Wednesday, March 31, 2010

March 31 Report: Anthony Carter

Anthony Carter enjoyed a brilliant college career at Michigan (1979-1982) under Bo Schembechler despite his offense being so run-oriented. Carter was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2001.

Carter started his professional career in the USFL with the Michigan Panthers and later the Oakland Invaders.

Following that Carter played 11 seasons in the NFL, where he would catch 486 passes for 7,733 yards and 55 TDs.

While he played second fiddle to Cris Carter in Minnesota, he was a very effective offensive complement at the receiver position.

Day of the Year: 90
Number of Autographs This Year: 125

Monday, March 29, 2010

March 29 Report: Gary McCord and Joey Sindelar

I attended my very first Senior Tour (now called Champions Tour) event back in 1999 at The Dunes Club in Myrtle Beach, Calif. for the Ingersoll-Rand Senior Tour Championship.

I started collecting logo golf balls at tournaments I attended beginning here. Now I've begun to try to get them signed by the winner of the event.

And today I added Gary McCord, who won two events to date on the Tour. He's also pretty well known for his books Just a Range Ball in a Box of Titleists and Golf for Dummies. He also made a cameo in the golf movie Tin Cup. His witty sense of humor is also put to use alongside David Feherty in the video games for Tiger Woods PGA Tour golf.

Today's other success is also from the golf arena. Joey Sindelar has won seven times on the PGA Tour and is now seeing action on the Champions Tour. Prior to becoming a professional Sindelar was an accomplished amateur at Ohio State.

Day of the Year: 88
Number of Autographs This Year: 124

Friday, March 26, 2010

March 26 Report: Mick Tinglehoff, Tyrone Braxton and Duane Bickett

Another trio of successes today, helping me gain back some of the buffer I've lost over the last two weeks.

Each of today's signers are from football, so let's get right to them.

Mick Tinglehoff was a co-captain of the 1961 University of Nebraska football team, but went undrafted in the 1962 NFL Draft. He signed with the Minnesota Vikings as a free agent in 1962 and instantly became their starting center in his rookie year. He held that spot until he retired in 1978.

Tinglehoff was a First-Team All Pro in 1964, 65, 66, 68 and 69 and was on six consecutive Pro Bowl teams beginning in 1964. At his retirement he trailed only Jim Marshall (270) in consecutive games played (240) in NFL history.

Next up is Tyrone Braxton, who played for the Denver Broncos from 1987 to 1999, except for the 1994 season when he was with the Miami Dolphins.

Braxton was a Pro Bowler in 1994 when he led the NFL in interceptions with nine picks. He played in three Super Bowls, winning twice at SB XXXII and XXXIII.

Braxton finished his 13 NFL seasons with 36 interceptions, which he returned for 617 yards and 4 touchdowns. He also recorded 3 sacks and 10 fumble recoveries, which he returned for 106 yards.

Last up today is former linebacker Duane Bickett. Bickett played for the Indianapolis Colts (1985-1993), Seattle Seahawks (1994-1995) and the Carolina Panthers (1996).

Bickett was the Defensive Rookie of the Year in 1985 and he played in the Pro Bowl in 1987. He had 53 career sacks and nine interceptions.

Day of the Year: 85
Number of Autographs This Year: 122

Thursday, March 25, 2010

March 25 Report: Billy Casper, A.J. Duhe and Marion Butts

A trio of successes today, which may officially mark the return of some regular success stories in this quest for 365 different autographs this year.

First up is another Masters logo golf ball signed by World Golf Hall of Fame member Billy Casper. Casper is right up there with Jack, Arnie and Gary in terms of his success in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. Had he had Mark McCormack as an agent too, Casper would have been on Wheaties boxes!!

With the Masters right around the corner this ball only adds to my excitement for the year's first major championship. Maybe I'll even get Jack Burke Jr. to return the Masters ball I sent him before tournament week.

Next up today is AJ Duhe. Duhe was the 13th overall pick out of Louisiana State Universoty in the 1977 NFL Draft. He was the defensive Rookie of the Year in 1977 for the Miami Dolphins and played eight years for the 'Fish'. His most memorable game was the 1982 AFC Championship Game when he picked off the Jets' Richard Todd three times, including one for a TD, which helped Miami to the Super Bowl.

Last up today is two-time Pro-Bowl running back Marion Butts. Butts played seven seasons in the NFL for the Chargers, Patriots and Oilers, and his best one was in 1990 when he carried for 1,225 yards.

Butts' career NFL numbers are 5,184 rushing yards and 43 career TDs. His average yards per carry is just shy of 4.0.

Day of the Year: 84
Number of Autographs This Year: 119

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

March 24 Report: Archie Manning, Murray Armstrong and Olaf Kolzig

My love for golf is well documented on this blog, so it should come as no surprise that I've added a few more golf balls signed by athletes from other sports who have become smitten with the game.

