Saturday, April 30, 2011

TTM #65- Orioles Greatness!

Hey guys, Drew back here! Yesterday, I finally got back from one of the best third basemen of all time in a through the mail I sent way back on March 4th. I was notified by William of a signing he was doing in which you could mail in items for $30 minimum (depending on what you requested to be signed) and get an autograph back! So, I'm questioning whether to consider this a TTM or not, because it's very similar to what I did to get Joe Morgan to sign for me. Anyway, check this out!

I was a little nervous of what was inside the envelope because it was really thick, but none the less it was just a letter thanking me for the purchase. If anyone is interested in trying out "The Dugout Zone" feel free to do so, because they're very good!

If you didn't notice by now, Brooks Robinson is the player that this envelope came back from! Brooks was recently having some health problems but fortunately he is ok for now and is back up and running. Above is my ticket for the autograph, I guess to perhaps use as a Certificate of Authenticity. 

Now for what you've all been waiting for, this is the result! I was biting my nails for a while in hopes that the card wouldn't come back damaged, as I sent it right during the end of my damaged custom era, but instead, it was almost in perfect condition! What a miracle! It came back in a toploader and team bag, so The Dugout Zone did a fantastic job for me on this one! Not only did he sign it, but he also inscribed his Hall of Fame year, and the autograph looks outstanding! Brooks joins many other Hall of Fame legends in my "Hall of Fame Heroes" set collection, as one day I hope to reach many, many more of them for my collection!

Brooks was totally worth the $30 in my opinion. An 18 time All Star, 1964 AL MVP, and a 16 Time Gold Glover just gives him the numbers that only Mike Schmidt and possibly Alex Rodriguez could ever reach. He may be the greatest 3rd baseman of all time, and I'm so fortunate that he was well enough to sign the card for me.

Thanks a ton to The Dugout Zone and Brooks Robinson! And also a big thanks to William for letting me know of this signing! See Ya!

Revealing the Mysterious Binder... A Little At a Time... Hammerin Hank!

Hey everyone, Drew back here. I've gone through the thickest jungle, sailed the highest waves in the ocean, and climbed the biggest mountain in the world to return to you guys. Over the past week, I've taken a load of tests and quizzes, played a ton of baseball, and have battled a pulled muscle in my back along with a very bad cold. However, while I'm still sick, and I still have to take tests, still playing baseball, I've got a little time to spare to write for you guys.

The newest installment of the series highlighting my unbelievable binder belongs to the true All Time Home Run King, Mr. Hank Aaron! Check out what I was able to pick up of his!

First were 2 cards from 1962 Post. Yes, the cereal brand. In the early 60's and scattered all around the later decades in the 20th century, Post was one of many oddball brand name companies to release cards. Obviously, cards used to come with gum, or even cigarettes or tobacco back in the early 1900's. These Post cards are hard to keep in good condition because it appears that they had to be cut out from a box of cereal for them to be free. While they don't have the value of early Topps cards from that time, the nostalgia is certainly there and I think they're pretty cool.

Next is one of the critical cards that I needed for my 1961 Topps set, Hank's base card! Of all the legends in the set, Hank Aaron is one of the top selling players, of course following Mantle, Maris, and even Clemente. It's a really nice card, based off of  a season in which he hit 40 home runs, which was just an average year for one of the best players in baseball history!

Finally, perhaps my favorite of the bunch is this 1959 Topps "Fence Busters" card of Aaron and fellow Hall of Fame slugger Eddie Mathews! Even in gem mint condition this card isn't worth as much as the 1961 card, but it is a gem to me. The photo isn't anything spectacular, but plain and simple, it is a card of 2 hitters who slugged a combined total of 1267 home runs, and 2 of the games greatest players.

I wish I could add an autograph of Hank to go along with these one day, and I know he'll be towards the top of my list. Stay tuned for the next segment of "Revealing the Mysterious Binder", and for now, I'm your host, Drew. See Ya!

Sunday, April 24, 2011


Hey guys, Drew back here. I got a TTM back late last week, but as soon as I knew who the player was, I was immediately disappointed. I sent to him not knowing the legitimacy of the autographs, but shortly after I sent it off I realized there was no possible way it was real.

