# Tuesday, March 02, 2010
Today is the last day of my spring training vacation.  I had planned on going to the Astros workout, but unfortunately it was supposed to rain all day, so I ended up taking the day off to recuperate.

I've been in a pretty poor mood all day, as I hate wasting a day.  Luckily, I got a nice return in the mail to lift my spirits.

Billy Pierce - 2/2

Billy is one of my all-time favorite White Sox players, so I'm thrilled to finally have both of his rookie cards signed.  Billy uses a perfect pen for vintage autos, so I didn't even have to send a pen!  I was lucky to get a pretty good deal on both cards, and both are in very nice condition.  Thanks Billy!

posted on Tuesday, March 02, 2010 5:33:46 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #   
# Monday, March 01, 2010
Decided to hit up the Braves for their last workout before the games start.  My main objectives were Chipper Jones and Bobby Cox.

Chipper Jones - 1/2
Bobby Cox - 2/2
Bobby Valentine - 1/1 (OMLB)
Matt Diaz - 2/2
Troy Glaus - 1/2
Jason Heyward - 2/2, 1/1 (8x10)
Brian McCann - 1/2
Nate McClouth - 1/1
Terry Pendleton - 2/2
Takashi Saito - 1/1 (OMLB signing in English and Japanese)

Not a bad day in terms of quality, though a terrible one in terms of quantity. 

Bobby Valentine was in the stands scouting.  I decided to get him on an OMLB, as I think he is one of the best managers of my lifetime.

Matt Diaz seems to be a great guy.  When he saw my two cards, he said "I don't sign the yellow one, I look too ugly!".  Then he said "I'll sign it across my face, just for you."

Nate McClouth has also become a personal favorite because of his personality.  Somebody shouted to him "I saw you throwing the football around, you have a great arm!  You could always fall back on that career."  Nate replied "I know, if only I was taller!" 

I had to run around the entire stadium to get Chipper.  I was in the grassy area beyond left field, and I saw him heading towards the little graphing area near the back fields.  I took off running.  It was probably the furthest I have run since high school.  When I got there, Chipper was just finishing signing for the crowd.  I barely had any breath to ask him to sign!

posted on Monday, March 01, 2010 6:11:11 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #   
# Sunday, February 28, 2010
Today was my final day in Fort Myers.  After the disaster yesterday, I wasn't very hopeful for today.  I was determined to get Jim Thome in the parking lot, no matter what time I had to wake up.

I got there just before 6am.  It was still completely dark outside, so I angled my car in such a way that I could use my headlights to shine a "spotlight" on me so that I could be seen.  Jim rolled in around 6:30, and I was still the only grapher there.  I turned on my headlights, and held up my sign that read "Please Jim, last day of my vacation".  Jim pulled over and signed for me!  I got his full autograph, not the rushed "JTh" he usually gives.

After getting Thome, everything else was gravy.

Jim Thome - 1/1 (20x30)
Harmon Killebrew - 1/2
Justin Morneau - 1/2
Joe Nathan - 1/2, 1/1
Scott Baker - 1/2
Alexei Casilla - 2/2
Jesse Crain - 2/2
Matt Guerrier - 4/4
J.J. Hardy - 2/2
Brendan Harris - 1/2
Jason Kubel - 2/2
Ben Revere - 3/3
Kevin Slowey - 1/2, 1/1 (help)
Matt Tolbert - 2/2
Jerry White - 1/1

I finally got Morneau and Killebrew.  I was worried that I was going to end the weekend with Jim Thome being the only big star that I got.  Still, I struck out on Mauer, Molitor, Carew, and Oliva.  Granted, just about everybody struck out on Carew and Oliva.

I'm thinking about going back for a couple of days in a week or two. 

I will post pictures for the last few days tomorrow night.  I'm finally home, but I'm much too tired to do it tonight.

2010 Spring Training Totals - 168 cards, 1 8x10, 1 mini helmet, 1 16x20, 1 20x30

posted on Sunday, February 28, 2010 8:52:57 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #   
Jim Thome just signed my 20x30!!! He pulled up at 6:30am, and I was the only one here. I'll have pics and a full recap up tonight.
posted on Sunday, February 28, 2010 6:41:52 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #   
# Saturday, February 27, 2010
If I was disappointed at yesterday's results, then I am devastated by today's.  Thome only signed a couple, and I didn't see Mauer or Morneau pick up a pen.  Paul Molitor, Harmon Killebrew, and Rod Carew were all in camp today, but only Killer signed, and I missed him. 

