Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Card Store Finds

No returns in the mail today although I did get some eBay purchases including some more 2008 Goudeys (Phil Niekro, Stan Musial, Lou Brock, etc) and some 8x10s of some Twins including Denard Span, Mike Redmond and Ron Gardenhire.

My sons and I went to the Twins Pro Shop (I know, I was just there yesterday, but they wanted to check it out too). My wife was thankful we didn't buy any more of the Metrodome banners, although we were tempted.

We also went to a baseball card store in Apple Valley called The Ball Park, where we found some nice old magazines for $5 each. Johnny got an old Sport magazine with Duke Snider on the cover which he intends to send off to get signed. I got a few Twins publications with Frank Viola and Kent Hrbek on them. I also got some old Sport magazines, including the one pictured here with Willie Mays on the cover from 1962. It has a Camel Cigarette ad on the back cover with Roger Maris on it. I also got old magazines with Don Drysdale and Bob Lemon on the covers. Good reading material for $5 each.

Finally, we went to Cedar Cliff Collectibles in Eagan, where Johnny got some old comics, David picked up a few Simpsons comics, and I bought the 2008 Goudey base set.

As tonight is New Year's Eve, we will be pretty busy. My wife works, so the boys and I have a dinner planned which will include Killebrew Rootbeer, crackers with cheese and salami, lefse, shrimp cocktail, pickled herring and pizza rolls. We'll have a different kind of hang over then most folks will tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

One Return and Basement Purchases

Today in the mail I received one response. Stan Williams signed and personalized a 1960 and 1968 Topps. On one card he added the years he played for the Twins, even though it wasn't a card with him in a Twins uniform. Mr. Williams has signed for me in the past and always personalizes the cards. He has written, "To Rog", "To Roger", and on one of these cards he even wrote "To Roger P.". On Monday, I sent out 8 requests, including 2008 Goudeys to Al Kaline and Rollie Fingers.

Today my wife and I did some shopping while my boys were at an Al Newman Holiday baseball clinic (which they really enjoyed). We happened to stop at the Twins Pro Shop in Apple Valley and it looked like they had just received a fresh batch of the banners that they hang outside of the Metrodome with players on them from last season. They are about 6 feet tall and about 2 feet wide. I couldn't resist and bought one of Michael Cuddyer and one of Francisco Liriano. I had my eye on one of Mike Redmond but didn't buy it. While driving away, I got about 2 blocks and decided to go back and get it.

These are going to look great hanging in the basement, once I get it all done and have inspired me to get going on the basement cleanup so I can get more painting done and get them hung up.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Still Waiting

I was out of town for a few days, and was anxious to see what might be waiting for me in the mailbox when I got home.  I was really hoping to see the 1965 Topps signed by Whitey Ford that I re-sent when he signed the penny sleeve originally.  But, all I found was some cards I had bought on eBay.  I bought several more 2008 Goudeys of retired players including Al Kaline and Paul Molitor, as well as a 2003 Topps Heritage of Corey Koskie who will be at TwinsFest next month.  I got Corey Koskie through the mail when he played for the Twins back in 2003, but not on the Heritage set that I'm working on.

Other than that, I got about 25 cards form the early '60s that I'll write letters for later this week and send out.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


With TwinsFest coming up, I'm trying to make sure I have everything I need in order to make the best of it. Several Hall of Famers (Killebrew, Carew, Molitor) will be signing for only $25.  This is about one-third of what they charge at "normal" shows.  TwinsFest is a fund raising event for the Twins Community Fund and a ramp up to Spring Training to get the fans excited and buying tickets.

My older son and I are big Harmon Killebrew fans and are carefully planning what we'll get signed when we see him.  Today in the mail I received a Killebrew rookie card I bought on eBay.  I plan on having Mr. Killebrew sign this card at the event.  I also have a 1968 Sports Illustrated poster that I would like him to sign.  If my wife happens to stand in line with us, she can get one of them signed for me.  Otherwise I'll try to make it to more than one of his signings throughout the weekend.

I've scanned in the card I received and posted it here.

I also have a Sports Illustrated poster of Rod Carew and Tony Oliva, so hopefully I'll have a nice display of Twins posters when I'm done.

I also received an email today of some upcoming main-in signings in March and April including Lou Brock (I need a '65 Topps signed), Bob Gibson (maybe a 1961 Topps?), Red Schoendienst (another 1961 Topps), Jim Palmer and Earl Weaver.  I'm sure I'll send in at least 2 or 3 of these guys.

