Monthly Archives: March 2010

To Upgrade Or Not To Upgrade? That Is The Question!!

To Upgrade Or Not To Upgrade?  That Is The Question!!

One of the things that I pride myself on is my signed baseball collection.  Started around the same time of this blog, I owned jus two autographed baseballs 20 months ago.  That collection has blossomed into 24 as of today.

But the original 2, the two that I have moved from 5 different homes into the one I am living in now, the 2 that I have owned for more than 20 years, are the pride and joy of my collection.

Ball #1 is my Andre Dawson ’87 NL MVP ball.  Ball #2 is my signed Billy Williams ball.   Both balls were signed for me in-person when I attended a Chicago Cubs convention back in the late 1980’s.  When on display in my home office, these 2 baseballs sit perched on the top row.

But the more I look at these two baseballs, and my whole collection for that matter, I am starting to think it may be time for an upgrade.


So what I mean?  While both of the autographs are on Rawlings official game balls, the Dawson one still looks mint and crisp.  And the Williams ball looks like it has seen better days.  Discolored and with a look of being used, I cannot tell you the story of the ball, only that I don’t ever recall it looking as fresh and clean as its neighbor.

I know that Billy Williams has signed TTM in the past if donations are included.  And I have the address.  So, what do I do with it? 

I am torn on this one.  Keep one of my prized possessions and hang onto a ball that looks odd amongst the others in my collection?  Or upgrade and put the ‘old’ one to rest??

What to do??   What to do??

What would you do??

‘On The Road With psugator02’ – March 30, 2010

March 30, 2010

Dodgers’ backfield workouts 10-11:30 a.m.
Glendale, Ariz.

Didn’t know what to expect when I arrived. Figured that most of the starters would be at the away game in Tucson. However, the only starter to travel was Loney. The rest were back in Glendale. And this time I would only have to battle a few dozen people. It sure is a lot different when you’re not competing with a million other graphers.

Don Mattingly: 1/1 (Beckett magazine from 1990)…signs daily but for some reason only in one spot. “You guys know where I do it.”
Chad Billingsley: 1/1 (’08 Ginter)….Real friendly guy. Signed for at least 20 minutes after the workout
Hiroki Kuroda: 1/1 (’08 Ginter)
Clayton Kershaw: 1/1 (’08 Ginter)
Andre Ethier: 1/1 (’08 Ginter)
Matt Kemp: 1/1 (’08 Ginter)…had the ROMLB ready but this time he was SPing. not sure why because the other day at A’s he was giving SSs
Russ Martin: 1/1 (’08 Ginter)…he stopped his car on the way out of the parking lot and was VERY friendly
Manny Ramirez: 0/1…while riding a three-wheeler back to the clubhouse….would’ve been the perfect time to do it because there were only a handful of graphers there

A’s at White Sox
Glendale, Ariz.

Kevin Kouzmanoff: 1/1 (’09 Ginter)….graph worse than the one he gave me a few days ago. This time it was just “KK”
Coco Crisp: 1/1 (’08 Ginter)…great dude. asked him to tell me how he got the Coco nickname (his real name is Covelli) but he said it was a long story….took pics with…even shouted into someone’s cell phone
Kurt Suzuki: 1/1 (’09 Ginter)….a bit weird, in addition to being difficult, when I saw him in NYC. but very cool today
Daric Barton: 1/1 (’08 Ginter state card)….only a handful of people even cared about getting his graph yet he couldn’t do his second ’08 Ginter. “I told you I’m only doing one.” weird dude.
Eric Chavez: 1/1 (’08 Ginter)
Ozzie Guillen: 1/1 (’89 Donruss DK)…i like his graph
Jake Peavy: 1/2 (’08 Ginter). would’ve gotten him on SS but didn’t want another ball that had no Cy inscription. got lucky again as I left the game in the 6th inning and got Peavy two minutes later in the parking lot
Mark Buehrle: 1/1 (’08 Ginter)…he couldn’t have been cooler. going to get his perfect game 8×10 done next

Indians at Royals
Surprise, Ariz. (My favorite stadium in the Cactus League)
5-9 p.m.

