Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Willie Ansley

I met Willie Ansley in the spring of '93. He was with a group of Astros (which included Scott Servais, Kevin Bass and Art Howe) that toured college campuses and other places to promote the upcoming season.

At the time I don't believe I had his '89 Topps; all I could find in my card stash was this minor league card from when he played for the Jackson Generals.

Willie was Houston's #1 draft pick in June of 1988. He played on several of the Houston minor league teams during a four year period but I don't believe he ever made it to the majors.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Advice from the Red Rooster

When asked how kids could improve thier game, Doug Rader had this bit of advice: "They should eat their baseball cards because there's a lot of information on the back of them, like pitching and batting hints."

Hmmmm...tasty! I wonder how they go with milk?

I was too young to see Rader play with Houston, so I had to do a little research on the guy. It seems he was a bit of a prankster. I've read tales of him burning base balls the dugout to keep warm, taking his clothes off to ward off unwanted visitors, and other crazy things. Sounds like the guy was quite a character during his playing days.

Any way, here's the other card I sent off to Doug:

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Doug Rader, The Red Rooster

Doug Rader played third base for the Astros from 1976-75. He also played for the Padres and the Blue Jays. He eventually managed the Rangers, White Sox, and the Angels.

Rader was a Gold Glove winner five consecutive years (1970-74).

Batting average---.251
Home runs---155
Runs batted in---722

Sent off TTM on 10/5/99; received 10/18/99

Friday, June 26, 2009

Don Taussig

I sent Don Taussig a 1962 Topps on 5/22/09 and received it back today. The last '62 I sent off (Aspromonte) came back damaged, so this time I took no chances and slipped it inside a plastic protector.

Don started out in the majors with the New York Giants in '58. He was later drafted by the Colts but didn't play too long for them due to a knee injury. He ended his career in Houston and went into business for himself soon after.

Last year he wrote his first book, " Baseball: The Balanced Hand Method of Hitting". I found an article from this past January about the book and it featured a photo. I always like to see current pictures of former players; it looks like Don is doing well these days.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

More Bob Bruce

Here's the second card I had Mr. Bruce sign:

1966 Topps

Other than a bent corner this card looks pretty nice. I can't remember ever seeing any of the players wearing something that appears to be used for wet weather. The shirt underneath the uniform appears to be made out of rubber. Strange...

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Bob Bruce: Lucky #3

I sent Bob Bruce a card on 6/23/07 and never got it back. I found a new address on-line and sent him two cards on June 4, 2009 and they were returned on June 16th---RTS. However, unlike most returns I get, the new address was listed on the label. I put Mr. Bruce's 1963 and 1966 Topps cards back in the mail the next day, thinking I'll try one more time.

You know what they say: third time's a charm. My cards came back yesterday, June 22nd, and both were signed.

Bruce started out with the Tigers in 1959 and played his last game with the Braves in '67. He was the 12th major league pitcher to strike out three batters in nine pitches; only 39 people have done this to date.

Here he is with the Colt .45s on his '63 Topps, #24:

Saturday, June 20, 2009

More of the Toy Cannon

Here's another one of the Toy Cannon. I sent this '74 Topps off along with the '70 to get signed. I've always liked this card for some reason. I guess it's the weird striked poses that I grew up seeing on all the old cards from this era.

1962 - named Topps Player of the Month
1965 - Houston Astro Most Valuable Player
1967 - named to National League All-Star team
1974 - named to National League All-Star team
1975 - named to National League All-Star team

Friday, June 19, 2009

Jim Wynn

Jim Wynn (AKA the 'Toy Cannon') started his career in Houston with the Colts back in 1963 and left the Astros in '73. He went on to play for the Dodgers, Braves, Yankees, and finally the Brewers.

Next week will mark the fourth anniversary of his number (24) being retired in Houston; Wynn was the 8th Astro to have this honor.

Wynn currently is a post-game analyst for Fox Sports, covering the Houston games. He is also very involved in the Houston community; in fact, his 5th annual celebrity golf tournament is coming up in a few days.

Here's the first of two cards that I sent Jimmy a few years ago.

1970 Topps

Sent off TTM on 10/16/99; received 10/25/99

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Jack Billingham, AKA "Cactus Jack"

I sent off a 1971 Topps #162 to Mr. Billingham on 6/4/09 and received it back in today's mail. I wish I had a better looking card to send to this former Astro, but it seems to be hard to find these older '71s in good condition. In fact, most of mine seem to show a little wear.

Billingham was traded to the Reds, along with Joe Morgan, Dennis Menke and Ed Armbrister and eventually appeared in two back-to-back World Series with them.

I was doing a little research on Cactus Jack and learned that he was a cousin to baseball legend Christy Mathewson. That's pretty impressive!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Danny Darwin, part three

OK...last Darwin card! This is the '91 Fleer. I bought box after box of these cards when they first came out. I always liked the vivid yellow border for some odd reason.

