Saturday, November 12, 2016

Through the Mail- Bobby Doerr

The fourth item I sent out using the through the mail strategy I started a couple months ago was delivered in the mail today.  I sent an official Rawlings Major League Baseball to former Red Sox great Bobby Doerr.  Mr. Doerr is the oldest living member of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, at the young age of 98.  I had read that Mr. Doerr was fantastic about signing everything through the mail, and I happen to think it's awesome that at his age he's so willing to respond to fan mail and fulfill autograph requests.  Here is a photo of how the ball turned out.
I am now 4 for 4 on everything I have sent out, and plan on doing more research online to see which players are good at responding to these requests.  Mr. Doerr brings my Hall of Fame baseball number to 35, and mail successes now include this, Ryne Sandberg, Wade Boggs, and Dirk Nowitzki.  Thank you for reading.

  

Friday, November 4, 2016

Ryne Sandberg Through the Mail

Something arrived in my mailbox yesterday with perfect timing, as the Chicago Cubs had just won the World Series for the first time since 1908 the day prior.  I sent a baseball to Ryne Sandberg back on October 20th, and the former Cubs great (and Major League Baseball Hall of Famer) sent me the ball back signed.  This is my third success out of three tries with the through the mail autograph website I'd stumbled across previously.  I currently have a fourth baseball out to another Hall of Famer, but it looks to perhaps have been lost in transit.  Here is the photo of the Sandberg ball;


Friday, October 28, 2016

Bill Mazeroski

I've mentioned the website before, but I like to use signings as a website to get a lot of information on which sports athletes (and some celebrities) are signing and when/where they are signing.  There are filters you can use to narrow down what exactly you're looking for, from which teams, states, and even types of award winners.  As I have quite the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame project going on, I've been keeping an eye on some private signings going on around the country.  As such, I came across a signing in Pennsylvania by a company called Total Sports Enterprises, which can be found Here.  They had a very affordable signing with Pirate legend Bill Mazeroski.  The ball came in the mail yesterday signed on the sweet spot with HOF 01, as well as JSA in the presence verification.
 
Mazeroski is a player I highly doubt would make it out west at any time for a signing, so I figured this was an affordable and trustworthy way of adding him to my collection.  The signings hotline website is a must for those in the hobby, and is bountiful in terms of information.  Thanks for reading.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Through the Mail- Wade Boggs

As I did on my last post with Dirk Nowitzki, I sent a something through the mail to the address of Wade Boggs, hoping to land a nice signature.  I've done quite a bit of research on which players are most apt to sign, so I figured I'd give Wade a shot as well, seeing that he seemed to have over a 90% success rate with this endeavor.  This one cost a bit more as shipping a major league baseball is a bit costlier than an 8x10 photo, plus the cost of the ball itself.  Earlier this week I received the Nowitzki photo, and yesterday it was a nice surprise to see the package I had sent shoved into my mailbox.  I hurried back into the house, cut open the envelope, and found this beauty;
This brings the number of Major League Baseball Hall of Famers I have signed baseballs from to thirty two.  The list is as follows;
-Don Sutton
-Ozzie Smith
-Andre Dawson
-Ken Griffey Jr.
-Phil Niekro
-Gary Carter
-Eddie Murray
-Stan Musial
-Willie Mays
-Lou Brock
-Yogi Berra
-Paul Molitor
-Frank Thomas
-Jim Palmer
-Joe Morgan x2
-Boggs
-Frank Robinson
-Juan Marichal
-Brooks Robinson
-Johnny Bench
-Fergie Jenkins
-Rod Carew
-Steve Carlton
-Carlton Fisk
-Tony Perez
-Tony Gwynn x2
-Goose Gossage
-Bert Blyleven
-Gaylord Perry x2
-Greg Maddux x2
-Rollie Fingers x3
-Randy Johnson

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Through the Mail-Dirk Nowitzki

I tried something new recently, and sent an 8x10 photo to Dallas Mavericks star and future Hall of Famer Dirk Nowitzki.  I sent this photo through the mail, because I had come across a website which serves as a database for athletes and their "through the mail" signing habits.  Through this website, I saw that Dirk had a success rate of 100%, which means that whatever people send he signs and sends back.  As this was my first attempt in doing this venture, I researched what to do and how best to maximize my probability of getting an autograph back.  I purchased an 8x10 photo for five or six bucks, mailed a self addressed stamped envelope, and hoped for the best.  I sent the photo out to the Dallas Mavericks facility on September 10th, so you can imagine my surprise when I picked up my mail yesterday and found an envelope.  Inside was this photo...
I have to say, that's a pretty nice autograph to get at little cost through the mail from a player of Dirk Nowitzki's status.  I'm obviously going to matte and frame it and make it a real nice piece to display somewhere in my man cave.  I want to thank Dirk Nowitzki for being real cool about signing this photo.  The reviews of him being a good guy with fans and a good signer were 100% accurate in my case. 

Friday, September 23, 2016

Tony Gwynn Project

As I have mentioned in a post or two previously, Tony Gwynn is my all time favorite player and a major icon in the lexicon of San Diego sports.  He often appeared in the community, and as such, I was able to gather a bit of sports memorabilia from the man.  I have two baseballs signed, two identical 8x10's, and a throwback 1984 Padres jersey he signed for me with his 3141 inscription (which is his hit total).  My wife and I decided to have some of my items put together as a big montage as part of a nice shadowbox we can display on the way up to my sports memorabilia man cave.  I wanted to use the jersey as the centerpiece, one of the 8x10's and the 1998 World Series ball.  I decided against using the HOF 07 ball he signed for me because I preferred to keep it in my baseball Hall of Famer case, of which I currently have 31 signed baseballs in.  I took my items in to Hobby Lobby (religious nuttiness aside), brainstormed with my go to guy for framing, and they came up with a finished piece that in my estimation looks outstanding.  It took just under three weeks, and cost some money, but the final product is definitely worthy of the time and money.  Here are some photos;
It's hard to tell, but the color is actually the Padres brown matching the jersey, the lighting made it tough to capture it on a photo.
I included the above photo to show the depth of the box.  The framers actually had to take two separate customized shadow box frames and put them together for it to work.  It also allowed for them to create the depth for the baseball to sit in some space.
Hopefully I'll be updating this blog soon with some new items I am actually trying to get signed through the mail, which is something I've not done since I was a young kid.  I stumbled across an informative website which tells which players in all sports are good about signing through the mail, and how to go about doing it.  We will see how it works out in the end. 

Monday, August 29, 2016

Corey Seager Signing

I came across a Corey Seager signing hosted by Honabach and Sons as well as the OC Dugout, and being held at Frank and Son's Collectible show.  When I first came across this signing, I purchased both an autograph ticket for a baseball as well as an inscription.
 Corey was scheduled to appear approximately from 6-7:30, but the time was not set since he was coming after the Dodgers Cubs game earlier in the day.  He started signing at 6:15, and I didn't have to wait too long before it was my turn.
Corey was real friendly, and took pictures with everyone who asked and conversed pretty well with them as well.  Since I still had a couple of the 2016 Petco Park All-Star balls left over from my lack of success during All-Star week, I decided to have Corey sign one of these and to put the 1st All-Star game inscription.  I told him that I'm actually a Padres fan but did not boo him during the homerun derby, like many of the fans did.  He seemed to get a kick out of that.  He signed the ball, shook my hand, thanked me for making the drive up, and I was on my way.
Overall, the signing was well organized.  I wasn't really excited that we were told MLB would be authenticating everything at no cost, but then upon arrival we were told MLB would actually NOT be authenticating after all, and that we would need to pay for the PSA in the presence authentication.  So after I got the ball signed, I had to line up in a long PSA line for their "RookieGraph" authentication, which took almost as long to get done as the autograph itself.  In fact, as I was leaving the line for PSA was easily over an hour, which is ridiculous.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Greg Maddux

This autograph deserves a post of its own.  Through an event at my wife's work, I was able to attend a taping of a live Greg Maddux interview.  This was something available only to employees of the company as well as their guests, so I feel fortunate to have been able to attend.  Here is a photo of how close I got to the action, where I sat on a small sofa with my wife. 

