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Redsfest is underway!

It actually started last night, but it’s still going on today and will be great! Current players like Zack Cozart, Mike Leake, and Brandon Phillips, and retired Reds such as Eddie Milner, Jack Billingham, and even Hall of Famer Joe Morgan will be on hand to meet fans and sign autographs. I can’t wait to show off what my son and I obtain today!


Will this Devin Mesoraco card come home with a signature tonight? Who knows!


Redsfest 2011: Gapper

I have to give you the backstory on this one. I took Derek to the local library to meet Gapper at the beginning of the season. Sadly, Gapper was sick, and Mr. Red Legs showed up. It was still cool to see Mr. Red Legs acting out “Casey At The Bat” as one of the librarians read to the kiddos.

But we were there to meet Gapper.

Ever since then, Derek has been waiting to see Gapper so he could get his hat signed by him.

On Saturday, he got it.

Now to track down Rosie and the new Mr. Red…

Redsfest 2011: Tommy Helms

Here is one that I really wanted to get this year: former player, coach, and manager Tommy Helms.

I first met Helms in 2010 during the Reds Hall of Fame weekend. Several former players were on hand for a meet-and-greet with fans, including Johnny Bench and Joe Morgan. No autographs were allowed, but it was great to shake hands with some of the all-time great Reds.

Ever since acquiring a 1969 Topps All-Star card of Helms, I’ve wanted to get his signature on it.

Finally, this weekend, I accomplished that goal, and the kids got some custom cards signed.

Redsfest 2011: Mark Berry

You never know who you’ll bump into in the Hall of Fame lounge…former players, or current coaches. While we were back there, a whole pack of coaches was hanging around, including third base coach Mark Berry.

Berry spent seven years in the Reds organization. After we left the Hall of Fame lounge, we saw him sitting at an autograph table and hardly anyone in line. I happened to have one of Berry’s minor league issues with me, so this was obtained outside the lounge…

I don’t know when the smudge occurred, if he accidentally ran his thumb across it or if I picked it up off the table and messed it up. I’m toying with the idea of finding another copy and getting it signed next year, hoping for better results. I doubt I will be able to find it as cheap though; I spent only a quarter on the set (with free shipping) a few years ago!

Redsfest 2011: Leo Cardenas

I have never been disappointed in Leo Cardenas. Every time we have met him, whether at a function such as Redsfest or just running into him while visiting the Reds Hall of Fame, he has greeted us with a smile and talked to us like there was no one else as important in the whole world.

I already have all of my Cardenas cards signed, so we made a few customs. But he also had some cards with him, and was gracious enough to pull one out of his own stack and sign it for Derek. This is now Derek’s oldest baseball card.

One last thing…this was in the Hall of Fame lounge that is open to fans who bought a membership pass to the museum. You’re not supposed to ask for autographs back there…and we didn’t! Cardenas offered (just like Harmon did last year)…I promise!!! 🙂

Redsfest 2011: Jim O’Toole

Confession time: I really don’t know why I get Jim O’Toole‘s autograph each year.

Perhaps I’m just too lazy to walk to another line, or afraid the other lines are closed. The volunteers are instructed to cut it off at 225 fans. When you have over ten thousand people running around, 225 is not a lot.

I only had one O’Toole card, and ran out of time before making any customs for him. But Joshua brought a baseball with him, and we bought a $5 black and white 8×10 for Derek, so we all had something for him to sign.

At least he was on time this year.

Redsfest 2011: Chuck Harmon

The highlight of last year’s Redsfest was meeting Chuck Harmon. Fortunately, the first black Red was back at the event this year.

He was signing copies of his book, but you didn’t have to buy one to get his autograph. Amazingly, there was no one in line to meet him.

We had a couple of custom cards that he signed for us.

Redsfest 2011: Devin Mesoraco

We got word of the 1 p.m. signers while waiting in line for Tom Browning. The boys wanted to get Devin Mesoraco, and he was signing in the “kids only” line.

Personally, I love the “kids only” lines. I don’t look like a kid anymore, so I don’t get an autograph, but that’s okay. I still have fun watching my boys smile as they receive something from a major leaguer.

The problem is that we didn’t have any Mesoraco cards. That doesn’t me we weren’t prepared. Friday afternoon I printed off a bunch of custom cards for the players that were missing from our collections. Some of the cards you have seen before, like these Mez issues:

There are a few that you haven’t seen yet, though. Such as the ones I will post tomorrow.

