Monday, May 31, 2010

Sports Autograph Collecting is in our DNA

My boys have really enjoyed collecting baseball cards in the last two years. It's been fun for us to collect team sets, add them to a binder and talk about the teams and the players. We haven't done much on the autograph side of things.

I have a lot of autographs and they are displayed in one area of the house. We see them and talk about them when I get new ones, but I've never taken them to get one. I just wasn't sure if they would be into it yet.

Then it happened. I'm not a scientist, but I'm pretty sure somewhere in that double-helix there is an autograph collecting gene.

Saturday night at the Columbus Clippers game, all kids received a free baseball. (The Clippers are the local minor league baseball team for us.) Between one inning, there was a lot of commotion behind our lawn seats and the boys ran over to see who it was.

At first I thought they'd come back with a free foam finger or free game tickets. Then I saw kids running around with pens and their baseballs. Maybe a local legend was in town?

They came back 2 minutes later with autographs on their baseballs - it was from the Clippers Mascot: Lou Seal.

I guess it's a start.

Friday, May 28, 2010

$500 Panini Autograph Session at Football HOF

Panini is partnering with Mounted Memories and the Pro Football Hall of Fame for a $500 autograph session. Whoa!

$500 is a bit much if you ask me. In the session you get an autograph of every member of the 2010 Hall of Fame class which includes: Jerry Rice, Emmitt Smith, John Randle, Floyd Little, Dick LeBeau, Rickey Jackson and Russ Grimm.

Panini is also offering individual autograph tickets for Jerry Rice and Emmitt Smith. Emmitt's prices are the most expensive I've seen: $299 for a full size helmet and $189 for an inscription. This is nuts. $189 for Emmitt to write "HOF 2010."

I'm a big Cowboys fan and have all the other HOFers (sans Landry), but I won't be going for this one.

Click here for details.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Ozzie Being Ozzie? Great Autograph to Cleveland Fan

This is one great inscription!

Ozzie Guillen signed a baseball for a Cleveland fan and added his own special inscription:
"Bye Bye Lebron!! LOL"
"When are you going to win anything in sports. Please."

Thanks to Deadspin for the scoop.

Jose Canseco Became a Punch Line 17 Years Ago

And he hasn't stopped since.

On this date, in 1993, Jose Canseco had a fly ball hit his head and bounce over the wall for a home run.

Carlos Martinez only hit 5 home runs that season and thanks to Jose he finished the year tied for his career high.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Win Sports Memorabilia From MSG

MSG has a weekly sports memorabilia give-away. Tuesday night you can win an autograph from Reggie Jackson.

By signing up and making a weekly pick in the fantasy line-up, you can win some of the memorabilia.

On Tuesday's MSG show, "The Lineup," they are choosing NYC all-time manager. Pretty tough choice: Joe McCarthy, Joe Torre, Davey Johnson and Casey Stengel. I'd consider voting for John McGraw. The list can be viewed here.

Last week they picked Mariano Rivera and Christy Mathewson as New York's all-time pitchers. What? No Tom Seaver!?

Monday, May 24, 2010

Your iPad is Not Welcome at ARod's Park

I remember going to "Pac Bell Park" in San Francisco just after it opened and thought it was amazingly cool how you could download the line up and scorecard into your Palm Pilot. Yes, it was that long ago that Pac Bell opened when Palm was still relevant in the mobile industry.

It was great though, you could dock your Palm Pilot to a kiosk and get everything you needed.

Move forward about 10 years and iPad is the latest mobile gadget. Wouldn't it be great to walk into Yankee Stadium, download a scorecard from the stadium wifi, get the latest news, injury updates, starting pitching analysis and see highlights of other games all from your iPad and all from your seat inside the park.

Unfortunately, you can't even walk into the new house that ARod built with an iPad. Mashable reported Sunday night that iPads are now banned at Yankee Stadium. You can get on a plane without removing an iPad from your bag, but you can't watch a ball game in the Bronx with it.

I think baseball is missing a great opportunity to get the fans more involved with a device on their lap instead of a wiener race on the field.

My First Game Used Memorabilia

While cleaning out some old boxes this weekend I found this gem - My First Game Used Memorabilia.

This is the baseball I saved from my 1985 Little League Championship game. I was the catcher when Rob Cuerton struck out the Ben Hayes for the final out of the game. I remember our pitcher, the hitter and saving the ball and holding on to while we jumped up and down on the pitcher's mound.

