30 Day Baseball Card Challenge

Thursday, April 26, 2018

All Autograph Team: Vol. 2 (Greats of the Game)

I'm going old-school with this post.  It's a little long-winded... so I won't be offended if you skim through it and just look at the pictures.  With that being said...

I love collecting autographs.  It's right up there with collecting vintage hall of famers and 80's rookie cards.  So when Kenny kicked off the current Blog Bat Around which asked bloggers to share their All Autograph Team, I was pretty excited.

After reading a bunch of different bloggers' submissions, it didn't take long for me to figure out that I was going to turn this into a series of teams.  On Tuesday, I featured autographs of my favorite players who have taken the field during my lifetime.

Today I'll be showing off some of the nicest and most valuable signatures in my collection as I focus on MLB's all-time greats.

Unfortunately, I don't own autographs of certain legends like Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Walter Johnson, or Cy Young.  So if you're wondering why I decided to use Trevor Hoffman, instead of Mariano Rivera as one of my relievers, it's because I don't own an autographed card of Mo... yet.

I've made a few modifications to this team's roster breakdown compared to the team I posted on Tuesday.  This time around, I've included a starter and backup for each of the following positions:  C, 1B, 2B, SS, 3B, LF, RF, and DH.  Plus I decided to include a power pinch hitter, a contact pinch hitter, a pinch runner, and four utility players too.  I'm going to keep my pitching staff the same with 5 starters and 2 relievers.

As for the cards themselves... here are the guidelines I established for this team:

#1:  All autographs will be on-card or cut signatures.

#2:  All autographs will either be pack-pulled, PSA/DNA, or SGC certified.

Like I mentioned in Vol. 1 (My Favorites), I will only put a player on multiple teams if I have multiple autographs of that player.  In other words, you will never see the same autograph more than once within this series of posts.

Okay.  Now that the ground rules have been established... let's check out my All-Time Greats All Autograph Team:

Starting Catcher: Johnny Bench

2013 Topps Five Star Rainbow Autographs #FSBA-JBE

Some of you might be wondering how I picked Johnny Bench over Yogi Berra.  Well... I'm not exactly a baseball guru.  I typed in "top catchers of all-time" into Google, compared a few rankings (ESPN, Fox Sports, MLB, etc.), and went with the popular vote.  The same can be said for all of the positions on this list.

Bench was ranked #1 on all three lists.

Backup Catcher:  Yogi Berra

1999 UD Century Legends Epic Signatures #YB

Choosing a backup catcher was a little more challenging.  I don't own a Josh Gibson or Roy Campanella autograph, so that narrowed it down to Berra and the two Pudges.  I went with the guy with 13 World Series titles.

Starting First Baseman:  Stan Musial

1999 UD Century Legends Epic Signatures #SM

No Lou Gehrig or Jimmie Foxx autographs.  No problem.  I've got two St. Louis Cardinals who can handle the job.

Musial might have spent more time in the outfield, but he spent more time at first base than any of the specific outfield positions.

Backup First Baseman:  Albert Pujols

2003 Topps Autographs #TA-AP

I'm pretty sure Pujols won't mind taking a back seat to the legendary Stan the Man.  However... if he does, I'll explain to him that I have extra admiration for athletes who were loyal to one franchise.

Starting Second Baseman:  Joe Morgan

2002 UD Diamond Connection Memorable Signatures #JM

There are a lot of legendary second basemen in MLB history: Rogers Hornsby, Eddie Collins, Nap Lajoie, and Jackie Robinson.  Sadly, I don't own any of their signatures.

The honor of being the top second baseman in my autograph collection goes to The Little General.  I realize it's technically not an on-card autograph, but Beckett classifies it as a cut signature which is good enough for me.

Backup Second Baseman:  Rod Carew

2015 Topps Museum Collection Archival Autographs #AS-RCR

The backup second baseman spot came down to Ryne Sandberg and Rod Carew.  I collect Carew, so he made the roster.

Starting Shortstop:  Cal Ripken Jr.

2008 Sweet Spot Signatures #S-CR

Most rankings have Honus Wagner ranked #1.  After that rankings varied, but Cal Ripken Jr. and Derek Jeter popped up in the Top 5 every single time.

