Thursday, October 25, 2018

NASL 50th and a TTM success

Man... What a weekend!  I came away with a good 40-some cards and photos signed over two days. And I probably could have gotten even more.

A couple weeks ahead, Ray sent me some cards from Baltimore to get signed for him, along with a ticket stub and program from the 2002 MISL All-Star Game, which I attended in Cleveland. He said the program and stub are mine for getting stuff signed for him, and if I get a lot sone, there would be more headed my way.

So on Saturday, I made the drive across to Frisco for the players' practice, scheduled for 9:30.  I had no idea where to go, and every parking lot had a ridiculous $20 price tag, so I drove out to the practice fields and found a lot that was free, open, and already had a car parked in it. Perfect.

I got out and was getting ready to walk toward the stadium when the guy in the car called out to me, asking if I was there for the NASL practice. He said he was too and we got to talking for a while, said his name was Leroy, and he was playing in it.  We just chatted for a good 30 minutes or so about soccer as other cars began to arrive.  I realized quickly this was Leroy Spann, former San Jose Earthquakes forward.  Charlie Kadupski, a former Cleveland Cobra, came over and joined in our conversation, followed soon after by three others-- Freddie Garcia (former Cleveland Force), Zequinha (former Detroit Lightning), and Rudy Pena (former Milwaukee Wave), joined by their wives who came to watch.  All signed their cards for me while we chatted and I got to listen in on their recollections of playing in the NASL, MISL, AISA, and NCAA.

As I stood outside the fences watching once practice started, a guy walked by and told me to come on in-- Steve Parker a longtime trainer who was around for the weekend's festivities.  So I got to watch the practice from pretty much right on the sidelines.

I also ran into Brian from Kansas City, another collector that I've known a while and had dinner with on my summer baseball roadtrip. Of course several other local collectors were around in Brian, Dave, and Mark. Soccer fortunately doesn't draw out too many crazies the way the big four sports do.

From there, it was all a blur. I know that at points during that first day between the practice and going over to the team hotel, I got autographs from Jan Book, Buzz Demling, Dave D'Errico, Peter Chandler, Doc Lawson, Art and Asher Welch, Roger Verdi, Jorge Siega, Charlie Mitchell, Alan Merrick, Freddie Lewis, Billy Phillips, Victor Moreland, Perry Van der Beck, and Kai Haaskivi.

As Ray said when I sent him this picture, "That's one fine pic of Kai.
Too bad he had to stand with some collector dude to get his pic taken."
Also, its rare to get two Finns smiling at the same time.
I also got to chat a while with Greg Suttie, who runs the MASL Off The Wall group on Facebook, and also has become kind of THE national media maven for the sport with a podcast and website on all things indoor soccer.  One random journalist took a picture of me holding my Kai Haaskivi cards while at practice, and took note of my project and my name as we talked about the sport, this event, and even the sports collectibles hobby in general.  I don't know what agency he was writing for, but I'll keep an eye out for it.

Sunday, I did practice again in the morning, followed by the game later in the day. Arron joined me as well for it. At practice, Kyle Rote and I ended up chatting for a bit beforehand and he signed a card I had from Ray. I also got Mike Sweeney on some set needs, plus Bobby Moffatt, Lincoln Phillips, and Arnie Mausser for Ray.

Postgame, I was able to get right down on the field for a bit, where Kevin Eagan and Tom King signed. Up on the concourse, I got Tatu, Ossie Vasquez, Jim Leeker, Mark Demling, and Alan Willey.

Talking to a few guys, Dave D'Errico told me he's archiving as much as he can on American soccer-- programs, photos, articles, anything. I have his number to contact him about it. Also, Billy Phillips told me to email him about some old Sidekicks items he has-- many leftover programs and such.

Overall, this was a great event. There were a few hiccups in planning here and there-- for example stadium security didn't know about the autograph signing, but they were more than happy to let us stay extra, leaving a gate open for us to exit.  The players and their families were great to the fans and really enjoyed getting out on the field again and seeing their former teammates and competitors. Spann was telling me he still plays for a traveling senior tournament team and it showed-- he had himself a hat trick in the game.

Here's to hoping the MISL 40th anniversary event can happen as well as this one did!

Several players wives wanted to see the cards I had (including Zequinha's wife who had never seen the photos on the cards I had before, and took a picture of them) and some took pictures of them signing for me.