What a good time. It looks a little odd next to some of my HOF autograph baseballs, but the memories of getting it are a little better.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Sports Cards Stores Need Foursquare

Foursquare is an awesome mobile application that allows you to notify your friends of where you are, what you are doing, and awards badges, titles and points on the way. Your friends/followers can get notified of your doings via Twitter.

I think it would be a great social gathering tool for card stores. If I knew when my friends were going to the card stores to open some packs or video a box break, I'd head over there to hang out, see what they get and join in on the fun. The only problem today - I can't find any card stores on it!

Millions of users are signing up to Foursquare every month. Our hobby sports cards stores need to be on Foursquare.

Businesses use Foursquare to create incentives for returning customers. It would be great to launch incentives for % off packs and boxes. Becoming the "mayor" of a location is a huge badge and a sports card store could offer the mayor a framed photo in the store, 1/2 price for a box, special discounts, etc. Some more business ideas are here.

Foursquare isn't the final solution to bring more collectors in the store, but it should be part of a campaign to bring customers back.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Joe Torre Will Manage the Mets in 2011

In another return to New York, Joe Torre will manage the Mets in 2011.

It has to happen. To me, it makes a lot of sense. Looking at the Dodgers:
- Torre's contract is up after this season.
- The Dodgers payroll is now below the Giants - 11th in MLB.
- The McCourt family struggles will keep payroll low next year.
- With payroll down, why would the McCourt family pay top dollar for Torre? They won't.

Looking at the Mets:
- Jerry Manuel is in his last year (maybe weeks) as manager.
- The team doesn't have any life.
- The franchise has the biggest drop of ticket sales in the majors.
- Payroll is still in the Top 5.

Question: How can you financially keep the team in the top 5 of payroll?
Answer: Sell more seats.
Question: How can you fill more seats?
Answer: Win games, get talent to produce and generate some excitement.

This is done by hiring Joe Torre to be the Manager of the New York Mets in 2011.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Ike Davis for Father's Day

This Father's Day I'd like my paper, laptop, fresh Dunkin Donuts coffee and some Ike Davis memorabilia . . . please.

Ike Davis Mets items are gaining in popularity with every dugout foul ball catch he makes. The smooth hitting Mets first baseman's most popular cards (according to GMA) include:
- 2008 Bowman Chrome
- 2008 Bowman Sterling
- 2010 Finest Redemption #2
- 2008 Donruss Elite Autograph (#'d to 995)

Steiner Sports is also selling some very cool autographed baseball with unique inscriptions that include "Happy Father's Day" and "Mazel Tov!" I tempted to go for the "Mazel Tov" inscription only because I don't have an autograph baseball with anything similar to that.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Eric Lindros - From the Next Great One to Just Another One

Wasn't he supposed to be the next Wayne Gretzky?
Wasn't Eric Lindros going to be the mayor of Philadelphia?

Is Eric Lindros a Hall of Fame player? Did hold-outs in Quebec and Philly ruin his career?

I recently found this card in my collection. I'm not a hockey collector, for some reason I held on to this '91-'92 Upper Deck card.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Free Orioles Ticket For Going to the National

I've been critical of the National Sports Collectors Convention "Sneak Peek" Wednesday night show on this blog, the Facebook group page and a few other locations.

Last year the "sneak peek" show had a limited number of dealers, sub-par autograph guests, and limited hours for the full admission and parking prices.

This year seems to be different. The National announced that if you buy a ticket to the Aug. 4, show date, you'll get a free general admission ticket to see the Orioles at Camden Yards.

Lenny Dysktra Selling Himself on Craigslist

Times are a little rough in the Dykstra house. His issues with wealth management, car washes and the IRS are well documented. Maybe Lenny's entry into Craig's List is an attempt to pay back some debts?

For $3,200 you can get autographed magazines, a frame and a call from the former Mets and Phillies star.

Here's the ad on Craigslist.

Thanks Deadspin for the heads-up.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Topps Returns to the National Sports Collectors Convention

Topps will be at the 2010 National Sports Collectors Convention in Baltimore, MD.

Confirmed via - they will be at the National this year.

Their quote: "@JamesRyanJ @VOTC Yes, we'll be at the National this year. I will be there personally. Feel free to come introduce yourself."

Monday, May 10, 2010

Will Topps Attend the 2010 National?

