Saturday, June 26, 2010

June 26 Report: Five-time British Open Winner and Golf Hall of Famer Tom Watson

Well today made up for a slow week of autographs for me. Not necessarily in number as I only added a total of three new signatures over the course of the seven days. So needless to say I lost a little ground to the autograph a day quest.

Suffice it to say that I'm quite OK with that this week after the quality of the success I received today. As those of you who read this blog regularly know, I've been getting photos of the major championship trophies signed by winners. And today was a huge plus in that department as five-time British Open winner Tom Watson signed a photo of the Claret Jug.

Only the legendary Harry Vardon has won more Opens (6) than Watson. And what makes this even cooler is that Watson took the time to inscribe and make some terrific inscriptions on the photo.
As you can see he wrote "Open Champ." and inscribed it with the five years he won golf's oldest championship!

Truly an amazing add to the collection from one of the top three greatest golfers to ever play in the 1970s and 1980s. This has fired me up to load the mailbox with new requests on Monday!

Day of the Year: 176
Number of Autographs This Year: 220

Friday, June 25, 2010

June 25 Report: Former MLB Player Cory Snyder

This week has definitely been one of the slowest for me this year. Coming into today I had only received a single success, that coming from Herschel Walker on Monday.

The good news is I doubled this week's count today as I received a second autograph today. Cory Snyder returned a signed Donruss card and index card for me.

Snyder played for five different teams between 1986-1994. His best season came in 1987 when he hit 33 HRs.

Snyder was also a member of the 1984 U.S. Olympic team that won the silver medal.

Day of the Year: 175
Number of Autographs This Year: 219

Monday, June 21, 2010

June 21 Report: Former University of Georgia Bulldogs Star and Dallas Cowboys RB Herschel Walker

Herschel Walker is one of those rare athletes you see growing up who change your perspective at what a terrific is exactly.

I first saw Walker play in college when he was at the University of Georgia. He was busy running wild over my beloved University of Florida Gators. I hated him then for what he did to UF, but you instantly knew you were watching a tremendous talent. One that changed how the game as played.

Walker, of course, went on to a fine career in the USFL before settling in the NFL after perhaps his best days were behind him.

Still he scored 60-plus TDS, including a number when he played on some very bad Dallas teams.

One thing is for sure I will never forget the first time I saw him play in person at UGa. Those are the memories I will cherish forever.

By the way, Walker has a very nice signature, and the fine-tip blue Sharpie looks great on this card.

Day of the Year: 171
Number of Autographs This Year: 218

Friday, June 18, 2010

June 18 Report: PGA Tour Player Matt Kuchar

I'm actually a bit curious if this autograph is legit.

The reason I question it is because I sent it to Matt on Tuesday, June 15. He lives in the same county, so it was likely delivered on Wednesday, June 16.

So he signed it and mailed back Thursday, June 17 for return to me on June 18? I guess it is possible, though I'd like to know when he left for Pebble Beach to play in the U.S. Open, which started Thursday.

Typically golfers begin to arrive at the week's course Monday or Tuesday and are definitely playing practice rounds by Wednesday.

Perhaps he just has a stack of signed cards at this house and his spouse mails them out???

I'd be curious on anyone's thoughts.

Day of the Year: 169
Number of Autographs This Year: 217

Thursday, June 17, 2010

June 17 Report: LPGA Star Kelli Kuehne

Kellie Kuehne had a truly terrific amateur career, twice winning the U.S. Women's Amateur (1995, 1996) and also adding a British Ladies Amateur (1996). She was an All-American at the University of Texas and also played on the 1996 Curtis Cup team.

She won the 1999 LPGA Corning Classic and has competed in two Solheim Cup teams for the United States (2002, 2003).

She signed my American Solheim Cup photo for my collection of U.S. players who have competed on the women's version of the Ryder Cup.

Day of the Year: 168
Number of Autographs This Year: 216

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

June 16 Report: NHL Superstar Rod Brind'Amour

The reason I started watching hockey back around 1990 was because of the St. Louis Blues -- in particular Brett Hull.

