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Inducted in the first class to the Hall of Fame in 1936, Walter Johnson is the only pitcher in major league history to record over 400 wins and strike out over 3,500 batters. He was the inaugural member of the 3000 K club and it's only member for 50 years. His record of 110 career shutouts will undoubtedly never be broken. 12 years he led his league in strikeouts including eight in a row. I currently have 155 different Beckett recognized cards of "The Big Train" including these nine vintage, oddballs, inserts, parallels and short prints from my collection.

       
1960 Fleer #6 Walter Johnson DP
1961 Golden Press #29 Walter Johnson
1968 Sports Memorabilia All-Time Greats #3 Walter Johnson


       
1998 Kenner Starting Lineup Classic Doubles Cards #9 Walter Johnson
1999 Sports Illustrated Greats of the Game Record Breakers #10 Walter Johnson
2007 UD Masterpieces Serious Black #21 Walter Johnson


       
2009 Topps #287b Walter Johnson SP
2011 Topps Diamond Anniversary #300B Walter Johnson SP
2012 Panini Cooperstown #160 Walter Johnson SP
Wow, that is very impressive. Thanks for the pictures.
In 1979, at age 19, I drove from Bangor, Maine to Winter Haven, Florida to see the Sox in spring training. George Scott hit a home run during the game and I outran everyone to get the ball. I hung around the clubhouse after the game for about two hours hoping to get someone's autograph. Lot's of future HOFers and stars on that team. Fisk, Rice, Yaz, Eckersley, Lynn and Evans all slipped out a side door, piled into a couple of waiting vehicles and laid rubber peeling out of the parking lot. Eventually George Scott came out and I asked him to sign and he said he wouldn't. I even told him it was the ball he'd hit for a home run and he brushed by me and said he didn't have time for that. I'd driven nearly 1400 miles and then waited about 5 hours through the game and afterward and was extremely disappointed in not getting an auto. Don Zimmer came out last and signed for the few of us still waiting and in hindsight, I guess I'd rather have Zimmer's auto than George Scott's. That was my first in-person auto and I still have the ball.

The only Hall of Famer I have met in person and gotten an autograph from was Carl Yastrzemski. Yaz was my favorite player growing up in Maine during the late 60's and through the 70's. I would imitate his stance and hold my bat high during our neighborhood games. In the late 80s I worked at the local NBC affiliate in Bangor, Maine and Yaz came up to do some tv commercials for the local Chrysler dealership. Our tv station handled the production and I got to work on the ads and in fact even did the voice on one of them. Technically I was in the same ad as Carl Yastrzemski although it was just my voice at the end. I met him and he signed some of my old cards for me. I should've had him sign some of my less valuable cards but didn't realize at the time that I was devaluing them. I pictured one of them earlier on this thread in a post of some of my 1961 cards.

Living where I do in Maine is about four hours from Fenway Park, the nearest MLB park, so it would take the better part of a day to drive there and back. I've worked six days a week since 1981, working my regular job Monday through Friday and producing and hosting my radio show on Sundays. These two obstacles have made it difficult for me to attend a MLB game. Maybe when I retire (Hahahaha) I can tour as many different MLB parks as I can. That would be a dream for me but for now, I keep plugging away at my jobs and living vicariously through my cards. Not having access to MLB players has made it difficult for me to obtain in-person autographs, unless the player comes to Maine, however for this post I am showing nine of my in-person obtained autographed cards from my collection.

       
1964 Topps #84 Carl Willey Autographed (Carlton Willey was a native of Cherryfield, Maine and went to the same school as my grandfather. In the early 1990s he came to Bangor for a live appearance on our news broadcast and he was very polite and signed a couple of cards for me.)
1965 Topps #295 Dick Radatz Autographed (Dick Radatz came to the Bangor Mall for a card show and I had him sign a couple cards for me. He was a giant of a man and died tragically not long after I met him when he fell down the stairs at his home in Massachusetts.)
1970 Topps #665 Jim Lonborg Autographed (Jim Lonborg also came to the Bangor Mall for a card show and when I arrived, he was standing alone with his PR person and there was no one else around. I went up to meet him just as his PR person left to get coffee and I had him sign my card, shook his hand and made some small talk, mostly about skiing. For those who don't know, he tore the ligaments in his left knee while skiing after winning the Cy Young Award in 1967. He was very congenial and he made me feel like he didn't want me to leave so I hung out with him until his PR person came back.)

