My First Derek Jeter Pick Up

When I first got back into collecting cards back in 2003, one of the players I wanted to collect was Derek Jeter. At that point, Jeter was already an all time great. He had won 4 World Championships, was a World Series and an All Star Game MVP. He was at the top of his popularity, Which was why collecting Jeter was, and still is quite difficult.

Want an autographed baseball? Prepare to shell out over $300.00. His autographed cardboard routinely goes for anywhere from $100.00 to $300.00. Even his game used cards are priced at a premium these days. 

Back in 2003, I went to the Hofstra Sports Card show on Long Island. I was looking for anything Yankees, like I still do. I just went in without a game plan and dove into boxes and looked until I found something I wanted and bought it.

On this day, I found this card at a table that had a bunch of other patch cards. I was pretty uneducated about cards, especially patch cards and paid what the lady asked without negotiating. These days, I would have tried to haggle her down from the 30.00 I paid. 

Still, regardless of what I paid, it’s my very first Jeter pick up as well as my first patch card and it remains in my collection. It’s one of my favorite cards in my Jeter collection and I don’t see myself parting with it anytime soon. I have since added cards to my Jeter collection, but this one is my favorite.

Great, I Will Now Have The Fox Sports Theme In My Head Whenever I Watch The Yankees

Ahhhhh, nothing gets me excited about Baseball and my New York Yankees like……Cleatus, The Fox Football Robot??

Bear with me folks. I have not been sipping on the funky wine. Yes, Cleatus is synonymous with football on Fox, but the good folks at Fox allowed a company named ActionHeads to produce figures of Cleatus in different NFL team colors. I do like the Jets figure and have been meaning to pick it up.

So, when I was in California visiting my girlfriend, Gina, we went into Fanzz, a sports shop in Westminster Mall. We were going to the Dodgers game later that night and I wanted to get a Dodger player t shirt to wear to the game. I was able to get a very nice Matt Kemp Brooklyn Dodgers t shirt and Gina bought me a Jackie Robinson Dodgers player t shirt. While we were walking to the register, I saw a boxed figure that warranted a closer inspection.

When I picked it up, I noticed it was a Cleatus figure, but it wasn’t painted in any football team colors. It was a Cleatus painted in Yankees colors. I had never seen one before. Figures, I would find this 3,000 miles away from home. It was pretty cool, but after much debate, I decided to put the figure back and save the money for the trip.

So, when I get back to New York, Gina tells me I have a package coming my way. I was wondering what she could have possibly sent my way. Maybe a memento from our trip to Dodger Stadium? A Spider-Man Lucha Libre mask I saw on Olvera Street? When I got the package, it was none of the above. It was the Cleatus Yankees figure I wanted. Does this woman know me or what?

Now, after a year of it sitting on my shelf by my autographed baseballs and being oh so lazy, I finally break him out and review him.

The robot comes in a pretty generic box. Would have been nice if it was at least in team colors.

Side of the box has a picture of Cleatus. At least he’s in team colors here.

The back of the box has the supposed specs of Cleatus. Looks like he would be on the Mitchell Report in no time.

I’ll tell you what, Cleatus looks pretty bad ass out of the box. I love the colors on him. Perfect combination of Yankee blue and white.

Close up of Cletus. Had that interlocking NY on his chest, which I think is awesome. With the red sunglasses, he kinda looks like Optimus Prime.

Cleatus is wearing a special Fox Sports patch on his right shoulder. Wonder if this will sell for the hundreds of dollars that the Lou Gehrig patch did on eBay.

One of the unfortunate things about the figure is that the fingers don’t open or close. Would help holding the bat on both hands if you wanted to pose him that way.

Cleatus has ball joints on the shoulders and a bend at the elbows. There is no bend on the wrists, although they do spin around.

There is a bend at the knees, ankles and at the toes. Unfortunately, since the figure is pretty top heavy, Cleatus is prone to falling over like I am after a few too many adult beverages. Like the wall does for me, I had to hold Cleatus up to show the bends.

Cleatus has a hip swivel and ball joints on top of the legs.

The head can go side to side, but barely goes back and forth. Not going to get a whole lot of movement in the neck area.

