Tuesday, February 28, 2012

TTM #80- One of the Most Unique Ones Yet!

Hey guys, Drew back here. A couple of weeks ago, I was pretty bored, so I decided to give some TTM's a try. I did two requests that night and they both happened to come back within a week-ten day range! The first one I'll share has been by far one of the coolest experiences I've had the opportunity to receive since I started my blog back in late 2008. It may not be of a household name, but without a doubt he is a legend of the game in my eyes.

The success was from former Negro League player John "Mule" Miles! I wrote Miles an entire page (front and back) letter, explaining how much appreciation I have for him and for the game of baseball in general, and judging by the overall response, he really must've appreciated it. The first card he signed was courtesy of William, who sent it over to me a couple months ago for me to get signed. It's out of 2007 Topps Allen & Ginter, which besides one Negro League product released in 1992, is the only set that has ever released a card of him. Do you want to know more about him? Well, be my guest to read through this awesome biography he sent me, which was also signed!

A couple of things that stand out to me are first; that he hit 11 home runs in 11 straight games, which is pretty unreal if you ask me. Also, I find it really neat that Miles was also a member of the Tuskegee Airmen, which as most of you history buffs know, was the group of African American pilots who served our country in World War II. Not only was Miles a very good baseball player, but he was an American hero as well, although he couldn't have been appreciated all that much due to the prejudice he must have experienced in his lifetime. 

One of Miles' TTM trademarks has been his inclusion of inspirational quotes, and he certainly did not disappoint in my case! Something about these index cards are just absolutely awesome. I recently wrote my entry essay for the National Honor Society, and I dedicated most of it to my love of baseball. I explained that it isn't just any game, but instead a way of life, and I think Miles is great at relating to what I said. 

This was my favorite of the three he sent my way, without question. This quote, or quotes similar to this, is pretty common, but it really feels special to own something as powerful as this is from someone who probably used this as motivation to get through every day. I'm sure I could spend hours and hours talking to Mr. Miles, because I'm sure he has many very interesting stories to tell. 

While all of the stuff I've shown off thus far has been pretty awesome, nothing in the envelope topped this.

I decided to try something new with this request, by asking Mr. Miles four questions and wondering if he would answer them. Sure enough, he answered all four, not like it was really all that much of a surprise. Here is the short interview, in case you couldn't read my girly handwriting:

DM: If you were a current MLB player, which pitcher would you be the most intimidated to face?
JM: A.J. Burnett- New York Yankees

I was very surprised by this answer, without a doubt. I expected to see a Tim Lincecum; CC Sabathia; or Cliff Lee for example, but Burnett? There's no question that Burnett's stuff is nasty when he's on, but if Miles is intimidated of last year's Burnett, he might need to spend a little extra time at the batting cages! I understand his answer though, because he was certainly one of the better pitchers in the league in the past decade, and that curveball is near-filthy. 

DM: What is your favorite memory from your baseball career?
JM: Hitting "11" Home Runs in "11" Straight Games

As I mentioned, I find that to be really impressive. 

DM: Who was your best friend you got a chance to play with?
JM: Clyde McNeal- SS with Chicago American Giants

DM: Who was the most talented player you've ever watched?
JM: LeRoy "Satchel" Paige- Kansas City Monarchs

No surprise here. Paige was perhaps the greatest pitcher in the history of the game. You can't go wrong with a pitcher who threw a blazing fastball, even into his late 50's.

All in all, I can't begin to tell you guys how happy this success made me! If any of you are into this sort of thing and haven't sent Mr. Miles a letter, I really suggest you do. He's in that elite TTM league with Bobby Doerr, the late Bob Feller, and Virgil Trucks! Thank you so very much "Mule", it means an awful lot.

See Ya!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Extremely Unexpected and Awesome Stuff from Dad's Friends!

Hey guys, Drew back here. I have no idea why, but I've had these stacks of cards sitting around for an awful long time, and it's about time I got to posting them. About two months ago, Dad showed up for work early on a Monday morning to find a few binder pages filled with cards that were supposedly for me. Dad brought them home to me and I was shocked, and although he had no clue who gave them to me, he thought it was awesome. He found out the next day that the cards were from his friend Tim. I recognized the name because I remember giving him a tour of my collection one time when he was over our house. Apparently he had no need for these, and he decided I would make use of them more, which was really nice of him! A few weeks later, a different work friend of his, Johnny T.,  also gave him some stuff to give to me, which was equally awesome as well! We'll start with what came from Johnny!

