An Incredible Experience at Banner Island Ballpark

I’ve been collecting in person autographs for about the past five years. It is something that I am very passionate about. I do not sell my autographs, occasionally I’ll trade for players/teams I can’t get on the West Coast.  I just do this for fun and to meet ball players. I don’t expect players to sign everything I have. If they only sign one, then that’s fine with me.

Every once in a while I have an experience that is truly incredible and beyond words. Last night I had one of those experiences! May 6th was the Stockton Ports Annual Alumni Night. Unfortunately the way it works they never really know who is going to come to the event until they actually show up. Some alumni will RSVP the week of the game, but some just happen to show up.

So a good friend of mine, Jesse, and I were graphing that night and the Ports were introducing the Alumni that were there and they announced a very familiar name: Dion James.

I know Dion still lives in the Sacramento area. I sent a TTM request in October 2015. I received the cards back signed in just 2 weeks. I just had no idea he would be there.

Dion was a first round draft pick in 1980, 25th overall, by the Milwaukee Brewers. He was drafted out of McClatchy High School in Sacramento. Dion played 11 seasons in the Majors with the Brewers, Atlanta Braves, Cleveland Indians and the New York Yankees.  Dion played 124 games for the Stockton Ports in 1981 batting .304 with 43 stolen bases.

Stockton Ports MLB Wall

Stockton Ports in the MLB graphic at Banner island Ballpark. Dion James: Year Played in Stockton 1981, MLB Debut 1983

I’ve learned to always carry a ROMLB with me because you never know who is going to show up at the ballpark. We found Dion on the concourse looking at some of the graphics and banners the Ports have posted around the ballpark. We approached him and asked for his autograph. He was more than happy to do it for us.

Dion James Ball

ROMLB Signed by Dion James

He signed a ball for me and an autograph card for Jesse. Then he said “I have something special for you guys. Hold on a moment.” He pulled out a stack of his own cards and proceeded to give 3 cards to the 2 of us and signed them all. I took the one I wanted and Jesse got the other two. Dion shook our hands thanked us for asking him to sign and being a fan. He also commented to us, “you made my day.” I said to him, ” Mr. James, you made my day!”

Dion James Card

1985 Fleer given to me by Dion James

Interactions like this will always make me a fan of a person for life! He was really nice when we asked him to sign and I would have been happy with the ball. The fact that he give us some of his own cards and signed them for us is above and beyond anything I could have expected. Thank you so much Dion for the experience! I will always remember it!

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Coming Back

For a while I wasn’t really sure if I wanted to continue this blog. It’s been almost a year since my last post. In that time I have met a lot of great people, mostly online through Twitter and Instagram, I’ve seen A LOT of baseball and I’ve had many amazing experiences.

I have decided that instead of using this blog for posting A’s and A’s related news, I am going to use it as a forum for my baseball experience, along with some life experiences thrown in.

I don’t know how often I’ll post. It will likely be inconsistent at best. I will try to write something at least once a week. A lot depends on my mood and if I have something to write about… who am I kidding, I have a lot to write about. It really depends on my mood, do I really feel like typing.

Here are a couple of pics from recent events and TTM returns that will serve as a prelude for some of my future posts. I hope you will enjoy!

Oakland A’s FanFest and a Curt Young game worn jersey I picked up at FanFest.

A couple of my favorite recent TTM successes. Storm Davis and Juan Gonzalez!

Autographed Set Update

I wanted to give a brief update on my quest to get as many cards autographed in 3 different sets as I can. My primary focus are the 1987 Fleer and 1988 Topps sets. These are 2 of my favorite sets from the 1980s as they were some of the first that I collected and completed. The other set is the 1981 Fleer set. This set is a nostalgic throwback to when the baseball card business was starting to grow.

Here are the stats for each set as of 12/04/2015:

1987 Fleer – 84/660 cards signed – 12.73% complete
1987 Fleer Update – 18/132 cards signed – 13.64% complete

1988 Topps – 98/792 cards signed – 12.37% complete
1988 Topps Traded – 18/132 cards signed – 9.09% complete

1981 Fleer – 52/660 cards signed – 7.88% complete

TTM Success 10/26/2015: Ben Zobrist

On October 26th I received a TTM success from Kansas City Royal Ben Zobrist. I had sent a 2015 Topps Opening Day card out to Zobrist during the last week of the season. He is one of the few position players who usually has a quick turnaround time during the season.

Zobrist began the 2015 season with the Oakalnd Athletics. He came to the A’s with Yunel Escobar by way of a trade that sent catcher John Jaso along with minor leaguers Daniel Robertson, Boog Powell to the Tampa Bay Rays. Zobrist was later traded at the deadline to the Royals for Aaron Brooks and minor league pitcher Sean Manaea.