       
1982 Topps #408 Ed Romero Autographed (I've been to three MLB games in my life, all at Fenway. My first was a birthday gift from my wife and best friend who took me to a game on September 6th, 1987. I had a stack of cards with me in hopes of getting some autographs. Ed Romero was the Red Sox shortstop that day and the only player who came near us and signed. This is the only in-person autograph I've gotten at a MLB game.)
1985 Topps #116 Dennis Boyd Autographed (In 1996 the Northeast (Independent) League came to Bangor, Maine in the form of the Bangor Blue Ox. The team was made up mostly of former University of Maine ballplayers but the big draw on the team was former Sox pitcher, Dennis "Oil Can" Boyd. The tv station that I worked for broadcast their home games and I worked as an A1 which is "first audio". I ran the audio board in the truck during the game while my A2s (assistants) ran cables and set up shotgun mics along the fences and set up the broadcast booth with mics, headsets, monitors and IFBs (internal feedback). During downtime I talked to Boyd who was just hanging out and had him sign one of every one of his Topps cards for me except for one that he said he was going to keep and trade for some "nookie". He was in a good mood because he had just won a bet with another player who was literally streaking around the bases as punishment. Unfortunately Boyd held my cards in a stack, signed the top card then shuffled it to the bottom and continued to do that until he'd signed them all but in the process he smudged most of the autos. He got arrested for DWI soon after the season ended and he did not return.)
1993 Topps #51 Mo Vaughn Autographed (I waited in line for a signing at the Bangor Civic Center for about two hours to get "The Hit Dog's" autograph. He showed up more than an hour late. He never looked at me, he never spoke, he just kept his head down and signed whatever was thrust in front of him. I thanked him but got no response. The only in-person autograph I ever paid for.)

       
1994 Topps #661 Bob Zupcic Autographed (Only one player in the history of baseball is listed after Bob Zupcic alphabetically (Dutch Zwilling). Bob came to Bangor in 1997 to play and coach the Bangor Blue Ox and I met him in between setting up for our broadcast and he graciously signed for me. He wrote his favorite Bible verse, John 3:16, on his card under his name.)
1999 Sports Illustrated Greats of the Game #23 Bill Lee Autographed (Bill Lee came to Maine every so often and brought a rag tag team of older Red Sox players up to play the local fire department. He called his team the Grey Sox and he would stay until everyone had an autograph and was willing to chat while signing. My son and I talked with him for about 15 minutes after most everyone else had left and I asked him about the spacesuit he's wearing on this card. He said they asked him to wear it and that's all it took.)
2005 Topps #642 Boston Red Sox TC Autographed (This Red Sox team card depicts the 2004 World Champions signed by both Red Sox announcers Jerry "Way Back" Trupiano and Joe Castiglione. They came to Bangor in February of 2005 for a "Hot Stove" event sponsored by my radio station and they brought the World Series trophy with them. I've got a photo of me with the trophy. I didn't have cards of either announcer but felt the team card would be a good one to have them sign.)
Awesome stories, Mark!
The only guy I met from your group was Bill Lee. He was here in Florida playing in a Joe DiMaggio / Memorial Hospital all-star game. He was super nice and was the most willing (and chatty) of the All-Stars signing for fans.
Hall of Famer George Kell played for 15 seasons and batted over .300 eight years in a row, winning a batting title during that time. He was a ten-time All-star and then spent 37 years as an announcer for the Detroit Tigers. I currently have 77 unique Beckett recognized cards of George. Here are nine from my collection including some vintage and some autographs.

       
1952 Bowman #75 George Kell
1954 Bowman #50 George Kell
1956 Topps #195 George Kell


       
1957 Topps #230 George Kell
1958 Topps #40 George Kell
1991 Swell Baseball Greats #47 George Kell Autographed
(I mailed this card to George along with another and he returned them both signed.)

       
2004 Greats of the Game Autographs #GK George Kell F1
2006 Diamond Signatures #20 George Kell (This set was issued by the Philadelphia A's Society.)
2006 George Kell Pocket Calendar Autographed (When George returned the cards I'd sent him through the mail, he also included a couple of pocket calendars that he'd signed. I thought that was pretty cool. This one has a 2006 calendar on the reverse.)
Moving up through the years, today's post is nine cards from my collection, all from 1968.

       
1968 Topps #45 Tom Seaver
1968 Topps #50 Willie Mays
1968 Topps #110 Hank Aaron



1968 Topps #150 Roberto Clemente
1968 Topps #177 Rookie Stars/Jerry Koosman RC/Nolan Ryan RC/UER
1968 Topps #247 Rookie Stars/Johnny Bench RC/Ron Tompkins UER

       
1968 Topps #280 Mickey Mantle
1968 Topps #490 Super Stars/Harmon Killebrew/Willie Mays/Mickey Mantle (The card that inspired my sig.)
1968 Topps Game #2 Mickey Mantle
Perhaps the best defensive catcher of all-time, Ivan Rodriguez also holds the MLB record for catching the most games in history. "Pudge" was a 14-time All-star and 13-time Gold Glove recipient with seven Silver Slugger awards, a MVP award and World Championship on his resume that landed him in the Hall of Fame. I currently have 1382 unique Beckett recognized cards in my IRod collection. Here are nine featuring some parallels, inserts, a variation and a slew of relics.

