Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Pieces of the Collection

Here is the latest in my new series of items from the past.  I just randomly pulled out some of the hundreds of baseballs I have, and I will include a little blurb about each.  As I have said in the past, when Petco Park first opened I had the mini 20 game season ticket package with my friend so there was a lot more added to the collection during those times.  Then a family happened so of course I don't have the time or frankly, the desire, to spend as much time on my hobby.  That's why organized paid events seem more appealing to me now.  Let's get to it.

This is one of those matted photos you can buy with the name plaque of the player already built in.  At the time, these types of photos went for about $20 a pop, so needless to say I didn't buy a whole lot of them.  I got this one signed either the night Trevor Hoffman got his 400th save or shortly thereafter.  At one point, I was tempted to have a photo collection of 400, 500, and 600 with the date.  I haven't gotten the others yet but this is a pretty cool piece.

This is a Brian Giles ball that I probably got during a batting practice session at some point.  I actually have three of these so if anyone is interested in trading for it, I wouldn't ask for much.  Brian was actually always pretty darn fan friendly and stopped to sign while leaving the ballpark quite often.  The "Hall of Fame" of Padres players that autographed a lot during the mid 2000's was Trevor Hoffman, Jake Peavy, and Akinori Otsuka.  All of whom stopped quite often after games to sign for fans.  Speaking of Peavy...

This is also one of many baseballs I have signed by Peavy, but the only one he inscribed on.  I attended the game the night he set a Padres' record for strikeouts in a game, and he was nice enough to put the date and the total K's on the ball.  At the time I thought it was pretty cool, but I wish I had later tried getting him to sign a ball with NL CY on it.  Oh well.  In case anyone is interested, I'd trade one of these as well, just sans inscription.

Here is the ball signed by Aki Otsuka.  As you can see, he signed in both English and his native language of Japanese.  Aki was always so friendly that if he declined to stop and sign autographs on any given night, everyone was a bit surprised.

Moving away from former Padres, I go now to a slugger of the Philadelphia Phillies that used to hit some big time homeruns and was built like a lumberjack.  I obtained this autograph during batting practice at Petco Park probably during the 2005 or 2006 season.  It ended up being a solid night of autographs as I got Jimmy Rollins on a 2002 All-Star Ball as well as Jim Thome on the sweetspot of a ball on the same night.  This ball, however, is signed by Pat Burrell.

Before I started this blog last year, I actually went to an Arizona Diamondbacks game trying to get autographs, which of course was post game at Petco Park.  I took a chance on going after one of the young sluggers on their team that I felt might become a star.  It's risky business going after young prospects at times since many of them don't pan out and you end up wasting a baseball.  However, this gamble paid off as the young man was Paul Goldschmidt, who this season is the leading NL MVP candidate.  No, it is not a ball signed on the sweetspot.

Finally, I end this post with a player that most MLB fans don't even know.  He is a part time player on the Giants who does have power but doesn't get many at bats.  The reason I include it is because the story behind it is the epitome of why I am in this hobby.  Brett Pill hit his first MLB homer against the Padres at Petco Park in his first game.  I obviously wasn't down in San Diego with the intent of getting a Brett Pill signed ball, but when I saw him I decided to ask him to sign a ball with the inscription of his first homerun.  He was down on the street outside of the ballpark unlike the rest of the Giants who were taking the dreaded Omni Hotel bridge, and the reason he was down below was that he was looking for his family, who had attended the game to watch him play his first game.  His excitement was palpable, and he was quick to agree to sign this ball with his homerun inscription.  When his family finally found him, their greeting was one I had never experienced.  Listening to the dialogue between a young MLB player coming off his first game and homerun and his family was an awesome experience.

Thanks for reading and check back soon for another post.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Pieces of the Collection

In continuing with my new idea to post some photos of items I have in my collection that would not necessarily have gotten into my blog without it, here are a few more items I deem to be of interest.  I will include a quick little blurb about how I obtained each item as I see fit.  The first is a LaDainian Tomlinson signed jersey I got signed during the off season after the season in which he won the NFL MVP. It was a signing at a Field of Dreams store in the Fashion Valley mall in San Diego, a store that no longer exists.  It is one of the more valuable items I have in my collection.