Zobrist signed 2 cards for me: 2015 Topps Opening Day (one I sent) and 2015 Testimony card (Bonus)

TTM Autographs from Ben Zobrist

TTM Autographs from Ben Zobrist

With every request Zobrist included an additional signed testimony card. The back side has a description of his relationship with God. I received this success in 28 days. Thank you Ben!

Zobrist is one of those player I have liked since he came up in the Rays organization. I just wish he could have stuck with the Athletics for more than just 67 games. I was fortunate enough to see Zobrist rehab with the Nashville Sounds when they came to the West Coast in late May. He signed a MLB Ball for me before the game I went to in Fresno.

Ben Zobrist autographed baseball from rehab appearance with Nashville Sounds on May 24, 2015.

Ben Zobrist autographed baseball from rehab appearance with Nashville Sounds on May 24, 2015.

Card of the Week: Kendall Graveman 2015 Panini Immaculate Shadowbox

The card of the week for October 18, 2015 is the 2015 Panini Immaculate Kendall Graveman Shadowbox. This card is numbered 08/49. Kendall was one of the players the Oakland Athletics received in return, along with Brett Lawrie, Franklin Barreto and Sean Nolin, for Josh Donaldson. Kendall is shaping up to be a quality starter in the Athletics rotation.

Panini does a great job in offering interesting designs on their higher end autograph and relic cards. The autograph on this card looks like it is done on a clear acetate with the photo printed on it. The card is thick like a relic card with a white background to make a shadowbox effect.

Kendall Graveman 2015 Panini Immaculate Shadowbox #08/49 - Front

Kendall Graveman 2015 Panini Immaculate Shadowbox #08/49 – Front

The only thing missing from the card is the MLB license. However, with this type of quality and the way the photography is presented I personally don’t miss it too much.

Kendall Graveman 2015 Panini Immaculate Shadowbox #08/49 - Back

Kendall Graveman 2015 Panini Immaculate Shadowbox #08/49 – Back

Card Serial Number

Card Serial Number

 

TTM Update: 6 successes

In the past 8 days I have received six TTM successes. Five successes were from the batch sent out the week of September 28th. Four of these successes will be featured in this post.

The first was from Ernie Broglio. Ernie is best known for being the key piece the Chicago Cubs received in the trade that sent Lou Brock to the St. Louis Cardinals. This is arguably the worst trade in MLB history. Lou would go on to have a Hall of Fame career. Meanwhile Ernie, who was a good pitcher with the Cardinals, did not improve upon his success and eventually faded out. Ernie signed 3 of 3 cards in just 5 days. Thank you Ernie!

1959, 1960, 1966 Topps cards autographed by Ernie Broglio

1959, 1960, 1966 Topps cards autographed by Ernie Broglio

My next success was from former Negro League player and Chicago Cub George Altman. George started his professional career in the Negro Leagues in 1955 with the Kansas City Monarchs. He would make his MLB debut with the Chicago Cubs on April 11, 1959. He would go on to play 9 season in the Majors with the Cubs, St. Louis Cardinals and the New York Mets. George was an All-Star in 1961 and 1962. He signed a 1960 Topps, 1 penny sleeve (which should have been 1967 Topps) and included a signed business card in 8 days. Thank you George!

Signed items from George Altman

Signed items from George Altman

Bobby Meacham was my next success. Bobby played parts of 6 season (1983-88) with the New York Yankees. His career never really took off the way the Yankees had anticipated. He wound up often injured and he finished his career with a .236 batting average. Bobby signed 3 of 3 cards in 9 days. Thank you Bobby!

1987 Fleer, 1988 Topps, 1988 Score cards signed by Bobby Meacham

1987 Fleer, 1988 Topps, 1988 Score cards signed by Bobby Meacham

The final success featured in this post was received from Davey Lopes. Davey is currently a coach in the Los Angeles Dodgers organization. He was a 4 time All-Star and played 16 seasons with the Dodgers, Oakland Athletics, Chicago Cubs and Houston Astros. Davey signed 1 of 1 in 10 days. Thank you Davey!

1987 Fleer card signed by Davey Lopes

1987 Fleer card signed by Davey Lopes

Now I know some of you may be thinking: If Davey Lopes played for the Athletics, then why did you send an Athletics card? Quite simply, one of the primary sets I am trying to get autographed is the 1987 Fleer. I will be sending more requests to him as he really only signs 1 per request. So eventually I will have an Athletics card (or two) signed by Davey.

The other 2 successes with be featured in their own separate posts.

