Monday, March 30, 2015

Fleer Autograph Project - Part 40

If you consider a number ending in zero a milestone, I have reached another milestone.  What you see below is the 40th card of my 1963 Fleer set that I have autographed out of the 66 card set.

This card was an Ebay purchase and was PSA/DNA certified as an authentic signature. As is my habit, I busted it out of the slab and put it into the UltraPro sheet for my set. I think they look better like that. I'm not totally satisfied with the condition of the card. Although the edges are sharp and the corners in good shape, it is stained. But, given that Ron Santo is no longer with us, I follow the advice of my dear mother who said "beggars can't be chosers."  If a better version comes along, I may upgrade.  In the mean time, I am happy with this card.

Hopefully, there is more coming soon. I still have one TTM out from the original four I mailed at the beginning of March.  I have, as I believe I mentioned, another three TTMs I want to get out, although between work and farm chores,  I haven't made any progress. I also have another three cards out for paid signings. One, that I have referred to before, is a big name. Unfortunately, it has been delayed 3 times and I am becoming resigned to the fact that it may not happen.  There is a fourth paid signing I have identified and that card will go out in the next couple weeks.  So, stay tuned.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Fleer Autograph Project - Part 39

Checking the mailbox yesterday (Saturday), I found the third of the four TTM requests I sent out less than two weeks ago was returned to me.  This one was from Jerry Kindall, who was primarily an utility infielder during his 9 year major league career with the Cubs, Indians and Twins. He was the starting second baseman for Cleveland in 1962 and Minnesota in 1965.

You can find his career statistics here and SABR has a well written biography of him here.  So, what was it about his career that caught my attention?

One game.  May 31, 1960 to be exact. On that day he went 2 for 3 with 2 doubles and 3 RBIs to help the Cubs to a 9-1 victory over a San Francisco Giants team that featured HOFers Willie Mays, Willie McCovey, and Orlando Cepeda batting consecutively in the third through fifth spots in the order.  Those doubles were a 1 RBI two bagger in the top of the second and a 2 RBI hit in the top of the fourth.  Those three RBIs gave Chicago a 4-1 lead, at that point, with the other run scored on a solo home run by Ernie Banks.  What was noteworthy about thsi performance was that Kindall had both those hits off of Johnny Antonelli, a player of particular interest to me.  As some of you know, I hail from Rochester, NY where Antonelli was born and still lives and I have a modest Antonelli player collection.

At this point, I only have one TTM request still out.  This one has to travel to Washington State, so I don't expect it back as quickly.   I have identified three more, high probability TTM requests to send out. I will try to do my career research during the week and send them off next weekend.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Fleer Autograph Project - Parts 37 and 38

 Last Monday, I sent off 4 autograph requests through the mail as part of my quest to get as many cards from my 1963 Fleer set signed as I can.  Yesterday (Thursday), I opened my mail box to find two already back.  I was shocked to say the least.  The player must have signed them and returned them immediately.

I'm not a TTMer, by any means.  But, I have to do TTM as part of this project. Once I have exhausted this route for obtaining autographs for my '63 Fleer set, I will likely stop.  So, I really try not to make this a perfunctory exercise for the signer.  My approach is to spend some time researching the player,  find some events in their career that fascinate me, and hand write them a letter. In the letter, I explain my project and then talk a little about what I found interesting about their playing career.

I figured I might as well share with you what I wrote to them about.

Frank Bolling had a 12 year career with Detroit and the Milwaukee/Atlanta Braves between 1954 and 1966, exclusively as a starting second baseman. You can find his career statistics here.  So, what caught my eye about Bolling's career? Considered a defense first second baseman, he hit well off of Hall of Fame pitcher Early Wynn. In 80 career plate appearances against Wynn, he went 23 for 77 for a .299 BA, and knocking out 4 doubles and 3 home runs.

Bob Aspromonte broke in with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1956, but spent the formative years of his career as the starting third baseman for Houston between 1962 and 1968, with short tours with Atlanta and the Mets to end his career,  His career numbers can be found here.  Again, Bob wasn't an offensive powerhouse, what with sporting a career 86 OPS+.  But he did drive in go-ahead runs 86 times in his career.  For example, on June 11, 1963 he hit a walk-off grand slam home run off Lindy McDaniel in the bottom of the 10th inning to give Houston a 6-2 win over the Cubs.  Also, on September 25, 1971, the second to last game of his career, Aspromonte hit a 2 out pinch-hit single off of Ramon Hernandez in the bottom of the 15th inning to drive in Leroy Stanton with the game winning run.

On a last note, Bob Aspromonte didn't just sign my card. He included a second autographed card in the top loader, a 1961 Topps Rookie Star card.  Since it doesn't fit into my collection, I am going to send it off to another blogger who I am indebted to.

So, what do I have coming up?  Well, I still have two more TTMs out, one EBay purchase on it's way to me, and one card out for a public signing this week later this month. Looking forward, I have identified two more public signings and have 5 more addresses for TTM requests.  If I am able to hit 100% on all these opportunities, I would be sitting at 49 total cards signed.   So, stay tuned. There are more coming!

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Surprise Pickup from December

As many of you know, I live on a small farm. It isn't a commercial enterprise, but the result of a hobby gone out of control.  I suppose many of your significant others wonder how a hobby could go further wrong than collecting pictures of baseball players on bits of cardboard.  Let me testify that they can.  My wife's hobby is to show horses.  We started out back in 1997 with riding lessons as a bribe to get her to move here from her native Ohio.   18 years later, I have a 17 acre hobby farm.

Most of you probably already know where this is going, but let me bring any newcomers up to speed.  Three years ago, San Jose Fuji asked the card bloggers if they collected anything other than cards.  This post was my answer to that question.  In the intervening years, the cat in the top picture and the tan shepherd in the fourth have passed away.  And then about a year and a half ago, this surprise pickup happened.  So, now you are all up to date.

And you can probably guess the general nature of what the surprise pickup from December is.

In order: Daisy, Stripe and Star.  Back in December, some dumped Daisy and her three kittens at the convenience store across the street in the middle of the night. During the day, one kitten got taken home by someone.  I found these three there when I stopped to fill up my car after work and theyens were moved that night to my barn to be my new mousers.

It has been a couple years since I had a barn cat (coyotes got the last two), and the mice were getting brazen.  Daisy rewarded me within days by dispatching a large mouse.  In the three months since, she continues to catch mice (and at least one bird.)  So, all in all another good pickup.

I will probably being going on radio silence for a couple weeks.  I still have that mystery card coming and it won't be on it's way to me until March 16th, at the earliest.  So, until then...

Friday, March 6, 2015

1963 Fleer Autograph Project - Part 36

I alluded earlier that I had a high value card coming.  I will state now that it is part of my quest to get my 1963 Fleer set autographed.  This card isn't it:

Jerry Lumpe passed away last year, so I had to get this off of EBay. But it is the 36th card I have an autographed version of, out of 66 in the set.  I had made no progress on this project in a while, but the "mystery signing" got me inspired again and I managed to send 4 TTMs out this week using the addresses provided by The Lost Collector.  Add in another public signing in April, I have line of sight to get my total to 42.  And, I still have 5 more TTM addresses that I can send off to!

I am quite happy with my progress, although I still need 15 autos from deceased players, which will likely limit progress pretty quickly.  Given one of those players is Roberto Clemente, I would guess I will never get to 66.  Not that I expect to even get to 65, but you get my point.

What I am listening to:  Straight out of Compton by Barney (Warning: NSFW language)

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Denial Reversed

So, Fuji was right.  My package of Paul Blair autographs showed up about a week after they went missing. The package arrived with the words "Not This Address" written across the front.  Apparently, the career dropped it off at the wrong house. I suppose I shouldn't be surprised. I live on Alameda Drive and just to the south is Alameda Street.  The two streets run sort of parallel, so I would guess a new or substitute career got confused.

This is card from a 1990 Pro-Card minor league. I think it is actually an attractive card.  I would say this is a set I might not mind building some day.  But, this was the real find:

As I mentioned, I have only seen this card come available twice in 4 years.  Once it sold for $68 and the other for $105.  To get this in a lot with 8 other cards for a total of $36 delivered has to be the coup of my time as a collector. I was a little nervous because it appeared that the end of his last name was smeared, but I am happy to report that, when you can look at it in hand, it is just his shoe.

There is precious little information about this card out there. According to the Standard Catalog, Nabisco issued two small sets of autographed cards through mail order: 6 cards in 1993 and 4 in 1994.  But, Blair does not appear in the official checklists for either set. 1993 included Brooks Robinson, Catfish Hunter, Don Drysdale, Ernie Banks, Phil Neikro, and Willie Stargell.  And 1994's checklist was Bob Gibson, Jim Palmer, Frank Robinson, and Duke Snider. It appears there was nine other cards unavailable through the mail that could be attained at local events.  This Blair card is one of those 9.

Coming up in the next couple weeks, I have about three posts in the works.  Two related to my project to get my 1963 Fleer set autographed and another about a surprise pickup from before Christmas.