Archive for autographs

Thrift Treasures 90: The Kid, The Big Hurt, and more

Posted in Thrift Treasures with tags , , , , , , , on July 25, 2015 by Cardboard Icons

It’s kind of funny, for a long time the baggies of cards at my local thrift stores held nothing but base cards. But recently I have been finding baggies with autos and/or memorabilia, even even rookie cards of guys whose legacy’s have been cemented in stone.

Earlier this week I found two baggies, shown above, which intrigued me because one had a few Ken Griffey Jr. Cards showing and the other had the rear of 1990 Topps #414 easily visible.

What I found inside was actually much better than I expected.

First, there were three autographs. THREE!  One certified NBA auto, one certified basketball draft pick autograph and what appears to be an in-person signature of former Detroit Tigers third baseman Travis Fryman.

Oddly enough there was a good amount of basketbal items in the bag. Here’s a pair of Jason Kidd rookies, and a rookie-year Ultra series 2 card.

Here’s the left overs from a Hoops Draft Lottery Redemption Set.

And leftovers from a gutted Collector’s Choice Draft Lottery set.

Pretty cool to see some of the basketball redemption cards in the Baggie. Here’s a stick of football and baseball stars, including a few 1990 rookies of two-time American League MVP Juan Gonzalez and National League Rookie of the Year David Justice. 

  As a kid growing up in the Bay Area, Mark McGwire was always in demand. The 1989 Upper Deck card has alway been a favorite of mine.

Barry Bonds was also a HUGE draw in the Bay Area after he came to San Francisco. Here are some cards from his time before he became a Giant.

Remember how I mentioned the 1990 Topps card #414? Yeah, that’s Hall of Famer Frank Thomas’ rookie card.

Now, when I saw the Ken Griffey Jr. Cards peaking at me from inside the mag I could see the 1990 Bowman and 1990 Topps cards. What I didn’t see was this 1988 Donruss Rated Rookie rookie card.


I know baseball cards aren’t what they were in the 1990s, but I always feel it is my duty to save rookie cards like these, which might otherwise end up in a trash can.


Total cost of these treasures: $4.98

You can see more Thrift Treasures posts Here

Thrift Treasures 85: A mini helmet signed by an NFL HOFer

Posted in Thrift Treasures with tags , , , , on March 31, 2015 by Cardboard Icons

I have two kids.  One is in elementary school and the other is in pre-school.  Neither of them really enjoy shopping at thrift stores because “everything is old.” When they were younger they didn’t vent their displeasure, they just went along with the program.  So the only time I really get to go is when they both are in school.  My son (pre-schooler) goes to school two days a week and for only two hours.  What does this mean?  This means that in those two hours I get to jam in as much thrifting as a man can do.  I can cover stores within a 15-mile radius in that time if I stick to a quick search of the stores.


Well today, Tuesday, was one of those days.  I saw lots of cards today but not a single one came home with me.  I wasn’t interested in the baggies of 90s commons for $2.99 each or the 500-count boxes of 1987 Topps and 1988 Donruss for $9.99 either.  I had mild interest in a box that contained 20 packs of 1991 Fleer and a 1989 Donruss rack pack that had a Ken Griffey Jr. Rated Rookie on top.  And I would have bought that box ($9.99) had I not already found something that really caught my eye.

Behold, a Washington Redskins mini helmet bearing the signature of Pro Football Hall of Famer Joe Theismann. This thing was sitting unprotected on a shelf in the misc. section.  Thankfully his signature is really only recognizable to sports fans.  The price tag ($4.29) as you can see in the picture made this an absolute no-brainer.


The autograph is in silver paint pent and is in pretty decent condition considering the rough environment in which it was found

Total cost of these treasures: $4.29

To see more Thrift Treasures posts, click HERE

Thrift Treasures 79: Signed Vintage Minor League Baseball (15 sigs on 43-year-old ball)

Posted in Thrift Treasures with tags , , , , , , , on January 19, 2015 by Cardboard Icons


My wife and I made our annual end-of-the-year trip to a local city that has plenty of antique and thrift stores.  I know, it’s like we’re old, right? I might be 34, but I might as well be 64. I mean I like antiquing and thrifting, and I watch baseball and not the more popular choice of football.  What’s next, golf?

