Monday, February 8, 2021
For me, as great of a game as baseball is, just on its own merits, the game is also about the moments. This one harkens back to the 1960 World Series between the Pittsburgh Pirates and New York Yankees. Mazeroski's Game 7 home run still stands as the only Game 7 Walk-Off Home Run in Major League history, and the moment was captured in this photo, signed beautifully in blue ink. Mazeroski was inducted to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2001, and I'm sure I'll get my hands on a signed ball soon enough, but for now, this photo will sit proudly in my collection.
Thursday, January 28, 2021
In case anyone is still reading this...
I've had quite a few items over the years that I have managed to get my hands on. Once they came in, I did my due blogging diligence in scanning them, photographing them, and uploading them to a blogger post, to be completed later. Unfortunately, due to my severe procrastination, those posts never got completed.
So, in the interest of just getting those items out there, and showing off some pretty cool items, I'm just going to rapid-fire those bad boys here. Hopefully, I'll do a better job of keeping up with those in the future, but I've said that plenty of times in the past, so who knows.
I picked up this Matt Murray puck on a sale from Pittsburgh's Total Sports Enterprises a while back, and now that I finally got around to posting it, he is no longer with the team, as he was traded this past off-season, but before then, he backstopped the Penguins to Stanley Cup victories in 2016 and 2017.
Next, is a puck, from a short-lived Penguin, Nick Bjugstad. He played for the Penguins for just two seasons, but I had to get something of his, as he's a Minnesota native, and as luck would have it, is now playing for his homestate team, after being traded to the Minnesota Wild.
I picked up this Michael Pineda baseball from a FanHQ baseball draft, full of current and former Minnesota Twins players. I ended up being randomed a lower spot in the order, but it is always nice to get a ball from a guy I don't already have. Pineda has played for the Twins since the 2018 season and is signed through the end of 2021.
As a Cubs fan, I am supposed to hate the St. Louis Cardinals and everything associated with them, but I still decided to grab two autographed photos from a sale at St. Louis area's Collectors Corner. I got the Vince Coleman because not only is he a record-setting base stealer, but the photo looks amazing signed in blue. I also got Terry Pendleton, who was the 1991 National League MVP. Both were under 10 bucks a piece, which was too good of an offer to pass up.
Lastly, is an autographed LeVeon Bell photo that I got out of a mystery envelope from TSE. I got this right after his rookie season, after a great year with the Pittsburgh Steelers. However, since then, he has cut ties with the Steelers, played two tears with the Jets, and is now playing in the Super Bowl with the Kansas City Chiefs.
Friday, September 4, 2020
When things started shutting down with Covid-19, it also took down pretty much any opportunity for in-person signings. It didn't seem to affect the TTM part of the hobby too badly, though, and may have even helped, as some current players now had some extra time to catch up on old mail. One of those players, apparently, was Joe Pavelski, who signed and returned two TTM requests from me that I had long given up on. These were sent out in December of 2015 and October of 2016 when he played for the San Jose Sharks, and made it back to my mailbox two weeks apart in April 2020, when he is now playing for the Dallas Stars.
Wednesday, September 2, 2020
Well, I have a lot of catching up to do here, as my blogs have been severely neglected, but I figured I should share with you my Spring Training autographs from last year.
We make the trip every year, as my family has a vacation house in Chandler, AZ, and we try our best to claim a time during Spring Training. Of course, with work and the kids in school, the scheduling can be pretty tricky, but with a couple exceptions, we make it every year. We actually made it this year, and got to one game before Covid shut the whole operation down.
I made it to two Chicago Cubs games in 2019, though. Of course, I absolutely love the sun, the warm beer, and the outfield grass seats at Mesa's Sloan Park. The other draw for me is the autographs from former MLB players. Cubs legend and Baseball Hall of Famer Fergie Jenkins hosts autograph signings behind the left field grass area to benefit his foundation, and I am always sure to grab a few when I attend games there.
The one I had already gotten in the past, but HAD to get that year, was Lee Smith. 2019 was a special one for him in particular, because we would be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame For many people, including me, the honor was a long time coming. He mastered the role of the closer in an era where that role was starting to develop, and was seen as the best one-inning pitcher in the game. I had gotten photos and a ball signed by him previously, but this time around, I had to get one with a Hall of Fame inscription.
