Sunday, March 24, 2013

Thank You Mr. Trucks

Mr. Virgil Trucks passed away at the age of 95 on Saturday March 23, 2013. He was a true friend to anyone who offered their friendship to him, always willing to share his time and signature for those who loved baseball as much as him.  Thank you for everything you did as a player, signer, and friend. You will be sincerely missed.

Best wishes Mr. Trucks.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

RBI (124) Billy The Kid

Today I was pleasantly surprised to find a TTM return waiting for me in the mail. I was even more surprised to see the return was from retired pitcher Billy Wagner.

Wagner was taken by the Houston Astro's in the 1st round of the 1993 draft before flying up to the Majors in September of 1995 to face one batter that season. He would spent 9 seasons with the Astros before playing for Philadelphia, Boston, the New York Mets, and finally Atlanta. He was a 7x All Star, pitched a combined no-hitter, and was the 1999 NL Rolaids Relief Man of the Year.

When he finally retired after 16 seasons he was one of the top relievers of not just during his playing time but of MLB history. His career numbers are a 2.52 ERA across 853 games striking out 1,193 and retired with 422 Saves, putting him 5th All-Time on the career saves list. Wagner is someone I feel really proud to add to my collection, and to be honest I'm really surprised a player of his caliber answered my TTM request. I'm not sure if he has the name brand appeal to make it into the Hall of Fame considering he was pitching out of Houston at the same time as Mariano Rivera and Trevor Hoffman, but the lefty closer is definitely someone that will be remembered as a great from his era.
Mr. Wagner signed this 2011 Topps card for me after 79 days from his home address. When it comes to players like Mr. Wagner I like having either a rookie card or what I call their career card, the final card produced with all of their career statistics on the back. Not only am I very happy to have his autograph added to my collection but also to have this specific signature added to my collection. Researching his autograph I've seen that Billy has two signatures a short signature that is mainly "By Wagnr" and a full clean signature of Harmon Killebrew crispness that you see on my card. I'm very happy that Mr. Wagner gifted me his autograph and signed with his full crisp signature.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

UFC 157 and Fanfest

As you've seen from a few previous posts I went to fight week for UFC 157 in Anaheim. I went to the UFC's fanfest the day of the fight at the Honda Center. It was interesting to me as everyone in line with me was a UFC fan or collector. Obviously I'm a big baseball fan and collect baseball autograph's so it was interesting meeting people who primarily collect fighters.

The first autograph of the day that I was able to get is definitely one of the best and one of my favorites. I got a photo signed by UFC legend Matt Hughes. Matt was really nice and signed with my Gold Sharpie, and when I said "Mr. Hughes would you sign UFC Hall of Famer" he smiled and said, "Call me Matt, no problem" then he inscribed "9x Champ & HOF" when I got this Matt Hughes autographed 8x10 photograph.
After getting Hughes I went to the closest line a few feet away that was of about 6 people while everyone was waiting for Hughes and got a signed stock photo of Sara McMann given out by UFC. Sara was really nice and pleasant so I'm glad I added the photo to my collection instead of skipping it like a lot of people.
Signing with Sara was Travis Browne who also autographed this photograph.
The next autograph I got was one of a fighter I was really excited to meet. Fighter Erik Perez came out to his fight at UFC 155 wearing a luchador mask to celebrate his heritage and being the first 100% Mexican fighter in the UFC. He won a decisive victory in his fight and you can see him celebrating after the win. He also signed a poster for my mom who became a fan after watching his fight. I'm glad to have this Erik Perez autographed photograph and he offered to sign another poster for me too but I declined because the photo was more than enough.
Signing with Erik Perez was fighter Alexis Davis who recently joined the UFC promotion as part of the growing women's division. Alexis Davis was happy to autograph this photograph for me and it turned out nicely.
After getting Perez and Davis I got in line to score one of my favorite fighters and one of the most exciting to watch Anthony "Showtime" Pettis who was really nice and inscribed "Showtime" under his name. I've already got this Anthony Pettis autographed photo in the rotation of photo's I frame in my room.
With Showtime was fighter Mark Munoz who I didn't have anything for, so Mark Munoz autographed the stock photo UFC provided.
After getting Showtime and Munoz I got in a very long line and waited a few hours to score one of the most recognizable names beyond fight fans, Chuck "Iceman" Liddell. Liddell was nice and quickly signed my photo for me as well as inscribing "Iceman" I was happy to get this Chuck Liddell autographed photo since he's much more than just a fighter.
Alongside Liddell was recent UFC signee and The Ultimate Fighter Season 18 coach Cat Zingano. There was a really long line for Liddell who had more than 200 people in line with most of them asking him to sign multiples for them which he did for most people that asked. Not too many of them looked interested in getting Zingano's autograph even though there were the stock photos provided and many declined. I was actually looking forward to it and when she asked if I wanted an autograph said yes. She reached for a stock photo I told her I actually had something for her and she was shocked. When I pulled out my photo she was pretty excited about the shot I printed out and smiled asking my name signing it to me "<3 Cat The Alpha Zingano"
That wrapped up my graphing seeing as I got shot down by Miesha Tate as she walked into the event saying she would sign at a table, but I wanted to get inside and watch all of the fights on the undercard so I passed on getting in her line.