       
1997 Rangers Score Platinum #12 Ivan Rodriguez
1998 Leaf Rookies and Stars Ticket Masters Die Cuts #8 J.Gonzalez/I.Rodriguez (Former teammate Juan Gonzalez graces the front side of this card.)
2002 Fleer Maximum Power Bat #17 Ivan Rodriguez


2002 Upper Deck Honor Roll Star Swatches Game Jersey #SSIR4 Ivan Rodriguez Bat
2002 Upper Deck Honor Roll Stitch of Nine Game Jersey #S9IR4 Ivan Rodriguez Left

2003 Topps Tribute Contemporary Perennial All-Star Relics #IR Ivan Rodriguez Bat


       
2004 Diamond Kings DK Materials Framed Silver #99 Ivan Rodriguez Bat-Jsy/25
2004 Donruss Classics Dress Code Bat #30 Ivan Rodriguez
2015 Topps Gypsy Queen #41B Ivan Rodriguez VAR/Making fist
Not all oddball cards can be found at the grocery store. Sometimes you can find them in other places, like the local gas station. All of these cards from my collection have an automotive theme.

       
1969 Globe Imports #H9 Brooks Robinson (These tiny little cards, designed as playing cards are on very think stock, crudely designed and sold at gas stations throughout the Southern United States.)
1990 Cubs Marathon #13 Greg Maddux (This card was given away at a Cubs game in August of 1990 and was sponsored by the Marathon Oil Company.)
1991 Orioles Crown #383 Cal Ripken (This set of 501 cards was produced by the Baltimore Orioles in conjunction with Crown Gasoline Stations and Coca-Cola and featured every Oriole player in the team's modern history. They were originally issued in sets of ten twelve-card sheets and given away at Orioles games, then available the following day at Baltimore area Crown gasoline stations for $1.99 with an eight gallon fill-up.)


1992 Alrak Griffey Ace Auto Supply #2 Ken Griffey Jr./Career Highlights (This ten-card set was produced by Alrak Enterprises for Ace Auto Supply and Grand Auto Supply stores and sold at 145 stores in northern California, Nevada, Washington and Alaska.)
1992 Fleer Citgo The Performer #1 Nolan Ryan (This 24-card standard-size set was produced by Fleer for 7-Eleven and during the spring of 1992 they were given away in five-card packs to customers who purchased eight gallons or more of mid-grade or premium Citgo-brand gasoline.)
1993 Action Packed ASG Coke/Amoco #14 Willie Mays (Sponsored by Coca Cola and Amoco, customers who purchased four multi-packs of Coca-Cola products at participating Amoco gas stations could send in through the mail for a complete set plus a $1.00 off coupon good toward the purchase of Amoco Ultimate gasoline. The Amoco and Coca-Cola logos appear on the back differentiating them from the 1992 Action Packed set which shares the same design.)


1994 Fleer Sunoco #20 Mike Piazza (This set was made available through 5-card packs given to customers that purchased gasoline from participating Sunoco and Atlantic stations in the Northeast and Midwestern United States.)
2001 Sunoco Dream Team #2 M.Schmidt/S.Carlton (The Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association (MLBPAA), in association with Sunoco and Coca-Cola teamed up to create this exclusive 12-card set that was distributed at Sunoco gasoline stations along the East coast, Michigan and Ohio. Packs sold for $.49 each and were available with either a gasoline fill-up or a purchase of two 20 ounce bottles of Coca-Cola.)
2004 Upper Deck Chevron #4 Vladimir Guerrero (These were issued by Upper Deck in conjunction with Chevron and distributed primarily at Chevron gas stations in the Midwestern U.S.)
WOW THOSE 68's!!!!!!
I've been going through my Christy Mathewson collection looking for some cards to scan as he came up on the randomizer. "Big Six" was a member of the first class of Hall of Famers and was a dominant hurler in the early 1900s leading the NL in Victories, ERA and Strikeouts five times each, twice winning the pitching Triple Crown and throwing a couple of no-hitters. Also known as the "Christian Gentleman", he refused to pitch on Sundays. He was accidentally exposed to chemical weapons during training in World War I which led to his death at the relatively young age of 45. I currently have 135 different Beckett recognized cards of Christy of which here are nine of them including some parallels, inserts and SPs.

       
1960 Fleer #2 Christy Mathewson
1961 Golden Press #24 Christy Mathewson
1961 Topps #408 Christy Mathewson K's SP

       
2001 Topps Chrome Before There Was Topps #BT8 Christy Mathewson
2002 Fleer Premium Legendary Dynasties #2 Christy Mathewson
2010 Topps National Chicle #292 Christy Mathewson SP

       
2011 Topps Diamond Anniversary #102B Christy Mathewson SP
2012 Panini Cooperstown #153 Christy Mathewson SP
2013 Panini Cooperstown Red Crystal #4 Christy Mathewson
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