Saturday, April 12, 2014

A "Donnie" Baseball!

Hey guys, Drew back here! It has officially become the busiest time of the year for me; baseball season. Our school Varsity team is 2-0 to open the season and I'm making really solid contact with the ball as of now! The season is nowhere near as long as the MLB season but it sure can be a grind, especially when we have 3-4 games a week. Luckily for me, my senior year is all but wrapped up academically, as I only wait for my AP Calculus, Literature, and Government tests! Following that, my final quarter grade will be based on an internship project I'm going to be doing with the Hudson Valley Renegades! I'm really looking forward to working with them and it'll be a great way to transition my high school career into a college education and hopefully a great career in the Sports Management business.

So, now that you're all caught up with what's going on in my life, how about I show off the newest signed ball in my collection? Check it out:


Former Yankee captain and current Dodgers manager Don Mattingly is the most recent addition to my signed baseball collection! My dad bought this beauty for me at the last card show we were at, and it certainly makes for a great addition! Mattingly is one of my favorite Yankees of all time even though I was too young to see him play; he led the team the right way and was a respectable player throughout baseball. I don't know if he should be in the Hall of Fame or not, but with recent selections such as Roberto Alomar and Barry Larkin I don't see how he can't be. Maybe if he can lead the Dodgers to a few World Series championships he can go in later in his career similarly to Joe Torre, but regardless of whether or not he makes it, he will always be a fan favorite and Yankee legend. Having him in my signed baseball collection was a must, and I'm so glad I can now check him off the list!

Thanks so much Dad! As always, you didn't have to, but it will most definitely be hanging around in my collection for as long as I can foresee.

See Ya!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Tiny Progress with the Mantle Project!

Hey guys, Drew back here! Today I'm going to explain to you exactly how not to sign for fans (even if you are the free signer). At the White Plains card show my Dad & I recently met Mariano Rivera at, we also took the time to wait in line for Ruben Sierra, who as I mentioned before was the day's free signer. I wouldn't have had much interest in meeting Sierra had he not been eligible (under my standards) to sign my Mickey Mantle 16x20 photo. I figured he'd be one of those nice little names to balance out the big guns that already signed the picture, such as Berra, Jackson, and Henderson. Well, he signed it... but that was about it.



While signing my Mantle picture and a card I also brought along, Mr. Sierra was taking a phone call, and it wasn't one of those ordinary "Hold on I'm busy let me call you back" sort of calls. It was more of a "How are you? Oh yeah... I can talk" conversation, even though I believe he was speaking Spanish but it was hard to tell with the noise of the building. I don't know about you, but I feel like if you're doing a meet and greet, you should probably at least try to look like you care. I thought Sierra was beyond disrespectful and that little amount I may have ever liked him has basically gone away. I couldn't even get a picture with him because he didn't even look up at me. I tried leaning in for a photo and was ready to say to him "I hate being rude and interrupting your phone call and all but would you mind posing for a picture?" Whatever.



Sierra signed directly below Charlie Hayes, and about the only positive I can draw from the experience was that he has a nice signature. Otherwise, autograph #51 on the Mantle poster was as lackluster as it got. I know Sierra was a freebie, but so was Roy White and so was Ron Blomberg, two of the nicer guys I'd ever met. It's just another example of how most modern day players are nothing like Mariano Rivera.


Here's my other "prize" from the Sierra encounter. A signed 1992 Studio card. Yippee!

I'm not disappointed, because I didn't expect much from him. Heck, I hardly even wanted to meet him in the first place. But this was pathetic.

Feel free to share your rude autograph seeking experiences in the comments below. And do you think having a phone conversation is crossing the line?

See Ya! 

Monday, March 24, 2014

Meeting One of my Heroes

Hey guys, Drew back here. I told you all to stay tuned a little over a month ago, because I knew something big would soon happen. What I didn't realize was that nothing else would really come between then and now, so my apologies for making you all wait so long (in case you cared). But, anyway, here we are, I'm still kind of speechless writing this post but I want to make sure I cover as much of this as I can while its still engrained in my memory.

