Friday, October 27, 2017

Bill Belichick-TTM

It has been awhile since I tried getting an autograph through the mail, and as mentioned before I usually do a pretty thorough job of researching which sports figures are more apt to send an autograph back.  I also delve a little deeper than that and look into who really signs the stuff sent to them, or who possibly uses a "ghost signer".  Ghost signers are the people that don't actually sign the items you send themselves, but have someone else do it for the.  One athlete rumored to do such a thing is Mike Schmidt, so although people will receive their items in the mail, the signature looks nothing like the signature you'd get from Mr. Schmidt in person.  All this being said, I've been five for five in getting authentic items back in the mail from athletes.  They include Dirk Nowitzki, Ryne Sandberg, Wade Boggs, Al Kaline, and Bobby Doerr.  This time around, I decided to send a couple of 8x10 photos to Patriots head coach and one of the greatest of all time, Bill Belichick.  The idea actually started with me wanting to get one as a gift for my father in law, who is a major Patriots fan, but since I was sending something anyway, I decided to slip another 8x10 in there and see if he'd sign both.  I sent these off around two weeks ago, and yesterday opened the mail to find this...

Needless to say, this was a promising start.  I also like that it comes in an official Patriots cardboard envelope, because there was no way the stuff would bend this way.  upon opening the envelope, I not only received both photos signed as requested, but a letter written by someone in the office of Bill Belichick (I doubt he has the time to write all the mail himself) and signed by him as well.
Pretty cool touch, even if in the likely event someone filled the letter out for him.  My photo came out a bit light compared to the one for my father in law, but that's okay.  It's still a really cool piece to add to my collection.  I'm going to have the 8x10 and letter matted and framed nicely and give it as a gift for my father in law. 
As always, thanks for reading.  I have a couple of more ideas for through the mail signatures from some pretty major athletes that are known to be great signers, so keep an eye out.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Stephen Strasburg

Through a family friend of mine that happens to be a friend of the Strasburg family, I was able to land a signed Major League baseball signed by Stephen.  It was an awesome surprise gift for her to be able to finagle this ball for me, and in kind I gave her a signed card from NHL great Mario Lemieux.  The ball is in black ink and not the preferred blue, but it's on the sweet spot and I have zero complaints.
Not a glamorous photo of this particular ball, I know.  This is how I received it, but now it's in one of my two cases and displayed nicely.
As always, thank you for reading. 

Jerry West 9-23-17

I saw a few months back that all time NBA great and "The Logo" himself, Jerry West, would be appearing at a signing event hosted by Honabach and Sons.  At the time of purchasing my tickets, the location was yet to be determined.  As we got closer to the event, I found out the signing was to take place at the Holiday Inn Express near the Ontario Airport.  That's a good hour and fifteen minute drive (at a minimum) for me.  Nonetheless, this past Saturday was the day of the event, at which I showed up a good two hours early, picked up my will call tickets, and waited in my car until the actual start time crept up.  I was prepared with an 11x14 photo that resembles the NBA logo itself, figuring it was an apt photo to choose.  I lined up in the VIP line about 15 minutes before the noon start time, at which point Mr. West was finishing up his photo ops with some fans.  He began signing immediately afterward, and I snapped a couple of photos. 

Within minutes, I was at the front of the line and asked Mr. West to add the HOF inscription I paid for.  The signature came out looking fantastic, and Mr. West was extremely cordial, chatting up everyone who came through the line, and not making the whole experience feel rushed.  We had a conversation about the shirt I was wearing, which was a reference to the TV show "The Office".

 I went immediately from there to the Beckett authentication line, where I recognized the infamous Steve Grad standng nearby.  Grad was formerlywith PSA/DNA but is now employed by Beckett.  Some of you may recognize him from his recurring appearances on the tv show "Pawn Stars", in which he comes in to authenticate signatures for the Pawn Shop.  I use the word 'infamous' because there is some controversy surrounding this character, leading to his departure from PSA/DNA.  You can Google the name at your own leisure if you desire.
 All in all, it was a smooth experience for me.  The signing went quickly, I was in the building for no more than twenty minutes.  The autograph looks awesome, and is signed in gold.  There was zero wait time at the authentication table.  Granted, I had the VIP line pass so that may was hugely beneficial for my time.  Mr. West was nice, which lead to a cool story to tell down the road.  I'll always keep an eye out for the signings hosted by this company, because I've yet to have a bad experience.  Thanks for reading!

Monday, June 26, 2017

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

A couple months back I saw that NBA All-time great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar would be signing autographs at the Puente Hills mall in an event hosted by Honabach and Sons. In a situation where I would have to drive 80 miles each way, I always have to make sure it's a player I truly covet or would add a lot to my collection.  With Kareem probably being a top 5 NBA player all time, I didn't think I could pass up the opportunity so I purchased tickets.  The day of the signing was this past Saturday June 24, so I made the trek up from Oceanside and got to the mall about 90 minutes before the signing was to take place.  Luckily, I had purchased the ticket right when the signing was available to the public, so I ended up with "VIP" tickets which in essence guarantee you a spot in the first 50. That meant I could show up to the event, pick up my will call tickets, then goof around in the mall until the signing began.
My son and I decided to grab a quick bit to eat, then got in line quarter to 12, which was fifteen minutes before the signing was to take place.  I snapped a photo from my spot in line;
If I had to guess, I was probably about 40th in the group with the VIP tickets.  The line on the opposite side of the store entrance had grown a lot by the time I exited the store with my autograph. It was probably 150 people strong at that point. To their credit, the organizers controlled the chaos in such a way that the line went smoothly, and within ten minutes I was close enough to snap a few photos of Kareem.
Next up was my son and I, and I had an 11x14 matte photo (with a dark background on purpose) ready to go.  I requested the HOF inscription, which tends to be my go to request.  I believe the photo came out real nicely.