If you notice, there is a LaDainian Tomlinson Authenticated hologram in the bottom right corner of the "2" on his jersey.  I know this is an authentication tactic that is more commonplace than it was at the time of this signing.

Next is a Miguel Cabrera 8x10 I had signed.  It is an MLB photo commemorating a big homerun he hit during the 2003 National League Championship Series.  It is still a goal of mine to get Cabrera to sign a Major League Baseball since I prefer that to photos, but the Tigers rarely make it out to San Diego and I have never "graphed" up in Anaheim.

Finally, here is another 8x10 photo I had signed, this time by Issac Bruce.  I know Bruce is starting to get affiliated with the GTSM sports marketing company, which has several big shows around the country every year, with an emphasis on football players.  If that sounds like something that interests you, I encourage you to check out their website to look at all of their upcoming shows/guests.

Thanks for taking the time to read my blog, and I am thinking that my next post will be one in the "Random Ponderings" category.  The Padres have series scheduled at Petco Park over the next couple weeks with the Mets, Pirates, and Cubs.  I'm debating on whether or not to attend these series as I already have McCutchen, would really only want Harvey from the Mets (Wright is out), and the Cubs have a lackluster roster.  I guess we shall see...

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Shaq & Dr. J- Frank and Son's 8/10/13

Every great once in awhile, you hear about an event that as a autograph collector you absolutely need to attend.  Today was one of those events, when both Julius Erving and Shaquille O'neal appeared at the Frank and Son's Collectible Show as part of a joint signing event hosted by the OC Dugout as well as Honabach and Sons.  Granted, the cost of getting items signed by these guys was kind of pricey, but when you consider that Shaq has NEVER had a public signing appearance, sometimes paying for an item or two is well worth it.

Personally, I had never attended Frank and Son's at any point, so I was really looking forward to what all the hoopla was about.  Let me tell you, this place is nerdvana.  They have collectibles in just about every type of comics, sports, and action figure genres imaginable.  It is quite literally a giant warehouse with seemingly a hundred vendors lined up.  They also often have athlete (and actors, comic writers, etc) signing appearances.  Here is the link to their website in case you are so inclined to scope it out..  It is the type of place you would fully expect to find Sheldon Cooper and Leonard Hofstetter.

Upon arriving, I headed directly towards the desk to pick up my will call tickets fro the signing, and got into line.  Here is a picture of how they set up the signings.

This was pretty much my view for the next 45 minutes while we waited for Mr. Erving to show up and start signing.  One of the underrated bonuses of these types of events is you get to talk to and meet new people who are obviously really into the same hobby, and many of them have interesting stories to tell.  Mr. Erving arrived, waved to everyone when he received a loud ovation, and started signing away.  I came prepared with an 11x14 photo for him to sign.
 Mr. Erving was cordial, and shook the hand of everyone who he signed for as well as made small talk.  In big events like this, the company provides the star with twenty different options to sign with, and the person with the autograph ticket can choose what they want their item to be signed in.  I chose a silver deco paint marker, and it came out fantastically.  After signing, Mr. Erving thanked me for making the trip and for being a fan.  As Stephen A. Smith would say, he was "class personified".
                                                                   Julius Jay Erving
After I got my item signed, I went to the PSA/DNA booth and had them authenticate it, which is something I highly recommend since it adds a lot of value to the item.  Since they attended the event, the authentication counts as "in the presence", meaning they can guarantee the item as authentic as opposed to just lending their opinion.  I touched on this subject in an earlier post on this blog if you want to refer back to it.  For the purpose of practicing, go to and enter 5A42890.  If it is not found, then PSA hasn't entered the number in their database quite yet.