First up is Archie Manning, who, among other things, has run a golf tournament to benefit cystic fibrosis for several years.

Manning, of course, is most well know as the former University of Mississippi QB who went on to star in the NFL for the New Orleans Saints. In the first national prime time college football broadcast (1969) Manning threw for 436 yards and three TDs, while adding 104 rushing yards in a 33-32 loss to Alabama. That 540-yard performance is still tied for the Southeastern Conference record for most total yards in a game. Manning was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1989.

Manning was drafted second overall by the Saints in the 1971 NFL Draft. He played on some pretty poor teams but still managed to complete 2,011 of 3,642 attempts and rack rack up 23,911 yards.

Today's second autographed golf ball comes from 94-year-old hockey legend and avid golfer Murray Armstrong. Armstrong's playing career spanned much of the 1930s and 1940s, and he later coached the University of Denver hockey team, leading them to five NCAA Championships. His career summary can be found here on the Legends of Hockey web site.

Today's final autograph is a bit more traditional -- a hockey player signing a hockey card. Olaf Kolzig played most of his career with the Washington Capitals, where he basically owns the team's record book for goalies. His career NHL save percentage is above 90 percent and he has a 2.71 GAA.

Day of the Year: 83
Number of Autographs This Year: 116

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

March 23 Report: Dale Douglass

Dale Douglass is a former PGA Tour and Champions Tour golfer whom I first saw play in person in 1999 when he was the defending champion of the Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf.

Douglass' career capsule includes three wins on the PGA Tour -- twice in 1969 and once in 1970. He had a nice Champions Tour career from 1986-1996 where he won 11 official tournaments -- plus the three LMLOG events with Charles Coody.

Day of the Year: 82
Number of Autographs This Year: 113

Monday, March 22, 2010

March 22 Report: Mervyn Fernandez

"Swervyn" Mervyn Fernandez was a star in the Canadian Football League for the BC Lions before he joined the Raiders for his entire NFL career (1987-1992)

Fernandez played in 86 games and caught 209 passes for 3,764 yards and 19 TDs.

Fernandez's best year was in 1989 when he had 57 receptions for 1,069 yards and 9 TDs. He became the sixth Raider to gain over 1,000 receiving yards in a single season.

Day of the Year: 81
Number of Autographs This Year: 112

Saturday, March 20, 2010

March 20 Report: Pete Metzelaars

Pete Metzelaars was one of the finer tight ends -- not to mention reliable -- during the 1980s and 1990s. His career spanned 16 seasons and he played for four teams, the Seattle Seahawks (1982-1984), Buffalo Bills (1985-1994), Carolina Panthers (1995) and Detroit Lions (1996-1997).

Metzelaars finished his career with 383 catches, good for 3,686 yards and 29 TDs. At the time of his retirement, his 235 games were the most ever played by a tight end in NFL history.

At the time of this writing, Metzelaars is an offensive line coach for the Indianapolis Colts.

Day of the Year: 79
Number of Autographs This Year: 111

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

March 17 Report: Errie Ball

Today's success is one of those where you know 99.9 percent of sports fans -- and probably 99 percent of golf fans -- won't have any idea who you are talking about, but I'm thrilled to bits anyway.

I sent my last two Masters Tournament logo golf balls out about a week ago (hopefully I can get some more when the tournament is held in a few weeks) with the hopes of having them signed by Jackie Burke Jr (the earliest living Masters Tournament winner) and Errie Ball, the only living person who played in the inaugural Masters Tournament in 1934.

Well today one of those golf balls was returned and it was signed in black Sharpie by Ball. Ball, who will turn 100 this year, has seen more things in golf than any of us could imagine. He was a personal friend of Bobby Jones and has witnessed everything the year's first major championship has to offer over the last 76 years.

In 1926 Ball became the youngest player to ever compete in the British Open at age 15.

I'd give a significant sum to just sit around and listen to him tell stories for an hour.

To make this autograph even cooler, Ball inscribed it with "1934".

These are the feelings that make this hobby so rewarding!

Day of the Year: 76
Number of Autographs This Year: 110

Friday, March 12, 2010

March 12 Report: Bert Jones and Jaime Faith Edmondson

Finished the week on an upswing, so I've got a pair of things to report today.

First up is Bert Jones, who had a short starting career career at LSU but made the most of it to become the second overall pick in the 1973 NFL Draft. Jones had only a pair of starts prior to the end of his junior season at LSU, but he emerged as big man on campus his senior season.

Jones, who was nicknamed the Ruston Rifle, went 9-2-1 as a senior, leading the Tigers to several crucial top-1o wins, including a 27-7 upset over seventh-ranked Notre Dame. He finished his college career as the school's leader in TDs (28) and passing yards (3,225). Both marks have since been broken.

