Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Loading up on local guys

This post is to show off some recent additions to my PCs of guys who went to the same schools I did. Most of these were included in my most recent COMC order, and a few were in eBay bulk purchases for free combined shipping.

Regular readers of this blog are familiar with my Guys From Granite minicollection, made up of guys who went to the same highschool as me and went on to become professional athletes. I admit it's a bit weird that I'm so gung-ho about this avenue of my collection, yet am pretty indifferent to collecting guys from the university I went to, SDSU. I also feel nothing for the Oregon Ducks, making me stick out among most other sports fans in my current home state. I just don't really care about college sports very much. Still, though, I like to show some school spirit from time to time and add cards of former Aztecs and other notable hometown guys.

I think this is my first Tony Gwynn Aztec card. I doubt it'll be the last-- I'll definitely try hunting down a few more different ones. Upper Deck has been putting out a few such cards in recent years, including some featuring Tony from his days starring on the basketball team, including autos. (That set came out right after he died, so they went fast and expensive.)

Pete Coscarart was the first San Diego State University alum to play major league baseball. He also played minor league ball in my current home of Portland, Oregon for a few years. Then after a decent MLB career with Brooklyn and Pittsburgh, he rounded out his playing days on the PCL Padres (1946-1949). I've now got 4 of his (according to Beckett) 15 cards in existence.

My Aztec Alumni minicollection isn't really a thing. Just attending SDSU isn't enough to make me want to collect a guy. Notable names there are Mark Grace, Harold Reynolds, Al Newman, Aaron Harang, Dave Smith, Addison Reed, Travis Lee, Tony Clark, Bud Black. Yeah, they don't do anything for me. Maybe someday. An exception to this is Stephen Strasburg who I've kinda started a passive PC for earlier this year. There's also Graig Nettles, who I sort of collect but mainly because of his time on the Padres. Gwynn family members Tony Jr and Chris Gwynn are also former Aztecs; maybe I'll collect them at some point.

Now let's turn to Guys From Granite...

My ol' classmate Marcus Giles; The guy who allows me to brag I've shared a locker room with an all-star. I don't typically go out of my way for Giles cards anymore (pretty sure he's already in my Hundred Card Club), but these 2 autos were like $3 combined via COMC, so I couldn't pass them up.

Another notable GHHS Eagle, Shane Spencer. Here we've got an early minor league card from '94, plus a numbered gold parallel from 2003 Topps.

And here are Bowman cards of a couple Guys From Granite who weren't able to crack the big leagues. The Scott Shoemaker gold refractor is #'d /50. Casey Craig is represented with a blue refractor (I think #'d /150) and a gold (brown) parallel.

Travis Taijeron is the active Guy From Granite I only found out about recently. This 2012 Topps Pro Debut was the last mainstream base card I needed of his (ok, his only other card is 2012 Heritage Minors). He had a very nice 2015 season for the Mets' AAA team, batting .274 with 25 home runs. Unfortunately it wasn't enough to get a September call-up, but hopefully he's able to progress next year and gets a chance to prove himself on the big league level.

Now here's a tricky one: Mike Jacobs is neither a Guy From Granite nor an Aztec Alum. But he's a Guy From Grossmont. I spent more years than I care to admit at Grossmont College before transferring to San Diego State. Not only did Jacobs attend the same community college as me, but during the same timeframe. I shared an anecdote a while back about how I think I may have even had a class with him. So I was happy to add my first couple of certified autos of his (each ran me a buck-something). I probably won't work too hard expanding my Guys From Grossmont collection, but who knows. Other notable names from the junior college include Quintin Berry, Mike Hartley, Sean O'Sullivan, Jesse Orosco Jr (cool, I didn't realize he had a son playing professionally), and Carlos Torres. There's also overlap with several Guys From Granite.

But back to Mike Jacobs, he had some solid seasons with the Marlins a few years back, with a career home run total of an even 100, but hasn't seen major league action since 2012. He's been playing in Mexico with decent success, spending 2015 in Oaxaca (pronounced wa-hah-kah) batting .276 with 14 home runs in 111 games.

OK, that wraps up this post updating recent pick-ups of local guys. Thanks for reading!