The figure has some decent articulation. Once you get the joints loose you will be able to pose Cleatus just about anyway you want to. You will have some limitations, but a collection with a better imagination that I do will be able to get some decent poses out of this figure. Just remember that he is top heavy and is prone to falling over. I will just keep him in the box until I can get a display case and I will put him with my other Yankees statues, bobbleheads and figurines. I really like having this figure and think Cleatus will make a great addition to any baseball collection.

Thank you to my sweet baby for the great addition.

The Perfect Statue

I don’t have a lot of Don Larsen in my Yankees collection. Aside from a few cards (nothing vintage) and an autographed ball, there isn’t much in the way of Larsen collectibles out there. I don’t think he every had anything specifically made for him, like Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berra or Roger Maris had. There isn’t a Yankee Larsen bobblehead, which I find amazing.

So, about a year ago, my buddy and I were at the MLB All Star Fan Fest and came across a table that the Yogi Berra Museum had. I looked at their table, hoping for some really cool Yogi Berra merch for my Yankee collection, but really didn’t see anything that jumped out at me until I saw they were selling Don Larsen statues. I was interested, but wanted to save my money in case I found the Wow factor (Darrel Sheets representing). My buddy, knowing I collect the Yankees, bought the statue for me.

And it took me a year to post a review. Shame on me.

I had never seen this statue before. I think this was a Brockton Rox SGA. it actually looks like the bronze statues the Yankees gave away a few years back. I don’t think the Yankees gave away a Don Larsen statue in that set, so this one is a pretty cool piece to have.

On one side of the box, we get the box score from the Perfect Game from Game 5 of the 1956 World Series.

A little write up about said Perfect Game.

And a write up about the Brockton Rox. The Rox are a summer collegiate team who used to be members of the Cam-Am independent league.

And here’s the statue. I am pretty impressed with it. I wasn’t expecting much when I opened the box up, but it looks like I could display this with the Yankee statues and it would look like it belongs in the set. The statue also looks like the statue that is currently in the Yankees Museum.

A front view of the statue with the date of the Perfect Game on the front of the base.


A shot of the back of the statue. I just love the detail on this statue. Despite the bronze color, you can clearly see the pinstripes and the number 18 on his back clear as day.

Bottom of the back of the statue with the 1956 World Series, Game 5 inscription in gold paint.

Close up of the statue.

The bottom of the statue with the scoreboard of the game painted on in gold.

I think this a well done statue. I love the detail of it as well as the inscriptions on the base. I wonder why the Yankees didn’t give these away. The fans would have loved this instead of the seeds and $2.00 Dunkin Donut cards. But I’m glad I have one and I thank my buddy for picking this up for me. It’s a perfect (no pun intended…ok, maybe a little) addition to my Yankees collection and I cannot wait to be able to display it among the other statues, McFarlanes and bobbleheads in my collection.

Now I think I have to start picking up those Yankee statues to go with this Larsen.

A Partial Look At My Tino Martinez Collection


Today, The Yankees honored a player who was instrumental in winning 4 world championships in 1996, 1998, 1999 and 2000 with a plaque out in the famed Monument Park. That player is Tino Martinez, who also just happens to be my favorite Yankee.


My earliest memories of Tino Martinez was watching him kill the Yankees as a member of the Mariners during the 1995 American League Division Series, batting .409 with a homer and 5 RBI’s. When I heard Don Mattingly was taking a year off to decide his future, I wondered if the Yankees could get their hands on the guy from Seattle. Sure enough, the Yankees traded Sterling Hitchcock and Russ Davis for Jim Mecir, Jeff Nelson and Contantino Martinez. Highway robbery if it ever was. Jeff Nelson was a huge part of the championship teams as well as Tino was.


Over the years, I got to watch Tino launch home runs over the right field wall at the old Yankee Stadium and make some beautiful plays over at first base. I always felt Tino was robbed of a Gold Glove or two, but because the AL also had JT Snow, Rafael Palmero and John Olerud, Tino never won a Gold Glove and I think that’s a shame. He was a tremendous fielding first baseman.


