Monday, July 3, 2017

The June Update

Alright, so, last update was June 5, let's do a July update to recap June, yeah? Seems like a good idea.

Teddy Krafft, 4/3, 1 week, wrote a short note back
David Eise, 3/3, 1 week, signed on back

Gary Heale, 2/2, 3 weeks
Ricky Davis, 1/1, 3 weeks

Todd Strobeck, 3/2, 2 weeks, wrote a short note back
Savva Biller, 2/2, 2 weeks

Lynn Venable, 3/2, 3 weeks, wrote a short note back
Chris Duke, 2/2, 3 weeks

Vincent Beck, 3/2, 2 weeks, wrote a short note back

Mark Mathews, 2/1, 3 weeks, wrote a short note back

Chris Reif, 3/2, 1 month, wrote a short note back

Still plenty that I'm waiting on. I didn't send anything out in June because I spent a lot of time on IP baseball and non-graphing stuff (band, genealogy), but what I sent in May and am still waiting on...

MAY 16: Steve Zungul, Hugo Perez, Marcelo Carrera, Mark Frederickson, Bobby Joe Esposito, Dennis Mepham, Juli Veee, Ben Collins

MAY 24: Gino Schiraldi

MAY 25: Arturo Velazco, Ed Anibal, John Klein

MAY 30: Frank Klopas, Chris Simon, Angelo Panzetta, Guy Furfaro, Alex "Keder" Filipovic, Greg Muhr

As usual, I'm not too concerned. I've had some players take a week, I've had some players take a year. Expand it out to all sports and I had one take three days and another take seven years. My average across all sports has been 64 days, and half of that in soccer alone. So I can wait.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Process vs. Results

You’re not going to believe this, but the United States Postal Service completely sucks.

I mean, unless you’re a TTMer or something. Then you’d totally believe that.

I've been searching for Chico Moreira for quite some time. I knew he was in the Cleveland area, but after trying several addresses on him, I was nearly convinced that maybe he had moved or just didn't want to be bothered. I was 0/4 on him and decided to throw out one last Hail Mary to one final address on him that I had not yet tried.

And today, it finally came back. I sent five cards, and he added in a Houston Hotshots card.

And they all got mangled by the USPS.

On the plus side, 1. I now have an address that works, 2. I have
doubles on some of these, and C. The one I needed most got
damaged the least.
So, I have that going for me, which makes my teeth itch.

Positivity: I also got Alex Golovnia, Hank Henry, and Jacques Ladouceur back. So overall, I'll take it.

Successes from May

The carpet bombing campaign is going well: 14 successes in about two weeks.

MAY 22
Roy Turner, c/o work, 3/3, 1 week

MAY 23
Glenn Carbonara, c/o home, 2/2, 1 week

MAY 26
Shawn Medved, c/o work, 1/1, 2 weeks
Ralph Black, c/o team, 1/1, 2 weeks
Rod Castro, c/o home, 2/2, 2 weeks
Rene Ortiz, c/o home, 3/3, 2 weeks

MAY 27
Goran Hunjak, c/o work, 1/1, 2 weeks

MAY 30
Rudy Pikuzinski, c/o home, 3/2, 2 weeks, wrote note back
Mike Uremovich, c/o home, 6/3, 1 week, wrote note back and added signed cards of Mike Jr. and Tatu

Dr. Ed Gettemeier, c/o work, 1/1, 2 weeks
Thompson Usiyan, c/o work, 3/2, 2 weeks
Al Smith, c/o home, 2/2, 1 week

Jim Schwab, c/o team, 4/4, 1 week, personalized all
Redmond Lane, c/o home, 3/2, 1 week, wrote note back

I have a few more still to write, then time for another break-- maybe I'll try to work some trades or buy some of the unsigned cards I need. Best of all: NO RETURN TO SENDER STICKERS!!!

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Back at it again!

Laziness creeps in...

I only mailed off three requests in the soccer world in the previous six months.

I tend to send off first to players that I have several different cards of. It maximizes the return on my postage investment. But after a while in these Pacific sets, I ran out of players with cards in multiple sets.