Monday, September 28, 2015

Into my ARMS (Archives Reserve Master Set)

A little while ago, I finished the base sets for all 3 Archives Reserve products (2001 Baseball, 2002 Baseball, 2001 Football) and I've now set my sights on the hits, slowly creeping toward the goal of an Archives Reserve Master Set. I'm just enamored with these refractor reprints from the glory days of cardboard. I've decided my A.R.M.S. will be cards-only. 2002 Baseball boxes came with autographed balls (most of which have since faded considerably), and 2001 Football boxes came with autographed mini helmets (which seem to be pretty hard to find). I really don't care about these non-card items. It might not be a 100% master set without them, but f*dge it, I'm a card collector, not a ball or mini helmet collector.

But anyways, I've recently added a few relics into my ARMS and I'd like to have them dance for you now, as it's hard for still pictures to do these shiny beauties justice.

Gwynn and Stargell are a couple all-time favorite dudes of mine (and sure, Boggs is pretty cool too), so these are very nice to add.
Notice the Stargell card says "Authentic Game-Worn Uniform" while Gwynn's says "Authentic Game-Worn Jersey"? Kinda odd. I assume the Stargell swatch must be from pants, since jersey usually refers to the shirt part, though most of the time the terms uniform and jersey are used interchangeably, right? The term pants always seems weird on relic cards, so I'm in favor of calling it uniform. Nobody wants a swatch of fabric that may have been from the crotch of the featured dude's pants. Well, maybe not nobody, but most collectors would be weirded out by the thought, I assume. Along those lines, I wonder if game-worn uniforms get washed before being made into relic cards. On one hand, swatches with evidence of action, such as dirt, are pretty cool. But a stinky crotch relic card? I'm not so sure I'd be excited about that. Come to think of it, I can't recall ever seeing a sock relic card, Curt Schilling aside. I'd like to build a little collection of quirky relics (--that is to say, stuff besides jerseys and bats). I just won a glove relic last night that I'm excited about.

But back to my budding ARMS...
I've also recently picked up a couple autos at good prices.

Clete Boyer was the Yankees' third baseman during the early 60s. Probably would have won a bunch of Gold Gloves were it not for a guy named Brooks.
And you've got to love Minnie Miñoso. I started liking him even more when I discovered he played for the Padres in their PCL days. I consider him a part of my Pads In The Hall minicollection, even if he's not technically in the HOF yet (a miscarriage of justice!)
Great to pick up my first autograph of his.

Catch ya next time.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Card Show Recap! (The Joy of a Completed Set: 1973 Topps)

Six weeks since the last card show.. I was jonesing to thumb through boxes of cardboard! This show delivered a satisfying fix. I spent $75, which is definitely on the pricey side for me, but no regrets.

I'm gonna skip ahead to the grand finale first, as the big card of the day for me was actually the last one I added to my lot. I had just previously amassed a stack of 60 cards from the 50¢ bins of my favorite dealer. Last month he had a Schmidt rookie under the glass, though it wasn't there today. It wasn't looking promising. As I was ready to pay for my stack, I asked if he still had it around. He wasn't sure but started digging around, and found it put aside with his other "do not sell" cards in his cashbox. With a little reluctance, he offered it to me for a decent price and we ended up agreeing on $75 for the Schmidt plus the 60 cards I dug out of his discount bins. I think that was a pretty good deal. Read on and see if you agree.


The card is in excellent shape. No creases. Great centering. If I had to get anal searching for flaws, the corners on the left could be better, and the right edge is a little rough. Still, though, I think it'd probably grade pretty well.

The centering on the back isn't as good as the front, but still solid overall. I even put it in a stack of other 73s just to double check it was legit (didn't want to get burned again after the first one I bought turned out to be a fake). And it checks out.

So YES, I have completed 1973 Topps! It's really a huge deal for me. It's the first set I've ever personally compiled in my life! (not counting tiny ~100-card sets.) When I was a kid, I bought a complete set of 1989 Topps from Sears or something, but that's the only complete Topps flagship set I've owned in my entire life. Until today. Now, "Own complete 1973 Topps set" becomes the first bulletpoint in my collector's resumé.

Happy Day!!

Now let's check out the rest of the cards I picked up moments earlier.

This pair of Hostess Schmidts must have given me good luck in landing the RC.

The guy had a surprising big cache of 65s in one of the bins that I excitedly dug into. I had an outdated copy of my wantlist, so I was able to put back about half which I already had, though was happy to pick up about two-dozen to put toward my setbuild.