Sure appears to be anything but an actual Mike Schmidt autograph. Here's an example of a legitimate Schmidt autograph: 

I sent the card to the Hall of Fame, where other collectors were receiving their cards from. Obviously this seems to be signed by a ghost signer, someone outside of the actual player. I would have honestly preferred to have received nothing back rather than something that wasn't even real. It was a waste of ink for me but taught a good lesson to myself and other TTM collectors. I hate to break it to you all, but some of the autographs you may receive through the mail can be phonies. These athletes/celebrities really tend to ruin all of the fun of the TTM hobby, which really sucks.

I'm planning on keeping the card most likely, just to show as an example, but just looking at it brings disappointment to my eyes. What do you think of the monstrosities that are fake autographs?

See Ya!

Friday, April 22, 2011

TTM #64- The Glove!

Hey guys, Drew back here. Yesterday was a great day for me, because I had gotten my first opportunity to play in a school game! The starting 1st baseman decided against running to first in anger after hitting an easy grounder, and coach wasn't a fan of that attitude, immediately calling me in to play at 1st base. As expected, I freaked out and had to grab everything in a matter of 5 seconds, due to all the excitement surrounding me. Finally. Well I made all of the right plays in the field, but then the big opportunity came up. My 1st at bat in high school baseball! I took the first pitch that bounced outside for a ball, but then got my pitch. It was a cold day, so I popped it up, but it managed to dunk into shallow right field for a single! I took second and third on wild pitches and scored when my friend Mike hit a grounder in the infield to score me. We ended up winning 7-0 and I'm so happy I got to play!

Anyway, I got a TTM a few days ago, check it out:

None other than "The Glove", former Seattle Supersonics, Bucks, Lakers, Celtics, and Heat point guard Gary Payton! Gary has been one of the more reliable signers in basketball of late, so I decided why not try to get an auto of his? The card came back signed in 9 days, signed nicely over the Miami Heat logo. I was a fan of the Heat before their mega stars joined together, back when the team consisted of Payton, Shaq, and Dwayne Wade. They won the championship in 2006 and haven't won since. Payton was the 1996 Defensive Player of the Year and a 9 time NBA All Star! He will most likely be elected into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame when his time comes to appear on the ballot, and I'm looking forward to his induction ceremony!

Thanks so much Gary! See Ya!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Texas Rangers Power Pickup!

Hey guys, Drew back here. It's the beginning of a new MLB season, so that means I'm going to spend more time focusing on picking up autographs of the current stars and Yankees! I just bought this card for my collection the other day, and it came in yesterday:

From 2008 UD Sweet Spot, it's an Adrian Beltre autographed card! Only numbered to 74, I was able to cheaply add an autograph of one of the top third basemen in the league. Fortunately, I was able to find this card of him during his short lived Mariners career rather than his Red Sox years that just recently ended. The Texas Rangers signed Beltre to a 6 year, $96 million dollar deal, most likely keeping him for the rest of his career. This year, after an awesome 2010 with Boston, he's started off hitting pretty well, a .254 average with 5 home runs and 16 runs batted in.

Overall, even if he's a former Sox player, I'm very happy to add another current star to my autograph collection. What do you think of the card?

See Ya!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

TTM #63- I dodged a "Bullet" with this one!

Hey guys, Drew back here, with my next TTM return. Over the last couple months, TTM-ing has probably been my most common subject in terms of posting, because I really do love that aspect of the hobby. I mean, who couldn't turn down autographs for typically just the price of postage? It's a very affordable and fun hobby, which is why I love it so much. Anyway, a few months ago, I wrote this former Yankee a letter asking for his autograph. Just weeks later, I got a RTS from the Postal Service, and almost gave up on trying him again. However, just last week I decided to try him one more time, and it sure paid off.

Former Yankees pitcher "Bullet" Bob Turley signed a custom for me! Turley was a great pitcher back in the 1950's and 1960's, during his 12 year career. Outside of the Yankees, Bullet Bob pitched for the Red Sox, Orioles, St. Louis Browns, and Angels. By far, his best season was in 1958 when he won the American League Cy Young award after posting a 21-7 record with a 2.97 ERA. He also won the World Series MVP that year when the Yankees won it all. 

He signed the card in 7 days for me, and it looks very nice signed in blue sharpie. His signature has a very cool look to it and I'm happy that I was finally able to add him to my Yankees Greats autograph collection!

See Ya!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Quite a Few Pack Breaks!

