Wednesday, December 31, 2008
#449 Fernando Valenzuela
I got this card signed through the mail sometime in the '90s. I have no idea when I got it. This card came out in '91, right before he got released by the Dodgers. He only made two appearances with the Angels that year, so I probably didn't get it signed in 1991. It was most likely signed in 1993 while he pitched for the Orioles.
No matter when he signed it, I was pretty happy when I got it. Sure, his early success didn't last his whole career. But, he is the only pitcher to win the Cy Young Award and Rookie of the Year in the same season. That counts for something. Plus, he made six straight All-Star teams before he started to have arm problems.
Unfortunately, I was only two years old when Fernandomania was taking place. That is too bad. I can't think of anything like that that I have seen since. I guess the home run chase in 1998 might have been similar, but I don't know. The chase certainly wasn't a rookie pitcher, signed from the Mexican League, dominating a league.
I have heard that Fernando still signs fan mail from his home in Los Angeles.
I mentioned yesterday that I was going to have a contest to start off the New Year. Well, because of the Winter Classic and college football, the contest will start the second day of the New Year.
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
#626 Tim Bogar
This is the second of three cards that I got signed in Kansas City last summer. At the time, Tim was the quality assurance coach for Tampa Bay. Next season, he takes over as first base coach for the Red Sox.
The last card that I showed of Tim had him in AAA. This card came out the next season and it has him back in AA. Speaking of AA, this card is of the Williamsport Bills. Williamsport now has a short season A team, the Williamsport Crosscutters. Of the four AA cards that I have shown from this set, two cities dropped down to A ball, one dropped down to independent ball and one moved up to AAA. I guess that goes to show how the economics of minor league baseball work.
These cards were made by Impel. They came in two sets, one of AA cards and one of AAA cards. After this, it's back to Major League cards until I get to 1992 Classic/Best.
Also, I think that I'm going to start off the new year with a contest. I have never done a contest on here, so I'm looking forward to it. So keep checking back during the next few days if you might be interested.
Monday, December 29, 2008
#417 Steve Shifflett
I got this card signed in the winter of 1993 at the mall when the Royals Caravan came to town. He came to town the same year as Kevin Koslofski. I mentioned in my Koslofski post that Kevin thought that the Ft. Myers card was pretty cool. But, now that I think about it, I think that Steve thought that the Ft. Myers card was cool. He wasn't nearly as impressed by his Memphis card.
1992 was the only year that Steve appeared in the Majors. He made 34 appearances and pitched 52 innings while posting a 2.60 ERA. Not bad for non-drafted rookie. The next year (and the year after that), it was back to Omaha. Then he split time in 1995 between Iowa and Colorado Springs, not doing too well at either place. That was his last season in pro ball.
I'm sure Steve wasn't the first one-season relieving wonder, and he surely won't be the last.
As for minor league ball in Memphis, the fans in that city now get to watch the Cardinals AAA team, the Redbirds.
Sunday, December 28, 2008
#211 Al Martin
I got this card signed through the mail in the early '90s while Al was with the Pirates. If it wasn't for this card, I would have forgot that he was ever in the Braves organization.
Al was the starting left fielder for the Pirates for eight seasons. In 1999, he hit a career high 24 home runs. After that season, he was traded to San Diego for John Vander Wal. He was having a decent season there before being shipped off to Seattle at the trade deadline. He finished the season there and was back with the M's the next season, too. The next year, he was signed by the Cardinals, but was cut in Spring Training. He ended up sitting out that year but was back the next year with the Devil Rays. He played in 100 unproductive games for the D-Rays, and that was the end of his career.
This card shows Al as a Greenville Brave. A few years ago, the team moved to Pearl, Mississippi and are now known as the Mississippi Braves. They are still the AA affiliate of the Braves. Greenville, on the other hand, got a new ballpark and dropped down a level to the South Atlantic League. The new team is called the Greenville Drive.
Saturday, December 27, 2008
#433 Bruce Hurst
Sorry I haven't posted a card in a couple of days. I've been hanging out with friends, working, and trying to get ready for a party that I'm throwing tonight. So, it's been a little hecktic around here.
Anyways, here is another Padrograph. This card catches me up and I am back to one post a day. Tomorrow, it will be back to 1991 Line Drive and it will continue from there.
Bruce pitched in the Majors for 15 seasons, mostly with the Red Sox and Padres. He struck out 190 batters in 1987, won 18 games in 1988, and posted a 2.69 ERA in 1989. Those were all career bests. He was an All-Star with the Sox in 1987. In the 1986 World Series, he made three starts, winning two with one no decision, while posting a 1.96 ERA in 23 innings of work.
The St. George Roadrunners of the Golden Baseball League play their home games at Bruce Hurst Field.
This signature is done with a pen and doesn't look too bad on the Upper Deck card stock.
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
#412 Mark Grant
I thought about not posting today, but I want to get these Padrographs caught up with the rest of my cards. So I'll just do this one and it is a short one.
About ten days ago, I posted another Mark Grant Padrograph that Rod sent me. There are a couple of differences to note. One is that this one wasn't taken in front of a green screen. The second is that this one was signed with a marker that had a fat tip, so it is not quite as neat as the '89 Topps one.
Other than that, I hope that all of you have a Merry Christmas!
at 9:25 PM
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
#191 Pat Listach
I got this card signed through the mail in either 1992 or 1993. Pat was the AL Rookie of the Year winner in 1992 as a Brewer. That was the highlight of his career. Only three other American League rookies recieved any votes for the award (compared to eleven in the NL) and they were Kenny Lofton, Dave Fleming and Cal Eldred. Comparing the stats of Lofton and Listach, it would be hard for me to pick a winner. Their numbers are very similar. Listach had the edge in average, hits and RBI, but Lofton had more runs, homers, walks, stolen bases (66 to 54), OBP, SLG, and he had less strikeouts. Plus Fleming won 17 games for he Mariners and Eldred was 11-2 with a 1.79 ERA. It's funny how these things work out (like Mike Aviles finishing behind Jacoby Ellsbury in the balloting this year).
