Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Collecting Goals For 2015

Before I begin, I would like to wish everyone a happy and healthy New Year. May you get you all get everything you want out of life and I hope all your additions are plentiful.

Now, because I still am having issues with my laptop, this will be another blog, sans photographs. I really need to get a new laptop.

Since 2014 was not the year of the Sexy Geek, I decided not to look back, but instead look forward. I want to look forward to what 2015 could bring to my collections. I have been keeping my eye on certain items I would add and hopefully 2015 will bring some much needed additions.

Since I do collect four teams and various players, I think I'm just going to concentrate on the one team I collect heavily, The Yankees.  Don't get me wrong, I love collecting the Jets, Knicks and Islanders, but since this is the largest part of my collection, I will be concentrating on them most in 2015.

Here's what I hope to accomplish with my Yankees collection in 2015:

1-Collect More Vintage

My Yankees team sets are filling up nicely, but there are a ton of holes, specifically in my 1950's and 1960's sets. Actually, there are no completed team sets in either decade in my collection. It's something I really want try to complete at least 2 sets sometime in 2015. That will be a difficult task, I know. Cards of Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berra, Roger Maris, Whitey Ford and Elston Howard do not come cheap. But if I want a real nice Yankees card collection, I know I have to add the nice vintage cards. I'm not ever thinking I will own a 1952 Topps Mantle, but if I can add some nice later vintage of the Mick, I'll be a happy man.

The cards aren't the only vintage items I would love to pick up. I have wanted to start a program collection for a long time. I have seen some great vintage programs that weren't too expensive that I'd love to grab. I also want to pick up a couple of vintage pennants and I have had my eye on a vintage Yankee Stadium game that I come across on eBay from time to time, but is priced out of my price range.

2-Organize, Organize, Organize 

This past year I finally got off my butt and started organizing my cards. I've moved some into binders and others into boxes. My ultimate goal is to one day have all my cards in binders, but because room is at a premium right now, So, for now, I will just have the main sets in binders (Topps, Allan & Ginter, Heritage, Upper Deck, etc) while I will have sets that 4 or less cards in toploaders, penny sleeves and in boxes.

I've also started to catalog my cards, starting with my Tino Martinez PC on Google Drive. It took a while to get the cards logged in, but now I know just what I have in that particular collection. I'm currently working on the Mark Teixiera PC. I will probably start the Yankees team sets once I have every card where it's supposed to be and I hope that happens sometime in 2015. I will probably start with the Topps team sets and work from there.

3-More Bobbleheads And Figurines  

In 2014, I wasn't able to really add to the bobblehead or figurine collection. I did get the Curtis Granderson Mets SGA bobblehead ( I will be getting it repainted to a Yankee ) and nothing else. I'm a member of a couple of bobblehead groups on Facebook and I drool over some of these collections I see. When I started collecting bobbleheads, I was strictly a McFarlane collector, but I felt the quality of the McFarlane figures were starting to lack. When my Jorge Posada figure started leaning down so far that his bat was keeping him from falling over, I stopped buying them and switched to bobbleheads. I wish I had done that years ago.

Some of the bobbleheads I really want to pick up are the Yankee Stadium SGA's from the past two seasons. I do have the Mark Teixiera and the Yogi Berra, but Yogi's throwing arm is broken and needs to be fixed. I would like to grab the Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Lou Gehrig and Hideki Matsui bobbleheads first, but those are the most expensive. I also want to get the Charlie Brown and Lucy bobblehead as well as the Hello Kitty that was given out this year and the Cubs gave out a "Called Shot" Babe Ruth bobble that needs to find it's way into my collection.

I have a few statues and figurines in my collection also. I have really wanted to start a Danbury Mint Yankee collection as well. Again, an expensive hobby, but some of those statues are pretty sweet. My favorite isn't even of a player. I love the vintage Yankee Stadium that was released a number of years back and have been wanting to add it to my Yankee Stadium collection for quite some time. I hope that happens this coming year.

4-Add More Yankee Oddball Stuff

One thing I love about collecting the Yankees is there are so many things you can pick up to add to your collection that doesn't have to be cards. I have seen people add lighters, pens, fans, keychains and other goodies to their collections. I do have a few things that may be considered oddball.

I have wanted to pick up the vintage Topps and Dell stamp collections. I used to collect the Topps sticker albums in the 80's, but these are more team oriented and that would fit in my collection perfectly. Another odd ball item I would love to add is the 75th Anniversary of Yankee Stadium record album as well as as add more pins to my Yankees pin collection.

