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Saturday, July 07, 2012

NYT: Kepner: The 83F Project: Sign Here, Please

Some might say Mortimer S. Nerd alert…but not me.

A fan here named Scott Mortimer has his own pursuit, with July 31 as the date to watch. That is when the Class AA Erie Seawolves come to Manchester to play the New Hampshire Fisher Cats. The hitting coach for Erie is Jerry Martin, a former outfielder who hit .251 for five teams from 1974 to 1984. Scott Mortimer needs him.

Mortimer, 41, is a stay-at-home father on a worldwide baseball scavenger hunt. He is trying to get autographs on all 660 cards in the 1983 Fleer baseball card set. After six years of trying, he is down to his final 99. One of the blank cards is Martin’s.

“I don’t know what kind of person Jerry Martin is, if he’d be willing to sign the card, if he would even pop out of the dugout before the umpires come out,” Mortimer said at his home last Sunday. “But that’s part of the excitement.”

Mortimer calls it the 83F Project and runs a blog with images of the autographs. He is part of a tribe of collectors who put their twist on a child’s hobby, mining a subset of the industry for fun, not profit. He trades with other collectors pursuing their own autographed sets, and has friends in other countries — scouts, in a way — who keep a lookout for his targets.

Repoz Posted: July 07, 2012 at 06:31 PM | 23 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: baseball cards

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   1. rr Posted: July 07, 2012 at 07:02 PM (#4175725)
Go, Mortimer, go. Like the Repozism to lead in as well.
   2. Walt Davis Posted: July 07, 2012 at 07:11 PM (#4175731)
b-r tells me Martin spent only two seasons with the Cubs. bWAR says -1.3 WAR in that time, mainly thanks to craptastic defense -- which is pretty much what I remember. The Cubs often go with "it's a small OF, we can put a bat in CF" which might actually work if they ever found one that could hit (e.g. Monday).

Further proof the human memory sucks is that I always think of Martin and Jerry Morales as playing together for the Cubs but they never did. Morales was nice enough to put up -1.6 WAR over 4 years. I don't recall him as good but b-r has him with some horrific defensive seasons that I'm not sure are accurate. He made the AS team in a season with -.9 WAR (not the sole rep but it was the surprise 77 Cub team).

I see Morales' real name is Julio Ruben ... Bob Clemente was one thing but how Julio Ruben became Jerry I haven't a clue.

Jerry Koosman and Jerry Reuss appear to be the only good Jerrys in ML history. Grote and Remy were OK, the Hairstons had their uses as did Mumphrey (who I always confused with Hairston Sr).
   3. cardsfanboy Posted: July 07, 2012 at 07:21 PM (#4175738)
He is part of a tribe of collectors who put their twist on a child’s hobby, mining a subset of the industry for fun, not profit. He trades with other collectors pursuing their own autographed sets, and has friends in other countries — scouts, in a way — who keep a lookout for his targets.


That is what collecting is about. Or at least a part of it. You collect what you want for whatever reason and it's not about profit. You freely help other collectors if you can.
   4. Monty Predicts a Padres-Mariners WS in 2016 Posted: July 07, 2012 at 07:24 PM (#4175740)
Man, I like people with impossible quixotic quests.
   5. BDC Posted: July 07, 2012 at 09:32 PM (#4175849)
TFA mentions how he handles deceased players – he doesn't have to get them to sign (evidently), just has to collect something they had signed. An interesting take on the task; it's about the items themselves, not travel or meeting people or degrees of separation.
   6. Bob T Posted: July 07, 2012 at 09:38 PM (#4175858)
I hope this guy doesn't keep all his cards in a coffee can and then flies to some exotic location, only to be stranded in the airport terminal, where he is frustrated by bureaucratic snafus from getting out to go get the autograph he needs.
   7. Jose Canusee Posted: July 07, 2012 at 09:51 PM (#4175872)
I posted this on his blog:
"It would be cool if the ones you got in person had a photo of the person autographing it next to the card to see what they look like now."
They look like they are signed with black Sharpies so I hope he doesn't go to a game and get a card signed by a prankster that he mistakes for the ex-big leaguer, or trade a good card to some Barry Halper claiming to hold a signed card from some scrub who is deceased.
   8. Bob Tufts Posted: July 07, 2012 at 10:55 PM (#4175928)
Since the 1983 Fleer and 1983 Topps sets for some odd reason do not have a Bob Tufts card, the entire process is meaningless.
   9. The District Attorney Posted: July 07, 2012 at 11:00 PM (#4175930)
Since the 1983 Fleer and 1983 Topps sets for some odd reason do not have a Bob Tufts card, the entire process is meaningless.
Would you sign it, or would you throw it back in his face and say, "Go away, kid. Ya bother me."?
   10. Tulo's Fishy Mullet (mrams) Posted: July 07, 2012 at 11:16 PM (#4175935)
the '83 Fleer is about as ugly a design as any, guess an autograph would dress it up.
   11. Bob Tufts Posted: July 07, 2012 at 11:52 PM (#4175950)
Would you sign it...


