Friday, April 6, 2018

A Lesson in Autograph Collecting

After winning the 2004 Cy Young Award as the best pitcher in the American League, Johan Santana was viewed by Twins fans as a lock to get into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. When he won again in 2006 people thought him destined to be an all-time great like Tom Seaver or Steve Carlton.

When Justin Morneau won the 2006 A.L. MVP he was viewed as the left handed hitting Harmon Killebrew. Morneau like Santana was on the path to the Hall of Fame. So too was Torii Hunter and maybe Joe Nathan. Joe Mauer meanwhile was going to challenge Johnny Bench as the greatest catcher in baseball history.

Those players also were the obsession of many an autograph collector. To get Santana, Morneau, Hunter, or Mauer’s autograph at Twinsfest you lined up outside the Metrodome a minimum of six hours before the doors opened (many camp out overnight to be first in line). Once inside you had to run for your life to get to player’s line where you sometimes had to wait another 2-3 more hours for the player to start signing, and even then you were not guaranteed his autograph. Of course everyone thought it would be worth it.

Santana, Morneau, Hunter, and Nathan have seen their careers come to an end. When National Hall of Fame voters casted their ballots in regards to Johan Santana candidacy, he got 10 votes (roughly 330 votes were needed). He will not make the Baseball Hall of Fame. Neither will Morneau, Hunter, or Nathan while Joe Mauer has a decent shot at baseball’s highest honor, but Johnny Bench is still viewed as the greatest catcher of all-time.

Yes, Santana, Morneau, Hunter, Nathan, Eddie Guardado, Michael Cuddyer, Brad Radke, and maybe a couple other members of the those 2000’s Twins teams will rightly elected to the Twins Hall of Fame, but they were not great long enough to be one of best in baseball history.

Maybe if Johan Santana never gets traded to the Mets and then injured his shoulder things might have been different. Same with Justin Morneau – if he does not get that concussion in 2010, he goes on to legendary status. Those things happened and the careers of two great players where impacted for the worse.

So what about all those autographs’ people worked so hard for, are they worth anything? Not as much as people thought they would be. It is one reason why I focus on getting an autograph from every player on the Twins not just certain ones. I do not value any of my autograph collection for its dollar worth. I valued it for the memories it provides. This allows me to enjoy my collection and rest my back and neck as I do not have to stand in line 6 hours before a signing event even starts.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Twinsfest 2018

Last Sunday I made my annual trek down to Target Field for Twinsfest 2018. My father came with me and we spent all our time trying to get autographs. I ended up getting signed cards from 34 players and one coach. I now have signed cards from 615 current and former Twins, and since I got several top minor prospects this year, the number of signed cards of current and former could go up.

Here are my successes (All were on cards unless noted):

Zach Duke
Ryan Pressly
Alan Busenitz
LaMonte Wade
Alex Kirilloff
Lewis Thorpe
Tyler Jay
Travis Blankenhorn
Max Kepler
Mitch Garver
Fernando Romero
Torii Hunter
Joe Nathan
LaTroy Hawkins
John Curtiss
Tyler Duffey
Aaron Slegers
Darin Mastroianni
Fernando Rodney
Kyle Gibson
Trevor Hildenberger
Taylor Rogers
Dietrich Enns
J. T. Chargois
Brent Rooker
Jose Berrios
Adalberto Mejia
Stephen Gonsalves
Royce Lewis
Jorge Polanco
Robbie Grossman
Trevor May
Michael Pineda
Garvin Alston – new pitching coach
Roy Smalley – photo

Gonsalves, Jay, and Romero will probably be called up to the Twins sometimes this year while Rooker should rise through the system pretty fast. Lewis is suppose to be a future superstar, and he was quite popular with the fan.s

I thought it was great that I could get new Twins Rodney, Duke, and Pineda. Rodney and Duke might not be with the Twins in 2019.

I was also happy to have gotten Polanco, Berrios, and Kepler. I was not going to get into the Hunter, Nathan, and Hawkins line as it was $30 (most stations were $10-$20), but there was literally no waiting in line so I decided to go for it.

Phil Hughes, Kenny Vargas, and newest Twins Addison Reed did not make it. Hughes and Vargas cancelled out for various reasons which was a bummer as I wanted to get cards signed by them.

On the whole though it was a great experience and hopefully I will be able to make Twinsfest 2019.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Longest Wait for a Return Yet

R. A. Dickey just signed and returned a baseball card I sent to him through mail (TTM). I sent the card eight and half years ago. More precisely it was 3036 days ago. 

Why the long wait? Who knows, but I have heard stories of people getting cards back ten even fifteen years after sending them. My longest wait till now had been five years (Mark Salas). I have had multiple cards come back after four years. One cannot know the reason why it took so long. Maybe the card got lost and then found. Maybe the player just decided now he would sign a bunch of cards he had been saving up. No one besides the player can tell us for sure what happened. The lesson to be learn here is never give up on a card you sent because it just might come back when you least expect it.