5-Add More Autographs

One of my goals for 2014 was to get my Yankees signed baseball collection to 50 different players, but I fell short in my quest, finishing at 46. I was able to add players like Hideki Matsui, CC Sabathia, Johnny Damon, Ron Guidry and Willie Randolph to the Yankees Ball PC. This year, the goal is to get to 60 signed balls, Lowering my expectations a bit, I know. But I guess by giving myself an attainable number, I can push past it and exceed my expectations. I hope to get players like Tino Martinez, Mariano Rivera, Carlos Beltran and others to sign balls for me throughout the course of 2015.

6-Have Fun Again

2014 was a tough, tough year for me. I lost a lot, some people I care about, jobs and most of all, my smile. 2015 will be a year where I rediscover myself, regain my confidence and live life. I love collecting the Yankees. They have bought me great joy ever since I discovered them as a 5 year old. I plan to jump back into the collecting game head first and get back to what I enjoy the most out of life. Collecting cards, bobbleheads, autographs, jerseys, caps, anything that has something to do with the Yankees is what I am going to collect. I mean, if you can't have fun collecting your favorite team, then what will make you happy?

I am all about making yourself happy. Collect what you want. Buy that card if you want. Over spend for the autograph of the back up shortstop from the mid 80's who hit a buck ninety, only because he lives out of the country and you need his autograph for your collection. Do whatever you want that will make you happy because, no one is going to make you happy except yourself and family. So, Have a very Happy New Year and collect.

Friday, December 19, 2014

So, What Am I Collecting Now? Well...

As I have been organizing my card collection, I have been putting aside cards of players I have long admired and been a fan of. Some players I rooted for for years as I watched them play. Others I never seen play a down or hit a fastball, but I know of their exploits and became a fan by reading or watching video of them play.

With all the cards I've been putting aside, I soon realized that I need new binders, pronto!

So, what am I collecting these days?

Obviously, the main team I collect and will always collect are my beloved Yankees, I was a Yankee fan before the dynasty years, remained a fan when Donnie Baseball was the only reason to turn on WPIX to watch a game. If I collected nothing else,  would still collect the Yankees.

Then there are my Jets. They stink, They can't seem to get any traction going as a franchise. For every step forward they make, they then take 2 steps backwards. I love this team. They are right under the Yankees in terms of my affections. I think if the Jets ever win a Super Bowl, I would break down and cry like a baby.

Next would be the Knicks. I've watched this team since Michael Ray Richardson played at the Garden and Hubie Brown was coach. I have seen such prolific scorers as Bernard King, Patrick Ewing and now, Carmelo Anthony wear the orange and blue. I have stuck by this team when they were terrible in the 80's and when I used to go to games and hear Fire Isiah chants. I have complete faith that Phil Jackson will build a winner and soon too,

Finally, is my Islanders, who are having a terrific season. They currently sit second in the Metropolitan Division behind the likes of John Tavares, Brock Nelson, Kyle Okposo, Jaroslov Halak and Frans Nielsen. I remember watching the likes of Clark Gillies, Billy Smith, Butch Goring, Bryan Trottier and Mike Bossy winnnig 4 consecutive Stanley Cups. I think this team is going to be good for a long time.

Now, for the players I collect. I warn you, it's a long list.

1-Tino Martinez

One of my all time favorite Yankees and the Yankee I followed during the dynasty years, Tino was the first player I started collecting. 427 cards later, I am still collecting Tino. I see new cards all the time and I now will be able to start adding new Tino stuff to my collection. And yes, I do collect his Mariner, Cardinals and Rays cards also.

2-Mark Teixeira

I have always like Teixeira from his days with the Rangers. I had wanted to collect his cards, but I held back because he wasn't a Yankee and he killed the Yankees with a home run one afternoon. But as soon as he signed to be a Yankee I was on eBay looking for his cards. Here's hoping he has a bounce back season in 2015. God knows we need him.

3- Derek Jeter

How can you not collect The Captain? This guy is our generations Joe Dimaggio. He always played the game the right way and won. My Jeter collection is also the largest player collection I have with over 550 different cards and counting. The Yankees are going to look so different next season without "El Capitan" at shortstop.

4-Mickey Mantle

I have always been a Mickey Mantle guy. I just never really started a Mantle PC because I pay bills. Mantle cards are among the most expensive so, as much as I liked Mickey, I passed on starting a PC. Funny thing, as I was organizing my massive Yankees collection, I found inserts, Home Run cards, reprints, chrome cards and other goodies in my collection already, so I put them aside and voila, instant Mantle PC. Unfortunately, there will be no adding vintage Mickey Mantle cards to my collection anytime soon and that is fine with me. I am quite content in adding his newer cards to my PC. Just like the next guy...