It was just a few weeks ago I showed off this Frank Thomas NNOF reprint that I paid >$10 for. So I was a bit chagrinned to find three of them in the 50¢ bins. Hell, I figured I'd grab these and flip them on eBay (or possibly trade if any of you guys wanna make an offer.)

I think this set is 2015 Elite or something. The Taijuan and Fernandez are each #'d /199. The Goldy and Trout are pretty sharp.

A couple similar Piazzas. That's the first sample from that insert set I've seen. The one on the right is the glow-in-the-dark variation (that I love so).

A couple certified autos, both Rangers, both decent names (esp. compared to the no-name guys you often find autos of in the discount bins). The autos aren't all that prominent, which is probably why no one had grabbed them up already, but check the back and it says "Congratulations!" These are both up for trade if you're interested.

Here's some older vintage, including 3 decent names from 1966 Topps. The 1955 Harshman is already spoken for by a guy I'm working out a big trade with.

And here's some 70s vintage. Mike Schmidt makes yet another appearance, though I bought this 75 mini mainly for the Dick Allen half. How do I not recall ever seeing that 1976 Billy Williams before? And vintage OPC Reggies are hard to pass up.

Here are a couple shiny, numbered cards.

The Pujols is #'d /1500, and the Whitey /299.

Pre-rookie McCutchen and a Middlebrooks refractor RC.

日本のコレクター仲間へ、英語で何か書きたいときはGoogle Translateは絶対使わないでください。文章がめちゃくちゃになります。

I love these "What If Donruss was putting out cards before 1981?" inserts from 2002 Donruss Originals. I ripped a few packs a while back and pulled a Fisk. Happy to add the Seaver and Molitor.

Apart from that, I picked up a few Cubs which I'll be sending off to P-town Tom, but other than that, not much trade bait today.

So there's my card show haul for September. I feel pretty good about it.
Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, September 24, 2015

A Hall of Famer TTM success

[Here's the prequel to that custom cut autos post from last week.]

Bobby Doerr is the patron saint of through-the-mail autographs. The man is 97 years old and still a reliable signer. A Hall of Fame second baseman for the Red Sox, he's got a lot of fans out there. He's always been very generous with his time when it comes to signing autographs, no fee required.

In recent months, I've dipped my toe in the TTM waters with lesser-known minor leaguers. Now I figured I'd ease myself down into the shallow end by going after some bigger-name, yet dependable signers. Really what inspired me is I ended up with a Bobby Doerr card-- probably from a dime box I bought awhile back-- that just seemed to be screaming out for a signature. So I prepared a TTM with it and dropped it in the mail 9/14/15. Mr. Doerr lives just 2 or 3 hours south of me, incidentally, so that might shave a couple days off the return time.

Oh wow, I just realized Bobby Doerr fits in my Pads in the Hall minicollection! That's anybody who ever suited up for the Padres who ended up inducted in Cooperstown. Doerr played for the PCL Padres in 1936, the team's inaugural season, along with Ted Williams before the both of them ended up in Boston. Now this TTM request is even better because it's not just a random baseball great, but one that lines up with a main collecting focus of mine. Nice! I didn't realize I should have been collecting Bobby Doerr this whole time. Let's use this post to symbolically enshrine him! He's in the PCL wing of the Pads in the Hall imaginary building, along with Ted Williams and Tony Perez. Welcome, Bobby! Now I kinda want to try finding a card of him in a Padres uniform, or if there isn't one, perhaps at least find a photo and make a custom.

I actually already have a Bobby Doerr autograph. I bought a signed index card thrown in cheap with free combined shipping along with some other signed index cards I got from an eBay seller back when I was on a kick of taking such index cards and creating a sketch card "around" it. I made a few but then my enthusiasm for the idea waned, leaving me with a dozen or so cheap autographed index cards sitting around. I should revive that project (or think up a new idea) one of these days and do something with those index cards. Hey! Maybe I'll use that Doerr auto and make it into a custom Padres card somehow. (editor's note: yep, I did.)

Anyways, I'll admit that I'm excitedly drafting up this post on 9/14/15 while the request sits in my work's outgoing mail box. Hopefully I'm not jinxing myself and it ends up getting lost in the mail or something! Well, I'll save this draft here and revisit it once the return arrives.

-   - - - -------

It returned 9/23! Nine days.. pretty good! Thank you, Mr. Doerr!

Ideally the signature would be a bit bigger and better placed, but again, the man is 97 years old! I think it's wonderful and will cherish this card always.


