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mr2686
04-17-2012, 11:47 AM
Hello everyone. I wanted to start off a team collecting thread with the first team I collected...the championship years of the 70's Oakland A's. First, a little background of how this project started for me. Back in the 80's, when I was collecting mainly HOF autos, I came across one of those framed/matted templates of a baseball diamond where you could insert baseball cards at each position. I thought this would be great to insert signed cards from one of my all time favorite teams, the 72-74 Champion A's. That idea was put on the back burner for a long time as I discovered that I would want better matting and that there were a lot more players that I would want that wouldn't fit a "one player per position" type of format. Fast forward to the late 90's when I decided to start getting everyone that was on the 72-74 teams rosters. This is where I made my first mistake. Although I took great pains in finding exemplars for each autograph, I failed to take in to account a couple of key things. First, the format of each autograph. From the beginning this was a project that was going to be framed and matted and what I didn't realize was how much better a project looks if it's balanced, meaning it's better when laying out your project to be able to have, say, a 1973 card balanced out with a second one...etc etc. 3x5 cards look better if they are all signed in ink and all the same color. Now, somethings it's just not possible to be consistent or find a particular format for a particular player. That's when some homework comes in handy before you jump in and buy. What I ended up doing is picking up a 72 card of a player and then later picking up a 74 instead so that I had equal numbers of those year's cards.
My second mistake was to not understand the scope of the project or what players were not included. Turns out A's owner Charlie Finley liked to trade players...alot!! The A's also brought up and down players from the minors, so there were a lot of players on the yearly roster...some of which I really didn't care about. There were also some players that I did care about but which were not on the roster for those years. Players like Rick Monday, Tommy Harper, Ceasar Tovar and Billy Williams either were traded before the 72 season or played in the 75 season. I soon came to the conclusion that if I collected only the players that were on the 71 - 75 playoff and World series rosters, I would have just about every player I really wanted, and that it would also make for a pretty good theme. When all was said and done, I ended up using a combo of baseball cards, 3x5's, cuts, checks and cachets to complete the project. I was not too anal about using a particular year's card for any one player, just that they balanced out. I also was not concerned that the cards were from the 71-75 years. Some players had only 1970 or 1976 cards, and some coaches like Jerry Lumpe and Wes Stock did not have individual cards from that era, but did have cards (when they were players) back in the early 60's from the KC A's. My main concern on this project was that it had A's as the team.
The whole project took about 5 years between finding a few of the harder ones and also going back and adjusting some formats.
If you are interested in collecting this team, here are some additional issues:
1. Gonzalo Marquez, although not impossible, is a tough autograph. He died at the age of 38. You will mainly find him on 3x5's, cuts, team balls and programs/yearbooks.
2. Coach Vern Hoscheit is surprisingly tough...not sure why since he was in baseball for a lot of years with several teams. I mainly saw him on team balls and did see a couple of cuts that were not for sale. I finally found a signed postcard of him as an Orioles coach and was able to mat out just the auto.
3. Allan Lewis is not impossible but not easy either. I've only seen him on team balls and also a few 8x10's that I believe came from a private signing. He lives in Panama and TTM's have been hard to get.
Update: Jodi.Birkh0lm had a limited private signing with Mr. Lewis that consisted of only 3x5's.
4. Herb Washington can also be tough. He ended up being a successfull businessman and doesn't do a lot of signings, and from what I understand does not sign though the mail. I believe Bill Corcoran did a couple of private signings with him which generated several of the signed cards that are out there. I was also able to find a signed ball and 8x10.
Update: Although I believe this to be true when I was looking for Herb back 12 years ago, Jodi.Birkh0lm points out that he signs very well TTM C/O his business address. A quick check of Sportscollectors.net confirms that he is now a consistent and willing signer through the mail.
5. Horacio Pina - Only has a 1974 card with the A's and I've only seen about 4 or 5 that were signed including one that was real light. Apparently does not sign TTM and doubt he does any shows. Mostly team balls and some programs.
Anyway, I hope this helps anyone thinking about collecting this team. Thanks and Happy Collecting.

mr2686
04-17-2012, 12:08 PM
I'd also like to add that the final project included 69 autographs and when matted and framed was quite large. If I had included "everyone" that was on the 71-75 team rosters for the entire year/years, I would have to have included an additional 40 autographs. Thanksfully, as I collect teams from earlier years, I have been finding that there are a lot less players on a teams yearly roster.