Oh yeah, the TTM-- I got Preki back in about a month, signing all five cards I sent, including finishing off the 1991-92 St. Louis All-Stars card.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

A big score

Every day I receive emails with any auction searches that I'm watching. Most of them are for the sets I'm working on in various sports (Topps Total, Fleer Throwbacks, and Upper Deck Rookie Class in hockey; 1982-1991 Donruss Diamond Kings and 2003-2005 Topps All-Time Fan Favorites in baseball; 2004 Topps All-Time Fan Favorites in football; and of course the Pacific MISL sets). Typically the MISL sets get the fewest hits, and often it's a lot of repetition-- I remember seeing the same Mike Powers and Daryl Doran autographs come up every month for a good six months at $15 each, plus shipping... be realistic, people! I can name Hall of Famers in several sports who sign for $5 or less. There is no need for that high a price tag on these guys.

But once in a while a gem comes through and last week one came in with ten signed cards for $11 including shipping. Among those ten were three I needed for the 1987/88 set-- Michael Brady, Mike Reynolds, and Stan Stamenkovic.

Brady I had tried TTM with no luck. Reynolds died in 1991, and Stamenkovic died in 1996.  I had seen both of the deceased's cards signed before: Reynolds in the collection of Ray from Baltimore (who also emailed me about this auction to make sure I knew about it-- arriving in my inbox just as I was hitting the Buy It Now button) and a Stamenkovic for sale a year ago with a $50 price tag.  Glad I held off on that one.

I also got a Slobo Ilijevski in there that I already had (d. 2008), but makes for a potential tradable item. The remaining six were Redmond Lane, Drago, Dave MacKenzie, Tim Wittman, Richard Chinapoo, and Bruce Savage.

USPS Informed Delivery also tells me I have an envelope coming back to me from Seattle today. I haven't mailed many up that way in any sport lately except for one-- Preki. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it might be him...

With this, I'm down to only 12 left on that 1987/88 set.

12Steve Zungul
27Mark Kerlin
36Dennis Mepham
38Pasquale Deluca
40Desmond Armstrong
48Poli Garcia
57Hugo Perez
59Juli Veee
61Waad Hirmez
75a Heinz Wirtz (black text)
75b Heinz Wirtz (white text)
88Steve Kinsey

If you have these, I am certainly interested in trading! I'm hoping also that some of these guys might show up at the NASL 50th anniversary celebration this weekend.

Monday, October 1, 2018

A success, a failure, and some waits

Starting again with the good, former Dallas Sidekick Beto signed for me in a two-week wait, and also wrote a short note back asking where I got the cards of him from. Unfortunately I've gotten then from so many places over the years I don't really have a single source. So if anyone out there has a bunch of unsigned cards of him, please let me know, as it seems he might like some copies of them.

On the bad side, Heinz Wirtz got RTS'ed. I have a couple other addresses on him to try so if anyone has any intel on which to use, please let me know.

I have a few others still out: Scott Manning, Nenad Zigante, and Preki. Manning at least I'm reasonably sure will come back. Preki I'm at least hopeful on. Zigante, I have no idea.

Looking back through history, requests I never got back...

Tatu - I later got everything signed by him so all is good!

Beto - Again, I later got everything from him (see above, haha) so all is good
David Hoggan - No luck via TyneCastle FC
Steve Zungul - Later got all but one (1987-88) signed by him
Erik Rasmussen - One of my few international failures
Mark Frederickson - No answer via a business address, but got him later at home
Steve Kinsey - Still haven't had luck with him

Dennis Mepham - No luck via a home address
Scoop Stanisic - No luck via Columbus Crew, but got everything later via trades
Nenad Zigante - No answer through Wake FC

MARCH 2016
Kai Haaskivi - Despite being a fellow Finn, I got nothing back
Preki - Just missed him as I had seen a success less than a week before I mailed
Paul Wright - I had an old address for Speed To Burn and never even got a RTS sticker
Jim Gabarra - Missed him with Sky Blue Soccer; but I got him later, we're cool
Kevin Hundelt - Got him in trades later; now I just need to track down Chris...
Pasquale Deluca - Another rare international failure

MAY 2016
Greg Ion - I cannot track this guy down! Two RTS, then this one unreturned...
Iain Fraser - No answer at San Juan Soccer Club

