Monday, June 25, 2012

Braves @ Red Sox, 6/22-6/24 HUGE Update!

What a weekend!


Craig Kimbrel- 12 Topps Gold Futures
Michael Bourn- 09 Topps
Eric O'Flaherty- 11 Topps
Martin Prado- 12 Topps Heritage, 10 Allen & Ginter
Jack Wilson- 09 Topps, 09 Topps U&H
Eric Hinske- 09 Topps U&H
David Ross- 09 Topps U&H

Michael Bourn- 12 Topps Heritage, 12 Gypsy Queen
Martin Prado- 11 Topps
Eric Hinske- 11 Topps
Chipper Jones- 09 Topps, 09 Topps NL Batting Leaders


Jair Jurrjens- 09 Allen & Ginter
Johnny Venters- 10 Topps Update RC, 11 Topps Update
Brian McCann- 09 Topps
Dan Uggla- 09 Topps
Don Sutton- 09 UD Piece of History Historical Moments


Fredi Gonzalez- 09 Topps (For Trade)
Terry Pendleton- 09 O-Pee-Chee Braves checklist
Jack Wilson- 08 Topps, 08 Topps Year in Review
Chad Durbin- 09 Upper Deck
Brian McCann- 09 Topps U&H

Eric Hinske- 09 Topps U&H (For Trade), 02 Stadium Club
Chipper Jones- 08 Allen & Ginter, pic with

30 Total autographs for the weekend, and I got to meet my childhood hero.  Like I said, what a weekend!

Meeting Your Heroes

Friday, June 22, 2012


Today begins a weekend of autograph indulgence that I feel should be introduced with a story.

Growing up in southern Maryland, I didn't have much of a choice when it came to baseball teams.  Before MLB Network, before MLB On Demand, and before MASN2  (or MASN for that matter), there was HTS.  Home Team Sports was the exclusive broadcaster of Baltimore Orioles games, and my sole option when it came to watching baseball.  My family grew up in New York, so most of them were either Mets or Yankees Fans.  I was born in Boston, but moved to Maryland when I was very young, so I had no particular allegiance to the Red Sox at that age.  The Orioles of the late 90's were not the basement-dwelling teams that have plagued Baltimore for the past decade, but were still frequently defeated by the Yankees. 

The year was 1996.  While I had no particular affinity for the Orioles, I did feel a growing hatred for the Yankees that continues to grow to this day.  All summer long, I watched as the Orioles suffered loss after loss at the hands of the Evil Empire.  I longed for change.  I wanted to see new players, new teams, new stadiums.  I wanted to watch a team that could beat the New York Yankees.

Thanks to a rich old man with a bit of an ego (who has both a stadium AND television network named after himself), I was able to tune in to TBS a few days a week to watch Braves games.  I quickly became a fan of their dominant pitching staff, but it was Chipper Jones who became my favorite player.  After the Tony Tarasco incident in the 1996 ALCS (ask any Orioles fan about it, it's the last playoff memory they have to remember), I threw my full support behind the Braves in hopes of watching the Yankees crumble in the World Series.

My new team couldn't overcome Joe Torre's Yankees that year (or again in 1999), but they continued to dominate the NL East for many years with the likes of Greg Maddux, John Smoltz, Tom Glavine, Andruw Jones, and, of course, Chipper Jones.

As a teenager, I grew out of love with baseball, but I never sold my cards or memorabilia.  It wasn't until my freshman year of college in the late summer of 2004 that my love of the game was rekindled.  My roommate and his father were both huge Red Sox fans, and my roommate always tuned in when the Sox were playing games on the major networks like ESPN and FOX.  That fall, the three of us drove from New Jersey to Boston to watch Game 2 of the World Series from outside Fenway Park.  To this day, I've never seen so many people huddled outside the stadium on a cold October night, peeking in bar windows for a glimpse at the action after cheers erupted from inside the park a split second earlier.  For me, baseball was back.
Now, eight years after the curse was reversed, I'm back in the full swing of autograph collecting. Chipper is in the twilight of his career and seems destined for Cooperstown. This weekend, I find myself in a position to bring my childhood full circle, with the chance to meet him for the first time.  While I don't follow the Braves like I did when I was younger, I always check the box scores to see how Chipper played the night before.  I still have the same card binder I started 15 years ago, packed to the brim with over 400 cards of his likeness. If I can get just one card signed by him, just a moment of interaction with my childhood hero, the weekend will have been a great success. 