Card of the Week: Giancarlo Stanton 2015 Topps Stadium Club Lone Star Signature

My card of the week for October 10-17, 2015 is the Giancarlo Stanton 2015 Topps Stadium Club Lone Star Signature. This card is numbered 18/25. This is likely the most valuable autograph card I own. I pulled a redemption for this card from the first box of 2015 Topps Stadium Club I purchased. I bought 2 in total. Giancarlo Stanton is currently on the Miami Marlins.

Redemption card for the Giancaro Stanton auto card.

Redemption card for the Giancaro Stanton auto card.

After pulling the redemption, my first thought was do I sell it or keep it. I decided to keep it. I watched the Topps Redemption Update report to see when Stanton signed and turned in his cards. About a month ago I saw that Stanton submitted his cards to Topps and so I entered the redemption code. Just over a later a week later I received the the package containing this beautiful card.

Giancarlo Stanton 2015 Topps Stadium Club Lone Star Signatures #18/25

Giancarlo Stanton 2015 Topps Stadium Club Lone Star Signatures #18/25

Of course now the question remains: Will I get this graded? At this time, I’m not sure. I don’t really have the money to invest in getting cards graded right now. Also I am undecided as to whether or not getting cards graded is worthwhile for me. However, if I do decide to invest in grading cards, this would be one towards the top of the list.

TTM Batch: September 28, 2015

Now that baseball season is over, I can turn my attention to one of my favorite hobbies, collecting TTM autographs. As much as I try, it is too difficult to regularly send out TTM requests during the season. Quite often I am going to games to collect autographs in person or I am listening to or watching games. So here is my final batch of the regular season.

Jim Robertson – Philadelphia Athletics – 2 cards
Jose Lind – Pittsburgh Pirates – 2 cards
Ernie Broglio – St. Louis Cardinals – 3 cards
George Altman – Chicago Cubs – 2 cards
Davey Lopes – Houston Astros – 1 card
Fred Stanley – Oakland Athletics – 3 cards
Bobby Meacham – New York Yankees – 3 cards
Craig Paquette – Oakland Athletics – 3 cards
Ben Zobrist – Oakland Athletics – 1 card
Clayton Kershaw – Los Angeles Dodgers – 1 card

This batch was sent out September 28th (7 requests) and 30th (3 requests). Note: The team listed is the team on the card, or on the majority of the cards I sent out. I will post updates as requests come back.

Card of the Week: Sonny Gray 2014 Stadium Club Rainbow Foil Auto

So I was inspired by Jesse over at the Dodger Dad Blog. He has a feature on his blog for a card of the week. This is something I’ve thought about doing for a while, but I wasn’t sure which card to feature as my first card of the week. A week ago I bought the perfect card. I happened to get this card on eBay for under $10 shipped. I received the card on Friday and so here we are…

My card of  the week for October 4-10, 2015 is the 2014 Topps Stadium Club Sonny Gray Rainbow Foil Autograph. This card is number 04/50. Until this summer, I did not own any Sonny Gray autographed cards. This card is now my 3rd Sonny Gray autographed card.

2014 Topps Stadium Club Sonny Gray Autograph Rainbow Foil #04/50

2014 Topps Stadium Club Sonny Gray Autograph Rainbow Foil #04/50

I have always loved Topps Stadium Club. It is one of a few sets where the photography takes center stage. This particular photo appears to have been taken during the 2013 ALDS. That year Sonny pitched in Games 2 & 5 of the series. Both of those games took place in Oakland.

Here is an up close picture of the gold foil stamped number.

2014 Topps Stadium Club Sonny Gray Autograph Rainbow Foil #04/50

2014 Topps Stadium Club Sonny Gray Autograph Rainbow Foil #04/50

Autograph Card Collection Acquired – July 18, 2015

On July 18, 2015, I acquired part of a collection of In-Person Autographed cards from a friend of mine.  Like me, he collected autographs from players in the California League. This collection is from the era just before the Stockton Ports became an Oakland Athletics affiliate, approximately 1999-2002. The collection I acquired contains approximately 800 cards. One aspect of this collection I find interesting is that some of the cards are from the time when Stockton changed their name to the Mudville Nine (2000-01).

There are quite a few duplicates in this collection, however that does not bother me as there are many duplicates in my collection. A couple of the better known prospect names include Josh Hamilton, Francisco Rodriguez and Jake Peavy. A couple of coaches who were retired MLB players include Tim Wallach and Manny Trillo.

It will take me quite a while to go through this collection and figure out what is in it.  After the first look through the cards I have to say it was a worthwhile investment. I will be posting some pics of the collection in the next few days.