Monday, April 23, 2018

Blog Bat Around -- Autograph Lineup

The Torren Up Cards blog started a Blog Bat Around where bloggers present a baseball lineup using autographed items from their collection. I'm not much of an autograph collector but I have enough to put this together. I played fast and loose with the original guidelines but I'm sure nobody cares. 

For one thing I expanded the lineup to a nearly full team. I used signed items I had already scanned (most have been posted here previously) and it is heavily weighted towards the Orioles. But let's roll with it. 

The Starting Rotation:

Sandy Koufax kicks it off. Not the best card ever produced but when you have to purchase a Koufax auto card you take what's affordable. 

After a lefty you schedule a righty. Jim Palmer on an Orioles team postcard. It was signed to my son when we met JP at a Jockey promo event in 1989. My boys were just a few months old.

Next in the man Billy Pierce. This '61 Topps is one of the cards I sent him to sign.

The back end of my four man rotation is El Presidente!! Dennis signed this O's postcard for me a few years ago when he was the Astros bullpen coach.

Spot Starter: 
Do they even use the term 'spot starter' today? Back in the day when I heard that I immediately thought of Dave Leonard for the Orioles. Holding down the slot for my 'all sig' team is Hideo Nomo on a '96 Fleer. This one should get an asterisk because that signature could be anything!

The Closer:
Tippy Martinez on an 8 x 10. I believe I've told this story before but my wife brought it up again not long ago. I dragged her to Arlington to watch the O's one night about the time Tippy was debuting for the O's. Her being Mexican-American and me being an idiot I convinced her to ask him in Spanish if he was happy in Baltimore. He looked at me and said "I hope to do well in your city" in perfect un-accented English. I later learned he was from Colorado.

The Set-up guy: 
Kent Tekulve on an Archives sig card. Cool shades, bad uni. I got this card to fill out a '4 for $5' purchase at a recent card show.

The long man:
Moe Drabowsky on a Milton Bradley game card. A long-ago card show purchase.

And the position players.....

Catcher (and team ambassador):
Ellie Hendricks on another Orioles postcard. Outside of maybe Ernie Banks nobody loved being a big leaguer more than Elrod. He signed this for me at Yankee Stadium during his coaching days.

First Base:
Boog Powell on a Ted Williams Company card. Show pickup I think.

Second Base: 
Davey Johnson, lousy sig on O's postcard. Obtained at Memorial Stadium by my uncle who, btw, pretty much gave up on the club when Peter Angelos ran Johnson off as manager. Me? I was already pretty much off the baseball boat due to the '94 strike. But what little rooting interest I had at the time was lost when Johnson was pushed out the door.

Yet ANOTHER Orioles postcard.  Cal Ripken signed this in Arlington on one of my last visits to the old (and much funner) Arlington Stadium.

Third Base:
The great Brooks Robinson. Not long after we had our daughter in 1987 we received this 8x10 from Brooks. It arrived out of the blue from his office at Crown Petroleum. He obviously had even filled out the address and return addy himself. Turns out my aunt got his phone number from a mutual friend and called him. He sent two pics when my boys were born a couple of years later, that time personalized to them. Again prompted by my aunt.

Bonus Brooksie sig on an Exhibit card, just because.

The Outfield:
Stan the Man on an Exhibit reprint. I got this thru his estate's website when they were selling off signed items.

Paul Blair on an Archives sig card. Bought on eBay.