After the signature had dried, I walked up to a (thankfully) very quick authentication line that Beckett was running, and they slapped the "Witnessed" authentication sticker on there.  After that, we were om the way home for a cool 1 hour and 45 minute drive in traffic.  Once I get this thing matted and framed, I'll put the photo of the final product on here.  Thanks for reading.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Marshall Faulk Celebrity Golf Championship

There is an annual Celebrity golf tournament hosted in San Diego that is now hosted by former San Diego State running back and NFL hall of famer Marshall Faulk.  Previous iterations of this event were hosted by Drew Brees, and prior to that, Stan Humphries.  I first began attending these events about 15 years ago since they were very easy to meet sports celebrities and add to my autograph collection.  This was the first time I had gone in probably ten years, but previously had so much success I figured it was worth going and seeing what would happen in the current version of the tournament.  Players like Mario Lemieux, Joe Morgan, Ozzie Smith, Grant Fuhr, Rollie Fingers, Deacon Jones, Drew Brees, Jeremy Roenick, Sterling Sharpe, Stan Mikita, and many more had signed autographs at these events for me before.  For more in depth details about the history of this event, and to see which celebrities attended this year, I suggest going here.

Instead of rehashing the whole day, I'm going to put up a few photos and quick snippets about who I got this time.

Terrell Davis was there, along with Faulk, Marcus Allen, Eric Dickerson, and Reggie Bush among former NFL running backs.  Davis signed and was in a great mood, messing with all the supporters.  I was happy to get him to sign.  Dickerson signed for everyone, but since I already had him in my collection I didn't bring anything for him.  Allen and Faulk never sign for anyone unless it's on a piece of paper.  I'm not sure if Bush signed or not, he said he'd sign after his round but I'm not sure what came of that.

Current Arziona Cardinal corner and All-Pro Patrick Peterson signed for me and a small group of people. He was cordial as well, and took a particular liking to this photo I found of him on Ebay.
NHL Hall of fame goalie and member of the "NHL Top 100" Grant Fuhr signed for everyone, as he always does.  Hockey players are always so nice, and very rarely say no to autograph seekers.  As I mentioned, I got Fuhr before but it was on a card, so heading into this event I made sure to bring an 8x10.  Side note, Fuhr is a fantastic golfer.

Troy Glaus and Jermaine Dye both signed basesballs for me.  Glaus signed after hitting some practice balls in the driving range, and Dye signed while waiting for his round to begin.  Both are former all stars, so they will go into my secondary baseball display case.

Other athletes I saw/heard sign but either didn't bring stuff for or just missed on include Jerry Rice (ouch), Brett Boone, Rick Rhoden, Gary Templeton, Matt Slauson, and Bernie Nicholls.  I did not wait for former Raiders wide receiver Tim Brown to finish his round, so not sure if he signed.  I was prepared with 8x10 photos of NHL Hall of famer Mike Modano, as well as US soccer superstar Landon Donovan, but they did not show for the Friday portion of the event.

Lastly, although I had nothing for him to sign, arguably my biggest thrill of the day was getting to meet and take a photo with actor Brian Baumgartner, who played Kevin on the Office.  My wife and I absolutely love the show, so going into the day my number one goal was to meet Brian.

All in all, it was a great day.  Hung out with my friend, watched some golf on a gorgeous day, and added some cool autographs to my ever growing collection.  Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Al Kaline-Through the Mail

As mentioned on a few of my previous threads, I have recently become interested in the idea of obtaining autographs through the mail.  There is a quite a bit of research involved in deciding which former athletes to send my items to, as I don't want to be spending money or using unsigned items on guys I have little to no chance of receiving anything from.  So far, this has paid off because up until this point I was 4/4 by sending things to Dirk Nowitzki, Ryne Sandberg, Wade Boggs, and Bobby Doerr.  You can read about all of those ventures and what I got signed by looking back on this blog.  Back on the 17th of January, I decided to mail an 8x10 photo to former Major Leaguer and Hall of Famer Al Kaline.  I chose a photo rather than my preferred choice of official baseball since I read on forums that Mr. Kaline won't sign baseballs through the mail.  As such, I found a photo I thought was cool, and sent it to the proper address using the correct channels.  I selected a photo in which I decided that if I was successful getting Mr. Kaline to sign, then I'd also have the pitcher in the photo (Bob Gibson) sign it as well at one of his numerous local signings he does.  Last night, I received this in the mail;
He signed it to the left of himself in the photo at my request, which is awesome because now I'm going to be able to have Mr. Gibson sign it as well, preferably below the mound.  When it's all said and done, I'll have this framed and have two Hall of Famers on one photo. Thank you for reading!

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Nolan Ryan private signing

I recently received a ball from a private signing Orange County Sports Cards held with Nolan Ryan.  I always keep an eye on upcoming signings both of the public and private variety.  If the price is right, I don't mind adding people to my collection, particularly major league baseball hall of famers.  I actually placed my order a few months ago, and the ball came in the mail Christmas Eve, as a nice little gift.  As you can see in the photo below, I chose the Hall of Fame baseball to be signed underneath the HOF logo, as opposed to a regular ball signed on the sweet spot.  The ball is also authenticated by Ryan's company.