Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Non-HoF (for now?) Autographs: Roger Clemens

Pitcher Roger Clemens is one of the biggest question marks on this year's controversial Hall of Fame ballot. He is arguably one of the best pitchers of all time, and yet allegations of performance enhancing drugs have clouded what was once a sure-thing first-ballot induction.

I was pleased to get an autograph in the mail! It has been a while since a successful return (especially from this high profile of a player) and this was a fun thing to find.

It will be fun if he is inducted, becoming one of the few former Blue Jays in the Hall. It will be very interesting to see which team he is enshrined under - good arguments could be made for Boston, Toronto, New York, or even Houston.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Failure #21: Lee Smith

Lee Smith is not yet in the Hall, but he may get in some day. I decided to be proactive to pursue a few players with the hope that they would be more willing to sign before their induction...

Sadly this was not the case with this 7-time All Star pitcher.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

A New Ballot

The Baseball Writers Association just released their 2013 Hall of Fame ballot.  This year is not unlike other years, though there is bound to be plenty of conversation around three names that show up for the first time this year -- Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, and Sammy Sosa.  All three are first ballot inductees based on statistics alone, though their clouded past and steroid allegations mean that they may or may not be enshrined.

This will be interesting to follow...

Monday, November 19, 2012

Rest in Peace, Lee MacPhail

Baseball exec and Hall of Famer Lee MacPhail died recently at the age of 95.  At the time of death he was the oldest living member of baseball's most hallowed club.

His autograph was one of my early through-the-mail successes, and his autograph is a cherished one.  My condolences go out to his family.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Failure #20: Ernie Banks

Another day, another unsuccessful attempt at getting an autograph through the mail.

This time it was a RTS (return to sender) from Mr. Cub himself, Ernie Banks. I'm not sure if I have the wrong address, or if he is just not willing to sign or open small stuff these days.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Failure #19: Ralph Kiner

Just like Stan Musial (but in a different way), I received my second failure from the same player when Ralph Kiner sent me back my envelope marked with Return to Sender on it.

Like Musial, I will take the hint, and stop trying. My last Kiner failure was also a RTS... Oh well.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Failure #18: Stan Musial

Recently I decided to re-try a few autograph requests through the mail. One of those was to baseball great, Stan Musial, who as it turns out, was also my last official failure in June of last year.

This time the response was much the same. One year later, he has a new generic response card (which includes an image of his autograph!) and is now including a price list (flat items are $100... probably not worth it for my shabby index card).

I'm not sure what it takes to get Mr. Musial to sign for free, but apparently this happens from time to time. I probably won't try this again - at least not until I can afford his fees (which may be...  never).

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Yogi Berra

As part of my birthday celebration this year, I ventured to New Jersey to visit the Yogi Berra Museum on the campus of Montclair State University.  This quaint little museum is actually built right next to the school ballpark, also named in honor of the Hall of Fame Yankee catcher.  While the museum is heavily Yankee-based, it was worth a visit, and is a worthy place to stop if you are a baseball fan in the greater New York area.

Aside from the exhibits, they also have a small gift shop of Yogi items including a few signed baseball cards for $20 - a small price to pay to add a signature to my collection!

Yogi Berra is considered by many to be the greatest catcher of all time.  His accolades are numerous, and include being a part of 21 World Series as either a player or coach.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Bill Dickey (1907-1993) (and Sparky Anderson!)

This one takes a bit of explaining...

A few weeks ago a reader named Matt got in touch asking about my Sparky Anderson signature.  He was working on a project of retired Reds and had all the other signatures in black sharpie - excluding Sparky.  His generous offer was to send his blue ballpoint pen signature from Sparky Anderson my way WITH another signature - deceased Hall of Famer, Bill Dickey - for my Sparky.

Dickey was a player, manager, and war vet.  His career included being a part of 14 World Series Champion teams as a player and then coach.  He played in 8 All Star games and was inducted in 1954 to the Hall.  Maybe most notably, his single digit number "8" has been retired from the Yankees - joining a select group that includes Martin 1, Ruth 3, Gehrig 4, Dimaggio 5, Mantle 7, Berra 8, Maris 9 (and probably Jeter 2 in a few years).

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Jim Bunning

It has been an awful long time since I've had a "through the mail" success - mostly due to the transition in my own life, and the lack of initiative.

I recently read that Hall of Famer and politician Jim Bunning had been signing through the mail since leaving office. I figured that was a good safe bet to get back in the game. Sure enough, Mr. Bunning was nice enough to sign and return my 3x5 note card! It feels good to be back in the game!

This was especially nice considering Mr. Bunning is a player I had been rejected by in the past.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Rest in Peace, Gary Carter

I was saddened to hear of the passing of another of baseball's greats.  Hall of Famer Gary Carter passed away yesterday from brain cancer. 

I was never able to get his autograph, but I respected him greatly as one of the greatest players to ever put on a Montreal Expos uniform.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Congrats to Barry Larkin

This is a little late coming but shortstop Barry Larkin was recently elected to the Hall of Fame by the Baseball Writers Association of America.  He will join Ron Santo in 2012's induction ceremony who was elected just a short time after he passed away by the veterans committee. 

Since our move across the country I've been far too busy to get back in to my collection, but I'm going to have to get back to work and send out an autograph request to Larkin.

Congrats once again to this great player.  ESPN's press release can be read right here.