Sunday, December 21, 2008


I really need to get my act together and get my 1965 Topps out to Yogi Berra. Despite his reputation as a bit of a goofball, Yogi had a Hall of Fame career. He is famous for his "Yogiisms", such as, "Ninety percent of this game is half mental".

Yogi played in 14 World Series with the Yankees and won 10 of them. He was an All-Star 15 times and league MVP three times. He also caught Don Larsen's perfect game in the 1956 World Series.

Yogi also managed and coached for several teams after his playing days were over in 1963.

I have been fortunate enough to get Yogi's autograph several times via the instructions on his website. When I started collecting autographs in 2003, he charged $10 to sign a baseball card. Today it is $50. I have a couple cards, a baseball and a magazine signed by him, as well as a picture of him and Don Larsen after the 1956 perfect game, signed by Larsen as well. In fact, you can purchase this picture directly from Don Larsen signed by both him and Yogi for only $40, which is a pretty good deal.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Another Paul Molitor Return

When my son got a return from Paul Molitor a few weeks ago, I decided to hurry up and send a request to the Twins address to see if I could also get him to sign.  Today I received my 1987 Topps signed nicely.  I really want him to sign a 2008 Goudey as well, so maybe I'll try again during Spring training, or maybe again this time next year.  I also received a signed card from him in December of last year, so maybe that's the key to being successful with him.

I also made it to the Post Office to pick up my package from Bud's Sports Cards containing the 1961 and 1965 Topps I had sent for for Tommy Davis to sign. 

I made a little progress on my basement.  I moved my iMac and PC from the old desk to my new one.  I'm attempting to shift from my PC to my MAC but there are a few sticky issues.  I need to figure out how to FTP from my mac to my Comcast web site.  I use SmartFTP on my PC, so I'll have to see if they have a mac version.  Also, I use Quicken and MS Office, so I'll have to get mac versions of those as well.  

Friday, December 19, 2008

One Return Today

Just one return today. Bob Rush signed a 1958, 1959 and 1960 Topps in about 17 days. I had sent to Mr. Rush several years ago when I started my 1958 Topps set. The card I got back from him had a signature that was smudged a bit, so this one is an upgrade.

I expect to receive only two or three returns before the end of the year, and might spend some free time over the holidays stocking up on cards to send out as well as some more cards and pictures for TwinsFest.

The package containing a couple of cards signed by Tommy Davis at Bud's Sports Cards is waiting for me at the Post Office. I'll pick it up tomorrow. I'm still hoping to get back my Whitey Ford 1965 Topps back, but with the Holidays approaching, maybe it will be delayed.

Tomorrow I also hope to make some progress on my basement. My biggest problem is that I've got "stuff" laying around that I just don't know what to do with.

Thursday, December 18, 2008


Today I received a couple of returns in the mail. First, a contact over at SCN arranged to have a Bombo Rivera signing. Remember Bombo? He was an outfielder with the Twins in the late 70's. I remember watching him when I was a kid, along with Mike Cubbage and Butch Wynegar. For $6 each, I had him sign a 1978 and 1979 Topps.

I also received a couple cards signed by Andy Pafko. He signed a 1954 and 1956 Topps for me.

There's not much else going on. The baseball news is slow, especially for the Twins. It's looking as if they may not make any moves to bolster the team at third base or the bullpen with a new set up man to replace Neshek. I'd say we need the pitcher more than the third baseman. I just hope they don't go out and try to revive another career...

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

More TwinsFest Information

No returns today. I'm really just hoping to get my Whitey Ford 1965 Topps back.

I noticed today that the Twins have posted more information about TwinsFest. Specifically, the names of players and coaches scheduled to sign autographs.

No real surprises: Killebrew, Carew, Molitor, Oliva, Hrbek, etc. One name I was happy to see was Corey Koskie. I always liked him. I have a bobblehead I plan to have him sign. I also bought another Killebrew rookie card to have signed (ouch!). It will be cool though. I couldn't bring myself to get a Carew rookie card. It would be at least $100 and he's on the card with another rookie. I bought a 1968 Topps instead. I didn't notice the typical disclaimer that Carew won't sign bats or Jerseys, but I would be surprised if that doesn't show up soon. If not, I'll definitely get a bat signed.