Unfortunately for Listach, that was the beginning of the end for him. He only stole 68 more bases over the next five seasons. He missed most of 1994 due to what I would presume to be an injury. After he hit .290 in his rookie campaign, he never again hit over .250 in a season in which he played more than 16 games. In 1996, he was traded to the Yankees, but he never played a game with them. After that season, he was released and he signed on with the Astros. After 52 disappointing games with the 'Stros, he was let go. He was signed by a couple of different clubs after that, but he never made it back to the Majors. He retired after the 1998 season.
Pat was the manager for the Iowa Cubs last season. This coming season, he'll be the third base coach for the Nationals.
This card shows Pat as an El Paso Diablo. The Diablos were the AA affiliate of the Brewers and they were member of the Texas League. Today, the Diablos operate as an independent team in the American Association.
Also, I got a few cards from my want list from Kris of Cards in the Attic. If you have never visited his site, check it out. He's a big fan of the Albuquerque Isotopes, minor league baseball, and autographs. He sent me three Doug Waechter cards that I didn't have. After these and the Waechter cards that Night Owl sent me, I'll probably be taking him off of my want list. And Kris, I'm running a little behind this week, but I'll send some cards your way sometime next week. Thanks again.
#288 Garry Templeton
Here is another great autograph that Rod sent me. This one features long time Padre, Garry Templeton. Garry spent about 10 seasons in San Diego after 6 seasons in St. Louis. In Garry's last season, he was traded to the Mets for Tim Tuefel. He retired after that season.
Garry had over 2,000 hits in his career and had a lifetime average .271. He was a three-time All Star (two with the Cards, once with the Padres) and won two Sliver Sluggers (one with each team). After retirement, he went into coaching. He managed at the AAA level before heading over to the independent leagues. This year, he is supposedly managing the Arizona Winter League's Palm Springs Chill.
Monday, December 22, 2008
#448 Rich Rodriguez
Today is another day when I have two Padrographs to share. Hopefully, I should be caught up by Christmas, then I can go back to one post a day. Then there will be mostly the cards that I have gotten signed along with a nice mixture of Padrographs. It will go that way until I get to the late '90s and early 2000s. I didn't collect much then, but I seem to have many Padrographs from that time frame. So, here's Rich.
Rich had a fairly long career as a relief pitcher. He made 609 appearances (only 2 as a starter) over 13 seasons and with eight teams. He started out in San Diego and this is his rookie card, I presume. He seems to have been pretty good during his first 3.5 seasons in the Bigs (his ERA over his time in San Diego was about 2.86). Then he got traded to Florida in the trade that brought Trevor Hofffman to the Padres. He was never quite as successful over an extended period of time again, although he did have two good years in San Francisco in 1997 and '98. But, he did finish his career with a 3.81 ERA, which isn't bad at all for a reliever in his era.
Rich has an interesting signature that is very loopy and takes up most of the card.
Also, I would like to thank Indians Baseball Cards. Always. I got my "twelve days of Christmas" gift today and there were some goodies. The best part of all was that Tribecards took the time to wrap the cards in wrapping paper. So, this was the first Christmas present that I opened this year. I requested some Royals cards and being an Indians fan, he was more than willing to get rid of some Royals cards. Here is what I got.
12 Mark Gubicza's including am '89 Classic and a '96 Collector's Choice Silver Signature
11 Kevin Appier's including a '91 Topps All-Star Rookie and a few late '90s cards that I have never seen before
11 Jeff Montgomery's (he must have miscounted this one). He did include a '96 Topps Finest refractor that still has the protective film
9 Bo Jackson's that include a 2005 Topps All-Time Fan Favorites that I never had and an 1988 Topps Big
8 David Hoawrd's
7 Jim Eisenreich's
6 Wally Joyner's
5 George Brett's from '88-93
4 David Cone's from his second stint with the Royals, but still some good ones
3 Gregg Jeffries'
2 Mark Quinn's who used to be my favorite Royal until he started hurting himself practicing karate in his basement during the off-season
1 Bowman Luke Hochevar rookie that I didn't have
All-in-all, it was a pretty good day. Plus, he even threw in a Willie Wilson button that was probably made in the late '80s. I might just wear it to the Willie Wilson Classic next year. Thanks again.
#3 Mark Davis
No offense Rod, but this might have been the least favorite card that you sent to me. But first, I'll start with the good stuff. This card is cool because it is from the All-Star insert set that Fleer had been putting out since 1986, I believe. This card is the only card that I have signed from any of those sets. Plus, Fleer was putting out insert sets before anyone even knew what an insert set was. Also, as noted under his signature, Mark won the Cy Young award in 1989 after saving 44 games with the Padres. It's always good to have autographs from players that win major awards and it's pretty cool when they put that under their signature.
Now to the things that I don't like. The only real problem that I have with this card is it is of Mark Davis. Being a Royals fan (even though I wasn't one in 1990), Mark Davis is synonymous with the Devil. He won that Cy Young award and parlayed it into the biggest contract in Major League Baseball when the Royals signed him in the off-season (looking back on it now, it wasn't smart to spend that kind of money on a closer; also, you will never hear the Royals and highest paid player in baseball in the same sentence ever again unless the Yankees are in town). In his first month with the team, he had 3 saves in a row before blowing a 6-2 lead against the Rangers. He then blew 3 saves in a week in May and was moved to long relief (Jeff Montgomery took over as closer and yes, Monty was on the team before Davis was even signed). He posted a 5.11 ERA after his first season in KC (up from 1.85 the previous season), a 4.45 ERA in his second season and a 7.18 ERA in his third season before being shipped off to Atlanta for an actual player that had a pulse. That must have been a tough trade to pull off. I'm sure that a milk crate of batting practice balls and a box of hot dog buns would have sufficed. The Royals probably had to eat some salary to get this one done.
Anyway, somehow Davis lasted in the Majors until 1994 (and a brief comeback in '97) and wasn't any good the rest of the way, though he did have some success in 38.1 innings with the Padres in 1993. The same cannot be said for his 1994 season in San Diego. After his award winning 1989 season, where he saved 44 games, he went on to record 11 more saves throughout the rest of his career.
I got some of the pertinent information on here from Royals Retrospective's "Worst Free Agent Signings in Royals History".