I like getting cards like this signed; it has a nice, light area that shows off a sig without you having to search for it.

And again, I have doubles for all the Darwin cards and would trade for Astros that I do not have. In fact, I'd trade any of my extras for just about any signed card, so don't be afraid to ask.

Danny Darwin, part two

Here's an '89 Topps that I sent TTM. Just like the previous card this is a double, so I'd be willing to trade.

A 1998 inductee into the Texas Baseball Hall of Fame he played five years for the Astros and eight for the Rangers, in addition to other teams in the majors. He had a total of 171 wins and 182 losses during his career with an ERA of 4.07.

Darwin is currently the pitching coach for the Class A Great Lakes Loons.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Lance Berkman 2007 Bowman

Lance's 2007 Bowman #177 just had to be scanned and presented to you, my loyal following. A few minutes ago, I was sorting through a couple hundred Bowman cards that I bought several months ago and found this one. You have to appreciate a card showing a guy with a glove on his head.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Danny "Dr. Death" Darwin

I mailed Danny Darwin 3 different cards with doubles of each on 5/28/09 and received them back today.

Danny started out in the majors with the Rangers in 1978. Prior to that he played high school ball for the Fighting Purple Warriors in his hometown of Bonham, TX and at Grayson County JC.

I used to live next to the field where he played ball back in those days. In fact, I came pretty close to teaching school part-time there several years ago. It's a small town so you can imagine that the 'Bonham Bullet' is your typical small town hero. Of course, I didn't have the chance to see him play there 'cause he was long gone by then.

Here's card #1 in this group:

New banner

I decided to make the banner at the top a little more flashy. I'll be the first to admit that my Paint Shop Pro skills are severly lacking. I've been using this program for about five years but mostly for resizing pictures and adjusting the color.

Last night I tried a little experiment by dumping some cards on the scanner. It worked out pretty good but there were some gaps. I dropped some more cards on the scanner this morning and redid the text, using the color scheme from the old uniforms.

As I mentioned, I have no idea how to use this program; I bet I only know my way around about 25% of it. Regardless, I did my best by trial and error and this is the result.

So don't laugh.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

New blog

I finally got around to creating my new blog to show my other signed cards. I'll also be including signed pics of celebs, concert reviews of shows I've seen since '86, etc. Just read the intro and you'll get a better idea.

Behold...I present to you The Collectiholic...'cause that's what I am!


3000+ cards today...and more on the way!

I got back into card collecting when I received a box of 3000+ Astros that I had won on eBay. I soon bought four boxes of Ultra Pro Silver and began filling 'em up. Since then I've probably bought between 5000-6000 more Astros. Many times I'll win an auction for a penny and just pay the postage.

Today I received my second box of 3000+ Astros cards from the same seller I bought from back in January. I should also receive a box of 2900+ any day now from another seller. Of course, I’ve bought a lot of other lots on eBay, ranging anywhere from 100 cards to 1000, but mostly in the 400-500 range.

The cards I received today cost $4.99 plus postage of $12.50 for a total of $17.49. I believe I paid about the same for the first box which was won six months ago. The box of 2900+ was a 'Buy It Now' auction and was purchased for $6.95 plus shipping of $14.95 making the total of that auction $21.90.

In just these three auctions alone I have paid just under $60.00 for approximately 9000 cards. I could go to the store and buy ten packs for $20.00 and get two or three Astros if I'm lucky.

I also just bought three more boxes of those Ultra Pro sheets last night. I've got a feeling I'm gonna need them.

I'm glad my vacation starts in two days; I'm pretty sure I'll be needing lots of free time pretty soon!

The first 3000+ box of cards:

Those that came in the mail today:

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Carlos Lee

I bought a few cards on eBay not too long ago and a few of the 2008 Topps Allen & Ginter cards were included. I like the simple look of these cards; back to the basics and away from the glitz and glamour that so many cards show these days.

I was happy to get card #210 of Carlos Lee, AKA 'El Caballo'. They should have named him 'The Cowboy', as I understand he owns and works on his own ranch, both here in Texas and in his homeland of Panama. I guess Nolan Ryan won't be the only Astro that did a little ranching. I've done my share and believe me, it's not as fun as they make it out to be in the movies...'specially not in this Texas heat!

Also included in the package of cards I won was a little Carlos! It's my first mini card since possibly a 1990 issue. Here it is for a little size comparison:

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

George Culver

Here's George Culver on the 1973 Topps #242. I sent this to George 11/1/99 and received it back on 11/12/99. I always ask for an inscription, no matter if it takes up most of the card. That personal touch goes a long way...

George started out playing with Cleveland back in '67. He played with two other teams before ending up with Houston in '72. After playing with two more major league teams after that he did a stint in Japan with the
Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters. That's the 北海道日本ハムファイターズ for all you who speak Japanese.

