Monday, January 30, 2017

i didn't take my own advice but recovered nicely for some great 1978 topps ttm successes

just about six years ago, i encouraged autograph seekers to study team cards, as i had missed out on getting former dodger coach roy hartsfield, a great ttm signer who signed two versions of his 1978 managerial card for me, to sign a couple of dodger team cards on which he appeared before he passed away in 2011.

just recently, i was going through my 1978 topps autograph collection, and decided to try to add some signed team cards to my collection.  i don't have any aspiration of having a complete autographed 1978 topps set, but i figured i could add some team cards to the mix (i had only the dodger team card signed by coaches mark cresse and the late red adams in the autographed binder).  i thought it would be great if i could get autographs on these team cards from players who were in the team photo on these cards, but did not have their own card in the set.  now, i was a student of the team cards from the 1978 topps set, and did well previously to seek out autographs from the likes of cresse, adams, boog powell, and john hale, all of whom appear on the dodger team card but not on individual cards, as part of my modest 1978 topps dodger autograph project (and had cresse and adams sign another copy of the card for my partial autographed set). what i did not do, however, was transfer this approach to other team cards back then, much to my present day disappointment.

for example, did you know that pat zachry appears on the reds team card, even though he has his own card in the set featuring him as a met?  well, he does, thanks to the reds and topps using a team photo from early enough in the 1977 season to pre-date the trade that sent him to the mets.  as for zachry, he signed a total of six cards through the mail for me back in 2009, including that mets card.  however, i did not send him the reds card until last month, and i am not sure if i will be getting that one back.

alvin dark signed his 1978 topps padres manager card for me through the mail in 2009, which was great.  he was 87 then, and passed away in 2014 at the age of 92.  i failed to ask him to sign the 1978 topps cubs team card, however, and missed a great opportunity to add another 1978 topps autographed card to my collection.

instead, i sent the cubs team card to paul reuschel, whose individual card i already have a signed copy of.
that's alvin dark, by the way, in the upper left corner.  paul reuschel is the second from the left in the row under dark, with the glasses.  his brother rick, who also signed his solo card for me through the mail, is to paul's left.

i didn't see anyone on the a's team card that was a better known signer than manager bob winkles who has signed his managerial card for me in the past, so i asked him to sign the team card, too
it's too bad that dick allen isn't on that card, but getting his autograph is a pipe dream anyway.

for the twins, tony oliva was a coach in 1977 and so appears on the 1978 topps team card.  he signs some through the mail so we'll see.  for now, i got former twin (and dodger) dave goltz to sign the card.
goltz (number 30) is up there in the top row.  goltz is a great signer that i have sent cards to a couple of times before.

mickey klutts does have a card in the 1978 topps set, but he shares it with paul molitor and i'm holding my dupe of that card for molly, so i got him to sign the yankee team card instead
klutts is in the second row from the top, in between sparky lyle and mike torrez.

the next few examples are returns that i am really happy about. these are guys that have signed for me in the past, and whose only appearance in the 1978 topps set is on team cards.

such as, former dodger ken mcmullen, who finished his career with the brewers in 1977.  he's on the team card, but not in the set, and he signed the brewers team card for me.
that's him in the second row from the top behind the balding guy with sunglasses.  mcmullen has signed a few cards for me in the past, including a 1978 topps card that should have been.

how about claude osteen? yep, he was a coach on vern rapp's staff in 1977 and so he's on the cardinals team card.
gomer is number 18, behind one of the batboys. this is the first non-dodger card osteen has signed for me, as evidenced by my previous success with him.

bob lillis is another former dodger who has signed for me through the mail a couple of times in the past, and as a member of bill virdon's coaching staff, he is on the 1978 topps astros team card
he is sitting to manager virdon's right, with the long, dark sleeves.

stan williams is a former dodger who has signed for me in the past, although now both williams autographs i have are on non-dodger cards.  first, his 1963 topps card on which he is identified as a yankee, and now this 1978 topps white sox team card
on which he identifies himself as the pitching coach.  williams is sitting to larry doby's left.  i really regret not having minnie minoso (a great ttm signer who passed away a few years ago) sign this card - he's to bob lemon's right.