Redsfest 2011: Tom Browning

My sons and I attended the 2011 Redsfest on Saturday, December 3. This was my fourth year going with my oldest son, and the first year for my youngest son. I was very tired from the Guns N’ Roses concert the night before, but I had a great time as always. Over the next few days, I’ll be showing off the goodies that we got signed, starting with Tom Browning

The doors opened a few minutes before 11 a.m., and the first autograph session was scheduled to begin at noon. We chose “Mr. Perfect” as our first target of the day. This was not Derek’s first time meeting a player…he’s had the chance to get autographs from Chris Sabo, Jay Bruce, Ryan Hanigan, and his favorite, Joey Votto, in the past.

Both boys put their cards up on the table and said thank you after receiving Browning’s signature. I don’t know if the players actually pay attention whether fans say thank you or not, but I believe it’s important for my boys to be polite. We’re not selling these items; they are for our personal collection and enjoyment.

Both of the kids chose Browning’s 1987 Topps card. I’ve scanned only one of them to display here…

As for me, I chose his 1985 Donruss card. I’m trying to get as many of the 1985 Donruss set autographed as I can, but it is a long process. So far I have Browning, Nick Esasky, Brad Gulden, Jeff Russell, Skeeter Barnes, and Frank Pastore.

Coming tomorrow, the only current Reds player we approached on Saturday.

I love the Redsfest, but…

You know there has to be a “but.” There’s always a “but.”

I’ve attended the Redsfest the past three years with my oldest son, and this year will be no different. We’ll be hitting the Duke Energy Convention Center in downtown Cincinnati on Saturday, December 3. We usually go on Friday, but there’s a concert on Friday night that I want to attend, so this year it will be a Saturday affair.

Of course, one of the draws of the Redsfest is the opportunity to obtain free autographs from current and former Reds stars. Here’s the list of this year’s scheduled attendees. Some could be added, a few may be dropped, but this gives you a good idea of who to expect at Redsfest.

My problem is, it looks an awful lot like last year’s list. In the “alumni” column, Doug Flynn is the only new name. I have a few Flynn sigs from my childhood. After his baseball career, he worked in Frankfort, Kentucky, and we ran into him a few times on my dad’s business trips. Of the alumni, the only autographs I don’t have yet are Wayne Granger, Tommy Helms, and maybe Jim Maloney (have to double-check that one).

Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s great that these guys will be in Cincinnati for the weekend. I think it’s awesome that the Reds host this event and allow fans to get so close to the players. Last year, meeting Eric Davis was definitely one of the highlights for me. A few years ago, it was Mario Soto, one of my favorite all-time players. Based on the list that has been released, I don’t see that thrill happening this year.

The horror conventions that I have attended over the same period have had a wider variety of guests. Sure, Danielle Harris and Kane Hodder are at almost every event. But the little kid from Pet Sematary? Awesome. George Romero, the greatest zombie filmmaker in history? Awesome. I don’t get their autographs because there is a pretty steep charge, but the horror conventions get one thing right that the Reds seem to miss: you have to mix it up a little each year.

I stopped going to Poison and Mötley Crüe concerts because it’s always the same setlist, and it’s too expensive to pay for the same experience every year. If they’re not going to mix it up a little, I’m not going to give them my money.

As I said, I love going to Redsfest. And will probably continue to go every year because I have a lot of non-autographed baseball cards that would look spectacular with some Sharpie scribbles. But I would like to see a bit more variety in the lineup.

Here are a few names I would love to see on the appearance list in the future: Jack Armstrong, Danny Jackson, Jose Rijo, Eddie Milner, Dave Parker, Randy Myers, Norm Charlton, Rob Dibble, Dan Driessen, Kurt Stillwell, Jeff Treadway, Kal Daniels, John Franco.

I’m not asking for them all at once. Just two or three a year. If you’ll notice, there’s not a single NBHOF name on that list (though Parker should be). And there are other players that other fans would love to see too. My list is primarily 1980s/early 1990s…others might like to see more mid-90s or 1970s or even 2000s guys (someone mentioned Kent Tekulve). And that’s cool too…just a few different names is all I’m asking. Not the same every single year.

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