Saturday, December 19, 2015

Johnny Bench: 12/19/15

December is usually a slow month for graphing, but thankfully the OC Dugout had baseball legend Johnny Bench in for a signing this past Saturday. Bench was recently named one of the four greatest living players in MLB history, and after passing up an opportunity to get his autograph back in July, I had to go an meet him. 

I've heard some mixed reviews on Bench in the past but had a terrific experience meeting him. We talked for about a minute and then he asked me how/where I wanted my photo signed. He also stood up for the photograph that I took with him, which is something that I always appreciate. I ended up getting my 11x14 signed with "Catch Ya Later" and "HOF 89".

(You can ignore the blue corners, those are just part of a photo holder that I use)

Thanks to Brian and the OC Dugout for bringing in a rare-December autograph guest, and thanks for reading.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Dustin Brown: 11/27/15

LA Kings captain Dustin Brown was signing at the Los Angeles Auto Show on Black Friday. I'm not a huge fan of Black Friday shopping and this year I even decided against my annual trip to Sports Authority since too many people were beginning to take notice and were taking it way to seriously, just like very other Black Friday sale. I guess I'm more of an online shopping guy anyways, so instead of dealing with all of the crowds I decided to sleep in and go get an autograph.

This turned out to be one of the easiest and best ran signings of the year. I showed up a couple of hours early, was handed a numbered card by a Toyota employee, and was told that I didn't have to come back until a half an hour before it started. After grabbing some lunch I met up with a few friends and sat around waiting for the signing to start. There was literally no line waiting at all as they called up your numbers in groups of 10 at a time. I had #64 so it wasn't too long before I got up to Brown and had him sign a couple of pucks.

By the time I got through the line was fairly short, so I hopped in the back and got a NHL Stadium Series puck that I had lying around my house signed by the Captain.

In the end I was happy with my decision and walked away with a few nice autographs. It's so rare that events in Southern California go so smoothly, so I've learned to appreciate them over the years. Good on Toyota for a great event and a thanks to Ryan, Benson, and Marc for keeping me company throughout the signing.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Fanatics Authentics Show: 11/21/15 - 11/22/15

One of my favorite things about my birthday is that it's usually close enough to Thanksgiving to where I have the day off of school. It's also just far enough away from Christmas to where it's not forgotten in the holiday madness. So really, it's a win-win. This year it happened to fall on a Saturday, and after a few weeks of saving I was able to raise enough money to afford a short weekend trip to the Fanatics Authentics show in Chicago. 

Of course, that weekend Chicago got hit by the city's largest snow storm in years. The high all weekend was a warm 32 degrees, but I loved it. To give you an idea, here was the view outside of our hotel room on Saturday morning:

Here is another from inside of our lobby:

It might not look like a ton of snow, but for someone from Southern California who has only seen snow at ski/snowboard resorts, it was a lot. Luckily the airport, hotel, and the convention center was all within a coupe of miles, so we were able to cab/Uber everywhere.

the first half of Saturday's show went fairly well. My first autograph was from St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Michael Wacha. I've mentioned it several times in the past, but the Cardinals are the team that I root for in the National League. It's been that way since I was on the Cardinals tee-ball team, and Wacha happens to be one of my favorite pitchers, so it was neat to get an opportunity to finally meet him. 

The next autograph I got came from Ryne Sandberg. I had been debating on getting Sandberg's autograph for the previous week or so, but after a few signers cancelled due to the weather it was an easy decision. I ended up having him sign a ROMLB with "'Ryno'", "HOF 05" and "84 NL MVP".

Of course, it turned out to be one of my favorite autographs all weekend, so I was happy with my decision. I had regretted getting Sandberg on a Gold Glove ball instead of a sweet spot when he visited Angel Stadium with the Phillies, so it was a nice "redemption" autograph for me.

The third and final guy that I got on Saturday was Cubs phenom Kris Bryant. Bryant had just won the 2015 NL Rookie of the Year award and the most popular signer at the show. He ended up selling out of tickets before the day began, but I was smart enough to have pre-ordered them a couple of days before.

