# 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)  #   
# Monday, February 22, 2010
Added another baseball to my growing "South Side Hitmen" collection.  Today's mail brought an Eric Soderholm baseball, complete with inscription and jersey number.

posted on Monday, February 22, 2010 6:06:43 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #   
# Sunday, February 21, 2010
I have officially come out of retirement!  I did some Spring Training graphing for the first time since 2004.  I'm taking some time off to attend some Twins spring training workouts in Fort Myers, as well as some Astros workouts in Kissimmee.  My main objectives for those two camps are Jim Thome, Carlos Lee, and Britt Burns.  Other former Sox in camp for those teams include Jon Rauch, Matt Guerrier, Geoff Blum, and Jason Bourgeois. 

At the last minute, I decided to do some graphing today.  I went to the Disney Wide World of Sports complex in Orlando, FL to catch an Atlanta Braves pitchers and catchers workout.  I was hoping to see an early Chipper Jones appearance.  To that end, I was disappointed.

The Braves are still the only team that I'm aware of that charges admission for workouts.  I'm sure that is more of a Disney thing than a Braves thing, but it is still pretty annoying.  Let's see what I got for my $13.50.

Derek Lowe - 1/2
Nate McClouth - 2/2
Billy Wagner - 1/2
Takashi Saito - 2/2
Tommy Hanson - 1/1
Jordan Schafer - 2/2
Eddie Perez - 2/2
Roger McDowell - 1/1

I'm not sure why older Fleer cards always scan like that.  The McDowell looks perfectly normal, nothing like the picture above shows.

Nothing too exciting, though getting Derek Lowe was a pleasant surprise.  I was disappointed to see LOTS of people handing Takashi Saito Kenshin Kawakami items.  THEY LOOK NOTHING ALIKE.  To his credit, Saito took it well, always with a smile on his face.  At one point, he turned his back to the crowd, pointed at the name on the back of his jersey and said "I'm Saito!".

Brian McCann and Jair Jurrjens both signed, but I was in the wrong place at the wrong time.  Lots of other guys signed, but I didn't have anything for them.

Next up on my spring training agenda will be Astros camp on Wednesday and Thursday.  If you are going to be there, please let me know and we can meet up!

2010 Spring Training Totals - 12 cards

posted on Sunday, February 21, 2010 3:55:38 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #   
# Saturday, February 20, 2010
I received a very nice baseball from Ralph Garr yesterday.  I sent baseballs to Ralph, Alan Bannister, and Eric Soderholm, asking for the same inscription.  For Mr. Garr, I included a $10 fee.  The baseball looks amazing:

My collection now includes baseballs with this same inscription from Garr, Chet Lemon, Jorge Orta, and Oscar Gamble.  My goal is to get all of the main offensive players from the 1977 White Sox.  Jim Spencer will most likely be impossible, as I doubt there are many baseballs floating around out there with this exact inscription.  Richie Zisk may prove tough as well, as he has apparently stopped signing autographs.

posted on Saturday, February 20, 2010 10:21:58 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #   
# Friday, February 19, 2010
Next in the "Project Rookie Card" series will be Ray Durham.  Ray-Ray signed this card for me during a series against the Angels during his rookie season, 1995.  He was the most energetic, enthusiastic player I have ever met... with the possible exception of Rex Hudler.

posted on Friday, February 19, 2010 10:57:44 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #   
# Thursday, February 18, 2010
In honor of The Big Hurt's recent retirement announcement, the next entry in "Project Rookie Card" will be none other than Frank Thomas.  I've mentioned this before, but to this day this is my favorite autographed card in my entire collection.

Some day I hope to add a signed 1990 Leaf Thomas RC as well.
posted on Thursday, February 18, 2010 10:48:45 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #   
# Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Paul "Lefty" LaPalme, who pitched for the White Sox in 1956 and 1957, passed away last week.  He was 86 years old.

LaPalme pitched exceptionally well during his time with the White Sox, putting up a cumulative 140 ERA+ in 86 relief innings with the team.  In 1957 he tied with Gerry Staley for the team lead in saves, with 7.

Paul was a great mail signer with a beautiful autograph, and will be missed by collectors everywhere. 

posted on Wednesday, February 17, 2010 11:56:46 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #   
# Tuesday, February 16, 2010
I still haven't gotten around to adding the magazine section to the "Collection" tab.  So here is a sneak peak.  Shown below are four Beckett magazines, three with Frank Thomas on the cover and one with Robin Ventura on the back cover.  Not only are they signed by my two favorite Sox players, but the other side is signed as well.  Needless to say, the first one is my favorite!  I obtained all eight autographs in person.

posted on Tuesday, February 16, 2010 9:28:14 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #   
# Monday, February 15, 2010
I was able to pick up another nicely signed Upper Deck rookie card.  From the same 1998 Upper Deck set as the Magglio Ordonez I recently posted, here it is:

posted on Monday, February 15, 2010 9:04:41 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #   
# Thursday, February 11, 2010
I added another tough rookie card to the collection this week.  Magglio is a tough autograph, so I'm very happy to cross him off the list!

posted on Thursday, February 11, 2010 10:15:55 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #   
# Wednesday, February 10, 2010
This will be the first in a series of posts detailing a new project I'm working on.  "Project Rookie Card" is my attempt to get a signed rookie card of every notable player that appears in a White Sox uniform on their rookie card.  The rookie card has to have been issued during the Topps/Bowman era, which began in 1948.  I'd love to go even further back, but I don't think I have the resources to pick up a bunch of signed 1933 and 1934 Goudey cards of people like Luke Appling, Ted Lyons, and Red Faber. 