Another guy I had to get a signature from was Bill Buckner. I got a ball signed by him in 2018, but decided to grab a photo from him last year. I know everyone remembers him for 1986, but that one mistake overshadows the fact that in his prime, he was one of the best hitters in the game, winning the National League batting title in 1980. In the couple of interactions that I had with him, Buckner was always a super friendly guy. Unfortunately, he would pass away just two months later after a battle with Lewy body dementia. It serves as a reminder, if you have the chance to meet somebody, take advantage of those opportunities, because you never know what will be your last chance.
There are a lot of regular guests there, who you will see at every game, every season, but there are also a few who make an appearance far less frequently. Oakland A's great Bert Campaneris is one of those. Campaneris is mostly known for playing for the A's for 12 years, winning three World Series from 1972-74. I had him inscribe the ball with one of his most unique accomplishments, when he played all nine positions in a game in 1965, and even pitched ambidextrously.
Another player who isn't one of the more frequent guests is former Kansas City Royal Willie Wilson. Wilson did play for the Cubs for two seasons in the 90s, but was mostly known for his accomplishments with the Royals, where he won the American League Batting Title in 1982 and a World Series with the team in 1985. I had him sign a 1989 Topps card for the set I'm working on.
Lastly were three balls I got signed by three regulars. Gary Matthews, Bob Dernier, and Pete LaCock are there almost as often as Fergie, but I figured I might as well get some ink from them. I also had them add some inscriptions, recognizing Matthews' Rookie Of the Year award and Dernier's Golg Glove Award.
Well, I'm a year and a half late posting these, but I finally got to it. My autograph seeking hasn't been too fruitful this year, apart from a few private signings, and I've been kind of slow getting some TTM requests out. I'm trying to get myself motivated to work on all of this some more, as it is a wonderful hobby. I hope to have plenty more to show off in the near future.
Thursday, April 4, 2019
My wife and I made it to two Arizona Coyotes game, and after the second one, we stayed afterward to get a few autographs. The Coyotes beat the Calgary Flames 2-0, with both Jakob Chychrun and Clayton Keller scoring and Darcy Kuemper posting the shutout. Coyotes fans were also happy to see Flames goaltender Mike Smith get scored on, as they still haven't forgotten some of the comments he made about the team after being traded from the Coyotes in 2017.
We waited at the normal graphing spot right outside the exit of the underground parking garage, hoping that a good game would put the players in a good enough mood to stop and sign autographs on their way out of the arena. It would indeed be a good night, as five of them stopped and I was able to add a few great items to my collection.
Most of what I got were pucks. There were maybe 10 of us fans waiting, so there wasn't a whole lot of time to find out who a player is and dig out specific cards or photos, so pucks are always an easy way to go. The one exception would be for Alex Galchenyuk, who has a card each in two of the sets I am working on (2013-14 Score and 2014-15 Ultra), so I made sure to get those cards ready along with the puck. He was happy to sign all three items, and even asked if I wanted him to put his Canadiens number on the cards instead of his Coyotes number, since that is the team he is depicted on.
I always appreciate players taking the time to stop for us, as they have spent a full day at the arena and are probably eager to get home. There are always a few regular players who will stop after almost every game, but there is still enough variety each day, combined with a little bit of turnover every year, and I have managed to put together a good variety of players, with Jakob Chychrun being the only one of the five that night who had signed for me before. In addition to him, I was also able to get pucks signed by Christian Dvorak, Nicklas Hjalmarsson, and Jason Demers
Even without the autographs, I always have a great time at Coyotes games. The only drawback this time was that it seems like the ushers are more stringent about checking tickets for the lower-level seats. Our previous strategy about moving down from the cheap seats to the lower level may have to be revised before next year's games.
Tuesday, April 2, 2019
Tuesday, February 5, 2019
Anyway, my family and I made our annual trip to Arizona last Spring, and as luck would have it, there was time for one Arizona Coyotes game, when they hosted the St. Louis Blues. It ended up being quite the fun game as well, as the coyotes trounced the Blues 6-1. Six different Coyotes ended up each getting a goal that night, and afterward I hung around at the usual spot to get some autographs from the players as they left the arena.
Three players ended up stopping to sign, and here's a quick look at what I got