-   - - - -------

Speaking of beloved old-timers, gotta pay my respects to Yogi Berra. What a great life he lived.

Love it when the refractor shine gives a "sunset" effect.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

2015 Topps Chrome and other fun stuff

Big day for me last Sunday. The in-laws are redoing their floors, and much of the day was spent helping them move furniture around. Pretty tiring. So I felt I earned myself a little treat, which was all the justification I needed to flush $10 down the drain to Topps for some 2015 Topps Chrome at the grocery store.

Here were the promised 3 pink refractors. I was happy to at least score one minor PC guy in the Alex Gordon. The other 2 guys are ok too.

Here are the best of the rest. A couple decent RCs, a Trout, and a Chris Owings refractor.

And the rest.

So nothing too impressive. A fun little break none the less, I suppose. I'm hanging onto the two horizontal cards, coincidentally enough, but the vertical cards are available for trade if you want any.

Since that value pack wasn't really interesting enough to warrant a whole post to itself, let's throw in a few other random cards I've picked up for my collection recently. The following cards cost me approximately the same as that assortment of 2015 Chrome, but if I were doing this post "pack war" style, it wouldn't even be close. It's that whole Schrodinger's Cat thing with ripping packs, versus just buying a living cat. Or something like that.

This Benito was a Listia win. I heard he recently got inducted into the Padres HOF. This is my second autograph of his, and the other one features him as a Giant, so it's nice to get one showcasing his time in San Diego. It's a nice one, though the name banner kinda gets in the way.

I saw this card on Underdog Collector's blog a couple months ago and it really caught my eye so I made a note to track down a copy for myself. I love seeing Dave Winfield in those classic early 80s Padres uniforms with the brown, gold, and orange. It's possibly my all-time favorite uniform, always taking me back to my days as a young kid first becoming aware of baseball. This photo was from his last season in San Diego before leaving for greener pastures/paychecks in New York. These 2013 Topps Archives inserts in the style of 1972 Topps Basketball were seeded one per hobby box, I believe.

I'm a sucker for cards like this of a notable player with a team uniform that, well, kinda blows your mind to see him in (yet is real) whether filed under Short-Term Stops or Zero Year. And this 1975(1976) SSPC Killebrew featuring his swan song as a Royal is one of the best.

Finally, here's my birthday twin Matt Ginter. Was happy to add this certified auto of him to my PC for just $1.05 in my recent COMC order. Kind of a strange picture to choose for a card-- not exactly sure what's going on there-- but I'll take it.

That's all for today. Thanks for reading.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Great addition to my Pride PC

It's a delicate topic, but to put it simply, gay people are ok in my book. I've got a small minicollection going of gay athletes on cardboard. I really admire these guys for their courage to be their true selves in spite of the persecution they have to endure from a segment of the population because of it.

David Denson was in the news last month when he became the first active player affiliated with a Major League organization to come out publicly. That's awesome! He's still in the low minors, and it's probably a longshot that he'll make the majors at this rate. But still, very cool that he had the balls to come out. I'll be rooting for him and hope more guys follow his lead.

I found a pretty cool auto/patch card of his for a good price on COMC and threw it in my recent order.

Neat stylized signature! This is an excellent addition to my Pride PC, joining autos of Michael Sam and Jason Collins. It also fulfills the prophecy I made last year ("the world is ready for an openly gay professional baseball player. And when he arrives, I'll add a certified autograph of him to my collection")

And if you're wondering why there's the "first active player affiliated with a Major League organization" qualifier with David Denson, it's because back in June, a pitcher on an independent team came out. In doing so, Sean Conroy became the first openly gay active professional baseball player. Here's a good article from USA Today. As far as I can tell by google image searching, Conroy doesn't have any cards out there-- real or even custom, for that matter. And so, I think I may be making history myself right now by becoming the first person to publicly come out...[dramatic pause]... with a custom card for an active gay baseball player! LOL

Anyways, here's the custom I whipped up in the style of 1983 Topps:

I'm pretty happy with it! I wish I would have made this a few weeks ago while the Sonoma Stompers season was still going on so I could print out some copies to give him and hopefully get a TTM autograph. Oh well, perhaps next year. Best of luck with your career, Sean!

Friday, September 18, 2015

Tough Schmidt!