I digress, on these trips my wife finds all sorts of stuff that strikes her fancy: earrings, necklaces, cake platters, etc.  Me?  You know I have my eye on sports related stuff, so when I actually find something that fits my theme, I give it a good look.

Well, as it so happens, these shops usually have their fair share of sports cards, old ones too. I always hope for something new (read: old, but new to me) and exciting (read: at a decent price) but its been getting harder and harder.  I feel like I’ve picked these stores clean through the years.

And so just as we were about the end our day — me empty handed except for the bag of stuff my wife bought — we stepped into a shop that has only been in the neighborhood for about two months.  The guy had some interesting items, and even a stack of cards too, but nothing really struck my fancy.  At least not until I took one last look back before we walked out of the store.

There, on the bottom shelf hidden in the back of the showcase were a small grouping of four baseballs, two of which I could see were signed.  I asked to look at the two and quickly determined that the $25 price tag on one ball was too steep. Sure, i t was signed by four or five people, but I didn’t recognize a single name — not a one. Besides, the ball was modern and the signatures weren’t that old.

And the other ball? Well, you’re looking at it. I initially studied the ball, looking got any name that might be recognizable. None immediately jumped out at me, but the one thing about this ball that made it stand out from the other ball was the fact that it looked and felt old. I tussled with the idea of spending $25 on this thing, but I looked a the bag of stuff and reasoned in my head: This is something you’ll never see again. Besides, you spend $25 on plenty of other baseball stuff (read: crappy blasters many times over.)

By now if you’re still reading I applaud you. You must really want to know what the hell the “San Jose Bees” are. Well, here’s you’re answer: the precursor to the San Jose Giants. Before the Giants were affiliated the minor league baseball team in San Jose, Calif., they the team in the South Bay was the stomping grounds for the Kansas City Royals.  Don’t believe me? Turn over George Brett’s 1975 Topps rookie card and tell me what team he played for in 1972. Answer: The San Jose Bees.

Well, as it so happens, this here  ball is from nineteen seventy …. ONE. Yes, 1971, a year BEFORE Mr. Brett played in San Jose.  This means that his signature is NOT on this ball.  Bummer. But here’s a list of who IS on this call.  You might recognize a few, although none of them are exactly going to turn my “treasure” into a fortune.


Buddy Peterson:  Manager of the Bees in 1971. He had two short mlb stints in 1955 with the White Sox and in 1957 with the Orioles.

Steve Myers: This player was 23 in still in Single-A ball.  I believe this was his final year in professional baseball.

Steve Busby: An eight-year Major League veteran who played with the Royals from 1972 to 1980.  He tossed a pair of no-hitters during his career and was elected/named to two American League All Star team.


Edward Siracusa: From what I can tell, he was 19 in 1971 and this was his final year in pro baseball.

Darrell Gambero: Mr. Gambero played three seasons at San Jose and 1971 was second one.

Gary Houston: This guy made it out of San Jose and played as high as AA ball during his career before calling it quits.

Thomas Combs: Drafted by the Boston Red Sox, Combs wound up in the Royals minor league system for five years, including 1971, which was smack dab in the middle of his career. Combs was 22 and would get as high as AA ball in 1973 before calling it a career.


Stephen Wright: In 1971 Mr. Wright was 24 and still in A ball. It was his final season in pro ball.

Doug Bird: Another MLB veteran who pitched in the Majors from 1973 through 1983. He spent time with the Royals, Phillies, Yankees, Cubs and lastly the Red Sox.

Al Autry: All minor leagues dream of getting to the Big Leagues.  Al Autry made it … once.  He had one start in 1976 while he was with the Braves. He went five innings and struck out three en route to getting a single MLB victory.

Jim Wohlford: Long-time Major League who played from 1972 through 1986 with the Royals, Brewers, Giants, and Expos


“Duke” Wathan:  Does that name NOT look familiar?  If so, it’s because “Duke” Wathan is really JOHN Wathan, who spent more than a decade with the Royals as a player from 1976 through 1985. Then after he retired as a player, he managed the Royals for five season.  So, what is this “Duke” nickname about?  The Internet says the nickname comes from Wathan’s ability to do a spot-on impression of country actor John Wayne, whose nickname was “Duke.”

Dale Phillips: This guy was 19 when he played with the San Jose club in 1971.  He’s go on to play as high as AA in 1973 before returning to SJ and leaving pro ball.

