November returns

Was not expecting a huge month and things kind of died down toward the end whatwith holiday stuff. Plus there was no way it could compare to last month anyway. But as always some fun returns. Where last month was interesting characters, this month has a decent amount of photos I just like.

Sometimes I have to send a card because I love the photo to much. This Ron Pruitt is one such example. One of my favorite photos in the entire set and I had to write to tell him as much. As cool as getting your own baseball card must be for a player, it must be fantastic to get one which features a quality photo. I was very happy to get this back in just 8 days.

It’s been sort of interesting to me to see people complain about how starting pitchers can only go maybe 6 innings now since I remember the 2002 Giants and how Dusty Baker used his bullpen that year. The routine the entire season was to get the starter through 6 innings and then use three one-inning guys to finish the game.

Tim Worrell was the 8th inning guy that season and I remember being the most comfortable when he was pitching. it’s also always nice to add a few members of that 2002 season. His return took 70 days.

One of my favorite Giants Magazine covers was this Will’s World photoshoot. I’d love to get it signed by both Will Clark and Cory Snyder so I sent a couple to Snyder first. He signed two and send them back in 37 days. I’ve only scanned one since they other was immediately packaged up to send to Clark.

I also tossed in Snyder’s Olympics card because I enjoy getting the Olympics cards signed and I’m very happy to add another of these to the collection.

In addition to being a Hall of Famer, it was nice to get an 11-day return from Whitey Herzog. I’m no Cardinals fan. In fact I kind of hate them and still carry some scars from that 1987 National League Championship Series. At the same time, I’ve always liked and appreciated Whiteyball—especially with the way current baseball strategy has gone. Getting on base, aggressive baserunning, good defense… All a much more entertaining way of playing the game than the current three true outcomes approach.

I went to my first baseball game in 1986 and as a result was actually interested in the post season that year. The 1986 World Series was thus the first real baseball I remember watching. Jesse Orosco had a great series that year and as a result is one of the first players I remember being impressed by (also on that list Oil Can Boyd). He’s a super-fast signer and sent this back in only 7 days.

This is actually an October return but it only arrived at my house in November. I sent to Jim Willoughby way back when I started TTMing and was using my parents’ address since I was in non-permanent housing. They were surprised to receive a return envelope since the last ones they got were in May. At 494 days this is my longest return now.

Willoughby’s actually from Gustine and is one of those guys who went to college (Cal in this case) while he was a professional player. While his bio states that he was a Yankee fan it must’ve been nice to be a member of his local big league club while he was in college.

A 10-day return from Summer Sanders is the first autograph I’ve gotten that has impressed my wife. This is a fun one to add to the Stanford album and I definitely remember watching her race in the 1992 Barcelona games. This is also the first Allen & Ginter card I’ve gotten signed. Still not my thing as a set but they do work very well for autographs.

I also sent a few more customs out this month and began to get a few back. Joe Borchard didn’t keep any and returned everything in 10 days. He’s another player I remember watching when I was in college (both in baseball and football). I actually remember him more as a football player because whenever he was in the game I knew we’d be running a naked bootleg or something. But he was a decent power-hitting outfielder who hit the longest home run for the White Sox.

One of the reasons I stopped doing the autograph thing when I was in high school was because it felt weird to be prospecting with people I would potentially be in school with. Now though it doesn’t feel weird to be sending these out to peers or guys who are younger than me.

Another return of Stanford customs. Another player who didn’t keep any. Jeremy Guthrie turned these around in 9 days. I’d gotten a pair of cards signed by him in my first big return day but I’m slowly putting together a signed set of these 1978ish customs and everyone I can add is a lot of fun. The current collection is looking really good.

While I unfortunately do not have Glenn Hubbard’s legendary 1984 Fleer card I did have a bunch from across his career. I selected my oldest card as well as two from when I remember seeing him (both as a visitor at Candlestick and with the A’s). He sent these back in 18 days.

On the topic of legendary cards I did get to send Jose Lind his 1992 Studio card. No idea what’s going on but I had to send it despite the black jacket. I also picked a couple other cards I liked. Both Lind and Hubbard are defensive players I remember watching as a kid. Lind lives in Puerto Rico now but this return only took a week.

I started going through my 1970s duplicates and started pulling guys who I remembered from when I was collecting in the late-80s. A 13 day return from Scott McGregor was the first return from that endeavor. He’s one of those cool single-franchise players who stands out in the modern game. He also was a good pitcher for a long time and performed admirably in multiple World Series.

Toby Harrah is another player who I had cards of in both the 1970s and 1980s. The 1976 is actually a card from Cliff but the 1987 is one I remember from my youth. This makes it look like Harrah stayed with the Rangers for over a decade (he actually started with the Senators) but he spent the better part of the 1980s with other teams before finishing his carer back in Texas. He sent these back in 18 days.

Jim Clancy though did spend over a decade with the Blue Jays before bouncing around a couple of teams in the last few seasons of his career. There’s something about his 1978 card that I just really like. It might just be the fill flash (now I have to think if I’ve seen any cards using fill flash before 1978) but there’s also the pose and the way he’s smiling instead of being serious. I also like how his 1988 card mirrors the 1978 pose but is an action image. These came back in 15 days.

Another 15-day return brought a pair of cards from Bob Bailor. These aren’t a decade apart but they feel a decade apart to me. I could buy packs back to 1980 when I was a kid. Which meant that 1979 felt like it was from another age. The rare times they fell from repacks made them treasure to me. 1986 meanwhile was still circulating en masse when I was a kid and I accumulated a couple hundred of them without even trying.

Last return of the month is from former College Player of the Year David McCarty in 27 days. He was fun to watch at Stanford and I had high hopes for his professional career. It never took off like I hoped but he put together an interesting decade in the majors as a bit of a utility guy who played first base, outfield, and pitcher. I could probably have picked better cards here for showing off a signature but these are the duplicates I had.

All in all a decent number of returns. Things looks to be pretty quiet for the rest of the year but we’ll see what happens next month.

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, and the web at

4 thoughts on “November returns”

  1. Whoa. Cool to see so many athletes signing . Love that Snyder Olympic card. Hope Will signs the magazine for you. And that Sanders is sweet!

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