I've done it! I've reached the "Tough Schmidt" point in my 1973 Topps setbuild. If you're unfamiliar, that's the term for when you've completed the set aside from the pesky top value card, #615 "Rookie Third Basemen" Ron Cey/John Dave Hilton/Mike Schmidt. (I realize the old gag of Schmidt sounding close to shit is getting pretty played out at this point, and for that I'm sorry.)

You may recall a few weeks ago, I got cute and tried to obtain #615 before knocking out the rest of the set. The cardboard gods punished me for this impudence and the card I had bought turned out to be a fake. That's right: Counterfeit Schmidt! I learned my lesson and put that card on the backburner while I picked off the rest of my needs. The final few cards come thanks to COMC and eBay. Let's check out a few highlights of these latecomers.

The Schmidt RC gets all the attention, but honestly I'm just about as excited over this Dwight Evans rookie. Dewy is sort of a sleeper PC for me; his card aren't often on the forefront of my cardboard agenda, but I always really love 'em when they enter my collection. So I'm happy to now own the RC of this Hall-worthy Boston legend.

Surprisingly to me, these boring ol' checklists were a couple of the trickiest cards to land. The high-number checklist in particular is just silly. Even ugly, marked-up copies often sell around $10. I figured if I have to pay decent money for a friggin checklist, I'm gonna go all-out and get a nice clean one. And so I ended up with this graded one for about the price of a blaster. It's the only graded card currently in my setbuild and the costliest 73 for me to date, though it will be surpassed in that department once I buy the Schmidt, I'm sure.

The Yankees team card was also tough to find at a reasonable price. I had some patience and won this one on eBay for about $5 shipped.

It was very satisfying to finally complete the set of team checklists. These little buggers can be deceptively hard to find (in contrast to the similar red versions from 1974). I would like to eventually upgrade the roughly half of these I own that are marked up on the back. The cheapest I paid was 50¢ each on Sportlots for some marked-up ones, while the most was $3 for the Reds on COMC, surprisingly elusive.

Here are a couple of the bigger "All-Time Leader" subset cards. I was happy to have my offers accepted on COMC that shaved off a couple bucks bringing them each to a very reasonable price.

1973 Topps #20 Stan Bahnsen variations
Ah, my trio of Stan Bahnsen variations. Turns out I had the "big gap" version and the "small gap" but I was missing the corrected "no gap" version. Picked it up on COMC for 35¢ (and even that one has a minor border issue at the top.. Geez, why did Topps have so much border problems with this particular card?). There's still a 4th known variation that maybe I'll bother to add someday if I really want to be exhaustive. It's the one with a big left gap and no right gap. As you can see, mine (left) also has a small right gap, which is ultra mega rare and probably worth a few hundred dollars if I could get a couple 1973 Topps mastercollectors in a bidding war over it.

Finally for today, here's a Charlie Hough rookie. Or is it?! Nope, Hough had already been included in a 3-player rookie card in 1972 Topps, so this here is actually his second-year card. But being a high-number, it's generally more valuable than his actual RC. I lucked out and grabbed this one on eBay for just a couple bucks shipped.

So I'm at 99% complete, with only the Schmidt standing in the way of cardboard immortality (hey, Cardboard Immortality would make a good blog name-- someone out there thinking about starting a card blog should use that! "The Cardboard Agenda" would be a good one too). My plan is to see at next weekend's card show if my favorite dealer still has the copy he had at last month's show.. and if so, what kind of deal he could offer me for it. If that doesn't pan out, I'll just keep an eye on eBay, placing low/mid-level bids here and there hoping to luck out with one.

Have a great weekend, everybody.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Cut Signature Customs!

Last December I went on a spree of buying cheap autographed index cards to make into auto sketch cards (see this post). But then my enthusiasm for the project waned for no reason in particular, and I found myself with about a dozen boring signed index cards just sitting around.

Then the other day I was rejuvenated to use some of the index cards to create something neat (what you're reading now is actually a sequel to another post that's still a draft). And so, that's what I did! I decided not to go the sketchcard route this time, and instead whip up designs in Photoshop to print out and make into cut-autograph customs.

I have a love/hate relationship with physical customs. It sure is fun to create a "card that never was" and hold it in your hand or slide it into an empty slot in a page. On the other hand, I believe customs (and evil twin: counterfeits) will destroy the hobby within the next decade or so. Every time you print out a card yourself, you're hurting the hobby as we know it. I've already given my Chicken Little spiel before, but yeah, when I think about it too much, it definitely makes me want to sell off the big-money cards in my collection while I still can get something for them. 3D printers will be spitting out authentic-looking Ty Cobb bat knobs before you know it! Don't waste your money on a 1/1 today that some kid will be able to create an infinite supply of perfect copies of in a few years. Topps is smart to be diving into the "digital cards" market and try to build something there, because real cards are facing serious danger.