I know I am appreciative of all my returns no matter how long they take. Thank you Mr. Dickey for taking the time to sign and return my card! 

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Minnesota Twins TTM Update for the Second Half of 2017

The second half of 2017 went well, and I now have signed cards from 608 different current and former Minnesota Twins. Hopefully more successes will arrive in November and December but things tend to get slower around the holidays.

Below are my successes via TTM (through the mail) the last four months or so:

Sam Fuld
Buddy Boshers
Mike Maksudian
Neal Cotts
Eduardo Escobar
Trevor Hildenberger – signed his name this time instead of HDog 
Pat Bourque
Dillon Gee
Chris Heston
Tom Edens
Tommy Watkins – sent a signed card of his own
Ryan Pressly
Nick Tepesch
Gary Rath 
Steve Carlton – $35 
Benj Sampson – In a pretty cool first I got a thank you note from his child (I keep all the notes I get). Benj also included an extra signed card of his own.
LaTroy Hawkins – sent back a different card than I had sent

Twins minor leaguers I've gotten the last four months or so:

Mitch Garver – signed before his promotion to the Twins
Aaron Slegers – signed before his promotion to the Twins
Zack Granite – signed before his promotion to the Twins
Ben Rortvedt
Jose Miranda
Brent Rooker
Wander Javier
Royce Lewis
Jake Reed
Andrew Bechtold
Brusadar Graterol
Zack Littell
Dietrich Enns
Tyler Watson – included an extra card of his own
Blayne Enlow
Fernando Romero – choose to return to my card unsigned

A list of in-person signing I went to:

Chris Gimenez at Three Stooges Bar & Grill 
Miguel Sano at T-Mobile 
Eddie Rosario at Cub Foods
Byron Buxton at Tria Orthopedics 

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Minnesota Twins TTM Update for Mid-2017

Halfway through 2017 and I now have signed cards from 592 different Twins players. I am working more on the minor leaguers in hopes that it will pay dividends in the years to come.

There have been only two free in-person signings so far this year. Both were on the same day at Cub Foods stores that were luckily only 10 minutes apart. I got two signed cards from Robbie Grossman and two more signed cards from Hector Santiago.

Below are my successes via TTM (through the mail):   

Kelvin Torve
Mike Durant
Al Newman
Geoff Zahn
Adalberto Mejia
Justin Haley
Chris Gimenez
Hector Santiago
Pat Neshek
Drew Rucinski
ByungHo Park
Bob Tewsbuy (2655 days or over 7 years 3 months which is my longest wait for a return)
Bob Tewsbury (1590 days - I had thought the first one had not gotten through)
Logan Schaeffer
Andy MacPhail
Ehire Adrianza

Minor leaguers I have gotten so far this year:

Daniel Palka
Travis Blankenhorn
Engelb Vielma
Tyler Wells – added a card of his own
Aaron Whitefield
Jermaine Palacios
Jaylin Davis

Trevor Hilgenberger – he was promoted to the Twins after he signed my cards H Dog which does makes his autograph unique

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Twinsfest 2017

I made the decision to take it a bit easier at this year’s Twinsfest which turned out to be a good thing for me. Below are the players and coaches who signed baseball cards for me:

Buddy Boshers
Jason Castro
Taylor Rogers
Jeff Pickler
Paul Molitor
Tom Kelly
Miguel Sano – 2 cards
Neil Allen
Gene Glynn 

Not as long as a list as in past years, but still productive. I needed Boshers and Castro for my collection giving me signed cards from 575 different Twins players. It was also good to get signed cards from Molitor and Sano. We will see what next year brings, but this year’s Twinfest turned out good. I even got a free Twins stocking hat for attending!

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Minnesota Twins TTM Sucesses for 2016

2016 turned out to be the year my health and the health of some immediate family members was not the best. I won’t bother you with the details other than I had to limited my recreational time in front of a computer hence only one blog post for 2016.

My autographed Minnesota Twins baseball card collection now includes signed cards from 572 different players (594 different people when you include managers and front office people).

I missed Twinsfest 2016 and made only 3 in-person signings this year, but did receive a few signed cards through the mail (TTM). Below are my successes for 2016 so far. I wish everyone happiness and good health.


Juan Centeno
Larry Milbourne $5
Rod Radlosky
Fernanado Abad
Brandon Kintzler
Darrell Brandon $5
Aaron Fultz
Hector Santiago
Brian Dozier
A. J. Achter
Trevor May
Kennys Vargas
Tommy Milone
Jose Berrios
Mason Melotakis
Kevin Tapani
Tom Kelly
Adam Everett
Terry Steinbach $3
Mike Adams
Dan Fife
Pete Cimino
George “Boomer” Wells
Bob Gebhard
Matt LeCroy
Marty Cordova
Pete MacKanin
Jeff Bittiger

In Person

Eduardo Nunez
Brian Dozier
Byron Buxton

Friday, August 14, 2015

Autograph Minnesota Twins Baseball Card TTM Update

I now have signed baseball cards from 545 current or former Minnesota Twins. Since my last update I have pickup amongst others Dave Stevens, Joe McCabe, Mo Sanford, Gary Dotter, George Tsamis, Larry Wolfe (over 3 years to get back to me), Bill Bethea, Aaron Thompson, Luis Perdomo, Kevin Maas, Shane Robinson, Mark Wiley, and Shairon Martis through the mail (TTM).