Also, I started my first poll to see what everyone's thoughts are for their favorite card set in 1990. There has been a little bit of discussion about it on some of the comments here and I thought that the poll would make it a lot easier.
All in all, thanks for this card Rod. It's always fun to get signed cards from formal Royals that bring back memories (either good or bad).
#265 Brian McRae
To be perfectly honest, I don't know how I got this card signed. I have four cards signed by Brian and I don't know where I got each one signed at. I might have gotten one signed through the mail, but probably not. I'm pretty sure that I got one signed at Turkey Bowl IV. The other two (or three) were signed at a Royals Caravan appearance. I think that I even have a ball that I got signed at a Caravan appearance. I've seen Brian at Caravan stops as a player and as a alumni. If I had to make a guess, I would say that I got this one signed at TB4. Click on the TB4 label to see other cards that I got signed at the event and to see what it was.
This is the first Leaf card on here. I would love to get a 1990 Leaf card signed, but I have very few of them. This is the second card on here that list the position as centerfield (Brett Butler was the first).
Also, the Baseball Almanac page has this card on there for B-Mac's card and signature. The signature on that card is completely different than any of the ones that I have.
#171 Ed Whitson
Finally, here is today's (I guess it is actually yesterday's) Padrograph. This one is of long time hurler, Ed Whitson. Ed pitched in the big leagues for 15 years and he posted a record of 126-123. His best seasons came in his 13th and 14th years in the Majors. In 1989, he won a career high 16 games that season while posting a then career best ERA of 2.66. The next season's numbers were also pretty similar (he had two less wins and a slightly lower ERA). Then, in 1991, he only made 18 starts and he posted a 4-6 record and an ERA of 5.03. That was his last season in baseball.
In my opinion, this set is the worst set of 1990. I've heard many people talk about how much they hate the '90 Topps set. While that set isn't great, at least it isn't as bland as this Fleer set. To me, these cards are lacking so much. The white border, which are kind of thick on the top and bottom, and the team color secondary border just doesn't do it for me. I guess that the one bright spot is how the player can overlap onto the border.
Sunday, December 21, 2008
#553 Jeff Conine
I got this card signed through the mail, probably in 1993 or '94 while he was with the Marlins. Jeff had a pretty long Major League career that ended after the '07 season. In Spring Training of '08, he signed a one day contract with the Marlins so that he retire a Marlin.
I was kind of surprised when I looked at his stats. He didn't reach 2,000 hits for his career. He only hit over 20 homers twice and he only reached the 100 RBI plateau once. He was a two-time All Star for the Marlins, though. I guess that I never really paid too much attention to Conine. He was a steady player that could play the corner outfield and infield positions. He never broke the bank during his career, but he made a lot of money. And according to his Wikipedia page, he is a world-class racquetball player and is starting to get into triathlons.
Interestingly, Conine did two stints with the Royals, Marlins and Orioles.
I like the photo on this card. For one, you can see the old astroturf that used to be at the K. Plus, you can see a reliever hanging out in the bullpen in the background.
Oh, I also want to thank Night Owl Cards for sending a couple of cards from my want list. Thanks Night Owl!
#153 Pat Clements
I had to work late last night and didn't feel like posting anything, so here is yesterday's Padrograph.
Clements was a relief pitcher his whole career, which spanned parts of eight seasons. In 1987, with the Yankees, he threw a career high of 80 innings. His ERA was nearly 5 and his strikeout to wakl ratio was nearly 1. His most innings pitched he would record after that came in his final season in the Majors, when he threw 48.1 innings and had an ERA close to 3 and a strikeout to walk ratio that was less than 1. It looks like he was mainly used as a LOOGY that year and he split the season between San Diego and Baltimore. The next year, he made 8 appearances with Baltimore's AAA affiliate and he was then either released or he retired.
He does have a unique way of finishing his last name that adds some character to his signature.
Friday, December 19, 2008
#523 Roberto Alomar
Wow, I didn't realize that I would be posting the Alomar brothers today. That's pretty cool.
This card is actually another Padrograph from Rod. I finally got my scans caught up to 1991, so this will help me catch up. There might be another day or two with two Padrograph posts, but they most likely will not feature brothers.
Like I said about Sandy, Jr., I doubt that Roberto needs much of an introduction. Actually, he probably needs less of one than his brother. Roberto's career spanned seventeen season with seven clubs. He made the All-Star team every year from 1990-2001. That's a pretty nice run. During that span, he won the AL Gold Glove for second baseman every year but two. The only real blemish to his career was the day he spit in home plate umpire's, John Hirshbeck's, face. Supposedly, there was a racial slur that prompted the incident but the two eventually made up. Other than that, I see no reason why Roberto should not be elected into the Hall of Fame. He deffinitely has better offensive numbers than Ozzie Smith and most of his numbers are as good or better than Ryne Sandberg's (the exceptions would he home runs and slugging percentage). But, that is just my view and I don't think that I get an actual vote.
If I remember correctly, Roberto was supposed to play with the Devil Rays in 2005. But, he and Danny Bautista both retired during Spring Training.
As for the Alomar brothers' autographs, I actually had both of them before this. But, neither one was on a Padres card. Plus, the Roberto card was signed on a dark part of the card and in almost impossible to see. So, these were great additions to my collection. Thanks Rod!
#150 Sandy Alomar Jr.
I doubt that this Padrograph needs much of an introduction. He is probably, in my opinion, the most famous Padrograph that I have posted on here so far. Interestingly, Sandy only played in eight games with the Padres. Yet, it seems that there was a bunch of cards made of him as a Padre. By my count, he had seven regular issue Padre cards in 1989, including a Topps Future Star card and a Donruss Rated Rookie. The next season he had five more Padre cards, including a Donruss Rated Rookie card. I wonder how many players got more than one Rated Rookie card. After the 1989 season, he was packaged with two other players and sent to Cleveland for Joe Carter. He spent the next eleven seasons with the Tribe, making six All-Star teams and appearing in two World Series. He then spent the next seven seasons on a vagabond journey with five different clubs while doing three stints with the White Sox. His nineteenth and final season was in 2007. He spent most of the season in New Orleans, the AAA affiliate of the Mets, but did get into eight games with the Mets that season.
