Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Stranger Things: My Favorite Autographed Cards of the 1980s

With Netflix's latest hit, Stranger Things being all the rage. I decided to scour my website, and pick my top 10 favorite autographed cards from the 1980s.

So, in honor of the 1980s themed TV series, here are my favorites:


Bucky Dent
Chris Chambliss

These are the only 2 cards I have signed from this set. I try to avoid getting cards signed with pre-printed signatures on them. Unfortunately, these were my only options at the time.


Duffy Dyer
Okay, not necessarily my favorite, but Duffy and Duffer (surname of the creators of Stranger Things) looked similar.


Rick Sofield

I didn't have much to choose from in 1982, but this Minor League TCMA card is special to me because it was my 1,000th signed card in my collection.


Keith Hernandez

Of course, this list is going to feature a Mets card. Keith's very first Topps card as a Met is a good place to start.


Steve Lake

This was the year that I started collecting baseball cards. I have 50 cards signed from 1984 sets, but choosing a favorite was easy. When I first pulled this card from a $0.30 pack 32 years ago, it instantly became a favorite. I wasn't at all familiar with the man behind the catcher's gear, but that pose from that vantage point hooked me. I was so infatuated with this card that I had it displayed on a bulletin board in my bedroom. I met Steve in 1999 and it was such a thrill to have him sign this card for me.


Tim Foli

I thought it was neat in 1985 when Topps highlighted #1 overall picks in Major League Baseball drafts throughout the years. I really liked the look of this card and was happy how it turned out.


Jose Canseco

The card that started it all. My very first autographed baseball card. In 1987, it was a major deal to not only have a Canseco card, but getting his autograph that year was icing on the cake.


George Bamberger

George Bamberger was the Mets manager when I first became a fan. It was pretty special to meet him over a decade later.


Whitey Herzog

I love how this turned out. Whitey added his HOF inscription without me even asking.


Mickey Morandini

I don't remember Mickey Morandini ever going by "Mike," but I liked the look of the card and the uniqueness of having a Mike Morandini Minor League card signed.

How appropriate, it was supposed to be 10 cards listed, but I ended up with 11.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

It's All Relative

Earlier this week I saw the Tampa Yankees play the Clearwater Threshers. At that game, I got a baseball card signed by a 22-year-old pitcher named Jose Mesa, Jr.

He is the son of 19-year MLB veteran, Jose Mesa. When I started attending Spring Training games in 1992, Jose Mesa signed a card for me at my third game that spring.

24 years separate between me getting both of their autographs. Mesa, Jr. wasn't even born, yet alone conceived at the time that I had met his father.
Since I keep track of the order that I acquire my autographed cards, I wanted to see how many I got between the two Mesa's. Jose Sr. was autograph #34 in my collection. His son was #1,858.

I decided to go through my collection and see how many other related players I had autographs of, and also check how much time there was between acquiring them.
My collection consists of fathers and sons, brothers, and uncles and nephews.
Starting off this post will be fathers and sons.

Don Blasingame
Kent Blasingame

I saw Kent play a lot during the 1994 season for the Clearwater Phillies. I don't remember how I learned that his father, Don was a former Major League player, or even how I was able to obtain a card of his. Keep in mind, there was no Google or eBay back then, so, I'm not sure how I was able to locate a 1965 card of his. Nevertheless, I did, and at the conclusion of the 1994 season, during the Florida Instructional League, Don, who was then a Minor League coach for the Phillies, signed a card for me. It was my first time having both a father and son's autograph.

Brian McRae
Hal McRae

I got Hal and Brian's autographs a year apart, but both at the same stadium, virtually in the same spots.
Brian signed a card for me at a Spring Training game in 1994 when the Royals came to Clearwater to play the Phillies. The following spring, I actually know the exact date, April 19, 1995, the day of the Oklahoma City bombing, the Reds were the visitors. Hal was their hitting coach and was nice enough to stop and sign for me.

Ruben Amaro
Ruben Amaro, Jr.

Ruben Jr. was another early autograph acquisition for myself. He was actually #32 in my collection, two slots before Jose Mesa. Seven years later I met his father, Ruben.