In the NFL Jones played for the Colts from 1973-1981. His best year was easily 1976 when he led the Colts to their second of three consecutive AFC East titles. He passed for 3,104 yards and 24 TDs that season for a 102.5 QB rating. There were only three QBs to have a rating over 100 during the 1970s -- Jones, Roger Staubach and Ken Stabler. Jones was NFL MVP in '76 as well.

Today's other success comes from model Jaime Faith Edmondson. This one dates back to the very first requests I sent out in late 2009. I don't have much more to say about her other than, well, she's pretty hot. Can't post the photo here so enjoy the signed index card.

Day of the Year: 71
Number of Autographs This Year: 109

Thursday, March 11, 2010

March 11 Report: Dick Ambrose

In a bit of a drought lately, but as I mentioned that was expected as I've been unable to send out many requests lately due to "day job" obligations.

So I'm extra happy to report any success right now. Today's addition comes courtesy of Dick Ambrose. Ambrose, a middle linebacker for the Cardiac Kids (Cleveland Browns), led the team for a decade beginning in 1975.

His hard-hitting style got him the Bam-Bam -- which unfortunately he did not sign with here. I asked but it wasn't to be. Today Ambrose is a judge in Ohio.

Day of the Year: 70
Number of Autographs This Year: 107

Monday, March 8, 2010

March 6 Report: Annika Sorenstam

Annika Sorenstam was signing autographs last Saturday during an appearance at The Villages.

She appeared at both the Callaway booth and the World Golf Hall of Fame booth. Sorenstam is one of the greatest female golfers of all-time and likely the best the current generation will have ever seen play in person.

Simply a must-have for my golf collection.

Day of the Year: 65
Number of Autographs This Year: 106

Thursday, March 4, 2010

March 4 Report: Lance Johnson

One of the catch phrases associated with Lance Johnson is "one of only" or "the only" as he has accomplished a number of rare feats during his terrific MLB career.

For example, beginning in 1991 Johnson led the AL (with the White Sox) in triples for four consecutive years becoming "the only" player in MLB history to do that.

In 1996, he led the NL in triples (Mets), becoming "one of only three" players in history to lead both Major Leagues in triples (Sam Crawford and Brett Butler. As of 2009, he is "one of only four" players (Crawford, Stan Musial and Willie Wilson) to lead a Major League in triples as many as five times.

Johnson is "the only" MLB player to lead the league in hits in both the AL (White Sox, 1995) and NL (Mets, 1996).

Also in 1996 Johnson had 227 hits, 21 triples, 50 steals, 31 doubles, 69 RBI, 117 runs scored, and a .333 batting average, all career highs.

In addition to signing this card he also inscribed it with his nickname "1 Dog". That moniker combines uniform number with his lightning-fast speed on the base paths.

Day of the Year: 63
Number of Autographs This Year: 105

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

March 2 Report: Tom Weiskopf and Steve Stricker

Two more successes today from my favorite sport -- golf. While my football collection is by far my largest, one I've been concentrating on lately is golf. Hopefully one day my collection of signed little white balls will be as significant as that of the pigskin sport.

Weiskopf, one of the taller golfers whom Vijay Singh modeled his swing after as a young boy growing up, was a standout at Ohio State. His most significant amateur win was at the 1963 Western Amateur.

He followed that by winning 16 times on the PGA Tour, including his defining victory at the 1973 Open Championship at Royal Troon where he would outlast future Hall of Famers Johnny Miller and Neil Coles.

The second addition to my collection today comes from Steve Stricker. At this writing Stricker is ranked second in the world. Stricker has won eight times to date on the PGA Tour, including the 2001 World Golf Championships Match Play Championship. I picked up a souvenir logo ball from that tournament nine years ago and now I finally have it signed and proudly displayed in my game room.

Stricker was teamed with Tiger Woods in the 2009 Presidents Cup and played incredible golf that week that overshadowed Woods' performance much of the time.

Day of the Year: 61
Number of Autographs This Year: 104

Monday, March 1, 2010

March 1 Report: Fuzzy Zoeller

Thrilled again to find a golf ball envelope awaiting me in my mailbox. Got a more excited when I noticed there were two golf balls enclosed instead of the one I sent.

That excitement was short-lived, however.

I mailed former Masters Tournament winner Fuzzy Zoeller a Masters logo Titleist golf ball I got from the tournament I attended several years ago.

To my disappointment he returned the ball unsigned. In its place was an autographed Srixon brand golf ball. Of course I'm still happy to add this signature to my Masters winners collection, but bummed it will be different from all the other Masters Tournament logo golf balls.

Anyone know if Fuzzy doesn't sign Masters logo golf balls? Or will he only sign Srixon brand golf balls since he has an endorsement deal with them?

Day of the Year: 60
Number of Autographs This Year: 102