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Getting into the spring of things

Thank you for all the kind comments and well-wishes and prayers on the last post. Even though this blog is as much me working out personal stuff as it is discussing baseball cards, I often hesitate before placing full-fledged personal issues here.

I decided to go ahead this time just because you never know who can be helped. I'm glad I did. I probably won't need to take any of you up on your offers of assistance (well, except for you, Angus, I'm going to that card show next month no matter what!), but it means a lot that people care.

Meanwhile, I've got cards to tend to among everything else going on, so I'm going to do that now.

It's a couple of days before the start of spring and I love spring training. I love a lazy day of watching a lazy broadcast of teams lazily playing a spring training game on my TV.

The only problem is, I almost never watch spring training games on TV. I'd love to -- so much. But they always occur during the busiest time of the year for me. Usually, the month is two-thirds over and I realize, hey, I can watch a spring training game on TV! Then, something very March happens and I forget all about it.

So, here we are, March 18th, and I've watched an inning of a spring training game. I was at a restaurant a week-and-half ago. It was a sports bar with the required TVs tuned to different sports events. I was staring at a rugby match. My wife was staring at a spring training game between the Dodgers and White Sox. We switched seats immediately. (No, my wife doesn't like rugby).

The game was in the ninth inning, so I didn't see much and that's the last of spring training I saw. The Dodgers are on again tonight, and if nothing March happens maybe I'll catch part of that game.

To get myself into the spirit of spring, I have some autographed cards of Dodgers of the past from Alex. He contacted me last month and mentioned that he used to live in Albuquerque and go to the old Dukes games and get autographs. He had a bunch of Dodgers from that time period and graciously offered them to me!

I'm assuming that Alex obtained these signatures during the course of the season -- not necessarily during spring training (especially since the Dodgers played spring training games in Florida back then). But nothing says spring training to me more than players signing autographs.

I've never been to a spring training game. And I've never been one to go up to a player and ask for an autograph. However, I think that if it was around 1990 and I was at a spring game, I might be tempted.

The late 1980s and the dawn of a new decade were a pretty special time for the Dodgers. They had just won a World Series in 1988 and the years that followed immediately after were full of hope ... a dynasty in the making!

Of course, that never happened. The prospects on the Dodgers in the late 1980s -- many featured on the cards Alex sent me -- didn't amount to a lot. The Dodgers had to wait until the early '90s, the Piazza and Karros years, for prospects to mean something again.

But I think it's pretty cool I have my first autographed cards of '80s prospects Ralph Bryant and Jose Gonzalez, both on individual cards and a shared card!

Here is a card with scribbles on the proper side.

And here is a card in which you can tell that Mike Huff made sure you could see that signature.

Out of the cards that Alex sent, I had only two players' signatures already. One is Jose Offerman. This is my third Jose Offerman signed card.

The other is Reggie Williams. In fact, I already own this very 1987 Fleer card signed by Williams.

That's the other one. Signature looks pretty authentic to me!

Since Alex helped me add Mike Huff, Ralph Bryant, Jose Gonzalez, Mike Munoz, Mike Devereaux, Dave Hansen and Jeff Hamilton to the Dodger autograph collection, I thought this would be a good time to update my list of all the Dodgers for which I have autographs, on cards.

Don Aase
Victor Alvarez
Chris Anderson
Dave Anderson
Andy Ashby
Billy Ashley
Kym Ashworth
Pedro Astacio
Pedro Baez
Dusty Baker
Daniel Batz
Adrian Beltre
Josh Bell
Chad Billingsley
Mike Blowers
Bobby Bragan
Ralph Branca
Yhency Brazoban
Rocky Bridges
Ralph Bryant
Bill Buckner
Walker Buehler
Brett Butler
John Candelaria
Tom Candiotti
Roger Cedeno
Ron Cey
Alex Cora
Rubby De La Rosa
Rick Dempsey
Mike Devereaux
Blake DeWitt
Victor Diaz
Al Downing
Darren Dreifort
Don Drysdale
Cory Dunlap
Scott Elbert
John Ely
Carl Erskine
Andre Ethier
Joey Eischen
Kyle Farmer
Chad Fonville
Eric Gagne
Greg Gagne
Yimi Garcia
Steve Garvey
Jose Gonzalez
Dave Goltz
Dee Gordon
Kevin Gross
Alex Guerrero
Pedro Guerrero
Wilton Guerrero
Mark Guthrie
Jeff Hamilton
Tim Hamulack
Dave Hansen
Mickey Hatcher
Carlos Hernandez
Kirby Higbe
Koyie Hill
Todd Hollandsworth
Burt Hooton
Charlie Hough
Ken Howell
Chin-Lung Hu
Mike Huff
Kaz Ishii
Kenley Jansen
Stan Javier
Blake Johnson
Von Joshua
Eric Karros
Matt Kemp
Clayton Kershaw
Jay Kirkpatrick
Mike Kinkade
Sandy Koufax
Hong-Chih Kuo
Ken Landreaux
Andy LaRoche
Zach Lee
Josh Lindblom
Jon Link
Matt Magill
Mike Marshall
Russell Martin
Pratt Maynard
James McDonald
Andy Messersmith
Aaron Miller
Rick Monday
Wally Moon
Danny Mota
Manny Mota
Mike Munoz
Tom Niedenfuer
Ricky Nolasco
Hideo Nomo
Jose Offerman
Justin Orenduff
Claude Osteen
Antonio Osuna
Chan Ho Park
Joc Pederson
Alejandro Pena
Angel Pena
Antonio Perez
Joe Pignatano
Johnny Podres
Luke Prokopec
John Ragliani
Gary Rath
Jeremy Rathjen
Jerry Reuss
Adam Riggs
Eric Riggs
Dave Roberts
Orlando Rodriguez
Paco Rodriguez
Ricardo Rodriguez
Preacher Roe
Bill Russell
Kyle Russell
Juan Samuel
Dennis Santana
Steve Sax
Scott Schebler
Rob Segedin
Jeff Shaw
John Shelby
Duke Snider
Cory Snyder
Ross Stripling
Franklin Stubbs
Eric Stults
Ramon Troncoso
Derrel Thomas
John Tudor
Ismael Valdes
Jesmuel Valentin
Fernando Valenzuela
Alex Verdugo
Cory Wade
Tim Wallach
Allen Webster
Bob Welch
Mitchell White
Reggie Williams
Maury Wills
Tom Windle
Chris Withrow
Todd Williams
Steve Yeager
Delwyn Young
Matt Young

That's a healthy list, but committed Dodger autograph collectors will notice some gaps. There's no Davey Lopes autograph or Reggie Smith or Mike Piazza or several other notable names. Sometimes I think about adding some of those guys, and then I forget about it because that's not really why I'm collecting.

However ...

If I actually do watch some of that spring training game tonight, you can bet that a Lopes autograph card will find its way into my online cart by the end of the night.


Old Cards said…
My buddy at work just came back from vacation telling me about going to a spring training game in Phoenix (Texas Rangers) and how great it was. He met one of the coaches and even got to go to lunch with him. He is nowhere near the baseball fan that I am. He doesn't even collect cards! I am so envious.
Very cool of Alex. And that is one healthy list!
AdamE said…
I live in Spring Training town and I haven't been to a single game yet this year. (it is also my busy time at work) Though I do plan to go to the two games that the Red Sox come out here for, work be damned.

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