First was this cool "Sport Flix"-type photo of Jeff Bagwell! I hardly have anything of Bagwell in my collection, but I guess this would be a pretty good place to start! I feel like he should have gotten into the Hall of Fame this year, because the steroid rumors are ridiculous when it comes to his case. His name was hardly ever mentioned when steroids came up, and he was one of the more talented players in baseball during the time. I predict he'll go in next year with Craig Biggio, which would be awesome to see.

Also, he gave me this Alfonso Soriano key chain. Boy has Alfonso been forgotten since his tenure with the Cubs began. He's had a very good career without a doubt, and I wish I could've seen more of his best years with the Yankees. Once he was traded for Alex Rodriguez his career went downhill after a few more big years, and now Chicago wished they never signed him to that contract in the first place. This is a pretty cool piece, and I might just keep it unopened because I don't have a whole lot of things that have keychain hooks. 

Thanks a lot for the stuff Johnny, I really appreciate it! Moving on to the few binder pages I received from Tim, take a look:

We start with some of the better names of the 1980's, such as Rickey Henderson; Don Mattingly; and Darryl Strawberry. Throw in a Dave Parker, Yaz, and a Mark McGwire rookie card and you have me interested! Here and there I find it cool to add some of the 80's cards, but in bulk, no thank you. 

Next was where I became really excited, when I discovered 2 1961 Topps cards I needed for my set, in Gordy Coleman and Al Neiger! They were on the same page as a few 1970's cards; a 1971 George Scott and a 1975 Brooks Robinson! It was only fitting that 2 of the 4 1960's cards were part of the set I'm collecting. 

I'm sure you were wondering what other 1960's cards were included in the binder pages, and well, I was in shock when I saw them! None other than a 1963 Topps Eddie Mathews and a 1966 Topps Whitey Ford! I went crazy when I noticed them hidden beneath a few pages of 1980's goodness! Anytime I am able to add two vintage Hall of Fame cards for no price at all is a great, great thing! As a telemarketer would say though, "But wait, there's more!"

..... Woah. Tim, if you're reading this, I want to tell you that you went way too far with these inclusions! These two Cigarette cards are absolutely beyond awesome, and I honestly don't know what else to say other than thank you so much! Given they are legitimately from the tobacco era (which I'm 99.9% sure they are), they are now the oldest cards in my collection and perhaps the coolest ones also! They are both from the 1909 T206 card set, which is now 103 years old, which explains the extreme amount of wear on the two cards. They don't sell for a ton in rough shape, but I would buy them in rough condition just because of how awesome they are.

Otto Knabe was born in 1884 and began his career in 1905 with the Pittsburgh Pirates. He was a decent player through most of his career, succeeding most in his 7 year tenure with the Philadelphia Phillies. He has maintained his team record of 216 sacrifice hits to this day, which is absolutely insane, although it isn't necessarily a key statistic. He also managed the Baltimore Terrapins for two seasons (1915-1916) before his retirement, and eventual death in 1961. The back of his card reads "Sweet Caporal Cigarettes, The Stamdard for Years" followed by "Baseball Series 350 Subjects", and the bottom is very difficult to read. It's in much better shape than the other card, and I love the artwork on the front of the card. It really goes to show how well history has evolved over the years in baseball. 

David Beals Becker, known better as Beals Becker, was born in El Dorado, Kansas, all the way back in 1886. He was part of the Bugle Corps at the Wentworth Military Academy, while starring in all three major sports and eventually winning the Wentworth's Champion Athlete Award in 1903. He turned out to be a fairly solid power hitter for 5 teams throughout his career, which ended following the 1915 season. He retired with 45 career home runs, having been in the top 10 in the NL Home Run leader list 4 times! Of course, he played during an era in which not many balls left the yard, until Ruth came about, but nonetheless he was a very good player. He became the first player with multiple pinch hit home runs in the same season, and also set a record for 2 inside the park home runs in one game! He passed away in 1943, at the age of 57. His card is the Cycle variation, which Topps did a great job of using back in 2009 when they did a remake of the T206 set. 

Overall, again, thank you so much to both Johnny and Tim for the amazing cards and pieces to add to the collection! I really do appreciate it, especially those tobacco cards. They're in good hands, without a doubt. 

See Ya!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Quick Cano Addition!

