I’ve been hitting my 1986–1988 duplicates a lot recently and have re-sent to some guys I got a few years ago as I build out my signed 1986 Topps and 1988 Topps collections. I was busy mailing requests out in March even though not much was coming back and those efforts really made themselves known this month.
April got off to a great start with a fast 9-day return from Johnny Ray and a pair of 1986 and 1988 duplicates which show off his switch hitting ability. I however really like the 1990 Upper Deck card in his flip-down sunglasses.
I got a 61 day return from Fred McGriff’s cousin Terry McGriff. I had sent him a 1988 Topps duplicate a couple years ago but never got a response. Nice to have success on my second try and, while I don’t do too much with 1989 Topps it looks nice signed as well.
I thought I was about done with spring training returns until this one from David Villar arrived a week into the regular season, 49 days after I sent it out. It’s always nice when it’s obvious the player kept a copy of each custom I sent and even though I asked for only one signature, it’s great to have a signed version of each of the color designs for last season.
The orange is the base roster card, the white is to commemorate MLB debuts, and the black borders are highlights. Villar was a bright spot last season and I’m hoping he keeps it up this year.
Another repeat request, this time from Floyd Bannister in 27 days. I don’t usually send four cards but when I do it’s because it’s fun to get a card of each team a guy played for. I also like having he 1985 Topps #1 Draft Pick card signed since that’s one of the most interesting parts of that set.
My youngest got a quick return from Rick Reuschel last month and inspired me to give him a try as well. Reuschel is one of my earliest memories in the autograph hobby and getting him on a Mothers Cookies card was something I really wanted to do. He’s always been a notoriously streaky signer at best (when I was a kid the fact that I even had his autograph impressed some of the more seasoned pros) but he’s being very accommodating right now and sent these back in 9 days.
I sent to Danny Darwin again since I wanted to add a few more teams that he’d played for into the binder. I don’t usually use 1991 Donruss but I wanted to try one of those MVP cards just for fun. The 1994 Upper Deck also came out great. He sent these back in 15 days.
I go a 10-day return from Ed Romero on both a pair of he sets I’m hitting as well as a 1983 Topps card. Romero put together a 12-year MLB career playing for four teams (primarily the Brewers and Red Sox) before going on to a carer as a Minor League coach.
I got Pat Sheridan’s autograph at that childhood Philadelphia trip but didn’t have any Giants cards of him signed. So I finally sent a pair of 1990 cards that reflected his time with the 1989 team. I didn’t realize as a kid that I caught him at basically the end of his career. I do know now that he’s p[art of that 1989 team which meant so much to me as a kid* and it was great to get these back in 16 days.
*Updated status of that project is kept on a dedicated page.
A 15 day return from Frank DiPino brought another multi-team mailing to my mailbox. Nice to see the different teams. And nice to add another 1990 Leaf to the collection. I only had one signed before which is a shame since it’s a nice set for it.
For some reason I didn’t send either my 1991 Studio or a Mother’s Cookies card to Mark Lewis last time. Definitely had to fix that oversight, especially because the 1997 team is the one responsible for bringing back to being a baseball fan. He sent these back in only 9 days.
I sent four to Don Robinson because I couldn’t choose between them. I love getting Pirates 1986 Topps cards signed because they’re all about the pillbox caps and I really like the 1990 Upper Deck photo of him sliding. It’s also always nice to get another signed Mother’s Cookies card. Robinson is super reliable and sent these back in 14 days.
Speaking of 1986 Pirates cards, everything from the cap to the sunglasses here is fantastic. Brown only played five years in the Majors but had a pretty good 1985 season after he was traded to the Pirates in in the beginning of August. He slashed .332/.391/.512 and put up 1.5 WAR in only two months.
Brown is also a Bay Area guy who was born in San Francisco and went to school at San José State. He sent this back in 14 days.
I got a pair of cards from Gary DiSarcina in 14 days. 1993 Triple Play is one of those sets I kind of want to build since it’s the perfect for-kids set in that it’s fun without being condescending. 1993 Upper Deck meanwhile is an all-time classic of a design that always looks great signed. I neglected to ask about the photo on the back but googling around explains what Frick, Frack, And Hack mean.
DiSarcina played 12 years in MLB, all with the Angels. His best year was 1995 in which he was an All Star and even showed up on the MVP ballot. He’s now the Third Base coach for the Nationals.
This is a fun one. I pulled this Glendon Rusch card out of a repack in my early days of reintegrating to the hobby and those $5 Target repacks were the best way for me to get a taste of everything I’d missed since I dropped out in 1994. I didn’t give it much thought after I pulled it until Matthew Prigge asked me to help him design the custom cards he was going to use for promoting his book.
