Friday, July 22, 2011

What a mail day on my birthday!

Yesterday I went to the mailbox hoping to have at least one return on my birthday and I had five returns plusd the board and card I had gotten from the JR Reid signing on scn. I will talk a little about each one:
Michael Dean Perry-he returned a Browns pocket pro signed. He got overshadowed by his brother but he was an excellent player. I think he was actually a better defensive player than his brother.

Mark Herrmann-an excellent, if not the best, quarterback for the Purdue Boilermakers. I remember hearing about him when I lived in Belleville, Illinois. He was just inducted into the college football HOF this past month. He left Purdue with a lot of records and as college football's all time leader in passing yards. He signed a Purdue pocket pro for me.

Mike Wagner-a big member of the steel curtain defense and member of four Super Bowl champions with the Pittsburgh Steelers. He definitely had a nose for the football during his career. he had interceptions in two of the Super Bowl victories. He signed a yellow Steelers pocket pro. He also answered my character question- he said it is honor.

Steve Atwater-he was one of my favorite Broncos during his career with them. He should have finished his career with them but that is my one issue lol. He was a starter pretty much form day one. He was on the back to back Super Bowl championship teams. He was an excellent all around safety. He signed a Broncos pocket pro and answered my character question-he said integrity.

The final return was from Kurt Kittner. I really loved watching him quarterback the Fighting Illini. He is my favorite Qb for the Illini and the best one during my lifetime to play there. He led the Illini to the Sugar Bowl which was the best bowl game they had been to in almost 20 years and won the Big Ten tiltle for the first time in over a decade. He signed an Illinois pocket pro. He answered my questions: favorite memory- winning the Big Ten championship and beating Ohio State and Michigan on the road; biggest impact on his career-Ron Turner both on and off the field; football regrets-my NFL career. I would do things a lot differently if I had another chance; do you like the new Big 10 conference-yes I like the Illini division-Ohio State (in trouble) Penn State ( down when Paterno is done) and Wisconsin is toughest. He also amswered my character question with a great response: discipline. It is important to have the dsicipline to do what's right at all times, not only when in the classroom. Treat others like you want to be treated and have the discipline to work hard to achieve your goals.

Friday, July 15, 2011

sorry it has been awhile! It is summer LOL

I have been pretty lazy this summer with my blog and I apologize.  I have gotten some returns recently and would like to update you on them. 

The first return that I would like to talk about is Matt Blair.  Mr. Blair was an excellent linebacker for the Minnesota Vikings.  He was a multiple time Pro Bowler and played on two Super Bowl teams.  He was a great player and I am thankful that he was willing to sign my pocket pro.  He answered my questions:
I asked him about playing at the Met: He said it would freeze out the team that came from warm places to play the Vikings; I asked about the Cowboys Hail Mary pass in the playoffs and he said that the play before the receiver caught the ball out of bounds-we win the game and we win 1st Super Bowl; I asked who had the biggest impact on his career and he said it was his big brother who was put in prison-wrong place wrong guys, I wanted to do it right for our family.  I truly appreciated his candor.

I got a pocket pro returned signed by Wally Moon.  I really like Wally Moon.  I came across Wally Moon a year ago when I was talking to my wife's doctor.  (I won't say what kind LOL)  He was truly terrific with my wife and delivered our second baby daughter, Madelyn.  We started talking sports and he told me about growing up watching the Dodgers and loved Wally Moon.  I knew the name but not much background beyond that.  I decided to sent a baseball request to give to our doctor and Mr. Moon was nice enough to sign it.  Our doctor was excited.  I have learned a lot about him over the past year and recently preordered his signed autobiography from his website.  If you are interested I suggested you check it out.  He answered my questions: the toughest pitchers for him were Warren Spahn and Bob Gibson; favorite teammates were Stan Musial and Duke Snider; and he keeps in touch with Sandy (Koufax), Stan (Musial), Wes Parker, and others.

I got Jim Craig on a picture of the Miracle on Ice celebration as well as Mike Ramsey on a picture of the Gold Medal game celebration.  The 1980 USA hockey team is an incredible story that anyone that was around knows about it so I won't go into great detail.  I am hoping to get more signatures on these pictures.  Mr. Craig answered my character question: he said the truth and learning from your mistakes.

I got an Atlanta Falcons pocket pro signed by Al Richardson.  I like Mr. Richardson growing up and he was a good player for the Falcons.  He had 7 interceptions as a rookie  and was named Defensive Rookie of the Year.  He was part of the most successful Falcons team up until 1998.  On a side note, I miss those red jerseys and helmets.  Mr. Richardson answered my questions: favorite memory-winning the 1980 Conference championship; favorite defensive scheme-3-4 by Jerry Glanville; most influential person-Joel Williams.  He also answered my character question-persistance.

I am collecting pocket pro helmets signed by the 1982 St. Louis Cardinals World Series championship team.  I was living outside St. Louis in Belleville, Illinois during that year.  I was 10 years old and it was such an awesome time.  Mr. Iorg was a great hitter and one of the best pinch hitters of his time.  He answered my questions: what was it like to win the World Series-never thought it would happen, it was unreal, a dream come true; great jubilation and know anything can happen with focus and commitment; key to success as a pinch hitter-don't take strikes! Hit the first good pitch you see, that is why it is called a pinch hitter; he also answered my character question-total integrity-don't look to others to solve your problems, live correct principles and all else will take care of itself.

I had an awesome return from Wayne Walker.  He was an excellent linebacker for the Detroit Lions but that is not why I wrote to him. Wayne Walker to me was my sportscaster of my youth.  He was the sports director at KPIX in San Francisco which I grew up watching.  He was my ESPN.  I never even knew as a kid that he had been a multiple time Pro Bowler.  He also spent time doing 49ers, Raiders, and A's games.  I will never forget him.  In addition to signing my pocket pro he sent a signed 8x10 in his own separate envelope.  One of the coolest things is that it had a note on it from his wife thanking me for the great letter.  That meant a lot to me.  He answered my character question-be true to yourself because in your heart you always know the difference between right and wrong.

The last return I got was from Reggie Brooks.  I loved watching him play at Notre Dame.  He switched from defensive back to running back.  He had a great senior season.  He rushed for over 1,300 yards and 13 touchdowns.  He was named All-American and finished fifth in the Heisman voting.  He had an excellent rookie season for the Washington Redskins and rushed for over 1,000 yards.  I really don't understand why he didn't get a better chance in the NFL.  He produced when given the opportunity.  He answered my questions: favorite memory-last drive in the Penn State game; any regrets-he would have been a better stewart financially; will ND return to glory soon-definitely.  He also answered my character question- perserverance.

Monday, June 13, 2011

The GREAT Virgil Trucks

I was not able to see Virgil Trucks pitch but as a lover of baseball I came across him a couple of years ago.  I sent him a baseball the first time and I was so excited when he returned it with added inscriptions that I didn't ask for or expect.  He also sent along a note, a couple of other cards, and an advertisement for his book.  I bought the book and really enjoyed reading it.  It led me to buy other books of former players like Ned Garver and Chuck Bednarik.  I have sent to Mr. Trucks on a couple of occassions for different projects that I have been working on.  One of mine is the World Series trophy picture.  It is so cool that he won a World Series game but didn't win one in the regular season because of his military commitment.  I believe that he is still the only person to win a World Series game after not winning a game in the regular season.  He has always been extremely generous with his returns.  One of my favorites is one time he sent me a photo of him that had been cutout, autographed and glued to a big popsicle stick to make a fan.  He wrote on the stick--use in case the air conditioner fails.  I love it!  I started to collect signed pocket pros late last year and kept thinking about sending him one.  I was worried because I know that he had surgery on his hand awhile back and I thought it could be hard for him.  I finally decided that I would give it a try.  I also wanted to have him sign a 1951 card that I found at a recent card show.  I was hoping to find an old card of him there and was stoked when I found it and for only $3.  I got my return today and of course Mr. Trucks went way above.  He signed my pocket pro and it came out great.  He also signed the 1951 card beautifully.  Mr. Trucks sent a a one page front and back letter thanking me(really) for my letter and donation to his church.  He sent me a separate envelope that he paid the postage for himself.  In it was a autographed photo with the inscription "to my dear friend"  (Love that!)  and a totally awesome autographed refrigerator magnet that a fan had made for him (he had four of them).  Whoever made it did an awesome job and it is already on my refrigerator!   He said that doesn't mind being good to his fans and popular with them.  He said he has the time LOL  I brought up the interview that I had read online.  He said that the people that write him seem appreciative.  He said he has probably signed 500 baseballs and he never charges. He will sign whether they send money or not.  He wished me and my family all the best.  He is such an incredible man who is so generous with collectors like me.  He will always be one of my favorites and I wish I could have seen him pitch. 

Zach Britton and John Grubb

I received a couple of great returns today.  The first was from Baltimore Orioles rookie starting pitcher-Zach Britton.  I wrote to Mr. Britton because I have seen him pitch twice on television and really think he is going to be a good pitcher.  He has good stuff and control.  I grew up when the Baltimore Orioles were always contenders and won the World Series.  I hate to see the way the franchise is right now.  I think Zach Britton might be one of the players that helps them regain their place as a playoff contender.  I know it will be tough with the Yankees, Red Sox, and Rays in their division but the Rays weren't contenders until recently.  I look forward to following him throughout his career. 

My second return was from John Grubb.  I began watching Mr. Grubb when he was playing for the Texas Rangers.  He started his career with the San Diego Padres and made the All Star team in his second season.  I was able to see him play a few times in person when the Rangers would come to play the A's.  I thought he was a good player who when given the chance to play 100+ games.  Mr. Grubb went on to play for the Detroit Tigers where he was part of the 1984 World Series Champions.  He answered my questions:  favorite memory-winning the 1984 World Series; Favorite stadiums to play in-Fenway, Tiger Stadium, and Wrigley Field; Does he stay in contact with his former teammates-he sees them at reunions and still exchange Christmas cards.  He also answered my character question-honesty was his answer.  (a popular pick---hopefully my students will take note).

Friday, June 10, 2011

Two more returns

I received two more returns today.  One of them was from Tom Rathman on a SF 49ers pocket pro helmet.  It came out very nicely in black thin sharpie.  He has a very nice signature.  I loved watching him as a 49er.  I believe that Tom Rathman and Daryl Johnston were the best fullbacks of their time period.  Rathman looked mean especially when he was wearing the big shoulder pads.  I liked watching the Nebraska backfield of him and Roger Craig.  It is nice to see him back with the 49ers as a coach.  Hopefully he will help them regain their glory.

The other signature was from a member of the team across the bay-the Oakland Raiders.  It was from Mark van Eeghen.  I grew up watching him play for the Raiders and really liked him.  He was on two Super Bowl winning teams.  I had him sign a 8 x 10 of the Lombardi Trophy that was already signed by Phil Villapiano and John Vella.  It looks really nice.  He answered my questions: favorite memory-other than the Super Bowls-playing on Lambeau Field vs. the Packers.  They were my team growing up; biggest influence in his career-my high school coach; do you still talk to your old teammates-From time to time but not as much as I want to or should.

He also answered my character question and he said that the most important traits were honesty, loyalty, and perseverance.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

My recent returns

Yesterday I received two more pocket pro returns in the mail.  The first one was a Miami Dolphins pocket pro signed by Don Strock.  Don Strock had a great collegiate career at Virginia Tech before going to the Dolphins.  While with the Dolphins he backed up Bob Griese and Dan Marino.  Those are two tough quarterbacks to try and beat out.  The thing I liked about Mr. Strock was that when he did get the opportunity to play, he played well.  There was no sense of dread when he had to enter into a game.  He had a huge game in the terrific playoff game against the Chargers.  He signed my helmet and answered my character question (honesty). 

The other return was a Raiders pocket pro signed by Warren Bankston.  He was a Raider that I watched growing up.  He started his career with the Pittsburgh Steelers and then went to the Raiders.  He was on the SB XI championship team.  He answered my questions:  favorite memory-winning the Super Bowl, greatest influence on his career-Tom Flores, character question-honesty.

He also sent me a handwritten note on his own paper.  He said that he was flattered by my request and still receives a few requests.  He said he never sets them aside.  He told me that he still remembers his second grade teacher which I think is great.  I teach second grade and hope to be remembered too.  He also said that the Raiders will be back!

It is always great when you see those envelopes in the mailboxes.

Monday, June 6, 2011

First return since starting

I got my ttm return from Darryl Williams today. It was a University of Miami pocket pro helmet. He played at the University of Miami and then was drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals. He played for the Bengals and the Seahawks in the NFL. I really enjoyed watching him play. I asked him a couple of questions. His favorite professional memory is being drafted. His favorite college memory was winning two championships. I am doing a little project for my classroom about a person's character and he believed the most important trait is honesty. I will try to update with a picture later.

Sunday, June 5, 2011


Hello. I thought I would try this out this summer. I have been collecting autographs through the mall or about 5 1/2 years. I collected cards growing up but didn't do anything with autographs. My wife actually got me started which she now regrets :-). I will let you know what I have done in the past and shat I get in the future.