Wednesday, February 21, 2024

i took it as a sign

first there was the 1,041 day old ttm request, and then i found a signed 1978 adrian devine card for a buck at a west coast card shop and i figured it was the collecting universe telling me i needed to track down some more signed cards for my 1978 topps autographed set even though i am not really trying to complete the set.

first, i sent a good old fashioned ttm request to amos otis. unfortunately, i received a yellow return to sender sticker in exchange for that effort. undeterred, i took a look at some online sources and added quite a few cards.  

let's remember some guys...

garry templeton
templeton is the guy who was traded straight up for ozzie smith. i still think of templeton as a cardinal, but i also think of ozzie smith as a cardinal. that is the power of the 1978 topps set to me.

terry harmon
harmon's not the oldest looking guy in the set, but he looks older than the 32 or 33 that he was when the photo was taken.

ron blomberg
blomberg was the guy who was the first designated hitter. that's not a bad airbrushing job to be honest.

billy smith
smith was the guy the orioles signed as a free agent from the angels to take over for bobby grich (who signed as a free agent with the angels) at second base.

ron jackson
jackson was the guy who replaced rod carew at first base for the twins in 1979. he later rejoined the angels and became a teammate of carew's. 

larry parrish
parrish is a guy who i remember from the 1979 all-star game - the seminal midsummer classic of my youth. he got in the game for the bottom of the ninth, replacing ron cey at third and could have sat on the bag for the entire half inning as he didn' t figure into any of the plays.

ellis valentine
valentine was the guy who wore half of a football helmet face mask to protect his face for awhile, as seen on his 1981 topps card.

clint hurdle
hurdle is the guy who managed the colorado rockies to their lone national league pennant.

glenn adams
adams was a guy who had four home runs after his first 14 career games, but it took him another 140 games or so before he hit his fifth.

mike anderson
anderson was a guy who got to pitch an inning in a 1979 game and struck out the first two batters he faced.

jeff byrd
byrd was a guy whose big league career was over by the time this card was released. at least he spent his lone season with a bird-themed team.

steve dunning
dunning is a guy who i tried to have sign via ttm without success. i believe his post-baseball career was spent lawyering in orange county.

bill fahey
fahey was a guy who was to jim sundberg what johnny oates was to steve yeager, in terms of catchers in the 1978 set.

pete falcone
here's another guy who is properly playing for a bird-themed team. he's also a guy probably better remembered for showing off some 1981 fleer on his 1982 fleer card.

ralph garr
garr is a guy who hit .300 exactly in both 1976 and 1977. he's a sneaky lifetime .300 hitter and a 30 steals/200 hits guy that comes in handy on the immaculate grid from time to time.

ross grimsley
grimsley is a guy whose big hair is probably the second thing you know about him. he's also the guy who was the  only 20-game winner in montreal expos history.

jerry grote
grote is a guy who signed for me via ttm back when i was going after all the 1978 topps dodgers. for the set, it was cheaper to buy than to send to him with his fee.

ike hampton
hampton was a guy who, in 1978, was to brian downing as jerry grote was to steve yeager in 1977. third string catchers, unite.

larry haney
haney is a guy who was part of the a's dynasty in the early 1970's but won his first ring as a member of the 1966 baltimore orioles. he managed to have a 12 year career (some years he appeared in just a handful of games) as a backup catcher.

jim hughes
hughes is a guy who never pitched for the white sox as he was signed and released between the 1977 and 1978 seasons. the airbrushing on his card is more obvious than on blomberg's.

dave johnson
johnson is the guy who is not the dave johnson that you remember. both were included in the 1978 topps set.

joe kerrigan
kerrigan is a guy who i remember from the 1978 o-pee-chee set because he was "now with" the orioles after a december 1977 trade.

rick langford
langford is a guy i followed during his "billy ball" years. he threw 28 complete games and 290 innings in 1980.

jon matlack
matlack is another guy i knew best from the 1978 o-pee-chee set thanks to his inclusion in the big bert blyleven/al oliver four team trade.

george medich
medich is a guy who went by "doc" but also chewed tobacco like a pro. i will admit that i did not realize that this card was airbrushed until i was preparing for this post - he spent 1977 with the a's, mariners, and mets.

rick miller
miller is another guy with whom my ttm request went nowhere. i had hoped he would sign this card and the red sox team card, since he is one of the floating heads on that one.

sid monge
monge was a guy who was also at the 1979 all-star game, but he didn't get to make an appearance.

tony muser
muser is a guy who hit one of his seven career home runs off of jesse jefferson, and a year after that happened they were traded for each other.

