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2009 Redsfest!

Tonight my son and I went to the 2009 Redsfest, and we had a blast! We came away with autographs of Mario Soto, Leo Cardenas, Jim O’Toole, Chris Dickerson, Joey Votto, and Tom Browning. We also had fun visiting the different booths set up by the Reds Hall of Fame and other local organizations. Check out some of the photos below…

It’s no secret that Mario Soto is one of my favorite players of all-time, and he was the first table we hit at 4:00 when the doors opened. Joshua was armed with a 1986 Donruss card that he wanted signed…

…and I decided I wanted to get my 1986 Texas Gold card signed…

The next booth we hit was the Reds Hall of Fame, where Leo Cardenas and Jim O’Toole were signing…

Also hanging out in the Reds Hall of Fame area were some guys dressed kinda funny…

These guys actually play games by 1800s rules during the summer. We are planning to attend a game or two in 2010 (I didn’t find out about them until late 2009). Check out 1869reds.com for more information.

Chris Dickerson was in the “kids only” line at 5:15, but we didn’t bring any Dickerson cards with us.

Luckily, he was one of the special cards printed up by Topps just for the Redsfest, so Joshua got him to sign this limited edition card for him…

We got a whole set of these cards. I thought it was cool that they used the 2010 Topps design this year. Last year they used the 2008 design. I’ll post the rest from this year soon.

At 6:15 they had a special introduction at the main stage introducing several of the players, past and present, that were appearing at the Redsfest this year. Especially cool was the introduction of the 1990 World Series team, including now-Cubs manager Lou Piniella, Eric Davis, Barry Larkin and others. I’m uploading these introductions to Youtube and I will post them to the blog later.

Then it was time to wait…and wait…..and wait…….for Joey Votto. He was scheduled to sign at 8:15. We got in line around 7:00, and just barely got through in time.


(Joshua’s card)


(My card)

After we got our Votto sigs, we spied Tom Browning off in a corner signing some stuff. So we ventured over there and snagged a couple from Mr. Perfect…


(Joshua’s card)


(My card)

I thought it was cool of Browning to take time to sign these things even though it wasn’t his “official” time to do autographs. He was very friendly to everyone who asked as well.

The 2009 Redsfest was a lot of fun, and I look forward to going again next year!

Check out omgReds’ report on the event!

2009 Topps Tom Browning

“Mr. Perfect” is much more than nine innings in 1988 against the L.A. Dodgers. In 1985, Browning became the first rookie pitcher to win 20 games in a season since 1954…and no other rookie has done it since. Think of all the great pitchers that have come and gone in the past 50+ years. Tom Seaver, Nolan Ryan, Dwight Gooden, Roger Clemens, Greg Maddux…none of them had 20 wins in their rookie season. Unfortunately for Browning, there was a Cardinal stealing bases like crazy that year, and Vince Coleman stole the Rookie of the Year award away from one of the great rookie pitching performances.

Browning pitched all or part of 11 season for the Redlegs and finished his career by pitching two games for the Kansas City Royals in 1995. He compiled a 123-90 record with a respectable 3.94 ERA and 1000 strikeouts. Three times he led the National League in home runs allowed and was named to the 1991 All-Star team.

In 2006, Browning was inducted into the Reds Hall of Fame, having won the fan ballot the prior December.

There is a book, Tom Browning’s Tales from the Reds Dugout, that uses the same photo I used for this card. It’s a very entertaining book highly recommended to fans of the game.

Red Legs from a Red Coat

Our good friend over at The Pursuit of 80’s(ness) just sent over an unexpected package. I love surprises, and there were plenty of surprises in this envelope.

A highly touted pitcher who has not yet reached his potential (is 2010 his year?)…

A highly touted outfielder who has struggled, but will soon break out into a huge superstar (is 2010 his year?)…

A card showing two of the all-time greats and two of the current popular players in Cincinnati…

A 2004 Bazooka Griffey from John’s recently busted wax box

(side note…I don’t recall ever seeing 2004 Bazooka cards before John posted them on his blog. I like them.)

A shiny second baseman…

And Tom “Mr. Perfect” Browning, the only Reds pitcher, and one of only 18 in all of baseball, to ever throw a perfect game.

There were many other cards, all very much appreciated. I’m always glad to give Reds cards a good home. Thanks John!

Package from Stats on the Back

On Friday, I received a nice surprise in the mail from Mark at Stats on the Back…a box full of Reds! I worked all weekend so I haven’t had the opportunity until today to post some of the goodies found inside…

1986 Hall of Fame inductee Ernie “The Schnozz” Lombardi (from the 1991 Sporting News Conlon Collection set)…

2010 Hall of Fame inductee (fingers crossed) Barry Larkin (1991 Studio)…

1988 NL Rookie of the Year Chris “Spuds” Sabo (1989 Fleer Baseball’s Exciting Stars…I love oddballs!)…

Rob “Nasty Boy” Dibble (1990 Donruss Baseball’s Best)…

Norm “Nasty Boy” Charlton, misidentified as Tom “Mr. Perfect” Browning (1991 Fleer Ultra)…

And a couple of Reds in different uniforms…

Mr. Senior (1987 Fleer…wearing a nasty Braves uniform)

Mr. Junior (1991 Upper Deck…wearing his former Seattle uniform, which I like better than his current Seattle uniform, although neither is as cool as the classic Seattle uniform…with Cubs great Ryne Sandberg, who should have been a first-ballot Hall of Famer)

These were just a few of the many Reds (and former Reds) included in the box…a great addition to my collection and a large number that I needed! I don’t have time to update my checklists right now, but they will be taken care of soon!