5-Roberto Clemente

My Clemente PC is the smallest one I have and that's only because I haven't actively searched out his cards, but that is going to change soon. Like Mantle, I cannot afford vintage Clemente, so I will make do with his newer cards. The one vintage I do want is his 1973 Topps card and that's only because I owned that card and had it stolen by a "friend". I will have it back one day.

6-Chad Pennington

Say what you want about Pennington. The fact remains he was a leader on the field and the guy won when he was healthy. Case in point, The Jets dump him in favor of Bret Farve and he goes on to win the AFC East as a member of the Miami Dolphins, which caused many a sleepless night. There was a time when all I did pick up was Pennington cards. I still do to this day.

7-Joe Namath

As a Jets fan, collecting Broadway Joe is a must. Aside from the '65 Topps card, most vintage Namath is pretty affordable. I have a 2 vintage Namath pieces in my collection, the 1971 Topps game card and the 1971 Topps Pin ups mini poster (Thanks Mark). I will be looking to add more, Boy, I want that Namath Mego figure.

8-Wayne Chrebet

I have always loved the story of Chrebet making the Jets as an undrafted walk on. The only thing that went right during the Ritchie Kotite era, Chrebet would be an integral part of the Jets offense for years until he had to retire due to multiple concussions. Meeting Chrebet and having a small conversation with him while he signed my football was one of the highlights of my year.

9-Curtis Martin

Arguably the greatest Jet ever. The man was, in my opinion, one of the top 5 running backs to ever play the game. When the Jets stole C-Mart from the Patriots, I danced and I don't dance. I just started the Martin collection when I realized I had a lot of Curtis Martin cards. He was a player I really liked during his playing career, I had the cards, boom. Curtis Martin Collection.

You guys had enough? Or are you thirsty for more?

10- Patrick Ewing

My all time favorite Knick. I remember watching him play in Georgetown. Those Georgetown/St.John's games were wars and I remember Ewing being right in the middle of those games. When Dave Debusschere ( Another Knick I contemplated on collecting) banged his fist on the podium when the Knicks won the right to draft Ewing, I was ecstatic. During his time in NY, Ewing was the man. He should have at least 1 ring, but John Starks forgot how to hit a basket in that fateful Game 7 of the 1994 NBA Finals.

11-Mike Bossy

The Boss is my all time favorite hockey player, As a kid, I watched him score 50 goals in 50 games and win 4 straight Stanley Cups, I always felt he was just as good as Gretzky and may have come close to Gretzky's final goal total had Bossy's back not given out on him. One of my favorite memories was playing pond hockey as a kid with my Mike Bossy stick. I wish I still had that stick.

12- Martin Brodeur

After Bossy retired, I kinda lost interest in hockey. Marty bought me right back in. Watching a sniper shoot a puck at Brodeur and then seeing the look of disappointment on his face when Marty made an impossible save was pure enjoyment for me. I watched Brodeur win Stanley Cups like I had watched Bossy previously. I went to games just to watch Brodeur in net and I was at the game in which Marty became the NHL's All Time Winning Goalie, which was a thrill. Seeing Brodeur in a Blues uni is just not right to me, but I will still collect his cards.

13- John Tavares

The newest Islander star and the best damn hockey player in the Tri State area. Yes, I would take Tavares over Lundqvist. Tavares is going to be a superstar in the NHL once it's all said and done. My Tavares collection is small, but I have no doubt it will grow and grow quickly.

So, as you all can see I have gone completely mad. How can I expect to collect all these players AND the teams I collect? Well, that's the fun part. Trying to figure it all out. I will probably at some point have to drop a player or three. But I won't anytime soon, so let the card hunt begin!

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Where Have You been?

I realize it's been over 2 months since I last posted a blog post. A lot has been going on the past few months. I was out of work, but have since found a temp job that will be a couple months work, my laptop has been on the fritz as I haven't been able to save any photo's to it as the memory has been full and no matter what I dump it still is full. It's frustrating that I can't save pictures to use on my blog because I have memory issues. I think this laptop is mocking me.

With all of this going on, I really haven't felt like posting any blogs. Doesn't mean I have stopped collecting. Lord knows I will never do that. I can't give up my precious cardboard, my awesome autographs, my beautiful bobbleheads, my stuff.

I've added new cards to the Sports room and even started a couple of PC collections (As if I didn't have enough already.) and have been organizing my cards, which is no picnic. I have also created new binders for my Yankees Allan & Ginter and Stadium Club cards. I'm going to create one for my Yankees Gypsy Queen cards next.

Question: Do you guys put the Panini Donruss cards with your older Donruss or have you started a new binder for Panini products? I'm toying with the idea of starting a Panini only binder for the newer releases.