To make matters worse, the item I most wanted signed by Thome was ruined today.  It was a beautiful 16x20 of Thome and Ken Griffey Jr.  It got rained on, and now there are blue spots all over.

Alex Burnett - 1/1
Clay Condrey - 2/2
Brian Duensing - 3/3
Tom Kelly - 1/1
Jason Kubel - 2/4
Trevor Plouffe - 1/1
Steve Singleton - 1/1
Anthony Slama - 2/2
Denard Span - 4/4
Matt Tolbert - 2/2
Danny Valencia - 1/1

Joe Nathan showed himself to be a total class act today.  It was pouring, yet Joe stood in the rain (under an umbrella) and signed for everybody.  I didn't go for him because I had a good spot for Thome, or so I thought.

I hope I can get Matt Guerrier tomorrow.  I'd hate to be shut out on the other guy with Sox cards.

I will post pictures when I get home.

2010 Spring Training Totals - 142 cards, 1 8x10, 1 mini helmet, 1 16x20

posted on Saturday, February 27, 2010 1:51:09 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #   
# Friday, February 26, 2010
I made the drive down to Ft. Myers last night, and checked into the Holiday Inn Express on Forum Blvd.  I'll be there for 3 nights while I hang out at Twins camp trying to get some Jim Thome stuff done.

The place was a zoo, and as such I didn't do all that well.  Just about everybody signed at some point, but you had to pick and choose who to go for.  Of course, I followed Jim Thome around.  Here is what I got:

Jim Thome - 1/1
Joe Nathan - 1/2, 1/1
Denard Span - 2/2
Carl Pavano - 1/2
Alexei Casilla - 2/2
Jesse Crain - 1/4, 2/2
Ron Gardenhire - 2/2
Mike Maroth - 2/2
Juan Portes - 2/2
Wilson Ramos - 3/3
Danny Rams - 4/4
Jon Rauch - 4/4
Matt Tolbert - 1/1, 1/1
Loek Van Mil - 1/1

Joe Mauer signed around 40-50 autographs, for a group of 300 or so.  Unfortunately, I just missed getting him.

Morneau signed a couple of times, and I was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. 

Denard Span is a great guy.  He signed everything, and he was very personable.  Jon Rauch was pretty cool too.  When I handed him my book, I told him I was a huge White Sox fan and that I was very happy to be getting him.  With a hard look on his face, he handed my book right back to me without signing anything... then he cracked a smile and took it back.

Thome was very friendly, but he didn't sign a whole lot.  I only got him because I shadowed him the entire time he was working out.  At one point, he walked across a field to a building with some gym equipment.  A little kid chased him across the field and asked him to sign.  Thome obliged.  When Thome came back a few minutes later, I said "I bet you were shocked when you turned around and saw that little kid", to which he replied "I know!".

Pictures will be posted when I get back home.

2010 Spring Training Totals - 122 cards, 1 8x10, 1 mini helmet, 1 16x20

posted on Friday, February 26, 2010 2:57:14 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #   
# Thursday, February 25, 2010
I went back to Astros camp today.  My main objective was getting my Carlos Lee 16x20 done.  It ended up being a very good day!

Carlos Lee - 3/3, 1/1 (16x20 w/ El Caballo inscription, White Sox mini helmet, 2 cards)
Lance Berkman - 1/1
Jeff Bagwell - 1/1, 1/1 (help)
Alberto Arias - 2/2
Brad Arnsberg - 4/4
Jason Bourgeois - 4/4
Michael Bourne - 2/4
Britt Burns - 2/8
Roy Corcoran - 3/3
Brian Esposito - 1/1
Pedro Feliz - 1/1
Jeff Keppinger - 1/1
Gary Majewski - 4/4
Bobby Meacham - 1/1
Brian Moehler - 3/3
Bud Norris - 1/1
Humberto Quintero - 1/2, 1/1
Jamie Quirk - 2/2
Polin Trinidad - 4/4

I went the extra mile to get Lee a few times today.  I arrived at the players parking lot at 6:45am.  I made a 16x20 inch sign that simply said "Please Carlos".  It's a good thing I got there early, because Lee pulled up at 7am sharp.  I was the only person there.  He began to give me his customary wave, and it was obvious he was not going to stop.  I held up the sign, and Carlos slammed on his brakes.  He rolled down his window, and I handed him the 16x20.  I started blabbing about how I'm a huge White Sox fan, and told him the sole reason that I was at Astros camp was to get his autograph.  He was nice enough to add an "El Caballo" inscription upon request.  I then asked if he would mind signing a couple of cards, and he did.  Great guy!