As a young card collector then it was second-nature to begin to collect all their team sets. And as an autograph collector I wanted to get an entire team set signed for my collection. I got many of the Blues' players to sign in the early 1990s, including Hull, Paul Cavallini, Nelson Emerson, Pat Jablonski, Curtis Joseph, Adam Oates and Mike Lalor.

Well for the first time since about 1992 I have added another one of those former Blues players to my collection. None other than Rod Brind-Amour, who still is playing in the NHL with the Hurricanes.

He's amassed well over 1,000 points thus far in his career, and here's to hoping he adds some more.

Day of the Year: 167
Number of Autographs This Year: 215

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

June 15 Report, Part 2: Football Hall of Famer Andy Robustelli

So when I updated this blog earlier this afternoon with my tidbit on PGA Tour winner Chris Perry and his baseball lineage, I thought I was done for the day.

Needless to say that was way off base -- primarily because I did not count on the UPS man delivering me a package this evening. Boy was this a huge surprise as I had no idea who sent it or what it was.

I'll try to make the story somewhat short.

Ten days ago I wrote a letter to the great Andy Robustelli, Pro Football Hall of Fame member. My letter essentially included a card I hoped he would sign, but more important to me was I was hoping to get a story from him about an old Chicago Bear he played against named Willie Galimore.

I told Mr. Robustelli I had been reading everything I could on football from that era -- my bookshelf can attest to my words -- and I was wondering if he had any other stories on Galimore.

Well this UPS package came from Robustelli on his own dime. In it was a first edition copy of his book, which was inscribed and signed to me. I was blown away that he would take the time to do this.

But it gets better. Inside the book were a pair of signed football cards and my return envelope, stamped but unused.

And there's more.

He also included a pair of autographed 4x6 Hall of Fame signature cards.

So five different autographs from one of the guys who is responsible for making the game what it is today.

Needless to say I can't wait to read his book and see if he has some Galimore stories in the book.

I'll be sending a note back to Mr. Robustelli telling him how much his efforts mean to me. I also plan on sending him some cash to cover his expense in shipping the package to me.

This guy has more than class than most locker rooms hold today. I'm definitely a fan for life.

Day of the Year: 166
Number of Autographs This Year: 214

June 15 Report: PGA Tour Player Chris Perry

Chris Perry was a standout golfer at Ohio State, where he was a three-time All American. He won the Bog 10 Championship in 1983 and was the College Player of the Year a year later.

He also turned pro in 1984 and would play on the PGA Tour from 1985-1992. He split time on the PGA Tour and Nationwide Tour the next two seasons before earning his PGA Tour card back in 1995-2001. He won the 1998 B.C. Open.

While on the Nationwide Tour he also won -- the 1994 Utah Classic -- and was the Player of the Year and leading money winner on that Tour for 1994 as well.

Interesting baseball tie-in here as Perry is the son of 197o AL Cy Young winner Jim Perry and the nephew of Baseball Hall of Famer Gaylord Perry.

Day of the Year: 166
Number of Autographs This Year: 213

Monday, June 14, 2010

June 14 Report: PGA Tour Star K.J. Choi and Former Rams Quarterack Pat Haden

The addition to the autograph collection today comes from a present-day PGA Tour star and an NFL star from years ago.

First up is the signature of K.J Choi, who was the first Korean player to win on the PGA Tour when he claimed the 2002 Compaq Classic of New Orleans.

He has won seven times to date on the PGA Tour and has played on a pair of Presidents Cup teams.

I'm actually not sure if he signs his full name in Korean here (Kyung-Ju Choi) or if it is just a more difficult read.

Secondly today is the signature of former Los Angeles Rams quarterback Pat Haden. Haden is another one of those guys I grew up watching in the 1970s, so I'm always happy to add another signature from the golden days of my youth to my collection.

Haden passed for nearly 9,300 yards in his career.

One of the interesting, and less well-known, things about Haden is that he was a Rhodes Scholar. When he left USC he played for a year in the World Football League, which allowed him to go to Oxford University.

Day of the Year: 165
Number of Autographs This Year: 212

Saturday, June 12, 2010

June 12 Report: Former Major League Baseball Pitcher Rick Reuschel

The first baseball success I've reported in about three months. No fault of Rick Reuschel's, as he turned it around in about 10 days or so.

