Sunday, August 2, 2015

2007 Bowman Heritage, Daniel Mayora

#BHP29 Daniel Mayora

Here is a card that I got signed at Spring Training last year. Daniel was in the Dodgers minor league camp and I was able to get this card signed as he was walking between fields.

Daniel was originally signed by the Rockies and he began his professional career for them in 2005. Eleven yeas later and, while he may not be with the Rockies organization any more, Daniel is still toiling around in the minor leagues. And, while he is at least playing affiliated baseball, he is not even playing AAA. He is in AA. In fact, Daniel has only played in 51 AAA games and they all came in 2011 while he was in the Rays organization. He hit .262 in AAA and got released by the Rays afterwards. He was then picked up by the Giants and then demoted back to AA. They released him after the season, and he spent 2013 in the Atlantic League before being picked up by the Dodgers last year. His two seasons in the Dodger organization were both spent in AA so far.

As of right now, Daniel has played in 580 AA games. He has hit .288 at that level, though he is hitting just .251 right now. You have to wonder how much more AA ball he has left in him.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

2007 Bowman Heritage, Cedric Hunter

#BHP9 Cedric Hunter

While this is not the first Cedric Hunter autograph I got, it is the newest. I got my first Hunter auto about four years ago when Rod, from Padrographs, sent me one of his customs that Cedric signed. I have yet to post that card, but here is one that Rod gave me last month.

On my trip to the west coast, I had the pleasure of meeting up with Rod at a Hillsboro Hops game. Rod came bearing gifts and added about sixty more autographs to my collection. About half of the cards he had for me came slabbed by an unknown company to me, Historic Grading and Authentication. Rod apparently picked up a lot of cards authenticated by them just because he needed one of the cards in the lot for his collection. He did not need the rest, so he handed them off to me at the game. It was very generous of him.

So far, this is the only card out of the lot that I have unslabbed. Here is a picture of what is left of the slab.

It looks like this company charges $8 to authenticate a card, but they have bulk rates, too. I am not sure what their bulk rates are, but eight bucks seems a little steep to get a card of Cedric Hunter authenticated.

To date, Cedric has played in six Major League games and they were all with the Padres in 2011. He went 1-4. He is currently playing for the Braves AAA team.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

2007 Bowman Heritage, Cesar Nicolas

#BHP4 Cesar Nicolas

Here is a card that I got signed at a Wichita Winguts playoff game in 2011. Cesar was playing for the Grand Prairie Airhogs at the time. For a playoff game, there wasn't too many people there and Cesar wondered aloud where all the people were.

Cesar was drafted by the Diamondbacks in the fifth round of the 2004 draft out of Vanderbilt. He hit 21 home runs in his first pro season in the Midwest League and followed that up with 14 home runs in the California League the next season while hitting .302 both years. In 2007, he was promoted to AA and his numbers dropped dramatically. He hit just .245 with 9 home runs that year and was forced to repeat AA the following season. His numbers were similar in his second go-around and the D-Backs released Cesar after just four seasons.

Cesar made the jump to independent ball in 2009, spending most of the season with Grand Prairie. He did good enough there to get picked up by the Tigers for the 2010 season, which he spent with their AA team. He started 2011 with the Tigers AAA team before getting released and heading back to Grand Prairie.

He had a really good season with the 'Hogs in 2011, hitting .353 with 73 RBI in 84 games. But it wasn't enough to get back into affiliated ball. Cesar would play for two more seasons in the American Association, Atlantic League, and Mexico before calling it quits after the 2013 season.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

2007 Bowman Heritage, Kei Igawa

#229 Kei Igawa

Here is a card that I got signed at a Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees game in 2009. Kei was charting pitches in the stands that game and was pretty easy to identify out of his uniform. So, I went up to him between innings and he signed all three cards that I had of him.

Kei came to the States from the Hanshin Tigers in Japan's Central League. He pitched for them for eight seasons and won 86 games for them while only losing 60. His best season for the Tigers was the 2003 season when his 20-5 record lead the team to the Central League pennant. Kei posted a 2.80 ERA that season and struck out 179 batters. Those numbers earned him the MVP Award and the Eiji Sawamura Award, which is the Japanese Cy Young Award.

With the Tigers, Kei had a 3.14 ERA and struck out 1174 batters, including a career high of 228 in 2004.

After the 2006 season, the Tigers posted him and the Yankees won the bid for him with a bid of $26,000,194.

Friday, July 24, 2015

My First Twitter Contest

In honor of John Smoltz going into the Hall of Fame on Sunday, I have decided to hold my very first Twitter contest. All you have to do is follow me on Twitter and retweet my Tweet about the contest. The winner will he chosen by and will receive the signed 8x10 in the picture. I got an extra one of these at the College World Series a few years back and I thought this would be the perfect time to hand one out.

Just follow me @zmills40 and retweet the post to be entered!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

2007 Bowman Heritage, Matt Chico

#225 Matt Chico

Here is the first of three cards that Matt Chico signed for me at a Wichita Wingnuts game in 2012. Matt was playing for the visiting New Jersey Jackals when they came to town for interleague play.

Matt was drafted by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the third round of the 2003 draft out of USC. He pitched for the D-Backs organization for four seasons before being dealt to the Nationals for Livan Hernandez.

He broke camp in 2007 with the Nationals and was a mainstay in their rotation for most of the season. Though he did pitch in two AAA games in August, he made 31 starts at the Major League level and went 7-9 with a 4.63 ERA and 74 walks to 94 strikeouts. He had a hard time keeping the ball in the park that season as he gave up 26 long balls, including three in a game twice. The first three he gave up were in his Major League debut against the Marlins.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

2007 Bowman Heritage, Mark Reynolds

#224 Mark Reynolds

Here is a card that I got signed at a Royals game in 2013 while Mark was playing for the Indians. I got this card signed during batting practice and Mark was nice enough to sign all three cards for me.

When I got this card signed, Mark had just started playing with his third team. He started out with the Diamondbacks and then played for the Orioles before joining Cleveland. He has since played for three more teams since then. He got released by the Tribe later that season and was picked up by the Yankees a few days later. He was then with the Brewers last year before joining the Cardinals this season.

Despite having played for all of those teams, Mark's greatest success came while he was with the D-Backs. Even though he struck out 223 times in 2009, he still hit .260 with career highs in home runs and RBI, 44 and 102 respectively.

Mark has played in 82 games with the Cardinals this season and he is hitting .229 with 8 home runs and 33 RBI while filling in at the corner infield and outfield spots.