30 Day Baseball Card Challenge

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

All Autograph Team: Vol. 1 (My Favorites)

When it comes to collecting cards... I enjoy collecting a bunch of different things.  In fact, it's hard for me to single out a favorite thing to collect.

One week, I'll target 80's rookie cards.  The next week I'll be focusing on vintage oddballs.  It just depends on my mood.  But there is one thing that I'm consistently trying to track down for my collection:  pack pulled/on-card autographs.

Last week, Kenny over at Torren' Up Cards kicked off the latest round of Blog Bat Arounds, when he featured his All Autograph Team.

It started with some friends of his in Japan showing off the best autographs in their collection at each position.  He decided to go with his favorite players, instead of the best players and added a pair of relievers, a closer, and a DH/PH to his team.

I'll go ahead and follow his lead, except I'll be eliminating the closer (one of my relievers can handle the 9th inning).  In their place, I have decided to add four more starting pitchers and a manager.

Since I have a bunch of autographs floating around in my collectionI'll be creating a few different teams that will each adhere to these two guidelines:

#1:  All autographs will be on-card.
#2:  All autographs will either be pack-pulled or PSA/DNA certified.

Volume #1 will feature my favorite baseball players who have actually played during my lifetime.  To reduce any redundancy in future volumes, any autograph you see today will not be used on any future All Autograph Teams.  However you might see a player like Greg Maddux show up on another All Autograph Team.  If that happens, I'll be sure to use a different autograph.

Now that you've seen the personal guidelines I've established for myself... let's check out my All-Autograph Team:

Manager:  Billy Martin

1981 Topps #671

If I had to create a list of favorite memories from my childhood, watching Billy's epic meltdowns would be one of them.

Catcher:  Kurt Suzuki

2007 Topps '56 Signatures #52S-KS

Kurt Suzuki is a combination of two of my favorite things: the Oakland Athletics and my Japanese heritage.  I realize that it's been five years since he's suited up for my beloved Athletics, but I still quietly root for him.

First Baseman:  Frank Thomas

1990 Leaf #300

Back in the 90's, it seemed like Ken Griffey Jr. and Frank Thomas were constantly battling to be atop Beckett's Hot Chart.  Collectors chose sides and a hobby rift was formed.  Okay... maybe I'm being a little dramatic... but that's how I remember it.  I was always more of a Big Hurt kind of guy.

Second Baseman:  Jose Altuve

2016 Topps Museum Collection Archival Autographs #AA-JA

This guy is straight up The Little Engine That Could and is an inspiration to vertically challenged people across the world.  The fact that he's one of the best contact hitters in the game, the reigning American League MVP, and a two-time MLB Player of the Year is all gravy.

Shortstop:  Ozzie Smith

1979 Topps #116

Pregame flips, diving grabs, and leaping stabs.  Those were the things that stood out from my childhood... and those are the things that make him my favorite shortstop of all-time.

Third Baseman:  Carney Lansford

2012 Archives Fan Favorites Autographs #FFA-CL

Out of all of the positions, choosing my favorite third baseman was the toughest... which is surprising since I grew up in an era watching George Brett, Mike Schmidt, Wade Boggs, and Paul Molitor.  I can't really say any of these guys were my favorites though, so it came down to two guys:  Bill Madlock and Carney Lansford.

I decided to go with Lansford, because he was a key member of the successful A's teams of the late 80's.

Left Fielder:  Rickey Henderson

1980 Topps #482

Rickey is my all-time favorite Oakland Athletic... and my second favorite player of all-time.  There's no way he doesn't make this roster.

Center Fielder:  Kirby Puckett

2003 Sweet Spot Classic Autographs #CG-KP

I've always thought of Kirby Puckett as the American League's version of Tony Gwynn.  He was an overweight contact hitter who was loyal to one franchise.  It's a shame that he wasn't drafted by the Oakland Athletics.