After the interview wrapped up, the host let everyone know they had to rush Greg out of there since he was scheduled to be up in Dana Point shortly.  Therefore, he left without signing anything for people.  Autographs were of course not guaranteed by any means, but it was still a bit of a bummer.  Luckily, my wife was able to track him down after the taping and asked him to sign a ball.  He stopped and signed for her, and even more amazingly, inscribed HOF 14 after she asked for that as well.  He even gave his full signature, which is a rare thing.  So I ended up with a full Greg Maddux HOF 14 ball.  This is a truly epic piece for my collection.  We are talking one of the elite pitchers of all time, on the short list of MLB greats. 
I have to say it looks pretty awesome sitting in my HOF/MLB greats case, right smack down in the middle for everyone to see.



Monday, August 1, 2016

Star Trek Five Captains Rare Lithograph

I'm going to do something for the first time on this blog, and promote something a family member of mine is selling.  It is still an autographed item, so I thought it would be a cool thing to show on this blog.  What is being a sold is a very rare lithograph of the five captains of Star Trek.  It was signed by all five actors who portrayed the characters, and only ran in a limited edition of 300.  The artist is Jerry Vanderstelt.  

 William Shatner (Kirk)

Patrick Stewart (Picard)
 
Avery Brooks (Sisko)

Kate Mulgrew (Janeway)

Scott Bakula (Archer)

For those who are seriously interested in buying it, know that it is fully authenticated and purchased at a Star Trek convention.  Here is the link to the listing; Star Trek Litho

For the rest of you, it is still a pretty cool thing to marvel at, especially for those into Star Trek or the collectible industry in general.  Thanks for reading. 


 





Tuesday, July 12, 2016

MLB Fan Fest and Homerun Derby

For those of you that don't know, San Diego is hosting the Major League Baseball All-Star game this week, and along with that comes a lot of pomp and circumstance.  Part of the hoopla is the five day event called Fan Fest, which serves as a smorgasbord of baseball festivities that any hardcore baseball fan would love.  It includes autographs, museums, trade shows, Q & A sessions, interactive activities, etc.  As this is an autograph blog, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out what my intention was when heading to the event.

For some background on how my experience went, I should note that I had been preparing for this event since the day it was announced.  Maybe I set myself up for some unrealistic expectations because in the end, I think the whole day was just kind of meh.  My friend Lawrence and I showed up in line out front of the convention center in downtown San Diego at 6:45 AM.  We were literally two of the first 15 people in line for an event that did not start until 9 AM.  Within thirty minutes, the line grew exponentially.
Herein lies my first major issue came with Fan Fest in general.  It was very unorganized.  Despite being top 15 in line, by the time the doors opened there were fifty people crammed into five lines, meaning people that showed up much later than us were just as likely to get into the venue at the same time.  After going through a bag search (of course our guy took longer than the other lines) and getting wanded by security, we were put into a type of holding corral to watch the opening ceremony.  At this point, there was probably close to 300 people, all waiting to sprint to wherever they wanted to go.  The lesson in this is that we could have shown up close to an hour later and had almost as a good a chance to get dibs on things as the people who showed up first.  That's just plain stupid.  On the bright side, they gave away a cool mini bobblehead of Dave Winfield.  I also snapped a quick photo of the "World's largest Baseball".
Our plan was to get Wil Myers, who was signing autographs from 9:30-10:30.  After a (thankfully) brief ceremony, the ribbon was cut and people went where they wanted to go.  People literally ran each other over, and sprinted to Myers' signing station.  It was chaos, which seems to be a theme here.  One of the security ladies literally tried to grab someone to slow them down, and was knocked back.  Someone lost a shoe, another lost their sunglasses.  We all lost our dignity.  But damn it,  we wanted Wil!  Within two minutes the line was huge.