Eric Hosmer: 1/1 (8×10 with help). Didn’t want to bother doing the minors ‘cuz I wanted to graph the majors as soon as I arrived. So a big thank-you to Tony, a local grapher, for the help
Grady Sizemore: 1/1 (Rich Abel 5×7 that I’ve had since ’02)..Mine was the only graph he signed all night…I’ll have plenty of time to get his Ginter done since I’m seeing the Indians two more times before I leave
Yuniesky Betancourt: 0/1
Billy Butler: 0/1..wouldn’t even acknowledge me
Mike Aviles: 0/1…wouldn’t even acknowledge me
Zack Greinke: 0/1, 0/1, 0/1, 0/1…only signing team balls. and even then he was killing them all with a black Sharpie. weird dude.
Rick Ankiel: 0/1….he did sign a bit but I missed him because I was getting Sizemore

Other: Ernie Young was at the A’s-Sox game, but I had nothing for him. … I have to plug AZ Cards. Stopped by there a few days ago and had a long talk with proprietor Donald Yost, who promptly gave me two free tickets to today’s White Sox game. The store is loaded with cool stuff and has the best prices on ROMLBs in all of Phoenix. … Bob Feller signed autographs for free at the Indians-Royals game in Surprise. I’ve gotten the guy so many times that I didn’t even bother. … Talked to Jordan Danks briefly while waiting outside the player parking lot. Real polite kid.

TTM Success: Bill Russell!!!

No, not that Bill Russell, this Bill Russell…

I got these cards back in the mail 112 days after sending them out and now I am half-way done collecting the autographs from one of the greatest infields of any era in professional baseball.  Ron Cey was the first, and now Bill Russell signs for me too!!

Bill Russell bleeds ‘Dodger Blue’, and he was an anchor at shortstop for many of the successful Dodger teams of the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. 

An 18-year veteran, Russell suited up for just one team during his playing days.  He made 4 trips to the World Series with them, in 1974, 1977, 1978, and then finally winning a title in 1981.  He was a 3-time All-star due to his solid all-around play that included speed on the base paths, solid hitting, and excellent defense.

GCRL would be proud!!

Thank you for signing my cards Mr. Russell!!!

Dale Murphy 1981 Fleer

Dale Murphy 1981 Fleer

Fleer’s debut set was nothing exciting to look at, that’s for sure. 

And this card’s photo of a very young-looking Dale Murphy is not going to win any awards for excellence in photography.

But, it does give me the chance to tick one more card off my ‘Needs’ list. 

And since I always try to find at least one positive in a card, I will stay true to that and be happy to have a nice, clean shot of the old Brave’s logo that is displayed prominently on Murphy’s cap.

‘Same Card, Different Paths’ – Card #54

‘Same Card, Different Paths’ – Card #54

1970 Topps – Card #539 – AKA – ‘The Larry Bowa Rookie Card’

Dennis Doyle – Doyle, an 8-year veteran that suited up for 3 teams during his playing days, was a nice defensive player.  For his career, he was a .250 hitter.  He collected 823 hits during his career, including 113 doubles and 16 homers.  Doyle scored 357 runs, drove in 237, and was able to swipe 23 bases.  He played for the Boston Red Sox in the 1975 World Series.  He hit .267 while tallying 8 hits and scoring 3 runs in the 7-game series.

Larry Bowa – Bowa’s career was punctuated by being named to 5 All-star teams while also winning 2 Gold Glove awards.  A highly skilled defender, Bowa used his speed well on the field.  His fast feet helped him amass 318 stolen bases while also scoring 987 runs.  A lifetime .260 hitter, Bowa collected 2,191 during his playing days.  Bowa was part of the 1980 World Series championship Phillies team.  In that series, he hit .316 while amassing 9 hits and scoring 3 runs for the champs!

I Want To Be A Mark Grace Collector. Really, I Do!!!

I Want To Be A Mark Grace Collector.  Really, I Do!!!

It has been well documented on ’30-YOC’ that I am a Mark Grace fan and loyalist.  Heck, when I first got back into collecting, my first two purchases were bulk lots of his rookie cards that I found on Ebay.

So why not go all out and add him to my list of player collections?  Well, to put it bluntly, I am scared.

Let me explain.

When I first entered the hobby of baseball card collecting as an 8-year old kid, there were 3 major brands of cards being issued.  And by the end of the 1980’s, 3 became 6.  And just a few short years later, 6 turned into too many to count.  In fact, it was the rapid expansion and loss of feeling like a complete collector that drove me away from the hobby in the early 1990’s.

But now I am back, and I am focused.  I try to stick to my guns when it comes to the cards I want to collect.  Chosing to be a player collector and honor the heroes of my youth and the generation prior helps in my efforts as I know and am comfortable with the cards from those times.

And now that leads me to Mark Grace.  I have already collected all of his rookie cards issued by major brands in 1988.  I want more, I want a lot more.  I want to honor him in the same way that I have done for Greg Maddux, and Dave Winfield, and Rickey Henderson.  The only problem is that a majority of Grace’s cards were issued during the 1990’s and that means uncharted waters for me. 

And yes, I have cards of Paul Molitor, and Orel Hershiser, and Tim Raines from that decade, but they are limited – and certainly not a whole decades worth of issues!!