Hey guys, Drew back here. As I left off on Wednesday, I still only have my mom's laptop and a busy schedule to work on. However, I have been able to open a few packs over the past couple weeks. Take a look at my results:

First was a pack of 2010 Allen & Ginter. There really wasn't anything special in here, minus the Joel Pineiro A&G back mini and the Soriano insert. I already have the whole set so now the packs are just for fun.


I also got a pack of 2011 Topps Jumbo from Dad! We didn't hit anything overly spectacular, but a Swisher base, Mariano Rivera base, and the Jeter insert made it a hit for me. I unlocked a load of garbage with my code card, but thats ok I guess. I did get a few cards for my 2011 Topps set so I'm happy.

Finally, I opened about 4 packs of 2011 Topps Heritage! I really love the way these cards look this year, and I think I did fairly well with these. Sure, at about $5 a pack for some base cards and SP's may be a ripoff, but I think this is the most I've ever bought of a Heritage product. In Pack 1, I pulled a nice AL Win Leaders card starring CC Sabathia, David Price, and Jon Lester, as well as an SP of Roy Halladay.

Pack 2 provided pretty much nothing special, outside of a Miguel Cabrera card displaying his power and a card of Babe Ruth during his Twilight years as a Dodgers coach. I already pulled this card so I was a little disappointed to see it again, especially with all of the other Ruth cards I could have pulled from this product.

Pack 3 was perhaps the best, based on star power. You can never go wrong with pulling Chase Utley, Brian Roberts, Joe Mauer, and Prince Fielder base cards. Of course, I had to pull the AL Win Leaders card again, but I also got a rookie card of who may be the rookie of the year this year, Mr. Kyle Drabek of Toronto! I have him on my fantasy team and he's done nothing but good things so far in his few starts this season.

The last pack was pretty solid in my opinion, with base cards of Miguel Cabrera, Yadier Molina, and Jimmy "Red Hot" Rollins, who has started the season on fire for the Phillies! I also pulled a Lincecum card and a Chris Sale rookie card, so in my opinion I was pretty successful.

If you're curious in trading for any of the cards other than the Yankees, please leave me a comment and let me know. Thanks again Dad, and See Ya!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

TTM's #'s 61 and 62! Awesome Basketball Return!

Hey guys, Drew back here. Over the past few days I've received more signed cards in the mail, and as always, I brought them over to the scanner to share them with you all! Check them out:

First was former Yankees pitcher Bobby Shantz! If you remember, I recently got back from him just a few weeks ago, but the card he signed was very damaged. So, I sent him another letter, and he seemed happy to sign another custom for me! He also sent me another card, from the 2009 Diamond Signature set. It was inscribed "1952 A.L. MVP" and is an incredible bonus to go along with my card. The custom also looks much better, with only one small spot of damage that isn't too noticeable. 

In my previous post concerning Shantz, I wrote a little up about his career. You can check that out here. For the second time, the success only take 5 days, a ridiculously fast turnaround.

The second success was a sick one! Shaquille O'Neal signed 2 cards for me! Shaq has always been one of my favorite basketball players of all time, even though I don't really follow it too well. The 4 Time NBA champion and 2000 NBA MVP is a sure thing Hall of Famer once his career is all said and done. He's been elected to 15 All Star Games and took home the Game's MVP award 3 times! It's safe to say that Shaq has been the greatest center of the past decade but you can even consider him of the best centers of all time. 

Shaq has hit a hot streak in terms of signing autographs for the fans lately, but questions have been rising over the legitimacy that he was the one who actually signed it. I find it all to be rumors, because clearly both of my autographs look different from the other, plus I sent it to his home address while he stayed home on a road trip with an injury. In terms of the autographs, my custom looks pretty cool I have to say, and I'm happy he actually signed it anyway. However, the 04-05 Fleer Showcase card I've had stored away for years looks outstanding signed in silver sharpie! The success took just 7 days, which again is insanely fast, especially for an active player!

All in all I'm pumped to add Shaq to my autograph collection, as well as a replacement from Bobby Shantz! If you're curious in sending a letter to either player and need an address, let me know in the comments or shoot me an email. 

See Ya!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Revealing the Mysterious Binder... A Little At A Time... Say Hey Willie Edition!