 When I got up on stage for him to sign, he declined my request to add a 1st All-Star inscription.  The ball ended up looking real good though, and one cool thing MLB did was have authentication on site to authenticate the ball immediately.  I had Wil sign a 2016 All-Star ball.
As for the rest of the players scheduled to sign, the one that intrigued us the most was the Benito Santiago and Tony Oliva dual signing.  We walked all the way across the convention center to check out their stand by line, in which you aren't guaranteed an autograph.  Since the line was too long, we decided instead to go check out the Under Armour stage, where Bryce Harper was making an appearance to do a Q & A and promote his new cleat line.  We were hoping there was an off chance Bryce might sign afterwards, but those were quickly dashed when we saw how crowded it was.  I snapped a couple of photos;
He was being interviewed by Jessica Mendoza of ESPN
Chaos!
During our subsequent travels, we came across a booth in which Hall of Famers like Gaylord Perry, Rollie Fingers, and Fergie Jenkins were signing autographs for $20 a pop.  I have all three, but the Fingers and Perry I have did not have the HOF inscription.  Therefore I bought both of them, and both came out looking real nice.  One of the great things about many former players is they really take their time to give a nice signature, and they love to sign.  I took a few photos of their setup plus snapped a couple of the baseballs they signed for me.  
Perry on left, Jenkins on phone. Random kid scratching neck.
Bert Campaneris and Jim Leyritz were there too!
Rollie signing away, he's a good guy.
One of the coolest factors about Fan Fest is the kids get to have little clinics with former major league stars.  Tim Raines happened to be the one teaching at the clinic I stopped by, so I took a couple of photos of him teaching kids how to steal bases as well as swing the bat well.  Afterwards, security snuck him around the waiting group of autograph seekers, of which I was a member.  This happened a lot during the day, as I wasn't able to wrangle anything from any player not scheduled to sign.  This list included Rod Carew, Fred McGriff, Brian Giles, Harper, Raines, Andre Dawson, Ozzie Smith and Tony Oliva.  Other than Myers who I showed up so early for, and paying for the two balls I just mentioned,  I was shut out.  Here are the two photos of Raines with the kids.
Frankly, the Fan Fest got a little boring pretty quickly.  I'm not sure if it was the frustration about how crowded it was, or the fact it was pretty disorganized, or the fact that the players and setup were making it damn near impossible to get anything signed.  It was likely a combination of all three.  I enjoyed the Hall of Fame exhibit, but of course that was real crowded too so I just snapped a photo of Willie Mays' jersey and a bat Honus Wagner used so long ago it was before the sinking of the Titanic.  Let that sink it in a bit, pun only partially intended.

Once we were sufficiently over Fan Fest, it was time to head across the street to Petco Park since we also had tickets to MLB Warmup day featuring the Home Run Derby.  Gates were to open at 2:00 PM as to allow fans a longer chance to see all the stars on the field together.  I was extremely excited about this, as I went into the day with the expectation I would be adding some good names to my collection during batting practice.  Lawrence and I lined up at the home plate gate where I took a photo of just how nice Petco Park looks from the outside.
Unfortunately, my autograph hopes were quickly wiped out when we learned that the only people to be allowed down near the players for batting practice were the people had tickets to the field level section.  Frankly, it's an absolute joke, and I have no idea what the Padres or Major League Baseball were thinking with this one.  The All-Star week is a week intended for fans, and 2/3 of the people who bought these overpriced tickets can't even get down to field level for warmups?  I literally brought 15 baseballs to use for both Fan Fest and the HR Derby combined, assuming I'd have a chance at all of the All-Stars down on the field.  I did not expect to have to sit up in the upper deck for three hours before the event even took place with a view like this;
Maybe a long string would help?
Zobrist, Bryant, and Rizzo on Sports Center
As for the derby itself, it was honestly awesome.  Giancarlo Stanton put on a major show, totaling 61 homers over the course of the competition that were later calculated to travel a total of 5.1 miles.  I mean, this was some majestic stuff.  He faced off against and pretty much decimated Todd Frazier in the Finals of the competition.
Back on the autograph side of things, it was more of the same after the game.  Petco Park was fortified around the outside by a barrier fence that was installed, which kept an even greater distance between the fans and players than ever.  Again, this was supposed to be an event tailored to fans.  Security was sweeping around making sure people weren't lingering too long.  I'll show an example of what I mean below;
The player and family buses are behind the metal fence which is separated from the fans by another fence with a mesh cover on it.  If any of the fans stood too long along the fence, security would come and usher them out.  The whole thing was ridiculous, and made sure that any post game autograph getting would be negligible.