next up are the mets.  so, pat zachry is on this team card, too, but so is former dodger and mets coach joe pignatano
for that matter, jerry grote is there, too, to the right of joe torre.  pignatano is in front of ed kranepool, sitting in the front row. pignatano, who is 87, signed three dodger cards for me in 2009.

another joe with ties to the dodgers who has signed for me before is featured on the padres team card.  that would be joe amalfitano
amalfitano is in the front row, wearing number 5.  roger craig is to his left, and to the left of craig is the aforementioned manager, alvin dark.  the cards amalfitano has signed for me in the past have all been cards in which he's a lurker - 1985 topps traded mariano duncan and 1990 fleer update dave hansen - although he also included a signed dodger coca-cola postcard of his own when he returned my request from late 2015.

former dodger dick tracewski was a coach for the tigers, and he signed their team card for me
just as he has signed other cards before. tracewski is third from the left in the front row.

now we are moving on to folks who have signed through the mail for me for the first time, such as former expos coach billy gardner
who is sitting in the front row to ellis valentine's left.  to gardner's left is former dodger jim brewer, who passed away in 1987, and to his left is another former dodger, dick williams, who managed the expos from 1977 into 1981.

herm starrette was a coach for joe altobelli's giants
and he signed the nocal's team card.  starrette is number 23 standing in front of one of the cable car windows. on the other side of altobelli is tom haller, who also played for the dodgers.

jackie moore was on the inaugural coaching staff of roy hartsfield's blue jays, and he was kind enough to sign the card
moore is seated to hartsfield's right, with the dark collars peeking out from under his jersey.

the 1978 topps orioles team card might be best known for rudy may's floating head or brooks robinson making another appearance in the set, but it also features coach jim frey
frey is in the front row to the left of dave skaggs, second from the right of earl weaver.

the indians team card features rocky colavito (in the front row between the traveling secretary in the light blue suit and the trainer in the red short sleeve shirt), 
but his auto is a bit harder to come by, so i sent the card to another coach - joe nossek.  that's nossek to the right of the general manager phil seghi in the tan suit.

i've always been torn about which card i would have frank robinson sign if i had the opportunity - his 1972 topps high number card that actually shows him as a dodger, his 1973 topps card that shows him as a dodger in all but team name, or this 1978 topps angels team card that shows him as a part of dave garcia's staff (robinson is sitting between garcia and jimmie reese).  i've not yet had to answer that question, however, instead having del crandall sign the angels team card for his fee of $5.
crandall is sitting to garcia's right, and he signed his name across himself, which is cool.  this is the only card in this post, by the way, for which i paid for the autograph.

the last team card i have to show, in this post anyway, is that of the royals.  galen cisco was one of whitey herzog's coaches, and he signed the royals team card for me
cisco is sitting in the front row, third from the left.

i am holding out hope for the rest of the team cards as i sent them to folks who have signed through the mail in the past (at least for others), but we will see.

the other cards in the set that i had ignored during my heavier ttm days are the checklists.  i know someone out there (sorry - can't recall who) has sent these cards to umpires which is not a bad idea, but i decided to send them out to folks (preferably dodgers) who appear on the checklist, and who have signed through the mail for me previously.  first up, mike garman, the 1978 topps dodger whose card number 417 appears on checklist four
checklist five features a couple of dodgers on the front, but they are the late johnny oates and hard to track down vic davalillo, so i went with oakland a's infielder rob picciolo instead (he's listed as card number 518)
i saved the best for last. checklist 6 was signed by the penguin himself, ron cey,
and he even marked the checklist for me at his number 630! i thought that was an awesome addition on his part.

i've been pretty happy about this recent ttm foray, but i don't think it will spark a return to sending out a flurry of requests in the future.  i'm glad to have done it when i did, however, as there is no time like the present for sending out ttm requests, except for the past.


  1. Very good advice and something I wouldn't have thought of. I have bought some team cards that have just logos on the front in case I want to try and get someone to sign but they don't have a card picturing them with particular team yet.

    Definitely sharing this on twitter (@beansbcardblog), as I have quite a few followers that collect TTM autos!

    -kin (

  2. Ron Cey marking his box on the checklist is so awesome!

  3. Ron Cey is not only the Penguin, he is the man.