On Saturday, my Dad, Schuyler, and I went down to the Westchester County Center for a JP's Sports Show! Obviously most of you who have been around this blog for a while know that this is nothing new for us (I actually recently counted, this was my Dad & I's 15th trip), but the day had the potential to be the most special of them all. And in some ways, it was. I didn't plan to do much at the show other than make the most of the enormous fee I had to pay to meet one of my all time favorite players; someone I grew up loving more than anyone with the lone exception of Derek Jeter.


So... Mariano Rivera. When I saw his name grace the JP's Sports lineup for this March Madness show, I was stunned, and even with a lofty autograph price, I knew I had to do what I could to shake his hand. And, that I did. It turns out that Steiner Sports were responsible for the event as I figured they would, given their deal with Rivera that many other big name Yankees have agreed to. On his left sat his Steiner representative while on his right was apparently his agent. They sold 400 autograph tickets to the fans and from what I heard, it sold out relatively quickly. Steiner is awesome when it comes to allowing players to appear for public signings and I think they do a great job with their business, however I knew that I wouldn't get the full experience, even with Mo's wonderful and charismatic personality. Business is business for Steiner; they really don't tend to care if a fan gets to tell the story to their idol they had recited to themselves 15 times while waiting in line. It all comes down to the money, which sort of sucks but you have to take what you can get in this hobby sometimes.


It was very odd seeing Mariano sitting behind a table rather than preparing for the 2014 season. I guess it still hasn't sunk in that the only times "Enter Sandman" will play again in Yankee Stadium are when Rivera makes his occasional returns. Otherwise, I have to say that I was truly honored to watch him play. And with as much as I could've said to the man, between time constraints and nerves, that was about all I could say to him. He thanked my Dad and I and shook Schuyler and I's hands, and it was a short and simple experience. What can you expect from the man who owned the 9th for 17 years?

My biggest complaint from it all was that Steiner pushed us out before we got a chance to take a quick picture with him, and that is something that will bug me until the next time I get to meet him (fingers crossed). I understand that he was scheduled to sign for 400 people in 2 hours, but I don't see why leaning over the table for 5 extra seconds would make for such a big problem.


There is Mariano signing my picture. He was happy and gracious as always, and it was really cool getting to see that up close. I've always admired him for his charity work and contributions to baseball more than his actual performance. He's a larger than life role model for people of all ages, and I have to say seeing him kiss baseball goodbye last year really proved to me how much of an impact he's made on me (hence why I cried like a baby all throughout his final game). Jeter and Mo will always be in a league of their own in my heart as a diehard Yankee fan, and seeing them both make their way out of the pinstripes these past few years has really caught me offguard.

With all of that said, I introduce my latest autograph project, featuring 4 of my all time favorite players. Check it out:



When I got this issue of Sports Illustrated in the mail I absolutely loved the cover, but I didn't think about getting it signed by all four members of the Core Four- Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada, Mariano Rivera, and Andy Pettitte! I spent weeks weighing my options of what I wanted to get Mariano to sign, but ultimately I felt brave and decided "You know what? Let's get em all!" I ordered an 11x14 copy of the cover on sicovers.com, which came out very nice, but the second I got to the show I saw it as a 16x20 and had to make that mine instead. The guy who sold me the 16x20 is a friend of my Dad and I's, and he was saying that if I were to do that project, it'd come out much nicer on the bigger photo, and I couldn't argue with him on that. 

Mariano signed Andy's arm beautifully in blue, and I already have 25% of the project complete! Getting Posada and Pettitte on it shouldn't be impossible, with Derek being another story. If I ever do complete this, I'd be a lucky man, but given my luck in the past, I'm sure I can do it. I'd be disappointed if I lived the rest of my life and never got to shake Derek Jeter's hand. I've written about him in several school reports over the years and outside of family members, he's been my idol growing up. But that's certainly nothing against Mo, who's been a close second, and getting shake his hand was probably the coolest thing I've ever gotten to do in this hobby (from a personal standpoint at least). I shook the hand that threw the cutter, the hand that was responsible for recording an unprecedented MLB record 652 saves, and the hand that closed out 4 World Series championships for my all time favorite team. Woah. It all just hit me.

Be sure to check out the blog soon for more from the show! And thank you so much Dad for taking me and helping me with the cost of this event! 

See Ya!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Much Delayed Pickups from COMC!