After Matt sent me a few sets of the cards I realized that it would be fun to send them out TTM to the guys who were reliable signers. Rusch was one such player and sent these back in only 7 days. I explained in my letter what the cards were from, told him to keep the extra, and he did. Rusch bounced around with 6 different teams over 12 years as a decent, mostly replacement level, pitcher. Matt’s custom though commemorates his first MLB home run though so that was a fun detail to add to the letter.
The very next day I got another of Matt’s customs back, this time from Sixto Lezcano in 8 days. He also kept an extra so that’s pretty cool. I wish I’d had a real card to send him but it’s nice to have the custom commemorating a exciting game. Lezcano had a pretty good 12-year career, most of it with the Brewers, and was a really good player in the late 70s.
I finally sent to Jay Bell. Was nice to be able to thank him for being part of one of my favorite parenting memories and it was nice to add another 1988 Topps and another 1993 Upper Deck to the binder. While I think of Bell primarily as a Pirate it’s always fun to add a rookie card. 1993 is also a good yea to have since that was his best season of his 18-year career. He returned these in 20 days.
I sent a bunch of extra Giants postcards out and Manny Trillo returned his in only 9 days. These always sign nicely and I really like the views of Candlestick as well. Trillo was one of my first TTM requests so this is another repeat.
A 36 day return from Rick Honeycutt was a second-times-the-charm request. I really wish I had a duplicate of his 1990 Upper Deck card but getting him on any A’s card works since I definitely remember him from his time with the A’s…well and also the thumbtack incident which was part of the Baseball Hall of Shame books I grew up reading.
Lee Guetterman is a repeat request as well as I decided to hit some duplictes form sets ha I don’t normally send ou. 1988 Score and 1990 Fleer both look nice signed but are not the sets I reach for first from those years. He sent these back in 21 days.
A 10 day return from Jeff Reed was another repeat request. I wanted an Expos card of Reed and once I ran into his 1990 Upper Deck card I couldn’t not send that too. There’s something about catcher action that will always be cool.
Mike Kingery is yet another repeat request and I was happy to get another 1988 Score back in 21 days. Kingery doesn’t have a lot of Giants cards so I went with sets I like to see signed that I haven’t gotten too as often.
Tom Shopay has such a great signature that I picked up a cheap 1972 card just to send to him. He was a sub for seven seasons from 1967 to 1977 but his 1972 card captures the fact that he played in the 1971 World Series. He sent this back in 13 days and reminds me that I’d like to get more 1972s signed just in general.
My eldest sent a bunch of requests out in March, one of which was to Doug Dascenzo. I figured I’d piggy back on my son’s request and put two letters and two cards in one envelope. It’s fun to share a hobby with them and sending to guys like Dascenzo is a chance for us to talk about guys who I saw when I was his age. I’d love to send out his 1991 Score card that depicts him pitching but all I had around was this 1989 Donruss. Dascenzo is a good signer but made my son sweat by taking a longer than typical 57 days.
Joe Margoneri played two seasons with the New York Giants and it’s always fun to write to those guys about being a Giants fan, moving East, and visiting the Polo Grounds location. He sent this back in just 14 days and included a nice note on the index card as well.
I got a nice 128 day return from Carlos Garcia. He had a decent 10-year career in the Majors and has been a coach in various capacities since. Both of his 1992 Donruss and 1993 SP cards feature nice photos which look really nice with ink. This is also my first SP card which I’ve gotten signed.
Bob Johnson’s 1972 Topps card has a passing reference on the back to how he won Game 3 of the 1971 NLCS. This is a bit of an understatement in that he actually outpitched Juan Marichal and only gave up one unearned run in 8 innings. As with the Tom Shopay this reminds me that I’d love to get more 1972s signed. Johnson sent this back in 19 days.
While his 1991 Score is the only card which shows him pitching left-handed, I couldn’t help make “amphibious pitcher” jokes when I got these back from Greg Harris in 33 days. This is another repeat request where I sent cards from some of my favorite sets to get signed this time.
Charlie Spikes is an all-time great name and a similarly awesome nickname (The Bogalusa Bomber). He had a good 1974 and showed a lot of promise but things just didn’t work out for the rest of his career. I really like this 1976 Topps card though and was happy to get it back in 20 days.
The last return of the month was this pair from Jeff Kunkel in 11 days. Neither of these is as cool as his 1991 Studio but it’s nice to have a couple more-traditional images as well.
All in all a very very good month with a great mix of cards. Next month probably won’t measure up but the hopper is still pretty full so who knows what’ll happen.