Hey guys, Drew back here. I just wanted to quickly share a card I recently got in, one I picked a grand total of $1.25 for, with free shipping. Take a look:

Nothing overly special, but certainly for the price I couldn't go wrong. Out of the 2007 Fleer Ultra "Feel the Game" relic set, I picked up the Robinson Cano relic. This is the 192nd unique card I own in my Cano collection, which has certainly came a long way over the past year or two I've been collecting him. I may not be the crazy player collector that goes for all of his 1/1's and his triple patch autos and so on, but I really am a big fan of his and I love every chance I have to pick up more of his cards! 

That being said, once again if anyone has any Cano cards they'd be willing to trade, please shoot me an email or comment on this post. I look forward to getting my 200th card of his in the near future! 

Thanks everyone, and See Ya!

Even More Mail from William!

Hey guys, Drew back here! It's been a very long week consisting of illness, stress, and school work. As most of you know, those three don't mix well, at all. However, I've been still active in the hobby, sending a few TTM's and making trades, more than I've done in certainly a while. I have a lot of stuff to share with you all, and I doubt you are any bit surprised that the first order of business is that of a package from my great friend William. William cracked open three jumbo boxes of the new 2012 Topps product, and was awesome enough to send over the Yankees cards he pulled to me! Take a look at those, as well as soon other cards he was nice enough to throw in:

I really like the looks of the new Topps series from the small taste of it I've gotten here and there in the past two weeks. The design; while some people may disagree, looks very clean, simple, and does what most companies should try to do most- make the picture stand out. I feel like this is probably the most important part of building a strong overall design for a card: to focus more on the photograph than anything else. Some of the photograph selections in the past few years have been excellent, and a prime example of this is the honorary Mariano Rivera all time save leader card. It's a classy tribute to a classy player, without a doubt.

A special feature of the 2012 Topps set is that, along with the 2011 League Leaders subset, there is also the "Active League Leaders" subset, consisting of AL/NL players with the highest career batting averages; home runs; RBI's; Wins; ERA; and Strikeouts. I was kind of surprised to see that Jason Giambi has the 3rd Most RBI in the American League of any active players, with players such as David Ortiz and Paul Konerko still active. Then again, Giambi has seemed to be around forever, so I guess it's not that much of a surprise. I think the design on these cards could be improved, but they look better this year than they have in the past.

I didn't get a chance to share my opinions on the A.J. Burnett move, so I guess I'll take a little time out to do so. Well, the Yankees didn't certainly get a whole lot out of the deal, they DID get cap room, which they needed more than anything, to sign a left handed bat, which turned out to be Raul Ibanez. I'm glad to see him get an opportunity in a smaller city, because he certainly didn't shine under the New York City limelight. The Burnett signing just went to show that you have to be extremely careful before signing pitchers to big contracts. I watched the movie "Moneyball" today for the second time and without a doubt I can say that it's easy to find a pitcher to do just the job for much less money.

I really like the look of the golden parallels this year, although I do find it as a bit of a coincidence that Topps did away with the gold parallel cards the same year as the Golden theme occurred. I'm not upset or complaining though, because they were kind of just there most of the time.

This set needs to be put to rest as soon as possible. Since 2010 from what I can remember, Topps has issued a set having to do with comparing two players. The idea died after the first year it was done in my opinion. There is no need to have a card comparing Maris and Granderson. However, with the shortage of Maris cards in the market, I still like to add his cards here and there.

The last 2012 card William sent me between his two latest packages was this 1987 style mini of Robinson Cano, which will be added into my Robinson Cano collection! I kind of like this set, especially compared to the other inserts from this year's product. Cano is certainly going to be expected to have a big year, and I have no doubt in my mind that he will come through yet again. He is the best talent I've gotten the opportunity to watch on a day in-day out basis in my years watching baseball, without question.

Speaking of Cano, William also sent a few other of his cards to fill holes in my collection, both of which from 2008 Topps Finest. I don't know if I'm the only person that feels this way, but doesn't seem like Topps Finest is always just there every year? It never necessarily seems to stand out, but it's never really completely forgotten. Anyway, I needed I believe both of these cards, so thanks for the help, man.

Finally, a few of the heroes from the junk wax era, such as Dave Winfield and David Cone. It's not common for someone to send me cards of great Yankee players on other teams, so I typically need them whenever they come my way. Or I have them somewhere deep within stacks of random binders, which really is a pain to go through. And of course, the legendary Ron Davis; also known as the guy whose autograph took forever to identify on my signed Mantle photo. Can't go wrong with that!

William, you are one heck of a guy, and I really do appreciate all that you do for me! I'm going to get you back one day, without a doubt! Thanks again!