It's time to bite the bullet, I guess: this month I'll be sending off a bunch of one-card wonders and re-tries.  I've already mailed a few and have another bunch ready to write. Already sent on May 16:

Roy Turner (already received in under a week!)
Glenn Carbonara (received in a week!)
Chico Moreira#
Shawn Medved (received!)
Steve Zungul*
Hugo Perez
Rudy Pikuzinski (received!)
Marcelo Carrera
Ralph Black* (received!)
Mark Frederickson#
Bobby Joe Esposito
Dennis Mepham#
Juli Veee
Gary Heale*
Ben Collins*
Ricky Davis*
Goran Hunjak (received!)
Hank Henry
Rod Castro (received!)
Ed Gettemeier (received!)
Thompson Usiyan* (received!)
Rene Ortiz (received!)

I already had successes with some of these guys, but picked up cards I was missing, or have multi-signed cards to send. Those players are marked with an asterisk (*) above. Market with a pound (#) are players I've tried and failed with before so I'll retry with new addresses.

Coming up on the to-be-mailed list:

Al Smith (Sent 5/24)
Jim Schwab (Sent 5/24)
Mike Uremovich (Sent 5/24)
Lynn Venable (Sent 5/24)
Savva Biller (Sent 5/24)
Todd Strobeck (Sent 5/24)
Gino Schiraldi (Sent 5/24)
John Klein (Sent 5/25)
Chris Duke (Sent 5/25)
Mark Mathews (Sent 5/25)
Redmond Lane (Sent 5/25)
Arturo Velazco (Sent 5/25)
Ed Anibal (Sent 5/25)
Jacques Ladouceur (Sent 5/25)
David Banks (Sent 5/25)
Alex Golovnia (Sent 5/25)
Frank Klopas (Sent 5/30)
Teddy Krafft (Sent 5/30)
Guy Furfaro (Sent 5/30)
Keder (Sent 5/30)
David Eise (Sent 5/30)
Angelo Panzetta (Sent 5/30)
Vincent Beck (Sent 5/30)
Chris Simon (Sent 5/30)
Chris Reif (Sent 5/30)
Greg Muhr (Sent 5/30)
Denny Vaninger
John Hamel
Danny Pena
Brad Smith
Jimmy McGeough
Dick McCormickMark Moser

So I'll be a little busy getting writer's cramp the next few days/weeks. I also have a few requests in other sports to write, trying to make a few trades, hitting up two baseball games, and playing two concerts, so hopefully I'll have some successes on those first few come rolling in to keep me motivated.

I'm holding off on mailing to anyone I'm missing cards of. I'd prefer not to have to send multiple times to the same player if I can avoid it. I've already done it before, and when I have to, I try to space out a year in between mailings. This includes Alan Hinton, Nenad Zigante, Scoop Stanisic, Jim Gabarra, Joey Kirk, Andy Chapman, Beto Dos Santos, Pato Margetic, Michael King, Bernie James, Mike Sweeney, Preki Radoslavojevic, Kia Zolgharnain, Brian Quinn, Paul Wright, David Hoggan, and Bill Crook.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

A tragic end: Nenad Nikolić

Ever since I started this project, I was wondering what had ever become of Nenad Nikolić.

He only appeared in 26 MISL games in the 1989-90 season. Details before this were sketchy, as were details after this. There was a Nenad Nikolić who coached in Iran, but they were born two years apart, and the one in Iran was playing in Europe while the mystery man was in the MISL.

I had always hoped that perhaps he was just living a simple life in retirement somewhere in the former Yugoslavia. But knowing the turmoil of the area in the mid 90s through 2000s, I also knew he could have possibly met an untimely end.

The limited info I had on Nikolić didn't seem to add up. I had something like three different birthdates on him and no birthplace aside from "Yugoslavia." One source (who inexplicably listed him as being born in 1949) said he was born in Lapalan, Yugoslavia. With Yugoslavia having broken up in the 1990s, I hoped to find which country the city was now a part of. Unfortunately I could find nothing on the city.