Mark said he loved the 2009 Topps Retired Reds, and couldn’t wait for the Eric Davis card. Well, wait no more.

My Redsfest Adventure

Today my son and I went to the 11th Annual Redsfest held at the Duke Energy Convention Center in Cincinnati. We took a stack of cards with us, knowing that we wouldn’t be able to get them all signed, but I think we did pretty good. The event started at 4 p.m., and we went straight to the Reds Hall of Fame booth, where Leo “Chico” Cardenas and Clay Carroll were signing autographs.

We then walked over to the kids-only line where Jeff Keppinger was signing, and Joshua was able to get his autograph as well. After that session, there was a break and all the players went up to the main stage for introductions. We walked back to the Hall of Fame booth and got back in line for “Mr. Perfect” Tom Browning.

After Browning, we took our own break and went to get some pizza and a drink. $3 per slice, and $3 per 20-ounce, so we each got a slice and split a drink. Highway robbery, I tell ya! After eating, we went to get in line for Mario Soto.

Jay Bruce was signing at the same time, but the line was too long to get both. Bruce may become one of my favorite players, but Soto already is one so it was a no-brainer to get the signature of one of the best pitchers from the early 1980s. After Soto, we walked back over to the kids-only line where Edinson Volquez and Johnny Cueto were sitting. We had forgotten to take any Volquez cards, so Joshua got in line for Cueto.

This is why I hate glossy cards. The signature is not as clear on Cueto’s card as it is on all the others from the pre-2000s. But, this was the only option we had for Cueto (don’t have his A&G card or anything from Heritage, if he was even in the set).

There were also some card dealers at the Redsfest, so we picked up a few other cards, including several Chris Sabo issues that I didn’t have (for only a nickel each!) and this hobby-set-exclusive of Cueto for $3…

I could have picked up a Votto as well (and probably should have), but just didn’t want to spend another $3 on just one card.

In addition to all the dealers, there were also several booths for free Reds cards made just for the Redsfest. They are modeled after the 2008 Topps set, but have different photographs. Not only that, they also do not have facsimile autographs, glossy finishes, or foil…man, I wish all cards could be made like these!

I’m not sure if we’ll go back next year or not, but I really had fun tonight and am very happy with the autographs and new cards that I got.

New cards…

Went to Target on Friday and picked up a few packs of cards. I got one pack each of 2008 Topps U&H, 2008 Topps A&G, and 2008 Upper Deck Baseball Heroes. Didn’t really get much out of any of them, and probably will never buy another pack of those products (but if you happen to have Reds cards from any of them, I would gladly accept them…see this post). I did get a couple of cool cards I will be keeping, though…

Nothing from the Baseball Heroes pack will be staying in my collection. Andruw Jones, Brad Penny, erik Bedard, Kevin Kouzmanoff, and Carlos Delgado just don’t tickle my fancy. So they will be going in the team piles and traded away to whoever wanted their respective teams.

I also did some eBay shopping last week and the cards arrived today that I had ordered. I bought a set of 1985 Topps Traded, which includes Rickey Henderson’s first Yankee card, Vince Coleman’s rookie, and Ozzie Guillen’s rookie. I had forgotten about Tom Browning’s rookie being in this set as well…

Mr. Perfect had an outstanding rookie season, the first rookie 20-game winner since the 1960s, and if memory serves there has not been a rookie to reach that number since. Not Gooden, not Clemens, not Peavy, no one. Unfortunately for Tom, he had the ROY stolen from him by the Cardinals’ speedster (yes, that pun was fully intended). I won’t be trading off any of the cards from this set since it is complete.

But that was actually the second purchase I made from that seller. The first was…

and

Both Dave Parker and Ken Griffey Sr.’s rookie cards included in the same lot! It was a sign, I knew I had to buy them. Parker will be signing autographs in a few weeks here in Cincinnati, and if all goes as planned that beautiful 1974 Topps card will soon be scribbled on by the Cobra.

I also bought some cards at a card shop last week, mostly Griffey Jr.’s that I didn’t have in my collection yet. I’m still looking for the 2008 Topps U&H Griffey on the Sox (as well as the 600th homer card). Can’t wait until I can call them mine!

What I did on my second day of vacation…

Took the boys to the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame. What a great museum. Jerseys, autographed baseballs, game-used bats and gloves, photos, baseball cards…and that was just the first floor! I really liked the wall of 4,256 baseballs, representing every hit Pete Rose hit in the major leagues. It stretched from the first floor to the third!

On the third floor there was a place to pitch, where you could test your speed and accuracy. I’ve lost 20 miles per hour off my fastball…only got up to 42 mph and only hit the strike zone once in about 20 throws. You could also sit behind the wall and look through the umpire’s mask, trying to call balls and strikes on other pitchers.

Then there were the statues of the “Great Eight” from the Big Red Machine…Bench, Rose, Perez, Morgan, Concepcion, Griffey, Geronimo, and Foster. And the trophies from the 1975, 1976, and 1990 World Championships. And the highlight of it all was the plaques of each Reds Hall of Famer, from Browning to Nuxhall to Davis to Big Klu, and of course Mario Soto. Larkin and Geronimo are being inducted this year, so their plaques are not on display yet…but you can bet I’ll be going back when they are out for public viewing!

Next time I’ll take pictures to share with everyone. If you ever have the chance to go, I highly recommend it!

Currently reading…

Tom Browning’s Tales from the Reds Dugout. So far it is reading as a biography, with Browning recalling his roots in Wyoming and years in the minors…although very quickly. I’m interested in getting to the meat where he talks about his 1988 perfect game, and the 1990 World Series. It’s an interesting read so far, but it’s a good thing Browning had a talent for pitching.

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