Saturday, April 19, 2014

Orel Hershiser: 4/19/14

While "the Bulldog" may not be considered as one of baseball's elite pitchers, it's hard to find anyone that was more dominant in his time than Orel Hershiser was in the 1980's. Hershiser recorded 98 wins in the decade, 23 of which coming in 1988 when he won the National League CY Young, NLCS MVP, and World Series MVP all in the same season. Even with Roger Clemens and Dwight Gooden seemingly stealing the show on the mound, Hershiser made sure that he was never to be outdone throughout his career.

After finding a good deal for a 1988 World Series ball on Ebay, I decided to head down to the OC Dugout to meet Hershiser. While I probably wouldn't have payed to meet him had I not found the ball online, I'm more than glad with how everything turned out.

Orel Hershiser autographed baseball
As many of you know, finding older World Series and All-Star baseballs is usually difficult and expensive, so whenever I do buy one I always like to get it signed right away instead of carrying around for weeks. A big thanks to the OC Dugout for putting on the signing and Orel Hershiser for coming out.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

David Wright: 4/12/14

The New York Mets came into Anaheim for a rare inter-league series in early April. With Matt Harvey staying back in Florida to continue his rehab, my focus was primarily set on superstar third baseman, David Wright. While I missed getting Wright's autograph after the first game of the series, I was able to rebound and get Captain America to sign my 2012 All-Star Game baseball prior to the second game of the series. 

David Wright autographed baseball
I was very happy to add another All-Star caliber player to my collection, especially one that I've missed three times in the past. While Wright may not be the same MVP caliber player that he was from 2005-2008, he still sports a career average over .300 and has consistently been one of the best third basemen in baseball over his 10+ year career with New York.

***Just so everybody is aware, I'm probably going to start doing short and sweet posts like this from now on. I'll still do a few event recaps here and there, but for the most part I'll just post the star caliber players I get over the course of the season. I may even go back and recreate my posts from the past when I get some time this summer. Let me know how you like them compared to my older, longer posts.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Mariners vs. Angels Opening Day Recap: 3/31

My home away from home
A few weeks ago when I made my Spring Training 2014 Recap, I started out with the simple quote "Baseball. Is. Back.". While the four day getaway may have meant a small glimpse of the game we all love, nothing compares to being inside of a major league ballpark for the first time of the new season. Luckily for me, the Angels opened up the 2014 MLB season at home on March 31st, and I'm sure you all could've predicted where I was that night.

The day got off to an incredible start to say the least. I decided to hang out down the line with a few of my friends, all of whom were trying to get Robinson Cano. We lucked out as Cano looked over to us, nodded, and made his way over as he finished stretching. Since I already got my jersey done last month at Spring Training, I decided to get a ROMLB this time from Robbie.

Robinson Cano autographed ROMLB
I was a bit unprepared for Cano to sign, and while I didn't want to drop an ROMLB, I really had no choice. I was hoping to do a 11x14 for Cano (knowing that he signs ROMLB's lightly in person), but I never got the time to order one. None-the-less, I'm very happy to add another Cano to my collection.

Since I didn't have to chase Cano around for the rest of BP, I had the luxury of kicking back and just hoping that someone would come over and some. As it turned out, John Buck, Danny Farquhar, and Logan Morrison all came over and signed some cards for me.

Mariners autographed cards
My plan was to head upstairs for the Opening Day ceremonies, but my graphing instincts got the better of me, and I ended up watching the national anthem and player introductions from behind the Mariners' dugout.

The new-ish Seattle Mariners
During the game I checked on my phone and noticed that I was on a few different Instagram pages, including AM 830's, which showed Robinson Cano handing me back my baseball from a few hours prior.

A proof pic at it's best
I decided to stick around after the game and try my luck with the Mariners. The results aren't too great, but I was able to get Erasmo Ramirez on three cards...

Erasmo Ramirez auographed cards
And Brad Miller on a pair of cards.

Brad Miller autographed cards
I did attend game two of the series, but with the sole purpose of obtaining this...

Best. Bobblehead. Ever.
The bobblehead commemorated Mike Trout's cycle last season, and reads "May 21, 2013- Youngest Player In AL History To Hit For Cycle" around the base. It also shows mini figures hitting and sliding around the bases at his feet.

Stupid State Farm
I did stick around for BP, but only to be left empty handed, but to be honest, I was perfectly fine with that. I got my bobblehead and was content on leaving. 

Overall it nice to be back at the ballpark and catch up with some friends. The Angels aren't back for over a week, but their next home series is against the New York Mets, so I'll definitely have a nice recap up as soon as that series concludes. Thanks for reading! 

Offseaon Pick-Ups

Over the past few months I've made a lot of improvements to my collection through trades and also the occasional purchase. My goal is to one day have a collection with only quality items, and I've come to the realization that to have a quality collection, sometimes you're going to have to give in and pay up. I made a small post in December recapping a few items that I had picked up, but since then I've made quite a few more transactions that would impress just about anyone.