I need Hrbek on his 1987 bobblehead. I didn't notice any other 1987 players that I don't already have.

For current players, Francisco Liriano and Delmon Young are missing from the list. It would be disappointing if they didn't attend. Also, it would make the Mauer and Morneau lines all the longer! We got both of them last year. Johnny wants Mauer and Morneau autographs. In the past, we've gone for quantity over quality. Meaning, we avoided the Mauer and Morneau lines. Lasy year they put them both at the same table. Terrible idea. It was packed 2 hours before their scheduled time and we missed out. Hopefully we'll have better luck this year.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

TTM Addresses

No returns in the mail today. Tuesday, you know. I don't really have too many outstanding requests so things will be pretty slow for a while.

Occasionally I get asked where I get the addresses I use to send my requests to. During the season for current players, I send the requests right to the team address, which you can find on the teams' web site. For retired players, I use an address list I purchase from Harvey Meiselman at He is now taking orders for his 2009 list. I already ordered mine.

Harvey offers lists for several sports that you can purchase individually, or you can buy the "Ultimate List Set" which includes them all. I just buy the baseball list, which is $35 shipped. This also includes periodic email updates throughout the year for addresses that have changed.

I have found the list to be very accurate and wouldn't recommend trying to collect autographs through the mail without them.

There are other lists available, which I haven't tried. From what I have read on collecting sites, Harvey's lists are the most accurate.

I have pictured a few successes here that I got using Harvey's lists from some pretty tough signers to get through the mail.

Monday, December 15, 2008

More TTM Returns

I received three returns today:

Mike Cameron signed a 2003 Topps Heritage, 2006 Allen & Ginter and 2007 Topps Heritage.

Ken Walters signed a 1961 and 1962 Topps.

Dick Groat signed a 1956, 1961 and 1961 Topps MVP card.

I probably won't send out any more requests before Christmas. I need to get a list of cards together that I want to buy for the next card show at the end of December, if I can make it. I will probably send out my 1965 Topps Yogi Berra though, just to get it signed before his proces go up again.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Progress on the Basement and Maddux Retirement

Sundays can be tough to come up with a topic, so I'll rehash last week's news: Greg Maddux announced his retirement. Most likely a first-ballot Hall of Famer, he retires with 355 wins after 23 seasons. That's an average of over 15 wins a season, not too shabby.

He also won 18 Gold Gloves, four Cy Young awards and the World Series with the Braves in 1995. I guess you couldn't ask much more from a career than that.

I was fortunate enough to receive a ttm success from him in 2003. He signed two cards for me after only a nine day wait in July of 2006.

I made some progress on my basement renovation this weekend. I got two coats of paint up and assembled my Ikea wardrobe, finishing just moments ago and almost in time to watch the Simpsons tonight.

Here are some before and after pictures of the portion of the basement I have completed. I have a long way to go but I like the color of paint I chose (I don't think my wife does). Anything is better than the bright white that's been down here for years.

My white basement before painting (and after I took down the shelving that was on the wall):

Now after two coats of paint and the wardrobe:

You can see the mess in the foreground of both pictures which is partially the painting supplies and partially my messy desk. My desk is the next project to be tackled. It's an L-Shaped Sauder computer desk from Office Max (or Office Depot, I can't remember). I'm getting rid of it and replacing it with a small antique desk made from quarter-sawn oak that I bought near Luverne, Minnesota last June. I'm trying to downsize my entire basement footprint by replacing my old CRT monitor with a flat panel, and replacing my printer and separate scanner with an all-in-one unit.

Once I get all the furniture figured out and the whole basement painted, I'll start hanging my signed photos and cards on the wall.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Three TTM Returns Today

Today was a good day for returns. I received three:

Dick Schofield Sr. signed a 1954, 1955, 1961 and 1960 Topps.

Bob Turley signed a 1955, 1960 and 1961 Topps.

Matt Batts, who had returned my 1954 Topps unsigned a while ago, returned it again today, this time signed. He had added his own return address label to the envelope, which he hadn't last time, which makes me wonder if perhaps he didn't get my letter last time and it was returned by someone else.

Today I started the process of painting my basement, which is where I display my collection, use my computers, store my kids' games, etc. Because there is so much stuff down there, I can' t really move everything for the process, so I cleared one end of the room and painted the walls there. It needs another coat tonight, then I can assemble the wardrobe I bought from Ikea, which will be used to put my kids' games and toys in. I can also assemble the antique desk I bought to put my computers on.