I have personally seen Sandy play four times between 1999 and 2005. He was 0 for 12 in the games that I attended.
Thursday, December 18, 2008
#424 Les Lancaster
This is the third and final card that I got signed by the Souix City Explorers manager in June. You can see the first two here and here. Les has a cool looking signature. He makes a big L and then writes es and ancaster next to it.
The 1991 Fleer set was one of the weirder sets that I have ever seen just because of the bright yellow borders. These are some loud cards. But, for some reason, I have always liked them. For one, they are easy to spot. Plus, they had full color backs that had a face shot of the player. Only Upper Deck had pictures on the backs before this (and maybe 1990 Leaf). But, these had a little more color than any Upper Deck back up to that point and they were cheaper than Upper Deck. So this set from Fleer kind of put them ahead of Topps and Donruss, at least technilogically.
#672 Calvin Schiraldi
The first thing I noticed when I looked at Calvin's stats was how much he bounced around. When I think of him, I always picture him as a member of the Red Sox. But, he only spent two seasons in Boston. Before that it was two seasons with the Mets. After Boston, it was two seasons with the Cubs before spending two seasons in San Diego. He then made three appearances with Texas and spent some time in AAA before calling it quits.
All in all, he was a pretty average relief pitcher who had a couple of really good years. So why did he bounce around every couple of years? Was he not a very good teammate? Or was he good trade bait? After all, he and another player got the Red Sox Lee Smith and was traded from the Mets to the Sox to the Cubs to the Padres.
Calvin was the losing pitcher in games six and seven of the 1986 World Series.
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
#21 Jamie Quirk
This is the second card that I got Jaime to sign for me at Royals Fanfest last year. These types of signings are always one autograph per person, so this is the only person that I got two signatures from (at one time, more or less). You can see the other one that I got signed here (it was one of my first posts).
At Fanfest, there were basically three autograph lines that you could get into. There was current Royals 1, current Royals 2, and Royals alumni. I was only in the alumni line one time and that was because I had someone holding my spot in one of the current Royals lines. My buddy and I were towards the end of the line, but it was moving fairly fast. When we got to the front, we found that Quirk, Dennis Leonard, and Greg Pryor were the ones signing. They were all reliving the glory days with one another and weren't really paying much attention to the fans. I got my three cards signed and then just kind of stood around there. There was about five people behind me and after they went through, I went by again and got this card signed as well as two Royals supplied 4x6 inch photos from the other two guys.
So, for some odd reason, I got two autographed cards from a long time Royal and neither one had him on there as a Royal. I could not pass up getting that '78 Topps card signed but I'm not quite sure why I wanted this one signed so bad.
I've added a few more Royals cards to my want list. Fanfest is just right around the corner. So if anybody can help me out, it would greatly be appreciated!
#128 Jack Clark
This is a great autograph that Rod gave to me. Jack Clark was probably a little underrated when he played. He lasted 18 seasons and clubbed 340 home runs between 1976 and 1992. That's pretty good for that era. Plus, he had 20 or more homers in 11 of those seasons. And with his ability to take a walk, he had a career OBP of .379 and an OPS of .854. That OPS is very good for that era. George Brett had a career OPS of .857. Jack made four All-Star teams and played in one World Series in 1985 as a Cardinal.
These Padrographs are starting to catch up with where I am. Well, I have another '90 Donruss, four '90 Fleer and three '90 Upper Deck. After that, I should be caught up so I can get back to doing one post a day.
#616 Dave Clark
Here is the second card that I got signed by the Round Rock Express manager this past August. I kind of had a hard time getting these cards signed from him. He came out and had a clipboard in one hand. I asked him to sign and he was more than willing. He told to set my card book there (he pointed at a railing with his clipboard). So I set the book on the railing and he said "no not there, there". I just gave him a blank stare because I didn't have a clue what he was talking about. Finally, he set his clipboard on the railing and pointed at the clipboard with his free hand and told me set it there. So, I did that and he signed all the cards.
There are probably some more out there, but this is the only set that I can think of where the two series are not identical.
#212 Thomas Howard
It's late and I'm tired, so I'm only going to do one Padres card and then call it a night. I'll try to get three cards on here tomorrow to make up for it.
Thanks to Rod, I finally have a 1990 Bowman card signed. This one is of the well-traveled, light hitting outfielder, Thomas Howard. Howard played for six teams in his eleven season career. The most games that he played was 121, but he only got 360 at-bats that year. He never hit more than six home runs and wasn't a very good base-stealer, stealing only 66 bases in 107 attempts. He never walked a lot, but he didn't strikeout a lot, either. He was basically your everyday fourth outfielder and he was good enough at it to last as long as he did.
Monday, December 15, 2008
#384 Norm Charlton
This is the third and final Norm Charlton card that I got signed in Kansas City from the Mariner's ex-bullpen coach. It looks like Don Wakamatsu has revamped his coaching staff and Charlton, Mel Stottlemyre and Lee Elia are all gone. The only one that was kept from last year was Jose Castro. If you would like to see the first two Charlton autographs, just click on the Reds label and you will find them there.
One thing that I liked about Norm's signature was that he included his number. This is the first time that I have ever seen a coach sign his number.
Also, I don't have a whole lot of cards from this set (although Rod certainly helped that out). That's probably because I didn't like how they distrubuted the cards in two series. I'll have a card from series 2 tomorrow. But, I must say that these cards are a huge improvement over the 1990 set.
#178 Mark Grant
The Padrograph of the day features the late '80s Padre pitcher, Mark Grant. Mark started his Major League career in 1984 with the Giants. He made brief apperances with them for three seasons before being traded to the Padres with Chris Brown, Keith Comstock and Mark Davis for Dave Dravecky, Craig Lefferts and Kevin Mitchell. Mark pitched decently for the Padres for almost four seasnos (mostly in relief) before being shipped to Atlanta for Derek Lilliquist. The next season, he was hurt almost all year long and never appeared in the Major Leagues. The next two seasons were spent with the Mariner, Astros and Rockies. He was out of baeball in 1994, but came back in '95 as a starter for the Iowa Cubs. He never got the call and that was the end of his career.
