Saturday, October 26, 2013

Hounding Reports: Browns Backers 10/20, Winnipeg Jets 10/26, and a TTM

Can't believe I forgot to write about the Browns Backers' outing last week.

Actually, I can. The game was terrible, it was a 45-minute drive back home, and since it was a sit-down signing there's not much to write about except for what I got.  Former Brown and College Football Hall of Famer Jim Ray Smith signed five cards, commenting that he was pretty sure I had all of the ones made of him. Former Cowboy Kevin Brooks signed five, saying "Man, you've got some old ones there!" He was only in 1989 Pro Set, but I had five of it. And former Cowboy Dave Manders signed the only two I was able to get of him.  Not bad at all-- just wish the Browns had showed up to play and had a quarterback with an IQ above room temperature.

Anyways, today it was onward downtown to the Winnipeg Jets' hotel.  I wasn't super-enthusiastic about this because I was asking myself really now, who do the Jets have that I need badly? Then I remembered there are like 7 or 8 of their players in the sets I'm doing, and there's always the Stars' alumni signer, so I might as well go on down. I didn't prep my cards until Wednesday, so I was missing a few guys and had limited quantity on several, but I ended up doing just fine.

I skipped Friday night. Usually I'd go, especially since they're at an easy hotel, but since I had a relatively low quantity and they come three times, it's not like it was urgent that I get anything done.  Instead I aimed for Saturday at morning skate. Unfortunately, due to the earlier start time of the game, they moved their skate up an hour.  While I caught the 8:10 train and was at the hotel at 9, the players were already coming out, and the bus left by 9:15. I was the only one there, and in a case like that, I hate being the only one getting things signed. Just seems weird to me. The last time I did it was for the Canucks in Boston back in 2003. So I didn't do anything. I also decided not to bother with them returning from morning skate.

So after burning off some time having lunch, reading a couple of DFW's free indie newspapers (I always liked the Phoenix in Boston and the Scene and Free Times in Cleveland, and so far the Observer has been right on par with them), and dashing up to Barnes and Noble at SMU, I headed back down about 1:30 or so.

Once again I was the only one there at first, but fortunately Tyler, another hockey grapher, showed up so I wasn't alone thankfully. Having a second person there definitely helps-- the more eyes and brains the better (as long as it doesn't get crazy with 10-20 or more people there) and being a foot taller than me, he can see over the fences better than my 5'8" ass can.

Tobias Enstrom was the first one out. Coming off the bus after putting his bags on I asked him to sign my card. He said he doesn't sign on game days.  I think he just didn't like my Finland Hockey hat. Damn Swedes.

After that brief disappointment, Dustin Byfuglien came out.  He gave a look that seemed to indicate he would sign once he got his bags on the bus, and did just that without us even having to ask.  He put the pen to three of my four cards.  Goalie coach Wade Flaherty signed two (excellent sig, by the way), while assistant coach Charlie Huddy signed all 8. I thanked him after signing four and he went to hand my pen back, but asked "Want me to sign those others too?" Obviously I won't pass that up-- dude was a big part of the 1980's Oilers dynasty.

My order will be off quite a bit from here, but it doesn't matter really what order they came in, so here goes with just a basic list...

Andrew Ladd on my Upper Deck Rookie Class set card
Chris Thorburn on a 2013-14 Score card (he looks exactly like...)
Al Montoya on another Upper Deck Rookie Class set card
Blake Wheeler on a Rookie Class setter
Head coach Claude Noel on the back of a 1990-91 Pro Set Jets logo card
Zach Bogosian, Rookie Class setter
Ditto on Michael Frolik-- UDRC setter
Olli Jokinen on a UD Game Jersey card from 09-10; I had heard Jokinen could be kind of jerkish but he was alright with us; he was always one-per when I had gotten him before
Matt Halischuk on a 10-11 Score
Ondrej Pavelec on a UDRC setter
Evander Kane on two-- note that he signs right to left, so your right-most card will get smeared; mine did, but should be salvageable with a little erasing
Bryan Little on four cards, including a UDRC setter-- I already had it from a trade, but still, good to have one I got myself
Devin Setoguchi on 2 of my 4 cards

So for those keeping score, that's 31 cards signed with the Stars' Alumni yet to come.  The Stars bring out a former player before just about every game and asking one of the employees near the table, I found out Brent Severyn was the guy this game.  That was big-- I needed Severyn for my 2002-03 Fleer Throwbacks set!

As I was waiting in line, I saw Craig Ludwig walking around. I didn't restock him in my book or I would have gotten him for sure.  Bob Bassen also showed up.  He's head of the Stars' Alumni Association now.  He signed the four cards I had with me, and I asked him if he had talked to Paul Baxter about joining the Alumni Association. While Baxter never was with the Stars (or North Stars), he does live in North Texas as the head coach in Wichita Falls of the NAHL (my former boss).  A few former non-Stars who live near Dallas are members (Al Secord, Dan Blackburn, and a few others) so I figured I'd bring it up in-person with him after mentioning it to Bassen on Twitter.  Bassen told me he actually had indeed talked to him a few days before, so there may be another member to add to the rolls soon. So 'graphers, carry your Baxters with you as well when you go for Alumni events just in case.

Anyways, as expected Sevy was a good guy, even commenting on the "old ones" I had of Al Secord next to him in my book (hey now, 1990 is NOT old!).  He signed the three I had of him.

So, 38 autographs total.  Not too bad a day. 50 over the past week. And I still have the Stars' practice tomorrow. Hopefully I can knock out some of the 50-50 stuff for friends that I've had sitting here for a month and a half.

Oh yeah, one TTM of note as well, Bill Lee came back to me three weeks ago. The former Red Sox hurler signed 3 of the 4 cards I sent in blue Sharpie, keeping the fourth one. Total time through his home address in Vermont: 67 days.

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