Saturday, April 18, 2015

2006 Bowman Heritage, Justin Huber


#SG-JH Justin Huber

This is a card that I picked up from COMC for $1.95. Whenever I make a purchase from the site, I usually try to snag a cheap autograph to top off the sale. This was a nice one as it was on-card and of a Royal who never signed a card for me.

Justin is an Australian who played in the Majors for parts of five seasons with the Royals, Padres, and Twins. He never got any significant playing time as the most games he played in any season was 33 with the Padres in 2008. That just happened to be his best season as he had career highs in average (.246), home runs (2), and RBI (8). Those two home runs were the only two he ever hit and he got them off of two very good pitchers- Cliff Lee and Randy Johnson.

Justin finished his career a .224 hitter with those 2 home runs and 15 RBI.

I saw Justin play with the Royals seven times. At one game I was at, I even met his dad. He was fun to talk to. He said that he made the trip over about once a year to watch his son play. We talked about baseball in Australia and he told me it did not have much of a following, that it was basically a club sport. When I think of a club sport here in the States, I tend to think of rugby. And I have a hard time picturing a American club-playing rugby player making it to the highest level of rugby in the world. So maybe it is a little more advanced than that. After all, they now have their own winter league. Justin finished up his career there in 2013.

Justin is listed as a first baseman on this card, which is the position he played for the Royals in 2005. But his base card in the set lists him as a catcher, a position he never played in the Majors. He did catch in the minors, but it is strange that the two cards list different positions.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

2006 Bowman Heritage, Travis Denker


#BHP47 Travis Denker

This is a card that I got signed at a Wichita Wingnuts game last summer while Travis Denker was playing for the Laredo Lemurs. Since Wichita got moved to the South Division last year, I think I saw Laredo play three times. Because of that, I was able to get Travis to sign at a couple of games and I even ended up with one of his bats after the third game.

Travis was originally drafted by the Dodgers out of high school in the 21st round of the 2003 draft. In 2005, playing in the South Atlantic League, Travis had a great season where he hit .310 with 23 home runs. Because of that season, he got this card that I was able to get signed. He struggled a bit over the next few seasons and would not reach AA until 2008. By that time, he was with the Giants after being traded for Mark Sweeney the previous season.

Though he hit just .184 in 25 AA games, he got bumped up to AAA. His time there was short-lived before being called up to the Majors for two months that summer. He got into 24 games with the Giants and hit .243 with a home run and 3 RBI. He then finished the season at AAA. To date, that is the only big league experience for him.

After that season, he bounced around affiliated ball, never really sticking with a franchise. He even bounced around the various levels including a stint with the Dodgers high-A team in 2011. He last played affiliated ball with the Dodgers AA team in 2012. He was in the Atlantic League in 2013 before joining the American Association last year.

Travis is currently playing in Mexico. I hope that he ends up back in the Am-Ass at some point this year so that I can get my bat signed by him.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

2006 Bowman Heritage, Jason Botts


#286 Jason Botts

Here is the second of three cards that Jason Botts signed for me at a Wingnuts game last season. Jason was playing for the Grand Prairie AirHogs. I posted the first card in January and that one can be seen here.

In the last post, I talked about Jason's Major League career, which spanned parts of four seasons with the Rangers. In June of 2008, Jason got released by the Rangers and he went to Japan to play. He was with the Nippon Ham Fighters for parts of two seasons and he hit .252 with 6 home runs in 66 games. In 2010, he was back stateside and he split the season with the Nats AAA team and in the Atlantic League. He would split 2011 with the Mets AAA team and the Atlantic League again and that was the last time Jason played affiliated baseball. Since then, he has bounced around the Atlantic League and Mexican League before arriving in the American Association last season. With the AirHogs, Jason hit .320 with 12 home runs and 68 RBI.

Jason is not listed on the AirHogs roster right now so I have no clue who he will be with this season or if he will even play at all.

Nevertheless, I still love his signature.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

2006 Bowman Heritage, Eric Chavez


#39 Eric Chavez

A few months back, I posted a card of Eric Chavez that I bought off of COMC for three bucks. I bought that card in 2013 just to add an autograph to my COMC purchase. Two months after buying that card, I went to Spring Training in Arizona and I got two cards signed by Eric before a game in Surprise. So, I basically bought the card for no reason, though it is a nice looking card. This is not the only time that has happened. The same thing happened with Jason Giambi.

Eric played for the A's for parts of thirteen seasons. He was a key component to the successful teams that the A's trotted out year after year in the 2000s. During that time, Eric hit 30 or more home runs twice and drove in a hundred runs or more four times. He did all of that while playing stellar defense, winning six Gold Gloves at the hot corner. Injuries slowed him down after the 2006 season, but he was able to bounce back from them and continue his career through last season before retiring.

