Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Son of the Mick!

Hey guys, Drew back here! A little over a week ago now I received one of my cooler through the mail successes in recent memory. I don't know if any of you remember, but around this time last year I got an autograph back from Babe Ruth's 97 year old granddaughter Julia Ruth Stevens. Continuing that theme, I sent to David Mantle, Mickey Mantle's son; shortly thereafter. After about a seven month wait, my Dad opened up this really special success for me, and I can't wait to come home and see all of these for myself.

David Mantle: 5/4 in 212 Days (Sent February 8th)

I gathered a bunch of Mantle related items to send his way, the first being a 5x7 movie cover from Billy Crystal's "61*". I really enjoyed this movie, although I haven't seen it in a while. I've been collecting the 1961 Topps set on and off over the years, and the '61 season as a whole is one of my favorite seasons to read about!

I'll always remember watching the final game at the old Yankee Stadium back in 2008, and this is actually David standing on the field representing his dad. The Yankees brought out all of their legends, and if they had passed away, either a family member or an impersonator took their place. David stood in for Mickey, and having this 5x7 from the event will help me never forget the special event it was.

David also signed a 2008 Topps Allen & Ginter for me, which came out beautiful signed in blue sharpie.

The big piece here was this 8x10 Life Magazine cover of Mickey towards the end of his career. Although the cover suggests a negative downspin to Mantle's playing days, I really liked the cover and thought it would look great sporting his son's autograph. It did! By the way, in case you haven't noticed, each and every item was inscribed "Son of the Mick".

But, that wasn't all. David wanted to convey a message to me on my letter, and it was really something special. He wrote below my letter and then flipped over to the other side of the paper and continued, so take a look:

"Please keep up the good work! Make your parents proud! Thank you for your letter. Please learn from our families mistakes, don't drink, etc. Ok, Thank you, David Mantle, PS: We learned the hard way (over)

As Dad said in one of his last press conference at the Hospital he was in before he passed "I'm not a role model, if you want a role model don't be like me." God Bless and please support our troops! David"

Mickey was a hero among heroes in baseball, however there was plenty of tragedy involved in what could've been a record setting career. Many believed he had the potential to top the Babe and have the best offensive numbers in the history of the game. I believe Mickey had the greatest potential of all time, while Willie Mays is in my opinion the best all around player of all time. This letter was extremely down to Earth and kind of David, and it really meant a lot to me that he took so much time out to sign my items and give me some advice. It'll be nice to have these autographs to go along with my DiMaggio/Mantle signed photo, as well as my multi signed Mantle 16x20 project I've been working on. All in all, one of the coolest successes I've ever gotten!

Thanks so much Mr. Mantle! Have a great night everyone, and See Ya!

Friday, September 12, 2014

My Going Away Gift to Myself

Hey guys, Drew back here! I probably spoil myself a bit too often, but regardless, rather than spending extra at the past card show I attended, I decided to buy a piece for my collection that I've always wanted to own! I collected the funds I made from selling off COMC, and for a bunch of unwanted cards and $25 I got this beautiful 16x20 off of eBay:

I started watching baseball a little while after Nolan Ryan's near 3 decade career ended, but I'm enough of a baseball fan to thoroughly enjoy this moment that has now been regarded as one of the most classic fights during a baseball game in history! If you've never seen perhaps the most dominant hard throwing pitcher of all time beat the crap out of Robin Ventura, here's a link. Enjoy.

I've been eyeing this picture for a while, and with the funds I collected I knew it was a great opportunity to get myself a going away gift. It conveniently arrived in the mail the day before I left, so I got to see it off on my way to college! Ryan inscribed "Don't Mess with Texas" below his autograph, which makes this piece double as awesome. It's authenticated by PSA/DNA and Nolan Ryan's personal authenticity company, so for the price I paid; I made out like a bandit!

Before I let you all go, I just wanted to let you know that drewscards has officially joined Twitter! If you enjoy this blog or some of the things I talk about, be sure to give me a follow @drewscards and I'll be more than happy to follow you back. I've had a personal Twitter account for a few years now but am always looking to expand my audience here on drewscards.

Have a great day everyone, and let me know what you think of my new masterpiece!

See Ya!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

TTM's from 200 Miles Away!