Hey guys, Drew back here! I haven't had a whole lot coming in over the past few weeks, but I did get this package in a while back that I haven't gotten around to showing off to you all just yet. I ordered some cards off of Check Out My Collectibles after selling a few cards I'd been wanting to move, all of which going towards my new Player Collections box I've been building while I've been away from the blogosphere. Take a look at what I was able to add this go-round:


When I first made my list of players I wanted to collect from this point on, I made sure to look young in some cases. Obviously I love a lot of the legends of the game, and a majority of my list consists of those players, but I was also sure to pick a few new favorites such as Mike Trout, Andrew McCutchen, and Bryce Harper. Cutch has been a favorite of mine for a few seasons now while I've been warming up to Trout and Harper along the way. The Home Run Derby I attended last summer definitely made me a bigger Harper fan, because I originally labeled him as cocky and arrogant (kind of like Puig). I love the intensity each of these 3 players bring to the table; they're always willing to go the extra mile and that has allowed them to be as successful as they have been. Also, while Robinson Cano left New York, I still decided to collect his cards because I've been a fan of his from the very beginning of his career and I can't let the business part in baseball get in the way of me rooting for one of my favorite players ever. I don't like seeing him in a Mariners uniform but he is still a favorite of mine, without a doubt!


The Knicks suck. I've been so incredibly disappointed with them this season, as I came into the 2013-14 season with high expectations coming off of a very good previous season. Now, I can't even bring myself to watch them, and I think a lot of smart business moves need to be made before I can really take interest in them again. However, I don't see James Dolan making any of those smart moves, so until he's out of the franchise, I don't know if I can get my expectations up again. Amar'e Stoudemire, despite all of his injuries, is still my current favorite Knick, although Carmelo is carrying most of the load. I feel bad for his poor health even though he's making a boatload of money because I see how much he cares about being a part of the team and wanting to contribute. I picked up this relic of his for a few dollars just for the heck of it. It's out of 2012-13 Timeless Treasures and is numbered 76 of 99. 


Tyson Chandler is another favorite of mine on the Knicks during this dark period. I love the way he carries the team on defense and he does a great job in his role. Unfortunately he doesn't have much help, as the defense is basically helpless outside of his performance, so with his frequent injuries it leads to many more problems. I picked up this gorgeous dual patch autograph of Chandler's from 2012-13 Panini National Treasures numbered only to 10 for a pretty fair (while expensive) price, but it's absolutely gorgeous and I'm glad to add it to my collection, despite how pathetic the Knicks have played this season.


Finally, going back to my Cano tangent, here's a really sweet 2011 Topps Triple Threads relic numbered only to 9 featuring Robby along with Hall of Famer's Joe Morgan and Roberto Alomar! The relics spell out Second Sackers, and while sort of cheesy, the card is still amazing to look at in person and it's really cool to see a personal favorite player of mine stacked up with the all time greats at his trade! I think Cano will ultimately go down as one of the best second basemen of all time (especially offensively, while he more than holds his own defensively as well), and quite possibly a Hall of Famer as well!

So that's all I have for now everyone, hopefully I'll be getting some stuff in soon leading up to perhaps the biggest event I've attended yet coming up next month! Be on the lookout for that, but until then, see ya!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Recent Yankees TTM Successes!

Hey guys, Drew back here! Well, it is absolutely disgusting up here in New York right. We're averaging about an inch of snow an hour at this rate, and this is already on top of the foot or so we had going into this storm. Although we're getting off from school quite a bit, I'm really getting sick of all this shoveling and I just want to be back on the baseball field. This year I share something in common with my all time favorite player Derek Jeter: this could potentially both be our final official seasons of baseball.

Yesterday, just about everyone on planet Earth was made aware that Derek Jeter will be retiring following the 2014 season. It was a bittersweet day for Yankee fans and baseball fans around the world, and I came very close to tears. I can only imagine how much of a wreck I'll be throughout the season as he'll be constantly honored and remembered everywhere he goes. I loved the farewell tour baseball gave Mariano Rivera last year, and while I know Jeter doesn't like being the center of attention he definitely deserves it. He may not be the best player in baseball history, but he's always been a class act and he's compiled quite the resume over the course of his career. He's always defied expectations and proved his haters wrong, and he's a proven leader and winner. I've never seen a player so devoted to their craft and it's been an honor being able to grow up watching him play.