Reuschel pitched for the Chicago Cubs, New York Yankees, Pittsburgh Pirates and San Francisco Giants during his career. He compiled 214 wins, including a 20-win season with the Cubs in 1977.

Reuschel was also a decent-hitting pitcher who batted over .200 in five different seasons -- including four in a row beginning in 1974. He was a three-time All Star (1977, 1987, 1989) and twice a Gold Glove winner (1985, 1987).

Day of the Year: 163
Number of Autographs This Year: 210

Baltimore Orioles Post for Ryan at The Great Orioles Autograph Project

Earlier today I was reading a blog post I follow called The Great Orioles Autograph Project. As you can tell it's by a gentleman who is a O's fan. Well his post caught my attention and sent me scrambling through old boxes of golf course scorecards where I had collected signatures of baseball players on during the late 1980s and early 1990s in Florida.

Hammock Dunes was a regular stop for some alumni tournaments and I remember it was the first time I got a Pete Rose autograph as well.

Anyway Ryan had a post about Nelson Briles passing away on a golf course, which I had not heard before. I knew I had met Briles at least once at Hammock Dunes and I pulled those scorecards to see if memory served me correctly. My memory remains sharp a few decades later as I had this card signed by Briles.

Interestingly I also had a scorecard signed by another player on Ryan's post, Joe Coleman.

Friday, June 11, 2010

June 11 Report: Actress/Model Cheryl Tiegs and Former New England Patriots CB Raymond Clayborn

One of today's successes was a long time coming.

In fact the longest wait yet in this project that is nearing its halfway point. One hundred sixty five days ago I sent a request to Cheryl Tiegs' home asking for an autograph, and much to my surprise today she returned it.

I guess that puts me right for assuming that after six months I had lost hope that I would be able to count this one as a success. Now I only wish I had sent her that famous picture in the white swimsuit that has become so iconic nowadays!

Still quite happy to add this to my quite small collection of non-sports autographs.

Today's other success comes from three-time Pro Bowl cornerback Raymond Clayborn. Clayborn had a terrific career as a New England Patriot (1977-89) and later as a Cleveland Brown (1990-91).

He intercepted 36 passes, which at the time of his retirement was a Patriots team record.

Prior to playing in the NFL, Clayborn was a running back with the University of Texas, who switched to the secondary after his sophomore season.

Day of the Year: 162
Number of Autographs This Year: 209

Thursday, June 10, 2010

June 10 Report: Football Hall of Famer Charley Trippi; former New York Giants Kicker Joe Danelo and former Seattle Seahawks LB Terry Beeson

Just over a week ago I took a letter-writing session to address my recent lack of autograph requests outside of golf. I sent about 10 football requests, a couple of baseball ones and even a rare hockey request.

Well that effort began to pay off today in the form of three football successes. I sent three football HOFers among the lot and first up today is one of those.

I first met Charley Trippi 19 years ago and he signed a pair of cards for me. Now, nearly two decades later, I've added another different card to the collection. His resume is impressive as you would expect from any Hall of Famer, so I won't go into it here.

But the thing I'd like to say is that it is amazing that in nearly two decades -- and for a man who is nearing 90 -- his signature does not appear to have changed one bit. Still very readable and elegant and no signs of shakiness.

Man I really wish I could have seen these guys play in their primes. It must have been an entirely different game then.

Next up is Washington State product Joe Danelo. Danelo was drafted by the Dolphins in 1975 but never played with them. He suited up for three different teams, but most notably the New York Giants (1976-82). He kicked a then-team-record 55-yard FG on Sept. 20, 1981 and tied an NFL record for six field goals in a game without a miss. That record has since been broken.

Lastly today is former Seattle Seahawks linebacker Terry Beeson. The second round pick out of Kansas played for Seattle (1977-81) and the San Francisco 49ers (1982). He set a Seattle franchise record for tackles with 153.

Day of the Year: 161
Number of Autographs This Year: 207

Monday, June 7, 2010

June 7 Report: Former Masters Tournament Winner Craig Stadler and LPGA Solheim Cup Player Michele Redman

Another former Masters Tournament champion came through for me today, signing my now-familiar photograph of the silver Masters clubhouse trophy.

