Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Mail - Sergei Makarov

A few purchases and a few TTM returns trickled in this past month. My success rate over the past couple years writing to players remains dismal. Even writing to current players c/o current team gets a low success rate lately. 
The three vintage AHL signed photos come from the same seller. I would have bought more from him but I got a sour taste in my mouth and the number one lesson I've learned from a decade of autograph hunting, no matter how old/rare the autograph, just be patient and another will surface.
I had contacted this seller after a few he listed didn't sell because the opening bid was too high for the condition of the photos. I offered to work out a deal with him but he refused, citing that they were worth more even though the market had clearly dictated that they were not. There were 3 that I wanted that didn't sell at $20 so I felt $50 for the lot was a more than reasonable offer. He wouldn't even entertain a deal. Its always leaves a negative feeling when sellers are unwilling to work with a buyer and the tone of his response left a bad taste in my mouth. When he listed a bunch more, even though I needed more of the autographs he had listed, I just put a minimum bid on a few of them. Most of those ended for less than what I would have been willing to pay. I almost didn't even buy these at the minimum bid. I make fair offers based on hundreds and hundreds of past sales and a decade of monitoring the market. I'm not in the business to make money so my offers are usually on the high end when I'm really interested. I thus always get a little thrown back when a seller accuses me of not being fair or not knowing what I'm talking about. Sorry for the small rant.

16 new autographs make the grand total of unique NHL signatures 5,488 for 74% of everyone to ever play in the NHL since it was created in 1917/18. 

The before picture...
Sheet signed by members of the 1992 Calgary Flames. I picked this up fairly cheap ($10) because the seller only identified a few signatures. There was one autograph in particular that caught my eye. Sergei Makarov must not like signing for card companies because he's never had a certified autograph. He also doesn't appear to answer fan mail so even though he's a HHOFer, you almost never see his signature. Mararov and Roger Johansson were the only two signatures from the sheet I needed.

And the after...
Sergei Makarov
Sergei Makarov won the first of his 8 World Championship Gold medals in 1978 with the USSR. He won Olympic Silver in 1980 and Gold in 1984 and 1988. Makarov was thus an accomplished player by the time the Soviet Union collapsed and he was finally able to make his NHL debut with the 1989/90 Calgary Flames, Makarov already in his thirties. Makarov won the 1990 Calder Trophy as NHL's rookie of the year after scoring 24 goals and 86 points in 80 games with the Flames that season. From then until 1997 he played in 424 NHL games, scoring 384 points as a Flame, Shark and Star. In 2016, Makarov was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Roger Johansson
From 1989 to 1995 Swedish defenceman Roger Johansson played 161 games in the NHL with the Calgary Flames and Chicago Blackhawks. Internationally, Johansson won Gold at the 1994 Olympics with Sweden.

Les Cunningham
If you're asking yourself why the name Les Cunningham sounds familiar, it is likely due to the fact that the AHL's MVP award bears his name. It does so because Cunningham retired as the AHL's all time leading scorer. He scored 579 points in 519 AHL games with the Cleveland Barons and won the Calder Cup championship 3 times. In the NHL, he played 23 games with the 1936/37 New York Americans and 37 games with the 1939/40 Chicago Blackhawks. He passed away in 1993.

Phil Hergesheimer
From 1939 to 1943 Phil Hergesheimer scored 21 goals and 62 points in 124 career NHL games with the Chicago Blackhawks. He was the AHL's leading scorer in 1946/47 with the Philadelphia Rockets. In 1939 he won the AHL's Calder Cup championship with the Cleveland Barons. His brother, Wally, also played in the NHL. Phil passed away in 2004.
I'll note that the signature is actually very clear and legible in person, bad scan.

Andy Branigan
From 1940 to 1942 defenseman Andy Branigan played 26 games in the NHL with the New York Americans. He went on to have a lengthy career in the AHL and won the Calder Cup championship in 1947 and 1956. He passed away in 1995.
Again, sorry for the poor scan but autograph is very nice in hand.

Phil Latreille
Phil Latreille played 4 games in the NHL with the 1960/61 New York Rangers, the result of a 5-game amateur tryout contract signed after his brilliant NCAA career had ended. 
I was thrilled to find a working address for Mr. Latreille and be able to write to another living Original Six player.

Joe Kowal
From 1976 to 1978 Joe Kowal recorded 5 points in 22 career NHL games with the Buffalo Sabres. The Sabres had drafted him 33rd overall in 1976.

Greg Mauldin
Greg Mauldin played 6 games with the 2003/04 Columbus Blue Jackets. He then toiled in the AHL and in Europe for years before returning to the NHL in a 1 game appearance with the 2009/10 New York Islanders. Mauldin's third and final stint in the NHL was his longest. He scored 5 goals and 10 points in 29 games with the 2010/11 Colorado Avalanche.

