Monday, November 30, 2020

a memorial patch for tony fernandez

tony fernandez wasn't a member of the inaugural blue jays team, but he is the franchise's all-time leader in games played as his toronto tenure included three different stints with the club over a career that spanned from 1983 to 2001.  after fernandez passed away just as spring training was getting started in 2020, the blue jays announced that they would wear a patch in his honor during the season.  once the season finally began in july, the blue jays showed off the patch on their left sleeves - a toronto number font "1" on a black background within a white circle. i've added this 2020 topps now bo bichette card to my collection as a representative for fernandez's memorial patch:
fernandez is also the franchise leader in hits and triples as well as defensive war. he was a shortstop - one of many to hail from san pedro de macoris in the dominican republic - and he won four gold gloves at the position as a member of the blue jays. he was also a five-time all-star (four as a blue jay), including his 37-year old season in which he hit a career-high .328 for toronto during his second tour with the team.

fernandez was the everyday shortstop for toronto from july of 1984 through the 1990 season, after which he was traded with fred mcgriff to the padres for roberto alomar and joe carter. fernandez was an all-star for the padres in 1992, but was dealt to the mets after the season. after a few months in new york in 1993, the blue jays reacquired him, and he was able to be a part of their second world championship. fernandez played well in that series, and also raked in the 1997 fall classic with the indians.

in all, fernandez retired with a top-5 all-time fielding percentage for shortstops (it's hard to tell exactly where others ranked at the end of the 2001 season) and with legion fans in the us, canada, and the dominican republic. i was surprised to learn that his number 1 has not been retired by the team, but not surprised that they honored him with this patch during the season following his death.

Saturday, November 28, 2020

talkin' baseball - brian, jackie, and the mick

recently, brian at highly subjective and completely arbitrary showed off 9 cards featuring the 1982 yankees as part of his ongoing series of posts related to teams of the 1980s. the post got me thinking about yankee cards from 1982 and i remembered one that i had come across a few years ago while researching a different set.
this is a 1982 asa the mickey mantle story card that features the mick playing first base during a spring training game against the dodgers. that's jackie robinson diving back to first, as the card tells us.  i had seen this card when i was looking up the similar 1982 asa the duke snider story set, but i didn't give it a lot of thought at the time.  after seeing brian's post, i went to sportlots and ordered the card for my collection.

the back of the card references the 1955 world series
which begs the question of why didn't they use a photo from said series on the front? no matter, it's a yankee card that i am happy to (finally) add to my dodger collection.

meanwhile, brian also sent me some cards over the summer - a great variety of cards, in fact. take a look:

2020 topps chrome ben baller brusdar graterol
another version of chrome, with the design interpreted by ben baller, i guess. this version is also different from the regular chrome version in that graterol's number has been corrected from "00" to "48".

2020 panini diamond kings mookie betts bat kings relic
my first dodger mookie relic. i continue to reap the benefits of brian's dodger mojo!

2019 topps clayton kershaw superstars of baseball/stars of the game
2006 upper deck special f/x jose cruz jr
there were other dodgers, too, but brian also likes to send me some tatooine cards that are new to my collection. this time was no exception.

2007 topps opening day grady sizemore gold parallel,
the indians had a few cards that looked like this in 2007, almost as if they played their home games near mos eisley.

1997 fleer mike sweeney
1998 pinnacle doug glanville
he'll be your doug.

1994 pinnacle jose vizcaino
with a normal-sized barry bonds lurking

1994 upper deck minors arquimedez poao
1995 upper deck collector's choice se orlando merced
and a pair of 2008 bowman yunel escobar cards
one being the blue parallel and one being the base.

it's been a long year here in the twin cities, and not meeting up with brian at a card show has been one of the byproducts of the conditions under which we are living. i'm hoping we can meet up sometime in 2021, but until then we will keep on trading.  thanks brian!