During his time with the A's, Eric hit .267 with 230 home runs, 282 doubles, and drove in 787 runs. He got MVP votes in four seasons that he played and had a WAR of 34.8. Yet, Eric never made an All Star team during his career.

It looks like Eric got a job with the Yankees and is going to be a roving minor league scout/coach.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

2006 Bowman, Edgar Martinez


#FG17 Edgar Martinez

Unfortunately, this is not an autograph of that Edgar Martinez.

This is from the career minor leaguer that happened to play for the Wichita Wingnuts in 2012. As you can see from the card, he used to be a legitimate prospect, having played in the 2006 Futures Game. That aspect was short-lived as he was out of affiliated baseball after the 2008 season.

I got this card signed prior to a 'Nuts game that season. When Edgar was signing the card, one of his teammates came over to see the card of him. He told that teammate that the picture was from "his Pedro Martinez days". They both got a good chuckle out of that. A few minutes later, that teammate came back over to see if I had any extras of the card. All that I had got signed that day. I offered one of those up, but he didn't want a signed one. I told him that I would get him later on in the year and I did just that. When I finally got Edgar his card, I had him sign my boy's glove that day and the kid still thinks that Edgar and I are buddies.

In 2005, Edgar posted a 1.89 ERA over stops at high-A and AA while striking out more than a batter an inning. The following year, his ERA was 2.61 in AA while his strikeouts dipped below the one per inning mark. He was bumped up to AAA for 2007 and he responded with a 5.16 ERA and 58 strikeouts in 68 innings. His ERA dipped down to 3.89 in AAA in 2008 as the Sox toyed with the idea of making him a starter. But, his strikeouts per inning dropped even more that season and they decided to cut ties.

Edgar joined the independent ranks the following season and pitched in three different leagues over the next four years. He has spent the past two seasons pitching in Mexico. He had a really good season for Oaxaca last year, posting a 1.49 ERA in 48.1 innings of work while striking out 44 with just 11 walks.

Monday, March 30, 2015

2006 Bowman, Brandon Jones


#BC159 Brandon Jones

Here is the first of what should amount to six posts about Brandon Jones. Brandon played in the American Association for a couple of years with the Kansas City T-Bones and I was able to get this card signed before a game against the Wingnuts last season.

I put all of my autographed cards in binders, sorted by year and brand. When I first started this blog in 2008, I started with my oldest cards and worked towards the newer ones. If I got any older cards signed, I would wait until I finished posting all of the cards from the year I was working on and then go back and show the older ones before I moved on to the next year. I still post in that order. In the seven plus years of doing this, I have got up to 2006. Yikes. I finished up my 2006 cards two and a half years ago and I have just now almost caught back up to move onto the next year.

At one point, I was a diligent poster and I honestly thought that I was going to run out of autographs at some point. That was probably back in 2010 when I was posting my 2003 cards. That was only a seven year gap between the actual year and the year of the cards I was posting. Considering I started this blog in 2008 with cards from 1960 (48 year gap), it is easy to see why I thought I would run out of cards to post. But then life caught up with me with a better job, a wife, and a kid, and I am unable to post like I used to. Now, it is 2015 and I am only inching closer to posting my 2007 cards. The gap has widened and I doubt that it will ever be any closer than it is right now. That is especially true considering I have about 150 signed cards from 2007 and about 225 from 2008. But, I am just too stuck in my ways. Sure it would be nice to post some cards of current, relevant players. But this blog was never about that and I guess it never will be.

To kind of make up for that, I finally broke down and started a Twitter account. I have been showing my TTMs on there and will be showing any 'graphs I get at games during the season. I am too lazy to make two separate accounts, so you might see some personal stuff on there, like the chicken tacos I made for dinner. But, it is all in good fun. So check me out @zmills40

Friday, March 27, 2015

2005 Upper Deck Origins, Roman Colon


#185 Roman Colon

Here is the second and final card that I had to beg Roman Colon to sign for me. The first one, and the story of how I got them, can be seen here.

To date, Roman has played in parts of six Major League seasons with three teams- the Braves, Tigers, and Royals. He's amassed 187.1 innings and has a 8-10 record with 1 save and a 5.19 ERA. He got the most work in a single season with the Royals in 2009. That year, he pitched in 43 games and threw 50.1 innings, posting a 2-3 record and a 4.83 ERA.

Roman has not pitched in the big leagues since 2012. He pitched for three different AAA teams in 2013, but did not pitch last year. Yet, somehow he is on the roster for the Royals AA team in Arkansas.

This card may be from the ugliest set that came out in 2005. From what I can tell, the set recreates the Old Judge cards and one of the Play Ball sets. Both of the original sets were smaller than modern cards. Rather than making the cards the original size, Upper Deck made them standard size with massive green (and some other colors) borders. The Play Ball cards were bigger than the Old Judge, so the borders on those cards aren't as bad. But this card looks absolutely hideous.