The bald guy to Bryant's left turned out to be one of the biggest (fill in the blank) of the year. I only bring this up because I've had promoters email me in the past when I complain about a worker, and I hope Fanatics does the same here. In reality, there is no need to be rushing people who are spending more money to get one person's autograph than what he (the handler) is making all weekend. It was frustrating because I feel as if this man was encouraging Bryant to give out sloppier signatures by constantly telling fans, and even Bryant, to "hurry up" or "keep it moving". I ended up getting both items that I wanted signed, but I do wish that it would have been a less chaotic experience, like every other athlete at the show who was not rushed. 

Saturday ended like any good day would, with Chicago-style pizza from Giordano's.

There was only one big signer on Sunday that I was worried about and that was Carlos Correa. I had already gotten some really nice Bryant's from his first few months in pro baseball, but Correa has never been the nicest guy or easiest signer ever since his days in A-ball. My goal was basically to get a couple of nice, full signatures from Correa and not have to worry about the sloppy signature that he gives out at the ballpark.

The first ball is inscribed "2015 AL ROY', and the second is inscribed the same, plus "Showrrea". It was kind of a cheesy inscription to get done but Correa thought it was funny and unique, which was basically what I was going for. 

Ironically he turned out to be one of the nicer signers at the show. His line was probably the third longest all weekend, behind only Bryant and Brett Favre, and yet he wasn't rushed and actually had good conversations with everyone. That's the way it should be for every athlete. You can see him and I talking in the photo above, actually about Mike Trout since I was wearing an Angels hat. It was cool to have that experience since he is a complete opposite at the stadium.

I got a few smaller guys on Sunday but nobody big. Overall it was a fun weekend and another great trip to Chicago, which is an amazing place to visit. Thanks as always!

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Updated For Sale List

I have finally updated my "Autographs For Sale" list with many new autographed baseballs, photos, cards, etc. All items also have updated prices, and I'll be happy to email you any pictures upon request. To contact me about any of the items, you can refer to the "Contact Me" tab above.

Also, if there are any items that have caught your eye but are not on the list, feel free to email me asking about them. The worst I can say is "no". Many things are available for the right price, and all of the money is put right back in the hobby. Thanks for looking!

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Warren Moon: 10/31/15

Hall of Fame quaterback Warren Moon held a free signing at a local Dick's Sporting Goods store. The signing was scheduled from 10:00 to noon on Halloween morning, so I assumed that getting there around 8:00 would give me a decent spot in line. When I got to the event I was surprised at the amount of people that had already shown up. The first people in line had gotten there at 10:00 the night before, which is a bit crazy for my liking. I ended up still getting a spot near the back of the line and eventually found myself in the middle thanks to poor line management by the store.

Moon arrived on time and began signing for the long line. I'd say there was about 100 people in front of us, but it took about an hour and a half to get to the front of the line since Moon was signing multiple and inscribing for everyone. I can't complain though, since once I got up to him he was extremely nice and signed both of my items with the "HOF 06" inscription.

I had a few people ask me, "why a football player on a baseball?" Quite simply, baseballs are pretty much a universal item in the hobby. Plus, they're much easier to display than full size footballs, and much, much cheaper too! This should be my only recap for a few weeks, but I should have a pretty exciting one near the end of November. Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Baseball Season in Review + A Couple of Recent Aditions

It's clearly a bit late for this, but with the Angels missing the playoffs and me now having very little hope in the Blue Jays, I figured that it was a fair enough time to recap the 2015 baseball season (autograph-wise, of course).

2015 was a very weird season for me. I made a vow at the beginning of the year to not take autographing very seriously. I wasn't going to get stressed out over it like some people including my former self. I definitely think that paying for autographs and getting more quality signatures away from the ballpark helped the cause. I also did not write about many of the autographs that I got at Angel Stadium this year, so many of these will look new to my readers. That, of course, is my fault, but I felt that the various signing recaps and the Tristar National Convention was enough to keep people briefly entertained. So without any further interruptions, here are some of my favorite in person autographs from 2015:

1. 2015 Topps Heritage

One of my main goals for 2015 was to get as many 2015 Topps Heritage cards signed as possible. I know that I'll likely never complete the 500 card set, but reaching the 100 card mark in one season has me optimistic. Regardless, it is a cheap way to stay entertained throughout the year, and I ended up getting some pretty darn good names including the future AL MVP, Josh Donaldson, and AL Cy Young, Dallas Keuchel (courtesy of my friend Ryan), winners.  

