Thursday, December 18, 2014

1998 Pacific Online, Joe Randa

#281 Joe Randa

A couple of posts ago, I talked about how easy it is to have too many cards signed by one player. While it is not a problem for collecting, it can be a problem for blogging as it is easy to run out of things to say about a player, especially one that is retired and not making any news. That was the case for Jeff Montgomery. That should be the case for Joe Randa, too, since this is probably the eighth card that I have posted on here of him. But, luckily for me, this card does fill a specific niche for me. This is the only card that I have of him as a Detroit Tiger.

Joe spent one season in the Motor City. He ended up there from the Diamondbacks after they flipped him for Matt Fryman shortly after selecting him in the expansion draft from Pittsburgh. He had a bit of a down season with the Tigers as he hit just .254 with 9 home runs and 50 RBI. After that season, he was traded to the Mets before being dealt back to the Royals four days later.

I got this card signed at Royals Fanfest in 2013. For some reason, I wore my Omaha Storm Chasers shirt that day. Joe noticed it and must have assumed I was from Omaha because he kept going on about how nice of a city it is.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

1998 Bowman, Dan Reichert

#427 Dan Reichert

Here is the first of three cards that Dan Reichert signed for me before a Wichita Wingnuts game in 2013. Dan is the pitching coach for the Lincoln Saltdogs and he was nice enough to sign the three cards and an 8x10 before the start of the game.

Dan was drafted by the Royals in the first round of the 1997 draft after a standout career at Pacific University. He finished his junior season as the Big West Pitcher of the Year and All-American after going 13-4 with a 2.30 ERA with 169 strikeouts in 133.1 innings. After being taken seventh overall, Dan was assigned to Low-A Spokane. He finished up his season there 3-4 in nine starts with a 2.84 ERA.

Dan racked up some travel miles in '98 as he had stops in the Midwest League, Carolina League, Texas League, and Pacific Coast League. He got the most work in at the AA level and finished up the season 5-6 with a 5.77 ERA.

He spent most of the next season in AAA and was 9-2 with a 3.71 ERA and more than a strikeout an inning. In the middle of that solid season, he got called up to Kansas City for a handful of starts. He made his Major League debut in Milwaukee in July. He got the start in the second game of a doubleheader and did not do so well. He lasted just 1.2 innings while giving up 7 earned runs on 5 hits, 4 walks, and a hit batter. All seven runs scored in the second inning. Somehow, the Royals ended up coming back and winning that one.

Dan finished the season 2-2 with a 9.08 ERA over 8 starts. His biggest issue that season was his control. He walked 32 batters in 36.2 innings while striking out just 20.

Monday, December 15, 2014

1998 Best, Russ Ortiz

NN Russ Ortiz

Check out this early Russ Ortiz signature card. It is so early in his career, in fact, that he was still going by his given name of Russell. That may be why I was able buy this card for a mere seventy-five cents. At least that is what I thought until I got it and noticed it had a small wrinkle in it. But, for the price, I don't really care.

Russ pitched in the Majors for parts of twelve seasons with the Giants, Braves, Diamondbacks, Orioles, Astros, and Dodgers. He was mostly a starter and spent half of his big league seasons with the Giants. He was a 20 game winner once and made his lone All Star team that season. For his career, Russ was 113-89 with a 4.51 ERA and 1,192 strikeouts.

Russ pitched in one World Series for the 2002 Giants. After a solid start in the NLDS, where he was 2-0 with a 2.19 ERA, Russ started to have some issues in the second round. In the NLCS, he was 0-0 in one start with a 7.71 ERA. He got two more starts in the World Series and again had no decisions and a 10.13 ERA.

His poor postseason performance might have been the main reason why the Giants shipped him off to Atlanta during the off-season for Damian Moss and Merkin Valdez. The Braves got the better end of that deal as Russ had his All Star season in Atlanta in 2003. His postseason struggles continued, though, as he was 1-1 with a 7.24 ERA in three starts over two Division Series.

