# Wednesday, December 09, 2009
I got my first return from the batch of mail I sent late last week.  As always, info and scans of ALL successes can be found in the mailbag!

Gary Peters - 4/4 cards, plus permission to send a 16x20

posted on Wednesday, December 09, 2009 12:13:18 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #   
# Monday, December 07, 2009
I received two mail successes from Orlando Cabrera last week.  Unfortunately, he swapped the Sox cards in both of them for an Angels and Expos card.

I also completed a trade with my friend Mike, another big Sox fan, for an autograph that has been high on my wantlist for a long time.  He received a Dick Tidrow 1984 Topps autograph, and I received this:

I have been looking for a George Bell autograph in a Sox uni for quite some time.  Thanks Mike!
posted on Monday, December 07, 2009 9:56:37 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #   
# Wednesday, December 02, 2009
This will be the long overdue second entry on my "Top Ten" series.  Today I will be listing my ten favorite White Sox players of all time.  I actually put quite a bit of thought into this list, and feel comfortable with who I have chosen.

#10 - Minnie Miñoso - One of the most underrated players in the history of baseball, it is an absolute joke that Minnie Miñoso is not in the HOF.  In fact, most people don't even say his name right.  Notice the tilde over the "ñ" in Miñoso?  It is pronounced "mean-YO-so", not "minn-OH-so" as most people say it.  You'd think a career OPS+ of 130 would get people to say your name right!  Minnie was an excellent all-around player.  He could hit, field, and run. 

Minnie has always been a class act, and I will always remember the times I have met him in person very fondly.  When I saw him at Soxfest in 2008, Minnie responded to my claims that he belongs in the HOF with a long diatribe of his own, completely agreeing with me.  Well, you're in the (theoretical) ChiSoxCollector.com Hall of Fame!

#9 - Gary Peters -
Another very underrated Sox player, Peters posted 4 ERA+'s of 132 or better in his time with the ChiSox.  For those that don't know, ERA+ a statistic measuring ERA against league average, while adjusting for ballpark factors.  A 100+ is average.  An ERA+ of 132 means that Gary Peters was 32% better than an average pitcher in 4 of his seasons with the Sox.  Since 1950, Gary has registered the 6th & 8th best White Sox single-season ERA+, and his career ERA+ of 116 (minimum 1000IP) is the eighth best Sox total since 1950!

To top off his pitching credentials, Gary is an amazing guy.  I finally got to meet him at a card show in Chicago in 2007.  The first thing he said when he arrived at the signing table was something along the lines of "If you're a Cubs fan, get out!".  Gary, I couldn't have said it better myself.

#8 - Mark Buehrle -
Thus far, Buehrle has a career ERA+ of 122, good enough for second on the White Sox career list since 1950.  Combined with his perfect game, no hitter, and stellar postseason play in 2005, Mark has as good a claim as any as the best modern (1950+) pitcher in Sox history!

I've only (briefly) met Mark once, at Picnic in the Park in 2008.  However, based on his antics on the field and in the dugout, I have no reservations stating that he is just a swell guy.  Sliding on tarps during rain delays, openly talking about his in-progress no-hitters, and doing everything he can to catch all of the ceremonial first pitches just so he can meet the celebrity, Mark seems like a regular guy with an extraordinary talent.

#7 - Jason Bere -
Jason was a ChiSox legend in the making when overuse and injuries derailed his career.  Began career with ERA+s of 121/124 in 1993/94, then never again reached 100 in a full season.  He threw 110 or more pitches in 22 of his first 46 Major League games.  There is a strong likelihood that this heavy workload is responsible for his subsequent dropoff and injuries.

Jason was always a willing signer.  During his first few seasons with the Sox, he always parked outside of Gate 1 of Angel Stadium, and signed for everybody that was waiting there for autographs.

#6 - Tim Raines - Sox fans only got to see Raines at a very good player, not the fantastic player that he was at his peak with Montreal.  Tim was likely the second best player in the NL during the 1980s, surpassed only by Mike Schmidt.  His 133 OPS+ was the fifth highest of the decade, but once you factor in defensive and baserunning value, he almost certainly surpasses the 3 directly ahead of him (Jack Clark, Daryl Strawberry, Pedro Guerrero).  However, Schmidt's 153 OPS+ is probably too much to overcome.  Raines is quite possibly the best eligible position player not in the HOF, and he is an infinitely better candidate than the recently elected Jim Rice.

