Saturday, February 16, 2019
#BDPP56 Anthony Capra
Here is a card that I got signed at a Tulsa Drillers game in 2010. Anthony was playing for the visiting Midland RockHounds that summer. At the game I was at, he had the night off and was charged with charting pitches from the stands. A fellow collector pointed him out to me and I was able to get him to sign this card for me right before the game started.
When I got this card signed, I also got one signed by Travis Banwart, who was helping Anthony chart pitches. Those two players have a lot in common. They both pitched at Wichita State. They were both taken in the fourth round by the A's. They both played together for a couple of seasons in the minors. And they both ended up in the American Association, playing for the Wichita Wingnuts. But, ultimately, Travis had a more successful career than Anthony did.
Anthony was out of affiliated ball before the 2012 season was over. He pitched in just one AAA game and the majority of his affiliated time was in some sort of A ball. He then joined the Wingnuts in 2012 after the A's released him. He pitched in Wichita for five seasons before retiring and becoming the teams pitching coach for the 2017 season. He held that role for two seasons before the club disbanded following the 2018 campaign.
You have got to love it when a player's autograph looks exactly like the pre-printed signature on the card.
Thursday, February 14, 2019
#BDPP49 Brent Morel
Here is a card that I got signed at an Omaha Storm Chasers game in 2015. Brent was playing for the visiting Nashville Sounds at the time and I asked him to sign when he came out of the clubhouse. He was one of the last guys out and running a little late, so he told me he would get me after the game. I have heard that line, or one similar, hundreds of times and it is very rare for a player to uphold his promise. But, low and behold, Brent actually came through. I was quite amazed.
That was the second time I tried to get this card signed. The first one was at the Rickwood Classic in 2010. I didn't have a smartphone at the time, so I printed off rosters for the teams I would be seeing before I left for my trip. When I got to Birmingham, the Barons were wearing throwback uniforms without player names on them. So, I found his number and kept calling out for Brent and he kept ignoring me. After a bit, he finally turns around and tells me that he wasn't Brent and that Brent had been promoted to AAA. D'oh!
Brent's Major League career spanned parts of six seasons with the White Sox and Pirates. He played in 219 games during that time and he hit just .227 with 13 home runs and 59 RBI. His best season was with the Sox in 2011. That season, he got into 126 games and he hit .245 with 10 dingers and 41 driven in.
2015 was the last time Brent played in the Majors and in the States. He took his game to Japan for two seasons before apparently calling it a career after the 2017 season.
Nebraska has been added to the 2008 Bowman map. This is the last addition to this map for now. It looks like the final tally is that I got cards signed in fifteen cities and twelve states.
Wednesday, February 13, 2019
#BDPP33 Shane Peterson
Here is a card that I got signed in 2010 at a Tulsa Drillers game I attended. Shane was playing for the visiting Midland RockHounds at the time. It took a few tries to get him to come over and sign, but I eventually got him before he went back into the clubhouse.
Shane has played parts of three seasons in the Majors. He got his first taste of action with the A's in 2013 when he got into 2 games with them. He then played in 93 games with the Brewers in 2015. His last big league action came with the Rays in 2017 when he got into 30 games. Over those 125 games, Shane has hit .254 with 4 home runs and 28 RBI. Since this is an odd year, maybe he will resurface on a Major League roster at some point in the year.
After spending last season on the Padres AAA team in El Paso, it looks like Shane will be heading to Dodgers camp next week as a non-roster invitee. So, more than likely, he will be spending his summer in Oklahoma City.
Shane was originally a second round pick of the Cardinals out of Long Beach State. The Cards dealt him to the A's when they landed Matt Holliday. Even though the A's also got two other players in that deal, I think that the Cardinals got the better end of that deal.
