Tuesday, October 29, 2013

TTM Return from the Swatter!

Hey guys, Drew back here! A few centuries ago, I mentioned a TTM success that I believed deserved its own respective post. Well, after a long period of waiting, I finally got a chance to deliver said success to you all. Check it out:

JJ Watt: 1/1 in 50 Days (Received September 10th)

None other than Mr. JJ "Swatt" himself returned an 8x10 to my mailbox back in September! Watt had a breakout 2012 season for the Texans and finds himself now as one of the most recognized defensive players in the sport. He finished the 2012 season with 20.5 sacks to his name to go along with 16 batted passes. Because of this, he walked home with the 2012 Defensive Player of the Year award! Rarely do fans get the experience of watching a defensive lineman swat down passes as consistently as he did last season, and so far he's done much of the same in 2013.

Watt has also been regarded by collectors as one of the better TTM signers in the NFL. He's signed a good majority of fan requests, and he did not disappoint here, as he signed an 8x10 chronicling his awesome entrance into one of Houston's home games. It couldn't have came out much better than this!

See Ya!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Mr. October at the Fall Classic! It's Déjà Vu All Over Again!

Hey guys, Drew back here. When I first started my blog over 5 years ago (wow), this was one of the posts I had eventually anticipated to write. And even then, at the age of 12 did I know that this post had the potential to either be a horror story or a moment I'll never forget. It turned out to be a mix of both, but I was finally able to say that I met Reggie Jackson himself!

As he entered the building and I saw him among move towards his table, goosebumps filled in my bones. Perhaps the greatest postseason player of all time with the exception of Babe Ruth was right in front of me! All of a sudden, the collectors started chanting "REGGIE, REGGIE, REGGIE!" and I thought about his legendary World Series performance. He took notice of a little boy wearing a Yankee hat on the staircase, bent over and said hello, and I began to get the sense that this experience would be one I wouldn't forget.

Eventually we got our opportunity to say hello to Mr. October, and he was still in a decent mood by that point. He was caught up watching football on his iPad while trying to move the line along so he didn't speak much, but he gave us everything we asked for. He wasn't cheerful, but we hadn't expected him to be. I've heard so many horror stories about him signing in person, so I was more than happy with the way he treated us all. Oh, and the picture came out awesome.

But, it wasn't all good news. See if you can find Reggie's name on my Mantle photo. (Hint: try to find the worst possible location to sign in blue sharpie on the entire photo) The moment he saw my picture he immediately signed it without asking where to put his name, and signed right by Mantle's right knee. You can hardly see the autograph on the photo and it really is a shame given how much I paid for the autograph. Oh well. I thought about it, and really, it was fitting that Jackson and his big ego would do something stupid like this.

Along with my disappointing autograph though, I did at least get this free "Bobble Dobble" hand painted statue of Reggie! It's a pretty cool piece and I really appreciate JP's Sports giving everyone who bought Jackson tickets this for free. For all the money I've spent over the years, I've taken home a lot of memories and a lot of ink, but not a whole lot else. And it hasn't been cheap. Limited to 1008, this piece will certainly find a nice place in my mancave.

Overall, had Reggie just picked a different spot on my photo, this would've been a perfect moment with a player who certainly thought he was perfect. While I'm not normally a fan of cocky athletes, I think Reggie made up for his mouth with his performance, which is exceptionally rare. I'll always be a fan of his because he was a big part in helping the Yankees back up to the top.

Thanks Dad again for taking me down and helping me with some of the cost. I'll never forget this.

See Ya!

Friday, October 18, 2013

2013 Fall Classic Card Show Recap! Pt. 2

Hey guys, Drew back here! In celebration of finally pushing the SAT behind me, my Dad & I made our way down to White Plains in an attempt to meet one of our personal white whales. Before I get to him however, we also met 3 other former players throughout the day, and I'll start with the free signer- Mr. Frank Howard!

Frank Howard played most of his career throughout an era filled with Mantle's, Mays', Aaron's, however many viewed him as the most powerful hitter of them all! He played most of his career on a terrible Washington Senators team, but had a few seasons that somehow were not enough to push his team over the hump. He led the league twice in home runs, and in 1969 he hit 48 home runs while knocking in 111 runs!

For a free signer, meeting "The Capital Punisher" was a complete steal! He was a very friendly guy, as we ended up talking to him on and off throughout the day. He's a huge guy, standing at 6'8, and when shaking his hand I swear I felt some of his bones crunch! It was sort of disgusting, but otherwise the experience was pleasant. He signed two cards of mine, including one from my 1988 Pacific Legends set, and a beautiful 8x10 that I'll gladly place in my autograph binder.

Next up was someone I've met before, but don't think I could ever get enough of, "Sweet Lou" Piniella himself! Although Lou was a solid player in his day, baseball fans will more than likely picture him kicking dirt in an umpire's face before they think about him losing a ball in the sunlight at Fenway Park. 

When I first met Lou, I was a little star struck, and I didn't have much to say. This time, I felt a little more at ease with him, and he was in a "sweet" mood. Go figure. Before we posed for a picture, he addressed me as "buddy" and put his arm around me. It was a little surreal, and it made me an even bigger fan of his. 