Tino’s best season was in 1997, when he hit 44 home runs and had 141 RBI’s. He finished second in the voting for Most Valuable Player, losing out to Ken Griffey Jr. He also participated and won the Home Run Derby during that season’s All Star Game festivities, which was a joy for me.


My two most memorable Tino moments were in 1996 and 1998 respectively. First, during the early part of the 1996 season, Tino had started off slow and was being booed by Yankee fans. The Yankees were in Baltimore and one of the games wen late into extra innings. Tino belted a game winning home run and was cheered loudly when the team came back to NY. The second, was obviously during Game 1 of the 1998 World Series when he hit a grand slam into the upper deck off Mark Langston giving the Yankees a 4 run lead. I will always remember seeing a shower of beer pop up in the air after the ball landed into the upper deck.


Like I mentioned previously, I started collecting Tino Martinez cards back in 2002. Because I have other player collections, my Tino collection may not be as large as others, but I am proud of it. Here are my favorite Tino cards, starting with the base and inserts:










Here are my favorite Game Used cards. Mind you, these were taken before I got a scanner and I never got around to scanning them. The scanner is now broken.







I also have this printing plate



And probably my favorite Tino piece



This was a gift from a friend who used to sell cards. He accidentally sent an order late for a secret santa I was participating in. Knowing that Tino is my favorite, he sent this to me as a gift to make up for the lateness of the order. I never met Tino and I hope to at some point.


There are other cards I need to pick up. I also have eyes on some other Tino items like bobbleheads, his Starting Lineup figures, a Danbury Mint statue and some programs with him on the cover. My ultimate would be a Tino game used bat and jersey. Maybe when I win lotto.


Congratulations, Tino.  You had a great career and you were a wonderful Yankee. I think the plaque in Monument Park is rightfully deserved. You sit with the greats now.

I Love To Get My Balls Signed…Baseballs, That Is.


One of my hobby goals for 2014 is to get more autographed baseballs in my Yankees collection. In fact, I have made an ambitious goal for myself and that is to get as close to 100 signed baseballs from Yankee players, former and present, for the collection. I say it’s pretty ambitious because I’m not what you would call an autograph hound. I don’t go chasing players or wait at their hotels or hang out the ballparks before players arrive. Of course that’s because I don’t know where the player hotels are and it’s difficult to graph at Yankee Stadium.

So, how do I add signed baseballs to my collection? Player appearances is one way. That’s how I was able to get players like Hideki Matsui, Darryl Strawberry, Bucky Dent and David Cone to sign baseballs for me. Another way is card shows. The card show I go to usually will have 1 free player and if that person is what I deem “ball worthy”, I will get them to sign or I will pay for the player if he’s not too expensive. Some of the players I have gotten this way is Ruben Sierra, Bobby Richardson and Gaylord Perry. Then there is the TTM route. To be honest, I have lost more baseballs than gotten back, but a couple of the players I have gotten back were Mike Mussina and Jimmy Key.

So, here is the signed baseball collection right now:


I have them on a shelf right over my bobblehead collection. I kind of think I’m running out of room. I probably have just that row to finish and that would be it. Another row might be pushing it.


So, which players do I want to add to the collection? Well, I have more than a few players in mind.


The Core Four


Derek Jeter

Mariano Rivera

Andy Pettitte

Jorge Posada


The Champions


Paul O’Neill

Tino Martinez

Scott Brosius

Orlando Hernandez

Ron Guidry

Sparky Lyle

Cecil Fielder

A.J. Burnett

Mike Stanton

Brett Gardner

Willie Randolph

Tim Raines

Bernie Williams


The Hall Of Fame Players


Dave Winfield

Rickey Henderson

Joe Torre

Reggie Jackson

Rich Gossage

Phil Niekro

Phil Rizzuto (I know he’s passed on, but his autograph are still out there)


The Managers


Lou Pinellia

Buck Showalter

Ralph Houk (See Phil Rizzuto)


There are other players I want as well like Aaron Boone, Dave Righetti and Bobby Murcer. Players who may not have had hall of fame careers or won a championship here, but still made a difference in Pinstripes.