Hey guys, Drew back here! I'm back to continue the mini-series I recently started, having to do with an incredible binder of cards that my dad got from a lady on Craigslist. She couldn't have found a more responsible and caring collector to pass her deceased father's collection down to than me, and I really appreciate all that she did for my collection! This time, we honor one of the/if not the greatest player to EVER play baseball, Mr. Willie Mays!

Mays played 22 seasons in his MLB career, spanning from 1951 to 1973, with a brief break in 1952 and all of 1953 when the Army drafted him for the Korean War. He spent over 20 seasons of his career with the New York/San Francisco Giants, and played the remainder of his games for the Mets. Of course, his 660 career home runs ranks him 4th of all time, behind Barry Bonds(*), Hank Aaron, and Babe Ruth, and his 3,283 hits ranks him 11th all time. He made 24 All Star teams, won 12 Gold Glove awards, 2 MVP Awards, a World Series Championship in 1954, and made some of the greatest plays of all time! To say that the "Say Hey Kid" is the greatest all around player baseball has ever seen can easily be backed up and agreed with!

We begin with Willie's 1961 Topps card! First off, this is a very good card for me to have, as it fills one of the biggest holes in my huge 1961 Topps set wantlist, but second, its a great card. Maybe had Mays been wearing a hat or looked a little more awake this card could have been nicer, but its still a card of Willie Mays! The card isn't in mint condition but it looks presentable, so that's fine with me. As long as it's not absolutely destroyed, I'm more than happy to add any vintage card.

Next are 2 cards that feature the exact same photo, Mays' 1968 and 1965 Topps cards. What a dumb move by Topps to use the same photo, especially one that he's not even looking in. It does make it easier to compare designs, and in this case, 1965 Topps obviously is my favorite of the 2. The scan cut off part of the right hand side of the 65 card, and both of the cards are in nice shape.

Lastly, here are 2 amazing cards from the 1967 Topps set. On the left is a beautiful base card of Mays, by far my favorite of the Mays cards I own. Everything is done perfectly on the card and its in great condition. On the right is a "Fence Busters" card featuring Mays and his slugging partner Willie McCovey! McCovey may not have been as legendary as Mays, but he also hit 521 homers in his career, and to say the two players are "Fence Busters" when they combined for 1,181 home runs in their careers makes 100% perfect sense!

"I was very blessed with a good body. Never got hurt. Never was in the hospital. The only time I was in the hospital was when I would get exhausted a little bit, and go in for a check-up or something." - Willie Mays

I actually recently watched an interview with Mays on the MLB Network. The "bitter and mean" person that many collectors make him out to be disappeared for a nice interview with Bob Costas, and it was really great to watch. God bless Willie Mays, now at 79 years young, The "Say Hey Kid" will always be remembered!

See Ya!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Nice eBay Pickup of My Favorite Player!

Hey guys, Drew back here. I decided to take another day off from school today due to my back injury, just so it could be better by tomorrow. I've been buying a lot off eBay throughout the last week, and I got one of the packages in already. Check it out:

From 2008 Upper Deck Premier, a Nick Swisher "Signature Premier" autographed card numbered out of 25! This is now my 9th Swisher autographed card in my collection of his, and I'm really happy to add it to the collection! It cost around $1o, a typical price for most of his autographs at this point. I hope to continue adding more of Swisher over the next few months, even if I have to look at that alien-like autograph!

Swish is batting .219 so far in 9 games this year, with 7 hits in 32 at bats. He hasn't hit his 1st home run yet, and appears to be struggling thus far in the season. Hopefully he gets it together and starts crushing it as he always does! Let's Go Yankees and Let's Go Swish!

See Ya!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

White Plains Card Show Recap 3/27/11! Part 4

Hey everyone, Drew back here. It's been a long, grueling battle to get myself back to this blog lately, with all of the baseball and school work going on. I've had this long term science project to do on Extinction Level Events for the past few weeks, and it has been by far the most boring stuff I've ever had to write a paper on. Also, I had a scrimmage for my town league yesterday, and I ended up going 4-4 with 3 singles, a walk, 2 RBI, and a huge triple over the left fielders head. I also got my opportunity to pitch, and I went 2.1 innings of scoreless baseball in relief of my starter. I struck out 3 and allowed 2 hits and 2 walks. Late last night, I was playing manhunt at my friend's house, and I ended up hurting my back by turning it funny, so I'm pretty sure I pulled a muscle in it. Nonetheless, here I am now, finally ready and able to finish off the final post on the White Plains Card Show. Without further adieu, let us continue!