The third and final signer I'll talk about today was Yankee great Bucky Dent! I had never met Dent leading up to this day, but I've always heard that he's a good guy towards fans. Sure enough, the rumors were correct, and I think having Lou Piniella next to him all day made things all the better for us autograph seekers.

Dent signed my Mantle photo along with an 8x10, and they both came out very nice! Dent and Piniella both really enjoyed my piece, each calling it a beautiful project. It's definitely cool getting praise from guys who have gotten their fair share of praise in the past!

I believe that every Yankee fan should have a piece of this nature in their collection, because most likely if you love the Yankees, you hate Boston (if not, I don't know what to make of you). Dent's statement homerun in the playoffs is one of the most memorable images in Yankees history, and I had him sign it, inscribing "Curse of the Bambino"! It came out awesome if I do say so myself!

I don't know why I used red to highlight Piniella and Dent's autographs on the photo, but I believe you'll be able to find them if you do a quick scan of it. They both signed in solid locations, and Dent inscribed his number 20! I still don't know what to make of that Charlie Hayes inscription, but next post you'll see something that may be considered worse. Either way, they respectively were the 48th and 49th players to sign the photo!

Thanks to all the players mentioned above for being total class acts! I appreciate you all taking out time in your busy lives to shake my hand (along with many other big fans')! As for you readers, I've got a big one coming up very soon... stay tuned.

See Ya!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

2013 Fall Classic Card Show Recap! Pt. 1

Hey guys, Drew back here! So, last weekend was certainly filled with highs and lows. I worked two very busy nights at the restaurant I've been working at, and I had to take the SAT again. Fortunately, my Dad and I had arranged a trip down to White Plains to relinquish some of that stress afterwards, and we headed down to JP's Sports' "Fall Classic" the next day! Before I get into who I got the chance to meet, take a look at some of what I picked up!

First, out of 2007 Fleer Ultra, here's a "Swing Kings" relic of Gary Sheffield! Sheffield is one of my favorite all time Yankees, so I think it's about time I add some more of his stuff into my collection. After all, he was my first favorite player. I love the way the pinstripe looks on this card.

Also of Sheff, here's a 2004 Ultimate Collection patch card of his numbered only 45 of 75! I got this card for about $7 since it was in my friends Hunter & Rich's bargain bin, and I'm really glad I found it! It's a pretty solid patch for a Yankees card, and I can guess the patch is from the interlocking NY. 

I ended up also adding this Troy Tulowitzki Ballpark Collection auto relic for less than $10 as well! I'm eventually hoping I can start a mini-PC of Tulo's, since I always seem to end up with him on my fantasy team. Despite his frequent injuries, I still believe he is the best current shortstop in all of baseball.

My dad also picked up a few things for me to open up on the ride home. The first of which was only of these relatively new blaster boxes:

Ever since my Dad & I got to shake Pete Rose's hand in Cooperstown this summer, we've been big fans of his. This blaster contains a set of entirely Pete Rose cards, a set that you will most likely get all of just by opening one of them. While the set isn't as exciting as Charlie Hustle was on the basepath, it's still a nice tribute to one of the most electrifying players to ever grace the diamond.

Oh, and did I mention that each blaster comes with a Rose autograph? You can get an autographed variation of any of the cards in the base set, and I ended up with this fitting photo of him sliding into second. Although these don't go for a lot, it's still a Pete Rose autograph and you can't go wrong with one of those (unless you're Bart Giamatti)!

One thing I've learned over the course of countless trips down to White Plains is that my Dad loves taking a gamble on mystery boxes. I really enjoy opening boxes, but I always am cautious about it due to the prices. Normally I would take buying something I like instead, just because I know I'm not going to be let down, but once in a while you have to say what the heck and take the plunge. With that in mind, my Dad also picked up one of these 2011 Just Minors Mystery Balls!

The potential was certainly there in one of these. I mean, for example, take a look at who is in the base set:

Price, Santana, Craig, Teheran, Robertson. I mean, these sets are loaded with stars, and future stars! Well, we didn't get as lucky, but we could've done worse.

We ended up with Cubs prospect Josh Vitters. Josh has been bouncing around in the Cubs farm system since 2007 now, and after a solid AAA stint this season he was promoted to the big leagues. He struggled mightily in over 100 at bats, hitting .121 with 2 HR and 33 strikeouts. Hopefully he'll be able to put it all together in the future and expose all the tools he showed off in the minors!

If anyone is interested in the ball please comment below and we can try to work something out! Despite the pull not being who we wanted, it was still fun to give one of these Just Minors products a chance! Thanks Dad for everything, you're the best! Stay tuned for the really good stuff...

See Ya!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Huge TTM Catchup!

Hey guys, Drew back here! It's starting to become that time again in which schoolwork begins to take over some of the time I normally would spend on my hobby. However, that doesn't necessarily mean I've been completely out of it, as you'll see over the next few weeks. Take a look at some of the through the mail successes I've received over the past few months!