Some highlights of 1972: the Dallas Cowboys whipped up on Miami in Super Bowl VI, the Soviets land on the moon, the legal system gave us Furman v. Georgia, Hanoi Jane makes a fool of herself, as do those involved in Watergate, and best of all big sideburns are all the rage!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Skip Guinn

As mentioned in a previous post (Lemaster), I bought a few 1970 Topps Astro cards recently. This team card was signed by Drannon Eugene Guinn, aka 'Skip' . I sent Skip a card several years ago which he signed; I'll post that one after I get it scanned.

Skip played three years in the majors; he was with Atlanta in 1968 and with Houston during 1969 and 1971.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Scooter Tucker

Here's Eddie "Scooter" Tucker, who played for Houston in 1992, 1993, and 1995. He also played for the Cleveland Indians in 1995. Honestly, I don't know much about Scooter and had to look him up; didn't find much but did learn that he played ball for Delta State.

I saw Delta State's football team a couple years ago play the Stephen F. Austin State University Lumberjacks. What does that have to do with baseball? To quote the Ozzy Osbourne song I am listening to at the moment: "I don't know!"

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Dave Roberts

David Arthur Roberts was traded to the Astros in December 1971 and played with them until being traded to Detroit in December of '75. He spent 13 years in the majors and played for eight different major league clubs. He once commented "The way I look at either I'm a bum or everyone wants me".

Roberts' best years were with the Astros. In '73, Roberts he had a career-best of 17 wins and a 2.85 ERA over 39 games. That year, he pitched six shutouts and a total of 12 complete games.

Here are two cards I sent to Dave ten years ago, his 1973 and 1974 Topps issues:

I really like this next one; it looks like it might have been taken in my back yard.

Dave died in January 9th at the age of 64 from lung cancer. He worked as a boiler maker during the off season early in his career which means he would have come into contact with asbestos while on the job.

RIP Dave

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Randy Johnson---300 wins

Tonight Randy Johnson got his 300th win. I've been following Johnson since the early '90s and even got a chance to see him pitch with Seattle against the Rangers on June 10, 1992. I remember he lost a contact lense while on the mound.

I caught a few games in '98 while he was playing for Houston, too. I don't remember if he pitched in any of those games or not. I guess I should have taken notes or pictures. My CRS is really kicking in these days.

Here you can see the Big Unit as an Astro on his 1999 Fleer Ultra card #166. I took the liberty of adding some text, even thought he didn't achieve this milestone as an Astro. It's an Astro blog and I'm running things around here. Then again I guess I could have downloaded an image of a current card but where's the fun in that?

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Denny Lemaster

Denver Clayton Lemaster, AKA "Denny"
I bought 17 Astros cards from the 1970 set recently and this card was signed (there was another card that was also signed, which will be posted soon).
I love the '70 set and have been trying to complete one (the entire set, not just the Astros). Very simple, with a nice gray front and a blue and yellow back. I was glad to get another card from this set with a sig...even though it's a bit messy. Maybe I'll send Denny a card to replace this one.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Carl Warwick

I sent this card off and got it back in just eight days. I like the nice, bold blue sig. It really stands out great on this '64 Topps. The corner is a little dinged, but a lot of days I feel that way, too.

I sometimes wonder what these guys think when they get one of these old cards. Carl was about 26 when this picture was taken; I believe he's 72 now. It must be a pretty good trip down memory lane.

Carl ended up being traded back to St. Louis in '64 and went to the World Series. These days he's very active in youth baseball and charity events among other things. He's also a member of the Texas Baseball Hall of Fame.

I had three cards signed by a former pro ballplayer today Actually, I sent them with my wife, who took them to where she works; the player knew had spoken with her a few days before and actually came up to her and wanted to sign this morning. Very nice guy! Some players will go that extra mile. He's not a former Astro, so I won't be posting that here. I guess I'll have to start another blog to post all my non-Houston players.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Terry Puhl

I've gotten several nice cards in the mail the last few days, including a 1964 Carl Warwick card that was signed plus nearly 20 '63 Colts; I even bought 10 packs of 2007 Topps and pulled two 'Stros this past weekend. Yep...bought some more new cards. As stated in a previous post it has been many years since I bought new cards; now I've done it two weekends in a row! I spent a good chunk of my student loan money on buying packs from 1990-1993. Let's hope that addiction doesn't happen again. You might say I finally paid those cards off back around 2004.

Today I got my first trade in the mail. Zman40 at http://autocards.blogspot.com/ offered up one of his '89 Score featuring Terry Puhl for one of my '87 Topps Hal Lanier cards. Thanks, Zman!

I've traded stuff with people all over the world (some places I can't mention on a public forum) but this was my first card. Actually, I did send about 20 cards to a guy in Italy once for some stamps but I don't count that.