Desmond Armstrong - Nothing through Sporting Nashville
George Fernandez - Nothing via his home address after success a year before
Waad Hirmez - Southwest Soccer Club? No luck...
Victor Nogueira - West Coast FC? No luck...
Joe Papaleo - Syracuse Development Academy? Nothing...
Gregg Willin - Nothing from a home address...
Wes Wade - No answer from the Tucson Soccer Academy...
Ted Krafft - No luck from a home address, but later got him via trades
Mike Brady - No answer via Duke

Poli Garcia - Tried a home address without luck

MAY 2017
Marcelo Carrera - No answer from IMG
Bobby Joe Esposito - No answer from BCSA
Dennis Mepham - No answer from a second home address
Hugo Perez - No answer from the LA United Futbol Academy
Gyula Visneyi - Nothing from a home address
Steve Zungul - No answer in my attempt for the 1987-88 card
Ed Anibal - No answer through home
John Klein - No luck, but later got in trades
Arturo Velazco - Nothing via home
Keder - Maybe I just need to avoid mailing to West Coast FC; No Keder, no Victor Nogueira.
Frank Klopas - Nothing via home, but got him in trades later
Greg Muhr - Nothing via home
Angelo Panzetta - Nothing via Allegheny
Chris Simon - Nothing via home

Danny Pena - Nothing from the Beach Futbol Club

At a little over three years into the project my percentage is great overall: successful with 176, RTS/unsigned on 34, and 46 unreturned. Of all the sports I collect, only baseball has a higher success percentage for me-- but soccer involves a lot more rolling the dice and trying addresses that no one else ever has tested before, while with baseball I can research and know who signs and who doesn't.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

A success, and a delay

Let's start with the good.

Got Jim Gabarra back last week, signing three cards, so that inches me closer on the 88/89, 90/91, and 91/92 sets.

I also sent requests out to Preki, Beto, Heinz Wirtz, Scott Manning, and Nenad Zigante. We'll keep the fingers crossed...

The bad news: It looks like the MISL 40th Anniversary event will be moved back to the spring.

And that's not necessarily bad, really. I was hoping to go up to Cleveland at Christmas, and doing a Vegas weekend and a Cleveland week so close together would be tough, if not impossible. This helps give me some time to potentially do both if I can swing it.

I saw a few former players' names on the email list for it, so I'm hoping that we might get several interested. And giving a few extra months for preparation and keeping it away from a major holiday should help to get some more in.

Who would I like to see? Well, namely...

Ed Anibal, Desmond Armstrong, Beto, Mike Brady, David Byrne, Bill Crook, Dali, Pasquale Deluca, Claudio De Oliveira, B.J. Esposito, George Fernandez, Poli Garcia, Omar Gomez, Kai Haaskivi, Damir Haramina, Chris Haywood, Alan Hinton, Waad Hirmez, David Hoggan, Chris Hundelt, Greg Ion, Majid Jay, Mark Karpun, Keder, Mark Kerlin, Steve Kinsey, Bobo Lucic, Scott Manning, Pato Margetic, Dennis Mepham, Dale Mitchell, Victor Moreland, Victor Nogueira, Angelo Panzetta, Joe Papaleo, Hugo Perez, Paul Peschisolido, Preki, Erik Rasmussen, Frank Rasmussen, Terry Rowe, Chris Simon, Rick Snyder, Tatu, Carl Valentine, Juli Veee, Arturo Velazco, Gregg Willin, Heinz Wirtz, Nenad Zigante, and Steve Zungul

And anyone on a multi-player card that I don't have finished. Yeah, I'm a bit transparent in what I want, aren't I?

I might also have some help on those guys before then. Someone might be able to get me Juli Veee, and Kai Haaskivi will be at the NASL event next month here in Dallas. And some that I've mailed off might come back. And I might gamble on a few more European mailings.

To be honest, though, the answer is anyone. I may have to go seek out some photos to get signed since I'm nearly 80% of the way into the card sets.  I'd hope to find some that I could blow up to 11x14, but that might be tough. I could go for 8x10 at least, maybe even down to 5x7 if I have to.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

An Attempt at Identification

About two weeks ago, I posted the pennant that I brought back from my dad's place in Ohio.  Here's an attempt at identifying all the signatures.  Assistance is appreciated if I got any wrong, or on the ones I can't identify. I can also take closer photos of individual signatures in better light if requested.