Richie Shaffer: 1/1 in 15 Days (Received on August 29th)

The Rays selected Shaffer with their 1st round pick in 2012, and so far he's played fairly well in his professional career. This year he batted .254 with 11 home runs in 122 games played for High A-Charlotte. I mainly mailed to him because he played for the Hudson Valley Renegades in 2012 and I got to watch him play a few times. He signed a 2012 Bowman and it came out pretty nice!

Taylor Guerrieri: 1/1 in 20 Days (Received on September 3rd)

Keeping with the ex-Renegades theme, I next received a signed card from 2011 Bowman by fellow Rays prospect Taylor Guerrieri! He signed my blue parallel numbered out of 499, inscribing it "Good luck with Ball Drew!" It's cool to see a player actually responding to part of what I wrote in my letter! Unfortunately, Taylor underwent Tommy John Surgery this summer, so he'll miss most of next season. However, prior to the surgery he was ranked as one of the Rays best prospects, so hopefully he'll come back strong!

Joc Pederson: 1/1 in 24 Days (Received on September 7th)

The worst part about being Dodgers top prospect Joc Pederson right now is that there simply isn't a spot for him on the roster! He's spent a few years in their farm system since he was drafted in the 2010 draft, but all that time has served him well. In 2013, he batted .277 with 22 home runs and 58 RBI, along with 31 steals! The kid has a lot of potential, and hopefully he'll get a chance to show it off in the majors in the next year or two! In the meantime, he signed a 2012 Bowman for my collection!

Sal Bando: 2/2 in 7 Days (Received on September 7th)

As we now travel from the future back to the past, former Oakland A and 3 time World Series champion Sal Bando signed 2 cards for me! Bando was more known for his postseason heroics, but he had a very solid career to go along with them. He made 4 All Star teams and hit 242 home runs throughout his 16 years in the big leagues. He signed a 1988 Pacific to go towards my growing collection of autographed cards from that set, along with a 1969 Topps card that I hope to have signed by Cater and Campaneris at some point as well. 

Jeff Reardon: 3/3 in 9 Days (Received on September 9th)

Jeff Reardon is one of the more underrated closers in history, and for that reason I knew he would be a solid TTM request! Not only was Reardon a 4 time All Star, but he also finished with 367 saves, which currently has him ranked 7th all time! In 1992, Reardon became MLB's All Time Saves leader, only to eventually be passed by Lee Smith the next season. He signed 3 cards for my collection which all turned out great!

Ron Teasley: 3/2 in 7 Days (Received September 23rd)

The next player to receive my Negro League TTM project was former New York Cuban Ron Teasley! Teasley played just one season of pro baseball, but also spent some time in the Brooklyn Dodgers organization! He signed my picture nicely, inscribing "NY Cubans 1948 and joining Mahlon Duckett! He also signed a 2010 Allen & Ginter and generously threw in a small signed printed photo.

Vida Blue: 2/2 in 26 Days (Received on September 26th)

Before I complain, let me say that I believe Vida Blue is one of the most underrated pitchers in baseball history. He was one of the hardest throwing left handed pitchers ever, and although his career was marked with ups and downs, his "ups" can rank with just about any pitcher in baseball history (example: 1971- 24-8 W/L, 1.82 ERA, 301 K's)! I was ecstatic to see these come back in the mail, but a little confused once I saw the autographs. Being a self proclaimed autograph expert, I knew that Vida never signs with just his first name. Every autograph I've seen of his has included his full name, and I did send him $5 for the autographs. I'm a little confused by this still, and I'm not sure of the legitimacy of the autographs, but there's really nothing I can do at this point.

Alex Meyer: 1/1 in 37 Days (Received on October 7th)

Meyer went into the 2013 season as the Twins top pitching prospect, and despite a trip on the disabled list, he lived up to those expectations. He was traded to Minnesota as the big piece in the return package for Denard Span, and it appears that the trade has a good chance to work in Minnesota's favor! He signed my 2013 Bowman card for me in ballpoint pen but I'm not upset about it at all since it still looks great!

Jesse Biddle: 1/1 in 54 Days (Received on October 7th)

That same day, I also received my card back signed from Phillies prospect Jesse Biddle! Biddle was highly touted as well going into 2013, but seemed to regress more than the Phillies would have liked thanks to some control issues. He still managed to have a 3.64 ERA, but even that isn't all that impressive. However, he has all of the tools to come back strong and make a run at the big leagues, and I'll be rooting for him all the way there!

Jim Johnson: 1/1 in 56 Days (Received October 9th)

Lastly (for now), I just got this sweet Heritage card back from Orioles closer Jim Johnson! Johnson made the All Star team in 2012 and went on to lead the league in saves, but he ended up taking a slight step back in 2013. Either way, he's now saved over 50 games in back to back seasons, which seems to be getting more and more difficult to do.

I want to thank all of the preceding players for signing all that I had sent out! There is one more success I did not show here that will eventually receive its own post, and I ended up getting a RTS from Greg Luzinski via his Bonita Springs address. On that note, be on the lookout for an upcoming card show recap among a few other things!

See Ya!