A batch of TTMs

Where my previous TTM post consisted of only a couple returns, I’m now visiting my parents and there was a nice big stack of envelopes waiting for me.

Yup. Over a dozen returns and, since I’m away from my scanner, iPhone photos are going to have to suffice until I get around to scanning and replacing all the images in this post.

Since the returns this time are almost all Giants I’m breaking this recap down into the different sections I’ve organized my Giants autographs into.

Old Giants

The first part of my album are “old guys” who predate my time as a Giants fan. Many of them are guys I’ve only learned about through cards. Some though are guys who I was well aware of even though they’re not “stars.”

Ed Halicki is one of those guys. The Giants when I was a kid specialized in close calls for no-hitters. No Giants pitcher could close out the 9th inning. As a result John Montefusco and Ed Halicki held a certain amount of interest as marking the time from when the Giants had last no-hit anyone. This wasn’t a huge deal in the 1980s when the drought was only a dozen years but as the seasons went on the drought started to become a bigger and bigger deal. Montefusco gets most o the press but Halicki, as the last Giant to throw a no-hitter in San Francisco before Jonathon Sanchez did it in 2009 was also worth remembering.

I had a duplicate 1979 card as a result of the packing that Mark Armour included in his “chain letter” so I sent it out and got it back 43 days letter.

Mark Armour gave me a bunch of duplicate 1979 Topps cards and this 16-day Marc Hill card is another one of those. Hill played a bunch for the Giants in the late 1970s and was the preferred catcher for a few of those seasons as he and Mike Sadek sort of battled each other for the position. Hill is most notable for me though because he shares his 1975 rookie card with Gary Carter and as a result was a bit of a thorn in my side in terms of collecting.

Vic Harris, also on one of Mark Armour’s 1979s, came back in eleven days. Harris is listed as an outfielder but was a real utility guy who appeared in over two dozen games at six of the nine positions. He never pitched, caught, or played first base but he did everything else.

The last of this batch is David Green who was only a Giant in 1985. He came to the Giants in the Jack Clark trade* and I like him for the way the 1986 team set includes guys names Brown, Green and Blue. Not a big Giants player but I’ve got two cards, he looked like a good signer, and these came back in 29 days.

*This basically amounted long term to the Giants trading Jack Clark for Jose Uribe and, while I liked Uribe, that’s not one of the Giants better moves.

Roger Craig Giants

To the Roger Craig Giants who were the formative team of my youth.* And we’ll start with the big name player who embodies those teams. I’ve written about Will Clark before and I love that he’s such a good signer now. Only one item at a time and this one came back in 23 days. I thought a long time about what card I wanted before picking this one since I like the way the chewing gum offsets his still-intense look.

Jeff Robinson was a relief pitcher by the time I became a Giants fan and is probably most-notable for being traded for Rick Reuschel in the 1987 season. For me though he’s one of the fun notes about my first Major League game ever in that I got to see him play right field for two innings instead. And yes that absolutely went in to my letter to him. His 1987 Topps card with the weird red name box (all the other Giants cards are orange) came back in 39 days.

Ken Oberkfell is someone who I have on my 1989 ball but who for whatever reason I didn’t bring a card of his to Philadelphia. He’s a single-season Giant who was mostly a late-inning pinch hitter or sub but that 1989 team was one of the highlights of my childhood and getting these in only six days sort of fills in some of the gaps in my childhood collecting.

Gil Heredia is another guy who wasn’t with the Giants long but he represents my interest in minor league baseball. He was one of the first San José Giants to make it to the Majors and seeing him play in Candlestick cemented the promise of how watching minor league ball can pay off years later. This is one of his few Giants cards and it came back to me in 23 days.

Dusty Baker Giants

Switching managers and moving to the Dusty Baker Giants who I saw at spring training when I was in high school and who got me back into baseball after the strike. William Van Landingham is another San Jose Giant who I got to see pitch at San Jose Muni and Candlestick. He sent these two cards back in 29 days.

Glenallen Hill is another fixture of those 1990s Dusty Baker teams. He wasn’t bad but always felt like he was poised to break out into something awesome. He’s now the manager of the Albuquerque Isotopes and sent these back in 24 days.

Current Giants

Moving to current Giants and one of my favorite returns of all time. Hensley Meulens is the current bench coach and everyone in the Bay Area is convinced that one of these days he’ll be an MLB manager. I sent him this card and a couple of my GiantsNOW customs. He kept the customs and 17 days later sent me this fantastic “Sir Hensley Meulens ‘Bam Bam’” signature which looks awesome on the Studio 91 card.

I think I like this one even better than the Bill Spaceman Lee return.

I didn’t expect to get any more spring training returns but Derek Holland’s found its way back to me after 127 days. Very cool. He’s had a rough 2019 but he was the most reliable starter on the team last season. Nice signature too.

Holland also sent me one of my customs so it’s pretty cool to still be adding signed versions of those to the album too. I like the way he signs these cards over the name/team graphic on the bottom. I kind of wonder what he does with diagonal graphics now.

Other players

And wrapping up this post with a couple non-Giants players I sent to. The first here is Bert Campaneris who’s a bit of a Bay Area legend. This 1976 card is kind of beat up but I love the 1976 design and it’s always nice to add another to the album. He sent this back in only 8 days too.

Campaneris also signed an index card. These are always fun to get back. I’ll need to figure out something to do with these eventually but for now they’re nice to have in the album

The second is this 104 day return from Charlie Hough. I’ve been toying with starting a guys-from-Hawai‘i collection and Hough’s a clear standout there. I just wish I’d had a Marlins card but since I stopped collecting in 1994 I didn’t pick up too many expansion team cards and that’s not an area I’ve been collecting yet.

Author: Nick Vossbrink

Blogging about Photography, Museums, Printing, and Baseball Cards from both Princeton New Jersey and the San Francisco Bay Area. On Twitter as @vossbrink, WordPress at njwv.wordpress.com, and the web at vossbrink.net

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