Sunday, February 13, 2011

Sunday fun: personal collection: autographs

I sort of promised something like this more than once recently, so here it is:  a look at some of my favorite autographed cards from my personal collection.  I say some because considering how scattered a lot of my collection is, it's likely I've missed something.  The good news is that my plan is to eventually get everything moved to one location (Photobucket, or more likely, Picasa Albums) and then keep it updated.  So without further ado, some of my favorite autographs:
Brooks Robinson 1996 Big League Chew Alumni Series:  as possibly some of you did, I jumped all over this promotion a while back and grabbed a dirt-cheap Brooks auto from Big League Chew.  It's a totally unlicensed-style, bland kind of card, but it's got his signature on it and that's all that I care.

Brooks Robinson 2002 Sweet Spot Classics Classic Signatures:  I can't remember how I acquired this one, but it's a fine example of the popular Sweet Spot signatures set.  Brooks really does have a great autograph, and was a cool guy when I met him at a show some years back.

Carlos Beltran 2000 Fleer Fresh Ink:  This is actually one of two Beltran autos I pulled from boxes, the other being a '99 or 2000 Topps, which I no longer have.  Carlos had a pretty good autograph at that point, and I'm happy he turned into the star that he did, making this pull even more valuable.

Cliff Lee 2005 Prime Patches Major League Materials:  I think I got this in a trade last year or in 2009--in any event, definitely before the last couple instances of "Where will Cliff Lee pitch?"  Not the greatest signature, but I kind of like this card anyway.  I hope Cliff gets his World Series title eventually, as long as it's not with the Yankees.

Curt Schilling 1996 Leaf Signature Series Bronze:  Now here's a card I've had for a while.  Not since '96, when it came out, but before 2000 for sure.  Hopefully Schilling stops making an ass of himself speaking publicly about stuff other than baseball now that his career's over, but as a player he's definitely a guy I respected.  I don't feel funny seeing him in a Philly uniform since he was with them so long when I was growing up.

Edgar Martinez 2001 Studio Private Signings:  I blew this one up to make sure to scale it to the rest of the cards, since some of you may remember these were actually 5x7s.  You'll see more of these in a bit, but alphabetically (by first name, anyway) this one's first.  Edgar was an excellent DH for the Mariners that I think has been shafted by not being in the Hall of Fame.  He's one of the minuscule number of DHs that was an elite hitter that justified getting in at the "position."  HOF or not, I'm proud having his signature on a card as beautiful as this, and I'll say more about the set as we look at more of these.

Frank Robinson 1999 SP Signature Edition:  This is another card where I can't remember how I acquired it, but I'm very glad I did.  Frank still gets some honorable mentions every now and then, but I'd still argue he's a very under appreciated player (racism?  baseball ignorance?  WTF?).  Anyway, this is a great design with an excellent autograph by another Hall of Famer.

Joe Mauer 2002 Bowman's Best auto RC:  One of my favorite PC cards that I didn't pull myself, I'm as proud of this one for the way I acquired it as I am of its skyrocketing value.  A few years back (maybe 2003 or 2004) I pulled a few pretty good cards, among them a 2003 or so Topps Dontrelle Willis autograph and I think a Topps Archives or Fan Favorites Keith Hernandez autograph (both of which had good value at the time).  Again, I can't remember the details, but I recall trading one of those for the Mauer and cash (yes, you read that right), something like $20 or $30, because the Mauer went for around $60 or less at that point.  Not long after that the Mauer went up a bit, making me feel pretty happy about the trade.  Still, considering what the kid's done the last few years, he's given me good reason to really pat myself on the back for this one, my Milt Pappas for Frank Robinson trade, if you will.  This one's never leaving my PC, I promise you that.

Ken Griffey Jr. 1999 SP Signature Edition:  Continuing the trend of cards I'd never trade in a million years, this is one of my favorites that I DID pull myself, if you can believe it.  Back when these came out in 1999, I grabbed a pack of them on my way out of a local card show (the kind in a small room at an Elks Lodge, to give you an idea).  I can even tell you with 100% certainty that they went for $12.50 a pop.  I walked out to my card and ripped the pack open, and I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw this thing.  I love everything about it--the design, the excellent signature, the picture perfect, signature Griffey pose.  So of course I ran back in, plopped down another $12.50 and pulled a Jim Parque autograph.  Good thing I got the Griffey first....  Anyway, this is a major highlight of my collectiom, despite the fact that Beckett tells me it's gone down in value in the last 5 or 10 years (nice job, pricing experts).

Kerry Wood 2001 Studio Private Signings:  I do remember where I got this one, at least--at a LCS not too far from where I live now.  I had a gift card there, and oddly enough, instead of grabbing a handful of packs, I went with this Wood auto after spying it in the showcase.  I think I already had one or two others in the set, but it seemed like a good pickup at the time, and I'm still happy with it despite Wood king of fizzling out.  This really is an outstanding set, the kind of idea that gets kicked to the curb when you're at the mercy of the Topps (home of the ManuCrap) monopoly.  Studio was an excellent idea--very sharp cards featuring portraits of players in front of their team logos, and when they went the oversized route, the set really hit its stride.  I still have a bunch of the 8x10s they did back in '97 and '98 as they're perfect for autographs (when they don't come already autographed, like these).  Seriously, what collector wouldn't want one of these (framed or not) of their favorite player hanging on their wall?