Hey guys, Drew back here! Although I'm at school at the moment, I made sure to send a bunch of through the mail requests out to come home to on breaks! My dad has been face timing me whenever I get letters back in the mail and opens them for me, and so far I've gotten a few really nice successes! Here are the first two of the three I've gotten back so far!

Tony La Russa: 1/1 in 6 Days (Received August 28th)

We start off with newly inducted Hall of Fame and legendary manager Tony La Russa! I wish I had more time before I left to find a second card of La Russa depicted as a manager to also have signed, but I guess I'll have to give him a second try down the road. That doesn't take anything away from how beautiful this 1972 Topps came out, but obviously La Russa wasn't known for his playing ability. It's a great shot of young Tony, before each and every one of his 2728 career managerial wins! He's clearly missing some gray hair and wrinkles, but those certainly worked their way into the equation after the stress of managing for as long as he did. I've always had a ton of respect for Mr. La Russa, and I'm really happy to add his small, but powerful autograph to my growing collection!

Larry Bowa: 3/3 in 6 Days (Received August 28th)

Larry Bowa was a better player than Tony La Russa, but his managerial record isn't half of what La Russa gave baseball. However, I've been a fan of Bowa's ever since he became a part of the Yankees coaching staff in 2006 (around the time I began to follow baseball). I also really enjoy his work currently on the MLB Network! He signed 3 cards for me, out of 1971, 1972, and 1976 Topps; my personal favorite being the '76!

All in all, two really nice gifts from home that have helped make this transition a little better! Thank you Mr. La Russa and Mr. Bowa for the beautiful autographs! Have a great night everyone, and See Ya!

Monday, September 8, 2014

East Coast National: Best of the Rest

Hey guys, Drew back here! Since we're approaching one month since this last card show took place, it's probably best to get the show on the road! I met 3 other former players the day I shook Johnny Damon's hand, and one celebrity I didn't expect to come across! Check it out:

First up, should be Hall of Famer Lee Smith! I've met Smith on one prior occasion, but this go round he was JP's Sports' free signer of the day, and I couldn't pass up some signed pictures of one of the best closers in baseball history! Smith was really friendly for a free signer, and just like last time, we told him we'd love to see him get enshrined into Cooperstown, and he put his hands up to God saying he hopes so! It would really be something else if he got inducted and I was able to obtain so many cheap/free autographs of his, but chances are he won't make it at this rate.

Smith signed two photos for my collection; one of which with his 478 saves inscription. I couldn't decide if I'd rather have a picture of him with one of his better teams (Cardinals/Cubs) or with his brief Yankees stint, so my Dad and I got them both signed! In retrospect I would've had him sign the Yankees picture in silver, but it still looks really good! All in all, another great experience with Lee Smith, who has definitely made me a fan of his over the years.

I met Johnny Damon after Lee Smith, which you can see in the previous post below, and following that Dad & I went into the side room, where 3 Hall of Fame pitchers resided: Ferguson Jenkins, Rollie Fingers, and Jim Bunning! I already had plenty of Fingers and Bunning autographs, so I passed them up, but did choose to add Jenkins to my signed baseball collection!

Jenkins was extremely quiet when I eventually got my turn to shake his hand, but admittedly, so was I. I don't know much about Jenkins other than that he was one of the more underrated pitchers of his era who had never had much of a chance at postseason glory. However, he stood up to take his nice picture with me and inscribed his Hall of Fame year for free, which was pretty awesome!

I didn't take much from my experience with Jenkins, but I did add this beautiful signed baseball to my growing Hall of Fame ball collection! I'm sure a good few of you already have one of these in your collection, but I finally joined the ship and I'm glad I did.

Lastly, I got to meet a key cog of the Yankees 1990's teams, Jeff Nelson! Nelson was perhaps the best reliever on the Yanks outside of Mariano and possibly Wetteland during their dynasty, so it was nice to get to shake his hand and thank him for the great memories. He was really quiet too, but allowed for a picture and signed my Mantle picture nicely (although he doesn't have the nicest autograph).

Nelson was my 52nd autograph on my Mantle picture, and was placed between Ruben Sierra and Gaylord Perry! Fortunately, he inscribed his number, or else he'd be very difficult to identify down the road.

