Sunday, April 29, 2018

Sunday Edition

All-Autograph Team

I'm a little late to this party, both for this specific "bat around" and for the "bat arounds" in general.  I've seen them and always thought, "that seems" fun, but never actually done one.  This task was actually somewhat difficult for me, as I chose to go with strictly cards, and not use any balls or photos, bats ect., and to a larger extent, difficult because I'm not an "autograph" guy.  I haven't been excited about an autograph since Dave Stewart signed my brothers glove at a spring training game back in 1989.  As a kid, I was crazy about them, but somewhere around the time I stopped playing video games when I  12 or 13, I out grew autographs.  I found new interests.

But without further rambling, here's my line-up, such as it is (please read the bold text in your best Bob Shepard voice):

Leading off, Shortstop, #11 Luis Aparicio, #11

I moved to Cooperstown, NY when I was ten.  It's where I graduated high school from.  I was already a baseball nut when I moved there from Phoenix.  Every year (at they used to) the Hall of Fame put on an autograph session for kids at the Clark's Sports Center over Hall of Fame weekend.  I had "connections," and found my way into it every year until I got too old.  Luis signed this card for me.  I usually took 8x10's for the big names (or bigger i.e. Ted Williams) and then had the rest sign the Freeman's Journal HOF Weekend edition.  You also got those yellow postcards signed.  My father was (is) a die-hard Sox fan.  This was one of his childhood cards.  When Aparicio showed up on the list, he sent this with me, insisting Aparicio was every bit as special as that Rizzuto character.  Better even.  This card isn't going anywhere.

Batting 2nd, 2nd Baseman, #23 Ryne Sandberg, #23

Sandberg signed this card for me the year it came out in 1989. I was probably ten year old.  My best friend at the time, through no fault of his own, was a huge fan of Chicago's jv professional team.  His uncle was playing in some celebrity pro-am golf tournament in Phoenix, and he took my buddy and I to the driving range to hunt of for autographs from the ball players.  Sandberg was awesome.  He signed both my cards and I remember him being super friendly.  My buddy was totally geeking out, as Sandberg was his Wallach, and Ryne was very patient with us.  The other ballplayer at the event, not so much, but I'll get to him next.

Batting 3rd, Left Fielder, #3 Harmon Killebrew

Killebrew signed this for me at the same golf event where Sandberg signed for me.  Killebrew was less interested in signing, and his handlers had zero interest in it.  I'm a little fuzzy on the details, but some how he dropped a tee or something and I picked it up for him, so he sort of grumbled and signed my card.  This is another one of my father's childhood cards, and my father was quite thrilled when I brought it home.  Killebrew didn't sign for my buddy or anyone else for that matter.  At the time I was still so excited about getting Ryne Sandberg's auto that this Killebrew fellow was just sort of an afterthought.  Now it's one my favorite cards in my collection.

Batting 4th, 3rd baseman, #29 Time Wallach, #29

I sent this card to Wallach at Olympic Stadium at the start of the 1987 season with an SASE.  He sent it back like this.  Here's more on this card if your interested.

Batting 5th, Left Fielder, #41 Darrell Evans, #41

Evans signed this card for my daughter a few years back when he came to Farmington for the Connie Mack World Series (it's an off-brand American Legion Tournament they host in Farmington).  When I get autographs now, it's only with my daughter, and I always have her ask for the inscription, so there's not confusion that it's for her, and not her 38 year old father who believes he is entirely too old to ask for autographs.  Though if Eddie Vedder ever walks in the door, that theory will be put to a test.  Evans to his credit, was the friendliest, nicest, just all around good guy I've ever run across as far as pro-athletes go.  He was so nice and accommodating to my family and I that I felt like we should send him a Christmas card.  As far as this line-up goes, Evans played 83 of his 2,403 career games in LF, so that's good enough for me.

Batting 6th, Center Fielder, #7 Hubie Brooks, #7

Brooks played about a third of his 1,500 or so career games in the outfield.  Exactly zero of them were in center field, but I'm thin on auto's and have all the confidence in the world in Hubie.  How thin am I on autographs?  So thin, that this is currently the only one in my collection that came out of a pack and doesn't say "Tim Wallach."  *unpopular opinion alert*  I don't consider this a real autograph.  To me this is just a glorified version of the facsimile autos you see on sets like 1982 Topps.  Topps created this, sealed it in a pack, packaged it up and sent it out to be put on a store shelf.  It was made by Topps, the fact it crossed Hubie's desk during the production process doesn't change that for me.  It just doesn't move my needle.  If you like them, then great, you'll be happy to know when I pull auto's I send them to other collector's in return for Wallach's.  So more for you.  I have this one because (1) I always loved Hubie, (2) 1988 Topps is the most underrated set of all-time and a true treasure to the hobby, and (3) that All-Star game handshake line is one of the greatest looking card photos I've ever seen.  It also doesn't hurt that Tim Wallach is attached to that arm high fiving right behind Hubie.  Just imagine how much better this card would be without the white fade and sharpie on the bottom third.

Batting 7th, 1st Baseman, #25 Tony Muser, #25

Mr. Muser signed this card for my daughter at a Connie Mack World Series event a few years back.  Not the same one that Evans was at, but the same one as the next guy.  Muser played in the Tournament as a teenager and was one of the guys they brought back for the 50th anniversary.  

Batting 8th, Catcher, #6 Larry Harlow, #6

Larry Harlow is a local kid from Aztec, New Mexico and played 448 games in the major leagues.  Not one of them was at catcher.  But I need a catcher, and when you're Larry Harlow trying to make a major league line-up, you do what you have to, and in this case, that means catching.

Batting 9th, Pitcher, #17 Jack Lozorko, #17

When Darrell Evans was in town and set up to sign autographs at the Connie Mack World Series, it was sponsored by and held in the lobby of a local casino.  My daughter's mother side is all from Detroit, and are all huge Tiger fans, so we went to see Darrell Evans.  Jose Guzman was also there.  So I went with a large stack of cards for both Evans and Guzman.  The casino had them signing playing cards, like literal 5 of clubs Northern Edge Navajo Casino playing cards.  I figured that may be the situation and thought I'd be a nice guy and bring them cards.  I left Evans with about 50 cards of his and Guzman maybe a dozen, and they signed a few for my daughter.  A guy in a suit behind them, thought this was great, and reached in his pocket and pulled this card out for my daughter.  He managed the casino and wasn't signing, but he was former MLB'er Jack Lazorko.  It was pretty cool, and that's why I have him starting over Guzman.  It's a shame too, because had I known he was going to be there, I have probably a hundred Jack Lozorko cards that could have been put to good use.


  1. Some nice-looking signatures in there (and that's coming from a guy who doesn't really collect autographs either).

    Interesting take on the certified autos. I've never asked for an autograph in person, nor ever plan to, so I guess that would make most of my autographed cards not "real".

  2. I agree, your take on certified autographs is a pretty interesting one. As a guy who dabbles in all four forms of autographs (IP/TTM/50:50's/Certified) I consider certified autographs to be on the bottom end of the hierarchy, but I can't deny that they have their place in this hobby.

    Nice roster all around though. Love seeing these signatures and the stories behind them :).

  3. I like your take on certified autos. My favorite autos in my collection are the ones that have a story behind them.
    Also, I think you're right about '88 Topps being an underrated set.