The Braves let him walk after the 2004 season and Russ's career as a journeyman began.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

1997 Stadium Club, Jeff Montgomery

#135 Jeff Montgomery

At what point is too many autographs from one person a bad thing? From a collector's standpoint, I don't see it as a problem. If you have every card that was ever made of a player and they are all signed, that would be a neat collection. But, for the purpose of this blog, I think four autographs is too many. I can usually spread out enough material for three posts on one player. I might be able to do four if I have an interesting tale of how I got one of the signatures. For some guys that never even made it to the Majors, though, two can be too many. I guess it just depends of the guy.

The point of all of that rambling is that I have posted too many cards of Jeff Montgomery on here. Jeff is a really nice guy and he is at Royals Fanfest nearly every year. In fact, Fanfest is where this card was signed nearly eleven months ago. But, by my best estimate, this is the ninth card of Jeff that I have posted on here. And I am out of things to write about him.

So, here are all of the Jeff Montgomery cards that I have ever posted. I am sure that I will have some more after Fanfest next month.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

1997 Score, Jim Eisenreich

#HR452 Jim Eisenreich

Here is one of my latest Jim Eisenreich signatures. And by latest, I mean that I picked it up at Fanfest about ten months ago. Jim is a regular at Fanfest and I have a few cards signed by him, mostly Royals. At this last Fanfest, my goal was to get some non-Royal cards signed. All that I had prior to that was a Phillies card signed. Jim also played for the Twins, Marlins, and Dodgers and, thanks to COMC, I was able to find a card of him with each team and get it signed. Here is the Marlins card I got.

Jim played for the Marlins for about a season and a half. He spent time in the outfield and at first for them, as well as pinch hitting. He hit .275 as a Marlin with 3 home runs and 41 RBI. He was on their championship team in 1997 and was 4-8 in the World Series with a home run and three RBI.

That was Jim's second and final trip to the fall classic, with his first being with the Phils in 1993. Over the two series, he hit .294 with two home runs and 10 RBI.

This card has a Hobby Reserve stamp on it. I have no idea what that means. I am not sure if these things were randomly inserted into hobby packs or if there were entire packs devoted to this product.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

1997 Fleer, Jaime Bluma

#111 Jaime Bluma

This is the third and final Jaime Bluma card that I got signed at Fanfest earlier this year.

In my last Bluma post, I talked about his successful debut with the Royals in 1996 (5 saves, 3.60 ERA). Unfortunately, that was the end to Jaime's Major League career. He ended up missing all of the 1997 season to an arm injury and he was never able to come back from it. He continued to pitch in the Royals system through 2000, but he never had the velocity or command that he had before the injury.

I was graduating high school in 1997 and baseball cards were the last thing on my mind. Because of that, I never saw these cards until I started blogging. That is too bad as I love this set. This is the perfect card for autographs. While there is a bit of gold foil on the card, there is no gloss whatsoever. In fact, these cards are the exact opposite of glossy. They have such a matte finish that they kind of feel a little fuzzy. That fuzzy matte finish even absorbs the signature a bit so that the sig looks matte, too.

They are absolutely perfect and I wish I had more of them. It is too bad this is the only one that I have signed.

Friday, December 5, 2014

1997 Bowman, Ben Davis

#193 Ben Davis

A few years back, Rod, from Padrographs, sent me a package of Royals and autos. This was one of the cards that he sent, but it somehow got skipped over the last time I did a recap. So, three years later, here it is.

A few years before that, in the early days of this blog, Rod sent me a package of over one hundred Padrographs. In that package was a Ben Davis card and that post can be seen here.

I posted that card in early 2010 while Ben was trying to re-invent himself as a pitcher. He had pitched in the Atlantic League in 2008 and in the Florida State League in 2009 with the Reds. He only appeared in 9 games that season, but he did well- 0-1 with 4 saves and a 3.09 ERA. I wondered then if his career was through or if he was still trying to make it as a pitcher. It turns out he gave it one more go.

In 2010, he was back in the Atlantic League with the Camden Riversharks. He appeared in 28 games, starting 23, and went 5-11 with a 4.61 ERA. He logged 136.2 innings and allowed 164 hits while walking 36 and striking out 84. That was Ben's final season playing baseball.