Saturday, March 23, 2013

Hounding event... Sort of... and a TTM!

It's rare that I can get autographs in-person here in Wichita Falls.  All we have here is the junior hockey team I work with, a couple of semi-pro football teams, Division II college sports, and recently a CBA basketball team in Lawton, OK, an hour away.

But with the junior hockey comes the occasional former hockey player.  Paul Baxter is the coach here, having played in the WHA and NHL from 1974 through 1987.  Previously,  Brent Hughes who played in the NHL from 1988 to 1997, coached with the Corpus Christi IceRays.  I met Marty Murray in Minnesota this past year, current coach of the Minot Minotauros and an NHL'er between 1995 and 2007.  Cleveland native and former NHL defenseman Moe Mantha coaches the Michigan Warriors.  Corey Millen coached the Alaska Avalanche after playing for five teams from 1989 to 1997.  There was Jeff Brown in St. Louis. Tony Curtale of the Texas Tornado played a couple games with Calgary. Former head coach of the Dawson Creek Rage, Scott Robinson, also appeared in a single game with the 1989-90 Minnesota North Stars. Ernie Hicke and Bill Muckalt had much more success as players than as coaches, but they were NAHL bench bosses as well.

Scouts sometimes show up too.  In the preseason, Curt Brackenbury was working with our players and coaches in training camp.  I also chatted quite a bit with Jordy Douglas when his son was playing for the Wildcats earlier this season.  In Minnesota for the NAHL's annual Showcase, I met Pat Lafontaine's brother John, and found myself watching a game next to Pokey Reddick.

Here in my penultimate weekend as the voice of the Wildcats, we get the Odessa Jackalopes in town.  For the last six seasons, since their days in the CHL, Paul Gillis has been their head coach.  So for the entire season, I've thought about asking Gillis to sign a few cards for me.  Well, more than a few.  I dug out a total of 13 of the guy in my boxes here.  Normally I limit myself to no more than 9, but I figure the worst he can say is no.  We'll see how it goes.

I was going to ask him after last night's game.  But considering the Wildcats took a 7-1 win, broadcaster Tony Brown warned me I probably should just wait until later.  Probably a good call.  So, we'll see how it goes.

Also, I got in my first TTM success since starting this blog.  The thing is, I have no idea when it arrived.  I went out for a short bike ride this morning, and on my way out the door, I saw the envelope sitting on the computer desk.  I asked my mother-in-law when it came in and she said she had no idea, that it was on the desk and had a bunch of stuff piled on top of it.  To make it worse, it looks like it was double-postmarked, so it's impossible to read.  Looks like it says either March 8 or March 13, which would give an arrival date of March 11 or 16.  Considering I was out of town on the 16, I figure that makes the most sense.

Anyways, I sent out to Alan Trammell, the former Detroit Tigers' shortstop and manager, and current bench coach of the Arizona Diamondbacks back on February 21.  Tram is kind of a tough signer via mail.  If you send to the team during the season, be prepared to get your stuff back unsigned, if it gets returned at all.  But if you try him during Spring Training, he's an almost guaranteed success.

I've been trying to get as much of the Topps All-Time Fan Favorites sets signed as I can.  Released each year from 2003 through 2005, the ATFF sets use Topps' old designs and archived photos that they never used of the players in them.  The sets are chock full of Hall of Famers, so getting the whole enchilada signed will be nearly impossible without throwing down a tidy sum of money.  Guys like Willie Mays, Reggie Jackson, and Hank Aaron have multiple cards over the years in the sets and each charge at least $40 to sign.  And that's per card.  Mays has been charging upwards of $300, and you'll usually get met with an angry scowl if you try to talk to him.  Also a number of players in the sets have died recently, like Bob Feller, Gary Carter, Stan Musial, and Harmon Killebrew.  Of the 442 cards in the sets, I've gotten 125 signed, mostly TTM, a few in person, and a few via trades.

Trammell's 2004 card marks that 125th one.  I bought a copy of his signed 2003 card a few years back from one of the good occasional sellers at The Bench.  I rarely buy autographs, but if I know a guy is legit, the price is right, and he isn't just in it for the money, I'll do it once in a while.

I'm starting to wind down on what cards I'll be able to get signed.  I have one more Nolan Ryan to get done, which I'll get at the Rangers' Alumni Weekend game.  I forgot to send to George Bell during Spring Training (*sigh*, next year, I guess; unless I crank out a late one, which I just might do), I'll try Paul Molitor at some point in the summer, I might pay the $5 fee for Wade Boggs because at least that's a reasonable amount, and hope Don Mattingly is still the Dodgers' manager whenever they play in Arlington next (2014, hopefully).  Maybe if I can get out to the National or an All-Star FanFest I can knock out a few more.  But aside from that, it'll be tough to get more without spending a significant chunk of change.  But who knows?  I got Yogi Berra and Ernie Banks free, and they normally charge.

I totally forgot about another hounding possibility in the near future and that's the Grand Prairie AirHogs in the American Association.  There are a few former MLB players who are coaches in the league, and even a few who are still playing in it.  I'll have to keep an eye out on their schedule.  I hear University of Texas-Arlington has some events as well that might be worth checking out.

Looking through the AA, Kerry Ligtenberg and George Tsamis are in St. Paul, Steve Montgomery is in Fargo-Moorhead, Bill Pulsipher is with Winnipeg, Frank White is with the K.C. T-Bones, D'Angelo Jiminez plays for Lincoln, John Rodriguez is playing for Wichita, and Pete Incaviglia manages Laredo.  Inky is in one of the ATFF sets, but I already got him a few years back.

So, my potential schedule just keeps on getting busier.  And to think, I haven't even looked at the schedule for the Frisco Roughriders (Steve Buechele), their opponents (Tim Bogar, Ernie Young, Mike Hampton, Mark Bailey, Don Schulze, Nelson Liriano, Jim Brower, Rich Dauer, Jacque Jones, Jimmy Jones, and Randy Niemann), the Reebok Heroes Celebrity Baseball Game, and all sorts of other events.

Not that I mind, of course.

UPDATE, 5:30 pm: Odessa's broadcaster, Tony Brown, took my cards to Gillis and he signed all 13 of them.

No comments:

Post a Comment