This thing that strikes me when I see this card is the background. That is a ton of green. It's almost like he's in front of a Hollywood green screen. This has to be a photo from Spring Training. I can't think of any National League park that had that much green in it.
Sunday, December 14, 2008
#82 Bobby Jones
Here is another autograph that I got through the mail right after he was called up. I probably got this in 1993 or maybe even 1994. Bobby pitched for ten years in the Majors, eight with the Mets and two with the Padres. In his first full year in the big leagues ('94), he went 12-7 with a 3.15 ERA. In '97 he was 15-9 with a 3.63 ERA and he made his only All-Star appearance. Then in '99 and 2000, he had ERAs that were over 5 and the Mets let him walk via free agency. The Padres picked up his services for $625,000 and he went 8-19 that season. Some how, the Padres brought him back the next year for $4 million. I didn't realize that 19 game losers were entitled to 300% raises. He made 19 appearances that year and went 7-8 with a 5.50 ERA and he was done.
This card came from the first ever set of Classic Four Sport. The set included nothing but draft picks from the four major sports. I liked the look of them, even though they had some thick borders. At least they allowed the player's photo to overlap the border. This is the only card from the set that I have signed, but I hope to get one of the hockey cards signed by March.
Also, I added a couple of players to my want list.
#307 Andy Hawkins
The first card today is of Andy Hawkins. Andy was an average pitcher who pitched with three teams in a ten year career. He had a great season in 1985 when he won 18 games and posted a 3.15 ERA. Other than a couple more good seasons, most of his were either average or below-average.
But, in 1990 he did pitch a unique no-hitter. In a game against the White Sox, Andy threw 8 innings of no-hit ball. But, the Sox scored four times in the eighth on three errors and no hits to take a 4-0 lead. The Yankees failed to score in the top of ninth and that was the ballgame, since Chicago was the home team. So he threw a no-hitter, but lost by four. It doesn't get much crazier than that. Unfortunately, the no-hitter was taken away from him the following season because he didn't throw nine innings.
Like I said in the Keith Comstock post, Andy was the Oklahoma Redhawks pitching coach last season. I was kind of excited to have the chance to get his autograph. But a day or two before the game, the Rangers fired their pitching coach and Andy moved up to the big club as the interim pitching coach. About a month later, I went to a couple of Ranger games, but didn't get his autograph. At the second game, he was walking from the bullpen to the dugout and I asked if he would sign. He said that he had some things to do and that he had to change, but he would sign before the game started. I didn't wait around to see if he came out to sign, though. I had some other things to take care of. He is now the Rangers bullpen coach, so maybe I'll have another chance to get another autograph this coming season. Coincidentally, this '89 Fleer was one of the cards that I took with me to get signed.
#150 Sam Militello
I got this card signed through the mail in 1992, I believe. I got this one in the same fashion as the Easley card I posted yesterday (waiting for a call-up).
The thing that stands out to me on this card is the inclusion of Jr. on the card. It would make sense to include that if his father had played baseball professionally, like Pete Rose or Ken Griffey. But he didn't. Orel Hershiser is technically Orel Hershiser IV, but I've never seen the IV added to any of his cards. Apparently Classic thought that Sam was a special case that needed the Jr. tag added. Maybe Classic was located in Florida (Sam's home state) and Senior was a big-time lawyer or carpet store owner or something. Either way, it is still kind of weird.
I was checking out Sam's minor league stats and they look very impressive. His first season in pro ball was 1990, and by 1992 he got a call-up to the Big Leagues. In that call-up, he posted a 3-3 record in 9 starts, with a 3.45 ERA. The next season, he must have tore his arm up since he only made 10 appearances (7 in AAA and 3 in the Majors). In the three seasons after that, he only made 11 starts and didn't fair too well. That is too bad. He was on the fast-track and it all fell apart.
I like to post a summary for the previous minor league teams that I've done, so here is this one. The first one from this set featured the Harrisburg Senators. They are still alive and kicking and are in the same league and with the same parent club, kind of. They were with the Expos and now they are with the Nationals (same organization, different name). The second card featured the Miami Miracle. With the Marlins in town, this team moved to Ft. Myers and is affiliated with the Twins, I believe. Yesterday's card showed off the Midland Angels. That team is now the Midland RockHounds and they are affiliated with the A's. Today's card is a Prince William Cannon. This team is still around, but they are now called the Potomac Nationals and are obviously affiliated with the Nats.
Another cool thing about this card is the pose. Off of the top of my head, I can't think of too many posed shots of pitchers where he is lifting his lead leg. They are usually just toeing the rubber or have their hands over their heads like the 1976 cards.
#441 Dickie Thon
Tonight's Padrograph is of Dickie Thon. Dickie only spent one season with the Padres, in 1988. When looking at Dickie's stats, one thing really pops out to me. That would be his home run numbers. He only had 71 homers in his 15 year career. But, in 1983, he hit 20 dingers and in 1989, he added 15 more. Those were his only two seasons in which he had double-digit home run totals and they accounted for nearly half of his career homers. Plus, in the '83 season, he added 79 RBI which was the most that he ever had in a single season. That was pretty good for a shortstop in the early '80s. That just happened to be the one year that he made the All-Star team, and rightfully so. He wasn't the starter at short (Ozzie Smith was), but he probably should have been (based on his season stats compared to Ozzie's)
Friday, December 12, 2008
#121 Damion Easely
I got this card signed through the mail in either 1992 or 1993. That was the cool thing about minor league cards back then. First, remember that this was the time before the internet and before Topps started putting out First Year Cards. So, what I would do was watch the transactions in the newspaper when I could. Most of the big name players wouldn't sign through the mail and it was damn near impossible to find addresses to all of the minor league teams back then. So, this was the next logical step- buy minor league cards and wait. Then when that player gets called up, you could send them a card to sign that week and maybe beat the rush. This is how I got this card signed. Sure, he wasn't the next Ernie Banks or Cal Ripken Jr., but, he deffinitley lasted much longer than most people thought that he would.
I forgot all about Easley after his 2002 season. Four years after hitting 27 home runs, he only hit 8 in '02 to go along with a .224 average. Then I saw him in 2004 pinch hitting for the Marlins against the Braves and thought "he still plays?". Then I saw him pinch hit this past season for the Mets in Denver and again thought "wow, he still plays?"
For his career, he seems to have been one of the longer lasting super-utility players. He was a full-timer for four seasons in Detroit, but since then, he has seemed to adapt to any roll that would keep him in the Big Leagues. Throughout his career, he has played every position except pitcher and catcher. This past season with the Mets, he started at second base 60 times. It takes a certain type of player to go from part time player (at the age of 38) to starting everyday to fill in for injuries. Plus, overall, he hit .269 this past season. I guess what I am trying to say is that this card means much more to me now than it did in 1992 (or 1999).
Also, I have a couple of thanks to put out tonight. The first one goes to Mark at Stats On the Back. He was threatening to throw away a bunch of cards, but luckily I was able to save about 300 Royals cards (maybe more). I got tons of cards of many Royal greats, including Bo Jackson, Willie Wilson, Frank White, Dan Quisenberry, Dick Howser, Amos Otis, Kevin Appier, Wally Joyner, Joe Randa, Kevin Seitzer, Brian and Hal McRea, Dennis Leaonard and Tom Gordon. He even included some Brett's and a 1987 Donruss Bo Jackson rookie. If you have never been there, this might be a good time to check it out. You might even be able to save some cards from eventual destruction.
The second thanks goes out to Dave at Goose Joak for linking to this blog. If you have never been to his site, you should check it out as well. He makes his own original cards that usually consist of current players on older style cards and occaisonally older players on current cards. His latest concoction is of Carlos Pena on a 1990 Fleer Soaring Stars insert that he found here. This is the first card that he has ever done of a card style that he has neve seen in person and he did a Hell of a job.
#34 Greg Harris
No, this is not the Greg Harris that was ambadextrious. This is the other one, Greg W. Harris. This Greg W. Harris made his Major League debut in 1988 with the Padres. He had three appearrances with one start. In those three games, he pitched 18 innings, allowed 3 runs (1.50 ERA), and pitched a complete game. He even struck out 15 batters while only walking 3. I know that is a small sample size, but that's not a bad way to start your career. So, Donruss made him one of their Rated Rookies in 1989.
The next two seasons, he was in the bullpen for the Pads (except for 8 starts in '89) and he threw over 100 innings each year and had an ERA of 2.60 in '89 and 2.30 in '90. Apparently, he did such a good job relieving that the Pads decided to throw him into the starting rotation. In 1991, he made 20 starts and was 9-5 with 2.23 ERA. The next season, he made 20 starts again. But he fell to 4-8 with a 4.12 ERA. Then in 1993, he was off to a 10-9 start, with an ERA of 3.67 in 22 starts before being dealt to the Rockies. As would be expected, he didn't fair too well in Denver. He made 13 starts the rest of the year and was 1-8 with an 6.50 ERA. The next season, he made 19 starts to go along with 10 relief appearances. He finished the season 3-12 with a 6.65 ERA. He got released and was signed by the Twins. With the Twins in 1995, he made 6 starts and 1 relief appearance and posted a 8.82 ERA. He gave up 32 runs in 32.2 innings.
What's the point of all of the stats? I'm not sure, exactly. I guess it all goes to show how the high altitude of Denver could really screw with a pitcher's head, especially in the '90s before the humidor and before coaches and GMs realized that you have to have downward movement to be effective there.
This is the first Rated Rookie I have posted on here.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
#45 Mike Lansing
The second card from the '91 Classic/Best set is of former Expos, Rockies, and Red Sox second baseman, Mike Lansing. I got this card signed through the mail. It was most likely in 1993, his rookie season. I always liked Mike because he played his college ball at Wichita State, which is about 80 miles south of where I live.
The autograph featured on this card is different than the one shown on the Baseball Almanac page. That one is a certified autograph, so it could have been the 2000th card that he signed that day. I looked for some autos from him on ebay and most of them look the same. The last names all looked similar to mine. But, none of them had the loop in the M of his first name like mine does. I got another card signed through the mail around the same time and it's signature looks just like this one. It's hard to imagine that a rookie in Montreal in the early '90s would have a ghost signer.
This card is cool because it features the old Miami Miracle. The Miracle were an independent team that played in the Florida State League. I guess that this was the time before indy leagues and there were a few teams that played in a minor league that weren't affiliated (the Peninsula Pilots were another). This is unheard of today, but this team spent seven seasons (four as the Miami Marlins) in the FSL as an independent team. Lansing is the only player from the '91 team to ever make it to the Majors. How about the teal and yellow uniform? That belt really stands out.
#778 Keith Comstock
The Padrograph of the day features Keith Comstock. Keith was a relief pitcher that was pretty ineffective as a Padre. He did, however, have two good seasons with the Mariners as a LOOGY in 1989 and '90. In '91, he got into one game with the M's. He pitched a third of an inning and gave up two runs for an ERA of 54.54 for the season. This was his last Major League appearence.
When the Rangers fired their pitching coach last season, Andy Hawkins got called up from the AAA team as the replacement. Keith took over for Hawkins in Oklahoma.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
#23 Chris Haney
I got this card signed at a Royals Caravan, probably around 1993. I think that it was in January of '93 because I got two cards signed, and he was an Expo in both of them (or in this case, an Expo minor leaguer). He made 7 appearances with the Royals the previous summer after coming over from Montreal, so I probably didn't have any Royals cards of him yet. This particular caravan, like most of the early ones, took place at the mall. This was how autograph collecting was for a 13 year old in central Kansas in the early to mid '90s. It was this once a year event and getting autographs through the mail.
I do like that jersey. That uniform is kind of a carry-over from the '80s with the belt-less pants and pullover jersey.
#653 Randall Byers/King
Here is yet another Padrograph of a player that I never heard of. This one features Randall Byers who got into 21 games with the Padres between 1987 and '88. If you look at his minor league numbers, you can see that he got a cup of coffee with the Padres in his fourth professional season. He got another cup the next year. He spent his entire sixth year in AAA and then he was done. He spent six years in the minors, half of them with AAA teams, and then was out of baseball.