Bob Boone
Bret Boone

The Boone's and Bell's were the first multi-generation baseball families that I remember reading about as a kid. Unfortunately, I don't have any baseball grandfathers in my collection.
It was special for me to add Bret and his father, though. Bret signed a card for me in Clearwater in 1994 while he was with the Reds. In 2015 I added Bob Boone's autograph to my collection. I have not yet had the opportunity to meet Bob's other son, and Bret's brother, Aaron. Though, I do have a card of his that I would love to get signed.

Greg Luzinski
Ryan Luzinski

This is cool having "Bull" and "Baby Bull" in my collection. I met Ryan in 1994 when he was with the Vero Beach Dodgers. Twenty-one years later I was finally able to meet his father, Greg.

Dante Bichette
Dante Bichette, Jr.

The Bichette family actually brought me back to collecting autographs. I pretty much stopped collecting in 2000 and didn't get back into it until 14 years later. Dante Sr. was at a free autograph signing at the Tampa Bay Rays Fanfest in 2014. I knew I still had a card of him, so, I decided to go and meet him. When he arrived, I noticed his son was with him. I knew nothing of Dante Jr., but he had the look of a baseball player. I looked him up online and saw that he was in the Yankees farm system and that he was expected to start the season in Tampa that year. I thought it would be cool to add another father and son to my collection, so I immediately ordered a card of him. A few months later, I saw the Tampa Yankees play and got my card signed by Dante Jr.
In the 2016 baseball draft, the Blue Jays selected Bo Bichette, son of Dante Sr. and brother of Jr. I hope to add Bo to my collection once he has a card made.

Lee Mazzilli
L.J. Mazzilli

In 1997 I met one of my favorite Mets, Lee Mazzilli when he managed the Tampa Yankees of the Florida State League. Seventeen years later, his son L.J. was a player in the league with the St. Lucie Mets.

John Tamargo
John Tamargo, Jr.

This was a first, getting autographs from a father and son, both while during their coaching tenures. John Tamargo was managing the Kissimmee Cobras in 1997 when I met him. This past spring, 19 years later, John Jr., a coach in the Blue Jays system, signed a card for me.

Tom Gordon
Nick Gordon

Here's another first, getting autographs from a father and son back-to-back. In April I went to Bradenton to see the visiting Fort Myers Miracle take on the Bradenton Marauders. Nick signed for a group of us and I was last before he headed off to the dugout to start the game. I went to my seat and a few minutes later I recognize Nick's father walking around. He sat down just a few rows below me. I came prepared with a picture and between innings, asked Tom for an autograph. Sadly, my pen did not wish to cooperate.
I hope to meet Tom's other son, Dee, someday.

Sandy Alomar, Jr.
Sandy Alomar
Roberto Alomar

Yet another first, a father and two sons. I met Roberto in 1992, four years into his eventual Hall of Fame baseball career. Two years later I met his brother, Sandy Jr. In 2015 I was finally able to add Sandy Sr. to my collection.

Mark Leiter, Jr.
Al Leiter

In 1994, while he was a member of the Blue Jays, Al signed a card for me. Twenty-one years later I got to watch his nephew, Mark pitch often. Hopefully I'll be able to add Al's brother and Mark's father, Mark Leiter, Sr. to my collection.

Michael O'Neill
Paul O'Neill

Here's an uncle and nephew, both involved with the same organization. I met Paul in 1994 at a Yankees spring training game in Dunedin, Florida. This past summer I met his nephew, Michael, who was playing for the Tampa Yankees.

Rob Butler
Rich Butler

The Butler brothers were the first siblings that I ever got autographs from. Rich signed a card for me in 1993, my first year of attending Florida State League games. The following spring I was able to get Rob to sign a card for me.

Daryl Boston
D.J. Boston

I met Daryl in 1994 when he was with the Yankees during spring training. A few weeks later, at the start of the Dunedin Blue Jays season, I was able to add his brother, D.J.'s autograph to my collection.

Ramon Martinez
Jesus Martinez

Two Dodgers brothers that I got autographs from in the exact same spot, just a few months apart. In 1994, the Dodgers traveled to Clearwater to play the Phillies in a spring training game. Ramon got the start and signed for me once he was pulled from the game. A few months later, the Vero Beach Dodgers came to play the Clearwater Phillies. Jesus Martinez, standing in the same spot his brother did, signed a card for me.
I would love to add their Hall of Fame pitcher's brother, Pedro to my collection someday.