This time it is 1982 champ Craig Stadler. Stadler, known as The Walrus for his similar looks, also inscribed the photo with his wining year, much as many of the other previous major championship winners have done in this project.

Stadler has won all around the world, in the U.S., Europe and Japan. He's currently playing on the Champions Tour, where he has notched five victories.

Stadler has proven to have some longevity, winning the 2003 B.C. Open, becoming the first golfer in 28 years to win a PGA Tour event after age 50.

Today's second success also comes from the world of golf. This time it is from current LPGA player Michele Redman. She has recorded a pair of victories to date on the Tour and has proven a herself to be a consistent performer.

Redman has made four Solheim Cup teams representing America -- 2000, 2002, 2003 and 2005.

Day of the Year: 158
Number of Autographs This Year: 204

Saturday, June 5, 2010

June 5 Report: PGA Tour Star Rory Sabbatini

Rory Sabbatini has achieved success at every level in which he has played. Whether it was growing up in South Africa, playing collegiately at the University of Arizona or on the PGA Tour, Sabbatini always has enjoyed hoisting trophies.

He was the PAC-10 Player of the Year in 1998, a year after he won three individual titles for the Wildcats.

He's won five times to date on the PGA Tour, including when he set the tournament scoring record en route to winning the 2009 Byron Nelson Championship.

Sabbatini has also won a World Cup partnering with fellow South African Trevor Immelman.

Day of the Year: 156
Number of Autographs This Year: 202

The Passing of A Legend: John Wooden

Words are woefully insufficient in trying to accurately sum up what the sporting world just lost in John Wooden, so I won't even try to find the right ones.

Just suffice it to say that any who came in contact with the man were instantly captivated by his presence. He signed this card for me some two decades ago, and I'm still honored he took the time to do so.

RIP Mr. Wooden and best to your family.

Friday, June 4, 2010

June 4 Report: Former New England Patriot Ronnie Lippett and Left-Handed PGA Tour Winner Eric Axley

Well today marks another milestone. I added a pair of autographs to my ever-growing collection, and that pushed me over the 200-mark for the year. That means just 165 more during the second half of 2010 will allow me to achieve the goal of this blog project!

First up is former New England Patriots CB Ronnie Lippett. Lippett, a native Floridian who played college football at Miami, suited up for the Pats from 1983-88 and 1990-91.

Lippett recorded 24 interceptions in his career. Two of those came against Dan Marino in a 1986 game. That performance resulted in Lippett being named the AFC Defensive Player of the Week.

Today's second success is from my latest subset, where I am trying to get signed golf gloves from every left-handed PGA Tour winner. I've made two requests to date and they've both been met quick success.

This one is from the most recent Southpaw to win on Tour, Eric Axley. Axley won the 2006 Valero Texas Open. Unfortunately he had a rough 2009 season and has lost his playing card. Hopefully he will be able to work himself back into full-time status on the Tour.

Day of the Year: 155
Number of Autographs This Year: 201

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

June 1 Report: Hall of Fame Golfer Juli Inkster, Solheim Cup Star Meg Mallon and Left-Handed PGA Tour Winner Sam Adams

Today's postal deliveries included three more golf additions to my collection.

Two of them help round out my U.S. Solheim Cup collection and the third is the first addition to a very new subset for me.

As I like to do, we're starting with the Hall of Famer, Juli Inkster.

Inkster signed my customary Solheim Cup trophy photo. She has won 31 times on the LPGA Tour to date, including seven major championships. She has played on eight Solheinm Cup teams and has won 18 points for the red, White and Blue. No other American has won more points for her team.

Inkster was inducted into the Golf Hall of Fame in 2000.

Meg Mallon is another LPGA star who should one day also find herself in the Hall of Fame. To date she has won 18 LPGA Tour titles including four major championships.

She is an eight-time participant in the Solheim Cup.

On an obscure note, Mallon was also the marker for Annika Sorenstam when she shot an LPGA-record 59 several years back.

Lastly today is the autograph of Sam Adams. This has nothing to do with beer, so don't get too excited. Sam Adams is actually my first success from my quest to get a golf glove (for the right hand) signed by every left-handed player who has won on the PGA Tour.