Raines has always been a great signer.  Even now, as manager of the Newark Bears, he makes sure to sign one per person for everybody that wants an autograph.  One of the few game-used items I have been given directly from the player is a wristband (with his #30 on it) Raines gave me after a game against the Angels.

#5 - Steve Sax -
Sax was my favorite player growing up.  I was heavily influenced by my mother in this regard, who loved the Dodgers and referred to him as "Sexy Saxy".  Rest assured, his sex appeal has nothing to do with my childhood affinity for him as a player.

When I first began getting into Sabermetrics in the early 2000s, one of the biggest disappointments was finding out that Sax wasn't nearly as good as I thought he had been.  He perceived value was represented by two things: batting average and stolen bases.  It turns out his batting average was empty (no power or walks) and his decent stolen base totals were countered by his mediocre success rate (71%, roughly break even).  Combined with his mediocre defense, Sax was at best an average player throughout his career.

Sax is also probably the least fan-friendly of those on this list.  By no means is he a bad guy, but in my personal meetings with him he doesn't seem to enjoy fan interaction very much.  Once, in 1993, I was badgering Sax for an autograph during batting practice prior to a game against the Angels.  Admittedly, I was a bit over the top in my pleas for an autograph.  He got visibly annoyed, but the action he took to shut me up made my day (more like my year).  He picked up a bat off of the ground, and literally threw it at me from about 10 feet away.  He'd probably say that he threw it to me, but as I was holding a binder in one hand and a sharpie in the other, the likelihood of me catching it couldn't have been high.  Luckily, good hands were always my best athletic tool (both in baseball and football) and I caught the bat in my sharpie hand.  It turned out to be a Robin Ventura gamer, which to this day is probably the most prized item in my collection.  Thanks Steve!

#4 - John Danks -
John has only been with the Sox for three years, but he has made quite an impression on me in that short time frame.  After a mediocre rookie season, John has put up a combined 130 ERA+ over the last 2 seasons.  Not only that, but he cemented his status as a ChiSox legend when he pitched 8 shutout innings in the "Blackout" tiebreaker against the Twins in 2008, then followed that up by getting the only Sox win in the Division Series against the Rays.

John is also as fan-friendly as can be.  I've met him a couple of times now, and he literally signs everything people ask him to sign.  Hand him 10 cards, and he'll sign 10 cards (situation permitting) while making an effort not to smear any of them.  He is personable and friendly as well.  Let's hope the Sox get Danks locked up in a long-term contract ASAP!

#3 - Billy Pierce
- Billy Pierce belongs in the Hall of Fame.  This isn't a question.  Of all HOF-eligible pitchers since 1950 with 3000+ IP, Billy's ERA+ of 122 is the highest.  His 199 ERA+ in 1955 is the third highest single season total since 1950 amongst non-HOFers.  Combined with his excellent postseason performance (1.89 ERA across two World Series) he is a no-brainer.

If being a fan-friendly gentleman is counted towards HOF candidacy, then Pierce goes from just belonging to being downright inner-circle.  He is as classy as they come.  He signs everything put in front of him in person, and signs every piece of mail.  A class act all the way!

#2 - Robin Ventura - Rockin' Robin is the best defensive third baseman I have ever seen.  He was also a very good hitter with a 114 career OPS+.  He has a much stronger HOF case than people are giving him credit for.  Most writers aren't even mentioning him as a possibility.  There are LOTS of players worse than Ventura in the HOF, though admittedly that alone isn't a good reason for election.  Robin was a better hitter than Brooks Robinson, while probably slightly inferior as a fielder.  From a quality perspective, they are roughly equal.  The only thing that separates Brooks from Robin is career longevity.

Ventura has always been relatively fan-friendly.  Particularly later in his career, he seemed to truly embrace the fans.  During spring training while with the Dodgers, he would sign every autograph, pose for every picture, and even hold lengthy conversations with fans after practice had ended.

