Oh my, I’ve headed back to the drafts folder once again. Lodged in my “recent” drafts are a set of TTM Report posts covering my returns from July 2020 through February. This piece of the hobby is one which brings me a good deal of joy, so I’ll roll through these and tack on the gap of the past year as well. Don’t fret, I won’t dump them all at once.
John Pacella: 1/1, 16 days
This is one of those times where you come across a card so fantastic that you just absolutely have to determine if the subject signs through the mail. In this instance that subject is John Pacella, whose 1981 Topps card finds him in the middle of his best Young Jim Bouton impression. How can you not love this card?!? I’m certain John has signed plenty of copies of it by now. This one happily resides in my collection.
Dave Roberts: 5/4 14 days
Here’s an Astro I’d been meaning to write for a while. I’m not certain how long that beautiful ‘73 had been sitting in the TTM pile, but it was at least a couple years. The problem was that I hadn’t picked up any spare Astros cards of the third Dave Roberts to suit up for the ball club. Then I inherited another guys collection and all of a sudden I had 5 extras. I also pulled out Dave’s 1981 Fleer to send. Then it looked like there was a dry spell in him signing. When I saw a new success roll in on SCN I penned a letter and stashed these in an envelope. Dave signed all four cards I sent and included a signed tract as well.
Brock Deatherage: 1/1, 14 days
Here’s another “gotta see if he signs” type of request. A prospect named Brock DEATH RAGE? That sounds like a prime Venture Bros. scene. Okay, okay – so there’s an extra E in the mix. Big deal. Brock sent this back fairly fast and he now resides on a page with other silly names, like Kyle Garlick and Craig Skok.
Matt Mieske: 2/2, 35 days
Mieske is one of those short-term ‘Stros I remember seeing as a kid. He’d been on the “make a custom and write him” list for a loooong time, so it was nice to finally but this one to bed. That custom is now sitting pretty in the Astro-graphs binder.
Mookie Wilson: 1/1, 35 days
This one was actually a cheap private signing that popped up. Mookie May have popped up here, but this looks like perhaps it was a drive into the gap and he’s thinking about extra bases. Mookie was one of those “be cool if he signed” guys for whom I had some cards stashed away. He’s also a baseball (step)dad to Preston Wilson, so the cheap signing was just the impetus I needed to snatch up a cool signature which now resides in my baseball family pages.
Marc Hill: 6/6, 17 days
Here’s a former Astro coach whose autograph I’ve actually had for a while. At some point I sent a well-beaten ‘83 Topps card to Mr. Hill – probably in the late 90s. It wasn’t until I returned to collecting 8 years ago and decided to chase my Astro-graphs project that I realized Hill had been an Astros coach, spending 1988 as the bullpen coach. I had picked up a couple spares of the 1988 coaching staff Mother’s cards, as well as a spare of the Astros coaches card from the 1988 police set. I’d previously gotten the latter signed by Gene Clines, so this success bumped that one up to two signatures. One of the Mother’s cards took Hill’s spot in the Astro-graphs binder, the other will get sent out to Clines, and then possibly Matt Galante. The playing days cards are nice as well. Hill isn’t in ‘81 Fleer, but that ‘83 Donruss is sublime, an underrated set in my opinion.
John Castino: 4/4, 17 days
I’ve had an Award Winners tab on my collection spreadsheet for a while: MVPs, CYs, ROYs, manager of the year and reliever of the year (in its few forms) are all tracked. That put former AL ROY John Castino in my ever long TTM pile, and some time in 2020 I made it a point to pick up a couple extra cards of his in my trades. The ‘81 Fleer is the highlight here for me, but I love getting cards from all four of these sets signed.
Jamie Quirk: 3/3, 12 days
Here’s a moderately embarrassing one. Jamie Quirk was briefly the Astros hitting coach, and as such I had him on the “make a custom someday” list. He’s in my beloved ‘81 Fleer set, and he also has a lovely barrel card in 1978 Topps which I made sure to acquire and send. So what’s the embarrassing part? Well, it wasn’t until I got this one back that I noticed my Jaimie typo in my custom. Oof! I’ll have to fix that and reprint it for a new try.
Jesse Barfield: 1/1, 19 days
The final return of July 2020 was also a former Astros coach, also via a cheap private signing.what surprised me most was the excellent choice of marker! I figured I’d get a squished blue or black sharpie eating up some negative space and possibly face, but Mr. Barfield signed his navy sleeve in a delightful silver sharpie. It’s fantastic!
Let’s recap: that’s 5 Astrographs additions: two players, three coaches, with one of them an upgrade. There’s also a ROY, a fun baseball dad, a silly name, a stellar photo, and three beautiful 1981 Fleer cards. Quite a month!