I can't remember the last time Topps attended the National Sports Collectors Convention, but could they make a return this year?

Considering their leadership changes and customer outreach via social media, it seems now would be the perfect time to make a big splash at the 2010 National in Baltimore, MD.

I posted the discussion on the Facebook National group page.

Help Flood Victims - Buy Vince Young's Autograph

Vince Young's autograph can help Tennessee flood victims.

Donate $100 and you'll receive an autographed Pro Bowl photo of Vince Young and a Flood ‘10 Reebuild t-shirt. According to the Vincent Young foundation, "Aall proceeds will benefit flood victims and rebuilding efforts."

Click here to access the foundation's website and get your Vince Young autograph.

Friday, May 7, 2010

James Hammond or Hulk Hogan Leg Drop

James Hammond's '52 Bowman Large is kicking the crap out of the Wisconsin Badger.

Seriously, that is one high leg kick. And why does a Wisconsin full-back have a picture of him punting?

Or maybe he's doing the Hulk Hogan Leg Drop?

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Billy Martin - The "Perky" Yankee

How would you describe Billy Martin? Aggressive? Competitor? Hot-tempered? Winner?

This Topps 1962 card describes Billy Martin as "perky." In the fourth line on the back of the card Topps writes, " . . . the perky second baseman set a World Series record . . ."

I don't know about you, but when I think "perky" I'm not thinking of Billy Martin!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Grrrr Zollie Toth

Zollie Toth is mad as hell and he isn't going to take it anymore!

This card is great. The picture of Zollie Toth gritting his teeth and carrying the football is awesome. This is Zollie Toth's 1952 Bowman Large - Dallas Texans card.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Starting to Collect a New Team Set

I can't decided if I'm looking forward to the new challenge or wondering what I'm getting myself into. Starting to collect a new team set is exciting and fun, but can be extremely frustrating at the same time.

I recently finished my '52 Bowman Small Dallas Texans team set. I really enjoyed the look of the cards, so I've decided to do the 52 Bowman Large version of the Texans.

The Bowman Large cards are approximately the same width of a regular card, but they almost .25" taller. I had to get some taller sleeves for the binder - Chris Olds from Beckett recommended - good site and I picked up some bigger pages to store these '52 Bowman Large cards.

I picked up this card of Barney Poole at the CSA Show in March.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Best HR Catch By a Fan with a Camera

I've only caught one foul ball and that was in batting practice - I don't think it should count for much.

The closest I came to a foul ball catch during a game was at Riverfront Stadium for a Mets/Reds game. I won the argument over my younger brother that I should have the seat on the end of the row so I can move to catch a foul ball hit our way. My brother is 4 years younger than me and was in 5th grade at the time. I felt pretty certain he wouldn't be able to catch it.

After five innings my brother's complaining finally won my parents over and I had to switch seats with him. Instead of sitting in seat #1 at the end of the row, I was in seat #4.

Sure enough, in the 6th inning, Mets catcher Mackey Sasser hit a foul ball our direction and I was trapped. I couldn't maneuver anywhere to get a better shot at it. And of course it headed exactly where I was sitting.

What happened next haunts me to this day.

I tracked the ball from Sasser's bat all the way to seat #1. Yes, I followed it to the seat and NOT my brother's glove. The ball ricocheted off my old seat and landed a few rows away from where I was sitting one inning earlier.

Where was my brother and his glove? The glove was on his head for protection in seat #3 shared by my mother! I didn't talk to anyone the rest of the game. I couldn't tell you who won and to this day that is the only ticket stub that I ever threw away.

Now I see this YouTube video of a guy catching Andrew McCuthen's home run at Dodger Stadium while video recording it. It's very cool!

Every Team Needs a Jose Oquendo

Jose Oquendo was one of my favorite players - it didn't matter what team he played for. This is his 1984 Topps - his 2nd year with the Mets.

After playing in 120 games with NY in '83, Jose's games dropped to 81 games in 1984.

He became a legend (and inspiration to utility players everywhere) once he landed in St. Louis. Whitey Herzog played him everywhere! In 1986 he played 5 different positions. In 1987 he played every position except catcher - he even pitched in one game, but gave up 3 earned runs. In 1988 he finally played every position!

His fielding stats on baseball reference are awesome. I kept thinking of how valuable a Jose Oquendo player is during the Mets 20 inning game this year.