With that, I just wanted to show off a few quick TTM's I got back from some current and retired Yankees alumni! Check them out:

David Robertson: 1/1 in 244 Days


New Yankee closer and a personal bullpen favorite of mine, David Robertson signed a card out of 2012 Topps Heritage for my collection! I've really grown to like Robby, and I had the pleasure of meeting him a few years ago when he came to a local card show! Although I do believe the Yankees need more of a backup plan for the closer role in case Robertson struggles, I do have faith that he'll do well in his role this upcoming season! He's been one of the best relievers in the business over the past couple seasons, so getting this back TTM was a thrill!

John Olerud: 2/2 in 243 Days


John Olerud wasn't known for his one year spent in New York, but I preferred to have him sign some cards in pinstripes rather than any other uniform. He only played 49 games for the Yankees but he certainly had plenty of phenomenal seasons for the Mariners and Mets throughout the mid to late 90's and early 2000's! Sports Illustrated named the Mets infield he was a part of the "Greatest Infield Ever" and while that's certainly up for debate he definitely made a big impact on the field, offensively and defensively. He was well known for wearing a batting helmet in the field, which stemmed from a brain aneurysm he suffered back in the early stages of his career. These two cards came out great signed and I'm really glad I can now add his autograph to my collection!

That's all I've got for now everyone! Stay safe and warm if you're up in the northeast! 

See Ya!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Very Belated Christmas Gifts!

Hey guys, Drew back here! Posts like these really make me feel pathetic. It's taken me over two months to show off some of what I got for Christmas. Oh well, check them out:


My dad treated me to a bunch of the cards at the local corner store that has sold me a few very nice cards in the past. I had eyed one of the cards they had there for a while, and sure enough Dad remembered it! But first, here's a nice Hunter Pence Bowman Chrome refractor autograph numbered out of 500! It's a gorgeous card and from what I remember, it was at a bargain price too! Pence is a solid player, and I remember having him on my fantasy team a few years ago.


Next was a Jorge Posada rookie card out of 1994 Bowman's Best! I have one of these, but can never have enough; the other sits in my Core Four rookie card display I have set up in my mancave. This is probably my favorite Posada card, so I'm glad I got to add another one to my collection. 


Here's a 1961 Topps Ron Fairly card, the only '61 Topps card I believe they had for sale. I've currently completed 52.5% of the 1961 set (including high #'s). I haven't focused on it at all lately, but I've been thinking about scrapping off the high numbers for the time being and just finishing the regular set. It would help me concentrate on it more, because knowing that a bunch of random cards are worth $30-40 at least has intimidated me. I love the set, and look forward to adding more to it in the future. 


Sticking with the vintage theme, here's a very nice 1968 Topps Bob Gibson! I've always been a fan of players who aren't afraid to leave their mark on the game, and Gibson was nothing short of scary throughout his career with the Cardinals. I love collecting Gibson cards; he's easily my favorite pitcher of yesteryear and I'm glad I didn't have this one yet!


We close with a few rookie cards of my all time favorite player, Derek Jeter! I needed both of these cards for my Jeter collection, and I think with these I now own close to/if not all of his regular issued rookies! First, here's the 1993 Bowman card, which is certainly one of the more underrated rookie cards of his. I've always slept on it and I'm glad Dad was able to wake me up and get it for me!


Easily the hardest card to scan of all time, here is the card I've had my eyes on for a few years now, the famous 1993 Upper Deck SP Jeter rookie! This is Jeter's most saught after rookie card, and even though I know of a few Jeter cards I like much more visually, this one strikes as gold just because of what it is! And finally, it is in my possession!

Thanks so much Dad for the awesome gifts! Merry Christmas to all of you! ;)

See Ya!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Beautiful 8x10 TTM Successes!