See Ya!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

2012 Topps eBay Additions!

Hey guys, Drew back here! About two weeks ago, I had to check out some 2012 Topps cards, but I wasn't interested in dropping a ton of money for a box, or even packs. Instead, I took the eBay route, and picked up a few relics from the set. Take a look:

First, I managed to add the Robinson Cano bat relic to my Cano PC, for about $6! The relic design is just ok to me for this set, because I think there's just a bit too much space not used. However, I like that it's a clean design with not a whole lot going on, putting more emphasis on the relic piece. The inserts using this design without the relic look pretty bad though, not going to lie.

The second, and final (for now) relic I picked up was this one above of Giants freak closer Brian Wilson, who certainly has one of the more different personalities in the game today. Some people hate him, some people love him. Personally, I think he's awesome, because 1) his beard is amazing, and 2) he adds something to baseball that not many other players can do. He's helped transform his Giants team into a fun to watch, contending team with many characters that make it easy to root for them. This is my first semi-decent addition  to my collection of Wilson, and hopefully there will be a few more to come in the future.

See Ya!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Mail from a New Friend, Scott!

Hey guys, Drew back here. I was really fortunate a few weeks ago to meet a kid named Scott through William! Scott is one year older than me, and is a genuinely awesome person without a doubt. William met him at one of his card shows and worked out a few deals with him, thus leading to him directing Scott over to my blog, as he always seems to do! Scott emailed me asking about a future trade, and we were able to work out a blockbuster trade as reporters would say. Take a look at some of the sweet cards he sent over to me:

I'll start with the extras I received. There were quite a few cards I needed badly, such as the Cano chrome card and the Eduardo Nunez chrome rookie. I even think I still needed the Nick Swisher Allen & Ginter card, which goes to show how well I've collected him over the past few months. The other day I was sorting out cards for a trade and found a box of Allen & Ginter laying there, still filled with all of the loose cards I already broke out of packs. I opened that box in August. Time to catch up there, Drew.

Here are some of my favorites of his throw ins. I absolutely love the Thurman Munson cereal box chrome refractor, which has alluded me for a few years now. The Vazquez purple refractor is numbered out of 599, and while he wasn't necessarily effective as a Yankee during his two stints, it really is a gorgeous card. I also really like the Josh Hamilton propaganda card. Hamilton has undergone a bit of speculation over this offseason with the whole "couple of beers scandal", which I find absolutely ridiculous and blown up. He still remains one of my favorite players, so nice try media.  

We now arrive to the meat of the trade, which begins with this very nice 2008 Upper Deck Spectrum relic card numbered to 99 of Curtis Granderson! Curtis has become a favorite in New York after his enormous 2011 season, and while it may be hard to repeat, he may be one of the only players in baseball that has the talent to be able to repeat it. Granderson is part of my secondary player collection list, and I'm always looking for cards of his I didn't already have. 

Next was this 2008 Allen & Ginter relic of Mark Teixeira. There isn't much to dislike about Mark, besides his often slow starts and occasional painful to watch playoff performances. He's a great clubhouse guy, as well as perhaps the best defensive first baseman in the league, and a very good power hitter. Sometimes his streaks irritate me but for the most part I like the guy a lot. This card is awesome too, even though Tex hardly played for Atlanta. Any red relic is uncommon to find, and as soon as Scott offered it to me I jumped right on it!

The final relic of the three he included in the trade was for my 2011 Topps Tier One relic set, this being of Phillies pitcher Cole Hamels. Hamels is one of the newer players on the checklist, and while most people wonder how he shares a card in the same set as the Great Bambino, I find it kind of cool to have a solid variety of players. Hamels will probably never have the career statistics to put himself in such an elite set, so I guess he should enjoy his time to shine now while he has it. This makes the 11th card of the 50 card set for me so far, which is great considering I started the set just a couple of months ago!

However, we aren't quite done here yet! Scott informed me prior to mailing his package out that he was going to be attending a dinner event with some current major league players, and offered to try and get me an autograph! I gladly took up his generous offer and sent over 2 customs cards, one for him and one for me, of one of the players attending the dinner! 

Scott didn't promise me an autograph by any means, but the fact that he was willing to try meant a lot to me. Sure enough, however, he came through in the clutch, landing me an Adam Jones autograph! Normally I don't tend to go for many Orioles cards/autographs, mainly because they typically don't stay in my collection all that long. In my opinion though, Jones has to be their best player nowadays, and I thought it would be cool to at least have his autograph. He inscribed his number 10 below the autograph, and I love the way it came out! Scott had a great experience meeting Jones, Willie Bloomquist, and a bunch of current prospects at the dinner event, and you can take a look at his recap here

Thank you so much Scott for everything you did for me! I really look forward to extending our friendship more and more and making more deals in the future! Everyone please be sure to check out his blog when you get a chance, even though he is... a Red Sox fan!