Shaq's appearance wasn't for another hour at this point, and I had one of the VIP fast pass tickets so I did not have to wait in line right away since I was guaranteed to be one of the first 50 signatures.  As such, I decided to look around at all the different booths and really enjoy my time.  I of course focused on the sports memorabilia side of things since I know about that, but I can't stress enough to everyone that this is a place that a LOT of people would enjoy going to.

I got in line after about 45 minutes to an hour of looking around, and Shaq came up to the front to raucous applause.  Someone yelled "Can you dig it..." which prompted a response from the Big Diesel.  I know this is not exactly a Mensa level comment but Shaquille O'neal is huge.  As in massive.  As in he could probably pick me up and dunk me if he felt so compelled.  I included this picture for the simple reason of providing some comparison to a man that was slightly shorter than me and who took a photo with Shaq.

The second photo above is when I got to the front of the line, and I particularly liked his choice of shirts.  I think he was making an ode to himself as well as to the building to which he was in.  I had Shaq sign an 11x14 photo as well.  Again, I think the picture came out outstanding.  It's real sharp and Shaq filled up a lot of space with his signature.

I thanked Mr. O'neal for his time, and he thanked me back.  I lingered long enough to hear a kid behind me ask him if he really fit into the Buick in the commercial, to which Shaquille laughed pretty loud.  He genuinely seemed to be in a great mood, with a great personality.  He was kissing babies in photos as well as fake wrestling little kids.  It was a unique experience to see a man that famous act that way with his fans.

I will be attending Frank & Sons again, no questions asked.  The signing event went smoothly, and I added two awesome pieces to my collection today.  I would recommend nerds, dorks, and goobers of all shapes and sizes to check the place out if they haven't already.

My thanks to Shaquille O'neal and Julius Erving as well as the OC Dugout, Honabach and Sons, and the Frank and Sons Collectible Show for hosting this fine event.  And of course, a big thank you to all of you readers out there who take the time to humor me and read this, or honestly enjoy doing so.  A new post will be made shortly...

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Baltimore Orioles Postgame @Petco Park 8/6/13

Since the Baltimore Orioles are a team that rarely has a series against the Padres here in San Diego, I decided to head down to Petco Park with my friend Lawrence after work and try to add some of this team to my collection.  The Orioles have quite a few good targets to use my baseballs on, like Jim Palmer (works for the Orioles broadcast), Manny Machado, Chris Davis, Adam Jones, and Matt Wieters.  Upon arriving at the ballpark, we realized very quickly that it was not going to be a normal night of trying to get some memorabilia signed.  There were probably around 100 people waiting outside of the park, at various different locations players may walk out.  To compound the problem, the Orioles were staying at a hotel closer to the bay, meaning no one really had any idea which route they might take, or if they might just ride the bus.  Turns out, a few players walked out the normal way, but only a couple signed.  Chris Tillman was with family so declined, and Brian Matusz was talked into signing by his family.  Unfortunately, I was too far away watching another exit to get him.  I did see Brian Roberts walking out an unusual exit, and he stopped to sign for four or five people.  He signed a Topps card for me.
I did not see any of the players I wanted to sign a ball walk out, so needless to say it was a pretty slow night for me.  Manny Machado is the brother-in-law of Yonder Alonso of the Padres, so they drove out together at some point.  When the Orioles team bus left, there was probably about 20 people on it so we never really could judge who was still in the clubhouse and who had left.  Lawrence and I decided to head to the Padres parking lot to see if we could at least add a few of those to our collection, but just about everyone had left.  While waiting, Buck Showalter walked out and took a cab, but I had nothing for him to sign.  My total tally for the night ended up being the card above, which is a far cry from the successful trip I had getting the Reds.  I know this guy only played a short while with the Orioles, and I actually got his autograph when he played for the Phillies, but here is a photo of a Jim Thome autographed baseball I got in 2004 outside of Petco Park.
Thanks for reading, and this weekend there will be a cool post about the event going on Saturday at the Frank and Son's Warehouse up in the City of Industry.  Shaq and Dr. J anyone?