returns for the week ending November 5, 2016:

Joel Vermin

Gustav Olofsson

Petteri Lindbohm

Sam Brittain

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Ben Bishop Autographed Puck

Even though my Pittsburgh Penguins beat them in the Eastern Conference Finals last year, I still jumped at the chance to get my hands on an autographed puck of Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Ben Bishop when he did a signing with St. Louis Sports Collectors a couple of months ago.

I usually like to get the Official Game Pucks signed, but the only ones they had for purchase through the mail order were the "autograph pucks." When you consider the cost of purchasing one of my own, plus shipping both ways, it's much easier to go with the one they provide at an additional cost of just $4. Plus, it still looks great, and the signature came out pretty well. Admittedly, St. Louis Sports Collectors has earned a reputation of being very slow when it comes to returning mail orders, but their prices are some of the best out there, and I'm happy to add this to my collection.