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Marlins @ Red Sox, 6/19: HanRam & Jose

Tuesday night started out slow, but ended up being one of my best nights of the season so far.  After having no luck whatsoever during batting practice, I decided to check out which Red Sox alumni was signing autographs at the team store.  Fortunately, it was Sam Horn, and I happened to have a Red Sox team set of 88 Topps on me.  I had him sign the card, as well as a promotional giveaway black & white photo.

When I returned inside the stadium, I noticed a young girl with a big homemade "#1 Fan" sign for Hanley Ramirez, so I planted myself next to her.  Within a minute of entering the dugout, Hanley noticed, and came over to take a picture with her.  I suggested he sign her #1 Fan sign, and then he signed a card for me and a handful of others before retreating back to the dugout. 

With a signed Hanley card and a sense of satisfaction, I moved strategically down the line towards a guy wearing a Mets jersey with Reyes' name and number on the back.  Sure enough, Reyes came straight to that guy during warmups, having a conversation in Spanish and taking a picture with him before signing for a few people that were close by.  I was especially excited to meet Reyes, because he's my grandmother's favorite player.  Since she's a Mets fan, she was devastated when he left New York, but I was excited to tell her that I had met him. 

I also got Omar Infante on a set card, plus I had Logan Morrison sign a combo card that I'm hoping to complete by the end of the season.  For the $12 upper bleacher price of admission, it was a great night, and the Sox won, too!

  • Sam Horn- 88 Topps, promo photo
  • Logan Morrison- 11 Topps Heritage Rookie Parade (2 down, 3 to go)
  • Omar Infante- 09 Topps
  • Hanley Ramirez- 09 Topps
  • Jose Reyes- 09 Topps

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Nationals @ Red Sox, 6/10

The Bryce Harper Memorial Half-Mile Marathon at Fenway Park

I really don't do much minor league graphing, and I had never encountered Bryce Harper. Despite all the stories I've heard about him, I kept an open mind and remained hopeful when his cab rolled up. After running at least 3/4 of the perimeter of Fenway to chase his cab, he still turned down the 4 or 5 people that were able to keep up with him. I'm sure he paid the cabbie a nice tip to watch us scramble across the entire stadium for nothing, making U-turns and stopping/starting at almost every gate at Fenway. Now I know what the Bryce Harper experience is all about.

Strasburg didn't sign coming in either, but I was happy to get Gio and Ryan Zimmerman. I wasn't familiar with most of the guys on the team, so I missed Tyler Moore and Craig Stamen because no one could ID them until after the fact. Ryan Z, Lidge, and Nady came together in the same cab and they all signed.

  • Gio Gonzalez- 09 Topps
  • Mike Morse- 08 Topps
  • Ryan Zimmerman- 06 Topps Heritage RC
  • Xavier Nady- 11 Topps Heritage
  • Brad Lidge- 11 Gypsy Queen

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Mail Day: Five New '09 Topps Cards!

I don't do trades very often, but I was lucky enough to line up a pair of deals with Panzer and moe over at  Here's my haul from the two trades:

  • Dave Trembley- 09 Topps
  • Travis Hafner- 09 Topps
  • Carlos Gomez- 09 Topps
  • Nelson Cruz- 09 Topps U&H All-Star
  • Mark Lowe- 09 Topps U&H

Thanks guys!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Orioles @ Red Sox, 6/5

I was able to leave work early for a doctor's appointment, but first I stopped by Fenway for about 20 minutes to wait out back.  I was fortunate enough to get Kevin Gregg as he was getting dropped off, then I headed to the doctor's before returning to Fenway a few minutes before the gates opened.  It was a rough night inside, as I only got Robert Andino.  There were a few call-ups that were signing, but I didn't have anything for them.  Jerry Moses was signing free photos in the Red Sox gift shop, but his real name should be Jerry Molasses because he was taking forever to sign.  It's nice that the older guys can be more personable, but after waiting 15 minutes and only moving about 5 feet, I gave up.  I usually have pretty good luck inside with a team like the O's, but last night just wasn't happening.

  • Kevin Gregg- 09 Topps U&H
  • Robert Andino- 09 Topps U&H