2. New Faces

By new faces, I mean guys that I haven't posted about this season, including one of my favorite broadcasters and Ford F. Frick Award winner Marty Brennaman. 

I guess that Alex Bregman could qualify as a new face in a few different ways, but I was able to get the future Astro on a ball with "2015 #2 Pick".

Jim Palmer is always a great signer when he comes to town. This year I was able to get "Cakes" on a ball with his Cy Young years inscribed.

Craig Kimbrel has always been known as one of the nicest guys in baseball. Unfortunately, that has changed a bit since his trade to San Diego, but he kept his word and signed for me and several others while in Anaheim.

Ironically, I headed to Angel Stadium with nothing for this guy to sign, but as I was going through an old bag I discovered a brand new ROMLB, which is practically the grapher's equivalent of gold. Apparently it was destiny since Sonny Gray started signing over the dugout and eventually called for me to throw down my ball. It may be personalized, but I am beyond happy to have this after his breakout year.

3. Angels Team Ball

Every season I attempt to start and complete an Angels team ball. Last year I came fairly close to completing it, only needing the big three (Weaver, Pujols, Trout). This year I was able to get Trout, and I could have had Weaver if he hadn't skipped over me several times, and had Weaver in fact signed it, I likely would've paid for Pujols to complete this years. So there is another thing that I can blame Jered Weaver and his 82 MPH fastball on. (PS- I am actually a big Jered Weaver fan despite how terrible he is to fans.)

The ball still looks nice and I'm sure I could eventually complete it if I tried. But I'll likely end up starting over next year in hopes that 2016 will be the year that the Angels win another World Series.

Recent Pick-Ups:

This does not relate at all to the baseball season or my IP autos from it, but there have been a few things that I've been able to get that I've yet to show off. The first being this Nancy Bea bobblehead. If you remember, I advertised this event for my good friend Marc. Unfortunately I had to miss the event, but Marc was kind enough to set one aside for me.

Next up I was able to add a couple of things signed by local-girl Alex Morgan to my collection. The first being a signed Sports Illustrated with "15 WC Champs".

The other being a pair of signed Nike cleats with the same inscription.

That about does it for my 2015 baseball recap. As always, a big thanks to everyone who I hung out with at the stadium throughout the summer. And again, thanks for reading.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Eric Dickerson: 10/11/15

Hall of Fame running back Eric Dickerson recently held a free autograph signing at the Southern California RV Show in Pomona. Since the signing was fairly close to home, I decided to check it out and also get a couple more items signed by the HOFer. On top of being a football legend, Dickerson is also one of the most genuine and kind athletes that you'll ever meet. Every time that I've met him he's sat there with a smile on his face, signs what ever you want, and inscribes what ever you ask. It's really a sight to behold, especially considering how some athletes treat their fans today.

Since I've met Dickerson multiple times, I decided to go with something different to get signed this time. I was able to find a SMU Mustangs mini helmet at nearby Frank and Sons and bought it before I had a chance to second guess myself. If you don't know the story behind Dickerson and SMU, I suggest that you look it up. ESPN even did a 30-For-30 special featuring the "Pony Express" and how the alleged illegal recruiting of Dickerson and other players led to the school's football team receiving the "death penalty". The whole thing is very fascinating, so I thought that it was pretty neat to get a SMU mini signed and inscribed "Pony Express".

I was also able to get a L.A. Rams mini helmet signed by Dickerson. I already had a Rams mini inscribed "HOF 99" from a few years ago, so I decided to get this one with "ROY 83". He also added "2105 yds" without me asking, which was (and still is) the record for most rushing yards in a single season.

I can't say enough about how nice Eric Dickerson truly is. It's always refreshing to see an athlete, and a legendary one at that, be so respectful towards their fans. That alone made the hour of standing in the heat well worth it. Thanks for reading!