After Dad, Mike, and I got some quick lunch at Nathans, the indoor mini fast food restaurant the Westchester County Center contains, Mike and I jumped in line. We began to start talking to a fellow collector in line, who was familiar with our school, and actually looked pretty familiar. He ended up being the father of a girl in our freshmen class, and we didn't even know that until he notified us of that just a minute or so before we began to meet some players. It was pretty cool to see a local collector at a card show, especially one with as many cool collecting stories as he did.

So, the first player I met was former pitcher Luis Tiant! Tiant was a 3 time All Star throughout the mid 1960's to the early 1980's, and he was best known for his stint with the Red Sox. A famous moment etched into Yankees lure is when Bucky Dent hit his memorable home run, which was actually given up by "El Tiante". He also pitched for the Yankees in 1979 and 1980, and is subjected in the 2009 ESPN film "The Lost Son of Havana", displayed in Cuba, where Tiant was born.

I went up to Mr. Tiant, who must have been battling a cold, because outside of the few seconds he took to shake my hand and sign my card, he couldn't go without holding his tissues and sneezing right in front of me!

I didn't get to say a whole lot to Mr. Tiant, but I did walk away with this very nice looking signed Yankees custom I made of him. Tiant has a pretty cool looking signature, and it is now my second autograph of his in my collection, after I bought a triple autograph of Ron Guidry/Goose Gossae/Tiant a while back.

As I walked down the line of former players, the next I met was former Yankee Ron Blomberg. Blomberg began his career in the late 60's, but played until the end of the 70's. He was a solid player all around, but he was most known for being the first player to play the Designated Hitter position in MLB history! Blomberg was a really cool guy and he really liked the looks of my custom I made for him to sign. While he wasn't the biggest name I met, I'm pretty sure he was my favorite one of the day!

Here's a scan of my card signed by Blomberg. I really struggled to find a good picture of him, but I don't think this one looked too bad.

As a special bonus to buying tickets for both Tiant and Blomberg, you could receive this 8x10 photo of the 2 of them together for free! It would've looked nice signed but I had other intentions with the autographs anyway, so I'm good with just the picture. Tiant had actually been the first pitcher to face a designated hitter (Blomberg) in history, so it was a cool little piece of information.

Next was Steve Garvey, the player I spent the most $ to meet that day. Garvey had been a 10 time All Star, 4 time Gold Glover, and the 1974 NL MVP back in his day for the Dodgers. He had been a part of one of the best infields of all time, the infield consisting of Dodgers: Garvey, Bill Russell, Ron Cey, and Davey Lopes. With 2,599 hits, 272 home runs, and a lifetime batting average of .294, in my opinion I think he should have a plaque in Cooperstown. Anyway, he was a very nice man, and he seemed like he was a fan of my custom. It was hard to tell how much he really wanted to be there, but I think he was fairly content with signing for the fans.

I took advantage of the "1 Free Inscription" deal, and got Garvey to write "74 NL MVP" under his autograph and number. It looks fairly good, maybe it would have been better if he used sharpie instead of just a plain blue pen.

Following Garvey, we took a little break, but then headed in line to meet 2 more guys, the first being the freebie of the day, former Cy Young winner LaMarr Hoyt. Hoyt used to rock a huge beard during his hey day in the 1980's, but since then it has all disappeared. He didn't really say much, but he wasn't a jerk, so I'm fine with that. Dad found me an extra autograph ticket laying around on the ground earlier, so I was able to also get an 8x10 signed along with the custom.

Outside of the awesome looking White Sox uniforms, there is nothing overly exciting with this guy. He had actually been arrested 4 times due to drug problems throughout his career, but since he's been drug free. I must say though, I don't get that autograph at all, because it looks like it says "Don/Son Hoyt" rather than LaMarr. Still nice adds to my collection though.

Finally, the last player we met was former All Star pitcher Tommy John! While of course he is well known for the surgery named after him, frequently now given to pitchers that had similar arm problems to him, he was a heck of a pitcher from the 1960's to the late 1980's. He won 288 games, the 26th most of any pitcher in baseball history. He made 4 All Star teams, and pitched for the Yankees in 2 stints in the 1980's. He is often found in the same boat with former pitchers Jim Kaat, Bert Blyleven, and now Mike Mussina and Andy Pettitte, in the group of pitchers that have good stats but perhaps not good enough for the Hall of Fame. The borderline guys. Blyleven of course made it into the Hall this past year, so maybe it'll soon be John's turn.