Monday, February 11, 2019
#BDPP22 Richard Bleier
As most people know, Bowman products are ripe with players that never make the Major Leagues. Just look at my previous two posts for evidence of that. I thought this card of Richard Bleier was going to make it three in a row, but I was way off course. It turns out that Richard has spent the past three years in the Majors.
Richard broke into the league with the Yankees in 2016 before spending the past two seasons with the Orioles. Over those three seasons, he has pitched 119 innings of relief and put up a rather remarkable 1.97 ERA. He only has 54 strikeouts, so he must pitch to contact. So far, it looks like that is working for him as he owns a 5-1 record with 14 holds.
So far, his best season was with the O's in 2017. That year, he appeared in a career-high 57 games and pitched 63.1 innings. Though he posted his highest single season ERA that year, a whopping 1.99, he was 2-1 with 26 strikeouts.
I got this card signed in Springdale, Arkansas in 2010. Richard was playing for the visiting Frisco Rough Riders at the time.
Saturday, February 9, 2019
#BDPP12 Jay Austin
Here is a card that I got signed at a Wingnuts game last summer. Jay was playing for the Sioux City Explorers last year and I got him to sign this one card by the X's visiting dugout.
Jay was taken by the Astros in the second round of the 2008 draft out of high school. He made his professional debut later that summer at the age of seventeen and played in the Astros system through 2012. Unfortunately, he struggled in affiliated ball and never got above A ball in his days of playing.
He took 2013 off before joining the indy ranks in 2014. Since then, he has played in the Frontier League, Can-Am League, American Association, as well as some Mexican fall league. Considering that he is only twenty-eight years old and that he hit .364 in the American Association, I would think that he would still have some ball left him.
During his time in affiliated ball, Jay played in 353 games and hit .257 with 14 home runs and 149 RBI. Since dropping down to the independent ranks, he has played in 321 games and hit .332 with 11 home runs and 147 RBI.
Friday, February 8, 2019
#BDPP4 Jeff Lanning
Here is a card that I got signed at a Wichita Wingnuts game in 2012 while Jeff was playing for the Can-Am League's New Jersey Jackals. For a couple of years, the Can-Am and the American Association each had an odd number of teams. To counteract that, the leagues added interleague to the schedule so that there was always one interleague series going on. I thought it was a cool idea to combat the odd number of teams. The only problem, for me at least, was that the Jackals were the only team to travel to Wichita. But, on the day I got this card signed, I came home with 33 signed cards. That was my record for a Winguts game.
Jeff's career spanned five seasons. He played two years in the Twins organization before moving on to the Phillies for two years. He then played one season for New Jersey. Through all of that, he played in 223 games and never got above high-A. He was a .256 hitter that had 25 home runs and 102 RBI.
The funny thing about Jeff's career is that he never played in more than 53 games in any season. I guess it goes to show that even the lowest levels of the minor leagues need back-up catchers.
Thursday, February 7, 2019
#BDP30 Max Ramirez
Here is a card that I got signed in Des Moines, Iowa in 2013 while Max was playing for the Iowa Cubs. That was part of a College World Series trip. To make the yearly pilgrimage more enjoyable, we drove through Omaha and kept on going to Des Moines on our first day of the trip. We went to a Storm Chasers/Cubs game that night before heading back to Omaha for a couple of days of the CWS. I am still waiting for the day that the Chasers have a home game on opening weekend of the Series.
Max played in just 45 Major League games in 2008 and 2010. In each of those seasons, he managed to hit .217 and is a career .217 hitter. He also hit two home runs in each season though he played in a few more games in 2010. Incidentally, his first home run was hit off of Roy Oswalt. It was a two run shot that put the Rangers up 3-2 in the fourth inning and the score held for the rest of the game. If he had hit that in 1985, he would have been credited with a game winning RBI.
Even though Max hasn't played in the Majors since 2010, he is still playing pro ball. He has spent the past four seasons playing in the Mexican League, though he played just twelve games last year. He played this winter, too, so it would appear that he is still wanting to play this summer.