I do need to buy some more binders. I have a bunch of cards in 9 pocket sleeves without binders so I need to pick up couple. Plus, I am running out of room in my 5 shelf bookcase, so I need to pick up another soon.

Well, that's what I've been up to. I'm still here and as soon as I can figure out the memory issue I can start posting pictures. I plan for 2015 to be a big year for the Sports Room and I hope you all stick around.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

New Autograph Additions To The Sports Room

A few weeks ago, the Yankees held their annual Fan Fest at the Intrepid Air And Space Museum in Manhattan. It's a day where former and sometimes current Yankees meet and greet with fans, sign an autograph and talk about the Yankees. To me, it's more of a Fest where business set up booths and give out free samples of whatever they are hawking. This time around, I got a major sugar rush by drinking free samples for Colombian soda pop and ate a whole bunch of cherry licorice while waiting on line for autographs.

This year, Rich Gossage, Willie Randolph and Doc Gooden were the players that appeared. Cecil Fielder and Reggie Jackson cancelled out, which was a bummer as I really was looking forward to meeting Reggie for the first time, but getting to cross the former Yankee second baseman and Captain off my Yankee bucket list worked just fine for me also.

Willie wasn't scheduled to start signing until 1 pm and I was already on his line at 11 am, so I killed time by chatting up my fellow Yankee fans, eating a lot of candy, looking out over the Hudson River and talking to my girlfriend on the phone. Soon, Willie Randolph arrived and started to get to work signing autographs for the fans who waited patiently for him.

I had heard stories about Randolph. Fans had told me that he wasn't the nicest guy to meet so I was watching him to get an idea of what his mood was. There was a few fans ahead of me so I watched as they met up with him. He seemed to be in a pretty good mood. It really didn't matter as I was going to wow him with my charm and get a smile out of him as he signed my baseball.

I didn't have to worry. Willie was so nice to me. He greeted me with a hearty hello as I walked up to his table. I told him I had been following his career since he was traded to the Yankees from Pittsburgh and he thanked me for supporting him from the beginning. I asked him about his thoughts on Derek Jeter and he said it was an honor to have known him and coached him during his time with the Yankees. He signed my ball, shook my hand and I was off.

Willie makes ball number 46 in my Yankees signed baseball collection. I'm 4 away from my goal of 50 signed baseballs from former Yankees by the end of the year. I'm very pleased with how this came out.

As I was walking away from Randolph's tent, I snapped a quick shot of Goose's tent. I didn't get a Gossage autograph on this day as I had nothing for him. He signed baseball number 44 over the summer and my Yankee poster over the summer, so I'm good for now on Gossage.

After, I was able to get in to meet Doc Gooden. I had the pleasure of meeting him on several different occasions and each time he was so very nice. This time was no different. He looked at the picture of him after he pitched is no hitter and I asked him what was he thinking at that moment. He told me he was glad the pop up was hit to Jeter because Boggs had a problem with pop ups. As he signed it, I asked him if he would have rather had done it as a Met and he said as long as it was done in New York, he was happy.

The picture that I printed out isn't the clearest. I like that he added the no no date on the photo. I may print out a clearer picture and try to get him to resign at a later date though.

Afterward, I walked around and checked out the festivities. There was a few things you could do. You could take batting practice, throw pitches, listen to a live remote from WFAN, New York's Sports Radio Talk Station, watch someone from Ringling Brothers play with a rope, get some free stuff from local businesses and grab some grub (which wasn't free. Oh well,)

Overall, I had a fun time at this year's Yankees Fan Fest. My main concern really is getting autographs. I got the ones I wanted so I consider my day to be a success. Anything else is just icing on the cake. The icing this year was being able to walk away with a box of those cherry licorice, which I ate in a few weeks. Now, I have a sugar rush and I can't wait until next years Fan Fest for more autographs and free candy.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Derek Jeter...The Bobblehead Collection

Yesterday was a pretty emotional day in the sports room as I got to watch Derek Jeter's final game in Yankee Stadium. It was a game that had it's highs and lows and everything in between. At the end of the evening, it was the Captain who took matters into his own hands and drove home the winning run in the bottom of the 9th to win the game for the Yankees. Watching the team mob Jeter after and then watching him embrace members of the Core Four, Tino Martinez, Joe Torre and Gerald Williams then walk to shortstop one last time had this geek pretty choked up.

So today, I wanted to celebrate the career of one the greatest Yankees to ever don the pinstripes by doing something that just screams out Sexy Geek.

I'm going to show off some bobbleheads. And not just any bobbleheads.

I'm going to show off my Derek Jeter bobblehead collection.