Before I get into the pick-ups, I attended another Steve Sax signing at Dr. Alex Corbin Liu's office a while back. Sax was charging $20 per autograph, which I decided to pay up in order to finally get a full signature from Sax. I had Steve autograph a ROMLB with "82 NL ROY" inscribed.

Steve Sax autographed ROMLB
Next up are a pair of baseballs that I briefly mentioned in my 2013 Year In Review post. The first ball is signed by Hall of Fame member Paul Molitor. The reason why I picked up the ball was because Molitor wrote out his full name, "Paul Leo Molitor", which I hadn't seen before. The ball is also a PSA "gem mint" 10 to make things even better.

Paul Leo Molitor autographed ROMLB
The other item that I previously referenced is this 2012 All Star baseball signed by 2014 Hall of Fame inductee Tony LaRussa. The ball has one of the sickest inscriptions that I've ever seen, as it reads "Final Game MNG NL-8 AL-0" referencing the final score of the game.

Tony LaRussa autographed ROMLB
The next item I got came from a trade with my friend Nik from Facebook. I was able to get this Lance Berkman ROMLB with MLB Authentication off of his hands. I've been wanting a Berkman autograph for a while so this will definitely be a welcome addition to my collection.

Lance Berkman autographed ROMLB
These next items came from purchases either through Ebay or other sports memorabilia websites that I frequent. I'll start off with my second Paul Molitor baseball, this one inscribed "93 WS MVP" and ".418 WS BA"

another Paul Molitor ROMLB
Fromer National League MVP and an extremely tough autograph to get in person, Jimmy Rollins.

Jimmy Rollins autographed ROMLB
One of the best deals I got was this Ryan Braun autographed 2008 All Star baseball. I snatched this up with six seconds left and am very happy with the deal I got.

Ryan Braun autographed 2008 AS ball
Ryan Madson, which I picked up at the Angels Yard Sale for less than the price of a new ROMLB.

Ryan Madson autographed ROMLB
Alberto Callaspo, another ball I picked up for basically nothing.

Alberto Callaspo autographed ROMLB
By far one of the best items I picked up, a Harmon Killebrew autographed ROMLB with "573 HRs".

Harmon Killebrew autographed ROMLB
Yet another deceased legend, Ralph Kiner inscribed "HOF 75". I picked this ball up a few days after his passing and I'm thrilled with it. 

Ralph Kiner autographed ROMLB
I also sent out and got back my first ever TTM attempt from Pat Gillick. I had a 1992 World Series baseball left over from the regular season and decided to send it out to the guy who constructed the team. I can't remember how long it took but Mr. Gillick sent back the ball with "HOF 2011" as requested.

Pat Gillick autographed 1992 WS ball
Finally, I sent in to a signing on the east coast and got back this Orlando Cepeda autographed ROMLB with "HOF 99". Cepeda typically give out rough signatures in person so I was happy to get a clean, sit down signature for a great price.

Orlando Cepeda autographed ROMLB
Just like I began this post, I'm going to end it with an IP success that isn't really worthy of it's own post. I attended the Dodgers vs. Angels exhibition game at Angel Stadium last weekend and got Chone Figgins to autograph an ROMLB with "2002 WSC". Chone was even nice enough to add the number 9, which he wore during his playing days in Anaheim. As always, it's nice to add another member of the 2002 Angels to my PC.

Chone Figgins autographed ROMLB
That covers my pick-ups over the baseball offseason. Overall I'd call it a very successful offseason adding these beauties and some other items to my collection. I'm still keeping an eye out for good deals, so expect another recap similar to this one in the near future. As always, thanks for reading!

Chuck Finley at the OC Dugout

Angel legend and former All Star pitcher Chuck Finley made an appearance at the OC Dugout in Anaheim a while or so ago. I decided to go to the event with my brother-in-law, Todd, who's favorite player growing up was Chuck. I couldn't pass up the opportunity to get one of the most popular pitcher's of his decade, so I got Chuck to sign a ROMLB with "5x All-Star".

Chuck Finley autographed ROMLB
The OC Dugout was also allowing photo ops with every autograph ticket purchased. As seen in the photo, Chuck Finley is a very tall guy, which is one of the things that helped him dominate the American League in the 1990's.

Chuck Finley and I
A big thanks to Chuck Finley and the OC Dugout for putting on the event. On a side note, I'm beginning to enjoy paid autograph signings a lot more now. While many graphers enjoy "the hunt", I find it nice to not have to battle with graphers and fans alike over a signature. I also like the fact that you're guarenteed an autograph at paid signings, so I feel more comfortable buying premium items knowing that I'll get it signed. That's my personal preference. Thanks for reading!