Sunday, August 23, 2015

2007 Donruss Elite, Bryan Morris

#10 Bryan Morris

Here is a card that I got signed at a Wilmington Blue Rocks playoff game in 2009. Bryan was playing for the visiting Lynchburg Hillcats at the time and he signed this card,and one other, for me before the game started.

Bryan has been playing in the Major Leagues since 2012. I, however, had no idea until I pulled a card of him out of 2013 Topps Heritage. It didn't help matters that I pulled that card in the middle of 2014..

Bryan made his Major League debut with the Pirates in September of 2012 in a game against the Cubs. He entered the game in the ninth inning with the Bucs down 7-4. He faced three batters (Luis Valbuena, Anthony Rizzo, and Alfonso Soriano) and retired them in order. He pitched in four more games that month and only gave up one earned run.

He spent most of 2013 in the Pirates bullpen and he had a very solid season. He was 5-7 with a 3.46 ERA in 65 innings. He made the postseason roster and pitched in one NLDS against the Cardinals and pitched a scoreless inning.

Last season, he was putting up similar numbers when the Pirates traded him to the Marlins in June. He had a stellar finish in Miami, going 4-1 with a 0.66 ERA over 41 innings.

This year, he has posted a 4-3 record with a 3.04 ERA over 47.1 innings so far.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

2007 Bowman's Best, Joe Gaetti

Here is a card of Gary Gaetti's son, Joe, that I got signed at a Kansas City T-Bones game in 2009. Joe was playing for the Northern League's Joliet JackHammers.

Joe was drafted by the Rockies in the twelfth round of the 2003 draft out of North Carolina State. He rose steadily up the Rockies minor league ladder and reached AAA in 2007. At that level, he hit .270 with 11 home runs and 32 RBI in 74 games. But, it was not enough as the Rockies let him go after the season.

Joe then began a whirlwind minor league journey where he played for five different organizations over the next two seasons. He saw time in the Texas League with the A's and Rangers. He played in the Eastern League with the Red Sox and Twins. Just to not leave out the Southern League, he played there too with the Rays. And for good measure, he saw some time in the Pacific Coast League and the Northen League. Joe spent 2010 in the Atlantic League before calling it a career.

His best season was with the Modesto Nuts in 2005. He hit .332 with 21 home runs and 87 RBI.

This card came out looking great signed.

Since I have posted every single card that I got signed at T-Bones games, I guess it is time to check out some picture of the T-Bones field, Community America Ballpark. The place was built in 2003 for the Bones and is in the Legends district that features shopping, dining, the Kansas Speedway, and Sporting KC's soccer stadium. The park is dug into the earth and doesn't have much view from the outside.

In 2009, Sporting KC (then the Kansas City Wizards) played at Community America Ballpark while Arrowhead Stadium was being renovated. Some changes were made to the ballpark to accommodate soccer. Bleachers were added in left field and most of the dirt was removed from the field. The diamond then resembled an astroturf field with its dirt sliding pits.

The bleachers have since been removed and the infield has returned to normal.

The clubhouses are behind the berm seating in right field which makes it easy to get autographs at the games.

I had the privilege of seeing a few Major Leaguers play at the park. In 2008, the ballpark hosted the Willie Wilson Classic old-timers game. Fergie Jenkins started the game for the green team.

In 2009, Willie Wilson played one game for the T-Bones and started in center. He went 0-1 with a strikeout.

Community American Ballpark is a great place to see a game. With so much to do in the area, it is easy to see why the T-Bones are consistently in the top third of the American Association's attendance.

2007 Bowman Sterling, Ole Sheldon

#BSP-OS Ole Sheldon

Here is another card of Ole Sheldon that I got signed at a Wingnuts game in 2010 while he was playing for the St. Paul Saints. I posted a card of Ole a few months back that I got signed at a Nuts game in 2009. That card can be seen here.

Ole's affiliated playing days came to a close in 2009. He split that season with the Saints and the Kinston Indians. Still, Ole went on to play for four seasons after that, all with the Saints. His best season in St. Paul came in 2010 when he hit .280 with 22 home runs and 79 RBI. He is the Saints all-time leader in home runs (67), RBI (271), extra base hits (154), at-bats (1367), games (355), and sac flies (15).

Ole's playing career came to an end after the 2013 season, but he still gets to suit up with the Saints players all summer as he is currently their hitting coach. He must be doing a good job, too, as the top two hitters in the league both play for St. Paul.

I am going to try to see the Saints play the Wingnuts next week if there are any '07 Bowman set builders out there that need a card signed by him.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

2007 Bowman Sterling, Jeremy Papelbon

#BSP-JPA Jeremy Papelbon

Here is the third and final Jeremy Papelbon card that I got signed at the 2010 Rickwood Classic. You can see the first card here and the second card here.