Now, I know my collection is not as large as most Derek Jeter fans. I have been concentrating on adding other Yankees to the bobblehead collection. I will say this though, Jeter is the player I have the most bobbles of in my collection. A big fat 3 bobbles.

This was my first Jeter bobble I picked up, which was one one of my very first bobbleheads I bought. This is a Forver bobblehead and in an odd way looks more like Derek than any of the other bobbles I own.

I picked it up at one of the Westchester Sports Card Shows along with Whitey Ford and Phil Rizzuto Forever bobblehead figures, none of which look anything like either one of them. This one is a fairly decent likeness.

The back has Jeter wearing his # 2 in his glorious Yankee pinstriped on a base that has a baseball and what I guess is a ribbon, It's not one of my favorite Jeter bobblehead figures, but I am glad to own it. Being that it is one of my first ones it has special meaning to me.

This one was my first Jeter bobblehead that I bought off eBay. It's a 2001 Staten Island Yankees SGA. As much of a fan of the SI Yankees that I am now, I didn't get to a game until 2007, so I missed out on this giveaway. When I found out that the SI Yankees gave out a Jeter, I had to have one and hunted one down that was in my price range.

I have always preferred Alexander Global bobbleheads to Forever. Not because I think that their better bobbles. I just love the squatty bodies and almost there likeness that these bobbleheads possess. Unfortunately, their latest attempts at realistic bobbleheads are falling short of the mark. If you don't believe me, take a look at my review of the Mark Teixeira Yankees bobblehead giveaway from this season, Yeesh.

Probably my favorite Jeter bobblehead in my collection. This is a Bobble Dobble Jeter, which is also put out by Alexander Global. I really like the action pose that Derek is captured in. Maybe the face doesn't look too much like Jeter, but I don't really don't mind.

The back is one of the more streamlined figures you will find from Alexander Global. I also have a Jason Giambi Bobble Dobble. There are a couple other I want including the Hideki Matsui fielding, Reggie Jackson and Lou Gehrig Bobble Dobbles.

Although my Jeter collection may not be as large as other collections I am proud to own the ones I do have. I do plan to add some more Jeter bobbleheads soon like the Yankees Universe bobble, the Yankees SGA and a couple of the Jeter Last Season bobbles. I just also saw that there was a September Bobblehead Of The Month, which is a Jeter as well. So, I won't be without choices of quite a few different bobbleheads. With this many choices, I know the Jeter part of my bobblehead will grow and grow fast.

Monday, September 8, 2014

My First Derek Jeter Pick Up

When I first got back into collecting cards back in 2003, one of the players I wanted to collect was Derek Jeter. At that point, Jeter was already an all time great. He had won 4 World Championships, was a World Series and an All Star Game MVP. He was at the top of his popularity, Which was why collecting Jeter was, and still is quite difficult.

Want an autographed baseball? Prepare to shell out over $300.00. His autographed cardboard routinely goes for anywhere from $100.00 to $300.00. Even his game used cards are priced at a premium these days.

Back in 2003, I went to the Hofstra Sports Card show on Long Island. I was looking for anything Yankees, like I still do. I just went in without a game plan and dove into boxes and looked until I found something I wanted and bought it.

On this day, I found this card at a table that had a bunch of other patch cards. I was pretty uneducated about cards, especially patch cards and paid what the lady asked without negotiating. These days, I would have tried to haggle her down from the 30.00 I paid.

Still, regardless of what I paid, it's my very first Jeter pick up as well as my first patch card and it remains in my collection. It's one of my favorite cards in my Jeter collection and I don't see myself parting with it anytime soon. I have since added cards to my Jeter collection, but this one is my favorite.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

The Loss Of A Brother Is Never An Easy Thing...

Aarne, Mike and Thom at a Royals game. Wish I could have gone.

It took me a while to come up with what I wanted to say in this particular blog post. This one is a tough one for me to write up, so please bear with me if it's not up to par with any others I have written.

This weekend, my Yankees are playing the Kansas City Royals. It's always a rough series to watch. My non likeness (hatred is such a strong word that I usually reserve for any teams that come from Boston or the Dolphins) of this team goes back to the 70's when I would watch the Yankees tangle with the Royals during the regular season and usually in the American League Championship Series. It was always a battle between those clubs. Graig Nettles fighting George Brett or Brett taking Goose deep or Guidry mowing down the Royals or Frank White spraying the ball all over the field, Pine Tar antics, when you watched those clubs play, you were always in for a heck of a game. Unfortunately, my usual trash talking has been silenced.

I have been a member of a group of team collectors for about 8 years now. I really lucked out because we are more than friends. I have always thought of us a family. I know that if I ever needed one of my brothers, they would help out in anyway they could or be there for me to vent to or cry on their shoulders if need be. This week, they're was some tears shed as we lost one of our brothers.