See Ya!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

One of Baseball's Biggest Kids Has Left the Field..

Hey guys, Drew back here. Watching baseball players ain't what it used to be, as Yogi Berra would say. In fact, I find it great to be able to have the opportunity to see what the game was like, say, prior to when I was born, on the MLB Network. I watched a show today called "Prime 9", which I'm sure many of you have watched before, and it was about the top 9 greatest characters in baseball history. Then, fittingly after I finished watching the countdown, I received a text from William. On occasion, he tends to sporadically inform me of news around sports, such as the passings of many former legends like Bob Feller, Duke Snider, Harmon Killebrew, Ron Santo, and many others. I was a little scared to check this one, unless it was a simple "Hey", or "How are you?" for example. Unfortunately, I had a reason to be scared, and that was because the message read "Gary Carter died."

I have to say, as sad as the news was to hear the first time, I wasn't necessarily surprised. Mr. Carter has suffered an enormous amount of pain in the past year, and it was almost assumed he wouldn't be able to survive brain cancer. However, there were moments of hope the Carter family had that relieved me. My family went through a tough time late last fall, and hearing news of a 57 year old man suffering from one of the worst cancer diseases out there was just a true tragedy. But, coming from someone who has now seen the effects of cancer, in a way I'm glad his suffering is now officially over. Maybe he could have recovered, but he would never fully feel the same way after battling a disease that takes people down a rollercoaster that endlessly continues to go straight down.

Fortunately, he lived a short, but great life. Gary loved the game of baseball, which is noticeable the moment you go to his Baseball Reference page, where besides his name is his nickname, "The Kid". I didn't have to go there to tell you how great of a player he was, for 4 teams, over 19 seasons behind the plate. Coming from a Yankee fan who is embarrassed to share the New York baseball love with the Mets, I will admit that 1986 season was a classic to look back on. Who knows how history would've unfolded had Carter not smacked a single to spark the late inning rally in the 10th inning of the 6th game of the World Series. Had the Red Sox wound up winning, the alleged "Curse of the Bambino" garbage from 2004 never would've been mentioned. Instead, the Mets took home the trophy to many bright stars and great people among the game. Carter was undoubtedly one of those great people.

He was elected into Cooperstown in 2003 on his 6th year on the ballot, where he continued to carry his famous smile. "The Kid" proved to fans that baseball is everything but about the money, which is why it hurts me to watch current players go out there and perform every day. A majority of current players love the game dearly, but that love for America's Pastime often gets pushed aside for a nice fat contract that will earn them cars and houses and all sorts of other expensive items. We need more Gary Carter's in baseball today, for sure. He set an excellent example for how to play the game the right way, without needles, syringes, PED's, and everything else that gives advantages to players. Baseball is changing into a business more and more every day, so it certainly is sad to see Gary go. It is just a game, afterall.

Rest in peace, Kid. I'd like to give my condolences to his family, friends, and fans, who lost a great of the game today, as well as a great of our world.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Mail from "The Angels, in Order"!

Hey guys, Drew back here. This post has been long overdue, as I received some nice cards a couple of weeks ago from my buddy Tom, of the blog The Angels in Order. Tom inquired to me about some 1961 Topps cards I needed, and we were able to work out a pretty good deal! Take a look at some of what he had to send my way:

As extras, Tom threw in a lot of mixed 1990's-2000's Yankees cards, including quite a few I didn't have already. One card that I got a good kick out of was the Mariano Rivera card in the top left corner of the scan above, from 1998 Upper Deck. Mo's looking quite sexy in those short shorts! Also, he sent a Don Mattingly card I didn't have, which is always a great accomplishment. 

Continuing the trend, here are a few more mixed Yankees cards. The Rivera (3rd from left, top row) is an insert from 2011 Topps, which was by far one of the worst insert set Topps has already done. In my opinion, once you make a card, there is really no need to honor it by making it again. However, I do really like the Matsui cards, he was certainly a very good Yankee and I enjoyed watching him a lot. 