Some that I know will be extremely tough to find are:

1951 Bowman Nellie Fox
1959 Topps Norm Cash
1957 Topps Earl Battey

And probably the toughest of them all:

1994 (multiple brands) Michael Jordan

Jordan has refused to sign baseball items since his retirement from baseball.  I've never seen an Upper Deck Authenticated Jordan card in a Sox uniform.  Jordan is probably the most forged athlete in the world, so I'm extremely hesitant to purchase one on the secondary market.  I may have to live without him in this project.

With all of that said, lets get on with the project!  I'll be posting regularly with signed rookie cards.  Some will be new, and some I will have had for a while. 

A collector friend from sportsgraphing.com was nice enough to get the following card signed for me at a recent MAB show.  To kick off the project, here is my signed 1956 Topps Luis Aparicio rookie card!

posted on Wednesday, February 10, 2010 10:49:32 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #   
Here is a list of all current Major League coaches and managers (excluding current White Sox coaches) that have played or managed for the Sox:

Sandy Alomar Jr. - Cleveland Indians
Tim Belcher - Cleveland Indians
Dave Duncan - St. Louis Cardinals
Gene Lamont - Detroit Tigers
Jerry Manuel - New York Mets
Dave Martinez - Tampa Bay Rays
Randy Niemann - New York Mets
Tony Pena - New York Yankees
Scott Radinsky - Cleveland Indians
Dave Righetti - San Francisco Giants
Ray Searage - Pittsburgh Pirates
Don Wakamatsu - Seattle Mariners

If you know of somebody that should be on this list, please either send me an email or comment on this post.

posted on Wednesday, February 10, 2010 1:21:24 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #   
Here is a list of all of the former White Sox players that have received invitations to Spring Training.  This is a good opportunity to send a TTM request, and for some of these players it may very well be your last opportunity.

Wilson Betemit - Kansas City Royals
Jason Bourgeois - Houston Astros
Lance Broadway - Toronto Blue Jays
Jamie Burke - Washington Nationals
D.J. Carrasco - Pittsburgh Pirates
Neal Cotts - Pittsburgh Pirates
Josh Fogg - New York Mets
Jimmy Gobble - Colorado Rockies
Jason Grilli - Cleveland Indians
Gary Majewski - Houston Astros
Corky Miller - Cincinnati Reds
Gustavo Molina - Boston Red Sox
Jerry Owens - Washington Nationals
Heath Phillips - Tampa Bay Rays
Paul Phillips - Colorado Rockies
Jeremy Reed - Toronto Blue Jays
Danny Richar - Florida Marlins
Josh Rupe - Kansas City Royals
Scott Schoeneweis - Milwaukee Brewers
Ehren Wassermann - Philadelphia Phillies
Dewayne Wise - Philadelphia Phillies

If you know of somebody that isn't on the list, please send me an email or comment on this post.  Thanks!

posted on Wednesday, February 10, 2010 1:07:51 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #   
# Monday, February 08, 2010
I picked up some nice Allen & Ginter autographs from a collector on SCN. 

posted on Monday, February 08, 2010 10:31:16 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #   
# Saturday, February 06, 2010
Added a couple of nice certs to the collection this week.  I really like the 2009 Goodwin Champions autographs.  I also have the Gavin Floyd from that set, and it is quite sharp as well:

posted on Saturday, February 06, 2010 10:36:48 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #   
I just picked up a signed 1953 Bowman Color Paul Richards!

posted on Saturday, February 06, 2010 10:25:51 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #   
# Friday, February 05, 2010
I received my bounty from a private signing that friend-of-chisoxcollector and SCN member darnfloor conducted with former Sox star Carlos May.  The signing was handled about as well as any signing I've taken part of.  If you ever have a chance to participate in a darnfloor signing, don't pass it up!

I got the following items signed by Mr. May:

1969 Topps RC (already signed by Rich Morales)
1970 Topps
1971 Topps
1973 Topps
1976 SSPC
1992 UD Limited Edition print


posted on Friday, February 05, 2010 5:55:34 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #   
# Thursday, February 04, 2010
I received a couple of successes this week:

Mark Dalesandro - 2/2
Cory Snyder - 2/2

The Dalesandro isn't a Sox card, but as his only Sox cards are in minor league team sets that I don't have, it will have to do!


posted on Thursday, February 04, 2010 11:27:36 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #   
I was perusing my Mailbag database, and I noticed that I have had a pretty good success rate over the past year.  I decided to share my success rate for 2009.  Hopefully this will continue to improve as the successes keep piling up!

Mailings - I sent 255 requests in 2009, and thus far have received 190 successful returns.  That gives me a success rate of 75%.  Not bad!

Total items - I sent 546 items in 2009, and as of today 427 of them have been returned to me signed.  That comes out to a 78% success rate.

My quickest returns were from Chris Knapp and Roberto Hernandez.  In both cases I had the signed cards in my hands 3 days after mailing!

The slowest return so far was from Orlando Cabrera, which took 224 days.  I expect this to change though, as there are always a few returns that show up long after you've given up on them.

I'll be doing my (belated) first mailings of 2010 in the next couple of weeks.

posted on Thursday, February 04, 2010 11:13:41 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #   
I just put the finishing touches on my signed 1992 Upper Deck Minors White Sox team set.  This is my favorite minor league set ever produced.  Behold!


posted on Thursday, February 04, 2010 9:58:40 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #