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.