Another insert set collectors aren't necessarily fans of was without a doubt the 2007 A-Rod Home Run History cards. They certainly were pollutants to the set that year, and I've managed to acquire about 20-30 of them, mainly through trades. There couldn't have been much of a thought process going into that set, and in my opinion it would've been much cooler if they used 1) a different design and 2) photos of each of his home run swings. They have to have at least one picture of each of his home runs. 

These 3 are from the 1991 Topps Micro set, of Kevin Maas, Steve Sax, and Roberto Kelly, 3 of the most overproduced Yankee players of the 90's without question. These are certainly a neat concept, but they can be a pain because they tend to always spill all over the floor whenever they're in stacks of cards I'm holding. Storing these can be a pain too, but for the most part they're pretty cool. 

These three cards were the cake of the trade, all of which from the 1961 Topps set. All of the cards are of Angels players: Tom Morgan, Ken McBride (RC), and Ken Hamlin. I hope these weren't important in your team set building Tom, if so you really didn't have to offer them up. But nonetheless they are all in very good condition and they push me to a 35.7% completion rate. Still a ways to go, including the relentless high numbers. It'll certainly be a while before I'm close to capping this one off. 

But wait, there's more! Tom also decided it would be nice of him to throw in this 2008 Allen & Ginter bat card of Johnny Damon! I really was never a fan of Damon during his Red Sox days, but when he went to the Yankees and shaved his Caveman beard off, I instantly started to like him. By watching him play, besides his near-horrid throwing arm, he was a very solid player throughout his prime, and in his four seasons as a Yankee! This card is very nice all around, and I'm glad you threw it in Tom!

On a similar note, I'm very curious to see where Damon will end up signing by Opening Day, if he is signed at all. The Yankees have had discussions with him to fill in the DH role, which in my opinion would be a pretty solid signing. He can't provide a whole lot in the field, but he's a good clubhouse guy and one of our generation's better players, and it would be nice to see him have a shot at 3000 hits as a Bronx Bomber. I guess we'll have to wait and see where he lands.

So, thanks a lot again Tom for all the help, and I hope you're looking forward to your package back, which was mailed this morning! Everyone be sure to subscribe to Angels in Order if you haven't already!

See Ya!

Sunday, February 12, 2012


Hey guys, Drew back here. All my life, I've never been an enormous basketball fan. I played it between 2nd grade and 7th grade, and while I didn't really dominate the court, it was a lot of fun. Draining a three pointer at the Izod Center will be a moment I will never forget, but my basketball knowledge isn't close to as impressive as my baseball knowledge. Going into this season, however, I decided to start following the Knicks again. I mean, they looked excellent on paper, with Amare Stoudemire, Carmelo Anthony, Tyson Chandler, and Baron Davis when healthy. Davis still hasn't played a game yet, but it looks like he isn't as needed as one may have thought.

Last Monday was a tragic day for Amare Stoudemire, as his brother was killed in a car accident. Along with his absence, All Star Carmelo Anthony has dealt with a groin injury that has kept him sidelined all week. Nobody thought there was any way the Knicks could play effectively and win games during this time, but things changed when point guard Jeremy Lin stepped on the floor. The Knicks claimed him on December 12th, after he had been waived by the Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets. He was considered their 3rd string point guard, behind Toney Douglas and Mike Bibby, and he didn't expect much playing time or attention in the Big Apple.

On January 4th, Lin scored 25 points with 5 rebounds and 7 assists in a big Knicks win over the New Jersey Nets. The next day he was named to the starting lineup, and he continued to impress, scoring 28 points with 8 assists against the Utah Jazz. His quickness, agility, and overall ability has taken the world by storm. In fact, he even scored a career high 38 points against Kobe Bryant and the LA Lakers en route to beating the powerhouse  92-85. His 109 points in his first four NBA starts is more than NBA Greats Allen Iverson, Shaquille O'Neal, and Michael Jordan, who each had just a few points less than Lin.

Knicks fans are embracing the young star, starting phrases such as "Linning" and "Lin-sanity", and in less than a week he went from a struggling young player to the King of Madison Square Garden. I've never watched anyone dominate a sport in such a short period of time, and while the future is uncertain for him, I will always consider myself a fan. In fact, the night of his first appearance almost got me to buy an autograph of his for about $20. I definitely should've done that, as his autographs are now selling in the $100-200 dollar range! It is truly Lin-Sane!

On a different note, I just want to wish my thoughts and prayers to the family of Whitney Houston. Rest in peace.

See Ya!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Getting to Meet a Current Yankee!