Does anyone know what Jeff King is up to these days? It would be cool to add his signature to this card.
The best part of this card is that it is 1988 Fleer. This is the only card from that set that I have signed.
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
#352 Jack McDowell
I got this card signed through the mail in the early '90s while Jack was with the White Sox, most likely in '92 or '93. Jack was a very dominant pitcher for the Sox back then, pitching over 250 innings for three straight years and winning 17, 20, and 22 games in that stretch. In 1992, the year he won 22, he was awarded the American League Cy Young award. The innings must have started to catch up to him and he only threw over 200 innings one more time. His last two seasons in the Majors were spent with Anaheim and he had to work his way up from A ball each season. That sounds like rehab assignments to me.
This looks like a card that would look good signed. But Jack's signature is so big, it is kind of hard to make out. The fact that there is a lot of black from his turtleneck and that it was signed in black doesnt help out either.
#360 James Steels
Here is another Padrograph of a player I have never heard of. It's been a few days since I said that. Steels played parts of three seasons in the Big Leagues with the Padres, Giants, and Rangers. He only got 133 at-bats, and about half of them came during his season with the Padres. He hit .180 with three extra-base hits in his career. Plus, he only had 5 steals. Sorry, I coulnd't resist that one.
Monday, December 8, 2008
#149 Rusty Meachem
Here's the first card of 1991. I got this card signed at a Staten Island Yankees game this past summer. Rusty was the pitching coach of the Vermont Lake Monsters of the New York-Penn League. He seemed pretty nice and signed for everybody. He signed all three cards for me.
The stands in this picture almost look like a high school football stadium. It's obviuosly from Spring Training, so it is probably the end of the seating area by third base.
I almost forgot. I got an autograph in the mail today from Paul's Random Stuff. It is a card that I won in a contest early next week. The card is from 1998, so it's going to be a little while before I show it on here. But, thank you Paul. If you haven't been to his site, check it out. He's a big Mets fan and has lots of cool autographs on his blog.
#637 Bib Roberts
Today's Padrograph features Bip Roberts. I almost got a Bip Roberts autograph once. In 1997, I went to a Royals game and Bip was over by the tarp talking to someone that he knew in the stands. I must have been a little shy then because I didn't say a word. I guess that I was just hoping he knew what I wanted and would say something to me. Well, he didn't. So I just stood there. He got done with his conversation and took off. I don't remember what I was going to have him sign. It was probably my ticket stub.
Even today, I won't interupt a player that is having a conversation with a fan. Chances are that they know that person sonehow and rarely see them. So I stand by and wait for the conversation to be over with, then ask for the autograph. Now, if someone else butts in and ask for one, I'll usually get in line behind that person and get mine signed, too. But, I'm not going to interupt them. Also, sometimes you can meet some interesting people if you spark a conversation with the person they were talking to. In 2007, I met Justin Huber's dad who had come from Australia to see his son play.
I realize that this has very little to do with Bip Roberts, but it is what came to mind.
Sunday, December 7, 2008
#116 Bobby Bonilla
I got this card through the mail last week. The first thing that I notice on this card is the signature. It looks like BO. This might just be worst autograph that I have seen. I thought that David DeJesus and Kenny Loften had some sloppy, hurried signatures, but this one takes the cake.
Other than that, it's a good autograph to have. Bobby was a very good ballplayer for many years. He went to seven All-Star Games and won a World Series with the Marlins in 1997. I'm sure that I had to have sent for his autograph while he was with the Pirates and never got one, so it's cool that he signs through the mail now.
#403 Jerry Royster
Today's Padrograph features Jerry Royster. Jerry had a long career and spent most of his time with the Braves. He was a light-hitting infielder who has a .249 career average. He went into coaching after his playing days and was even the Brewers manager in 2002 after they fired Davey Lopes. These days he is the manager of the Lotte Giants of the Korean Baseball Organization.
Here is another card that Rod got signed in red. Again, it looks good. I don't know how Rod got this autograph, but I'm going to take a guess. I bet he got it at a Beavers game when Jerry was the manager of the 51s. Am I right, Rod?
#106 Whitey Herzog
When I wrote to the White Rat, I sent him two cards. This is the second one. I picked this card up on ebay for $4.50. I'm getting sick of buying cards on ebay from poeple that charge $2 or more for shipping and then send it in a top-loader and put a 42 cent stamp on it. It costs two bucks for a top-loader, an envelope, one 42 cent stamp, and maybe a copy of an invoice? It used to not be that bad when you could buy cards on there for a penny. Now it's just getting ridiculous. I might have to check out checkoutmycards.com.
Sorry about the little rant; now back to the card. This is the second Kansas City Athletic on here. It's also the second card from the '60s on here and both of them are KC A's. I thought about buying a card of Whitey when he was a Senator, but I think that I'm going to let Frank Howard be my first Senator on here (if I can get one in a trade- see want list, hint hint).
Whitey had an unremarkable career. He played eight years with four teams and was a .257 career hitter. His full name is Dorrel Norman Elvert Herzog. I probably would have gone by Whitey, too.
On a side note, tonight I went to a minor league hockey game in Wichita and got a baseball card signed. How about that?
Saturday, December 6, 2008
#143 Steve Boros
Here is another Padrograph of a person that I am unfamiliar with. I have lots of '87 Topps and even a complete set, but I don't recognize this card. But, the more I see it, the more familiar it looks to me (whatever that means). I guess that I really didn't care too much about manager cards back then.
Boros had a short career as a manager. He was the A's manager in 1983 and was canned after 44 games in 1984. He was the Padres skipper in 1986 and guided the team to a 74-88 record (which is the same record that the A's had in '83), which isn't horrible. For whatever reasons, he was not brought back the next year.
It's kind of funny that Topps puts "manager" on the front of the card since the rest of the cards list the position on the back. I guess they didn't want the old guys to be confused with the players.
