The card collecting show that’s been airing on Bally Sports Network, MSG, NESN and MSN, recently came to my home area. The Card Life, which is hosted by Red Sox pitcher and avid collector Matt Strahm, travels to a different city each week to visit with shop owners and collectors.
While Matt and the production crew were in the Boston area, I recorded a segment with them on TTM and autograph collecting in general.
You can checkout their broadcast schedule at thecardlifetv.com.
Returning the favor, I had Brandon Verzal, the creator and producer of The Card Life on our podcast to discuss the show’s new season, which kicks off with that Boston episode starting this Wednesday, June 15. We look back the first year of the show and discuss some of the highlights from the first season.
Also on this week’s TTMCast, autograph expert Les Wolff joined us to give us some tips on how to get that tough autograph in person or through the mail.
Next week former minor league outfielder Mike Floyd will be on to talk about his new book Bush League Blues which chronicles his time in the Angles, Dodgers and Astros’ minor league teams in the 1960s and 70s.
TTM Tip of the Week
It is important to prep your cards prior to sending them out. Clean your card with a Pentel Clic eraser (regular baby powder works just as well) prior to sending them out.
You can get a three pack of erasers for $5-6 at Walmart, Staples or Amazon. You want to remove the top layer of gloss from the card without damaging it. This is especially important for today’s glossy cards. Use a cloth to wipe off any eraser or powder. There are many YouTube videos available to show you how this is done.
TTM Successes This Week
One of the most enjoyable things about collecting and TTMing for me his when I stumble across a box of cards I forgot I had and use them send out a bunch of new requests. A few weeks-ago I found a box of old football cards I had mislabeled and pulled out a bunch of 1975 and 1978 Topps cards to send out for autographs. My mailbox has been quite full this week! Here’s just a few of my returns from the batch of 30 or so that I mailed out about two weeks ago:
Chris Hanburger was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2011. Hanbrger played his entire 14-year professional career with Washington from 1965-1978 after being selected in the 18th round of the 1965 NFL Draft out of North Carolina. He was a five time First-team All-Pro, nine time Pro Bowler and 1972 NFC Defensive Player of the Year. The man could hit! He was known as “The Hangman” because he loved to take down his opponents with clothesline tackles.
He started 135 straight games for Washington from 1968-1977. His streak end when he missed the final game of the 1977 season as the result of an emergency appendicitis operation. Hanburger held the NFL record for fumbled returned for touchdowns (3) when he retired.
Chris Hanburger is one of the best Hall of Famers for TTMing. He is always a quick turnaround, usually adds the HOF inscription as he did for me and almost always personalizes his signature. He signed his 1975 Topps card for me in about 10 days.
Golden Richards’ real first name is John. This is quite disappointing to learn but his real middle name is Golden. When I was a young kid growing up in cold and snow Boston, I always thought of Richards as the perfect football player. The perfect name, the blond hair, the kid out of Hawaii (though he has born in Utah), the crisp clean Cowboys uniform and the fastest kid on the block catching touchdown passes. Richards was drafted in the 2nd round of the 1973 draft by “America’s Team” with the 46th pick. He played with Dallas from 1973-78, Chicago from 1978-79 and finished his playing with Denver in 1980.
He caught the game clinching 29-yard touchdown pass from fullback Robert Newhouse in Super Bowl XII. Richards was traded to the Bears in 1978 but injured his knee in his fifth game with the Bears. He subsequently suffered a second season ending injury with Denver in 1980 and retired from the game.
Richards signed his 1975 Topps and 1979 Topps cards for me in about ten days. Interestingly from the back of his 1979 card we learn that Golden was an avid duck hunter.
In 1969, Joe Namath and the New York Jets beat the Baltimore Colts in Miami to win Super Bowl. That spring in the 1969 draft, the Jets selected Al Woodall in the 2nd round with the 52 pick out of Duke to back up Namath and his gimpy knees. For the next six season from 1969-1975 Woodall would serve as primary backup and sometimes starter for the Jets tossing 18 touchdown passes and throwing for 2,970 years during his career. His best three game run occurred in 1970 when the lackluster Jets upset the LA Rams 31-20 then went on to beat the Boston Patriots 17-3 and Minnesota Vikings 20-10. They would lose their final three games of the season and finish 4-10.
Woodall was roommate with Hall of Famer John Riggins while Riggins played for the Jets early in his career. The look on his face on this 1975 Topps card seems like “you really want to take my picture”? The back of the card tells us the Al’s best game came against the Colts in 1973 when he threw for 149 yards and two touchdowns.
Woodall is a great TTM signing and return my card in about 10 days. He will be a guest on my podcast in the coming weeks. Be sure to listen to our interview when it posted in mid-July.
Make it three down and one to go on this quad 1976 Topps rookie catchers and outfielder card after Royle Stillman signed and returned it to me in a few weeks.
Stillman played parts of three season in Major League Baseball from 1975-77 with the O’s and White Sox. His most productive season was 1977 with the Chicago White Sox when he played 56 games, slugging three home runs, driving 13 and stealing two bases. He was drafted in the 22nd round of the 1969 draft by the LA Dodgers and was acquired by the Orioles as part of the trade that sent Hall of Famer Frank Robinson to Los Angles in 1971. Stillman struck out against Luis Tiant when he pinch-hit for Doug DeCinces in his big league debut on June 22nd 1975.
Wegman was pitched for Oak Hills High School in Cincinnati then signed with the Brewers for $125,000 after getting drafted in the 5th round of the 1981. Wegman sent 11 seasons with Milwaukee, starting 216 games with 81 wins from 1985-1995. His best season was 1991 when he was 15-7 with a 2.84 ERA. An outstanding TTMer, he signed his 1989 Upper Deck card for me in less than two weeks.
Owens won the Heisman Trophy in 1969 when he played Running Back for University of Oklahoma where he set 7 all-time school records. He was selected 19th overall in the 1970 draft by the Detroit Lions where he played for four seasons. He was the first Lion player to rush for over 1,000 yards during his lone All-Pro season in 1971. He retired during training camp in 1976 because of numerous injuries he had suffered during his football career. He later served as athletic director for Oklahoma in the mid 1990’s. Owens is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame.
Owens signed his final Topps football card, 1975 and added a “’71 All-Pro” inscription and returned it to me in less than 14 days. You can see Wide Receiver Ray Jarvis (#45) pictured with Owens on the 1975 Topps card. He’s a tremendous TTMer, too and one of the few former Heisman Trophy winners who does not require cash to sign.
An All-Pro out of Michigan State, Simpson played safety for 108 games for the Rams and Bills during his eight-year professional career. His is remembered for intercepting a last second pass in the end zone for the Bills vs the Jets at Shea Stadium in the 1981 wild card game that robbed the Jets the chance to advance to the Divisional Playoffs. He finished his career with 34 interceptions and records one safety.
He is a very good TTMer signing my 1979 Topps card in blue sharpie and returning it in about 10 days. According to the back of his 1979 card Bill was an all-Big 10 centerfielder at MSU.
Here are a few others currently signing for free. I have had success with all of them in the past:
- Larry Bowa – Phillies All-Star Short Stop
- Tony Dungy – Steelers and 49ers , Bucs and Colts Head Coach
- Marty Keough – Red Sox and Reds OF/1B
- Johnny Edwards – Catcher with the Reds, Cardinals and Astros
- Tom Kelly – Twins Manager
Most athlete mailing addresses are available on several TTM related web sites including SportsCardForum.com and SportsCollectors.net.
Have a TTM success story you would like to share with me? Please, send it me at [email protected]. If I use it in my column, I’ll send you a prize.