I believe I'm making some impressive progress on my picture, and already have a plan for how I'm going to finish it! I have a few big names to add before I cap it off though, and hopefully I get to do that sooner rather than later.

After I met Nelson, I started putting all of my items together and getting ready to leave. I saw Joe, the dealer my dad and I love to deal with sitting at an autograph booth next to someone I didn't recognize. I started talking to Joe about my Nelson and Damon experiences, and then he asked me if I wanted a picture with Eddie Munster! I watched the Munsters with my family once in a while when I was younger, and well, how could I pass up the chance? 

Joe actually sponsored having Butch Patrick on hand to sign at the show! My dad and I got pictures with him and talked to him and Joe about this being my last show before I left for college! They both wished me good luck, and Patrick remarked by saying "I had a 4.0 in college... Blood alcohol content"! He really was something else, and it was cool getting to shake hands with a classic TV character!

The August show was yet another productive one for my ever-growing collection! It was a blast hanging out with my Dad one last time before I went away to school, because I certainly miss him and everyone else for that matter an awful lot right now. Stay tuned for some more posts coming up, because I'm getting some TTM successes at home that my Dad sends me pictures of, and there's some good stuff coming! For now though, See Ya!

Saturday, September 6, 2014

East Coast National: Meeting Johnny Damon!

Hey guys, Drew back here! I've officially been in college for just over 2 weeks now, and it feels like just yesterday that I was unpacking my bags here. However, I don't have much planned this weekend, so I figured I'd catch you all up on probably the coolest thing that I experienced with my favorite hobby over the summer! 

At the East Coast National, I paid to meet Johnny Damon, one of the first players I grew to love when I started following baseball! Of course, when I first started watching, I saw Damon kill the Yankees in the 2004 playoffs, but when he became a Yankee in 2006 I bought his jersey and became an instant fan. The price was steep on Damon's autographs at the show, but it was well worth getting to meet one of the players that helped me fall in love with baseball!

We lent one of his representatives my mom's camera for the experience, and she captured the handshake perfectly! I told Johnny how grateful I was for all the memories he left Yankee fans and for being a part of the 2009 World Series team, and he was gracious and kind back to me. He's always been known for being a little on the awkward side, but I think that trait makes him more likable anyway, as I am certainly am too!

Johnny noticed my Dad's Jets shirt and started making small talk with him about how the Jets will be this year! My dad asked him who he'd prefer to see at Quarterback, and Damon answered with Michael Vick!

We got a really great picture with "The Caveman", who I must say has a great hair/beard look going for him at the moment. We thanked him for everything and went on our way with a new, beautiful piece to add to our collection, and we raved about how kind Damon was to others at the show.

I wasn't sure what I originally wanted Damon to sign, and ultimately settled with a baseball. I asked for the 2009 World Series inscription, and he also threw in his number! He has a long autograph (I barely captured it all in the picture), but the ball looks phenomenal! It's become one of my favorite signed balls in my collection, especially with the nice story to go with it.

Ever meet someone that you always enjoyed watching that completely blew you away? This was Damon for me. I always liked watching him play for the Yankees because he always gave his all and could do all sorts of things with the bat (side note: Ellsbury reminds me a lot of Damon), but after meeting him and talking to him for a minute, he became one of my favorite players! I wish some team could give him a chance like he's been asking for, because I believe he's right by saying he could produce more off the bench than a lot of guys have been. Even at 40 years old, if Giambi still has a job, Damon should too.

Thank you so much Johnny for being so great to my Dad and I and giving me an autograph I'll always cherish! Have a great day everybody!

See Ya!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

East Coast National Card Show Trade!

Hey guys, Drew back here! I'm sorry it's been so long since I've posted, especially since I told you I'd have something to share. I still do, but it's been pushed aside because I'm now in my second week of college! It's been an enormous transition for me, but so far everything has worked out relatively well, and my classes don't seem to be too over demanding for my first semester. I'm studying Sport Management here at my school, so that one day I may have a role in a professional organization (that's the goal)!