Ok, this post has taken a turn for the dystopian-- let's get back to fun baseball cards! Whee!

The 3 cards I made that I'll be featuring in this post are guys who are well-known to baseball fans. The quirky catch is that they all quietly spent a forgotten year on the Padres. As a lifelong Friar fan, I got a kick out of creating autograph cards featuring them in their San Diego duds, as there's little chance a real card manufacturer ever would.

Bobby Doerr

Bobby Doerr began his professional career playing for the Hollywood Stars of the Pacific Coast League in 1934 and 1935. He was still with the team in 1936 when they moved to San Diego and changed their name to the Padres. Also on that inaugural SDP team was Ted Williams, with whom Doerr would be close friends for many years. The two were signed by the Red Sox in 1937. As with Williams, Doerr would spend his entire major league career with Boston. Dependable at the plate and in the field at second base, he was a 9-time All-Star. Doerr missed the 1945 season while serving in the Army during World War II. A spinal problem later cut his career short at 33 years old, but his legacy was impressive enough to warrant induction to the Hall of Fame by the Veteran's Committee in 1986. The Red Sox would go on to retire his number, 1. Playing during Boston's notorious dry spell, Doerr never won a World Championship, though he did bat .409 in his only postseason action, the 1946 World Series loss to St. Louis. He returned to the Fall Classic in 1967, this time as first base coach with the Red Sox, and is also credited with tutoring Carl Yastrzemski as unofficial batting instructor during his triple crown season. Doerr went on to live a very long life, beloved by baseball fans for his generous, approachable nature.

As for the card, this team photo was all I could find from Bobby's year in San Diego. Still, I think the card turned out pretty good! BTW, there's a nice documentary called The First Padres about the PCL Padres that I just watched last night, inspired by researching for this card.

Wally Moon

Wally Moon came up with the Cardinals and was the National League Rookie of the Year in 1954, easily beating out fellow rookies Ernie Banks and Hank Aaron. He batted .295 or better for his first 4 years in the league, but after a down year, was traded to the Dodgers before the 1959 season. After adjusting to the dimensions of Los Angeles Coliseum thanks to his friend Stan Musial, Wally became known for his "Moon shots" over the high left field screen. He won a Gold Glove in the outfield in 1960, was twice an All-Star, and a part of three World Series Champion teams (1959, 1963 & 1965). In 1969, he was a batting coach for the San Diego Padres during their first year in the NL. He's still popular among baseball fans today, with his impressive unibrow giving flavor to photos and baseball cards of the 50s and 60s.

As for the card, it's not my best design, I'll admit. I was a little disappointed with the only photo I could find from his year as a coach in San Diego since it's pretty small and low resolution. But I'm glad I didn't have to resort to photoshop trickery, and at least you can make out his trademark unibrow!

Johnny Podres

Johnny Podres was a Dodgers great who helped the team win World Series championships in 1955, 1959, 1963 and 1965. The pinnacle of his career was Game 7 of the 1955 World Series, shutting out the Yankees to give Brooklyn their first (and only) title before the team moved to Los Angeles. Though often overshadowed by the likes of Sandy Koufax, he led the National League in ERA in 1957 and winning percentage in 1961. Near the end of his career, he spent a couple season with Detroit. After a year out of the game, Podres came out of retirement to pitch for the fittingly homonymic Padres during their inaugural season in the NL. While his 5-6 record in 1969 might not seem impressive at first, it was one of the highest winning percentages on a team that lost 110 games. After his playing days came to an end, Podres was a respected pitching coach for many years, helping shape the careers of such players as Frank Viola and Curt Schilling.

As for the card, it came out pretty well. Johnny's signature takes up a lot of space, and I had to chop off the "Authentic Cut Signature" bit to get it to fit. Never would I "pull a Topps" and make a cut auto that chops or obscures any part of the autograph! I also needed to hand-number the "1/1" part due to expanding the signature window. I know the numbering is silly, but I like it. Now, don't any of your counterfeiters out there copy these! LOL

So there you have it, my latest batch of customs. I'm pretty happy with them! What do you think, sirs?