TTM Mail Day: Tony Dungy

Secretly, I love to get Through the Mail (TTM) autographs. I’ll be honest, I am usually too lazy to send out a picture and fill out postage and return postage to get it out to the post office. The wonderful thing about today’s celebrities and athletes is you can always find information online how to contact them through email.

Personally, when I want to email someone or send something TTM I use Sports Card Forum’s TTM Manager. You can register for Sports Card Forum here and then go to the TTM Manager and look up thousands of athletes and celebrities for free. Included is both mailing addresses and email addresses!

This is how I found Tony Dungy a couple of weeks ago. Well, the wait paid off and yesterday afternoon I received this.

A free autographed 8×10 by a Super Bowl winning coach and great mentor to people around the world. You can’t complain about that. The autograph is centered and is crisp and beautiful. It is not a pre-print or auto pen as I’ve compared it with others. It really is a great piece of memorabilia.

Thank you Coach Dungy and keep up the good work you are doing outside of football and I hope to see you on the sidelines again one day (especially back with my Buccaneers).

Show and Tell: 2006 Bowman Chrome Jon Lester Rookie Autograph

I thought adding a little show and tell post every now and then would be fun. I will post a card that I own, write about it, and just have fun with it.

This show and tell is about my favorite card that I own. My favorite card I own is not my most expensive card. It’s not the oldest card I own. For me, my favorite card is the card that means the most to me.

When I watched Jon Lester come up from the minors and pitch, I knew that he would be something special. He had a great live fastball and a nasty change and curveball. I was mentioning him with the likes of Johan Santana and everyone laughed at me. Maybe it was part of the hometown bias since I was a Red Sox fan, but I kept watching him and rooting for him. Then came the news.

Late in 2006 Jon Lester was diagnosed with lymphoma. I was shocked and surprised. Cancer in a 22 year old? I had just turned 21 and that hit me pretty hard. I couldn’t believe this pitcher I had been following through the minors was just diagnosed with cancer. I was thankful to see it was treatable but I was still sad for him. The days and months went by as I read every last piece of news about his recovery and attempts to kill the cancer inside him. I wanted to send a get well letter but his family wished to keep it private, so I just kept up the positive thoughts.

I had only one card of his at that time. I had a 2002 Upper Deck Prospect Premiers Jon Lester card. It was his first card made and really his true rookie card. But I wanted an autograph. I scoured eBay for a week or two while building up money and finally found one in my price range. For just under $20 at the time I grabbed this card, 2006 Bowman Chrome Jon Lester Rookie Autograph Refractor:

As you can see, it sits front and center in my baseball card case of my favorite cards. It’s been front and center in my collection since the day I received it.

Needless to say, Jon Lester made a full recovery from lymphoma and no one fan was happier then me. I was so excited to see him come back and pitch again one day. I remember watching the highlights of his return on ESPN and the way the crowd stood behind him with a standing ovation. I believe I was standing too, just watching the highlight. He was back! And boy was he ever. Within a year he would throw a no-hitter and clinch Game 4 of the 2007 World Series against the Rockies. All after beating cancer. How cool is that?

Last year, I finally had the opportunity to watch him pitch in person. For my birthday, I was given tickets to a Mariners – Red Sox game up in Seattle. The one in five chance to see him pitch paid off. I made sure I had a Jon Lester jersey to wear and went to the game, had great seats too. I was able to see in person why he is one of the premier pitchers in the league as he struck out 10 and gave up 1 run. The Seattle Mariners Sasquatch sat in front of me and wasn’t happy all game. But I was.

If Jon Lester could come back from cancer to do the things he did, what could the rest of us do?

Note: This post is loosely based off an article I wrote for Sports Card Forum in July 2010.

Acetate Card of the Day: 2003-04 Upper Deck Glass Caron Butler

In honor of the Heat and the Mavericks making it to the NBA Finals as well as my Connecticut Huskies taking home the Men’s Basketball Championship earlier this year, I bring you Caron Butler.

Now I’m not a chemist, but I’m not entirely sure these are made of acetate. These may be more of a plexiglass then they are a thin acetate material. Either way, I can see through it so I don’t care.

Featured acetate (kinda) card of the day:

2003-04 Upper Deck Glass Autofocus Caron Butler

After I noticed there were autographed cards on the acetate style design, I knew I had to grab some of them for my collection. I had already had a Cam Ward so I decided to try my luck with UCONN basketball players. It was late 2006 when I had just moved into my dorm at Portland State University. I hadn’t brought many of my sports cards with me across the country and I needed something that felt a little more like home. What better then a sports card featuring a Connecticut Huskies player? I scoured eBay and found this in it’s beautiful acetate-sty goodness.

UD Glass was fun when it was out because of these autographs in the set. These are on a very thick acetate/plexiglass surface, almost as thick as some Exquisite cards. These cards will not bend in any way and make an interesting sound when they hit the table. Thought I would have liked to see the autograph more on the clear area as far as design is concerned, this card was very innovative for it’s time and it continued as a staple in the UD Glass series for years to come. Speaking of years to come, I really need to get a Brandon Roy rookie autograph from UD Glass. That would be awesome. If anyone has one let me know!

Caron Butler was originally drafted by the Miami Heat out of the University of Connecticut where he starred for Jim Calhoun’s Huskies. I saw him play in person several times while he was in college as well as on TV, and I don’t think he ever fulfilled his college potential before he left early for the NBA. His first few years with the Heat and the Wizards were okay, but he has finally grown into his own the past few years with the Wizards and now the Mavericks. This season, he was playing extremely well until his unfortunate knee injury derailed him for the season. I could only hope he would return for the NBA Finals, but I don’t think that will be a possibility.

We from Husky Nation salute you Caron Butler and everyone around the world, except for Miami, hopes you can comeback and put baby Bron-Bron in his place by defeating the Heat in the Finals.

2011 Bowman Bryce Harper – The Hype Needs to Stop

Since everyone else is talking about 2011 Bowman Bryce Harper, I’m going to make a simple post about it.

I understand Bryce Harper was the number one pick and is projected to be a great hitter and a great player. But the prices for his cards are absolutely outrageous right now. Why are people paying such high prices for someone who hasn’t stepped foot in the Major Leagues yet? It’s like signing bonuses given to players after the draft or the guaranteed money the NFL gives newly drafted players. You are overpaying for someone who no one really knows how they will produce, it’s a giant gamble.

People are paying HUGE numbers on these freshly produced Bryce Harper sports cards. A simple eBay completed listings search will show you how much people are really selling these for. Just the other day, the 2011 Bowman Bryce Harper Red Version 1/1 was pulled and is expected to get between $7,000 and $10,000. Does this tune sound familiar? Anyone remember last year? Stephen Strasburg lit up collector’s eyes with money when they pulled one of his cards. Prices grew even more after his major league debut in which he struck out 13. Prices took a hit from reality when it was discovered Strasburg needed Tommy John elbow surgery. The Nationals GM just stated yesterday that Bryce Harper will not play in the majors this year. But prices are still out of control.

The way the hobby market works is that there is an initial price surge on cards for prospects when a product comes out. These prices will slowly come down as more and more come into the market. If he is still tearing up the minors, the price will finally flat line at a number, probably still kind of high. If he starts struggling, prices will dip a very small bit. The day he is called up the majors, the price will rise again and if he has a monstrous first game, prices will rise a bit more. The thing is, with Bryce Harper’s hype machine, prices may never reach that initial surge that people paid and are paying right now. That is unless he does something absolutely crazy like breaks DiMaggio’s hit streak or hits .400 his first season.

People are overpaying for Bryce Harper and the people lucky enough to pull his more rare cards are making a killing because of these idiots spending so much money. I thought everyone learned last year with everything surrounding Strasburg, but I guess not. This is just too crazy, it’s boggling the mind.