We did see some media guys come out of the ballpark and walk to their hotels.  Since I was shutout at this point I did get Chris Berman of ESPN fame to sign a baseball for me.
Also, in one of the weirder post game experiences I have seen, Charlie Sheen appeared out of one of the back doors with security as his escort.  He was waiting for a cab, and when he was spotted he was waving to the horde of people and was yelling stuff.  Someone yelled "Tiger Blood" at him and he threw his hands up and went "WOOOOOOOOOO".  When the cab pulled up, he hesitated to get in because he was shaking hands and giving fives, etc.  His handler almost had to force him into the car. 
White shirt middle

Overall, the autograph experience I had was very sub par.  I am disappointed in the way fans were not allowed down to the field level for pregame warmups.  The Fan Fest was okay, but definitely tailored more towards kids and the autograph situation was far too exploitable by the "graphers" that I have grown to loathe.  It really is getting to the point for me that it's just so much easier to get autographs at paid signing events where I can avoid most of the crowds that enveloped so much of these All-Star events, as well as not have to compete with guys who push, pull, cut, cheat, and do whatever they deem necessary to obtain another man's signature.  If the All-Star game was to come back, I think the only reason I might attend would be due to fear of missing out on something rather than any actual enjoyment I may have gotten out of it.   

Thank you for reading!

















 

Friday, July 8, 2016

Steve Garvey All-Star Legends Night feat. Reggie Jackson

The Major League Baseball All-Star game and all the festivities it comes with are heading to my city of San Diego, and to unofficially kick it off, Sycuan Casino had a three night event in which former star Steve Garvey hosted a different Hall of Fame player each night to discuss the game of baseball.  The first night he hosted Goose Gossage, the second night was with Dave Winfield, and the third was with Reggie Jackson.  Sycuan Casino is a pretty good drive from my home in north county and autographs were never actually specified, but the event sounded like a good time so I drove down with my friend Lawrence and met up with another friend of mine named Nouky to see if we could perhaps add a couple of good signatures to our collection.

The event was to begin at 8:00PM, with the doors to open at 7:00.  We actually arrived around 6:30 and were the sixth people in line.  This was a good thing since it was general admission.  Through some small talk with others in line, we heard the first two nights had less than fifty people show up, but since Reggie Jackson is a pretty big star the casino was expecting 150-200 people. We were also told that the players signed autographs during both of the previous two nights.  I saw a few of the common autograph seekers that you'll see at a lot of the events, among them David from http://davidsautographsignings.blogspot.com/

Around 8:00 a VIP line randomly formed for certain people to get the chance to take photos with both Garvey and Jackson.  How the people got in this VIP line I do not know, nor do I particularly care.  Information between much of the autograph "community" is treated like CIA and FBI top secret info, and unless you're in the in-crowd you aren't going to ever know what they know.  This line lasted approximately 20 minutes, at which point Garvey came out and gave an introduction, then brought out Jackson.  We had seats in the second row pretty much right down the middle;
The two men shared stories of growing up, the influences they had, career highlights, the state of the game today, etc.  It was truly an experience that any fan of the game of baseball would have enjoyed, and it was such an intimate setting.  At one point, the two were giving each other a hard time about a particular play in the World Series (they opposed each other four times in the Fall Classic), and got up to demonstrate said play.  I snapped a couple of good photos of this exchange.  Keep in mind, I did not zoom in on either picture, I was really just this close...





After a Q&A session, the two men walked to the front of the stage and started signing autographs despite the PA guy telling us before the show that there would in fact not be any autographs signed on the evening.  Most people of course went for Reggie Jackson, as did I.  I was but a couple of people away when he turned back and started signing the other direction, then got a bit annoyed at some people for trying to get multiples (many of the same that were in the VIP line and got him before the show actually), at which point he quickened his pace, signed a few more, and left.  I ended up empty handed on the Jackson front, while a few others got two or three things signed.  It is annoying, but it happens a lot in this hobby.  Thankfully, I was actually the first person Steve Garvey signed for, and I asked him to add his 10x All-Star inscription.  Not only did he oblige, he added 2x MVP on there for me as well.  The ball came out pretty cool.
 


This was a cool event that I am happy I attended.  I hadn't ever gotten a Garvey autograph before, so I was happy to add him to my collection.  The man is a borderline Hall of Famer.  Of course I would have loved to add Reggie Jackson as well, since my goal it to complete an entire display case of Hall of Famers, but I'll have to wait on him.  He does enough signings where I think I will get another chance.  Frankly, even if I came away with nothing, this event was well worth my time and money, and something I would attend again if something similar happens.