Update: After reading Dave's comment, I decided to look into Mr. Boros some more. So, I went to his Wikipedia page and found some great stuff. For one, he was one of Whitey Herzog's coaches while he was with the Royals. That's neat since I just posted Whitey on here a couple of days ago. Another thing I learned is that he has a degree in literature. That's an interesting degree for a manager. The third great tidbit that I found was that he once got ejected from a game while turning in the linup card. Apparently he was carrying a video tape out out to the plate that had a blown call from the night before. The umpire saw the tape he was carrying and ejected him before he could even hand in the card. That's some good stuff.
Friday, December 5, 2008
##97 Terry Kennedy
This is the third and final card of the San Antonio Missions batting coach, Terry Kennedy. You can see the first one here and the second one here.
This is little off topic, but I couldn't resist. Apperantly the San Diego Surf Dawgs, of the Golden Baseball League, have offered Rickey Henderson one million dollars to go into the Hall of Fame with a Surf Dawg hat on his plaque. This is a mute point since Rickey won't have the chance to pick his cap. For those that don't know, Rickey played for the Surf Dawgs in 2005 after no Major League team team would sign him. The Dawgs won the league championship (which consisted of a four team, double elimination tournament) that year and Terry Kennedy was their manager. Anyway, you can read more about it here.
#608 Bruce Bochy
Todays Padrograph features the current Giants manager, Bruce Bochy. I like this card because it's an '86 Topps. That was the second year that I collected cards and most of mine aren't in the that great of shape. The black border on top really shows off the wear. But, this card has four sharp corners. This might be the only card in my collection (of '86 Topps) that has that distinction.
I was looking at Bochy's stats and I noticed that he didn't get into many games. I thought that that was wierd because I have a bunch of cards of him. So, I went to the Baseball Cube to see if he had been sent down a few times and he hadn't. He was just a backup catcher. With the way the card companies are these days, I guess I just forgot that backup catchers were routinely put in sets in the '80s. Boy, how the times have changed.
Thursday, December 4, 2008
#261 Whitey Herzog
I got this card signed through the mail this past week. Whitey was most famous for managing the Cardinals to three World Series, winning one of them, in the '80s. While that is how I remember him, it's also good to know that he was at the helm of the Royals when they were starting their run in the '70s. In 1975, he took over a 50-46 Royals team from a young Jack McKeon. After the change, Whitey guided the Royals to a 41-25 record that left them seven games behind the World Series winning A's. But, he won the division the next three years and lost to the Yankees in the ALCS each time. He failed to make the playoffs in 1979 and a change was made. In 2000, I had the pleasure to see Whitey inducted into the Royals Hall of Fame prior to a game.
On an interesting side note, Whitey was an interim manager for the Angels in 1974. The previous post on here, Dick Williams, took over for him.
#659 Dick Williams
While I got many great cards from Rod, this one might actually be my favorite. It's of the 2008 Hall of Fame inductee, Dick Williams. This is the only card of a member of the Hall that Rod sent me. But, that could easily change in the next few years as there were a few cards of players that should get serious consideration.
The stats link above links to Dick's player stats, but since he was known more for his managing, you can see those stats here. If you look at both stats pages, you'll see that he played his final season in 1964 for the Red Sox and then he took the Sox to the Series in his first year of managing, in 1967. That's a quick turnaround from player to Major League manager. He went to the Series three more times, winning it twice with A's in the early '70s. He even guided the Expos to their lone playoff appearance.
To date, this is the only checklist card that I have signed. These were kind of strange team checklists. There is a team on the front and a team on the back. But, only the team on the front has a picture of the manager on the card. However, that is not a problem on this card since the back has the "special cards" checklist.
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
#495 Lee Smith
I got this card signed this past spring at the Willie Wilson Classic. If you don't know what the Willie Wilson Classic is, click on the WWC label and go to the older posts to find out.
In October, I showed this Lee Smith card that I got signed through the mail in the '90s. In that post, I stated that I thought that the signature was fake. The reason I thought that is because I got this one in person and it looks nothing like the other one. So, I assumed it was fake. Then I came across a 1982 Topps Lee Smith. That set had the fascimile signature on it just like the '08 set has. The fake signature on that card looks very similar to the one on my '88 Topps card. So, I guess that Lee's signature has changed through the years slightly. Plus, he was probably in a hurry when he signed this card. Does anyone else have any Lee Smith signatures for comparison?
So there you have it- the (hopefully) future Hall of Famer, Lee Smith.
This is the very first Red Sox card on here.
#310 Gene Richards
Here is another Padre that I am unfimiliar with. It looks like Gene spent seven of his eight seasons with the Padres. He always had decent numbers for his batting average and OBP, but his slugging was pretty pitiful.
Here is another yellow Padre jersey. This one is probably just a batting practice jersey. You just don't see too many teams wearing yellow these days. I saw the Sioux Falls Canaries wear a yellow jersey last year. I can hardly think of any teams that use yellow any more. The only ones that come to mind are the A's and the Salt Lake Bees.
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
#260 Eric Davis
This is one of the best autographs that I got through the mail when I was a kid. Most of the big name players wouldn't return the card or would send it back unsigned, and sometimes, with a photo explaining that they get too much mail to resond to each one. But, not Eric Davis.
I was a pretty big fan of Davis in the '80s. In '87, he was three home runs away from being the first 40/40 man. I even had a poster of him, too. He was dressed in a suit with a red tie and there was a huge revolver laying on a table. In big red font, it said "44 Magnum".
I was a Dodger fan when I was a kid and was pretty excited when he went to LA. But, that was when he started getting hurt a lot and was out of baseball four years later. But after a year away from the game, he was back and played for six more seasons and did pretty good when he was healthy. In 1997, he was diagnosed with colon cancer. But, he battled through it and went back to the team in time for the playoffs.
While Davis' career didn't reach the point that most people thought that it might, he was still a great ballplayer that was exciting to watch.
#446 Dennis Rasmussen
I like this card for two reasons. The first is that it is a player that I have heard of. The second is that it is 1984 Donruss. I might have three or four cards from this set, with one of them being the Joe Carter rookie. For some reason, this was always a hard set for me to find. I never saw any packs of these. It doesn't help that I didn't start getting into cards until 1986. But even today, it's hard to find packs of this set on ebay. And when you do find them, they usually aren't cheap.