Luke Witkowski
Defenceman Luke Witkowski spent 4 seasons at Western Michigan University. In 2014/15 he made his NHL debut with the Tampa Bay Lightning. Since then he's played in 54 NHL games with Tampa. He was recently signed by the Detroit Red Wings.

Byron Ritchie
From 1998 to 2008 Byron Ritchie scored 25 goals and 58 points in 324 career NHL games. He spent time with the Hurricanes, Panthers, Flames and Canucks.

Evgeny Davydov
Russian forward Evgeny Davydov made his NHL debut with the 1991/92 Winnipeg Jets. From then until 1995 he scored 40 goals and 79 points in 155 career NHL games as a member of the Jets, Panthers and Senators. Internationally, he won Gold at the 1992 Olympics with the United Team of former Soviet republics. He also won Gold at the 1990 World Championships with the Soviet Union.

Richard Zemlak
Richard Zemlak was originally drafted by the St. Louis Blues in 1981. He made his NHL debut with the 1986/87 Quebec Nordiques. From then until 1992 he played in 132 NHL games as a member of the Nords, North Stars, Penguins and Flames.

Gordon Smith
From 1974 to 1980 defenseman Gord Smith played 299 games in the NHL. He spent most of that time with the Washington Capitals but did play for the Winnipeg Jets as well. His brother is legendary Islanders goalie Billy Smith.

Hugh Harvey
From 1974 to 1976 Hugh Harvey played 18 games in the NHL with the Kansas City Scouts. He's also notable for winning the Calder Cup in 1974 with the Hershey Bears.

Bobby Girard
From 1975 to 1980 Bob Girard played over 300 games in the NHL, dressing with the Seals, Barons and Capitals. He won the AHL's Calder Cup in 1980 with the Hershey Bears.

Hec Lalande
From 1953 to 1958 Hec Lalande played 151 games in the NHL, dressing with the Chicago Blackhawks and Detroit Red Wings. He scored 21 goals and 60 points in the NHL. He had a very successful career in the minors and in 1958 and 1959 won the Calder Cup with the Hershey Bears. Lalande passed away in 2010.


Valeri Vasiliev
Valeri Vasiliev was a long time member of the USSR National team and spent some time as their captain. The defeceman won Olympic Gold in 1972, 1976 and a Silver in 1980. He also played in the 1972 Summit Series, 1976 Canada Cup and won the 1981 Canada Cup. Vasiliev passed away in 2012.
ITG released a few certified autographs of USSR players who never appeared in the NHL. The 8 other players are Alexander Yakushev, Boris Mikhailov, Vladimir Shadrin, Vladimir Petrov, Vladimir Myshkin, Alexander Gusev, Aleanser Maltsev and Vladislav Tretiak. Vasiliev was the last of the guys I needed. I really miss some of the creative vintage sets ITG produced under Brian Price. I find Leaf products a little boring, especially from an autograph perspective. With Vasiliev and Makarov both recently added to the collection, the biggest hole in my USSR representation is the great Valeri Kharlamov, who passed away way back in 1981 and since I don't know Russian, will be a very difficult signature to find.

Gordon Tumilson
Goalie Gordon Tumilson backstopped 3 games in the WHA with the 1972/73 Winnipeg Jets. He seems to have spent up to three years as Winnipeg's extra and practice goalie.

Blaine Rydman
From 1972 to 1974 defenceman Blaine Rydman played 39 games in the WHA as a member of the New York Raiders and Minnesota Fighting Saints. He was a tough customer who had fought some of the era's most notorious fighters.

Bill Mahoney
Bill Mahoney spent a couple seasons as an assistant coach with the Washington Capitals in the early 1980s. From 1983 to 1985 he was Head Coach of the Minnesota North Stars. He left hockey and now lives comfortably as an owner of multiple Tim Horton franchises.

Kenny McCudden
Since 2015 Kenny McCudden has been an assistant coach with the Columbus Blue Jackets. He had previously spent 16 years as a skills coach with the AHL's Chicago Wolves.

Peter Pocklington
Peter Pocklington is best remembered as the guy who traded Gretzky to the LA Kings. He owned the Edmonton Oilers from 1976 to 1998 and has his name on the Stanley Cup a few times as a result. The wealthy Canadian businessman had an extraordinarily life and his book, I'd Trade Him Again, is worth a read.. He was once held at gunpoint as a hostage for 11 hours and in 1983 he ran, and lost to eventual PM Brian Mulroney, as leader of the Conservative party.

Molly Schaus
Molly Schaus was a long time member of Team USA's National team. She won a Silver medal at the Olympics in 2010 and 2014. Schaus also won Gold 5 times with USA at the Womens' World Championships.

Halli Kryzaniak
Halli Kryzaniak has been a member of Team Canada's National team since 2015. She's won a Silver with Canada at the World Women's Championships in 2015, 2016 and 2017. Kryzaniak currently plays NCAA with the University of North Dakota.

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