Scott Garner
04-17-2012, 12:24 PM
I'd also like to add that the final project included 69 autographs and when matted and framed was quite large. If I had included "everyone" that was on the 71-75 team rosters for the entire year/years, I would have to have included an additional 40 autographs. Thanksfully, as I collect teams from earlier years, I have been finding that there are a lot less players on a teams yearly roster.

Mike,
Can you please show us the final product, if possible? :)

bender07
04-17-2012, 12:46 PM
Great story and very cool to see someone so dedicated to a particular focus (something I've struggled with over the last 15 years!).

mr2686
04-17-2012, 01:25 PM
Here's the final product. Not a great picture but the only one I haver right now. As I said before, this was my first project like this and I learned a lot. One thing I learned and would do different would be to have a center piece that showed what the project theme was. In my other projects that I'm working on, I have taken this in to account and have either a chachet that has, for example, the outcome of a particular world series for that team, or I have a signed yearbook. In the case of the A's, I have been meaning to get some kind of gold nameplate and have it engraved with the team and years and put it on the bottom front of the frame. By the way, the final product is approx 54x36, so you can see how much larger it would be with another 40 autographs....aghhhhh

Scott Garner
04-17-2012, 02:03 PM
Here's the final product. Not a great picture but the only one I haver right now. As I said before, this was my first project like this and I learned a lot. One thing I learned and would do different would be to have a center piece that showed what the project theme was. In my other projects that I'm working on, I have taken this in to account and have either a chachet that has, for example, the outcome of a particular world series for that team, or I have a signed yearbook. In the case of the A's, I have been meaning to get some kind of gold nameplate and have it engraved with the team and years and put it on the bottom front of the frame. By the way, the final product is approx 54x36, so you can see how much larger it would be with another 40 autographs....aghhhhh

Wow- thanks! What a project Mike. I agree that having one central focus item to pull the theme together would be a good idea.

mschwade
04-17-2012, 02:26 PM
Here's the final product. Not a great picture but the only one I haver right now. As I said before, this was my first project like this and I learned a lot. One thing I learned and would do different would be to have a center piece that showed what the project theme was. In my other projects that I'm working on, I have taken this in to account and have either a chachet that has, for example, the outcome of a particular world series for that team, or I have a signed yearbook. In the case of the A's, I have been meaning to get some kind of gold nameplate and have it engraved with the team and years and put it on the bottom front of the frame. By the way, the final product is approx 54x36, so you can see how much larger it would be with another 40 autographs....aghhhhh

Awesome Mike, turned out very nice! Congratulations!

mr2686
04-17-2012, 02:46 PM
Thanks guys, I appreciate that. I just added some updates to the initial post to add some info provided by Jodi.Birkh0lm...and that brings me to the most important point of posts like these. When collectors like us start talking about projects, it starts to clear up any misconceptions about scarcity and availability, and also makes it easier for the next group of collectors to understand what they're up against in collecting any particular subject. I remember pre-internet, I was always told that Tony Lazzari just couldn't be found, and now it's not hard at all (although not cheap either).

David Bender
08-11-2012, 11:03 PM
Mike, what a great piece! Is Matt Alexander represented, or is he one of the missing 40?

mr2686
08-11-2012, 11:20 PM
Hi David. No, Matt wasn't included. He did play a bit in the regular 1975 season, but did not play in the playoffs against the Red Sox and I could find no indication that he was on the playoff roster. Let me step back and say that I thought finding the playoff/series rosters would be much easier, but it wasn't. In 71, they used the whole bench so that was easy from just the boxscores. I found a nice blog describing the debate on who to add and not to add for 72 and 73 playoff rosters, but 74 was a bit tougher (the series only went 5 and not everyone played) and of course 75 not everyone played. To the best of my knowledge through articles, film, blogs, etc, I believe I got everyone...at least I hope I did :o

MooseDog
08-12-2012, 12:16 AM
Hey Mike -

From a fellow A's fan that's an AWESOME finished project. I am envious!

Now you need to work on your next project, Oakland A's - The Dark Years (1976-79). Think about it, Taylor Duncan? Tim Hosley? Craig Minetto?