I ended up starting Ripken, because he's MLB's Iron Man and Jeter's elder 

Backup Shortstop:  Derek Jeter

1998 Donruss Signature Series Millennium Marks #NNO

I started admiring Ripken early in his career... where as I didn't really recognize Jeter's greatness until he was wrapping things up.  I'm not proud of that.  But better late, than never, right?

Starting Third Baseman:  Brooks Robinson

2015 Leaf 25th Baseball Printing Plate

Robinson vs. Schmidt.  Isn't this one of baseball's greatest debates?  Considering the offensive firepower in this lineup, I'll go ahead and plug in The Human Vacuum Cleaner at the hot corner.

Backup Third Baseman:  
Mike Schmidt

1999 UD Century Legends Epic Signatures #MS

By the way Schmidt wasn't too shabby on defense either.  He won 9 straight Gold Glove Awards from 1976 to 1984.

Starting Left Fielder:  Ted Williams

1985-97 Perez-Steele Great Moments #13 (PSA/DNA Certified)

I've always had a deep admiration for the way The Splendid Splinter played the game.  He was described as being a stubborn, hard working, perfectionist, who wanted to be the best at his job.  Those traits resemble my father who happens to be one of my heroes.

Backup Left Fielder:  Barry Bonds

2000 Skybox Autographics #NNO

Whether you hated him or not, Bonds entertained millions of baseball fans every time he stepped into the batter's box.

Starting Center Fielder:  Willie Mays

1995 Upper Deck Autographs #AC2

There's a lot of debate about who's the greatest center fielder of all-time.  Mays and DiMaggio are right up there with Mickey Mantle, Ty Cobb, and Ken Griffey Jr.

Mays is one of the top three players of all-time, so he was obviously going to be my starter.

Backup Center Fielder:  Joe DiMaggio

1993 Pinnacle DiMaggio Autographs #1

I don't own Mantle or Cobb autographed baseball cards, so that narrowed it down to DiMaggio and Griffey.  I decided to go old school for this position.  Don't worry Griffey fans... he still might make an appearance on this roster.

Starting Right Fielder:  Hank Aaron

2015 Topps Museum Collection Premium Prints #PPHA

Hank Aaron is normally ranked behind The Babe, but it's pretty safe to say that I'll never own one of his autographs.

Backup Right Fielder:  Frank Robinson

1995 Upper Deck Autographs #AC3

As for Robinson, he fell behind Clemente on two different lists.  But like Ruth... I don't own one of his signatures.

Starting Designated Hitter:  Frank Thomas

2000 Skybox Autographics #NNO

This is the only position where I didn't follow the expert's lead.

Backup Designated Hitter:  David Ortiz

2014 Topps Tier One Acclaimed Autographs #AA-DO

Most lists had Edgar Martinez listed as the greatest designated hitter of all-time, but for some reason, it didn't feel right putting him ahead of Frank Thomas and David Ortiz.

Power Pinch Hitter:  Willie McCovey

1998 UD Retro Sign of the Times #WM

Stretch hit 16 home runs as a pinch hitter.  Three of those were grand slams.  Not sure who he'd actually pinch hit for in this lineup, but if he did the manager would be looking for some power.

Contact Pinch Hitter:  Tony Gwynn

2013 Topps Five Star Autographs #FSBA-TG

C'mon.  You knew I was gonna fit this guy on the team somewhere.

Pinch Runner:  Rickey Henderson

2013 Topps Five Star Autographs #FSBA-RH

Rickey was not amused that Williams and Bonds took his spot in left field, so I had to find a spot for him somewhere on this roster.  This seems like the perfect position for The Man of Steal. 

Utility Players:  Ernie Banks, Alex Rodriguez, Ken Griffey Jr., and Carl Yastrzemski

1999 UD Century Legends Epic Signatures #EB

2001 Upper Deck Game Jersey Autograph #H-AR

1999 UD Century Legends Epic Signatures #JR

2001 Topps Team Topps Legends Autographs #NNO

All four of these positional players are guys I wanted to include on the team, but their positions were filled.  I decided to use them as utility players, because all four of these guys are very versatile.  Banks and A-Rod played more than 1,000 games each at two different infield positions.  Yaz spent most of his time in left field, but also played 765 games at first base.