So, what do I do??  Bite the bullet and dive in?  Stay true to my basic rules and avoid the cumbersome number of cards issued during Grace’s career?  What would you do?

Maybe I’ll just buy bulk lots of his cards on Ebay.  That will definitely quench my appetite for some Grace cards.  But will it cure my hunger???

Dude, Those ’83s Are Wicked!!! And A Bonus Too!!!

Dude, Those ’83s Are Wicked!!!

Sorry, I couldn’t resist throwing a little 80’s slang into that one…

My buddy Alfredo sent over a nice stack of 1983 Topps cards that suit my collecting style perfectly.

In total, he sent over 7 cards, and each of them is of a player that I have a fondness for.

The first 5…

All Hall of Famers Baby!!!  2 Gary Carters, a Reggie Jackson, a Johnny Bench, and Mr. Frank Robinson!!

And the last 2 also fill voids in 2 of the player collections I am working on…

Perfect additions to my player collections – the 1983 Topps All-star cards of Dale Murphy & Tim Raines.

And if that was not enough, Alfredo also threw in an added bonus.  Kind of like that extra ‘Sham-Wow’ that they give you.  He tossed in a real gem:

Nice, huh??  A 2002 Upper Deck ‘The People’s Choice’ Game-Used jersey card of Mr. Tim Raines!!!  Just look at the smile on Raines’ face – he is so happy to be with me!

I owe you big time for this one buddy!!!

‘On The Road With psugator02’ – March 29, 2010

March 29, 2010

Giants workout
7-11 a.m.
Scottsdale, Ariz.

Mike Krukow: 2/2 (cards)…Guy arrived at 7:30 to drop off some stuff for the truck that was headed back to San Francisco. I had a blue Sharpie in hand but “I’m not signing those cards in Dodger blue.” LOL. great dude
Andres Torres: 1/1 (card)….Giants’ staff was loading stuff so graphers were forced to stand even farther away from the clubhouse door. Torres, however, walked through the aforementioned mess and was very cool
Tim Flannery: 2/2 (cards)…I yelled at him as he was about to get on the bus and he actually walked over
Tim Lincecum: 0/1…his mother left a few minutes before Tim and as she drove by she rolled down her window and said, “Timmy is in a hurry and won’t be signing today.”
Edgar Renteria: 2/2 (SI, Marlins’ program that already had Charles Johnson done)….I got his attention as he was walking from the field to the batting cage. “Can you do one for a huge Marlins’ fan?” Renteria smiled at me and I thought he was going to do it. But then all of a sudden he disappeared. Then I hear a distant voice say, “Over here.” I followed the voice and realized that Renteria had walked up a flight of stairs inside the batting cage to sign for me…I didn’t see him sign for anyone else
Aubrey Huff: 2/3 (5×7 Rays’ promo cards)…I purposely left my Ginters at home because the guy simply never signs. But I started making small talk with him while he was shagging balls in the outfield, asking him whether he missed Fort Lauderdale, etc. Huff was shouting his answers back at me and finally walked over toward me to retrieve a batted ball. When he did I shouted, “Are you still the hardest autograph in baseball?” He laughed and promptly signed…..I never thought I would say this but this dude is awesome. I think he just likes the change of scenerey. After all, Scottsdale is heaven compared to Fort Lauderdale
Madison Bumgarner: 3/3 (8x10s)…Seemed that players had to report by 9 a.m., leaving me idle for an hour since the main stadium didn’t open until 10. So I high-tailed it over to the minor-league complex which is only a few minutes away. I couldn’t have gotten more lucky. I waited only 10 minutes before Madison walked by me and signed.
Joe Martinez: 0/1 …colin from this board chased Joe and had him 1-on-1 but, oddly enough, he turned him down. JOE MARTINEZ!!!???? I chose not to chase him even though he has Ginters. I guess I made the right decision
Dave Righetti: 1/1…I shouted his name as he was getting on the bus but he wouldn’t acknowledge me. I showed the picture to Sergio Romo, who had walked over and was starting to sign. Romo walked on the bus with the pic and showed it to Righetti, who signed it and gave it back to Romo. It’s a picture of Righetti, Ron Guidry, and Tommy John, and I already had the latter two done.
Steve Holm: 1/4 (’09 Ginter)…..said he would do it when he was done with BP and that’s exactly what he did
Barry Zito: 2/2 (Ginters), 1/1 (SS, ROMLB)…though he purposely gave me a light graph and refused to inscribe. Maybe he acted this way because I double-dipped?

1:30-3:30 p.m.
Rockies at Rangers
Surprise, Ariz.

