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TTM Success: Joe Oliver

Oliver 1991 Kahn's Reds team set

With a 43-day turnaround, I added two autographed Joe Oliver cards to my collection through the mail. The former Red autographed both cards I sent to him (1991 Kahn’s and 1993 Upper Deck) with a fantastic looking signature.

Oliver was a second-round draft pick for the Cincinnati Reds in 1983 and made his big-league debut in July 1989. He was the catcher for the 1990 World Championship team and spent eight of his 13 seasons with the Reds. The remainder of his major league service was split between Milwaukee, Detroit, Seattle, Pittsburgh, the Yankees and Boston, and also spent time in the Tampa Bay organization. His career came to an end in 2001 after amassing 102 home runs and 476 runs batted in and a .247 batting average in 1076 games.

An interesting note: Oliver’s most similar player was the catcher he replaced in Cincinnati, the late Bo Diaz.

1993 Upper Deck Oliver

TTM Success: Terry McGriff

I sent Terry McGriff some cards to sign about three years ago, and they came back a month and a half later autographed. I had three more to send, but I’m a grand procrastinator. Finally, in January this year, I sent the rest and in just three weeks received them back with his signature.

1987 Donruss

1988 Kahns

1989 Topps

Excluding glossy and Tiffany versions, McGriff only has seven different Reds cards…and I have them all signed.

TTM Success: Eddie Milner

A very long wait for this return. I sent three cards to former Reds outfielder Eddie Milner in October 2012, and 438 days later two of them were returned to me. Unfortunately I did not receive back his 1985 Donruss issue, so I will have to purchase another to fill that hole in my team set from the year.

The cards that Milner did return were a 1983 Topps…

1983 Topps Milner

I think this 1983 Topps may have been one of the first cards I ever received as a kid. And I mean this actual card. It has never left my collection, except for the 438 days it spent with Milner himself.

I also received back a 1984 Topps…

1984 Topps Milner

I had given up on these cards coming back, and had already replaced the 1984 card prior to Redsfest so I could get it signed for my 1984 Topps project. Which I did. And now I have two.

My son that didn’t attend Redsfest will add this to his collection.

I still have four outstanding autograph requests from 2011, three from 2012, and one from 2013. I recently sent out four more, and plan to do more soon.

Too big for a binder: autographed index cards

In addition to eight standard baseball cards of Greg Maddux that I had autographed through the mail around 1990 are these two index cards featuring Mad Dog’s stickers from some late 80s sticker sets.

Maddux autograph

Maddux sticker autograph

Same goes for Will Clark, though his sticker is bigger since he was a bigger star at the time.

Will the Thrill autograph

I am pretty sure this is Chipper Jones, but there is no picture to go along with the signature. I Googled his autograph and this looks pretty close. I assume I sent this to the minor league club Jones was with at the time; however, I actually have no recollection of obtaining this autograph.

Chipper autograph

This one is the biggie, and one that I forgot I had until I was sorting my “too big for a binder” items a few nights ago: Bob Feller autographed index card, with a Fleer (?) sticker of the Indians mascot.

Feller autograph

Seeing this card again really makes me want to visit the Bob Feller Museum in Van Meter, Iowa. It’s way out of the way of anything else, but I believe it might be worth the trip anyway.

I’m not sure how to store all of these things. At the moment, they are snug in a 500-count box, and I suppose that is where they will stay until I think of a better solution.


*Hall of Fame Rookie Cards Through The Mail

Maddux 1987 Donruss autographed

Acquired in either 1989 or 1990, while Greg Maddux was still a member of the Chicago Cubs. Back in the day, he was a great TTMer; I have at least seven other Mad Dog TTM autographs in my collection.

Big Hurt 1990 Topps autographed

Acquired in 1990, shortly after his call-up to the big league club. And by shortly, I mean I mailed it to him within hours of reading it in the paper that he was called up. The card came back a few weeks later, so I sent another card (probably a 1990 Score?); it never came home.

TTM Success: Kelly Paris

1984 Topps Reds Paris

In my never-ending quest to obtain an autograph on every 1984 Topps Reds card, Kelly Paris got me one step closer today. This request was sent out at the end of October 2012, and was returned to me today with both cards signed. This is now the thirteenth card out of thirty-three (including the traded series) that I have obtained with an autograph. There are a couple that I know will be near-impossible, and I am resigned to the fact that I will likely never have the entire set signed, but it’s a fun project nonetheless.

1984 Fleer Reds Paris

I am not trying to get all of my 1984 Fleer cards signed, but they are nice-looking, aren’t they? This is the second 1984 Fleer autograph I have obtained (Charlie Puleo was the first).

TTM Success: Tom Foley

1984 Topps

I was going to wait until the season started to send off a request to Tom Foley, as he serves as Third Base Coach for the Tampa Bay Rays. But I found a home address and decided to go ahead and send it. In a matter of twelve days, I had three autographed Foley cards: 1984 Topps, 1985 Donruss, and 1985 Fleer.

1985 Donruss

This marks the twelfth 1984 Topps Reds card and the eighth 1985 Donruss Reds card for which I have obtained autographs. Most have been TTM, while a couple have been obtained in person.

1985 Fleer

I also have four 1985 Fleer Reds cards, but I don’t even have all the 1985 Fleer Reds cards unsigned yet.

TTM Success: Eddie Kasko

Cincinnati has had a long tradition of great shortstops, including new Hall of Famer Barry Larkin and should-be Hall of Famer Dave Concepcion. Before either of them arrived in the Queen City, however, Eddie Kasko ruled the middle infield for the Redlegs. At the end of October, I sent Mr. Kasko a 1962 Topps card and asked him if he would autograph it for me. Just eleven days later it came back home…

1962 Topps Kasko

But there was something else in the envelope with the 1962 card. Mr. Kasko included an undated black and white 4×6 photograph of himself, also autographed. I love getting “through the mail” autographs of former Reds players, but when they include something extra like this it makes it even more special.

undated Kasko photo

Thank you, Mr. Kasko!

TTM Success: Alan Knicely

1983 Topps

After one failed attempt to an old P.O. Box, I received three autographed cards from former Reds catcher Alan Knicely, including my eleventh 1984 Topps Reds autographed card…

1984 Topps

It only took ten days for Mr. Knicely to sign and return these 1983 Topps Traded, 1984 Topps, and 1985 Topps Traded cards to me.

1985 Topps

The Reds went through several catchers after Johnny Bench‘s departure, but it wasn’t until the late Bo Diaz came over from Philadelphia that they had some stability at the position. Diaz was named an All-Star in 1987, his third season with the Reds. Incidentally, Knicely was part of the trade that brought Diaz to the Queen City.

TTM Success: Russ Nixon

Another day, another through-the-mail autograph! This one comes from former manager Russ Nixon

1984 Topps

Nixon signed and returned two cards for me in 53 days. This is the tenth 1984 Topps Reds card (including two in the Traded set) for which I have obtained an autograph. I have a few more requests out, and will be sending more in the coming days.

Mr. Nixon also signed a 1983 Topps card for me.

1983 Topps

I’m not trying to complete the 1983 Topps Reds autographed set, but it sure does look nice, doesn’t it?

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