So, as you can see, I have some players to chase around if I want to get to my goal of 100 signed baseballs by the end of 2014. Right now, I’m at 42 baseballs, so if I’m going to get to 100, I better get my butt in gear. I consider myself rather fortunate that I am lucky enough to have the autographs that I do own. Hopefully by the end of the year, I will be wondering where am I going to display all the autographs. Then I will know that I reached my goal and can set my next goal. 200, here I come.

In Celebration Of El Capitan


I’ve been a Yankees fan since 1976. I was 5 years old when I first saw Chris Chambliss hit an ALCS winning walk off home run that sent the Yankees to the World Series that season. I’ve seen players put on the pinstripes that would eventually be Hall Of Famers. Jackson, Hunter, Gossage, Winfield, Henderson were all Yankees at one point or another. I also saw players that might not be Hall Of Fame players, but personified what being a Yankee is all about. Players like Mattingly, Murcer, Randolph, O’Neill, Williams, Tino, Pettitte, Mussina, Cone all fit this description to a T. Then you have Mariano who is the greatest closer in the history of the game. An argument can be made that the Yankees may not have won all those World Series without number 42.

Then, there’s Jeter.

From the moment I saw him play on Opening Day against the Indians back in 1996, I knew this guy was something special.  He hit a home run and made a nice over the shoulder catch in that first game, so how could I not be excited? Especially when all I heard coming out of spring training that year was he was a work in progress. He was going to make his share of errors and if he hit .270, the Yankees would be happy. He finished at .310 with 10 home runs and 78 RBI’s and had 183 hits that season. Oh yeah, he was going to be special all right.

With this being his final year, I decided I was going to create a binder for just his cards. That is a tremendous task for me as I am still in the process of organizing my thousands of Yankees cards. I am pulling all his cards and putting them in 9 pocket pages so I can see just what I have, Derek Jeter-wise. As I’m going along, I am seeing cards that I forgot I had. It’s like Christmas all over again for me.

So, over the course of this final season, I will post pictures of some of my favorite Jeter pieces. Cards, figures, bobbleheads, whatever I have of Derek Sanderson Jeter, I will post. Being that I am not a Jeter collector per say, I still have some very nice Jeter pieces in my Yankees collection.




I’ll start with my very first Jeter autograph that I picked up. I admitedly do not have a lot of Jeter autographs, just 3 in my Yankees collection. This 2003 Fleer Showcase Sweet Sigs autograph is the only one I paid for, the other two were incredibly lucky pulls in group breaks.

I remember going to the Westchester Sports Card  show, like I always do. This particular year, I think it was 2005, I had gotten a pretty nice tax return that year and I went into the show  telling myself I wasn’t walking out without a Derek Jeter autograph. I really wanted a signed baseball, but the prices were too high, as they remain to this day. Plus the few I could afford had sketchy autographs, so I turned to certified autographed cards.  I saw some nice cards that day, but decided on the Sweet Sigs because I had wanted an autograph on a ball and this was the closest I would come to since it was signed on a piece of rawhide. I would have picked up a signed UD Sweet Spot, but this card was about 50.00 cheaper.  The picture doesn’t do the card justice. The auto is actually pretty sharp to this day.

Being that Derek Jeter is one of the most popular Yankees of all time, his stuff can be pretty pricey. I did want to add a few more things this up coming season to my Yankee collection, but I may hold out since everyone is grabbing as much Jeter stuff, driving the prices up. A signed ball is still my holy grail, but I dn’t see myself paying the asking price for one.

Being that he is The Captain, there will always be items for us collectors to pick up and add to our collections. The card companies will always print up Jeter cards, McFarlane will probably make a few more Jeter figures. Plus, thanks to eBay, there will always be a plethora of Jeter goodies to get our grubby mitts on. As a Yankee collector, that is fine by me. Too much is never enough.



Finally Added An Autograph I’ve Been After..



For the past couple of seasons, I’ve been trying to pick up an Ivan Nova autograph to add to my Yankees collection. One of my goals is to add as many autographs of players who donned the pinstripes at anytime in their career. Be it for an inning or 20 years, if they played for the Yankees, I want their autograph.

