Gavin of 100-plus follower blog Baseball Card Breakdown. He participated in my giveaway/contest earlier this year, and while I hoped that would lead to more trading, I certainly didn't require anything in return--especially not something as nice as what he sent my way out of the blue:
Earl Weaver 2004 Topps Retired Signature auto
Whoa! I think I made a comment or two about this Weaver during Gavin's sorta recent contests where various autos like this one were the prizes. Still, I never expected to acquire it so soon, if at all, because I hadn't worked out any actual trade with Gavin. Chalk this one up to generosity, I suppose. The good news is that it led to a formal deal this time, and once we both ship our cards out I'll show another sweet Baseball Card Breakdown pickup that's as exciting as this one.
Speaking of the Weaver, this is my first autograph of the esteemed (if diminutive) Hall of Fame manager. Earl was of an old-school class of skippers that was a favorite of players and fans alike due to his strategic acumen, winning ways, and most of all, his legendary temper. This famous video shows that last trait in spades (but includes very NSFW language!):
Weaver managed the Orioles--his only MLB team--for 17 total seasons (1968-82 and 1985-86) and his teams won more 1480 games, four pennants (three in a row, '69-'71, plus '79) and the 1970 World Series. The Veterans' Committee voted him into the Hall in 1996, and there he'll forever be remembered for success...and swearing!
I'm a big fan of Topps' Chrome-ified retired/favorites sets of the 2000s, and 2004 features an especially nice design thanks to its black border surrounding the 2004 flagship look. This is a great shot of Weaver, and I love that Topps designed a nice clear area for an excellent on-card signature. Earl obliged collectors with a beautiful John Hancock for this encased work of art.
Thanks a ton for a fun and exciting surprise, Gavin! I look forward to completing our pending trade (and showing off my return as well). If anybody needed evidence that the guy is a thoughtful and generous trader, look no further than this post. And speaking of his collecting habits, don't forget to head on over to Baseball Card Breakdown if you're not already following!