Hey guys, Drew back here! After another week of school has concluded, again without a single snowflake hitting the ground, I'm back here to show off my experiences from last weekend's "Man Show", a show dedicated to men, men, and well... men. At this packed show, there were all sorts of manly games, merchandise, beer, and what not. The reason Dad and I went there was because a company called Dream Team Promotions was holding an autograph signing! The Dream Team company has held many local signings of current New York Giants football players lately, with an occasional Jet or baseball star mixed in. They had two signers at this show- David Robertson of the Yankees, and Chase Blackburn of the Super Bowl Champion New York Giants! If you guys know me well enough by now you'd know who I was going to meet!

It was absolutely mobbed with men (and a few women here and there, along with my younger sister) at the show, and the lines were really long for the most part. I got into the Robertson line as soon as I could, and while we soon found out we were in the wrong line, we still didn't have to wait all that long for our opportunity to meet him. I forgot my digital camera at home, so I put my Dad and my sister in charge of taking pictures with my iPod touch and my dad's Droid. The pictures came out better than I thought, so I was happy about that.

The Yankees' "Houdini" was sporting his 2009 World Series ring, and the picture above is of him showing that thing off. I would too if I ever got a World Series ring! After about a 45 minute wait, I finally got my chance to have my meet and greet session. 

For the first time in a long time, I actually felt comfortable talking to an athlete. Normally, I tense up and get really nervous, and I have a loss for words by the time it's my chance. But, Robertson was really down to Earth and friendly as can be, so I was able to ask him about this upcoming season and if he's ready to take him another World Series trophy. He told me he would love to get a matching ring for his opposite hand, and that he's going to try to help the team bring home number 28!

I wasn't allowed a photo opportunity with him, as you had to pay extra money, which I find ridiculous, but oh well. I bought a photo at the show for him to sign, although my original intention was to have him sign my Mantle photo. I thought about it on the ride there though, and I thought he wouldn't really fit on a photo filled with former Yankee autographs. By the way, thank you to everyone who helped me identify all of the autographs, especially you Anonymous, who helped me identify the final auto, of Ron Davis. Anyway, Robby inscribed everything I wanted him to inscribe and more, which is just beyond awesome! I was worried with all of the steep autograph prices the company had that inscriptions would cost extra, but even if they did, he didn't seem to care one bit. He was a class act, for sure. 

I've always liked Robertson a lot, but after this signing my appreciation for him grew even more. Sure, he got paid good money to sign autographs, but it's really a rarity to see any young players doing signings nowadays in my area. I hope the Dream Team Promos company continues to succeed with these signings, because I would love to meet some more Yankee players who aren't locked up to contracts with Steiner yet. Robertson was well worth the money, as you can see from the autograph and the overall experience. Even though I didn't necessarily get a picture with him, he was just a super cool guy. 

Thanks again Dream Team, and David Robertson! You guys are awesome! Also thanks to Dad as always for taking me to the show, it was definitely worth it for me! 

See Ya!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Mail from William... Orioles Fanfest Pickup!

Hey guys, Drew back here. You may be a bit puzzled as to why the title contains "Orioles Fanfest Pickup", following "Mail from William", who is an Orioles fan. However, William recently went with his son to this year's Orioles Fanfest to meet many O's stars, past and present. One of the stars there was one I wanted pretty badly for my custom set. I didn't get the custom done in time, but William was still awesome enough to get a card signed for me. He sent it over my way a week or so ago, and it came out awesome! Before we get to that, first here are a few extras he threw in:

First are just a few mixed Yankees. Besides the Matsui, I don't think I had any of the others. But who knows. My basement is such a mess.

I thought this was pretty sweet. It's a Don Mattingly card from 1992 Upper Deck, part of the "Iooss Collection". Walter Iooss Jr. was a photographer who apparently took all of the photographs for this set. This card is numbered 5673 of 10,000, and features an awesome picture of Donnie Baseball. Definitely needed that one, for sure.

While those were cool, the main piece of the package was this signed 1973 Topps card of Jim Palmer! Like I said, I didn't get my card to him in time to get it signed, but this looks really awesome. He signed it in thick black sharpie, and the card is in pretty decent shape. Palmer was considered one of the, perhaps the best pitcher of the 1970's, winning 3 Cy Young awards and making 6 All Star teams. I already own one autograph of his, from one of those early 90's Nabisco products, but this one is my favorite of the two.

Thanks again William for doing this for me, it really means a lot!

See Ya!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Fresh Off a Big Win, Knicks Auto Pickup!