Hey guys, Drew back here! Over the past few months I've been sparsely adding to my collection, although I haven't put much money into the hobby. Luckily, the best thing about the Through the Mail hobby is that you invest early and your results tend to trickle in as a nice surprise later down the road. I sent to these two players during last year's season and figured I'd have to be patient if I wanted to get a success. Sure enough, both players caught up on their mail during the offseason and I ended up receiving two gorgeous signed 8x10's! Check them out:


Josh Hamilton was kind enough to sign this picture of him participating in the 2008 Home Run Derby for me! I've been a big Hamilton fan since that night, and I'll always remember sitting on my living room couch with my Dad in utter awe of his performance. So far Josh hasn't really panned out in LA, but he still has time to make up for it and I believe he's still capable of being a productive player for one of baseball's better offenses. I sent this picture to him during last Spring Training and received it back in December, and it was well worth the wait!


A week ago today I also got back this signed Clayton Kershaw 8x10! I had gotten both Kershaw and Hamilton on cards last year, but I felt like having a signed photo of the best pitcher in baseball was well worth the cost of postage! Rather than dig into all the statistics, I figure those of you who know Kershaw know how great of a pitcher he is, and he really does speak for himself! Now a 2 time Cy Young Award winner, the Dodgers signed him to the biggest deal of all time for a pitcher this past offseason. If anybody in baseball currently deserves the money they've been given, it's Kershaw, who's certainly carried an often inconsistent Dodgers rotation and given them opportunities to win in the postseason! I'm excited to watch him more as the years go on and it's crazy to think that he's just entering the prime years of his career. I love the personalization he gave me on the photo and I'm looking forward to putting it on display while he's on the road to Cooperstown. 

Who else got Kershaw or Hamilton back? Did they make it worth your wait? Let me know in the comments below! 

See Ya!

Monday, February 3, 2014

Checking out the Super Bowl Boulevard! Great Success!


Hey guys, Drew back here. I've been in the midst of a break from the hobby, with most of my time dedicated towards cleaning my desks up, sorting cards, and devoting time towards my girlfriend. However, once in a while I still like to do a thing or two involved with my favorite hobby, and I was shocked the other day when my Dad told me we were going to check out the Super Bowl Boulevard! We headed down to Manhattan on Friday for the day after I wrapped up all of my midterms, and we didn't realize that we were in for quite the treat!

In case you didn't know, the Super Bowl Boulevard was held throughout the past week between 34th Street and 47th Street, taking up Broadway and much more. While it was a huge event, most of the features were all crammed together, leaving a few other parts of the experience far away. It was a great day for the NFL to host such a large event, supplying fans with great opportunities for all ages, but it certainly had its glitches along the way. The spacing was the biggest problem, with so many people crammed together, some in line to get to see the Lombardi Trophy up close; some to slide on the large toboggan float; and others to get autographs from the players announced on the lineup. On Friday, we expected to see Redskins WR Pierre Garcon, Panthers LB Luke Kuechly, Colts WR Reggie Wayne, Eagles QB Nick Foles, and legendary Rams RB Marshall Faulk. All five of these stars were scheduled to sign outside at the Autograph stage at different times throughout the day, so originally we planned to keep going through the same line all day long.

However, there were rumors that it would be smart to see what was going on at some of the other local stores, many of which hosted players as well that may have went under the radar. Unfortunately in the Big Apple, nothing goes under the radar, but we did end up finding out about a signing at 3:00 at Macy's! When we got to Macy's, which is on 34th street and was considered at one of the ends of the Boulevard, we were pleased to see FOX Sports reporter Erin Andrews posing with fans. The cost to meet Andrews was $50 spent at the NFL Shop which was occupying the entire 4th floor of the building. It wasn't worth $50 to me to meet Andrews, but it was easily worth $50 to meet the 3:00 guest!


In order to meet the 3:00 guest, we had to hang around Macy's, because he was only to sign for the first 100 people in line and a crowd was already gathering. It was noon when we got there. So yes, we had to wait 3 hours to meet this player, but even for the very short amount of time with him, it was still easily worth the time and money! We bought a special edition mini helmet for this year's Super Bowl in hopes to get it signed at some point during the day, along with a rack pack of Panini Rookies & Stars and a commemorative Super Bowl card set. We were 9th in line to meet this legend, and we took our 3 hours in line to get to know the people around us who were also patiently waiting for the event to begin. Eventually he arrived, and I swear it felt like the President of the United States had just entered Macy's. Fans gathered around the sides hoping for a free autograph (which they didn't get much to my approval), and he was chock full of security surrounding him during the whole event.