John was a fairly nice guy, but he seemed very caught up with signing 8x10 photos for something, maybe the mail order or something. He looked up quick to talk to me about my card and shake my hand, and took a picture with Mike and I, but other than that, he was signing his hand off. It seemed like a lot of the guys from the show had their hands full that day. However, the custom looks great and I was really happy to be able to meet him.

But that's not all! Outside of the 5 guys I had the opportunity to meet that day, I also sent in a mail order request to get a card signed by someone signing the previous day. I would have preferred to go on the Saturday rather than the Sunday, but dad had to work Saturday so I was in desperation to get one of the guy's autographs. When I was getting ready to send it out, I checked the website one last time and realized that the card needed to be at the place by the next day or else it wouldn't get signed. So, I had to pay 20 bucks extra on shipping just so the card could get there in time. Unfortunately, I had to pay a ton just for a single card to get signed, but now that I have it, I don't have to worry about getting his autograph again!

The card was signed by Reds Hall of Famer Joe Morgan! Morgan may be one of the most awful announcers of all time, but when he was a player, he was terrific. A ten time All Star, 2 time World Series champion, 2 time NL MVP, and a 5 time Gold Glover makes him perhaps the best 2nd baseman of all time! He was a tremendous player all around, and could hit for power, a very often hard to find feature in a second baseman. Today, it's very hard to find a second baseman that will hit some home runs, so it goes to show how good of a player he is.

Morgan had never been much of a TTM signer, so I knew that when I had an opportunity to get his card signed, even for the price, I knew it was worth it. He is now the 8th player in my Hall of Fame set, joining: Feller, Doerr, Snider, Bunning, MacPhail, Irvin, and Kiner!

All in all, even though I came home dirt broke, with not a dime in change, I bought a lot of really nice cards and met some former great players. We all had a blast and as always, can't wait for the next one!

See Ya!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Technical Difficulties

Hey everyone, Drew back here. I've had a loaded past week, full of school work, projects, and baseball. My JV team won both games this week, today propelled by a walk off hit in the bottom of the 7th inning against a very tough team! I haven't gotten an opportunity to play unfortunately, but it's been exciting watching my school succeeding on the field. I've waited a long time for this, and I'm making the most of my opportunity. I guess that's all you can do.

In case you haven't noticed, its been almost a week since my last post. On a normal week, even with all of the games, I would still be able to hammer out maybe 2-3 posts. But I just have one little problem. My computer... is infected. Before you think about the many ways that could've happened, I think the main reason why the thing can't turn on without any errors is because our firewall was off along with a 2 month overdue expired security program. Anyone and anything could've gotten into the stupid thing, so for that reason, until the sucker gets fixed, don't expect a whole lot out of me.

I'm currently on my mom's laptop, and I'm gonna try to hop on here once in a while to get a post up, but I'm gonna need to rescan and fix up a bunch of things, so it may not be the everyday deal like I always tried to follow. I feel bad because I really want to finish sharing my card show experience, which only has 1 more part to go, as well as some other extremely cool finds I've received recently. Hopefully this little hiatus if that's what you want to call it won't last long, because the only thing separating me from the hobby is this darn computer!

See Ya!

Friday, April 1, 2011

White Plains Card Show Recap 3/27/11! Part 3!

Hey guys, Drew back here with part 3 of the March card show series! In every card show so far, I've went out of my way to at LEAST buy 1 vintage card. However, after the addition of the mysterious binder, (which you still will have to wait to find out what hides inside of it), I decided to take a shot at the 1961 Topps set. Dad and I decided to do a little chipping away at the 587 card challenge awaiting my collection!

What a better way to start working on an enormous set by getting the first card! Dick Groat got the honors of first in the set, and he sure did deserve it! The season before, in 1960, Groat won the National League MVP and won the World Series! Talk about a season! Groat's got every reason to be smiling here, and in 1961 he hit .275 with 6 homers and 55 RBI.