Click To Enlarge

1Sean Bowers
2David Beltran
3Kia Zolgharnain
4Ulf Ryberg (1)
5Richard Chinapoo
6John Kowalski
7Ulf Ryberg (2)
8Ali Kazemaini
10Michael King
11Cris Vaccaro
12Bernie James
13Denison Cabral
14Slobo Ilijevski
15Kai Haaskivi
16Chris Handsor
17Chris Mormon
18Doc Lawson (1)
19Branko Segota
20John Ball
21Peter Ward
22Doc Lawson (2)
23Pat Morris
24Simon Look
25Scott Hileman
26Lou Cioffi
27Troy Dusosky
28Nick Corneli
29Erich Geyer
30Paul Kitson
31Dino Delevski
32Gino DiFlorio
33Benny Dargle
34Jim May
35Dave Grimaldi
36Chris D'Amico
37Trevor Dawkins
38Gary DePalma
39Wes Wade
40Carl Valentine
41Walter Schlothauer
42Ron Newman
43Charley Greene
44Kiley Couch
45Joe Reiniger
46Joe Raduka
47Jim Pollihan
48David Bascome
49Kevin Koetters
50Daryl Doran
51Zoran Savic
52Mike Powers
53Wayne Jentas
54Keith Tozer
55Lance Johnson
56Kevin Terry?
57Victor Nogueira
58Lovelace Ackah
59David MacKenzie
60Omid Namazi

There were a total of 78 people there that weekend who played and/or coached on either the All-Star or Legends teams. Courtesy of Ray in Baltimore who has the game program and ticket stub (which I plan to acquire soon), here are the players who were there but either aren't on the pennant, or are ones I can't identify...

Paul Wright, Paul Child, Scott Manning, Kim Roentved, Mike Stankovic, Peter Pappas, Fred Grgurev, Fernando Clavijo, Stan Terlecki, Mike Sweeney, George Nanchoff, Andy Chapman, Ruben Astigarraga, Joel Shanker, Mark Moser, Glenn Carbonara, Hector Marinaro, Carlos Farias, Chris Handsor.

Of those, I know Carbonara was at the signing since I got him on a card there.  I also know Marinaro was not since I only got him on a card while he was near the field.  Zoran Karic was also at some events over the weekend but did not play in the game or do the signing. Some other Crunch players like Otto Orf and Andy Schmetzer may have been around too. Gino DiFlorio was not listed as playing, but was at the signing.

EDIT: Big thanks to Ray for sending me some scans to help nail down some of these ID's. I'm down to just one that I'm not certain on.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Big event in DFW!

It looks like the Soccer Hall of Fame is finally almost ready to open its doors-- thanks to a pair of Brians (Reser and Gutmann) for giving me info on this...

In addition to the celebration for Hall of Fame Weekend, Frisco will also be putting on a celebration for the NASL's 50th anniversary.

Needless to say, I've already bought tickets because I have a few project needs on guys who will be there for the NASL game-- Tatu, Mike Sweeney, Fernando Clavijo, and of course my fellow Finn, Kai Haaskivi!

I also have hopes for a few other players to be added just for the general festivities as HOF members: Pele (also an NASL player, but unlikely to play at 77 years old), Preki, and Desmond Armstrong would be nice additions.

I have about seven cards I need Haaskivi to sign, plus a couple for Sweeney, one for Clavijo, and maybe three plus some photos for Tatu. I have a ton of non-set cards for him as well (20-30 or so), but I'll hold back a bit.

Hope to see some of you there; my wife and I will be sitting in Section 126 for the FC Dallas-Sporting KC game and the NASL Legends game. We will likely try to make the postgame party at the British Lion Pub, and I may even try to 'graph some of the other events as well.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Goal: Complete my first set

Sitting at nearly 80% completion on the entire project, my goal of finishing all the sets from 87/88-91/92 is certainly accessible.  However, sometimes it's best to break that big goal down into smaller goals.

For me, the first one will be to complete my favorite set of them all, the 1989-90 set.

Right now, of the 114 sigs I need to complete it, I'm only 13 away.  Let's give a rundown on what I still need...

#6 Waad Hirmez - I haven't heard of Hirmez signing via mail and had no success via his club in 2016, so I suppose I'll have to hope for a San Diego collector to catch him at an alumni game out there. I may also try via a home address.

#26 Joe Papaleo - In all the Dallas Sidekicks stuff I've acquired, I've never gotten Joe on any cards-- just a photo in an eBay lot I picked up.  I tried him by mail at the same time as Hirmez, also via a club, also with no response. Home address next?

#33 Dominic Mobilio - Mobilio tragically died in 2004, suffering a heart attack while driving back from a friend's house after an amateur game. I have seen a few of his autographs out there, but they are tough to come by.

