Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Minnesota Sports Holiday Show Part 13: Framed Miracle on Ice 16x20 Signed by Neal Broten

A month and a week after the 2014 Minnesota Sports Holiday Show, I am FINALLY posting the last of the amazing items I was able to get my hands on. I posted most of my Neal Broten autographs a couple days ago, but there was one more item that I felt deserved its own post entirely.

I knew I wanted something of Neal to recognize his role on the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team, but I wasn't sure what. There were no USA pucks or jerseys, so I was pretty much left with 8x10s, which was perfectly fine with me. The question, then, was do I go for a celebration shot, or an individual action shot.

My question was answered when I saw two things.

First, I saw a celebration shot in a 16x20 size. I originally wanted this photo more than an individual shot, but the problem was, in 8x10 form, there is so much activity with so many people, that it everything just seems cramped. Blown up to twice that size, and everything fits perfectly.

Secondly, I saw their table of frames. They had frames already made for 16x20 and 8x10 sizes, and after browsing for a couple minutes, I found a frame that was exxentially designed to go with the very photo I was considering.

It didn't take me long to make that decision. After purchasing the autograph ticket, the photo, and the frame, I now have this beauty hanging up in my man cave:

It's an amazing piece, and serves as the perfect conclusion to a great collector's show. I had an absolute blast meeting all these current and former athletes, and the fees were some of the lowest I've seen anywhere for any show (five of the 13 signers were free!!!) I'm hoping that by calling this the "First Annual" show, that means there will be more to come, because you better believe I'll be showing up for the next one!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Minnesota Sports Holiday Show Part 12: Neal Broten

Last, but not least, is really the player I went to the Holiday Show to meet. Stanley Cup winner, NCAA National Champion, and Gold Medal winner Neal Broten was set to be signing autographs, and I was as happy as a Minnesota hockey fan could be.

My big dream, was to get an autograph to represent each of his hockey career highlights, as he is just one of two players in history to win an NCAA National Championship (1979, University of Minnesota), Olympic Gold Medal (1980, Team USA), and a Stanley Cup (1995, New Jersey Devils). What I was looking for was pucks of a similar design from each of those teams, but unfortunately, that proved to be an impossible task. Still, I was able to get my hands on a few items to get signed, including this Minnesota North Stars puck.

This 1995 Stanley Cup Champions puck is one that I already had in my collection. Seeing as how I'll probably never come in contact with anyone else from that team, I figured now would be a great time to get it signed.

I also wanted to pick up a photograph of his, as well. This one not only featured the bright green of the North Stars' away uniforms, but is an action shot with plenty of white space, to really make the signature stand out.

I also got the chance to have an up close look at his gold medal from 1980. It doesn't contain as much of the intricacies and flair of medals issued in more modern Olympic Games, but considering how important this one is in the world of sports, it is certainly a sight to behold.

I also wanted to be sure to get my picture taken with Broten. He was great with all of the fans there, and as friendly as could be. It was certainly a great experience overall, and I look forward to the next one.

Actually, I do have one more Broten item to show off, but that one deserves it's own post...

Monday, January 26, 2015

Minnesota Sports Holiday Show Part 11: Lou Nanne

Now that all the others are out of the way, let's get to the important guests from the Holiday Show: THE HOCKEY GUYS! Two former Minnesota North Stars players were there. The first was Lou Nanne, who signed a North Stars puck for me.

The reason the puck was smudged, was that they had one line for all the guests who were there at a particular time. Nanne was the first one I went to of his group, and seeing as how I arrived a bit late, I was about to run out of time before the first session was over, I had to hurry to get all four guys. Never really having dealt with a paint pen before, I just placed the puck in my bag and got my Minnesota Vikings mini helmet ready for Carl Eller to sign. Unfortunately, it got jostled around a bit in the bag, which led to it getting smudged. But I will say, it actually looks much better in person than it does in the scan.

After rushing around to get the four signers in the opening group (Nanne, Eller, Bob Lurtsema, and Scott Studwell), I had just enough time to get my picture taken with Nanne. There were plenty of fans there wearing their Vikings colors, so I'm sure Nanne was happy to at least see someone wearing the North Stars green and yellow.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Minnesota Sports Holiday Show Part 10: Pat Neshek Autographed Baseball

There was only one baseball player signing autographs at the Minnesota Sports Holiday Show, but I was sure to get Pat Neshek to sign a baseball for me. I even had him inscribe "2014 National League All-Star," to recognize his most recent MLB accomplishment.

Neshek just signed a two-year, $12.5 million contract with the Astros, but at this time last season, he didn't even know if he'd be playing in the majors. After struggling for the previous season with the Oakland Athletics, he became a free agent and signed with the St. Louis Cardinals to a minor league contract, with an invitation to Spring Training. He was hoping to catch on with the Cardinals as a right-handed specialist to come out of the bullpen against right handed batters. He increased his fastball velocity and began integrating a few other pitches, and became the set-up man for closer Trevor Rosenthal, and was selected to participate in the 2014 All-Star Game, being held in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Minnesota Sports Holiday Show Part 9: Carl Eller Autographed Mini Helmet

Closing out my Minnesota Vikings autographs from the MN Sports Holiday Show is Hall-of-Famer Carl Eller, one of the Vikings' famed "Purple People Eaters," who signed this mini helmet for me. 