Adams was the first American to win on Tour when he claimed the 1973 Quad Cities Open. For the record Bob Charles, a New Zealander, was the first lefty to win on Tour.

Adams was kind enough to sign the golf glove and also include a nice note on his personal notecard thanking me for remembering him. A nice touch and a great way to kick off this subset.

Day of the Year: 152
Number of Autographs This Year: 199

May 28 Report: Solheim Cup Player and Former University of Florida Golfer Deb Richard

Very happy to report the addition of another former University of Florida golfer to my collection.

This time it comes via Deb Richard, the first female UF golfer I have in the collection. Certainly many more to come, but you've got to start somewhere.

And Richard is as good a place to begin as any considering her NCAA pedigree:

*Twice an All-American
*She led UF to its first NCAA women’s golf national championship in 1985
*Won 1985 Honda Broderick Award as the nation’s top female collegiate golfer
*She remains the SEC leader with her three medalist honors
*Richard was the inaugural recipient of the SEC Women’s Golfer of the Year honor in 1985
*Richard won the 1984 U.S. Women’s Amateur
*She was inducted into the Florida Athletic Hall of Fame in 1995

This doesn't even include her LPGA career, where she won five times.

Richard did a great job of signing and personalizing my Solheim Cup photo. And a major bonus is she added a pair of inscriptions: first she wrote "UF '89" which was when she graduated and also added "Solheim '92" which is the year she made the American team.

Day of the Year: 148
Number of Autographs This Year: 196

May 27 Report: Ryder Cup Player Ed Sneed

Ed Sneed was a fine amateur player in the 1960s before turning pro and winning four times on the PGA Tour. He played golf at Ohio State and win the 1965 Ohio Intercollegiate tournament.

He turned pro in 1967 and won his first event six years later. His third win came at the 1977 Tallahassee Open and it helped vault him onto the Ryder Cup team later that year.

Sneed earned one-and-a-half points for the USA, going undefeated. The US easily won the contest in which they had not lost the biennial competition since 1957. This was the last Ryder Cup before a major change in the rules allowed all of Continental Europe to compete against the U.S.

Up to this point just players from Great Britain and Ireland were eligible.

Sneed is another wonderful add to the Ryder Cup collection as I'm working on getting more of the obscure names rounded out in the collection.

Day of the Year: 147
Number of Autographs This Year: 195

May 26 Report: PGA Championship Winners Steve Elkington and Jeff Sluman

A pair of great successes this day to add to my major championship collection.

Both Steve Elkington and Jeff Sluman won the PGA Championship and both signed a photo of the Wanamaker Trophy accordingly.

Elkington, who is one of the nicest, funniest and sincere guys on Tour, inscribed his photo with this year's date. This was a first as winners of the majors have typically either inscribed no date or inscribed it with their winning year. Perhaps Elkington will win the PGA Championship this year and I'll have a photo already inscribed with that date??? Then I'll have to go back and ask him to sign one and inscribe it with 1995 -- the year he won his first major championship. Still very happy to have this added to my collection.

Sluman made an awesome inscription on his Wanamaker Trophy photo. In addition to signing it he also wrote 1988 PGA Champ. Really enjoy when winners add the year they won to the photo.

Sluman has won six times on the PGA Tour including the aforementioned PGA. He is now playing on the Champions Tour (over 50) and i've no doubt we'll see him in the winner's circle on that Tour a few more times.

Day of the Year: 146
Number of Autographs This Year: 194

May 25 Report: Masters Tournament and PGA Championship Winner Ray Floyd

As promised I've begun the process of updating this blog from the last week when I was out of town. Each day's mail was put aside in its own pile so I'd know which returns came when.

The first day I was gone I had a grand champions delivered. Golf Hall of Famer Ray Floyd was gracious enough to sign two 5x7 photos, one of the Masters Tournament trophy and another of the PGA Championship trophy.

Floyd, who became a Hall of Famer in 1989, won the 1976 Masters and added a pair of PGA Championship to his resume in 1969 and 1982. One day I'll have to add a signed photo of the U.S. Open as he also won that event, only lacking the British Open to claim the career grand slam.

Day of the Year: 145
Number of Autographs This Year: 192