Friday, December 22, 2017

Let Me Dust This Thing Off

Hello, Readers! Is "readers" too presumptuous? Does anyone still check this blog anymore? I certainly haven't.

Maintaining Daily Autograph is a task in itself, I don't know why I felt that I needed another site to run. I guess I thought it would be nice to have a place where I share new cards that I get. The thing is, I rarely buy new cards. I'm an autograph collector, all I care about is getting base cards signed. I don't enjoy opening packs, not knowing what's inside, and getting limited insert cards. You know, the 1-3 cards found in packs that everyone else in the collecting world cares about? Yeah, not me. If Topps guaranteed a base card only pack, I'll be first in line.

Man, I sound like such a curmudgeon. I'm really not. I like what I like, and that's buying singles of cards of people that I could possibly get signed.

Speaking of signed, 2017 was my most successful year collecting autographs. It started the first week of January with Maicon Santos and ended 3 days shy of 2018 with Ron Cey.

In total, 630 new signatures were added to my collection. Sadly, if you follow Daily Autograph on a daily basis, you know I post one new autograph each day, all in order of how I obtained them. These autographs that I acquired this year won't even show up on that site until April 14, 2019.

Every autograph is important to me. That's why I decided to showcase each and every one for 24 hours before the next one is posted. You might see a Hall of Famer one day, a career minor leaguer the next and a coach that never played a professional game in his life after that.
With this post, I will attempt to show off some of the highlights from 2017.

Of course, after stating my disdain for insert cards earlier, I start off with one that I got signed. Yes, I see the irony and it was completely unintentional.
Topps has cards where a celebrity throws out the first pitch prior to the start of the game. Comedian and lifelong Mets fan, Jim Breuer is shown tossing out the first pitch at Citi Field. He signed this card for me at the Mets fantasy camp in St. Lucie, Florida.
Jim Breuer 2016 Topps

My 2000th autographed card was signed in 2017. Greg Jones signed this for me at the Tampa Bay Rays fan fest.

Greg Jones 2003 Upper Deck
I got to meet billiards' "The Black Widow" Jeanette Lee. She signed her Allen and Ginter's card for me at the Tampa Bay Rays fan fest. This was actually number 2,001 in my collection.
Jeanette Lee 2008 Topps Allen and Ginter's
The all-time hit king, Pete Rose happened to be in Florida, so I made sure to be there. He signed my favorite baseball card from when I was a kid.
Pete Rose 1985 Donruss

I got a father and son in the same month. Jesmuel Valentin, a Phillies farmhand, signed a card for me and a week or so later I spotted his dad, Jose watching his son workout.
Jesmuel Valentin 2012 Bowman Draft Picks and Prospects
Jose Valentin 1991 Classic Best

An umpire signed a card for me. I had known that former umpire Richie Garcia had made his home in Clearwater, Florida for decades. On more than one occasion I would see him jogging during the off-season. I never thought to ask him for an autograph, even though I knew there were cards available. In 2017 I decided I would go for it. I ordered a card and carried it with me until I'd see him again. It was at a spring training game in Clearwater where I saw him. He was there because his son-in-law, Vic Carapazza, was umpiring the game.
Rich Garcia 1990 T&M Sports

An unexpected thing happened to a guy in A-ball this season. Pirates minor leaguer John Bormann was suddenly promoted to the Majors because the team had a last minute injury and needed to fill a roster spot. John signed a card for me in the spring and a month later he's making his Major League debut.
John Bormann 2016 West Virginia Power

John shared his journey on The Show Before the Show podcast. It was an enjoyable listen.