Eller was the sixth overall pick in the 1964 NFL Draft when the Vikings picked him from the nearby University of Minnesota. He was selected to play in six Pro Bowls, and is the franchise leader in sacks, with 130.5, and had personal career high sack totals with 15 in both 1969 and 1977, with another 7 seasons totaling 10 or more. He was awarded the George S. Halas Trophy in 1971 as the NFL Defensive Player of the Year, and was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2004.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Minnesota Sports Holiday Show Part 8: Jim Marshall Autographed Mini Helmet

While I started off this series with a string of former Minnesota Vikings, and there are two more to go, both of whom were part of the famed "Purple People Eaters." The first is from Jim Marshall, who signed this mini helmet for me. 

Marshall was a fourth round draft pick in 1960 by the Cleveland Browns, but played just one season for the team, before being traded to the Vikings. He played for Minnesota from 1961-1979, and set NFL records for consecutive games (282) and games started (270). He is credited with 127 career sacks, second to fellow "Purple People Eater" Carl Eller, and is one of only 11 players to play in all four of the Vikings' Super Bowl Appearances.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Minnesota Sports Holiday Show Part 7: Caleb Truax Autographed 8x10, Plus a Title Belt Photo!

I'm not the biggest boxing fan in the world, but I still had a very cool interaction with boxer Caleb Truax at December's Minnesota Sports Holiday Show. He signed this 8x10 for me, and even inscribed his won/loss record along with the signature.

Truax is a native of Osseo, MN, and has a Sociology degree from the University of Minnesota. He made his professional boxing debut in 2007 with a second-round knockout of Ray Walker. His most recent fight was a TKO victory over Scott Sigmon. On September 21, 2013, Truax became the United States Boxing Association Middleweight Champion, when he scored a TKO victory over Cerresso Fort.

Truax brought the title with him to the show, and luckily, he allowed everyone to take pictures with it. I wasn't sure if it was proper for me to hold it, and didn't want to disrespect the title by it being held by somebody who didn't win it, but he assured me that it was ok. It's a great picture, and it's about the closest I'll ever get to a piece of hardware like that.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Minnesota Sports Holiday Show Part 6: Anthony Bennett Autographed Basketball & 8x10

The other half of the Minnesota Timberwolves duo at the Minnesota Sports Holiday Show was Anthony Bennett, who signed a basketball and a couple of photos for me.

Bennett was the number one overall selection of the 2013 NBA Draft by the Cleveland Cavaliers, becoming the first Canadian-born top pick in NBA history. Bennett played in 52 games of the 2013-14 season, but averaged just 4.2 points per game, and was traded to the Timberwolves this past off-season in the three-team deal that sent Kevin Love to Cleveland.

Here's the thing. I know Bennett, to put things lightly, isn't regarded as one of the best players to be selected with the top pick, as a 4.2 PPG rookie season would reflect. Still, the fact remains that he was still the top overall pick, and a part of history in that regard, so I will proudly display my autographs of this former number 1 pick.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Minnesota Sports Holiday Show Part 5: Shabazz Muhammad Autographed 8x10

Taking a short break from the football autographs (there will be more to come), the Minnesota Sports Holiday Show hosted two members of the Minnesota Timberwolves. One of those players, Shabazz Muhammad, signed this 8x10 photo.

Muhammad was selected in the first round (14th overall) in the 2013 NBA Draft after just one year of college basketball at UCLA. He began his rookie year with the Iowa Energy of the NBADL, but was called up in January, playing in 37 games with the Timberwolves, averaging 7.8 minutes played and 3.9 points per game.He has great;y improved this season, though, averaging 23.3 minutes and 13.7 points per game, and looks to be an important part of the Timbervolves' roster for years to come.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Minnesota Sports Holiday Show Part 4: Scott Studwell Autographed Mini Helmet

Next on the list of autographs obtained at the Minnesota Sports Holiday Show is former Minnesota Vikings linebacker Scott Studwell, who signed this Minnesota Vikings mini helmet.

Studwell was selected by the Minnesota Vikings in the ninth round (250th overall) in the 1977 NFL draft, and went on to have a lengthy career with the Vikings from 1977 to 1990. When Studwell retired he had the franchise record for tackles with 1,981 and still holds franchise records for single-season tackles (230 in 1981) and single-game tackles (24 against the Detroit Lions in 1985). He was selected to two Pro Bowls (1987, 1988), three All-Pro Teams (1984, 1988, 1989), and has been named to the Minnesota Vikings Ring of Honor. Studwell is still a Viking, and works for the team as the Director of College Scouting and is responsible for all of the team's preparations for each year's NFL Draft.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Minnesota Sports Holiday Show Part 3: Bob Lurtsema

I got quite a number of autographs at the First Annual Minnesota Sports Holiday Show back in December, but only three of those signatures were on cards. The first two, Dave Osborn and Rickey Young, have already been written about. The third was Bob Lurtsema, who signed this 1970 Topps card.

