Saturday, November 20, 2010

2004 National Pastime, Angel Berroa

#24 Angel Berroa

Here is a card that I got signed in Albuquerque, New Mexico in 2008. At that point in his career, Angel was playing for the Omaha Royals and he was probably the highest paid player in the minor leagues. But, he was still nice enough to sign a card for me.

When I got to the ballpark that day, I went down to the visiting team's dugout and Angel was the only player I recognized. I asked him to sign and he told me that he had work to do. Since I had never been able to get Angel's autograph while he was in Kansas City, I just figured he wasn't a signer. But soon after that, the O-Royals took the field for fielding practice and Angel went to work like he said he was going to.

While the O-Royals were taking ground balls, I noticed I was the only person by the dugout trying to get autographs. Everyone else was by the walkway that led from the clubhouse to the field, but was separate from the dugout. So I went over there and it was a good thing I did. As soon as the players left the field, they went straight to that tunnel to the clubhouse.

When Angel came by, I didn't think I was going to be able to get anything signed by him because someone else was signing for me at the time. Luckily, Angel remembered me (I was the only person at the ballpark wearing an '80s style powder blue Royals jersey) and when he saw I was busy 'graphing someone else, he stood there and signed a couple of autographs for other people while he waited for me to finish. As soon as I was done getting an autograph from the other guy (Damon Hollins maybe?), Angel came up and signed this card. I didn't even have to ask him again. After he signed my card, he headed straight for the clubhouse. He only signed one out of the three cards I had and it was a glossy one that hadn't been prepped, but it was still a memorable experience. To this day, this is the only thing that Angel ever signed for me.

In Angel's final years with the Royals, I often referred to him as a bum because of the hole in his bat and glove. But on one spring day in 2008, Angel redeemed himself a bit.

Since playing for the Royals, Angel has spent some time with the Dodgers, Yankees, and Mets. He spent part of this past season playing for the Fresno Grizzlies and he is currently playing winter ball in the Dominican Republic.

In case you forgot, Angel was the 2003 American League Rookie of the Year. I did not call him a bum once during that season.

If you have never seen these National Pastime cards, they are kind of neat. The player's picture on the card is raised like the old Action Packed football and minor league cards from the early '90s.

Angel's name is not pronounced angel. It is ON-HELL.

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