I also bought a few of the tough non-signers like Dennys Reyes, Kevin Mulvey, and Pat Mears from Dave at the Twin Cities Sports Collectables Show in Bloomington. You can check out their show schedule

I have also been reminded why I get signed cards from Twins minor leaguers as well. Eddie Rosario, Byron Buxton, Miguel Sano, Alex Meyer, and Tyler Duffey have been promoted to the Twins this season. Sano and Rosario are still with the Twins and Buxton should be back soon too. All three look to have star level talent.

My in-person successes were Torii Hunter who appeared at T-Mobile store in downtown Minneapolis, and Eddie Rosario who appeared at a Cub Foods in Crystal. There were good crowds at both events - a sign that the Twins winning record earlier this year had attracted fans’ attention.

Hopefully my successes will continue this year as I move towards my goal of getting a signed baseball card from every living current and former Minnesota Twin. 

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Missing 1990's Country Music While Acknowledging Things Change

I wish they were making country music like they did in the 1990’s. As my favorite artist Alan Jackson celebrates his 25th year in country music, I find current state of country music to be less than appealing. I like some of the acts, but on the whole it is more or less songs about the same things – trucks, beer, hot women, etc.

The music industry as a whole has changed. Full length albums are out. Album sales are now small and unimportant. Instead the music industry is now about hit singles and touring. This ironically was how things use to be in country music. The 50, 60, and first half of the 70’s were all about hit singles and touring while album sales were small. Then Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Kenny Rogers, and Alabama came along and large album sales totals became the thing to have.

What once was is not likely coming back. As time moves on things change, but it does not mean we cannot remember and relive great music from our past. I encourage anyone who likes good music to check out great country artists like Alan Jackson, Brooks & Dunn, Reba McEntire, Vince Gill, Clint Black, and two personal favorites of mine Patty Loveless and Pam Tillis.

I learned long ago we do not all like the same thing, and that is a good thing. If we all liked or disliked the same thing life would become monotonous. And while Taylor Swift and Jason Aldean are disliked by many, they are also loved by many.

I started this blog as a graduate school project. I got that Master of Science degree expecting to get a one job field and ended up in another. Life does not always go as planned. Country Music use to be something super important to me. I loved listening to it. I bought lots of albums and went to lots of concerts. But like Taylor Swift – who is following the Olivia Newton John plan on how to morph from a country to a pop star – we all change. I still like to listen to country music, and but I don’t buy albums or go to many concerts much anymore. Part of it is the money it cost; part is the lack of good music from the current artists.

I missed out on the Garth Brooks show here earlier this year, and I will miss out on the Kenny Chesney – Jason Aldean show at Target Field. That is what happens when you cannot afford $200-$500 evening that includes concert tickets, parking, food and beverage. Back in the 90’s I saw Alan Jackson and Faith Hill $25 and got free parking at the Minnesota State Fair. Oh how things have changed.

Country music has changed from the 90’s too. Some think for the better, some think for the worse. I tell people it is okay to think either way. I have my opinion, but that does not have to be yours. 

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Twins 2015 Prediction and TTM Update

It has been slow going in my pursuit of autographed Minnesota Twins cards since Twinsfest. I did add Paul Powell, Jim Meritt, and Yohan Pino thru the mail (TTM) to give me signed cards from 521 current or former Twins. I also received returns from Jim Thome, Michael Restovich, Ricky Nolasco, Tommy Milone, and Ryan Doumit.

I hope to have more success with the season starting. I will be buying some of the new 2015 cards and sending them to current players. As they seem to do every year the Twins put someone on the team I never expected would make it and those guys never have any real baseball cards. This year it is Blaine Boyer and Shane Robinson who made the team, and I cannot find any cards of them, so I created some on my computer. Hopefully they are good signers.

Predicting how the Twins will do this season is purely guess work. Unforeseen problems like Ervin Santana 80 game suspension for using steroids can quickly mess up any prediction. Still I hope that Danny Santana, Kenny Vargas, and Oswaldo Arcia take the next step in their growth as players and become young stars. I hope Brian Dozier moves his game to All-Star level, and that Joe Mauer returns to All-Star level.

I am rooting for Phil Hughes to continue to pitch like he did last year, and for Tommy Milone to pitch like he did 2012. I also hope Kyle Gibson has a good year, and that Ricky Nolasco bounces back. I really hope to see young prospects like Miguel Sano, Byron Buxton, Alex Meyer, Trevor May, and Michael Tonkin make it up to the big club to stay.

I hope a lot, but I know better. The Twins will have another tough season where they lose at least 85 games. Hopefully though the young players grow and become better, and we get some excitement watching the games this year.