A few weekends ago, my Dad and I spent a day at the White Plains "East Coast National" meeting players and buying all sorts of things for my collection! I mostly added some supplies, and I bought a few cards that I don't have scans of on my laptop, but it was nothing overly notable. But, I did make a big move. If any of my long time readers may recall, way back at one of my first card shows I won a signed and framed Tom Seaver photo, and ever since I've had it framed in my closet. Don't get me wrong, I have a lot of respect for Mr. Seaver, but the piece had never quite fit into my collection. I said in the blog post over 4 years ago that I'd be keeping thepiece for a "lllllllonggggggg time!" I think 4 years would be considered a long time, and I finally realized I could get something I'd prefer in exchange for the piece.. and I did just that. But I got two great pieces for the price of one!

My dad and I have worked out a lot of deals with a man named Joe at the shows in the past. Joe is a big collector around our area, and actually doesn't live far from us, but he deals at the White Plains shows and even the Cooperstown show we went to last year with the Regenthal clan! He made me a great offer, and was able to trade me these two signed baseballs for the Seaver photo:

First off, he filled in an enormous hole in my collection with this Goose Gossage signed baseball! I have a bunch of items signed by Goose, but for some reason I never thought of adding a ball to my PC! He has a beautiful signature, and the HOF 2008 inscription is the icing on the cake!

I also got this sweet "Lousiana Lightning" Ron Guidry autographed baseball in the exchange! Guidry inscribed "Yankee Captain 1986-88" below his signature, and it looks really good despite his sloppy handwriting! Getting these two baseballs saved me a lot of money I'd wind up spending to meet them in the future, and I can now focus on getting them on other items (I really need Guidry on my Mantle photo)! 

Thank you so much Joe for being such a great business partner and friend over the years, and I hope the Seaver photo has served you well! I'll have more to report on this show in the near future, but for now, See Ya (college edition)!

Monday, August 11, 2014

A Pleasant Birthday Surprise from a Best Friend

Hey guys, Drew back here! College is now 11 days away, and I'm more nervous than ever before. It's crazy thinking about the middle school version of myself that used to type away to you all on Blogger and how quickly time has gone. What dates me the most is when William and I talk about how long we've known each other, because it's been around 6 years now! Time flies when you're having fun, and it's safe to say my time in the blogging community has been a real blast. I don't plan on blogging from school because I won't have much to write about and I'll be caught up in numerous other things, but don't cut me from your blogrolls just yet because I'll have a lot of through the mail successes to share when I come home! 

On that note, William sent me a birthday present recently, and it was something I hadn't seen or heard about yet, but fell in love with the second I held it in my hand.

It's the short printed Masahiro Tanaka rookie card from this year's Series 2 edition; card number 661! Tanaka was extremely impressive to me in the beginning of the season, and I really hope he can recover from his nagging elbow problems and make an impact for the Yankees this fall. I don't see the Yankees going anywhere this season without him leading the pitching staff, because as impressive as Brandon McCarthy has been so far I'm not ready to trust him to be our ace in a playoff series. If Pineda and Tanaka can come back from their respective injuries and lend a hand, there's a slim chance that they could advance past some of the other American League challengers, but the guy on the card above is the X-Factor without question.

I absolutely love having this card in my collection, and I hope to add more Tanaka cards in the future to my collection (this is my second)! Thank you so much William for the great gift, as I've said countless times; you're the best, and I hope everyone that reads my blog reads his as well (he's much more active than I am anyway!). Have a great day everyone, and See Ya!

Saturday, August 9, 2014

A One of a Kind TTM Mailday!

Hey guys, Drew back here! I've been collecting a few great through the mail successes lately to eventually put into a post together for you all to check out... and here we are:

Daniel Hudson: 2/2 (460 Days, Received July 19th)

Talk about a player who just can't seem to catch a break. Hudson emerged in 2011 as a potential future ace for the Diamondbacks, but in 2012 he underwent Tommy John surgery, and on his way back from the surgery he tore the ligament in his elbow for the second time, which required a second procedure. Luckily, he is starting to pitch again, and while he may never be the same pitcher with 16 wins and an ERA well under 4, it'll be nice to see him grace the mound again. In the meantime, after over a year of waiting, he signed and personalized two cards for my collection! Both came out beautiful, and I'll be rooting for him to come back stronger than ever before!