Left Scottsdale at a little after 11, stopped at In-n-Out Burger, then made my way to Surprise for Rockies-Rangers. I needed Olivo on an ’06 Marlins’ team photo. Also needed Melvin Mora on an 8×10 with Miguel Tejada and Brian Robers that was already signed by the latter.

Melvin Mora: 1/1 (dual 8×10)….Old guy next to me was shadowing Mora the whole game so there was no way that I was going to miss him
Miguel Olivo: 0/1 he was one of the reasons I made the trip yet I somehow missed him.
Nolan Ryan: 0/1 …the usher yesterday said that he was going to sign today yet he wouldn’t do it. When I heard in the third inning that he wasn’t going to sign behind the concourse I decided that I was going to have to be creative if I wanted to get him. So I sat in the seat behind home plate that is nearest the field exit, thinking that Ryan would exit this way like he had done yesterday. Sure enough, in about the 9th he left through the on-field entrance/exit. Leaning over as far as I could, I got his attention and was 1-on-1 with him yet he wouldn’t do it.
Vladimir Guerrero: 0/1…he posed with a baby for a pic and I really thought he was going to do it.

As soon as Ryan turned me down I high-tailed it to Glendale for the night game between the Angels and White Sox.

Carlos Quentin: 1/1 (’09 Ginter)
Mark Teahen: 1/1, 1/1 (’08 Ginters)…showed him that he smeared the first one so he kindly did another
Paul Konerko: 0/1, 0/1, 0/1, 0/1, 1/1 (’08 Ginter state card)…..was signing for every little kid in the stadium before the game, turning me down in the process. I finally said, “Hey dude, I’m a collector and these cards are for my set. How about signing one of them?” He finally took my card and as he signed it I told him that I was a teacher and that I was in town for spring break. Said Konerko: “At least you’re honest.” Not really sure what he meant by that.
Juan Pierre: 1/1 (’08 Ginter)…shouted questions at Pierre as he was in the outfield stretching. He shouted his answers back at me. When he finally came over to sign I peppered him with more questions, though he wasn’t too forthcoming with info. Pierre said he still lives in Parkland, which is only a few minutes from me. He also said that he spoke to Dontrelle Willis just a few days ago.
Harold Baines: 1/2 (card)…kicking myself because I would’ve preferred him to sign the old-school 5×7 that I accidentally left in the car
John Danks: 2/2 (’09 Ginters)….one of the nicest guys on the team….told him that he pitches a gem every time I see one of his starts. He then said he needs to buy me a ticket so I can follow him around the country. LOL
Jake Peavy: 1/1 (SS, ROMLB)….stayed until the bottom of the 6th before leaving the stadium for the player parking lot. We arrived as Peavy was signing for two little kids. He couldn’t have been cooler, though he wouldn’t inscribe anything. “I signed my life away and can no longer do(inscriptions),” Peavy said. I probably could’ve gotten multiples because the little boy standing next to me got four.
Mark Teahen: 1/1 (’08 Ginter) on the field before the game, 0/1 in the parking lot after the game….I was one of only two graphers waiting at the parking lot after the game. But I hesitated to find Teahen’s card, which gave him an opening. “I’ll get you tomorrow,” Teahen said. In such a hurry that he couldn’t wait five seconds?
Gordon Beckham: 0/1 whle in his car after the game
Andruw Jones: 0/1…while on the field after the game

Not exactly the guys I wanted but the quantity wins out so I’ll consider it productive. Another double-dip tomorrow: A’s at White Sox in the day game followed by Indians at Royals in the night game.

If you would like to contact Mark, he can be reached at

Orel Hershiser 1989 Score

Orel Hershiser 1989 Score

One of the things I recall most about Orel Hershiser and watching him on the mound is that he always left me with the feeling that he gave it his all each and every time he performed.  And several of his baseball cards capture that feeling; especially his 1989 Score card.

See what I mean??  You can feel the intensity that Orel brought to the game just by looking at his face.  Full of focus, full of energy, and full of power, Orel Hershiser meant business.

And while I wasn’t a huge Dodgers fan while growing up, I was immediately drawn to their young, and supremely talented pitcher nicknamed ‘ The Bulldog’ for these very reasons.

A great addition to my growing collection that pays tribute to his wonderfully successful career!!

Did You Know…

Hank Aaron smashed 40 home runs for the Atlanta Braves in 1973 and finished the season with a career total of 713, one behind Babe Ruth’s record.  That season Aaron had the fewest hits(118), fewest extra-base hits(53), and fewest total bases(252) for a player with a 40-homer season. 

**factoid courtesy of ‘Big League Trivia’

My take – What a long off-season that must have been for Hank, huh??