The fight itself was awesome and I'm really happy to have gone in person to watch.

After the fight let out I decided to try my luck graphing any fighters that would come out. I went to my car and on my way back to the most likely exit ran into fighter Lavar Johnson who was making his way to car after his loss that night. He quickly signed this mini fight card handout of Ronda Rousey, Liz Carmouche, Dan Henderson, and Lyoto Machida for me and left.

I had 1st UFC Head Referee Big John McCarthy autograph it also, Big John was the ref who brought the bantam weight title fight of Rousey putting Carmouche in armbar to a stop.

Referee legend Herb Dean also came out so I quickly was happy to add him to the mini poster.
That wrapped up my experience of going to UFC 157 and it really was a great one. I had an awesome time during fight week, graphing, and at the fight itself seeing Ronda Rousey do work.

Monday, March 11, 2013

RBI (123) Lamar Odom. Read.

Lamar Odom signed at a Kia dealership in Glendale. He was drafted by the Clippers. He won 2 NBA championships and a 6 man of the year award.

I went with my family to the signing. He was 45 minutes late and didn't seem to care. He was staring at the clock and barely acknowledging anyone. I went first and brought Lamar some gummy bears and a 8x10 of him on the Lakers. He took the candy mumbled a thanks and threw them over his shoulder to a handler behind him. Took my photo and started complaining about how he doesn't understand why people bring photos from 4-5 years ago.
My mom went next and he gave her this terrible autograph in gold while complaining about how I brought that photo. She was extremely upset that he was complaining about a fan who waited all day for him and then saw that he gave a disgusting autograph to another while he was being rude about someone who liked him.
My dad went next and he got the last photo signed nicely. I guess he was over complaining about someone who wanted to acknowledge the highest point of his career.
I used to like Lamar Odom. Now I can care less of him as a person. Have fun on "Keeping up with the Kardashians" Lamar.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Highlights of the Upcoming Season

One of my usual tasks during the offseason is to take a peek at the upcoming season schedule for promotional giveaways. I'm a season ticket holder for the Angels so I like to have an idea of what games I absolutely need to get to and try to arrange my schedule to be sure I can get the coolest freebies. The Angels typically have pretty solid giveaways but I like to look around the league and here are some of the cooler things that will be given away this coming season.

Angels: Mike Trout Bobblehead of "The Catch", Mike Trout Pint Glass, Albert Pujols Pint Glass.
The Angels have given out things like this before and they were nice looking but either flimsy plastic or really small and unpractical. Getting a pair of real pint glasses will be nice to use when watching games at home when the team is on the road. The bobble I just think is cool looking.
Padres: Replica jersey. I'm a fan of the freebie jerseys, they're cool and a nice way to get fans feeling like they're part of the team. I'm a fan of the Padres freebie jersey giveaway seeing as they do them for Adults not just kids. I also like their beach towel giveaway. It's not a big ticket item but actually looks cool.
Pirates: Free Tshirt Friday. That' right the Pirates will giveaway a shirt every friday there is a home game and some of them are actually pretty nice looking shirts. I approve. I also am a fan of "Kids and Dad's" sunday where 14 and unders with their dad's will get a nice looking hat at the game.
Cubs: For 4 games the Cubs will release a special limited edition set of 82 cards only available by attending the game. Current and former players will be featured on the card style of various years they never appeared in. A serious must have for Cubs collectors.
Rays: David Price is getting a Cy Young figurine, his dog Astro is also getting a bobblehead this season. Awesome. I predict it's the most attended game in Tampa this season.
Royals: Billy Butler Silver slugger bobblehead. It's not a unique idea. But it's a pretty great bobble in my opinion. The also have Tshirt Tuesdays, but I'm not as sold on the designs as I am the Pirates'.
Cardinals: The best giveaway this season for last. One I know I'll be getting on ebay for myself. In honor of Stan Musial the Cardinals will have give away a harmonica. I'm not sure I can think of a more genuine or appropriate way to honor the legend. I tip my hat to the organization and whoever came up with this idea.