Well, I was on a nice little roll there, until we got a little busy with some birthday activities (someone just turned five around these parts), and then Mel came down with COVID, and a few days later it bit me. We’re both vaccinated and boosted, so neither of us was hit particularly hard. In fact, because of that it was mostly just a major inconvenience on my part. We’ll both be in the clear within the next day or two, as soon as we can pull multiple negative tests. We were also incredibly grateful that my folks could scoop up said new five-year-old on a moment’s notice and take her for a solid week. She got some wonderful grandma and grandpa time, as well as a trip down to the beach in there. That said if it’s been a while for you, look in to getting another booster. Cases are up, and we’d actually been talking about it just two weeks ago.
I had been throwing together a quick draft or three each night and finishing those during the day, which was leading me to some actual progress. That’s become complicated a bit as I’ve now finished up my parental leave and returned to work. A smarter me would probably space out my content more, so that when my time inevitably slips away this place is still on a regular schedule. I just have so much in the backlog though that I’d rather line up the fire hose, just in case I can maintain the momentum.
It’s time for another TTM report. I’ve got a few of these prepped, and another Small Trade Parade installment, and then some more in-depth fun stuff. I’m trying to sprinkle those amid the quick posts. This’ll inch me closer to current on my TTM Reports – and there are a couple sweet returns in here – so let’s have a look at what arrived last July.
Pete Harnisch: 2/2, 230 days.
Two hundred and thirty days! That’s a bit longer than I expected, given that this is the third time I’ve written ol’ Pete. He’s got a strict 2 card limit, and I have several fun cards I wanted to get signed. It’d been a while, so I finally dashed off another request, this time getting a pair of particularly fun cards done in the process. That’s a 1991 Stadium Club Members Only, from the box set, highlighting his stellar performance on September 6, 1991 as he matched his career high with 12 strikeouts over the Phillies, including an Immaculate Inning in the 7th, as he struck out Wes Chamberlain, Dickie Thon, and Jose de Jesus on just 9 pitches. The other is a 1999 Kahn’s card from a stadium giveaway set. I picked this up on our baseball roadtrip, and I’ve chipped away at a little of it, with half a dozen cards signed now.
Ed Ott: 5/4, 15 days.
Ed was on my list for a few reasons: first of all, he was the Astros catching coach for a bit, so I made up some customs. Second, he’s got a 1981 Fleer card which was begging to be signed. Third, he picked up a World Series championship with the Pirates in 1979! It should be noted that Ed is not related to Mel, the Ott with whom most of you would be most familiar. He did, however, essentially end Felix Millan’s career with a wrestling move after a confrontation at second base.
Lenny Wilkens: 3/3, 16 days.
If you read last month’s report, you know that I sparingly peppered a few non-baseball requests throughout my mailings last year. One of those was Basketball Hall of Famer Lenny Wilkens, who signed all three of his cards from the 1996 Topps NBA Stars set in brilliant blue Sharpie. This set featured 3 cards of each player from the then newly announced NBA50 list. I’ve got a handful of these signed now, including Bob Cousy, Paul Arizin, and Bob Pettit. As a kid I was most familiar with Wilkens as a coach – first of the Hawks, then of the 1996 Dream Team II. I was a bit surprised when I saw him in these old Seattle digs. They should bring back the SuperSonics.
Tony McKnight: 2/2, 19 days.
Again, if you read last month’s report, you’ll have been briefly informed of my dreaded “red Sharpie” phase. This quick return from Tony McKnight allowed me to replace yet another unfortunate childhood autograph with something that looks much nicer – in this instance, the Draft Pick card was the culprit. That’s a very happy upgrade in the binder.
Phil Regan: 2/2, 8 days.
I have to admit, I didn’t know too much about Phil Regan until he was called upon to take over the pitching coach duties for the Mets mid-season in 2019. He wasn’t retired, but after a long coaching career he had shifted out of the dugout to the role of minor league assistant pitching coordinator a few years earlier. I think all baseball fans were a bit shocked to see the Mets bring an 82 year-old into the coaching staff. Regan had a pitching career before that coaching career, of course, and the reliever was nicknamed The Vulture. I didn’t know the story behind that nickname until I looked into it as I wrote him. It’s kinda funny how one offhand comment from a mildly miffed Sandy Koufax turned into a rather specific baseball term.
Gary Pettis: 2/3, 303 days.
Gary was out with a health scare for a while, so it was especially welcome to see him return to the staff last year. He inked up the two Starchives cards I’ve made of him (I didn’t do any coach cards in 2020), much to my delight. Sadly (but expectedly), he did not sign his 1985 Topps card which features a photo of his little brother, although he did send it back. Hey, I had to give it a shot on the off chance the customs would have swayed him. No matter, I’m just pleased as punch to get this one back and finally add him to the Astrographs binder. Gary did keep the extra copies I sent along for him.
Alex Taveras: 2/2, private signing.
This is a pretty tough Astro autograph, so when a delightfully low-priced private signing popped up, I jumped in at full speed. I had my copy of Alex’s 1977 rookie quadrants signed, and I made what I think turned out to be a lovely custom. This was really fortunate, as I’d just chanced across the photo about a week before the signing was announced. Being a gentleman, I offered to send in some extras for my other Astro-graph pals Billy and Wendy, hence the trio you see here.
It’s another “save the best for last” situation in this post. If you’re keeping score, we’ve already had a Hall of Famer and a tough Astro. What could top that?
Well, you see – eh, you’ll see.
Bill Mazeroski! 2/2, 29 days! (with fee)
My main man Maz started signing TTM! When I saw returns starting to be logged at SCN, I immediately drafted a letter. I sent along a donation and had him sign two things – the one vintage dupe I had of him, a delightful 1960 Topps card, which I felt was pretty appropriate. It looks so great!
The other was this glorious 8×10 from The Motherlode photo acquisition several years ago. It turned out phenomenal.
Not to sneeze at any of the other July returns, but this is certainly the one that made my month. I even sent my dad a photo when it arrived. He approved wholeheartedly.
So let’s get a proper recap: that’s 3 new Astro-graphs, one upgrade, two HOFers, and some other fun stuff. I’d say that shapes up to a fantastic month of returns!