Since I am not included in the set, there's nothing for me to sign.

I mentioned this to Sy Berger at Topps and the company sent me payment (but did not do a 1983 card). I used the money for a TV from Crazy Eddie's which lasted from 1983 until earlier this year.

I will sign anything short of birth/death certificates and second mortgages.
   12. Martin Hemner Posted: July 08, 2012 at 12:14 AM (#4175957)
I was looking at his list, and I was wondering what he did with deceased players. A quick internet search revealed a 1983 Fleer Alan Wiggins on sale for $62. I'm not sure how they authenticated his signature, but I can't imagine a lot of those floating around.
   13. Martin Hemner Posted: July 08, 2012 at 12:17 AM (#4175959)
I used the money for a TV from Crazy Eddie's which lasted from 1983 until earlier this year.

That's a lot longer than Crazy Eddie lasted before having to flee the country.
   14. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: July 08, 2012 at 12:25 AM (#4175963)
I will sign anything short of birth/death certificates and second mortgages.

If you can forge the signatures of Dick Ruthven, Porfirio Altamirano, Manny Sarmiento, Luis Leal, Wayne Nordhagen, Randy Moffitt and Dan Spillner, you could really help this Mortimer guy out.
   15. chisoxcollector Posted: July 08, 2012 at 09:41 AM (#4176017)
I'm working on a somewhat similar autograph project. I'm trying to get every Upper Deck White Sox card ever made signed. The introduction of Upper Deck in 1989 coincided with my transformation from casual to die-hard baseball fan.

Upper Deck stopped producing baseball cards in 2010. From 1989-2010, they produced 529 base cards of White Sox players. I now have approximately 75% of them signed.

Three cards in particular will most likely prevent me from completing the project. David Wells has a Sox card in 2001. For his entire career, he has refused to sign all cards that don't picture him in a Blue Jays uniform. He won't sign Yankees cards, Tigers cards, etc.

Michael Jordan has cards in 1994 and 1995 UD. He refuses to sign baseball items outside of paid signings, and he charges $899 to sign a card at his paid signings. So unless I can find a reasonably priced one that he signed while he was actually playing baseball, my Jordan cards will remain unsigned.
   16. just plain joe Posted: July 08, 2012 at 11:51 AM (#4176071)
b-r tells me Martin spent only two seasons with the Cubs. bWAR says -1.3 WAR in that time, mainly thanks to craptastic defense -- which is pretty much what I remember. The Cubs often go with "it's a small OF, we can put a bat in CF" which might actually work if they ever found one that could hit (e.g. Monday).


I don't know how good of a fielder Martin was or was not; however, before his stint with the Cubs he was with the Phillies and basically served as Greg Luzinski's defensive replacement. Not that you would need to be very good in the outfield to be better than the Bull but it just goes to show something, I just can't figure out what.
   17. McCoy Posted: July 08, 2012 at 12:27 PM (#4176090)
I had a project running many years back of obtaining autographed baseballs from all the regulars of each memorable Chicago Cubs team. I have a set for the 1969 team, 1984, 1989, 1998, and 2003 team.
   18. The District Attorney Posted: July 08, 2012 at 01:26 PM (#4176125)
For his entire career, [David Wells] has refused to sign all cards that don't picture him in a Blue Jays uniform.
Huh! That's extremely surprising. If anything, I would have pegged Wells as a Reggie Jackson-esque "even though I spent time with other teams, I am a TRUE YANKEE!" guy.
   19. chisoxcollector Posted: July 08, 2012 at 01:31 PM (#4176133)
Huh! That's extremely surprising. If anything, I would have pegged Wells as a Reggie Jackson-esque "even though I spent time with other teams, I am a TRUE YANKEE!" guy.


I think it may be a ploy to increase the price of his autograph fee when he does decide to sign them. There are TONS of set collectors that need his autograph on cards in other uniforms that would pay through the nose to get his cards done.

He does sign other types of items for other teams. For example, he has no problem signing White Sox photos or Yankees jerseys. Just not cards.
   20. The District Attorney Posted: July 08, 2012 at 01:36 PM (#4176137)
So basically, he's an a-hole? That'd be much less surprising.
   21. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: July 08, 2012 at 02:22 PM (#4176168)
I used the money for a TV from Crazy Eddie's which lasted from 1983 until earlier this year.


Do you still have the dead TV? Maybe you could sign that for Mr. Mortimer.
   22. chisoxcollector Posted: July 08, 2012 at 03:48 PM (#4176197)
It's not unusual for players to refuse to sign items from a specific team. For example, Orlando Hudson won't sign Dodgers items. David Wells is the only player I'm aware that played for several teams that will only sign items from one team.

   23. The District Attorney Posted: July 08, 2012 at 05:48 PM (#4176239)
I will sign anything short of birth/death certificates and second mortgages.
Body parts?

... ALL body parts?

... Detached body parts?

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