And Griffey might have spent 89.9% of his career in right field, but The Kid could probably play any outfield position and win a Gold Glove Award in his prime.

Starting Pitcher #1:  Sandy Koufax

1998 Donruss Signature Series Significant Signatures #R3

Starting Pitcher #2:  Pedro Martinez

1996 Leaf Signature Series Silver Autograph #NNO

Starting Pitcher #3:  Randy Johnson

2000 Revolution MLB Game Ball Signatures #1

Starting Pitcher #4:  Roger Clemens

1995 Upper Deck Autographs #AC4

Starting Pitcher #5:  Greg Maddux

2000 Revolution MLB Game Ball Signatures #2

My starting rotation features three 300 game winners and four guys who struck out more than 3,000 batters.  Koufax is the only guy not featured in either of these categories, but he retired when he was 30 years old.

Relief Pitcher #1:  Trevor Hoffman

1996 Leaf Signature Series Silver Autograph #NNO

Relief Pitcher #2:  Dennis Eckersley

2013 Topps Five Star Autographs #FSBA-DE

Sorry.  I've got no Mo.  But I figure between Hoffman and Eck, they'll be able to close out any games my starting pitchers can't finish.

Manager:  Tony La Russa

1964 Topps #244

Stengel and McGraw are typically recognized as the two greatest managers of all-time.  Oh well... I'm pretty sure La Russa and his hall of fame coaching staff will be able to handle the talent I've supplied them.

Coaching Staff:  Earl Weaver and Dick Williams

1999 Fleer Sports Illustrated GOTG Autograph #NNO

1999 Fleer Sports Illustrated GOTG Autograph #NNO

Broadcast Team:  Bob Uecker, Jerry Coleman, and Jon Miller

1963 Topps #126

2003 UD Yankees Signature Series Pride of NY Autographs #PN-JC

2012 Panini Cooperstown Signatures #FFA-JON

I'm pretty bummed that I still don't own Bill King or Lon Simmons autographs, because those were the voices I heard growing up.  Another voice from my childhood was Mel Allen.  I have his autograph, but it's not on a baseball card.  I'll be featuring it on a different All Autograph Team, so stay tuned.

Until then... I appreciate all of the people who hung in there and read/skimmed this entire post.  I'll be hosting a contest that will involve this All Autograph Team series.  Details will be provide this weekend, but for now people who comment on this post and on my Tuesday's post will receive entries.

Here are your questions of the day:

#1:  Who least deserves to be on my All-Time Greats All Autograph Team?

#2:  What living baseball player should I add to this All Autograph Team?

Happy Thursday and sayonara!


  1. Totally awesome group of autographs! Where's your Babe? ;) I'd remove Clemens and Bonds. You need a Cubs player. Ryne Sandberg? Billy Williams? Fergie Jenkins?

  2. Wow! Solid all the way around.

    #1: Who least deserves to be on my All-Time Greats All Autograph Team?.... Everyone belongs. Can't find a chink in the armor. Tough choice, Has to be A-Rod.

    #2: What living baseball player should I add to this All Autograph Team?..... Pete Rose. On your team and in The Hall.

  3. The list is mighty fine. McCovey would be hitting for 1 of the pitcher's in a NL park. LOL.

  4. Damn Fuji, those are some sweet autographed cards!! Even when I was hard-core with autograph collecting, I couldn’t put together a team like that! You should be proud of a collection like that!

  5. Dang Fuji-Sad to say I own no King Albert autos-too rich for my blood

  6. DAMN! Ted Williams, Albert Pujols and Joe DiMaggio in the same lineup. That is straight up unfair.

  7. Bip Roberts needs to be on this team.

  8. What an impressive collection Fuji! Awesome cards all around, love the DiMaggio especially.

  9. Amazing collection, plenty of personal favorites there !

  10. I'm pretty much speechless here. Holy smokes.

    Insanely jealous of that Jeter!

  11. Woah. Very impressive set of cards!

  12. *speechless*

    I need half of these guys on my want list simply amazin Fuji

  13. Nice batch of cards there... I especially like the Pedro Expos card.
    I really like that set it's from. I've picked up a few autos from it.