Dad and I approached the man and shook his hand and told him how much of a pleasure it was to meet him, and he signed an 8x10 for us that contained the NFL Shop and Macy's logos. I wasn't crazy about the picture at first because of that reason but then I remembered I didn't want to meet him to make a profit, and the logos will remind me of the time I spent 3 hours at Macy's on a cold winter day with my Dad. I think if you add up all the time I've spent in my life in Macy's, it still wouldn't equal three hours! It wasn't an easy wait, but to come home knowing I met Emmitt Smith and got his autograph was enough to make my year!


Emmitt Smith has been regarded by many people as the greatest running back of all time, or at least in the conversation with Walter Payton and Barry Sanders! He owns the NFL record for most career rushing yards and rushing touchdowns, and was part of the Dallas Cowboys dynasty throughout the 1990's! I barely missed the boat on Emmitt's career, as he was just wrapping his career up with the Arizona Cardinals. I went back and watched a lot of highlights of his career after I met him and began to understand why he left such a large mark on the game.


Nothing about this photo really stands out other than it being of Emmitt Smith and featuring his autograph. The picture isn't incredible and the logos certainly get in the way, but it's still a Smith autograph and it comes with a story I think I'm going to love telling in the future! When it comes down to it, this is a hobby of mine after all, and although it can get expensive, moments like these will always be in my possession and I could never try to sell something that carries a personal value like this.

After we ordered our 8x10 print of our photo taken with Emmitt, we rushed out of Macy's to see if we could catch Marshall Faulk in time for his signing. We arrived on time for the signing, but the line was already way down the block and Faulk wasn't even there yet. We later found out he was 35 minutes late to the signing and only could stay until the signing was scheduled to be over, so he only signed for about 25 minutes. We knew a lot of stars were out in the city that we could've hunted down, but we were exhausted and starving from our wait at Macy's so we took one last look through the crowds and then headed over to TGI Friday's for dinner. We went home after a great meal, and although I didn't come home with a mountain of autographs, I got one great one that I didn't previously have and am now so proud to own!


While last night's game wasn't the best Super Bowl by any means, it was really cool to have my home state partially host the big game! Tickets for the game were far too expensive for me, but getting to see and hear some of the Super Bowl atmosphere throughout the city all day was an experience I'll never forget! 

Thank you so much Dad for taking me and spoiling me to death as always! I can't thank you enough for everything you've given and done for me! 

See Ya!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Contest Over at "The Dutch Card Guy"!

Hey guys, Drew back here! The title speaks for itself, but I'll once again state here that one of today's best in our blogosphere is currently running a pretty great contest! From printing plates to relics and autographs galore, and even a beautiful Clayton Kershaw autographed rookie card; please go over to the Dutch Card Guy's blog and give yourself a chance to win if you haven't already!

While I'm here, I want to congratulate Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, and especially "The Big Hurt", Frank Thomas on their inductions into Cooperstown this year! I had the honor of meeting Thomas this past summer and after listening to him speak about his passion for the game and getting to shake his hand, I became a permanent fan of his. I'm really glad to see him get his moment in the glory!

See Ya!

Friday, January 3, 2014

A Merry Feller Christmas!

Hey guys, Drew back here! First and foremost, I hope you all had a wonderful holiday! I was spoiled once again and had a great time with my family, and I hope you can all say the same. As always, William and I got each other presents for Christmas, and this year's was certainly a special one. Check it out:


William sent me this gorgeous JSA certified Bob Feller signed baseball, inscribed with his Hall of Fame year to boot! Feller was a hero on and off the field, and although this certainly isn't my first Feller autograph, it's now definitely one of my favorites. He and I are both big fans of Feller, especially after he had been so giving to both of us with through the mail requests. After looking at a lot of statistics and reading stories about his fantastic life, we came to a conclusion that he was one of the most underappreciated pitchers in the game's history! I'm really glad I was able to add him to my collection, and it being from William just makes it all the more special.

Thank you so much for the great gift William! Please, if you guys haven't given his blog, do yourself a favor and click this link. I'll be back here with more recent Christmas additions and TTM's shortly, but for now, See Ya!