Then, I need to disassemble my existing computer desk, and move some more things around to continue the painting process. I hope to be done by the end of January. Then I can hang some of my signed pictures, maybe make some bat and ball holders and have the room looking nice.

I'll post pictures as I go.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Nick Punto Signs With The Twins

Yesterday Nick Punto signed a two-year deal with the Twins. That's good news, I think. He's great defensively and fun to watch. Offensively, he's okay. 2007 was a horrible year for him so hopefully that won't be a trend.

We got Punto's autograph last year at TwinsFest. I got him on a card as well as an 8x10.

Today in the mail I received a return from Gene Freese. He signed a 1960, 1961, 1963 and 1964 Topps.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Another Twins Return

Today I received a 1968 Topps card signed by Cal Ermer, former Minnesota Twins Manager. (His name is actually Calvin Coolidge Ermer). Mr. Ermer is 85 years old. He signed my card twice. Not sure why. My only guess is he signed it once, set it aside, then later looked at it again, and perhaps thought his previous signature was one that was pre-printed on the card. Hard to say.

This isn't the first time I've had a card signed twice. About 5 years ago I sent a card to Don Buddin. The return envelope had been opened, and then taped shut again. I'm guessing he opened my letter, signed the card, and put it in my return envelope and sealed it. Then, he must have mistakenly opened my return envelope, thinking it was addressed to him, and signed the card. Realizing then that he had opened my return envelope, he had to tape it shut to get it back to me. I have another request out to Mr. Buddin and am hoping to get it back any day now, although his return history is pretty spotty.

Today I also received the Twins mini helmets I ordered on eBay. Now I just need to order some baseball cards of some of the minor leaguers and a few more regular twins and I'll be all set for TwinsFest.

My TwinsFest tickets arrived today too.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

One TTM Return and Supplies Arrive

Today I received a ttm response from Russ Kemmerer, a pitcher during the 1950's and 1960's. He signed a 1955 and 1960 Topps for me. In my letter to him, I had mentioned that I had read about a couple of homeruns he gave up to Mickey Mantle and asked if he was the toughest batter he faced and if not, who was. He wrote "Ted Williams" on my letter.

I also received the supplies I ordered from Anderson KPT. That was fast! I got the 6 full-sized bats, 10 mini bats and a dozen baseballs. I'm still waiting on the mini helmets I bought on eBay but I'm sure they'll be here soon.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

More Returns Today

I may have to change my opinion of Tuesdays, as I have received some returns the last few.

Today I received Bobby Shantz on a 1961 MVP card, similar to the Al Rosen card I got back yesterday.

I also got back Ray Washburn on a 1962, 1963 and 1965 Topps.

TwinsFest tickets went on sale today. I was ordering my tickets online when I noticed that the only "Delivery Option" available was Will Call. I certainly didn't want to pick up my tickets at the Dome, so I called the Twins ticket office to see what the deal was. They didn't know why the web site was only offering that option, but they took my order over the phone. It turns out, if you order your TwinsFest tickets over the phone, you don't get charged the $1 per ticket fee, so I saved about $8.

I noticed they changed their policy this year. Last year, for every TwinsFest ticket you bought, you were able to trade it in for a Upper Club ticket to a non-premium game. This year, you can trade in your TwinsFest ticket for a buy-one-get-one-free Upper Club ticket. So, that's a bummer.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Veterans Committee Fails To Elect Anyone

Tony Oliva and Jim Kaat failed to get elected to the Hall of Fame today. In fact, so did everyone else. For the fourth straight time, the Veterans Committee failed to elect anyone into the Hall of Fame today from the post-1942 era. Too bad. Ron Santo? Luis Tiant? C'mon, these guys belong in there.

The committee did elect Joe Gordon from the pre-1943 category. Good for him. Not exactly a household name these days, but his stats are impressive.

I received a few successes in the mail today:

Al Rosen signed a really cool card from 1961 commemorating his MVP award in 1952. I have similar cards out to Dick Groat and Bobby Shantz.

Milt Pappas signed a 1960 Topps and 1960 Topps "Young Hill Stars".

Frank Kostro, former Minnesota Twin, signed his 1965 and 1969 Topps cards for me.

