Saturday, March 1, 2014
#624 Jack McKeon
Here is the third and final card that Jack McKeon signed for me through the mail in 2011. Jack finished up that season as the Marlins interim manager after Edwin Rodriguez got canned seventy-one games into the season. When Jack took over, I figured that would be a great time to send him some cards and I sent three out to him in August. I posted the first one over two years ago and it can be seen here. The second, which is my favorite of the three, can be seen here.
Jack managed four Major League clubs in his career- the Royals, A's, Padres, Reds, and Marlins. In his sixteen seasons at the helm of a team, he had a winning record in ten of them. He never lead a team to a first place finished, but his teams came in second six times. One of those teams that finished second was the 2003 Marlins that cliched the Wild Card spot and went on to win the World Series. That was Jack's lone venture into the post-season.
Jack's 1999 Reds club came very close to making the playoffs, though. They finished the season 95-67, one game behind the Astros. They ended up in a tie for the Wild Card with the Mets, so they played game 163 to see who moved on to the playoffs. The Reds dropped the game 5-0 and the Mets went on to the NLCS before losing to the Braves.
As if my posting hasn't been sporadic enough over the last few years, it is going to be pretty bad this month. The fam has decided to make the trek out to Arizona again this year. I want to get a ton of autographs while I am out there, so I have a lot of sorting and searching to do to get ready. So, don't be expecting a whole lot out of this blog until April.
By the way, I love the photo of Jack on this card. That mustache is something else.
Wednesday, February 26, 2014
#556 Bruce Fields
Here is a card that I got signed about a year and a half ago at a Royals game. Bruce was the Indians hitting coach at the time and he was nice enough to sign two cards for me while his club was taking batting practice.
Bruce's Major League playing career lasted just 58 games, over parts of three seasons, with the Tigers and Mariners. In that short span, Bruce hit .274 with a home run and 11 RBI. His lone home run was off of John Davis of the White Sox.
Bruce saw most of his playing time with the M's in 1988. That season, he got into 39 games and hit .269 with 5 doubles, the home run, and 5 RBI.
I really only remember Bruce because he was a Rated Rookie in the '87 Donruss set. I wanted to get that card signed by him, but the card is an uncorrected error as it mistakenly has a picture of another player (Darnell Coles, maybe?) on it. Some guys are real iffy about signing a card without their picture on it, so I passed. Luckily, I was still able to find two cards of him to take with me that day.
Sunday, February 23, 2014
#346 Rex Hudler
Here is a new autograph for this blog. This one is of Rex Hudler, who replaced Frank White as the color commentator on the Royals TV broadcasts. I got this card and two others signed by Rex at the last Royals home game in 2012.
Rex has had the Royals TV job since 2012. He had some big shoes to fill following up the fan favorite, Frank White. And so far, all he has done is disappoint. Luckily, I don't have cable and am unable to watch the broadcasts because he makes them hard to sit through. I have only caught his act a couple of times at my dad's and it was rough. He just seems to talk to the fans like they have never seen a game of baseball before. It is nice to have a former player in that role, in my opinion, because they can give you insight from a player's perspective. But, in the few games I have seen, Rex did not do that. He just kept explaining the obvious and doing so far longer than necessary. Maybe I just need more time to warm up to him, but I have not had that opportunity.
Aside from that, Rex seems like a really nice guy. He always has a smile on his face and I have never seen him turn down an autograph. You can tell that he really wants to be at the ballpark every day.
Saturday, February 22, 2014
#496 Mike Birkbeck
Here is the third and final card that Mike Birkbeck signed for me almost two years ago. All three cards were signed for in Omaha during the College World Series.
Mike is the pitching coach for the Kent State Golden Flashes of the Mid-American Conference. This is his eighteenth season in that role. During Mike's tenure with the team, the Golden Flashes have won seven MAC regular season titles, eight MAC postseason tournaments, have appeared in eight Regionals, and made one trip to Omaha. Some of Mike's former student-athletes include Matt Guerrier, Dirk Hayhurst, and Andy Sonnestine.
In other Kent State news, I just noticed that the school has brought on Brandon Larson as a volunteer assistant. Brandon was a CWS title winner with LSU in the late '90s before getting drafted by the Reds. I posted a card of him a few years back and he is still the only former player to comment on this blog.
As for Mike Birkbeck, you can see the first card I posted of him here and the second one here.
Thursday, February 20, 2014
#289 Bill Pecota
This is the second Bill Pecota card that I have posted on here. The first one was way back in 2008 and it was a card that I got signed by Bill at a card show about twenty-five years ago. This is one that I got signed earlier this month at Royals Fanfest.
This is the first time I have ever got in-person signatures from the same person twenty-five years apart. It is kind of cool because you can see how his signature has changed slightly over the years. While not drastically different, there is noticeable changes. The main ones are the fist and last letters that he signs, the "B" and "t". In 1988, his "B" actually looked like a B while his "t" looked more like a star. Now, I don't even know how to describe his "B". And his "t" is completely different. He used to start it from the bottom, but now he picks up his pen and starts it from the top. It now looks more like a plus sign than a star.
I have about four more cards of Bill to post, so I am just going to leave this one as just an analyses of how his signature has changed over time. Below is the first card I posted of him so you can see the changes for yourself.
Has anyone else noticed any changes in a person's signature over time (not counting when they get really old)?
Sunday, February 16, 2014
#2 Dave Eiland
Here is the first of about a half dozen cards that I have got signed by the Royals pitching coach in 2012. 2012 was Dave's first year with the club and he was my go-to guy for an autograph when I was striking out with everyone else. Dave was always hanging out at the Royals bullpen when I needed him and he has yet to turn me down, though I have only asked him twice.
Speaking of getting turned down, I came home empty handed today from the Wichita State game. The reason I went to the game was to get Jason Isringhausen's autograph. Jason is the pitching coach for Southern Illinois-Edwardsville. However, he was nowhere to be seen today, so maybe he does not travel with the team. This year's 'graphing is starting out just like it did last year.
As for the game, it was interesting. We left after the fifth inning with the Shockers up 21-1. That was two hours ago and that game is probably still going on. SIE couldn't do much of anything with their pitching or hitting. Maybe Jason should have made the trip. They could have used him on the mound.
This card was put out by the Columbus Police Department and Cracker Jack. That is why it has the Cracker Jack border. When I first saw this card, though, I thought the border was dirt. Silly me.
Saturday, February 15, 2014
#10T Jose Bautista
Here is the second and final card that was signed by Jose Bautista during Spring Training last year. Jose is a minor league pitching coach in the White Sox organization and I was able to get the cards signed during a minor league workout.
Speaking of Spring Training, pitchers and catchers reported yesterday. We had an awesome time in Arizona last spring and we had the itch to go back again this year. But, we decided against it since we have a wedding to pay for and we would like to go to Chicago this summer for the 100th anniversary of Wrigley Field. But, now that Spring Training has officially started, that itch is back and it is getting harder to scratch. Ultimately, I think we are going to say no, but you never know with us.
Anyways, now back to this card. I was a little surprised how the signature came out on this one. This is just a regular old Topps Traded card, but the signature looked like it wanted to start to bubble up like it was on a Tiffany card or something. I have no idea how to explain this one. This card came out of the same set as the Don August card I posted yesterday, yet the August card came out just fine.
While I am probably not going to Spring Training this year, I am going to my first baseball game of 2014 tomorrow. Wichita State is hosting Southern Illinois-Edwardsville and former Major Leaguer Jason Isringhausen happens to be the pitching coach for SIE. Hopefully I will have better luck with collegiate pitching coaches this year than I did last year.