  14. Fuji's all-autographed team, a.k.a The Greatest Baseball Players of the Past 60 Years. I knew you'd have a filthy lineup, but this is insane :)

    also, I hope you don't think I'm only commenting because of your contest. my internet at home has been very slow this week, and I had to catch up on blogs at my mother in-laws, or it would have taken me another week to comment!

  15. Garvey, gwynn and Hoffman to start with my all autograph team

  16. Love these autographs! I really enjoy reading your blog posts.

  17. You have some awesome autographs in your collection! I love the Pedro Martinez addition...that is a name you don't hear often anymore.

  18. A complete mega team - pretty hard to beat.

  19. Nicely done in getting different Rickey and Maddux autos for your two all-autograph teams.

  20. I like the broadcast team. That Frank Robinson auto is sweeeeet.

  21. Amazing. I'm so jealous of the Aarin and Mays, and even the Pedro.

  22. DiMaggio? you have a Joe???? blown away! I personally would lose the Bonds or Clemens. You need a Sandberg.

  23. The 2013 Topps Five autographs are really beautiful cards, Topps did a great job. I have always wanted one of the 93 Pinnacle DiMaggio autographs, simple but elegant.

  24. That is some lineup and a beautiful group of cards. I have been thinking of doing an all HOFers team to participate in the Blog Bat Around, I wonder how many players we would have in common.

  25. What a list! I've always wanted a Pujols for my collection too. I usually have to justify by having him appear on a dual auto with a Pirate. He does have a triple auto, but it is crazy expensive.

  26. Good golly miss Molly those are some impressive autos!

  27. Incredible team you've got here. If I had to narrow down to just one to drool over.. A Ted Williams auto is a white whale of mine.. maybe someday.

  28. Seriously?! Holy cow, that's a collection.

  29. Love that Eckersley card ... and adding announcers to the mix is a nice touch too. I always liked Jon Miller on Sunday Night Baseball.

  30. Love that you led off with the one and only Bench! He's got such a nice signature.

  31. A non-faded Sweet Spot Signature? Nice!

  32. Hoffman I believe to be the least deserving as a compiler and Mike Trout is sure to replace one of these legends in the not too distant future. Henderson has to lead off for this lineup, DH Bonds and send Papi to the pine.

  33. I am thoroughly impressed with the amount of legendary players in your autograph collection.

  34. My "Greats" would have to be the 2nd of my two favorite signed balls, the Jim "Catfish Hunter" that I got as a kid when my mother and a friend tried to get me interested in this game!!

  35. Agreed, you do have an extremely awesome autograph collection. What I have wouldn't even come close. Very happy that Koufax is featured here. Your collection rocks!

  36. OUTSTANDING stuff right here! Umm doesn’t belong would be Clemens* only because of the * that will follow him forever and to me Mike Trout needs to be added! Thanks, Dion

  37. No Robin Yount auto? Tsk Tsk Tsk :) Love that DiMaggio.

  38. That Bench has some nice signature-ship. This is a truly impressive collection...

  39. Those are incredible, especially the Williams card!

  40. I might have to chase the Upper Deck Century Legends autograph set. Those 2013 Five Star autographs are absolutely amazing!

  41. Hackenbush & Julie Owens - I felt bad keeping Ryno off this team. I actually have a really nice Sweet Spot signature of him that I'll try to post one day.

    Marc -I have an on-card auto of Rose, but it's from a wrestling product. I'm currently trying to find an affordable psa/dna autograph of him though.

    Nick - Bip barely missed the cut.

    Chris - Lol. No worries buddy. It's taken me over 2 week to read these comments. Sorry about the delay.

    Nick Vossbrink - It's a good thing I PC both of those guys. Rickey will make another appearance on my 50th Anniversary Athletics team too.

    Corky - They produced a ton, which has kept them reasonably affordable.

    arpsmith - Go for it! I love looking at autographed cards

    Adam Sanders - Miller's voice was made for baseball.

    Adam Kaningher - I wonder if I have enough faded signatures to create a team ;)

    Richard Nebe Jr - A Hunter signed ball from your childhood? Doesn't get cooler than that.

    cynicalbuddha - i have one... but i couldn't find a spot on the roster. i guess i could have put him as my 5th utility player since he did play several positions

    reds card collector - i'd say go for it, but be warned the SP's in that set are crazy expensive