I am working on my Yankees autographed baseball collection, but not every player is ball worthy, in my opinion. Baseballs are a lot of money these days, so I will either try to hunt down a signed 8×10 or a certified autograph on a  baseball card that was released by Topps, Panini, Upper Deck, Fleer or Donruss, depending on when the player played in New York. The player also has to be pictured in a Yankees uniform as well.  I would like to get a list done of which players I already have so I have a number of what I have. That will be my next project, after I finish organizing my thousands of Yankees baseball cards. A daunting task in it’s self.

Since Nova’s debut in 2010, I have been trying to pick up an autograph of his. It hasn’t come easy. I usually get outbid on autographs on eBay or there are cards that have been ridiculously expensive. Nova’s career stats are 40-21 with a 4.04 ERA, but he has been very inconstant. He has yet to put together a full season where he doesn’t struggle for a few months at a time and now he is lost for the rest of 2014 due to Tommy John surgery. He was thought to be a big part of the rotation this year, but started out slow and got shelved.


I finally won a eBay auction for a Nova autograph and it’s a beaut. I won this 2012 Topps Museum Collection dual jersey autograph for less than $5.00. I’m guessing that Nova’s current status as an injured player had something to do with why I got this card for so low a price. Not that I’m complaining, mind you. Nothing I love more than winning a Yankee autograph for next to nothing.

The card is numbered to #99 made. It has two swatches from his home uniform. I say uniform because it doesn’t say they are jersey pieces. Heck, the back of the card even goes as far as to say that they are not from any specific game, season or event. That means they may not even be game used. I guess ignorance will have to be bliss in my case, not that I bid on the card because I cared about the game used pieces, although the pinstripe piece pleases me.

I can cross Nova off my list and move on to other players I need autographs of. Off the top of my head, David Justice, Chuck Knoblauch and Scott Brosius are three players from the championship years I really need in my collection. Maybe I can add them in the next few weeks. Either way, I won’t stop hunting them until I do.

Package From Tromp Sports Cards


For the past 6 years, I have been a part of a group called the Team Collectors. We met on the old Beckett boards and formed a group that would send cards to each other. It’s a great group as not only has our team collections have grown, but there is a friendship among us all. We look out for each other, listen to each other when we have problems and have been there for each other. It’s a group I cherish being a part of and I hope we continue to be together for a long time.

One of the members, Mike, has an online card store. Here is the link in case you want to check it out:  It’s a nice online shop. I recommend it.

So I finally placed an order, since he had some cards I needed for my various collections and not too long after, I received my package. Here are some of my favorites.

I am a huge Mark Teixeira fan. I have been since his days as a Texas Ranger. Once he became a Yankee, I decided to collect his cards and the store had a few I needed for my Teixeira collection.





I also got to pick up this Topps Heritage Certified autograph of former Yankees pitcher Bob Kuzava.


I already got his autograph through the mail, but I thought this card looked very cool and at the price I paid it was too good to pass up.

There were other cards I picked up, but those were non Yankee cards and this is a blog about nothing but the New York Yankees, so onward we go.

Mike also threw in some extra cards for my Yankees collection.


I love these cards of Ruth and Mantle. Mickey is one of my all time favorite Yankees and anytime I can add a card of his to my Yankees collection, I am a happy guy. I would love to add some Mantle vintage to my collection one day. Maybe when I hit the lottery I can.


I just started a Derek Jeter PC, so these will go great into that collection. Over the past couple of weeks I have been hunting through my Yankees cards and pulling all Jeter cards and putting them into 9 pocket pages. I just need to buy a binder for them all.

There were other cards inside the package, but these were my absolute favorites. I want to thank my buddy Mike for the sale and his generosity on the extras. I cannot recommend his online store enough, so check it out and tell him that I sent you.

Bobbleheads Come in All Sizes


I am always looking to add new bobbleheads to my collection. Especially Yankees bobbleheads. I haven’t really picked up any new bobbleheads for the collection lately, so I am pretty behind on additions. Unfortunately, work is slow right now, so I have to watch what I spend my money on. Until things pick up, my bobblehead additions will be few.