Mike Trompter was the Royals collector in our group. He was one of the most caring individuals you could ever have the pleasure of meeting. He was funny, kind and very generous. His love for the Royals was huge, but his love for his family was even greater and you cannot help but like a guy who was a sports nut and a family man. If you ever seen his pictures on Facebook, you could see him with his nephew and the smile on his face spoke volumes.

On Wednesday morning, I woke up and got ready for work. I never check anything other than the weather during the morning hours, but I had a few extra minutes so I checked our group page and saw someone mention of Mike's passing. I didn't want to believe it, so I immediately checked his Facebook page and read his niece's words and my heart broke. It was shocking to hear of his passing. I really didn't know what to say or do. Later, I posted this on his Facebook page:

My heart is broken today. I wish we could have met up for a Royals game and talked music. Im a better person for knowing you. You were a huge part of the Team Collectors and your presence will never be replaced. I will miss you, but I know your in heaven watching your Royals with your son. May the Lord bless your spirit.

I actually though about rooting for the Royals to beat the Yankees, just for one night. But I knew in my heart that Mike would not want that. He would want me to keep rooting for my team so he could playfully rub it in my face if the Royals won and sure enough, the Royals beat the Yankees on Friday 1-0, If I close my eyes, I can almost hear Mike rubbing my nose in the lose. Just for once, it was the sweetest nose rub I ever got.

Rest in peace my brother. I know you are with the Lord, looking down on us and watching the Royals try to win the Central. For you, I hope they do.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Great. Now I Will Have The Fox Sports Theme In My Head Whenever I Watch The Yankees

Ahhhhh, nothing gets me excited about Baseball and my New York Yankees like......Cleatus, The Fox Football Robot??

Bear with me folks. I have not been sipping on the funky wine. Yes, Cleatus is synonymous with football on Fox, but the good folks at Fox allowed a company named ActionHeads to produce figures of Cleatus in different NFL team colors. I do like the Jets figure and have been meaning to pick it up.

So, when I was in California visiting my girlfriend, Gina, we went into Fanzz, a sports shop in Westminster Mall. We were going to the Dodgers game later that night and I wanted to get a Dodger player t shirt to wear to the game. I was able to get a very nice Matt Kemp Brooklyn Dodgers t shirt and Gina bought me a Jackie Robinson Dodgers player t shirt. While we were walking to the register, I saw a boxed figure that warranted a closer inspection.

When I picked it up, I noticed it was a Cleatus figure, but it wasn't painted in any football team colors. It was a Cleatus painted in Yankees colors. I had never seen one before. Figures, I would find this 3,000 miles away from home. It was pretty cool, but after much debate, I decided to put the figure back and save the money for the trip.

So, when I get back to New York, Gina tells me I have a package coming my way. I was wondering what she could have possibly sent my way. Maybe a memento from our trip to Dodger Stadium? A Spider-Man Lucha Libre mask I saw on Olvera Street? When I got the package, it was none of the above. It was the Cleatus Yankees figure I wanted. Does this woman know me or what?

Now, after a year of it sitting on my shelf by my autographed baseballs and being oh so lazy, I finally break him out and review him.

The robot comes in a pretty generic box. Would have been nice if it was at least in team colors.

Side of the box has a picture of Cleatus. At least he's in team colors here.

The back of the box has the supposed specs of Cleatus. Looks like he would be on the Mitchell Report in no time.

I'll tell you what, Cleatus looks pretty bad ass out of the box. I love the colors on him. Perfect combination of Yankee blue and white.

Close up of Cletus. Had that interlocking NY on his chest, which I think is awesome. With the red sunglasses, he kinda looks like Optimus Prime.

Cleatus is wearing a special Fox Sports patch on his right shoulder. Wonder if this will sell for the hundreds of dollars that the Lou Gehrig patch did on eBay.

One of the unfortunate things about the figure is that the fingers don't open or close. Would help holding the bat on both hands if you wanted to pose him that way.

Cleatus has ball joints on the shoulders and a bend at the elbows. There is no bend on the wrists, although they do spin around.

There is a bend at the knees, ankles and at the toes. Unfortunately, since the figure is pretty top heavy, Cleatus is prone to falling over like I am after a few too many adult beverages. Like the wall does for me, I had to hold Cleatus up to show the bends.

Cleatus has a hip swivel and ball joints on top of the legs.

The head can go side to side, but barely goes back and forth. Not going to get a whole lot of movement in the neck area.

The figure has some decent articulation. Once you get the joints loose you will be able to pose Cleatus just about anyway you want to. You will have some limitations, but a collection with a better imagination that I do will be able to get some decent poses out of this figure. Just remember that he is top heavy and is prone to falling over. I will just keep him in the box until I can get a display case and I will put him with my other Yankees statues, bobbleheads and figurines. I really like having this figure and think Cleatus will make a great addition to any baseball collection.

Thank you to my sweet baby for the great addition.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

This Is What Happens When You Talk To Your Bud For Too Long

This blog post spurned from a conversation I had with my buddy, Kerry. Kerry and I have been friends for about a year now. He saw a TTM success and hit me up on Facebook asking me where he can find the addresses. I turned him on to and he was so appreciative that he sent me a package of Jets goodies and we have been tight ever since. Kerry is one of those guys that you talk to once and you feel like you've known him forever and I am quite thankful I can call him my friend.

He and I was talking about Jets football and collecting Jets stuff, as we are both die hard Jets fans when I was suddenly hit with an idea about a Jets related project to start working on. Why not start collecting signed mini helmets of the top 10 all time players in New York Jets history? The more I thought about it, the more I thought I could totally pull it off.

I then realized that I may have gotten a few of the players in the top 10 players already. That would make things a lot easier on me I thought. So, I looked today at some lists and based on all the ones I read, here is the ten players who wore the Jets green and white I will go after in my Jets mini helmet collection, starting with

10-Wesley Walker

When I first started watching the Jets, Walker was the number one receiver. He played with the Jets from 1977 to 1989. He lead the league in receiving in 1978 and was named to 2 Pro Bowls in his career. My favorite memory of Walker was his 4 touchdown performance against the Miami Dolphins, one of them being the game winner, as the Jets beat Miami 51 to 45 in a wild game during the 1986 season. That's a game I wish NFL Films would release on DVD. I don't ever see Walker making any public apperances, so this might be a toughie to track down.

9-Mark Gastineau

Although he will always be known for a late hit on Bernie Kosar during the 1986 Playoffs (we won't be discussing that.), this guy was a beast and quite entertaining after he sacked the quarterback. A member of the New York Jets from 1979-1988, after sacking the QB, he would do a dance that would either have him spinning around or waving his arms about and running in place emphatically. I dug this crazy cat the moment I saw him, although he wasn't exactly Mr. Popular among his teammates for crossing the line during the first NFL Players strike in 1987. A member of the famed New York Sack Exchange he was voted to 5 Pro Bowls, 5 All-Pros, 5 All AFC, was the 1984 AFC Player Of The Year and was the NFL Defensive Player Of The Year in 1982.

I managed to get Mark to sign a Jets throwback mini helmet for me during an in store appearance at a Staples in the Bronx back in 2006, I think. Yet, for some strange reason, I do not have a picture of it. Trust me, I do have one.

8-Winston Hill

Winston Hill played with the Jets from 1963-1976. In that time he had the 10th longest string of starts in Pro Football History with 174. He played on a line that protected Joe Namath and opened holes for Emerson Boozer, Matt Snell and John Riggins. He was a 4 time AFL All Star and played in 4 Pro Bowls. Despite having his number retired by the Jets and being a member of the Jets Ring Of Honor, Winston Hill is not a member of the Pro Football Hall Of Fame. Hill will be another toughie to get on a mini as he doesn't make any appearances. However, he has signed in the past care of his restaurant, so I may try my luck the TTM route.

7-Freeman McNeil

Another former Jet I hold close to my heart. He was the Jets running back from 1981-1992. He led the league in rushing in 1982, which was the first time a Jet led the league in rushing. He is second in rushing on the Jets all time list behind Curtis Martin. He was a 3 time Pro Bowl and a 3 time All Pro selection. He and Johnny Hector were part of a tandem that was among the best in the NFL through out the 80's. How good was Freeman? The Dolphins were playing the Jets in the 1983 AFC Championship game. Miami was flooded with rain leading up to the game. So, in an effort to slow down McNeil, the Dolphins didn't cover the field and the field was a wreck. It worked as the Dolphins beat the Jets and forever earned my hatred.

Of all the players, McNeil may be the toughest to get a mini helmet signed. I have never seen him make any appearances here in NY nor does he sign through the mail. My only hope is getting a signed helmet through the secondary market. I just have to be careful I'm not buying a fake.

6-Larry Grantham

An original Jet. Grantham is only one of 2 men on this list to play for both the Titans Of New York and the Jets. Grantham was an outside linebacker and was always among the Jets leading tacklers. He played with the Jets from 1960-1972. He was voted to 5 AFL All Star teams and is a member of the AFL All Time Second Team. One of the lasting images I have of Grantham, since I never seen him play, was after the Jets won Super Bowl III, he went and grabbed the football from the referee, ran and jumped in the air in celebration.

Grantham has not been in the best of health these past few years. He's another who will be a tough autograph. My one time asking through the mail, he asked for 50.00 for the signature. I haven't as of yet sent it out, but if I am serious about completing this project I may have to.

5-Joe Klecko

If it's a crime not having Winston Hill in the Hall Of Fame, then not having Joe Klecko in is insanity. This guy was an All Pro at three different positions. He was a 4 time Pro Bowl selection, two of them being All-Pro. He was the 1981 NFL, AFC and PFWA Defensive Player Of The Year. How the heck is this dude not in the Hall Of Fame?? The Hall Of Fame committee must have something against a player who gave his heart and soul to the Jets. No one was more feared in that Sack Exchange more than Joe Klecko. I have read countless interviews from players that said this. Get Joe In The Hall Of Fame!!!

Klecko is an in studio commentator for SNY during the Jets regular season games. I may wait one Sunday outside SNY and try to get Joe to sign a helmet for me.

4-Darrell Revis

OK. Either this guy is hated by Jets fans or loved by Jets fans. I fall kind of in the middle. I disliked that he held out for so long and was threatening to do it again and as traded because of this threat, but dammit, I loved knowing that if any opposing QB was throwing in his direction, it was probably getting intercepted. Revis is arguably the best defensive player the Jets ever had. And he wanted to come back this season. Woody Johnson, in his infinate wisdom, decided not to bring Revis back. Big mistake. Our secondary is horrible. We could have used Revis, who only is a 5 time Pro Bowl player, 3 of them being All-Pro and 4 appearances was as a New York Jet.

I'm not even waiting to try and get Revis to sign. I will be shopping for a signed Revis helmet as soon as I am able to.

3-Don Maynard

My buddy, Kerry's all time favorite Jet. With good reason. This man is the Jets All Time Leader in receiving yards, catches and touchdowns. He, along with Larry Grantham, is the only Jet on this list to have played with the Titans, but the only Jet on this list to have also played with the New York Giants. In fact, he played in the Championship game against the Baltimore Colts, which is now known as the Greatest Game Ever Played.

The Tandem of Namath to Maynard was the AFL's most feared. They shredded defenses on their way to a Super Bowl title. Maynard was named to 4 AFL All Star Teams, AFL All Team and was inducted into the Footbal Hall Of Fame.

I was able to get Maynard to sign a Jets mini helmet at the Long Island Card Show back in 2005.

2-Curtis Martin

The one thing I love about the Jets getting Curtis Martin was we got him off the Patriots. One of the greatest running backs I ever seen, Curtis was a Jet from 1998 to 2005, was a three selection to the Pro Bowl as a Jet. He was the oldest player to win the NFL Rushing title at age 31. He had his number 28 retired by the Jets and was inducted into he Pro Football Hall Of Fame in 2012. I would say that Curtis Martin was the best free agent signing the Jets ever made.

I was able to get Martin to sign a mini helmet for me at Jets camp back in 2005. There was a surge of fans who made their way to C-Mart when he started signing. Lucky for me, I stuck out my arm and he saw the mini helmet and signed it.

1-Joe Namath

What, did you think I would say Quincy Carter? No, Quincy is a fine NFL player, but he's no Broadway Joe.

Then again, who is? Joe was the first quarterback to ever pass for over 4,000 yards in a season. He was the AFL Rookie Of The Year in 1965, he was a 4 time AFL All Star, He was also selected to a Pro Bowl in 1972. a 2 time AP AFL MVP, an AP AFL First Team All Star, a 3 time AP AFL Second Team All Star, a PFW NFL Comeback Player Of The Year, a member for the All AFL team and was inducted to the Pro Football Hall Of Fame in 1985. Of course, he led the Jets to their only Super Bowl Appearance and Championship.

Bottom line, Namath is the greatest player in Jets history.

I was extremely lucky to get Namath to sign a mini helmet for me at an in store signing for Sprint in Manhattan back in 2007.

So as I start this project, I already have four of the top 10 Jets signatures on mini helmets. My one rule as I go about this is that the helmets I get the players to sign are the same helmets the players wore during their careers as Jets.

This is a project that I think I'm going to have a lot of fun with. To be able to get helmets signed by some of the greatest players in Jets history will be a thrill for me. A lot of these players were guys I watched when I first started watching the Jets back in 1980. The others, I've seen on film or read about have left an impression on me nonetheless and it would be an honor if I could add their autographs to my Jets collection. Who knows, maybe after I'm done, I can start on the next ten great Jets players.

Thanks for the idea, Kerry.