Hey guys, Drew back here. Until this year, I've never really been a basketball fan, but I would watch it here and there. I got the privilege a few years ago to play on an NBA Court (Continental Airlines Arena), and I'll never forget making a 3 pointer on that court. I've bounced back and forth over the years as a Knicks and Nets fan, depending on how they were doing, but this year I decided to become a permanent Knicks fan. It's nothing against the Nets, but I love their current team, although they've struggled quite a bit. One of my favorite current Knicks is the one I just happened to pick up an autograph of recently. Take a look:

Out of the 2009-10 Panini Crown Royale product, here is a sweet di-cut rookie auto of guard Toney Douglas numbered out of 699! Douglas may not be Carmelo Anthony or Amare Stoudemire, but I think he's going to be a very solid player for a while. This season he's averaging a little over 8 points a game, and he's just a solid team player overall. I really like the design of this card, and I'm glad I stumbled upon it on eBay a while ago. Hopefully I'll be able to pick up a few more Knicks autographs for my collection (maybe Jeremy Lin next, after his performance last night!), and maybe they can be somewhat of a contender by the end of the season. I know I'll be watching!

Speaking of what I'll be watching, as a Jets fan, tonight will be a difficult night. However, I'm going all out for the Giants to beat New England in the Super Bowl, because there is no team in football I hate more than New England! Let's Go Giants!

See Ya!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Congratulations, Curtis Martin!

Hey guys, Drew back here. Today was the announcement of the 2012 Pro Football Hall of Fame induction class, and I was extremely pleased to see one of my all time favorite football players get a well deserved honor, in former Jets running back Curtis Martin. This is the first time that somebody I got to watch play quite often has been elected into any Hall of Fame, for that matter. I know it will be the first of many, but it is going to be truly special to watch Curtis officially become one of football's elite.

I began watching sports in 2004, starting in the fall when the Jets were contending in the playoffs. Unfortunately, the one highlight I remember most was Doug Brien missing a field goal that would have brought them into the AFC Championship game, and going on to lose to the young Ben Roethlisberger and his Steelers team. Somehow, as crushed as I was from that game, I continued to watch sports more and more. I guess it was love at first sight! Another part of that season I remember was when Curtis Martin won the rushing title over Shaun Alexander by a mere yard. So, to say Curtis Martin helped me grow interest in sports in general is a very fair statement.

Now, over 7 years later, I sit home all day writing about sports and collecting cards and memorabilia. Seeing the headline "Curtis Martin leads 6 HOF Enshrinees" on ESPN.com made me revert back to those days, before the collection, before the hobby entered my mind, and way before this blog was started.

Martin only played for 3 seasons during my football interest "era", but he to this day is one of my favorite players of all time. It's cool to think that I was able to see a Hall of Famer play in person, even though I know I've seen more future Hall of Famers play that just haven't been eligible for induction yet. I'm sure a majority of you all have seen players like this in your life, but I'll never forget the memories Curtis Martin left behind, and what he's helped me grow to love.

Thank you Curtis, and again, a huge congratulations on becoming a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame!

See Ya!

Topps Tier One Relic Pickups!

Hey guys, Drew back here! Moving along with the rest of the stuff cluttering my desk, here are a few cards I was able to pick up off of eBay recently, both of which go towards my new set chase! Take a look:

First off was this Brooks Robinson jersey relic out of 2011 Topps Tier One, numbered 76 of 399! Obviously, I know a certain blogger who would love the heck out of this card, but for the sets sake, it's going to have to stay with me. There's no doubting that besides Mike Schmidt, Brooks could be arguably one of the top 2 or 3 best 3rd basemen of all time! This card is so nice, and the jersey relic is so soft! 

The next, and final card for this post was this 2011 Topps Tier One relic numbered 179 of 399 of Mets Hall of Famer Tom Seaver! I'm not sure what to really make of this card. The design, photo, and just about everything was executed perfectly. But I'm a little stumped as to why they chose to use a bat relic of his for the set. It's very rare to find bat cards of pitchers, and it can be a cool find here and there, but in a high end relic set like this, wouldn't it be smart to choose something more, um, relevant to the player? Seaver was a lifetime .154 hitter, with 12 home runs, and 99 hits in 1552 at bats. Go Tom Terrific! Besides that fact it's a pretty nice addition to the set chase!

Alright that'll just about do it guys, please shoot me an email or comment if you have any of the Tier One relic cards. I'm only looking for the the single relics, except for these players- Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth, and Mickey Mantle, who I am interested in adding the dual relics for. Thanks!

See Ya!