Ken Singleton: 2/2 (12 Days, Received July 19th)

I've listened to Ken Singleton call Yankee games with Michael Kay my whole life, and while he may not be recognized for his work; I've always considered myself a fan of his. He signed a 1972 and 1973 Topps card for me, and now I can say I have both primary Yankee announcers autographs (I obtained Michael Kay's at FanFest last year)!

Mike Cameron: 2/2 (14 Days, Received July 21st)

I'll always remember Mike Cameron for his defensive prowess, so it was only fitting that I had him sign a 2007 Gold Glove card! He was a very underrated, great all around player throughout his 17 years in the league, and I'm really glad I got to add his autograph to my collection.

Ty Hensley: 2/2 (14 Days, Received July 21st)

Pretty cool right? I had a brief but effective stint last year buying some of Hensley's cards while he recovered from hip surgery, and I ended up sending him two of those cards requesting an autograph. I would normally never risk sending a card as valuable as a printing plate, but I knew he was a reliable signer, and I have the cyan plate too just in case anything were to go wrong. I thought it would be cool to own a signed printing plate, but I also told Ty I'd be willing to trade him both printing plates I owned for some game used memorabilia. He didn't seem to have interest in the offer but signed the plate for me, as well as the blue parallel to the left numbered to 500. I hope Hensley can recover from all his injuries and pitch like he did before, because he could end up being a difference maker one day for the Yankees!

Bobby Doerr: 3/2 (15 Days, Received July 22nd)

I felt kind of bad sending to Mr. Doerr again, especially as he continues to age, but I really wanted to get the two Pacific cards he has signed for my set. I bit the bullet, and they both came back signed, and you can clearly see that Doerr's signature is beginning to get a little shaky. However, at 96 years old I'm pretty sure that's something to be expected. I absolutely love the painting card on the left, and these cards mark numbers 21 and 22 in my Pacific autograph set!

Doerr also gave me a signed 2007 Topps "Distinguished Service" insert on top of the cards I requested! I think this mistakenly placed in my envelope, but I'm not complaining because I really like this insert set and the cards look even better sporting signatures. It's really awesome to have something reflecting on a different part of Doerr's life as opposed to his baseball career, since he's lived an amazing 96 years full of achievements. This was as good of an added bonus as its going to get.

Vernon Wells: 2/2 (18 Days, Received July 25th)

Unfortunately, the Yankees didn't get an awful lot out of Vernon on his pit stop in the Bronx, but I'll always remember him more for being the star of the Toronto Blue Jays as I began to watch baseball (along with Roy Halladay). Wells ranks around the lines of Mike Cameron as far as stat lines go, but the presence Wells made as a five tool player in his prime was frightening to face for a while. He also was in the lineup at the first baseball game I ever went to, so it's definitely a signature I've needed for a while. He signed a 2001 and 2014 Topps card for me, and both cards came out great!

July was a really successful month for my collection as you can see. I was able to add some needed autographs without spending anything but the price of stamps! This month I've got some more in store, as I'm starting to work on fixing up my basement and sort things out before I leave two weeks from now. I've got a card show and a bunch of TTM requests to send out in the meantime, and I'll let you all know how things go when I get there! But for now, See Ya!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

A Special Night at a Special Place

Hey everyone, Drew back here. My summer is coming to a close and fast, but I've been busy making sure I leave my home on the best note possible. Last night my Dad took my girlfriend, sister, and I to the Yankees game! The Yanks took on Detroit, and the pitching matchup worried me that we may not have chosen the best night to go. The Tigers started last year's Cy Young winner Max Scherzer, while the Yankees put newly acquired Brandon McCarthy on the mound. The thing with baseball is, things never seem to go as planned.

We got to the stadium over 2 hours prior to gametime, so we immediately bolted to Monument Park to see it before it became overcrowded with people (still too late). It was very busy, but we got there early enough that we didn't really have to wait in line for long, which certainly helped under the blistering sun. I got to finally see Mariano Rivera's retired number, which really was amazing. He was the first player I grew up watching whose number was put to rest by the Yankees organization, so it almost felt like a part of my childhood was along the hallowed halls of the park. 