Two professional football players attempted to try their luck at professional baseball this season, and I was lucky enough to meet them both. Sanders Commings, who played for the Kansas City Chiefs, was signed by the Atlanta Braves, while the New York Mets gave a shot to Heisman Trophy winner and former Denver Bronco/New York Jet, Tim Tebow.
Sanders Commings 2013 Upper Deck Football
Tim Tebow 2017 Columbia Fireflies

The 2017 Minor League Player of the Year, Ronald Acuna, began the year with the Florida Fire Frogs in their inaugural season in the Florida State League. He only spent 28 games with them, before ultimately ending up with the Braves AAA team in Gwinnett.
Ronald Acuna 2016 Rome Braves

Thanks to a special military promotion that the Clearwater Threshers were hosting, invited guest, former WWF superstar, Sgt. Slaughter was on hand to sign autographs,
I got to meet the very first athlete that I called my favorite as a kid. My parents took me to Tampa Bay Rowdies games when I was really young. My hero was Steve Wegerle. This year, the SiriusXM show, Grumpy Pundits took their show on the road to St. Petersburg, Florida, the city where I live. Steve was scheduled to be their guest, so I printed out a picture of him and headed down there.
Steve Wegerle 8x10 photo

I got to meet former Cubs prospect, Jimmie C. Gardner. A name I'm sure most won't recognize, but his life story is incredible. While in A-ball with the Chicago Cubs, he was arrested and charged with armed robbery and sexual assault. He was sentenced to 110 years in prison.
In 2016 he was released from prison after serving 27 years. DNA evidence proved that he was innocent of all charges.
He was so happy when I showed him this card. He told me he hadn't seen it in over 30 years. I thought he was kidding. I didn't know his story until after I had gotten home that night.

The Atlanta Braves got in some trouble this year for international-signing improprieties. As a result, 12 of their players became free agents. I got to see one of them, Abrahan Gutierrez, while he was with the GCL Braves. Abrahan was 17-years-old when he signed this for me. I never felt so old asking for an autograph.

Speaking of teenaged baseball players. The Dunedin Blue Jays had a promotion honoring Jimy Kelly. Jimy is the youngest Minor League baseball player in history. He made his professional debut as a 14-year-old in 1985 with the GCL Blue Jays.
This year I added 3 Hall of Famer's to my collection. Tony Perez, Craig Biggio, and Ivan Rodriguez were all nice enough to take the time for me.


This year I also got to meet a member of my all-time favorite music group, Run-DMC. Cable television came to my neighborhood in 1983 when I was 9-years-old. Quite an impressionable age to discover a channel that played nothing but music videos called MTV.
I was infatuated with this new music to my ears known as rap. Run-DMC got a lot of play during those early years and I was hooked. It was such a cool experience to get to meet DMC.

Finally, I was introduced to a new band in 2017 that I instantly became a fan of. Hip Hop artist, Talib Kweli came to St. Petersburg, Florida in November of this year. I was excited to see him, but I was unfamiliar with the opening act, The Sh-Booms. The night before the concert, I went on YouTube to see if there were any videos of theirs where I could hear their music. I found a video for their song, "Usage Fee." I loved it.

While waiting for Talib before the show to get an autograph, I recognized the Sh-Boom's from seeing their video the night before. Mizz Bren, the lead singer of the group walked by me and I stopped her to tell her that I was a big fan of their song, "Usage Fee."
She thanked me and then told me that she was going to give me something when she gets back. When she returned she told me to come with her to meet the band. She then went inside and grabbed a CD of theirs and asked if I'd like it signed. She then ripped it open and I handed her my pen and they all passed the CD around, signing it.

This year wasn't all highlights. Sadly, Boston Red Sox Hall of Famer Bobby Doerr passed away at 99. He was one of the most friendliest players when it came to requesting his autograph by mail. I'm not big on collecting by mail. I like getting autographs in person. I realized at 99-years-old, I probably wasn't going to randomly bump into Mr. Doerr anytime soon, so, I reluctantly sent him my card and a letter in August.

Bobby died on November 13th. On the 15th I got my card back and the following note.
Sad that I missed out on his autograph, but there's over 600 that I got in 2017 that make me happy. I only wish I could show them all on here, but that's what is for. I just hope that in 2019 you all will go and see them.

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