Finally, I found something.

Apparently the city was Lipljan, now a part of Kosovo. His family moved to Belgrade in present-day Serbia when he was young.

After his lone season in the US, Nikolić returned home to Belgrade, where he opened a family food processing shop. He also played for FK Proleter Zrenjanin and FK Čukarički, both of whom he had played for prior to his time in Tacoma. He also served as a reservist in MUP Serbia, the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

During the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia in 1999, Nikolić was working as a security guard at MUP headquarters in Belgrade. He was working on the night shift on April 30, 1999 when the building was bombed. While attempting to rescue people injured by the first bomb, a second one was dropped, killing him and injuring 28 others.

A year earlier he had been seriously injured in an attack by members of the Kosovo Liberation Army while he was on a bus.

Since 2014, FK Čukarički has held the annual Nenad Neša Nikolić Memorial Tournament in his memory. The food processing shop, now called NENAD, is still in operation today.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Back to the drawing boards... Also, a success and an outing!

I picked up the box set of 1989-90 Pacific cards on eBay this week, hoping to get the corrected Scoop Stanisic card, as well as hope that it might have the corrected Chris Hundelt card.

Instead, all I got were the errors.

So, my quest to find these still sits at a big fat zero. I had my doubts about the Stanisic at the beginning, and now I'm even doubting the existence of the Chris Hundelt correction. is the only place I've ever seen the Stanisic version, and I've never seen the Hundelt, only seen it listed on Trading Card Database, who does not have a scan of it.

Is there anyone out there who can confirm without a doubt the existence of either?

And if so, what's your price to sell them to me?

I did have one success just after the eBay bonanza in my previous post arrived.

I mailed to Godfrey Ingram in the UK and had gone a few months with nothing so I assumed the worst, that it had disappeared.

On the contrary: it arrived a couple weeks ago with a US stamp over the British one, postmarked from San Diego, with all seven cards signed including the San Diego Storm All Stars card already signed by Daryl Doran.

Nice timing for that: after the FC Dallas-NE Revolution game, I waited outside and got Tom Soehn on three cards, and Fernando Clavijo signed 18, including the St. Louis card. It's now just missing Usiyan and Preki.  I likely will try Tomo after tax season is over. For those who don't know, he works as a tax accountant in California, so he's probably a bit busy for the next few weeks.

Give me a week or two and I'll do a post on players I'm missing for the sets, as well as cards I even need unsigned.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Another 1987-88 variation, and an eBay goldmine

Let's get the boring note out of the way first: Card 22, Godfrey Ingram is in two variations: Godfrey and Godfry. So we're at 127 for that and 801 total. Dammit, I liked the nice even 800...

And now, eBay.

About a week ago, Ray notified me to an eBay auction full of Sidekicks stuff, unsigned cards, signed cards and photos, signed shirts, game programs... and all for $20, plus $10 shipping. So I dug into my stamp budget for April and decided to pull the string on it.

And oh am I ever glad I did.

I contacted the seller about the cards, asking if there were more signed ones and he initially said just the ones in the photos-- but also mentioned Slobo Ilijevski was in among them. Additionally, I needed the Chico Moreira that I saw.  He then messaged to add that there were a bunch more, too many to list in full.

Today the box arrived. I'll let the photos tell the story (ignore the black spots, they're on the lens of my camera, which has been broken for over a year; the spots won't come off)...

If you're counting, that's 80 signed cards and 42 sigs on photos and certificates. There are also two shirts with autographs all over them as well. The shirts are unfortunately stained and worn, but still, I'll take them.

New additions to the Pacific project: Bill Crook, both variations of Ingram, Erik Rasmussen, Slobo Ilijevski, Chico Moreira, and Andy Chapman.

There also are probably over 1000 unsigned cards in here as well. Total price paid including shipping...


I basically paid 25 cents per signature and got the shirts and unsigned cards and shipping free.