Unfortunately, Geoff Blum was not as accomodating.  I made an 8x10 inch sign that said "Please Geoff".  When he pulled up, he told me he would sign in the parking lot after the workout.  When he came out after the workout, he completely ignored me and drove off.  Not cool.  =(

I got an inside tip that Jeff Bagwell would be arriving today, and it turned out to be true.  He arrived in the players lot after the workout had ended.  After about an hour or so inside, he came out.  He was nice enough to pull over and sign one per for the 8 or so of us that were still there.  I asked if he would mind signing a baseball too, and he said "Just one today".  In any case, a great success.

The surprise of the day was Lance Berkman.  He did not sign inside, and I was sure he wouldn't be one to pull over.  Lo and behold, that is exactly what he did!  There were quite a few people there at that point too. 

I will post pictures later!

2010 Spring Training Totals - 91 cards, 1 8x10, 1 mini helmet, 1 16x20

posted on Thursday, February 25, 2010 8:08:46 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #   
Carlos Lee signed 3 items for me at 7am this morning, including a 16x20 with "El Caballo" inscription! I'm a very happy guy! Details and pictures will be posted when I get to my hotel in Fort Myers tonight.
posted on Thursday, February 25, 2010 8:05:44 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #   
# Wednesday, February 24, 2010
I went to Kissimmee today for the Houston Astros Full Workout.  I got there really early to graph the parking lot... which was a mistake as nobody at all signed.  To make matters worse, it started pouring at around 8am.  I decided to head to Denny's for some breakfast, and debated calling it a day.  Once I finished breakfast, the rain had stopped, so I headed back to the Astros facility.  I got there just before they opened the gates to the public.  I'm glad I went back, as it ended up being a pretty good day.

Carlos Lee - 1/2
Lance Berkman - 1/2
Roy Oswalt - 1/2
Hunter Pence - 1/2
Pedro Feliz - 2/2
Jason Castro - 2/2
Matt Lindstrom - 2/2
Sean Berry - 2/2
Brian Bogusevic - 2/2
Chris Johnson - 3/3
Jeff Keppinger - 3/4
Brandon Lyon - 1/2
Tommy Manzella - 1/1
Edwin Maysonet - 1/1
Bobby Meacham - 3/3
Oswaldo Navarro - 2/2
Al Pedrique - 3/3
Chris Sampson - 2/4
Wladimir Sutil - 1/1
J.R. Towles - 1/1
Jose Valdez - 3/3

Not bad at all.  I was disappointed that I didn't get any of the former White Sox that were there, with the exception of El Caballo.  Hopefully I'll be able to get Britt Burns, Jason Bourgeois, Geoff Blum, and Gary Majewski tomorrow.

Some guys that seemed especially nice:  Bobby Meacham, Hunter Pence, Matt Lindstrom, Tommy Manzella.  When I asked Manzella if he would sign, his response was "of course".  I liked that!

Someone that didn't seem very nice:  Roy Oswalt.  He did line everybody up and sign 1 per for the whole line, so I can't complain too much.  But he never responded to anybody's thank you's or praise.  He could definitely have been a lot more personable. 

The Astros big names all seemed to do the same thing.  Line everybody up and do one per.  From what I hear, Oswalt and Berkman are pretty tough, so I was glad to get both in the same day.  We'll see if I'm so lucky tomorrow.

2010 Spring Training Totals - 49 cards, 1 8x10

posted on Wednesday, February 24, 2010 4:56:40 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #   
# Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Next up in "Project Rookie Card" is one of my very favorite White Sox players of the 1950's, Jim Landis.  Jim beautifully signed this card for me in the lobby of the Palmer House Hilton in Chicago during Soxfest 2009. 

posted on Tuesday, February 23, 2010 11:01:28 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #