Friday, May 23, 2014

I Love To Get My Balls Signed...Baseballs, That Is.

One of my hobby goals for 2014 is to get more autographed baseballs in my Yankees collection. In fact, I have made an ambitious goal for myself and that is to get as close to 100 signed baseballs from Yankee players, former and present, for the collection. I say it's pretty ambitious because I'm not what you would call an autograph hound. I don't go chasing players or wait at their hotels or hang out the ballparks before players arrive. Of course that's because I don't know where the player hotels are and it's difficult to graph at Yankee Stadium.

So, how do I add signed baseballs to my collection? Player appearances is one way. That's how I was able to get players like Hideki Matsui, Darryl Strawberry, Bucky Dent and David Cone to sign baseballs for me. Another way is card shows. The card show I go to usually will have 1 free player and if that person is what I deem "ball worthy", I will get them to sign or I will pay for the player if he's not too expensive. Some of the players I have gotten this way is Ruben Sierra, Bobby Richardson and Gaylord Perry. Then there is the TTM route. To be honest, I have lost more baseballs than gotten back, but a couple of the players I have gotten back were Mike Mussina and Jimmy Key.

So, here is the signed baseball collection right now:

I have them on a shelf right over my bobblehead collection. I kind of think I'm running out of room. I probably have just that row to finish and that would be it. Another row might be pushing it.

So, which players do I want to add to the collection? Well, I have more than a few players in mind.

The Core Four

Derek Jeter
Mariano Rivera
Andy Pettitte
Jorge Posada

The Champions

Paul O'Neill
Tino Martinez
Scott Brosius
Orlando Hernandez
Ron Guidry
Sparky Lyle
Cecil Fielder
A.J. Burnett
Mike Stanton
Brett Gardner
Willie Randolph
Tim Raines
Bernie Williams

The Hall Of Fame Players

Dave Winfield
Rickey Henderson
Joe Torre
Reggie Jackson
Rich Gossage
Phil Niekro
Phil Rizzuto (I know he's passed on, but his autograph are still out there)

The Managers

Lou Pinellia
Buck Showalter
Ralph Houk (See Phil Rizzuto)

There are other players I want as well like Aaron Boone, Dave Righetti and Bobby Murcer. Players who may not have had hall of fame careers or won a championship here, but still made a difference in Pinstripes.

So, as you can see, I have some players to chase around if I want to get to my goal of 100 signed baseballs by the end of 2014. Right now, I'm at 42 baseballs, so if I'm going to get to 100, I better get my butt in gear. I consider myself rather fortunate that I am lucky enough to have the autographs that I do own. Hopefully by the end of the year, I will be wondering where am I going to display all the autographs. Then I will know that I reached my goal and can set my next goal. 200, here I come.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

More Vintage In My Jets Collection.

I may have been only one of a few Yankee fans who was saddened when Shea Stadium was leveled back in 2009. I mean, as a Yankee fan, I should have been dancing a jig when that old place crumbled to the ground. In it's final years, Shea wasn't exactly a great place to watch a baseball game. It was outdated, the bathrooms were terrible and the sound system was horrible.


I spent a lot of time at Shea Stadium, especially as a kid. My buddy's father took me to a lot of Met games, even getting to meet some of the players in between the dugout and locker room. I got to see the '86 Mets play there. I got to see players like Hubie Brooks, George Forster, Dave Kingman, Dwight Gooden, Darryl Strawberry, Gary Carter, Keith Hernandez, Bobby Bonillia, Mike Piazza, Jose Reyes and David Wright grace the Shea Stadium grass. But that is not why I wasn't too happy to see Shea go down in a pile of dust.

My first Jets game was at Shea. I don't remember the score. I do know the Jets lost to Buffalo, I think. I remember Richard Todd throwing a couple of picks that game and the defense getting burned on a couple of touchdowns. The crowd wasn't like any baseball crowd I've seen. They were a bit more loud and raucous. I was sitting in the upper deck, just above the Jets sideline. I may have been high up, but I felt like I was a part of the team and it cemented my love for the green and white.

The Jets played in Shea for only a couple seasons after, but Shea will always have a place in my heart as the home of the Jets. Whenever I find a piece of Jets memorabilia with Shea Stadium on it or having come from Shea, I always try to add it to my Jets collection. I have a Jets pennant with Shea pictured on it as well as a program from Shea.

I have actually had this post card in my Jets collection for about 2 years now. I had been trying to win one off eBay, missing out a few times. I finally won one in really good shape for under 10.00, if I remember correctly. I have never been a post card collector before, although I had considered picking up some vintage Yankee Stadium post cards, but never pulled the trigger on any.

The post card above is dated 1964 and was released by Dexter Press, Inc. I'm guessing the picture was taken sometime during that '64 season as the stadium opened on April 17th, 1964. The post card gives you an idea what Shea looked like in it's first season in it's existence. The one thing I always liked was the hovering "speckle" Shea had in those days. I don't think they were still there when I started visiting the ballpark. I liked them more than the neon ballplayers they put up in Shea's later years.

The back of the post card gives you a little bit of information about Shea; where it was located, how many it seats for both baseball and football, who played there and who added color to the photo (It was a company named Scholfield).

The reason why I picked up this post card was because there is a Jets presence on it. If you look on the upper left hand corner, there is a football player in a green jersey, running and carrying the pigskin with the words The N.Y. Jets underneath. Without that football player, I would not have picked up this piece. I am glad to own it as I am fascinated with Jets history and the post card is a unique piece to add to any Jets collection.

I will always look for vintage pieces to add to my Jets collection. If it has something to do with Shea then I will be quick to jump on it. There's not a lot of pieces left that connect the Jets to Shea Stadium, aside from programs and yearbooks. It's been 31 years since Leon Hess took the Jets over to Giants Stadium, so finding anything that has t do with the Jets and Shea is hard to find. But when I can add something like the post card, then I'll always do what I can to get it because Shea Stadium will always have a place in my heart. Just don't tell any other Yankee fan I said that.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

A Super Jet Addition

Anytime I go to a flea market, I always find at least one item to come home with me. The flea market I attended this past weekend, I found two things. The Yankees Baseline Bopper I showed in my last post and I managed to find something I've wanted for a long time that is related to the New York Jets Super Bowl III team. It's not in the best shape, but I actually really don't care, since I didn't pay all that much for it. In fact, I bought it from the same table I bought the Bopper from.

This is the record album chronicling the 1968 New York Jets season, a season in which they upset the Baltimore Colts 17-6 to win the franchise's only Super Bowl, which happened two years before I was born. Figures they would win a Super Bowl when I'm not even alive to see it. I just hope they win another before God tells me my table is ready.

Now, I don't own a turntable, but I am guessing this record has play by play highlights of the 1968 Jets season from their radio broadcast team from WABC radio.It has the voices of Merle Harmon, who was the Jets main radio voice at the time and also narrated their season highlights videos, and Sam DeLuca, who played three seasons with the Jets and was on the IR during the championship season and would provide color commentary for years after his playing days were over.  It was pretty cool to know what radio station was the Jets broadcast home during that championship season. I'm a nerd for details like that.

The back of the album cover has a brief synopsis of the 1968 season as well as the 1968 schedule and results. It also has a picture of the championship team as well as a picture of the coach, Weeb Ewbank. Now, as I said before, the album cover is not in the best shape and if you look at the lower left corner you can see some crinkling of that corner as well as a chip p that same side of the album. It gets much worse on top though.

As you can see, the top of the album cover is split all the way across it. Too be honest, I didn't even realize that until after I walked out of the flea market and got into my buddy's car. If I had noticed it, I may have haggled a bit or not even bought it at all. I am a bit disappointed in myself. I always look carefully at a piece before buying it and I failed to do so with this. I guess I was too excited that I actually found this record at a great deal and didn't even give it once over.

The record itself looks like it's in pretty decent condition. I did look it over once I got home and I could not find a scratch on the record at all. Now, I come from an age where I actually used to play records before CD's became the norm. I know from experience that just because you don't see a scratch doesn't mean it's not there. Since I don't have a turntable, I doubt I will even play this record.

Even though the cover is in worse shape than I initially thought, I am still really happy to own it. I was going to put it on my Jets shelf, next to my Joe Namath puzzle, I think I will take my buddy Kerry's advice and frame this and hang it up when I get things situated. Hopefully, I can locate a CD copy of this record as I would love to listen to the radio broadcast highlights of the '68 season. Hopefully, us Jets fans don't have to wait much longer for the Lombardi Trophy to come back to the Green and White and maybe we can get another highlight CD to listen to over and over again.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Small, But Very Cool.

I am always looking to add new bobbleheads to my collection. Especially Yankees bobbleheads. I haven't really picked up any new bobbleheads for the collection lately, so I am pretty behind on additions. Unfortunately, work is slow right now, so I have to watch what I spend my money on. Until things pick up, my bobblehead additions will be few.

But things can sometimes go in my favor. Case in point, this past Saturday I was hanging out with my friend at a flea market in Fishkill, NY. I had been there before looking stuff to pick up. The Yankee items I see in various booths are either in poor condition, something I already own or too pricey, so I usually pass on what the dealers are peddling.

I visited this one table that I had purchased items from before. This dealer usually has a wide variety of goodies for sale. From sports items to pop culture items, this dealer has some pretty nice stuff. Problem is all his good stuff is pretty expensive. I did see this one small Yankees item that I became very interested in, especially since I never seen it before. The price was a whopping $2.00.  Easy decision. It came home with me.

What I had bought was a Baseline Bopper. It was made in the late 1990's by a toy company called ERTL.  I had seen these before, except made as cars. I had never seen them in an airplane before, which is why I snatched it up quickly.

Here is an example of the the cars look like

I have been looking for the car at a decent price for a while and instead, I find the airplane.
Here are some shots of this tiny beauty:

The propeller actually work.

I love finding pieces like this to add to my Yankees collection. It's something like this that makes the hunt so exciting and gratifying when you come across unique items. Yeah, I know it's not much, but anytime I can diversify my collection with different items, all relating to the Yankees, then I'm a happy man.