Robert “Bob” Peters: he was a pro baseball rookie in 1971 when he played with San Jose. He’s played two additional years in Royals system until 1973 when he left pro ball at age 24.

Calvin Meier: He’d go on to play as high as AAA in 1975, but did not make it to the majors.

Total cost of these treasures: $25

To see more Thrift Treasures posts, click HERE

2000 Fleer GOTG Baseball Autos: The Final Four

Posted in Newspaperman with tags , , , , on November 13, 2014 by Cardboard Icons

When I opened my first pack of 2000 Fleer Greats of the Game baseball some 14 years ago, I was immediately drawn to the set.  The simplistic design and checklist appealed to me.  And of course there was the fact that I pulled the Nolan Ryan autograph on that first day, just as I wished.

IMG_6252Over the last 18 months, I casually started to gather other autographs from the certified set. And before I knew it I had made real progress toward achieving something I once thought was impossible — completing the autograph set.

Well, I’ve written here and in a Beckett Baseball Magazine column how far I had come and how I had met a pair of dealers at this year’s National in Cleveland who had some of the harder-to-find short printed autographs.  At the show I acquired two of the harder ones.  And then when I got back home I established contact and essentially agreed to purchase three others that they had that I needed.

The first that I acquired from the dealers after the show was Johnny Bench. I got a fantastic deal on the card, but as I documented about six weeks ago, the transaction was far from smooth.  The hang-up really happened with the United States Postal Service and the Bench card spent 19 days in Postal Purgatory.

When it came time to complete the transaction for the final two cards I was a bit reluctant.  Not because of anything the dealers had done. Rather I was a bit gun-shy due to the USPS service.  Would I really spend nearly three weeks on pins and needles waiting for my cards?

Well, much to my surprise, the second half of the transaction went down rather smoothly.  And in just three days (from New York to California) I had acquired two more short prints, cards of deceased Hall of Famers Phil Rizzuto and Warren Spahn.


And so where does this leave me with my set? Down to the Final Four.

Yep. Four autograph cards stand between me and a complete set — minutes that Derek Jeter autographed card that, in my mind, does not count as it was not originally released with the set.

So who are these pesky four players whose signed cards have yet to find a home in a penny sleeve, black top loader and team bag in my collection?

Three of the players are Hall of Famers, and if you know a thing or two about this set, they are all probably the three hardest — and most expensive — cards to find in this set. They are George Brett, Mike Schmidt and Kirby Puckett.

And the fourth card? It’s not a short print. It shouldn’t cost me too much. Heck, the player on the card is not even a Hall of Famer.  It’s Alan Trammel, whose card I had seen long ago and decided to wait on since it was one of the “cheaper” ones in the set.

Nonetheless, it’s clear to me that the contact I made at The National — with a little help from Beckett Baseball Editor Chris Olds, who actually located the dealers while I was trudging through bargain bins — has been a vital contact point for getting this close. It just goes to show that while the world is at our fingertips via the Internet and our Smart Phones, personal contacts are still important.

You can see each of the 88 cards I have acquired thus far in this 92-card set HERE.

An Auto A Day … #6

Posted in An Auto A Day with tags , , , , , , , on August 24, 2014 by Cardboard Icons

I’ve got a thing for former players who turn manager/coach. This is not a new trend, but it’s interesting for me to see this these days as I clearly remember some of the players-turned managers/coaches when they first came into Major League Baseball.


Such is the case with Torey Lovullo. He was somewhat of a prospect with the Tigers. The thing I remember most about him was having rookie cards in 1989 products … I pulled a ton of them while hunting for Griffey rookies of course. He spent part of eight seasons in the Majors with seven different teams before ending his MLB career in 1999.

Lovullo’s baseball career, however, didn’t stop as a player. Two years after retirement he got into managing and coaching and worked his way through the Cleveland Indians minor league system. He then followed current Boston Red Sox manager John Farrell to the Toronto Blue Jays and then from Toronto to Boston, where he is a bench coach. Lovullo was a top candidate for the Chicago Cubs managerial gig in 2010 and it’s probably only a matter of time before he gets a manager gig in the majors.

As noted, Lovullo has rookies in 1989, including in the high series of Upper Deck. He has a single certified autograph: 1996 Leaf Signature Extended.