But things can sometimes go in my favor. Case in point, this past Saturday I was hanging out with my friend at a flea market in Fishkill, NY. I had been there before looking stuff to pick up. The Yankee items I see in various booths are either in poor condition, something I already own or too pricey, so I usually pass on what the dealers are peddling.

I visited this one table that I had purchased items from before. This dealer usually has a wide variety of goodies for sale. From sports items to pop culture items, this dealer has some pretty nice stuff. Problem is all his good stuff is pretty expensive. I did see this one small Yankees item that I became very interested in, especially since I never seen it before. The price was a whopping $2.00.  Easy decision. It came home with me.


What I had bought was a Baseline Bopper. It was made in the late 1990’s by a toy company called ERTL.  I had seen these before, except made as cars. I had never seen them in an airplane before, which is why I snatched it up quickly.

Here is an example of the the cars look like



I have been looking for the car at a decent price for a while and instead, I find the airplane.

Here are some shots of this tiny beauty:



The propeller actually work.




I love finding pieces like this to add to my Yankees collection. It’s something like this that makes the hunt so exciting and gratifying when you come across unique items. Yeah, I know it’s not much, but anytime I can diversify my collection with different items, all relating to the Yankees, then I’m a happy man.

Off the subject, you may have noticed the title of this blog has changed. I felt that the new title reflects what I want to accomplish with this blog and that is sharing my Yankees collection with the community. And not just the pieces I pick up, but the hunt and chase for the item as well. I feel the title change fits the blog perfectly. I hope you think so as well.

Start Of A New Collection

As many cards I have. As many bobble heads I own. As many autographs I possess. I am always looking for something else to collect to show my love of the Yankees. Sure I have figures and jerseys and t shirts and magazines and other stuff that would make most people back away slowly. I figured what I collect next shouldn’t take too much room or I might end up on that T.V. series, “Hoarders”. 

So, I decided I would start 2 new Yankees collections. These are collections I have always wanted to start and have always been doing in someway. I just decided to be more serious about collecting and taking care of them as I would my other Yankees treasures. One I will discuss here and the other will have a entry of it’s own. Today, I want to show off the beginnings of my Yankees pin collection.

Now, As I mentioned before, I have a few pins already (finding them would be a good thing).  After looking at other fans pins collections, I decided to start my own. Picking up pins is pretty cheap, so I hope to have a pretty good collection of different Yankee pins by the end of the year. 

I was out and about this past Saturday and decided to pop into the Yankees Clubhouse store on 42nd St, by 8th Ave. As I was looking at a few t shirts, jerseys and jackets I plan to pick up for the new season, I stopped by the register to inquire about a Yankees phone cover for my brand new Samsung Galaxy Note 2. They only had Iphone covers at the moment, but I will keep looking as I cannot find a Yankees cover for this phone to save my life. While I was there, I noticed a spin rack of different Yankee pins. After looking over what they had, I picked 3 from the rack and bought them. 

Here are the three pins I picked up:



Grabbed this one of the interlocking NY. I’m more of a fan of the baseball logo, but they didn’t have that one at the time. I will grab it when I see it.


Picked up this one of the new Yankee Stadium. Anything that has Yankee Stadium in any of it’s incarnations, I will grab for my collection.


Of course no Yankees collection is complete without the trophy that no other team as won more of. This was the first pin I saw off the rack and grabbed it without thinking twice.

Admittedly, I do not know much about collecting pins. I do know I have to find a binder of some sort where I can store them. I have seen Disney pin collectors carry their pins around in these binders and I believe I can pick one up at the next sports card show I attend in a couple of weeks, 

I also know that the more desirable pins to collect are the press pins. These are pins that are given out to members of the media for special events such as the All Star Game and World Series, I have seen a few of these pins on eBay and they command a nice chunk of change. Maybe when I have more funds I will pick up a few press pins. 

I’m pretty excited to start this part of my Yankees collection. I’m sure as this collection grows with pins I pick up at Yankee Stadium, the Yankees Clubhouse Store, eBay or anywhere else, I will cherish them as I do with every other part of my collection. I already can’t wait to add more pins.


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