#34 Scott Manning - I recently picked up the Scoop Stanisic wrong photo error signed by Scoop. I just need to get Manning on it as well. He signed for me in 2016 with a six-week turnaround. I can try him again soon.

#47 Pedro Debrito - Debrito was killed in a car accident in 2004, hitting a tree in a median on his way to work. Like Papaleo, I have a photo signed by Debrito, but no cards, and I haven't seen any signed by him either.

#52 Nenad Zigante - I tried Zigante with no luck via his club in the Carolinas in 2015. It may be time to re-try via home. I also need him in the 1988-89 set.

#66 Greg Ion - Having finally tracked down Chico Moreira a while back, finding Ion has been my tough one. Three attempts in 2016 resulted in two RTS via home addresses in Washington and Oregon and one non-return via a club in Washington. I suppose I'll keep searching...

#67 Chris Hundelt - I have the error signed on the back by Kevin. I just need it signed on the front by Chris, along with the corrected version. I haven't tried mailing Chris just yet.

#71 Bill Crook - I haven't tried him yet but probably should since I need him in here and the following two years' sets.

#76 David Hoggan - No luck on Hoggan in 2015, and I haven't found a home address for him yet. I'm hoping I can track something down since I also need him on four other cards.

#100 Dennis Mepham - Another tough one, I'm 0/2 on two different Lakewood, OH addresses. I might see if I can find a business address since I seem to recall hearing he's involved in Cleveland real estate.

#108 Bobo Lucic - I have a potential address on him in Slovenia. He was born in Mostar, currently part of Bosnia and Herzegovina near its border with Croatia. So I'm not sure if it's good or not, but I should give it a try once I get some Slovenian stamps.

I also came up with a few other international mailing projects-- I mentioned before I need to send to Roberto Baggio, and possibly a few other Italian players that I have loads of cards of. I also found two boxes of Australian Football League cards at my dad's place, so I might see if I can try some of those guys as well if I can find some addresses.

Monday, July 30, 2018

Lost and Found, Part II

I'm in Ohio.  I went to my dad's house today.

I emerged with this.

This pennant was signed by nearly every member of the 2001-02 MISL All-Star and Alumni Game teams at their FanFest at the Cleveland SportsPlex in Warrensville Heights, Ohio.

Give me a day or ten (I'm a bit busy with baseball 'graphing) and I'll try to have a clear ID of every signature on it.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Good news!

The MASL announced today the return of the Dallas Sidekicks for the 2018-19 season!

I'll be hitting at least a few games this season and my wife even floated the idea-- on her own, no prompting from me-- that we might look into season tickets.

Here's to hoping we'll see a return of the annual alumni game, plus of course a team card set at some point during the season!

Monday, July 16, 2018

Lost and Found: The value of networking

A month back, I lamented missing out on a much-needed eBay auction. After a frustrated Facebook post about missing out on it and cursing the universe for its timing in my being unable to buy it due to the upcoming trip to the National Sports Collectors Convention, I put out a call to find out who bought it.

It wasn't Rob, or Ray, or Doc; but Ray and I did email the seller asking him to pass our information on to the buyer if possible.

So then local collector and friend Brian messaged me on Facebook, asking me about the lot that I was interested in. And a day later as we were both getting prepared for 'graphing the NHL Draft (quite a fruitful weekend, I must say; if you're a hockey fan I recapped it on my other blog) I get a call from him.

He said after seeing my post and frustration that he was hesitating to tell me, but he was the buyer of it! Which actually was the best possible result I could have gotten from it. More than anything I just wanted to know where they were because of some set rarities, like the aforementioned Scoop Stanisic corrected version.

It was an amazing coincidence. I have an eBay saved search for any signed Pacific MISL cards, so any time some come up for auction I get an email notification. I didn't get one on this. Brian and I both happened to search on the same day for soccer autographs on a total whim, came across it, both put in offers a few hours apart, and his got picked.

Brian offered me even better-- there were some he wanted for his own collection, mostly any MISL guys that he didn't have anything from and the Dominic Mobilio sigs, but after that he was willing to give me a good deal on any that I might need that he didn't-- including most of the 1992-93 NPSL ones.

I'm still considering the 1992-93 Pacific NPSL set to be non-canon and a side project, but I have 2/3 of it finished it off thanks to his offer.

The moral of the story: get in good with your fellow collectors. You never know when they can help you out (and you them).