I forgot my mom's amazing camera at home before the game, so I only ended up with cell phone pictures. I didn't get any spectacular pictures, but we had field level front row seats in right field (if you've been following for a while, the same seats I got on TV with when Cano belted one out a few years ago). Here's Jesus Joba Chamberlain warming up with Detroit. He kind of looks like he lived out of a garbage pail between his time in New York and Detroit, but I must say, it may have brought out the best in him since he's having a solid 2014 campaign.

Batting practice was scary, to say the least. As I mentioned earlier, our seats were in the front row of the right field bleachers, and BP took place just as the sun was setting. We couldn't see any balls coming our way until they were right near us, and I find it funny how 9 out of every 10 of those balls were hit by Miguel Cabrera. If you were there and didn't really believe in his talent beforehand, you'd have been sure to change your mind following the show he put on in batting practice. Unreal.

I don't know if any of you saw this, but last night Justin Verlander flipped his renowned girlfriend Kate Upton a baseball. It just so happens that she was the second young blonde he threw a ball to that day, because before this happened, Justin tossed my sister a ball! My dad yelled to him that it was his daughter's first Yankees game (which, by the way, it was), and Justin came over and tossed her the ball! It was a nice moment for sure, and I just so happened to catch it on camera! After my dad let two Miggy Cabrera blasts roll past his fingertips, we finally got ourselves a souvenir, one Diana will have for the rest of her life.

Oh, and here it is.

One of the best parts about having the seats we had is the atmosphere. At this section we're directly in front of the bleacher creatures, extremely close to the right fielder throughout the game, and right next to the Yankees bullpen. I said hello to Francisco Cervelli and Brian McCann last night as the pitchers got loose, and both players responded back to me! I love hearing the pop sound when the ball hits the glove in the bullpen, and from that spot we are right in the action of the pitcher getting loose!

We were very pleased to see the Captain in the lineup this go round, especially since he wasn't in the lineup at the last game we went to. I tipped my cap to Derek each time he came to the plate, because who knows if this was the last time I'd ever get to see him play baseball. Mark Teixeira was a last second lineup scratch, but it worked out because rather than hanging out with Martin Prado all night, we got Ichiro instead who took Tex's place in the lineup! From being right by Ichiro all night, I realized just how small he was, and how locked in he was during the game. He's as professional as it gets, and it was really cool to get to watch him play also before he calls it quits.

We were extremely spoiled in right field that night, because we also got to see Torii Hunter up close too. I've always had a tremendous deal of respect for Torii, and I thought he was one of those universally loved players coming from a dark era in the game. However, the hammered guy next to me didn't seem to feel the love, and let Torii know it all night. I have to admit, the guy was pretty funny ragging on Hunter, but after a while the joke got old and annoying. Hunter responded to the guy with hand gestures saying how he's fat, ugly, and short, which got a big kick out of the right field crowd. 

Brian McCann and Jacoby Ellsbury drove in the lone two Yankees runs, but Brandon McCarthy was able to hold off the terrific Tigers offense to 1 run over 5 2/3 innings and earned himself the victory. Ellsbury could've had much more on the sac fly he hit with the bases loaded had it not been for the incredible catch made by new Tiger Ezekiel Carrera. I've never seen a better defensive play in person before, and after watching the highlights I firmly believe that catch should be nominated for one of the finest of this season! 

Matt Thornton (no longer a Yankee), Adam Warren, Shawn Kelley held the game for David Robertson to finish off in the 9th for his 30th save! It was a big win for a hot Yankees team against one of the best in the business, and Brandon McCarthy impressed me a lot. I don't think the Yankees have the pitching to go deep into the playoffs, but who knows if Tanaka will come back and help the cause down the stretch.

On top of getting to witness a great game, I added two things to my Yankees collection, the 2014 Yankees yearbook and a Derek Jeter bobblehead! I didn't get around to purchasing the 2013 Yankees yearbook yet but plan on adding it soon, since I have the yearbooks dating back to 2005 when I first started following the team. My dad bought me the Jeter bobblehead, which actually resembles him a little bit! I've been adding a few bobbleheads to my collection here and there lately just for fun, and no collection could be complete without my favorite player of all time.

I had an amazing time with some of my favorite people last night, and if this was the last time I got to see Derek Jeter play, it's been an unbelievable run. RE2PECT.

See Ya!