jerry royster
royster was a guy who started his career with the dodgers in 1973 and then was sent to the braves in the dusty baker trade a couple of years later. good thing, because garvey royster russell lopes doesn't sound quite right to me.

bob shirley
shirley is a guy who you could call shirley and he couldn't get mad or tell you to stop. better yet, he was drafted by both the dodgers and giants but didn't sign until the padres took him in the first round in 1976.

gene tenace
tenace is a guy whose first name is fury. that's pretty badass.

jason thompson
thompson is a guy who joined the angels during the 1980 season around memorial day and still wound up leading them in home runs for the season. that team was a far cry from their 1979 version.

jim todd
todd is a guy with three first names. his middle name is richard.

butch wynegar
wynegar is a guy i associate with the 1977 topps set. once i began collecting cards with a passion in 1978, his was the first 1977 topps card i acquired (i already had a pack's worth thanks to my uncle giving me my first taste of ripping wax the year before).

tony armas
armas is a guy that i followed for awhile when he was with the a's and again later when he joined the angels. he signs through past pros, but it was cheaper to buy third party.

i did use past pros for a few players, however, including these next few players:

alvis woods
woods is a guy who made his big league debut in the very first game in blue jays history. he promptly hit a pinch-hit home run.

fernando gonzalez
gonzalez is a guy who actually looks like a pirate

gil flores
flores is a guy whose 1978 topps card always intrigued me. it's not often we get a dugout shot of a guy stretching. plus the player behind him (dan briggs?) is mesmerized by the baseball in his hand.

ruppert jones
jones is the guy who was the first mariner all-star ever. he got to pinch hit in the game, flying out against don sutton.

jerry morales
morales is a guy who i would guess gets sent his 1974 topps card most of the time.

denny martinez
martinez is the guy who threw a perfect game in 1991 against the dodgers in what was probably the most anemic weekend for the dodger offense in team history. in addition to martinez's perfecto, the dodgers were no-hit for nine innings by mark gardner but won the game in the 10th when they hit back-to-back-to-back singles for the game's only run. i am misremembering a bit, because i just saw that the game in between those two was a 7-0 blowout by the dodgers in which bob ojeda threw a shutout.

keith hernandez
hernandez is the guy who got all-star cards in 1985 and 1986 even though steve garvey started the 1984 and 1985 games for the national league.

so those are the cards i picked up, and then i received this
a signed manny trillo card that i had sent out a long time ago. when i went to mark it as received i saw that i already had a fulfilled ttm request from trillo. i first sent to him on september 14, 2015 but received no response. i sent another 1978 topps card to him on july 25, 2018. i received one card back on december 15, 2018 and assumed it was the second card i had sent. now i am thinking it was probably the first, and now - on february 1, 2024 - i received the second. either way that's at least five and a half years in the waiting.

there was one more past pros request i sent out...

i mentioned in a post earlier this year that i bought a nice looking 1978 topps dodger team card and i decided to send it to steve garvey to sign
i didn't expect him to sign over the dodgers' name, but i don't mind.  i also sent him his 2022 topps chrome platinum anniversary card
and his 2023 topps allen & ginter card
i should have asked him how he decides when to add the "6" to his signatures. i didn't ask for any inscriptions, but got his number on one of the three cards i sent.

i also reused the sase that i had sent to otis and mailed a request to eric gagne who signed and returned a 2004 topps card 
in short order. gagne has been fairly present in recent years in terms of showing up at dodger stadium on occasion. i'm glad he's still connected because the "game over" thing was a lot of fun.

with all of the 1978 cards i added, i am up to about 64% of the set completed. i will probably make a run at two-thirds at some point, i guess. there are more guys out there.


  1. Armas signed for me in person back in the day - when he was with Oakland.
    When Ozzie was traded, he sucked at hitting.
    Richard Todd was a quarterback for the Jets.

  2. Nice to see Lankford and Armas. Like you pointed out... both are guys who were part of those Billy Ball teams. I'm actually surprised Armas hasn't been added to one of those Fan Favorites autograph sets that Topps puts out. He had some in the 2000's, but it's almost been 20 years.

  3. When I was 9 or 10, just getting into baseball cards, my math textbook had a page with a picture of baseball cards. Needless to say I loved that page. The one card on that page I still remember distinctly 35 years later is the '78 Jason Thompson.

  4. I've got a couple of balls signed by Clint Hurdle when I used to go Spring Training games in Florida. He's a very generous signer and will spend a significant amount of time signing for fans before the game. Good guy.