Tripp Cromer
Brandon Cromer

Tripp signed a card for me in the spring of 1994. A year later I met his brother, Brandon.
There was a 3rd brother, D.T., but I never had a card of his.

Austin Manahan
Anthony Manahan

The Manahan's were the first relatives I got autographs from where neither person made it to the Major Leagues. Both were first round picks, and while I haven't checked, that may be a first for my collection. Regardless of how their careers played out, I'm still very happy to have both of their signatures.
I met Austin, the younger of the two in 1993 while he was with the West Palm Beach Expos. In 1995, I met Anthony during his first spring training with the Phillies.

Hal Morris
Bob Morris

Hal signed a Beckett magazine cover for me in the spring of 1995. His younger brother, Bobby signed a card for me a few months later while he was with the Daytona Cubs.

Mark Mimbs
Mike Mimbs

In a spring training game in 1996, something historic happened between the Texas Rangers and Philadelphia Phillies in Clearwater, Florida. The starting pitchers for both teams were twin brothers. The Rangers had Mark Mimbs taking on his brother, Mike Mimbs.
At that game, I spent the majority of it inside the visiting Rangers clubhouse. I knew the visiting clubhouse manager and he invited me in as long as I stayed out of the way. I got to talk to a lot of the players, including Mark Mimbs. Once Mark was finished with his outing, he signed a card for me and I got to talk to him about what it was like facing his brother. He noticed that I also had a card of Mike's. He was actually on his way to the Phillies clubhouse to go talk to his brother and offered to take my card along to get signed. I prefer getting autographs myself, but I knew this day was special, so I happily accepted Mark's offer.

Mike Bell
David Bell

Earlier in this post where I posted my Bob Boone and Bret Boone autographs, I mentioned the Bell family. While I never got Gus Bell, or had the chance to meet Buddy, I did get autographs from the 2 brothers, Mike and David, who both reached the Major Leagues like their father and grandfather before them.
I met Mike while he was with the Charlotte Rangers in 1995. I got to meet his brother, David the following spring while he was with the Cardinals.

Scott Pisciotta
Marc Pisciotta

Scott signed a card for me in 1995 while he was with the West Palm Beach Expos. The following spring, when the Pirates came to play the Phillies, I was able to get Marc's autograph.

Barry Larkin
Stephen Larkin

Two brothers with vastly different Major League careers. Barry, the Hall of Fame shortstop, who played in 2,180 games, signed the back of a magazine for me at a spring training game in 1995. Stephen, who played in only 1 Major League game, signed a card for me during Instructional League with the Reds in 1996.

Todd Stottlemyre
Mel Stottlemyre, Jr.

A big reason I'm into collecting autographs is because of Todd Stottlemyre. Todd would often golf at the course near my neighborhood. I would see him all the time there. There were often celebrity tournaments held there and one time I was lucky enough to meet his brother, Mel.
I grew up as a Mets fan, and their father was the Mets pitching coach for most of those years when I began watching. I still haven't gotten to meet Mel Sr.

Gavin Cecchini
Garin Cecchini

Having two brothers autographs from the same card set is another first for me. Both Garin and Gavin signed 2014 Topps Pro Debut cards. I actually met Gavin first when he was with the St. Lucie Mets in 2014. I met Garin the following spring when he was with the Red Sox.

Chadwick Tromp
Jiandido Tromp

The most recent siblings autographs that I got was the brothers from Aruba, Chadwick and Jiandido Tromp.
Chadwick signed a card for me in Clearwater, when the Daytona Tortugas faced the Threshers. It was his first time playing professionally against his brother. I didn't have a card of Jiandido at the time, but I did eventually get one and was able to get it signed this week.

Of course, my collection isn't just limited to baseball players.
This past spring I saw the New York Red Bulls of Major League Soccer play in a spring tournament.
The Red Bulls have 2 brothers that play for them, Shaun Wright-Phillips and his younger brother, Bradley Wright-Phillips. Both signed for me one after the other. First time getting brothers back-to-back.

Shaun Wright-Phillips
Bradley Wright-Phillips

Some links in this post will not work. It's intentional. They will work eventually, when their time comes up.

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