Today I mailed out a ball and 1976 Topps rookie card for a Dennis Eckersley signing later this month.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Stocking Up For TwinsFest

No mail today, of course. I didn't write any requests either. I planned to last night, but I don't really have many cards to send out. Instead, I ordered some "supplies" for TwinsFest.

If you click on the link to see the TwinsFest information, you have about a 1 in 4 chance of seeing a picture of my son with Joe Nathan from last year's TwinsFest (shown here). They randomly display a bunch of pictures and once in a while Johnny is there reaching to get back a magazine that Joe signed for him. Actually, it was signed for me. Johnny and I were sitting in Paul Molitor's line and we were very early, probably by about two hours. We heard some people saying that Joe Nathan's line was nearly empty. Johnny had already had Joe sign something the previous day, so he ran down to get my magazine signed while I held our spot in the Molitor line.

Anyway, I ordered six Twins mini batting helmets from a guy on eBay. The dark blue helmets look really sharp when signed with silver pen. Last TwinsFest, Johnny and I got each got one signed by Tony Oliva, and David got one signed by Nick Punto.

I also ordered 6 Rawlings "Circle R" bats. They are pretty plain, full-sized bats that are good for autographs. Last year I got Paul Molitor and Harmon Killebrew to sign this type of bat. Of course, I ordered a dozen Rawlings Offical Major League Baseballs (romlb), the only kind of ball to use when getting autographs.

Finally, I ordered 10 Rawlings mini-bats. These are great for mid-level players to sign as they are less than $5 each, yet look pretty nice when signed. They also don't take up too much room if you end up with a bunch of them in your collection.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Three Returns Today

This morning I re-sent my 1965 Topps to Whitey Ford, with a letter explaining what happened and a copy of the check I used to pay. Hopefully I'll get that one back signed. I also upgraded my 1965 Topps of Yogi Berra with a purchase on eBay. As soon as I get that, I'll send that in before he raises his fee again.

Today I received three successes:

Al Spangler signed 2 cards for me: a 1961 and a 1963 Topps.

Joe Pignatano signed 3 cards for me: 1958, 1959 and 1961 Topps.

Finally, Jim King signed 3 cards for me: 1958, 1961 and 1964 Topps. I really like the looks of the 1964 Topps and it makes me want to send out some more. I'm already concentrating on the 1961 and 1965 sets, so this would have been a better idea several years ago so I could have sent them with my previous requests. I'm not sure if I'l follow through on it, but if I find a good deal on some 1964 Topps, I'll probably send them out.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Oh No.

Well, at first I was excited to see the small padded envelope waiting for me in the mail today. Whitey Ford! So, I opened it up and there was a nice blue signature across my 1965 Topps. It was in a penny sleeve, inside a top loader. As I removed the card from the top loader, my heart sank. The signature moved across the card.

I've read about this happening to other people, but it couldn't happen to me, could it? Especially with Whitey Ford, who must sign hundreds and hundreds of autograph requests just like mine. But yes, Mr. Ford signed the penny sleeve, not the card itself. Ugh. I paid $40.

I'll send it back tomorrow with a note explaining what happened and hopefully he'll sign the card for me.

On a brighter note, Johnny received Al Kaline on a 2000 Fleer Greats of the Game. They are great cards and Johnny is trying to get 20 of them signed to fill a baseball card display for his wall.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Another Great Thursday for ttm Returns

I finally got back some requests I was anxiously waiting for. I say finally, but they really weren't out that long, I'm just impatient.

I got the bobblehead back from Frank Viola! He signed it on the helmet as I requested. It got a little bit smeared, and something odd happened to the head during shipping. The spring that makes it bobble appears to have broken through the inside of the hollow part of the head. No big deal, it doesn't look broken, but the head doesn't bobble and it looks like he doesn't have a neck.

I also received a couple of cards signed by Mike Mussina! He signed a couple of Topps Heritage cards (2003 and 2007). I am really happy to have these.

Don Mossi signed a 1956 and 1961 Topps, and Julio Becquer signed his 1959 and 1961 cards for me. Mr. Becquer also wrote a quick note thanking me for bringing back some memories of events I referred to in my letter (including a ninth-inning pinch hit grand slam) and wished me Happy Holidays.My son John attended a "Legends For Youth" baseball clinic at the Metrodome in August of 2007. Mr. Becquer was one of the instructors, focusing on hitting. Afterwards, Johnny was able to get autographs and I have a picture of him and the players.