It’s March, and this is a February report, so that means I’ve caught up!
Oh, wait. I’ve just been handed something. It seems I still have another year worth of returns to post. Perhaps I’ll be caught up by the time April rolls around, then. I put a bit more time into writing requests instead of recaps, and I’ve been holding a baby more than I expected – someone has decided they don’t like to sleep for very long unless they are being held.
As for what came in during last February, the numbers have slipped down a bit – from 14 returns in December, to 12 in January, to just 8 in February. But February is short, and 8 is still a solid month of returns! Plus there’s a real nice one waiting for you at the bottom. Let’s get to it!
Chris Burke: 2/2, 61 days.
We get to start off with the author of one of Houston’s most storied home runs, Chris Burke! Holy moly, I forgot this one even came in. I picked up a Burke in trade a while back, but it’s always more fun to get some ink straight from the player, whether in person or through the mail. I’m going to count this one as an Astro-graph upgrade. Oh, and as for the home run, if you’re unfamiliar: Burke’s walk-off deposit into the Crawford Boxes in the bottom of the 18th inning ended the 2004 NLDS, burying the Braves and sending the Astros to face St. Louis in the NLCS. It felt amazing, not just because of the ridiculous and tense game, but also because it felt like we finally got some revenge against those Braves for all of our 90’s exits to them. Oof, let’s not talk about the 2021 World Series, though.
Alex Dickerson: 1/1, 8 days.
I’m fairly certain this one is purely due to seeing Nick V. post a return from Dickerson and thinking, “hm, his 2020 card is a nice shot – let’s write him!” This one turned out nice and came back quick!
Charlie Morton: 1/1, 22 days (private signing).
The third return was from a private signing, and features the hero of a very different World Series. I’d written CFM before, but when the signing popped up I figured it was my best chance to add him to the Astro-graphs binder. I sent along his 2018 Starchives card and a copy for him to keep – and maybe a highlight card or two for him to keep as well, I forget. The added inscription was his idea, which makes me think perhaps he did linger over my entries. I hope he liked my cards.
Will Clark: 1/1, 87 days.
Once again, I have returned to the well, er, Will. I loved watching Will play, and while he’s a strict 1 auto per request guy, he’s a great signer who seems to save everything for 3 or 4 batches each year. So, when I come across another rad card of Will The Thrill, I set it aside and every year or so I scratch that itch. This time it came on a good ol’ fashioned XRC from the 1986 Donruss The Rookies set. I picked this up as filler in a TCDB swap, thinking it would be extra cool to get Will to sign it. I’m going to have to agree with myself there! I think the next request is going to be an 8×10 from the old Motherlode stack.
Kyle Garlick: 1/1, 23 days.
Oh come on now, you expect me to pass up a chance on a name like that? Kyle is most certainly residing in the “special names” section of the autograph binder now. This one is quite a signature as well!
Javier Bracamonte: 4/1, 726 days.
Well, well, we have a bonafide straggler in the bunch! This one was sent to Spring Training some 23 months prior to its return! Our delightful bullpen catcher with a heart of gold signed both copies of his 2018 Starchives card and two index cards as well. I’d long written this one off, so it felt pretty awesome to find it in the mailbox!
Ronn Reynolds: 1/1
Return number seven on the month was the other private signing. This one was dirt cheap, and delayed for quite a while – first due to pandemic precautions, and then due to Ronn being hospitalized for a while. He had a stroke, I believe, and then may have also come down with COVID-19. I don’t entirely recall. I know it’s a slightly unorthodox photo choice for the custom, but as I was hunting for photos of another short-term ‘Stro I stumbled across this, an actual color shot of Reynolds during his short stint with the team – something which I was beginning to think did not exist. If I recall correctly, the promoter included a note saying that Ronn enjoyed the custom – I’d sent a spare for him to keep.
Brooks Robinson: 1/1, 16 days (with fee).
This is another outstanding return – one of the finest third basemen to play the game, the Hoover himself. I’d written Brooks a few years back and was delighted to get a surprise return that also included a bonus card. I wanted to try again with a good vintage piece, and had picked up this 1960 at a card show in hopes of doing just that. Then the dingbats started lowballing him and he quit signing TTM for a bit unless you went through his charity. When the volume had died down once again, Brooks went back to signing for 20 bucks, so after a bit of a wait I dug out this card to try once more. It is outstanding!
So, like I said – a fine month of returns for the shortest month of the year: a HOFer, 3 new Astro-graphs, one Astro-graph upgrade, and a childhood favorite all in the mix. I’m very happy to be inside of a year’s worth of outstanding reports, given that I started at 18 months and we’ve already put two more months under our belts since I vowed to bring this series current.
I do have other things to blog about, and other requests to write – some fun things are indeed coming in this year. If you’re on Twitter and want to follow those in more of a real-time format, I’ve started a thread for my 2022 TTM returns.