allen, ginter, gwynn, shelton, mench and mini mench

There’s no use crying over the fact that none of the players on the current Albuquerque Isotopes roster have cards in the Topps Allen & Ginter series. Instead, with Sharpie in hand I march around to the other side of the stadium and take advantage of injuries and log jams in the Rangers’ and Brewers’ organizations, and knock out a few autographs when the Oklahoma Redhawks and Nashville Sounds roll into the Duke City.

Tony Gwynn Jr. (2007 – no. 221).

Do NOT allow the smile on Tony’s face on his card lead you to believe that is what you will see when you ask him for an autograph. Patience and thick skin will help you with your attempt to get Gwynn to sign in person.

One evening last summer a couple of the graphers gave me a hard time after Tony Gwynn Jr. and Joe Dillon walked out of the locker room together and I chose to ask Dillon to sign instead of Gwynn. My view was that I’d rather have the autograph of a player who is nice and more than happy to sign than one who would end up muttering inaudibles (or worse) under his breath while signing (assuming he would agree to in the first place), or make a dash for the team van. Besides, I still needed to get Joe’s signature on his lunchbox (see end of post) that had been issued by the Isotopes after he had moved to Japan. Autographing is all about setting your personal priorities and remaining flexible.

Chris Shelton (2006 – no. 70)

I bet that if I had had 125 of these cards (coincidentally the same number of career hits Shelton had collected by the time the inaugural Allen & Ginter cards had gone to press), Chris would have happily stood there and signed every single one.

Kevin Mench (2006 – no. 324)

What in the world? If I hadn’t watched Kevin sign this card in person, I would never have believed it was a signature, and not someone’s test to see if his or her Sharpie was in good working order. Surely he couldn’t replicate that again in a million years!

Kevin Mench (2007 mini – no. 97)

Well color me wrong. Kevin scores big points for consistency.

Unlike the Topps 52s, simply assembling complete Allen & Ginter sets will satisfy me, and every autograph I obtain will be considered a bonus. With that in mind, I only need a handful more of the 2007 minis to reach that goal. I ask that you stop thinking about your fantasy baseball team(s) long enough to visit my need list and let me know if you have any duplicates for trade. I would really like to complete the 2007 set before the 2008 cards are released.

– Kris


In the interest of keeping things in order… here is a photo of the Joe Dillon lunchbox mentioned previously.

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