Right Fielder:  Tony Gwynn

1999 Century Legends Epic Signatures #TG

Another no-brainer.  I've probably referred to Mr. Gwynn as my favorite player of all-time 30 to 50 times on this blog.  That's more than I've mentioned my 1956 Topps Jackie Robinson.

Designated Hitter/Pinch Hitter:  Ichiro Suzuki

1993 BBM #239

This card is one of the cornerstones of my collection.  It's an iconic card that was once held by the man himself.  I honestly can't think of another Ichiro card I'd rather have.

Starting Pitcher #1:  Steve Carlton

1965 Topps #477

I had a lot of things going against me as a kid.  I was short.  Chubby.  Asian.  And if that wasn't enough... I was also left-handed!  Papa Fuji showed me that you could be a short, chubby, Asian and still be successful.  Carlton was my left-handed role model.

Starting Pitcher #2:  Greg Maddux

1987 Donruss #36

Throughout middle school, high school, and college, I'd come home and watch that Atlanta Braves play on TBS.  Outside of the Oakland A's and San Francisco Giants, I don't think there's any other sports team I've watched more on the television.  That's where I developed an appreciation for the guy know as The Professor.

Starting Pitcher #3:  Clayton Kershaw

2014 Topps High Tek Autographs #HT-CK

I know he's a Dodger... and as a Padres fan I'm suppose to hate him.  But I can't help but admire greatness.  I've said it before... and I'll say it again.  This guy is a once in a generation kind of pitcher and I'm not ashamed to admit that I'm constantly checking the Dodger's game cast when he's on the mound.

Starting Pitcher #4:  Fernando Valenzuela

2014 Topps High Tek Autographs #HT-FV

Fernandomania stormed the country right about the same time I started collecting cards.  Plus he was a lefty, so how could I not support the guy.

Starting Pitcher #5:  Dwight Gooden

1985 Topps #620

Rounding out my starting rotation is Dr. K.  Back in the mid 80's, the Oakland A's kinda sucked... and I was just starting to like the San Diego Padres... which explains why I was so fascinated with Gooden.  Like Maddux, Kershaw, and Valenzuela... he was one of those guys you watch in awe and in my case one of those guys I enjoy collecting.

Relief Pitcher #1:  Rollie Fingers

2001 UD Decade Game-Used Jersey Autograph #SJ-RF

I grew up a huge Rollie Fingers fan, but it had nothing to do with his tenure with the Athletics or the Padres.  I was too young to remember him pitching for the Athletics and I didn't become a Padres fan until the mid 80's.  By that time he was wrapping up his career with the Milwaukee Brewers.

That's the team he played for when I discovered he was my buddy's uncle.  When you're a ten year old kid... it's pretty cool that your buddy is related to an MLB all-star.

Relief Pitcher #2:  Kent Tekulve

2001 Topps Golden Anniversary Autograph #GAA-KT

I'm sure you've all imitated your favorite athletes at some point.  Well... my buddies and I loved to goof around and throw like Tekulve and catch like Tony Pena.  Good times that will never be forgotten.  And that's why Teke has secured the final roster spot.

Well there you have my All Autograph Team.  Thank you Kenny for creating and inspiring this latest Blog Bat Around.  I really enjoyed sifting through my scans and putting together my team.

The next team I'll be building in this series will be my All-time Greats roster, which I hope to have up in the next few days.

Until then, I look forward to reading other bloggers' responses to this very creative Blog Bat Around.

Happy Tuesday and sayonara!


  1. Awesome, great to see Ichiro land on one of these rosters.

  2. Great team Fuji! I always enjoy your autograph posts, looking forward to the other auto teams you have in mind!

  3. This is great. I love the Ichiro! That card alone gives this an A+.

  4. A fantastic team all-around here, but my favorite is far and away the Billy Martin. Don't think I've ever seen an autograph of his before, now that I think of it.

  5. Great lineup! Didn't everyone try to catch like Pena at some point? I don't think I could do that anymore...

  6. Teke has made his way onto several different teams. Love it!

  7. the Carlton auto on his rookie card? Extra sweet-I agree pack pulled of slabbed-only way to go

  8. That Ichiro is plain amazing. I can't think of any other words to say about it

  9. Seeing these posts and some of the autos attached make me weary about doing one.. lol

    I might still anyway.. But it'll be the most underwhelming team assembled! lol

  10. Why is the Carlton RC graded a PR1? It looks fine to me. Is the autograph (which is awesome, btw) somehow considered a defect?

  11. Oh, OK, now I am going to have to do one of these for the Padres

  12. That Ichiro autograph is pretty sweet! I can see why it is one of your favorites.

  13. I unfortunately can't do this Bat Around as I don't have any baseball autos...but I like the idea. Carney Lansford was a bold choice for sure, but I like that you stuck with you As. I've started reading Moneyball and am really amazed how game changing the OBP view was. In fact Lansford's As OBP was close to Brett, Molitor, and Schmidt.

  14. Have to say I was a bit surprised to see no San Jose, Stanford, or Cal guys on this list.

  15. Man, you talk about an All-Star lineup...it would be a dream for me to add a Gwynn or Puckett auto to my collection someday.

  16. Three HOF players on their rookie cards. And the all time greats still to come? Impressive, to say the least.

  17. I don't know Carnie but obviously he's a fan favorite. This is an amazing lot of player autos Fuji. I would love to see your collection. I would love to be left alone with your collection... ;)

  18. There are some amazing cards in your collection, but the Ichiro is the king of the castle.

  19. I'm not sure you can beat Ricky as far as actual signatures go. His is so beautiful. Also super jealous of all the Kershaw autos I've seen pop up in this series. One of the few non-Braves autos I'd love to get a hold of.

  20. BillyBall sure was entertaining, cool you have a Martin auto card. That Fingers card is awesome, I think the 70s decade set has some of the nicest cards. Great team you put together.

  21. Kirby is one that I sadly missed out on when he signed at various twins events. The one you have is sweet spot at its best

  22. Great stuff. I need to get myself a Valenzuela auto at some point. I wonder if he has any certified autos in a Padre uniform, lol.

  23. The certified Billy Martin is certainly a unique piece. He has no connection to the Angels but his autograph would be a cool one to have.

  24. That Rollie Fingers card is super cool.

  25. Kershaw! The Rickey is pretty damn awesome too.

  26. Rickey's looks a little odd with a real and facsimile auto.

    Autograph hunters, what's your opinion of facsimile autos?

  27. I love the Smith and Henderson signed rookie cards. That Ichiro is freaking sweet, too!

  28. Don't think I have enough autos for a full team but my favorite would have to be one of my two signed balls, the Jamie Moyer TTM I got a few years back...

  29. Being a diehard Dodgers fan, I love that you featured Valenzuela and Kershaw here. And the rest of the autos are not to shabby either.

  30. I think I could have guessed some of this team like Ichiro Kurt Suzuki Tony Gwynn and Rickey Henderson nice team you got there!

  31. I keep forgetting how eclectic and amazing your collection is Fuji. Thanks for the contest.

  32. I like the theme approach. The Ichiro card is like anything that improves with age and just continues to get better.

  33. Those are some amazing cards!

  34. Angus - If you were cool, you tried it. :)

    Brady - Probably my favorite Carlton in the collection.

    Chris - There's a pinhole in it right above the 5 in 1965. That automatically drops it down to a PSA 1. I have PSA 4's in much worse condition than this.

    Rod - I would try it with the Padres myself... but I don't think I have enough to complete a roster.

    Nick Vossbrink - Gotta admit... when it comes to baseball, I don't really know college guys.

    jasongerman9 - Gwynn is affordable. Puckett is a little pricier.

    Julie - Carney was the man! One of those hall of very good guys.

    defgav - Maybe he has a buyback?

    adam kaningher - i agree, but i really wanted his autograph on a rookie card.