I went on to pick up some cards of some former stars, in Bob Turley, Jim Kaat, Don Larsen, and Richie Ashburn. Turley won the Cy Young only a few years prior in 1958, but he struggled in 1961, going 3-5 with a 5.75 ERA. Jim Kaat was only in his third season, with a very mediocre Twins team, and he went 9-17 that year with a 3.90 ERA. Don Larsen went 8-2 with a 4.13 ERA with the Kansas City Athletics, and Richie Ashburn, in one of his final seasons, only batted .257 in 109 games. So, basically, for a lot of these old veterans, 1961 was an off year.

Next were a few League Leaders cards, all for the National League. While the two bottom cards have Don Drysdale and Sandy Koufax on them, the top card stands out by a lot. Dick Groat tops the group, but the 3rd and 4th place guys, maybe you've heard of them? Willie Mays and Roberto Clemente? I think I know those guys!

Next we have the former keystone combination from the Chicago White Sox, Hall of Famers Nellie Fox and Luis Aparicio. I never really knew much about these guys (I didn't even know that Fox was in the HOF), but I did some research on them and I can see why they're in. Fox, famous for his tobacco chewing, was the 1959 AL MVP, and he made 15 all star teams. Wow, can't believe I never knew much about him! Luis was also a 13 time All Star and 9 time gold glover, and he retired with great statistics.

Also, we got some Hall of Fame pitchers to go along with the rest of the cards. Don Drysdale was an outstanding pitcher for the Dodgers, with a 209-166 record and a 2.95 ERA. He was often overshadowed by Sandy Koufax but he ended up winning the Cy Young the year after this card came out in 1962. Robin Roberts also was a very successful pitcher at the time, even though in 1961 his career was slowly on the decline. He made 7 All Star teams and ended up pitching with the Orioles, Cubs, and Astros before his retirement in 1966. He recently passed away early last year at the age of 83.

To go along with the other Hall of Famers, we picked up cards of two of the most dangerous hitters in the game at the time! Willie McCovey just started his career in 1959, so here in his 3rd year, he was warming up to eventually become a Hall of Fame slugger. Five hundred twenty one home runs later and the man has a plaque resting in Cooperstown. Frank Robinson was even better though, as he was an all around legend. Here right in the beginning of his prime, Frank is shown poised to continue his incredible success. When he joined the Orioles in 1966, he made an immediate impact, winning the Triple Crown! Not many players have that opportunity anymore, only done by Carl Yastrzemski after Robinson accomplished the feat. He retired with 586 home runs, 2,943 hits and a lifetime batting average of .294.

The final card we bought is definitely one of the/if not the best rookie card in the entire set. The set consists of rookie cards of Juan Marichal, Ron Santo, Carl Yastrzemski (although his real RC is in 1960 Topps), and a few other not as notable players, except for this guy. It's the 1961 Topps rookie card of Billy Williams! Billy, who was inducted into Cooperstown in 1987, was a great hitter. His career stats show off a .290 lifetime average, 420 home runs, and 2,711 hits, but the one part that is coolest about this card is that it shows a young Williams who was eager to succeed. And boy he did. In his first full season he hit .278 with 25 home runs and 86 RBI's, good enough to win him the 1961 National League Rookie of the Year!

I'm very happy to be able to add this big card to the set, and I can't wait to begin the chase! I'll have more details in a future post, but for now..

See Ya!

TTM #60- A Quick Return from a Quick Player!

Hey guys, Drew back here. About a week ago I got a TTM return, and with the show and schoolwork, you know the drill, I never got around to posting it. Check out my newest success:

None other than former Angels and current Mariners speedster Chone Figgins! I've always liked Figgins, or at least respected him. When he was playing for the Angels, he was such a useful player, and he always took a good part in beating up the Yankees. Outside of maybe 1st base, catcher, and pitcher, Figgins can play well pretty much anywhere in the field, and when he gets on base, he cannot be stopped. With 322 steals in his now 10 seasons in the MLB, including a very nice 62 in 2005, he was/is one of the most lethal base running threats of the past decade.

Figgins has one ugly autograph, but I don't mind, as long as it's not damaged it could be the autograph we once voted "Worst Autograph" from Jason Jennings! The 1 Time All Star and World Series Champion signed this 2006 Bowman Heritage card for me in 36 days. I sent this card along with a custom of his, so I'm assuming he either liked the custom, or tossed it in the garbage since it was probably extremely damaged, resulting in me not finding it in my envelope. This is now the 8th success of the 30 letters I sent out this spring, giving me an approx. 27% success rate! Not too bad!

See Ya!