Lurtsema wasn't the most prolific player on the field, but his personality endeared him to football fans all over Minnesota, where he played for six years of his 11-year career, playing in two Super Bowls during that time. When his playing career was over, "Benchwarmer Bob" appeared in TCF Bank commercials and owned Benchwarmer Bob's Sports Cafe, which had two locations in the Twin Cities. He would later enter the world of professional wrestling with the AWA, first as a biased referee, most notably taking the side of The Trooper in a match against Mike Enos. He would later enter the ring as a competitor at AWA Twin Wars '90, teaming up with The Trooper and Brad Rheingans to defeat Tully Blanchard and the Destruction Crew (Mike Enos and Wayne Bloom).

I must say, of all the signers at the show, Lurtsema was having the most fun. He was constantly getting up to take pictures, talking across the room with the other signers, and even pulled me out of line to bring me to Lou Nanne's table when he saw I was wearing a Minnesota North Stars hoodie. He also brought his own photos to sign and give out to all who wanted one, which was great, because it allowed me to at least have one signed item of his as a Viking. If you look at the two, you can also see that he wrote different jersey numbers on the two items, to correspond with the jersey number he was photographed in on the item, which was really cool.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Minnesota Sports Holiday Show Part 2: Rickey Young

Alongside Dave Osborn at the Minnesota Sports Holiday Show was another former Vikings running back, Rickey Young, who signed this 1981 Topps card.

Young played college football at Jackson State, but he wasn't the best running back on his team. That distinction went to Walter Payton. Still, Young managed to do well enough to make it to the NFL, being drafted in the 7th round (164th overall) of the 1975 NFL draft by the San Diego Chargers. After three years in San Diego, he was traded to the Vikings, and in his first year in Minnesota, Young led the league in receptions, with 88. Young retired after the 1983 season, capping off a 9-year NFL career.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Minnesota Sports Holiday Show Part 1: Dave Osborn

On Dec. 20th, I made a four-hour drive to the Minneapolis area for the First Annual Minnesota Sports Holiday Show. The even was being held at the Rosedale Mall in Roseville, MN and featured 13 autograph guests who have some association with the state of Minnesota. The biggest representation was for the Minnesota Vikings, who had 7 players represented at the event, including Dave Osborn, who signed this 1971 Topps card.

Osborn not only has Minnesota connections, but North Dakota ones as well, as he played college football for the University of North Dakota. He was selected by Minnesota in the 13th round (176th overall) of the 1965 NFL draft. He played sparingly his rookie year, but found his busiest season to be 1967, when he ran for 972 yards on 215 carries, including one for 73 yards. He played 11 years for the Vikings before playing his final season in 1976 for the Green Bay Packers.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Books Signed by Adam Carolla & Bryan Bishop

As a man with an Ipod and some free time on his hands, I have become a big fan of podcasts, and the king of on-line audio entertainment is Adam Carolla. Most people remember him from shows like "The Man Show," and "Loveline," but Carolla has found himself at the forefront of an emerging artform, with his podcast reaching millions daily.

Apart from broadcasting five days a week, Carolla also performs live shows, has his own brand of wine (Mangria), and has written three books, each of which has become a New York Times best seller. His most recent book, "President Me," focuses on things he would change about this country in order to make it (in his eyes) a better place.

Recently, Carolla was offering a deal to his listeners, which allowed them, for just $10, to get their hands on an autographed copy of his second book, "Not Taco Bell Material," as his publisher was looking to get rid of their remaining surplus. Not only would people get an autographed copy of NTBM, but he would also sign book jackets of "President Me," for anyone who sent them in, so naturally, I had to get in on that.

I also sent in a book jacket of "Shrinkage" by Carolla's co-host Bryan Bishop, and he was nice enough to sign that for me as well. "Shrinkage" is the story of "Bald Bryan," as he deals with battling an in-operable brain tumor, while beginning a marriage and new career, and is a humorous look at a serious subject, and as much of a Carolla fan as I am, this is the book out of the three that I would recommend above the others.

I was so happy to get my hands on these items, as I have been listening to the Adam Carolla Show since its debut in 2009. Hopefully, I can make it to Minneapolis the next time they come do a live show, as they seem to make it up to the area once or twice a year.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Vladimir Terasenko Autographed Puck

Vladimir Terasenko is currently one of the hottest players in the NHL, so when I had the opportunity to get my hands on an autograph of his at a very reasonable price, I jumped at the chance. Especially considering that the card companies have given up on him sending back his autographed cards to fill redemptions, his signature can be a bit tough to come by.

St. Louis Sports Collectors was conducting the signing, and while I was nowhere near that location, they did take orders, and were even able to provide the puck, which was perfect for me. Now, they didn't have the quickest turnaround time, but a couple weeks later, a white box showed up in my mailbox and I now have this great item in my collection.