Lance Berkman 2001 Studio Private Signings:  I think I got a pretty good deal on this, because Berkman was already pretty much an established star at that point.  A pretty nice autograph from a great set, and what more can I say?

Lou Brock 2000 Upper Deck Legends Legendary Signatures:  I think I got this at one of the larger shows I sometimes attend, and the ridiculously cheap price I got it for confirms for me that Brock is another under appreciated HOFer, probably because he wasn't a big slugger.  Oh well, he'll just have to settle for being the one-time career stolen base king with 3000 hits and two World Series rings (out of three trips).  Memo to the Cubs:  if you're thinking of trading someone who's less than 25 years old, DON'T.  Anyway, excellent, very readable signature from another HOFer.

Magglio Ordonez 2001 Studio Private Signings:  Here's an autograph I got of a current Tiger before he actually made his way to the team--I just thought Maggs was worth having when I grabbed this a few years ago.  Have I mentioned this is a very sharp set?

Mariano Rivera 1998 Donruss Signature Series:  Take a long look, Yankees fans, because you'll rarely see one show up in this space.  Mo is one of the game's greatest closers ever, though, and I was smart enough to get this back around 2000 in recognition of that.  I have to say, that is a ridiculously well-done signature, and other athletes should be taking notes.

Miguel Cabrera 2004 Upper Deck Signature Stars:  Keeping all possible permutations going here, this is an autograph of a current Tiger I got before he joined the team, but in this case, one I pulled myself.  I never seriously thought of trading or selling it, but I'm still glad I held onto it.  This came from one of my more enjoyable eBay endeavors:  I found a guy selling something like 100-150 or so loose packs from about 5-10 different products, mostly mid-2000s Fleer variants (there WERE a lot) and Upper Deck.  I didn't end up paying a ton, maybe $40 or $60 for everything, and I pulled this guy, a Bronson Arroyo autograph and a Curt Schilling jersey, I believe.  Plus I put together or came close to a bunch of sets, since Fleer had the sanity to make some of them less than 100 cards (did you hear that, Topps?).  It was a lot of fun, but I've rarely seen similar auctions since, sadly.

Miguel Tejada 1998 Donruss Signature Series:  Yes, Miguel's star isn't shining nearly as bright these days, but I was a fan of his when he was playing on some of those early A's teams.  I don't have a lot to say about this one, but I make no apologies for liking it and keeping it in my PC.

Mike Mussina 2000 Fleer Autographics:  2001 Fleer Platinum RC Edition Rack Packs were pretty enjoyable for me.  You'll see a better reason later, but for now I'll say that I really enjoyed the overall quality of the autographs (one per rack pack) that I pulled from them, especially considering the price at the time.  One that I pulled was this Moose, which I was thrilled by at the time since he was one of my favorite pitchers (until he made his way to the Yanks).  I'm still happy to have it, and this is another example of an outstanding athlete signature, the kind you don't see too often these days.

Tony Gwynn 2000 SPx Signatures:  I recall grabbing this at a card show for less than $20, and I'm still happy with that deal.  Gwynn is one of my favorite all-time players, period, plus he owns an excellent signature which became part of one of my favorite all-time sets (I really miss 2000 SPx).  Tony is a guy I sort of collect on the side, but this is currently my only certified autograph of him, so that's something I need to work on.

Troy Glaus 2001 Studio Private Signings:  Last one of these for now, I promise!  I think this is one of the earlier ones I grabbed since Troy never became an enormous start that I really collected.  Still, I don't mind having more of these in the old PC.

Warren Spahn 2002 Donruss Elite Series Legends:  When I get around to tagging everything on Picasa, I'm going to make a tag for "Scan doesn't do it justice."  This is one of Donruss' shiny Elite cards, and really is more of a Refractory red than whatever color you see above.  Anyway, I grabbed it at a large card show a few years back and haven't regretted it since--Spahn was simply one of the greatest ever and this is a great auto to have of the HOFer (whom, you may remember, I had autograph an official MLB when I met him some years back).

Willie Mays 2001 Fleer Platinum Rack Pack 1998 SITN:  Finishing with a bang for sure, here's another 2001 Fleer Platinum Rack Pack auto I pulled after they came out (much better than the Corey Patterson gold auto I also got).  I'd have to say this is the best player for whom I have a certified autograph in my collection.  I'm not in love with the card design (nothing against the SI cover, but overall the card looks fairly boring) but I'm thrilled to have an autograph of a Top-10 HOFer.

Stay tuned for more looks at my personal collection, likely including RCs and relics.  For now, I hope you all enjoyed a look at these autographs, and that you're at least a little jealous (but not enough to break into my house).


  1. I'm a little jealous, especially of the Mays. I do like the 1999 SP's.