Sunday, January 4, 2015

Slacking at the end of 2014

I did a few events in December and just forgot to post anything. So we'll go through everything quickly.

I haven't been able to do anything hockey-related. The Stars haven't had many (any) weekend practices, and now that I'm head coach of the floorball team I've been playing on, I'm sure my availability won't increase.  Here's to hoping a few teams stay at easy hotels on weekends and I can make up for this lack of Stars assistance.

Shin-Soo Choo ball, a nice surprise
On the plus side, I did get out to a nice offseason baseball event, hitting up the Texas Rangers' Toy Drive.  For the donation of a toy, you can get autographs from a bunch of players.  They put the list out a few days ahead so I knew who I needed to pull, so I grabbed some cards, a photo, and a ball and did it.  It was well-run (which is different from Rangers' events of late) and efficient, and the players were excellent.  Shin-Soo Choo was a late addition, so I used my ball on him instead of my original plan of Elvis Andrus, having Andrus sign a card. Here's a full rundown...

Shin-Soo Choo 1/1 SSROMLB
Michael Choice 2/2 cards
Tanner Scheppers 1 team issued photo
Shawn Tolleson 1 team issued photo
Rusty Greer 3/3 cards and a team issued photo
Tom Grieve 1/1 11x14 photo already signed by Jeff Burroughs (FINALLY!)
Matt Hicks 1 team issued photo
Jim Sundberg 3/3 cards
Elvis Andrus 1/1 card
Jeff Banister 1 team issued photo
Robinson Chirinos 1 team issued photo
Ross Detwiler 3/3 cards
Matt Harrison 1 team issued photo
Jurickson Profar 3/3 cards
Jose Guzman 3/3 cards and a team issued photo
Mark McLemore 3/3 cards
Derek Holland 1/3 cards
Jake Thompson 1 team issued photo
Steve Buechele 3/3 cards
Steve Busby 1/3 cards
Larry Hardy 1 team issued photo
Dave Hostetler 1 team issued photo
Eleno Ornelas 1 team issued photo

Finished! Though I forgot to have him add "Mr. Ranger" with it
One Detwiler and one Profar will be going to Chris as he had to bail on the event at the last minute. Plus he's helping me out with the Rangers' Caravan stop in Waco. I also bought one of the "Mystery Balls" they sold-- it's a signed ball in a bag, MLB hologram authenticated. $10 which is a great price even for an unsigned ball.  I got Phil Irwin, trading it to another person for Scott Baker.

The mailman left three Gashes in my mailbox.
I got a pair of TTMs back as well.  Former Browns' safety Thane Gash signed 3/4 cards for me through his home address in 5 months, and Doug Jones signed 5 cards plus a religious-themed card through his home address in 6 months.

Jonesin' for some sigs
I also started turning some attention toward indoor soccer.  The Sidekicks play over in Allen and usually give out a couple cards at every game and have a post-game autograph session.  Seeing as I got free suite tickets a few weeks back I figured I'd carry a few cards with me of some retired players who are associated with the team and hope for the best.  Unfortunately I didn't get my Mike Powers, Gordon Jago, or Terry Woodberry cards signed, but I did get Shaun David on a card after the game.

Final total for 2014: 1156 net autographs. Well short of my goal of 1500, though I did get 1412 sigs in total (net equals total obtained minus items obtained for others and traded items). If I had put more time into TTMing, I likely would have hit it in autographs acquired at least.

The 2015 graphing season started last night with another indoor soccer game. The Sidekicks hosted an alumni game and a number of players I had cards of were there. There was no formal signing, but a couple of us waited where the players came off the field and I got everyone who was there that I had cards of. Billy Phillips was the first one I saw, signing two 1990-91 Pacific Coach of the Year cards. He told me a great story about the photo on it. Players often put Vaseline or some other lubricant on their legs to avoid turf burns when sliding, so for road games he said he often would wear an old pair of khakis just to keep from having to pay a ton to clean them on the road instead of being able to do it at home.  And of course what photo do they pick for a Coach of the Year card, but one where he's wearing those pants. He even asked me who else I had cards of and he went in and got Krys Sobieski for me.  Sobie, a former Cleveland Force netminder, signed the four cards I had of him, and then just like Phillips did, he went and got Roderick Scott and Terry Woodberry for me. Scott signed four cards and Woodberry two.  After a few minutes another collector came down and joined me, which was a major help-- once these guys were out of uniform, I was totally lost if the guy wasn't really distinctive looking.  He helped me ID David Doyle who signed two cards for me.  I also chatted briefly with former Cleveland Crunch and Akron Zip Dev Reeves. Apparently Reeves has a few cards out there, but I didn't have any with me.  Assistant coach Mike Powers signed the two I carried with me, followed by Willie Molano signing two as well.  Last up was Marcio Leite. I missed him leaving the locker room, but he walked by again and signed all four cards I had of him.

Some soccer sigs
A lot of the retired players were surprised that I had cards of them, with Leite even asking where I managed to find them. For anyone who doesn't know, Pacific (yes, THE Pacific that made the first ever one-GU-card-per-pack program in the early 2000's and also nearly wrecked the industry with oversaturation and parallel-mania) made MISL and NPSL cards from 1987 to 1993. They are commonly available on eBay and occasionally in card shops. Many can be found at extremely reasonable prices and feature some soccer legends like Tatu, Steve Zungul, Hector Marinaro, the late Slobo Ilijevski, Branko Segota, and more. Many of them are great signers both in-person and via mail.

After the game, I got the other cards I had signed by Fabinho (two, as he was one of the giveaways when I got Shaun David) and Mike Jones (one, this day's giveaway).  I also had former Cleveland Crunch and Force member Kiley Couch sign my ticket stub.  Overall, not a bad way to start the new year.

I also broke a box of Rookies and Stars football. I might show off the hits later, including an Arian Foster printing plate. I did a video but have been far too lazy to edit and post it.

This year, I'm not going to set any huge goals. I don't know that my availability will be as high as it has been in the past and hockey has been anything but reliable, so I'm just going to set a relatively easy goal of 500 baseball autographs. It's not something I have to really push hard to hit, but it keeps me active in the hobby. All other sports will simply be a bonus. And 26 soccer ones to start the year is a pretty decent bonus.

NOTE: Turns out that guy waiting with me for the Sidekicks alumni was none other than former Beckett Hockey "Signing Session" writer Dave Sliepka.

1 comment:

  1. Drew,
    I was checking out your site niiice! I would be interested in trading for any certified auto cards of any sport or non-sport I have a spreadsheet with about 5,000 items I have if interested send me an email and I can forward you my spreadsheet maybe we can work something out. my email is and my blog is
    Thanks, Dion