#1 - Frank Thomas -
The Big Hurt.  Probably the biggest reason I'm a Sox fan to begin with.  The best right handed hitter I have ever seen.  Frank has seven of the top eight OPS+ seasons in the long history of the White Sox (Dick Allen's 199 in 1972 is #2 on the list).  Frank's 211 OPS+ in 1994 is the highest in AL history by anybody not named Babe Ruth, Ted Williams, Lou Gehrig, or Mickey Mantle.  His 182 OPS+ over his first 8 seasons is the second highest in the history of baseball, behind only Ted Williams.  Only 7 hitters have had more 175 OPS+ seasons.  Truly an inner circle HOFer, even if he isn't seen that way.

Frank is also a good guy.  He may put his foot in his mouth with the media from time to time, but when it comes to relating to fans, he does it right.  From the day he came to the big leagues he has been a very good IP signer, which is unusual for a genuine superstar.  I will never forget Frank Thomas signing autographs before a Sunday afternoon game against the Angels.  It was sweltering hot, and Frank had sweat just dripping off of him.  He didn't let that stop him from signing autographs for 15 minutes during batting practice.  I've only seen one other superstar sign for that long during BP, and that was Cal Ripken.  That afternoon has been memorialized forever on a baseball card.  Behold, Frank's 1996 Score card (click image for a larger version):

Do you see the fan in the top left corner, wearing a green hat and holding a Sharpie cap in his hand?  Yeah, that's me!  And the Sharpie in Frank's hand is mine, which is why I'm holding a cap.  If I ever forget what a good guy The Big Hurt is, I just have to look at this card for an instant reminder.

*Honorable mention for the following players that I'm also a big fan of: Wilson Alvarez, Joe Crede, Lance Johnson, Jim Landis, Jim Rivera, Bob Shaw

posted on Wednesday, December 02, 2009 7:10:27 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #   
# Friday, November 27, 2009
I just received my final 50/50 package of 2009.  This comes from one of my traders that lives right in the middle of Sox minor league country (near Bristol, Kannapolis, & Winston-Salem).  He was also kind enough to pick up some team sets for me.  I received the following signed cards:

Greg Briley - 5
Charlis Burdie - 1
Anthony Carter - 2
Justin Cassel - 3
Tyson Corley - 1
John Curtis - 1
Richard Dotson - 4
Justin Edwards - 4
Jack Egbert - 1
Eduardo Escobar - 1
Jim Gallagher - 3
Archie Gilbert - 1
Lucas Harrell - 1
Kelvin Jimenez - 3
Logan Johnson - 3
Nathan Jones - 3
Charlie Leesman - 1
Johnnie Lowe - 1
Santo Luis - 3
Levi Maxwell - 3
Joe McEwing - 4
Dale Mollenhauer - 2
Sergio Morales - 3
Brent Morel - 4
John Orton - 2
Larry Owens - 5
Joe Persichina - 1
Jason Rice - 1
Adam Ricks - 7
Noe Rodriguez - 2
Sal Sanchez - 5
Hector Santiago - 3
Luis Sierra - 2
Miguel Socolovich - 3
Wes Whisler - 4

Not a bad haul!

posted on Friday, November 27, 2009 12:01:10 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #   
# Monday, November 09, 2009
I have gotten back a few successes recently, as well as a couple of eBay purchases.  First, the mail successes:

Brian Anderson - 2/2
Brian Anderson - 2/3
Clayton Richard - 2/2 (when did he start personalizing?)
Bobby Richardson - 3/3

And now for the eBay purchases:

Herb Score - 2001 Team Topps
Gavin Floyd - 2009 Goodwin Champions
Ron Kittle - 2009 Tristar Obak

posted on Monday, November 09, 2009 12:59:28 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #   
# Thursday, October 15, 2009
I received another 50/50 package today.  This one is from one of my Southern League traders.  Autographs included in the package are:

Javier Colina - 12 cards
Jordan Danks - 5 cards
John Ely - 10 cards
Lucas Harrell - 7 cards
Fernando Hernandez - 6 cards
Ever Magallanes - 12 cards
Kyle McCulloch - 3 cards
Jhonny Nunez - 5 cards
J.R. Perdew - 3 cards
John Shelby Jr. - 3 cards
Andy Tomberlin - 14 cards

I will also be receiving some signed photos from this same trader.  I expect to receive them next week.

posted on Thursday, October 15, 2009 9:01:33 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #   
# Wednesday, October 14, 2009
As I'm sure you have noticed, I haven't been sending out any mail requests lately.  That will soon be changing, as I'll be sending a big batch of retired requests in the next couple of weeks, as well as some stuff to the Arizona Fall League. 