Now that's a deal I'll take ANY day.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

March Update

So as I said, I've definitely slowed down a bit. My TTM attention lately has been more on baseball, but hopefully I'll have some new soccer ones to try soon. I'm hopefully getting some unsigned copies of the unsigned cards that I've sent out and failed on. Plus there's an eBay auction that *hopefully* will get me a Chico Moreira (and possibly a Slobo Ilijevski?) that I need as well as some others that I think I already have signed (plus a ton of unsigned cards, and signed smaller photos).

I did at least have a few successes plus an eBay purchase come in, as well as one more IP outing in Allen.

I totally forgot to mention my Lee Cornwell success. Via home, he signed my card and wrote a full letter back in about six weeks. It arrived back in the middle of January.

Three days after him, I got broadcaster JP Dellacamera. After getting Sidekicks broadcaster and radio legend Norm Hitzges on one checklist, I figured I'd get Dellacamera on the other one. He also wrote a short note back.

The following day, Dali responded from Bosnia-Herzegovina. Unfortunately the envelope got soaked somewhere between there and here. I think the envelop may have tried to swim across the Atlantic. The signatures bled everywhere, the cards' corners were severely bashed up, and the water damage was crazy. So I likely will try him again. At least I know he signs!

On February 10 Sean Phillips came back to me. I sent to a soccer shop in Maryland, but the postmark was from California. He signed my card on both sides and also wrote a letter back.

And finally, a long one: It took almost a year and a half (513 days to be exact) but Gregg Blasingame signed three cards for me via the team he coaches.

Meanwhile, I picked up a Preki sig on eBay from the 1987-88 set. I'm hoping to try a few more via mail soon once I get the unsigned ones. I had no luck via a Washington home address, but he's coaching in St. Louis now, so I'll try him there.

Lastly, an IP outing in Allen:
Willie Molano 5/5
Kiley Couch 2/2
Jamie Lovegrove 2/2
Juan Gamboa 2/2
Ricardinho 2/2
TJ Nelson 2/2
David Kamali 2/2
Clark Binning 2/2
Tony Guillen 2/2
Fabinho 2/2

One of each of the 2/2 guys went to Ray in Baltimore. Not too bad-- 17/20 on the year for this year's team set!

If I end up winning my eBay auction (less than two hours until I know) I'll put a full list of sigs I picked up. A lot of them will be available for trade.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Debunking theories: the 1987-88 Tatu "Promo" and 89-90 Scoop headshot card

Well, that was quick!

Ray in Maryland emailed me yesterday to show me the source of the blank-back Tatu.

In most sports, a card displayed on a box is taken straight from the normal set (see all of Topps Baseball in the 1980s). This is the rare situation where it was completely different. Granted, other sports collectors may also recall that several companies did put cards for cut-out on the bottom or sides of boxes, however I highly doubt that was the intention with these Pacific boxes.

I also won't count the Michael King card on the 1988-89 box either.

Ray also said he hadn't seen the 1989-90 Scoop Stanisic headshot card anywhere except on the site that I saw it on, so I believe it is just a well-made graphic and not an actual physical card.

So it appears we can lay the concerns to rest and have a nice, even 800 sigs needed for the project.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Another error found, plus a rare promo

Well, at least now the project is at a nice, round 800 sigs needed.

The bad news is the new one is Slobo Ilijevski, who is deceased.

Look at Scoop Stanisic's 1989-90 Pacific card. That's not him. Big thanks to Rob Parker for pointing that out. He thought it was Scott Manning, but upon further review it's Slobo. He's wearing the same shirt on his 1988-89 All-Decade card.

I did also see this card of Scoop-- a corrected version. However, I don't know if this was a fan mock-up or an actual card. Can someone confirm?

If real: well, that puts us at a not-so-round 801.


Or was at 800.

I forgot about being shown this blank-back Tatu card, evidently a pre-press promotional/proof card that has been making the rounds on eBay. I would love to know more about it. Bottom right, photo lifted from an eBay auction that currently has it.

So we're at 801, maybe 802.

EDIT: Check the comments. I'm leaning more toward Manning again.