Thursday, November 26, 2020

thanks for the ttm-ories

on some past thanksgivings, i gave thanks for successful through the mail autograph requests, and i decided to do the same today. i'll start by showcasing the very first ttm request i ever made.
that's a 1982 donruss san diego chicken card that 11-year old gcrl sent off to be signed back in 1982. when i saw it a year or two ago, i was confused. i had found this card in my complete set that had been boxed up since '82 and didn't recall how it might have been signed. i think it was gavin who reminded me that there was information on the back about getting the card signed, and he was right.

once i re-read the back, i did recall taking advantage of this opportunity.

most of my ttm requests over the last 12 years or so have focused on dodgers and the 1978 topps set. i was pretty active with these requests from 2009-2013 or so, and i had sent out only a couple of requests in 2020 until mid august when i sent one to jim kaat and then realized that i was close to 400 different signed cards from the 1978 topps set. i decided to make some more requests and purchase a few signed cards to get me past that threshhold.

many players still sign for free through the mail, and i was able to obtain autographs from some of them that were new to me, including junior moore
rogelio moret
tim nordbrook
mike willis
randy elliott
ron hodges
jim norris
tom poquette
gary ross
balor moore
bob apodaca
rob sperring
al fitzmorris
brent strom
wilbur howard
terry humphrey
mike barlow
dave rosello
and rod gilbreath
who also signed a 1974 topps card for me
in addition to those players above who sign for free, there are quite a few who request a donation. some have taken to signing through past pros, but i didn't go that route. instead, i sent donations and requests directly to these players - all were within the $2-$5 range.

dennis leonard signed his base card
and the league leader card
i have another copy of that card signed by dave goltz. for the record, i don't count both cards (or any multiple versions of cards) towards my total.

others to whom i donated were reggie cleveland
jim dwyer
john scott
john mayberry
whitey herzog
steve braun
who also included a note
and roy white
i've no plans to try to get carlton fisk to sign the card, however.

that roy white card is one of the best in the set, but there were some other cards that i wanted to add to my signed partial set, and the only way to do so was to purchase them from a dealer. one such card thusly acquired was doug ault's.
my favorite non-dodger card of 1978.

i added a few more cards from that same seller - the late jim bibby
jack clark
somewhere i have a picture of me and clark - pre-1985, of course.

larry dierker
dierker signs ttm with a fee, but it was cheaper to buy this version.

george foster
this matches well with the rbi leaders card that i have signed by foster and this one
that i added very recently

rick monday
i have a signed mo card in my autographed dodger team set that was acquired through a 50/50 trade, but wanted another one for this effort.

jeff burroughs
ken clay
tom griffin
larry milbourne
same deal on clay, griffin, and milbourne as the dierker above.

mike ivie
this is one of the cards in the set that is most burned in my brain. it seemed to me that ivie was upset about having his photo taken.

john montefusco
the count was a big part of my burgeoning fandom thanks to his status as one of the giants' best pitchers and the fact that they played the dodgers so many times.

bill north
north was a dodger by the time we found this card in packs.

larry hisle
this one was a card that i really wanted to have in my collection. hisle didn't get an o-pee-chee card in 1978 aside from the rbi leader card that showed him as a twin. i was a bit confused as a seven year old opening packs back then as to how he could be a twin and a brewer in the same set. later, i was confused as to why o-pee-chee didn't add the "now with twins" text to the league leader card.

billy hunter
nice to get another manager card for the set.

and finally, money well spent to add this card to the project - greg minton.
it's not funny, it's art.

as of today, my partial set stands at 411 different cards signed, with maybe a dozen or so duplicate cards signed by different players (league leaders, rookies, team checklists, checklists).  

the last card i will show is this 1978 o-pee-chee ron cey card
one of the first ttm requests i made when i began sending them out in earnest was of the penguin. i sent him my collection's original 1978 opc card - the one that i had pinned up to my wall in my bedroom after returning home from saskatchewan in the late summer of 1978 and one of the first cards i scanned for my first blog. i have since moved that card to my 'meaningful and just because cards' mini collection, and i wanted to replace it among the few other '78 opc cards i have signed.  it turns out that cey had just recently stopped signing for free through the mail, but he had been so generous over the years that i was ok paying the $15 fee this time.

thanks to cey and to all the players who sign ttm! and, of course, i have so much more to be thankful for - family, friends, health, and work to name a few.

happy thanksgiving!