I have received a few successes since my last update, and here they are:

Joe Cunningham - 3/3
Eddie Fisher - 3/3
Lance Johnson - 3/3
Mike Mussina - 2/2 (not a White Sox player, but still...)



posted on Wednesday, October 14, 2009 6:04:39 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #   
# Monday, October 12, 2009
I have received the results of a few more of my 2009 50/50 trades.  I received 133 autographs in all, here they are:

Brandon Allen - 2 cards
Cole Armstrong - 2 cards
Wilson Betemit - 1 8x10
Jason Bourgeois - 3 cards
Chris Carter - 1 card
Javier Castillo - 5 cards
Javier Colina - 1 card
Richard Dotson - 12 cards, 1 8x10
Jack Egbert - 5 cards
John Ely - 2 cards
Tyler Flowers - 1 card
Archie Gilbert - 2 cards
Keith Ginter - 3 cards
Matt Ginter - 2 cards
Lucas Harrell - 1 card
Daniel Hudson - 1 card
Ron Jackson - 2 cards
Kelvin Jimenez - 7 cards
Mike Johnston - 2 cards
Ron Karkovice - 1 card
Ray Liotta - 6 cards
Boone Logan - 2 cards
Matt Long - 2 cards
Donny Lucy - 1 card
Jeff Marquez - 2 cards, 1 8x10
Kyle McCulloch - 2 cards
Gustavo Molina - 3 cards
Russ Morman - 10 cards
Brian Myrow - 1 card
Brian Omogrosso - 2 cards
Pablo Ozuna - 1 card
Ken Patterson - 2 cards
Aaron Poreda - 2 cards
Danny Richar - 2 cards
Royce Ring - 2 cards
Derek Rodriguez - 6 cards
Adam Russell - 1 card
Sal Sanchez - 6 cards
Rich Sauveur - 6 cards
Ray Searage - 1 card
John Shelby Jr. - 2 cards
Chris Tremie - 1 card
Wilson Valdez - 2 cards
Ehren Wassermann - 2 cards
Wes Whisler - 7 cards
Randy Williams - 1 8x10

posted on Monday, October 12, 2009 8:35:01 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #   
# Sunday, August 30, 2009
Chet Lemon did a signing at a Detroit area mall a couple of weeks ago, and a collector in the area was nice enough to help me out at the signing.  As you have no doubt noticed, I have been working on a "South Side Hitmen" baseball project.  I'm trying to get all of the starting position players from the 1977 White Sox on baseballs with the "South Side Hitmen" inscription.  There will likely be one gap in my collection, as Jim Spencer is no longer with us.  I have kept an eye on eBay, but I doubt I'll be so lucky as to find a baseball with that particular inscription.  Richie Zisk may be an issue as well.  As far as I know, he has stopped signing altogether in recent years.  Anyway, here is my Lemon ball!

posted on Sunday, August 30, 2009 4:22:33 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #   
# Sunday, August 23, 2009
The wife and I went down to Fort Lauderdale this weekend.  Bud's Sports Cards & Collectibles was having a signing with with 5 former players, including former Sox Oscar Gamble and Ron Blomberg.  We decided to make a weekend out of it. 

We stayed at the Gallery One, a Doubletree suites hotel.  Since I'm a platinum Hilton Honors member, we got upgraded to a suite with a balcony overlooking the water.  The room was a tad small for a suite, but it was nicely furnished, and had a nice, clean look. 

This was my first time at Bud's.  It's a nice, large shop, with a broad selection of autographed memorabilia, in addition to the standard sports card fare.

I had Blomberg sign his two White Sox cards, and I had Gamble sign his two White Sox cards and a baseball.  The extra Gamble 1985 Topps Traded is for a friend in Chicago.

I also received a small 50/50 back from one of my independent league traders.

Edwin Almonte - 4 cards
Freddy Thon - 3 cards

Here are some pics:

posted on Sunday, August 23, 2009 9:02:55 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #