Thursday, May 28, 2020

Trade with Card Hemorrhage/Pick Pockets

I recently got a package in the mail from Jay of Card Hemorrhage. We had emailed some about getting a little trade going. I sent him some guys from his PC, and he sent me back some nice Rays and Tigers for mine. 

The Tigers hit a bunch of needs for me. As I have been working on my Tigers Want List, I have discovered that I am in need of cards for 95% of junk wax sets, as well as vintage/newer ones. Thankfully, Jay helped out with all 3. With vintage, we have a '79 Topps Ron LeFlore League Leader, a 2nd year Topps Gibby, and an '84 Topps Tigers Leaders card. I really wish Topps would make something like that in current sets. The next 6 cards represent junk-wax era, and although they might be deemed 'junk' to someone else, I was happy to get them, as they each crossed a name off of a want list for me. The Gibson comes from the Fleer 1986 Baseball's Best Sluggers vs. Pitchers boxed set. The Ownie Carroll card is from a TSN (Conlon?) set which I remember seeing in stores as an elementary schooler. Then we have 4 from the '91 Topps Archives 1954 Topps reprint set. Each card marks the first of each player for me besides Fred Hatfield. I at one point had an early '50's Topps card signed by Fred (1953 maybe?), which got sold with my autographed cards a few years ago. The rest of the page is newer stuff, a '12 Topps V-Mart, a Harold Castro autographed 1st year Bowman, 4 cards from the 2016 Topps Tigers team set, a 2017 Heritage K-Rod, '19 Big League Niko Goodrum, a 2020 Heritage Dario Agrazal, and a '92 Upper Deck Cecil Fielder for my Favorite Player Collection binder. 
The Rays were well represented as well, with an '04 Playoff Honors Rocco Baldelli, Gypsy Queens of Matt Moore and Kevin Kiermaier, 2 '17 Topps cards of Corey Dickerson and Steven Souza, an '17 Heritage of Longo, a sweet Archives Purple parallel of Brandon Lowe, and 6 2020 Heritage Rays, Willy Adames, Ji-Man Choi, Travis d'Arnaud, Nate Lowe, Brendan McKay/Mike Brosseau, and Trevor Richards.
A great trade from a great new blog. Thanks, Jay.

As for the pick pockets mentioned in the title, Julie from A Cracked Bat has a page on her blog called 'Pick Pockets', where you basically can pick from a number of cards she has listed that she will send you. I found a few that fit my collection, so I 'picked' them, and they arrived in my mailbox yesterday. 
I had only picked 2, (a 2016 Heritage Pat Venditte and a 1999 Topps Stars Chipper Jones), but Julie sent a full binder page of cards. An unexpected kind gesture, and I definitely wasn't expecting to find what I did. I got a sweet looking 1998 SPx Finite Wade Boggs for my Rays binder, a Pacific Ty Cobb, a 2011 Bowman Platinum Avisail Garcia rookie card (one card of which I had got signed at one point and then sold), and then comes the wow card, a 1960 Topps Paul Foytack. 1960 Topps cards don't just pop into your lap, and when they do, not for free. I about fell out of my chair when I saw it. The last 2 cards besides the aforementioned PC guys are 2 1993 Cardtoons cards of Alan Trammell and Cecil Fielder.  
Thank you, Julie for the nice surprise cards in addition to the ones I picked.

That should wrap it up. I have 1 more trade to post about (hopefuly by the end of the weekend, and a few more that should be one the way, so the posts and updates to the Want Lists should keep coming for a while.
Thanks for checking out my latest post.

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Trade with Brad's Phillies Blog/PWE from Night Owl

I recently recieved 2 card packages, and I thought I would show them off, and also post what's been going on with my garden. 

A few weeks ago, I reached out to Brad from Brad's Phillies Blog, and we got a trade going. I sent him some Phillies cards I had in my collection that I thought he would like, and he sent me back a nice assortment of Rays. The McGriff is from  the '99 Pacific Revolution set, and it looks amazing. The Shawn Riggans dual autograph from '07 Topps Co-Signers is the 2nd autographed card from Riggans I have from that set, and the '07 Turkey Red relic is my first Delmon Young relic. Same for the '08 UD Timeline Kazmir jersey. The Ticket to stardom cards got me 2 or 3 cards away from completing that set, and the '12 Bowmans got me close as well. I'll tell you, after working up updating my Rays Want List, all of these Bowman sets have me confused. In '02, Bowman released their Draft Picks & Prospects set, which wasn't really confusing, and if I recall correctly, they had a separate Chrome set for it and the regular Bowman set. Things started to get confusing in 2006, when each Bowman set had a regular set of 'established veteran players', then another set of 'prospects'. The Bowman Draft Picks & Prospects sets had another dual set kind of thing, with 'Draft Picks' and 'Prospects'. I don't recall when, but the original Bowman set started inserting Chrome cards in their packs, so you had a Bowman Chrome Prospects set in regular Bowman, and then I believe Bowman Chrome was issued separately so you had 2 different Bowman Chrome Prospects sets in 2 different sets, and it just got confusing to me. I think it's just down to the 'Bowman' and 'Bowman Draft Picks & Prospects' sets with the Chrome cards inserted instead of a separate Bowman Chrome set now, so I think it will be a little easier to figure out what is what from newer Bowman sets. With that being said, I am appreciative of getting some Bowman cards from 8 years ago from guys like Brad. 
The next photo has some '12 Archives guys, some '12 Topps Chrome Refractors and X-Fractors, and some neat 2015 Topps Toys R Us Purple cards. The last 4 cards are guys from my Favorite Player Collection. The McCracken is another one from '99 Pacific Revolution, and the Zobrists are from '12 Archives, '12 Chrome, and '13 Topps Wal-Mart Blue. 
The highlight of the package, for me, was this 2004 Elite Extra Edition Aspirations Die-Cut autograph of Joey Gathright. Gathright is in my Favorite Player binder because he had some torrid speed. I was going to Rays games when he was in the minors, and I remember fans and analysts talking about him and how he was going to be even faster than Carl Crawford. He didn't get too much of a shot with the Rays, but ended up playing for a few years in the Majors. 
Thanks to Brad for all of the cool cards.

The same day I got Brad's package, I got a PWE in the mail from Greg of Night Owl Cards. Greg sent me a '79 Topps Rusty Staub, 3 Topps Holiday Rays, a Stadium Club Matt Duffy, a Gallery Jose De Leon, 3 guys from this year's Opening Day, a sweet Blue parallel from the same set, and a '93 Topps Brook Jacoby sunset card. I hate to admit it, but ever since I saw the post Greg did that I hoped he would send the Meadows Blue Opening Day to me in a trade.
Thanks, Greg, for the nice surprise PWE. I'll get a stack of cards going for you soon. 

In addition to all of the trading, I have been doing some work on my aforementioned Want Lists. I am almost done with the Rays, just need to update the '18, '19, and '20 sets. I hope to get it done by Tuesday or Wednesday of this week. Next up will be my Tigers Want List, and then the Player Collection pages. The Tigers ones will probably take a month or so, and the favorite players shouldn't be that long since I'm just adding a few new cards to the list of most players. 

I've been doing a little bit of tending to my flower boxes outside. Basically I have 2 6x6 boxes, one in the front yard, and one in the back. The one in the front doesn't have that much space due to the tree stump that I built it around, but I'm making the most of it. The front also has a little area by our front sidewalk. That has a few things already there when we moved in the house, and I added an aloe plant about 3 years ago, a mini rose plant around the same time, and 2 new plants a few weeks ago, a pineapple top, and a few orchid seeds that a coworker gave me. So far, the orchids haven't came up, and I think it's too early to tell with the pineapple. 
Switching to the back yard, the 6x6 box has a few things, 3 pineapples that are around 1 1/2 years old, a milkweed bush that is a year old, and a few random seeds that I've planted over the last 2 months that I'm still kind of waiting on. I have 4 gladiola bulbs that I planted which are doing very well, and I'm sure I'll see flowers on. I planted a few old potatoes that had sprouted, and I'm going to wait until the branches are good and dead before I dig them up. If they are anything like the last time I've done potatoes, I'm not expecting much.  I believe there was a wildflower mix and some sunflowers. There are a few things growing which may or may not be weeds, so I'm just going to wait and see if they flower before pulling them out. There are 1 or 2 sunflowers that might blossom, so that is good. 

On to the front yard box, I have a milkweed bush doing very well. It was growing seed pods all through the winter, and some new ones popped up on it about a week ago. I planted 2 gladiola bulbs, which have sprouted up and I think they will bloom. Last year, I planted a wildflower mix that must've had a bunch of zinnias it, because they just took over the box. It looked nice, but then the plants got a white fungus on them, and basically forced me to get rid of all of them. Some of them must've dropped seeds before I could yank them out, because I see 1 or 2 zinnias in the box now. There are a few snapdragons that I planted, and they are doing well and blossoming. Along with the pineapple top and orchid seeds that I planted by the front walkway, I also planted them in the box. The orchid seeds have had one pop up. Here it is. 
I also planted a few sunflowers, and one is doing really well, and I'm going to see a flower any day. You can kind of see the snapdragons to the left of it, and right by one of the bigger leaves on the right is a morning glory. I have a few of those growing, and I could get a ton of seeds from them if I want. 

If anyone is into planting stuff, maybe I can send you some seeds I harvested during a future trade. I have a ton of milkweed seeds, and I'm sure I can get a number of ones from the sunflowers and morning glory's. Not sure what will come from the gladiolas, snapdragons, and orchids, but I'm holding out hope that I will get a few seeds from each.

Thanks for checking out my latest post.

Friday, May 15, 2020

Trade with Cards on Cards and Diamond Nine pickup

I recently made a trade with Kerry from Cards on Cards. I sent him a box of Cardinals from his wantlist, and he sent a similar box back with a ton of Rays and Tigers from just about every set imaginable. 
We start off hot, with a cool '98 Score Fred McGriff parallel. One of my favorite cards from the box was the '06 Bowman Heritage Evan Longoria rookie. This is the first Longo rookie to make it to my collection. This card was hot in '08, and I would've given a ton to have had it in '06 and '07 when I lived in Montgomery, Alabama, because I could've got it signed by Longo at a Biscuits game. I have a lineup card and baseball signed by Evan, but no cards. There are some other cool cards of Longoria on this page, including a '09 Vintage parallel, '10 Cards Your Mom threw Out insert, and a sportflix-type insert from '11 Ticket To Stardom. Next to that one is an X-Fractor of Jeremy Hellickson. 

More Longoria cards, including a Green '13 parallel. The Price Orange Refractor is sweet, and it will look nice next to the Purple copy I have of the same card. The Escobar Opening Day is a Blue parallel. 

This page has a bunch of refractors to start out. I can almost start an Evan Longoria '16 Topps Chrome Rainbow with the sepia and fish-fractor. I also have a sepia refractor of Odorizzi, so I am close to having a good portion of his rainbow. One of my favorite cards from the box was also the Gold Refractor of Brent Honeywell from '18 Bowman Chrome. I love how he has the true screwball, and I really think he is going to do well. 

The Heritage cards get me closer to finishing the set. I know I have said that alot, but after doing nothing but looking up cards on TCDB, I think I have enough to finish a number of sets. The Allen & Ginter Black cards are my first ones from that set. 

The Garcia Big League parallels give me the complete rainbow of that card, I believe, unless there are a few 1/1s. I know I have the base, Gold, Blue, and Rainbow foil copies of the card. More Heritage needs, including some cool rookie cards. I wish Topps did that with all of the rookies in new sets. 
There are some new Gypsy Queen and Heritage cards which will help those sets out. I plan on putting one of the Morgan League Leaders in my Rays binder and putting the other one in my Astros binder under 'Verlander'. I lost all respect for Cole when he became a Yankee. 
The last page is chock full of '20 Opening Day, which I believe is complete now. 

Kerry also sent me some Tigers. I got a number of needs from early '90's sets. I love the '94 Bowman Thompson and the '06 Bowman Heritage cards. I've seen a number of the rookies in the minors, and haven't heard of some of those guys in years. 

This page has a bunch of cards from some of the years where I really didn't buy many packs. I had just got married and money was tight, so I just didn't buy cards that much from around '12-'14. It's always nice getting new cards from that period to fill in the gaps. 
Kerry sent a ton of Heritage cards, and they make an appearance on this page. I think the Sam Crawford card at the end is my first card of him.
Crawford makes another appearance, this time on a red parallel. I've really wanted some cards of new Tiger prospects, and Kerry didn't disappoint, hooking me up with a '20 Travis Demeritte, Tyler Alexander, and Jake Rogers. 
The last page has 2 guys for my Favorite Player binder, '06 Bowman Heritage cards of Nate Robertson and superutilityman Brandon Inge.

Thanks, Kerry, for the awesome package!! I look forward to putting all of these cards in binders and seeing how close I am to finishing some of these team sets.

I also recieved this '12 Bowman Chrome Refractor of James Shields this week. It was part of a Diamond Nine giveaway post that Kevin from The Diamond King did. 
Thanks to Kevin and all of the rest of the bloggers who have done giveaways. 

I am trying to update my wantlists, and the process is fun, but very slow. I have been going through my Rays binders and all of my loose Rays and have been checking them off of lists on TCDB, and adding the card numbers of the needed guys to my Rays Wantlist. I have finished the '96-'07 sets, and am in the midst of Bowman sets in 2008. I hope to get a number of sets done on my day off on Tuesday, and who knows, if I get a good jump, perhaps the Rays will be done by the end of the week. After the Rays are done, I'll do the same thing with my Tigers Wantlist, and finally, I will go through my Favorite Player binder, and just maker sure all of the pages for each player is up-to-date. This shouldn't be nearly as difficult as updating checklists. I hope this makes it easier for anyone who wants to trade with me.
Speaking of trading, I am in the midst of making a few trades. I hope to go through some of my binders on Tuesday as well and at least get a small stack going for each one I am working on. 

In reference to a post I made around a week ago, it looks like MLB is going to start up again, maybe in July. 80 games, 3 divisions, DH in both leagues (YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!), and a 20-man taxi squad.
I don't like the idea of expanded playoffs, but perhaps this give some weaker teams that got hot a chance to get weeded out. Maybe there is another reason (besides more money) to do this. I get the reason for the 3 divisions staying in the same 'zones'. I think there are enough good and bad teams in each division for the cream to rise to the top. The DH in both leagues is great in my opinion. I have dreamed that my son will grow up in a world without having to watch pitchers swing and miss at 3 pitches.
What really worries me is the no minor leagues thing. Not only will it take away so many jobs, but it really jeopardizes the chance of some players to ever get to the Bigs. One such player is Brody Koerner, who I am related to through marriage. Brody has had a taste of AAA ball the past 2 seasons, pitching mostly in AAA last year. He got hit hard, though. I figured if he did well this year, that he could join the Yankees in September. Now with no minors, I don't think he will get a shot this year. I don't think he would be on the taxi squad, he is (presumably) at the end of his contract, and without getting a chance to pitch in 2020, who would sign him? He could be useful to a team like Detroit, Baltimore, or Florida, who won't be winning for another 3 years or so. It's just a bad situation for everyone in the minors. Hopefully someone smarter than I will come up with a better plan.
Thanks for checking out my latest post.

Saturday, May 9, 2020

Trade with A Cracked Bat

A few weeks ago, I reached out to Julie from A Cracked Bat about getting a trade going. I found a bunch of  '95 Topps Cyberstats cards to add to Julie's collection, and she hooked me up with a smattering of Tigers and Rays. 
The oldest card of the package was a '65 Topps George Thomas. I've had the '75 Topps Kaline Highlights card before, but got it autographed and then I sold it with a bunch of my autographed cards about 5 years ago. Same thing happened with the '81 Donruss Dan Petry and '81 Topps Alan Trammell. I think I might be getting close to a few of these early '80's sets. 
Julie hit a bunch of cards that I got signed and then ended up selling, including the '82 Donruss Steve Kemp, '88 Topps Jim Walewander, and '89 Topps Pat Sheridan. I love the Coke Tigers cards. Never even knew this set existed. 
The next page hits a bunch of '90's needs. I'm probably close to finishing the '94 Pinnacle set now. My Travis Fryman, Mickey Tettleton, and Tony Clark collections got a big boost in this trade, as you can see on this picture and on the next. 
I have always kind of wanted the '96 Fleer Tony Clark insert. I remember seeing it as the photo for the insert set in Beckett, so I thought it was worth a lot. The '98 Topps Chrome Rookie Class Juan Encarnacion is a refractor, and it looks amazing. The '99 Juan Gone is a base card, and I pulled a Gems subset? card of him from a pack, so those will look nice together. The '03 Total Tim Kalita brings back memories. I met him a few times in Spring Traning, and he always signed for the fans.
The Cameron Maybin '07 Bowman card would've been hot when it first came out. I remember everyone was talking about him when he got drafted. I got that '10 Fu Te Ni card signed when he was in Spring Traning with Detroit, and he signed it in the characters of his native language, and it looked pretty cool. Wish I would've saved it, but I'm happy to have the unsigned card back. The bottom has some really cool shiny cards, with the Finest Castellanos die cut being my favorite. 
I got my first V-Mart relic, as well as a few shiny parallels from some newer Topps sets. 
The early Rays part of my collection got some nice new cards, including some '98 Leaf Rookies & Stars set. I remember everyone was after the JD Drew rookie from that set, and the rookies were SPs. I'm happy to have some cards from that set now. I hadn't even had a card from '01 Topps Gallery, and now I have 3. 
Pete LaForest was a nice guy. I've met him a few times, and have a lineup card signed by him from a game where he hit a walkoff 2B in the 11th Inning. Julie sent me a '10 Bowman Platinum Nick Barnese autograph, which is cool. I love how some of these Bowman Platinum cards/parallels look, and they are even nicer autographed. 
There are some nice relics in this photo, one from Jeremy Hellickson, and 2 from Evan Longoria. One is grey, and the other is white. I actually got another one of these in a trade, and I'd be happy if you sent me even more. This set doesn't have a print run, but I would love to see how many of this card's production I could get. The Jose DeLeon is a National parallel, and is very shiny. 
I haven't purchased a pack of Gypsy Queen in almost 10 years, and thanks to some great traders, I think I'm close to having the '18 set. Picked up a trio of Topps Fire from '18, and a Ray from '20 that I didn't have, a Turkey Red insert of Charlie Morton. Julie helped my Cecil Fielder collection with a '91 Leaf, '93 Triple Play League Leaders. 
More Fielder cards, including 2 '95 SP Championship Series cards. Julie hooked my up with 2 Aubrey Huff and Brandon Inge cards, as well as 2 Allen & Ginter Ben Zobrist's. 
One of the coolest things about the package Julie sent was how she packaged it. She included 4 different '89 Topps packs to keep them from getting damaged. I immediately opened them, and pulled 2 rookie cards of Hall of Famers, John Smoltz and Craig Biggio. Also got a rookie of Sandy Alomar, Jr., and a sunset card of Ron Guidry. 

That's the rest of them. Definitely some keepers, as I had a complete set, but got a ton of cards autographed that were sold, so many of these will fill in holes in the set. Thanks for the great trade, Julie.

In other news, I have completed every missing player checklist. 1951-2019 Topps (including Traded/Update sets from every year). I have also went over the 1995 Topps set and included every replacement player (putting the main set checklist at almost 2800 cards). My next project will be to redo my wantlist, going through my Rays/Tigers binders and updating my list to reflect cards I need, and adding number/names to the list. I hope it will simplify things for anyone trading with me. After that, I'll update my Favorite Player pages and hopefully get everything up-to-date.

I also have a little work to do, but after it is finished, I will have 2 new posts ready. The first one will be a post of every sunset card (customs included). I will add the link to the sidebar after I get that post up. The other one will be an attempt to list each time that Topps issued 2 different cards of the same player in the same uniform in the same calendar-year set (eg. 2 2007 Topps Gary Sheffield Tigers cards, 2 2000 Topps Mike Lowell Marlins cards). Just a kind of screw-you-for-being lazy-Topps post. Stay tuned for those in the future.
Thanks for checking out my latest post.

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Questions about the 2020 season

So with the baseball season perhaps being shortened, that has led me to a ton of quesions. Some of these are interesting, and others make me a little sad. I'm going to start out with some of the sad ones first.

There have been talks about re-aligning things drastically. I've seen there were a few articles written on this but didn't really read them, just kind of skimmed over one, so I may not know what I'm talking about on this one.  While I agree that some sort of re-alignment needs to be done, I don't believe it needs to be that radical. My overall best-case scenario would be for the AL & NL to do away with divisions and have the top 2-4 teams make the playoffs (2 in my utopia), or for the AL & NL to split into East and West divisions, with the top teams in each division making the playoffs. With the talks I have heard of, it would totally change the landscape of everything I have ever known. Heck, I organize my baseball cards by the AL & NL teams alphabetically. It took me forever to put the Brewers in the NL, and Washington at the very end of the NL, and I still do the Marlins as if they are in Florida, and the Astros as if they are in the NL. If MLB changes things like I've been hearing, it will just crush part of my childhood, and I really don't think keeping things the way they are will mess anything up, even if they do just play in AZ and FL. It keeps rivalries intact, and allows things to stay the same in 2021 when (hopefully) everything will be back to normal. The divisions are pretty balanced right now, and it could upset the flow of talent in each division as well. Lets say the Yankees, Braves, Nationals, Phillies, and Blue Jays end up in some kind of Eastern division and the Tigers, Royals, Pirates, and Orioles end up in some sort of East division in another league. You are going to have some top 10 teams in another division, and some bottom 10 in another, yet the top team in each one will make the playoffs. Nobody wants to see a below .500 team make the playoffs, and it almost makes sense to do away with divisions and have the 2 teams with the best records in the league to advance to the LCS.

Another thing would be if an over-achieving team gets in the playoffs. Remember the Royals of 2003? Heck, the Tigers were over .500 early in 2019. What if a team like the Tigers, Orioles, Royals, Giants, or Marlins overachieves for 2-3 months and somehow gets a playoff spot? Everyone knows each of those teams are a few years away from contending. I could see a team like the Padres, White Sox, or Reds getting in, but I can see them competing legitimately competing this year, and definitely next. I just think there are too many chances that a non-deserving team will get in the playoffs due to the game shortage and potential division changes.

Now on to the kind of fun quesions.

We could potentially see someone hit .400. I don't think that will mean they would have 400 At-Bats or however many Plate Appearances it is, but we could really see someone have a .400 Average at the end of the season.

We could see someone with a below 1.00 ERA.

We could see someone go 9-0, 10-0, etc.

While we probably won't see any volume records being broken like most HRs in a season or see any 50 HR, 20 Win, and 50 Save seasons, some of these other stats could be cool with the shortened season amount. It could also help a mid-tier player who gets hot end up leading the League in something. We could see a streaky hitter like Nick Castellanos win a HR crown or a guy like Robbie Ray of the Diamondbacks win the K crown.

Do I think the amount of games will give us enough to determine a real champion? I don't know. I hope so. Just some random things I have been thinking about lately.

Here are some customs I've made lately from one of the last times a shortened season was played (not counting 1994 and 1995).

Hopefully we wil get some instance of a decent season in 2020. Let me know what you think about some of these questions. Thanks for checking out my latest post.

Monday, May 4, 2020

Cards from Brent

About 2 weeks ago, I got an email from a reader named Brent. He asked about my customs and how I printed them and stuff. I gave him my tips, and he mentioned that he was a serious Detroit Tiger collector. How serious? Check out his Instagram page. He has some amazing stuff. I was amazed at all of the old cards that he had (tobacco cards, every Topps and Bowman Tiger from 1947-1988. I told him my oldest Tiger card was a '62 one, and how I would love to add a tobacco card to my collection at some point. He said they can be had for 20-30 bucks if you don't care about condition (I really dont).  He also told me he wanted to send me some Tiger dupes he had, and mentioned that he thought he might have an extra '52 Topps. 
I was really excited, and couldn't wait for the cards to arrive. A few days ago, I checked my mailbox, and in it was a PWE from Brent. He included some stars from the '84 Tigers championship team, and the previously mentioned 1952 Topps card, one of Don Kolloway. This is now the oldest card in my Tigers collection, the only '52 Topps Tiger I own, and the 2nd '52 Topps card I own. 

The Lou Whitaker cards he sent also made me happy, as both brought back some good memories. In 1994, I went to a Spring Training game in Lakeland, Florida, where the Tigers and the Reds were playing. I had somehow got an '85 Donruss Diamond King of Whitaker, and had brought it and a few other cards with me to the game to try to get autographed. After the game, Whitaker walked to his car. Some people asked for his autograph, and he said he wasn't signing. After getting into his car, he drove a few feet, rolled down his window, and started signing. He signed my card, and it was my first card signed in person. I also remember him giving someone his batting gloves.
This wouldn't be my last time running into Lou in Lakeland. We both lived there in the '90's/'00's, so I saw him a few more times. He had this clothing store in the mall (mainly run by his wife) called 'Whitakers', and he always had 2 security guards standing in front of it. One time, I walked past the store on the way to Kay-Bee Toys, and saw him in the store. I didn't have anything for him to sign, and the security guards were intimidating, so I never walked in. 
Later, around 1998 or 1999, I was in 9th or 10th grade. My mother home-schooled me from 5th-10th grade, and we would take a drive to Orlando to do a science class/lab with other home-schooled kids every few weeks. One week, before we drove, we stopped at the gas station near our house. I got a Surge and a Crunch bar, and as I was standing in line to pay, this guy was talking baseball, and mentioned something about Alan Trammell like he knew him. I asked him if he knew Alan, and he said 'Why, yes. I played second base next to him.'. I was like 'You're Lou Whitaker!!!'. I always brought a binder with cards with me on long trips, and I just so happened to have my 1995 Topps/Topps Cyberstats binder with me at the time. I told him I had 2 of his cards with me in the car and asked if he could sign them. He told me he didn't have a good marker and didn't want to ruin my cards, but he would run to his office, and meet me at my house and sign them. My mom gave him our address, and we went to the class and came back. I was expecting to see Lou, but my mom warned me that he might flake. A few hours after we got back, I had given up hope, but then all of the sudden, the doorbell rang, and Lou was at our front door. I got the 2 cards, and he graciously signed them and posed for a picture. Here's were everything gets crazy. 
So Lou asks us where we were headed, and I mentioned that I was going to a science class. Lou mentions that he is a Jehovah's Witness and he had some pamphlets about science in his car. He gave me one, and left.
A few months later, my friend Stephen was at my house, and we were playing video games or something, and we get a knock at the door, and who is there, but Lou again, with another copy of the Watchtower. I'm ashamed to admit this, but I conjoured up a story about how me and Stephen were trading cards and how Stephen just happened to have a card of Lou and wanted to have him sign it. Lou knew what we were doing, but was gracious enough to sign another 2 cards, a '95 Collector's Choice, and a '90 Donruss Diamond King.
Almost 10 years later, I was at a Tigers practice getting autographs, and who popped by but Lou Whitaker. I had an '01 Topps Archives card and presented it to him to sign, and he was like "I remember you. I went to your house!'. He said that he never signs his rookie cards or reprints, so I handed him an '81 Donruss card, and he signed it.
I'll always remember Lou as kind of eccentric, but he was always a nice guy when I encountered him, and not many people would be a man of their word and run to their office, get a pen, and drive to a strangers house to sign a card for them.
Those Lou Whitaker Diamond Kings brought back some good memories, Brent. Thanks for sending them my way, and thanks for the '52 Don Kolloway.

Thanks for checking out my latest post.