Frank Robinson on a banner I made for display at Yankee Stadium in 1969. The story as posted here previously:
In 1969 I went with a buddy, also a Oriole fan, to see the O's play at Yankee Stadium on a mid-week afternoon. We'd decided that we'd make a couple of banners to support our club. We set to work dividing an old bed sheet and, with orange paint and a marker, we each created a work of art. His was the number '5' for Brooks Robinson. Mine was a '20' in orange with 'RF' added on.
We missed the Orioles' batting practice session but we hung out near the third base dugout in hopes the players would see our signs when they warmed up. Then a batboy approached me and asked if I would like him to take my banner to Frank in the clubhouse and show it to him. I said 'Sure' and handed it to him not knowing if I'd see it again. Moments later here comes my banner up the dugout steps being carried by Frank Robinson himself. He asked whose it was and brought it over to me and thanked me for bringing it. He asked for my pen and signed it right in the middle on the '0'. 42 48 years later I still have it. It's discolored and been stained a bit along the way, the orange color had darkened to a pinkish red and the autograph has faded some. But that banner still means more to me than any piece of memorabilia I own. 

A better look at the sig.

And a better FRobby sig on a Nabisco card.

Designated Hitter:
Manny Machado's card came from a Topps Now preseason set (I forget what they called it). Manny is the only reason to watch the O's in 2018.

Pinch Hitter:
Minnie Minoso. This was from a stack of $1 signed cards from a dealer I've known since we worked together at the Houston Post in the early 70s. More of these used below.

The Bench:
Rick Dempsey is the backup catcher, porn 'stache model and rain delay entertainer. I bought a bunch of these signed 4x6 photos years ago. They are made from 'Tadder' photos. Mort Tadder was the Orioles' team photographer from 1961 through 2003 when he retired at 74. During those years he shot thousands of pictures of Oriole players, stars and otherwise. 

Lee May, Tadder 4x6

Richie Ashburn from that $1 stack.

Eric Davis. This was my first (and only) big-time player sig pull from a pack. Colon cancer survivor, Comeback Play of the Year, Oriole late in his career.One of the most talented players I've ever watched.

Kenny Singleton. $1 stack card.

Alan Trammell. Ditto. He's headed to Cooperstown in late July. Well deserved.

Bip Roberts. Because it's a blog. $1 signed card stack.

Ron Hansen on a 1960 Rookie Stars. I love this subset.

Earl Weaver. On the couple of occasions that I met Earl and had a chance to talk to him I didn't want to ask for an autograph. This Tadder photo may be the only sig I own.

Coaching staff:
Cal Ripken Sr. on a Donruss from 1982. Once a friend and I (he was a huge O's fan as well) were among the first to enter the old Arlington Stadium when the gates opened in the late afternoon for an Orioles-Rangers game. We went down behind the Orioles dugout and found Cal Sr. sitting in the box seats near the field, smoking. We asked him a few questions and he talked with us for quite awhile. I don't recall what the conversation was about but I do remember he said something funny about Earl Weaver.

Joe Torre, Tony LaRussa and Sparky Anderson. Just imagine sitting around a table at a hotel bar and listening to the baseball stories this staff would tell. All these are $1 stack cards.

General Manager:
Fuji...on a signed Fuji card! This team will need a smart, funny front office guy who's a tough negotiator. I figure Fuji, with his flea market-honed dickering skills, would be perfect.

So there it is. My Blog Bat Around signature All Star team. I'd go to war with these guys.


  1. Awesome post! I've got three of your guys on my team. I really enjoyed reading the story of how you acquired some of these (especially the Brooks & Frank) And how did you get a Fuji auto? I want a Fuji auto! :)

    1. Chris... I'm not sure if I have anymore of the 2008 design. But if you email me your address, I'll ship you one of the 2015 Topps cards I made.

    2. I have your card in a binder Fuji

    3. A binder? Nice. You guys sure know how to make a guy feel special.

  2. Some great names! Starting out with a Koufax sets the bar high.

  3. I have that Paul Blair! Pulled from a blaster.

  4. I'm so honored! Never thought I'd become the general manager of anything except my classroom. Love the story about Robinson coming out and signing your banner. Not sure if I read the original post. I'm getting old. I forget things so easily. Wait. I probably shouldn't have said that if I want to keep the general manager job.

  5. I knew you would have an Orioles laden lineup. Either that or have Billy P. Play every position

  6. Oh my did I leave out my Fuji and JBF signed cards?! What a missed opportunity!