Jeremy was drafted by the Cubs in the nineteenth round of the 2006 draft out of North Florida. He signed with the Cubs shortly after and made his professional debut with the Boise Hawks that year. He had a good first season, going 4-0 with 3 saves and a 1.86 ERA over 18 games. He got bumped up to Midwest League the next season and went 9-6 with 3 saves and a 3.11 ERA.

He continued his progression in 2008 as he played high-A in the Florid State League. He went 2-1 with 2 saves and a 2.57 ERA. In 2009, he was in AA and half of his appearances were as a starter. His numbers slipped a bit and he finished with a 6-5 record with a 3.38 ERA. He pitched in two AAA games that year, as well, and did not fare too well. He pitched 4.2 inning and gave up five runs on ten hits.

He repeated AA in 2010, and his numbers got even worse than the first go-around. That year, he was 1-2 with a save and an ERA of 5.54. Jeremy ended up retiring after the season.

Jeremy is the younger brother of Jonathan Papelbon.

While Jeremy never made it to the Major Leagues, he does have a big league signature. All three sigs on the cards look nearly identical. That does not happen too much any more.

2007 Bowman Sterling, Greg Porter

#BSP-GP Greg Porter

Here is the third and final Greg Porter card that I have to show. This one was signed at at the same Wingnuts exhibition game as the last card of him I posted.

Greg was a little wearing of signing this card because of all the gloss. He actually rubbed it down a little bit before he signed it and then told me that using an eraser on it before signing works really well. Even though I use baby powder for prep now, I really had no clue about prepping cards back in 2009. I had just heard of the eraser method around that time and had actually prepped this card with one. Still, it is always cool to get some 'graphing tips from the guys doing the 'graphing.

Greg had a good season in 2006, at least good enough to get into all of the 2007 Bowman sets. 2006 was his second year in AA and he hit .298 with 20 home runs and 71 RBI for the Angles Texas League affiliate, the Arkansas Travelers. He split 2008 between AA and AAA and put up good numbers at both stops. In AAA, he hit .345 with 7 home runs and 33 RBI in 56 contests. But, the Angles let him go after the season.

He spent the next season playing AAA for the Nationals and Yankees before winding up in Wichita in 2009. He played four seasons of independent ball before retiring after the 2012 season.

I was at a Wingnuts game last week and I noticed that the club added some banners around the concourse honoring their division and league championships and some of their best players. Greg has a banner up for his stellar 2009 season when he hit .372 with 21 home runs and 86 RBI. I wish I would have taken a picture of it so show on here.

You can see the first Greg Porter card I posted here and the second one here.

Friday, August 14, 2015

2007 Bowman Heritage, Mike Thompson

#SG-MT Mike Thompson

This is the second Mike Thompson autograph that I have posted on here and both of them were given to me. I posted the first card of him back 2011. That card was given to me by Rod, of Padrographs. This one was given to me by Matt, from Heartbreaking Cards of Staggering Genius. I sent him some random cards way back when and he repaid me by sending me a couple of random autographs.

I have mixed feelings about this Signs of Greatness insert set. The design isn't bad for a signature set with the obvious white signing area. But, this Bowman Heritage set looks great signed, so the white signing area may be a little overdone. It probably comes in handy for a card of a player in a darker jersey. But, it is unnecessary on a card with a white or grey. Still, I like the look of this card better than the first Mike Thompson card I posted.

Mike last pitched professionally in 2010. After being out of baseball for a year, he joined the Atlantic League's Somerset Patriots for one season. He started 11 games for them and went 4-3 with a 4.29 ERA.

If I did not know any better, I would think that the first letter in Mike's name started with a "Z".

2007 Bowman Heritage, Greg Porter

#BHP96 Greg Porter

This is a card that I got signed signed by Greg Porter at a Wingnuts spring training game in 2009. Every year, the Nuts open their spring schedule with a game against one of the local colleges in Wichita. In 2009, they played Kansas Newman, an NAIA school. My best friend's brother-in-law was playing for Newman at the time, so we went down to the game to see him play. I took a few cards with me and this is one of the ones I got signed that day.

This is the second card of Greg Porter that I have posted. The first one was posted just a couple of months ago and that card can be seen here. I have one more Greg Porter card to post after this one and it should be up in a few days.

Greg was drafted by the Reds in the third round of the 1998 draft out of high school. He did not sign, however, and instead went to Texas A&M. He played there for three seasons before being drafted by the Angels in the 45th round of the 2001 draft. I am not sure what happened while he was in college, but his draft stock sure plummeted while at College Station.