Tuesday, September 29, 2015

My First Box Break (Sort Of): Leaf 2015 Autographed Baseball Edition

It's been quite a while since my last few posts, and I've been trying to fill up my September tab with at least a couple of posts before the month is over. In case you were worried, I can assure you that you did not miss much. September has always been a tough month when it comes to autographs, and this year there was an added kicker. Aside from school starting up and having to deal with homework, AP classes, etc., there was also a new addition to my family (I'm now officially an uncle). With that being said, there are a few things that I could post about, but I figured that this would be the most informative and interesting read.

For the second straight year (at least to my knowledge), Leaf released it's "Autographed Baseball Edition" boxes. They are available at Target for $40 each and includes one random autographed baseball. Now who that baseball is actually autographed by is sort of a crap-shoot. I've seen boxes with baseball signed by Ken Shamrock (yes, the wrestler) to Frank Thomas or Ivan Rodriguez. Some of the baseballs pulled are worth $40 on a good day, however I came across the final box at my local Target and decided to give it a shot. Here was the end result:

I ended up pulling a Boog Powell autographed baseball with "70 AL MVP". Powell was a 4x All-Star and, obviously, the American League MVP in 1970. He is also a member of the Baltimore Orioles Hall of Fame. Considering that Powell is 74 years old and likely never coming out west again, I was more than happy with the pull.

Each ball also comes with a Leaf COA and matching hologram.

If you happen to have some extra bucks lying around then I would suggest seeing if your local Target has a box left. I can't tell you exactly who or what to expect, but I've seen some people end up with Pudge, Thomas, Tony LaRussa, Bruce Bochy, Pete Rose, Jose Canseco, Wade Boggs, Jim Palmer, and even some old team autographed baseballs from the 1980's. It's sort of like going to a casino and playing $40 worth of slots, except you are guaranteed to come away with something in this case. If you've already bought a box or go out and buy one after reading this, make sure to comment who you got. I'm curious if there are any names that I have not heard of yet. Hopefully a few of you found this post interesting. Thanks for reading.  

Friday, September 18, 2015

Derrek Lee: 9/18/15

If you've been a fan of baseball over the past decade or so, then the name Derrek Lee likely rings a bell. The former Florida Marlin and Chicago Cub was one of the most dominant first basemen in all of baseball throughout the 2000's. Lee belted 30 or more HR's four times in his career, won a World Series with the Marlins in 2003, and a batting title with the Cubs in 2005. If it weren't for such a sudden fall from grace, Lee would likely be right next to Paul Konerko and Todd Helton as candidates for a late ballot Hall of Fame induction. 

Lee happened to be throwing out the first pitch before the second game of the California League (High-A ball) Championship series in Rancho Cucamonga. I got a last minute tip from one of my friends that Lee would be at the game and decided to head over since it was right down the street. Right as I walked through the front gates, I noticed Lee standing to my left and was able to knock out a pair of cards within second of being inside the ballpark.

The card on the left is a 1994 Rancho Cucamonga Quakes card that I imagine was part of a team set from that season. It happened to be inside of a large box of cards that I purchased for $2 at a yard sale many years back. I was fairly surprised (and impressed) that I remembered the card from so many years ago and was able to dig it up earlier in the afternoon. I've always enjoyed getting minor league cards signed from ballplayers who eventually reached the major league level, so I was very happy to not only find it, but get it signed.

I ended up getting Lee one more time later on in the night. I'd like to think that being a good friend payed off in this case, as I ended up hanging around and helping one of my friends get Lee after the game was over. While he was getting his card signed, I was able to pull out a baseball and got Lee to sign it on the sweet spot.

In the end, it ended up being one of the easier and more random autographs that I've gotten in a while. I was happy to add another all-star to the collection and one that I watched play for many years with the Cubs. Thanks for reading!