Saturday, July 31, 2010

2003 Fleer Tradition, Luis Rivas

#147 Luis Rivas

Here is a card that I got signed last season in Des Moines, Iowa. Luis was playing with the Iowa Cubs at the time and I was able to get this card signed by him in between games of a doubleheader.

Luis played in the Majors from 2000 to 2008. Most of that time was spent with the Twins, but he also played four games with the Indians and he spent a season in Pittsburgh. For his career, Luis hit .257 with 34 home runs and 201 RBI. In 2001, he was the Twins every day second baseman. That was the only season that he ever had more than 500 at-bats.

It appears that Luis is not playing affiliated ball this summer. So, that usually means one of three things- he retired, he is playing independent ball, or he is playing overseas.

Luis has a simple signature that is impossible to make out.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

2003 Fleer Tradition, Brook Fordyce

#124 Brook Fordyce

Here is a card that was sent to me by Paul, of Paul's Random Stuff. Every once in a while, Paul will send me a random package of Royals and autographed cards. The autographs are usually doubles that he has acquired at Atlantic League games. This one is a little different since Brook Fordyce never played in the Atlantic League (though he very well could have coached). So, I have no idea how Paul came across this signature. And, while I'm not a big fan of ballpoint autographs, this one seems to fit really well.

Brook played parts of ten seasons in the Majors with the Mets, Reds, White Sox, Orioles, and Devil Rays. His 2000 season was probably his best and he split it with the Sox and O's. That year, he had career highs in average (.301), home runs (14), and RBI (49), doing most of the damage while wearing the Orioles uniform.

2004 was Brook's final season playing ball. I have no idea what he is up to these days.

I saw Brook play four times between 1999 and 2001 and in those games, he went 6-16 with 3 runs and 7 RBI.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

2003 Donruss Team Heroes, Ramon Vasquez

#418 Ramon Vasquez

Here is another Padrograph that Rod sent me almost two years ago and it is of journeyman infielder, Ramon Vasquez. Ramon has played for six Major League teams throughout his career, including the Mariners, Padres, Red Sox, Indians, Rangers, and Pirates. Out of all of those teams, I really only remember him playing for Texas.

This season, Ramon started out playing for the Pirate organization, but was released at the very beginning of the season. He then signed a minor league deal with Seattle, but they too released him two months later. The Astros signed him to a minor league deal after that and he is currently playing for their AAA, the Round Rock Express.

Ramon saw his most playing time at the big league level in 2002 and 2003 as a Padre. Those were the only two seasons where he had more than 400 Major League at-bats. I guess that was good enough to get him into the Donruss Team Heroes set.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

2003 Donruss Rookies, Franklin Perez

#39 Franklin Perez

Here is another independent minor league autograph that I have obtained this summer. I got this one signed a week and a half ago at a Kansas City T-Bones game, where Franklin is a member of their bullpen. I got this card signed after the game, while he was heading to the clubhouse. The lights got turned off at the park, as soon as the game was over, for the postgame fireworks show. Because of the darkness, Franklin was having a difficult time seeing the card and that is probably why he signed it where he did.

Franklin played affiliated ball for seven seasons in the Phillies, Pirates, and Cardinal organizations. During that time, he spent parts of three seasons playing AAA and at that level he went 1-16 with a 5.43 ERA in 84 games. He then spent two seasons playing for Bridgeport in the Atlantic League. Then, last season, he had the honor to play for four different Atlantic League teams- Newark, Long Island, Camden, and Bridgeport. He must have been a highly sought after player for half of the league to want him.

For some reason, the Kansas City T-Bones now have Franklin on the inactive list. I still haven't quite figured out how the inactive list works for the independent leagues.

Monday, July 26, 2010

2003 Donruss Champions, Cliff Bartosh

#215 Cliff Bartosh

Here is the first Padrograph from 2003 and it features the former Padre minor leaguer, Cliff Bartosh. Until yesterday, I had assumed that Cliff was a career minor leaguer. But, that is not the case. Cliff played parts of two seasons in the big leagues, but neither one was as a Padre.

He played in 2004 with the Indians and he got into 34 games with them, all in relief. He posted a 1-0 record that year with a 4.66 ERA. It looks like he was primarily used as a LOOGY since he only pitched 19.1 innings in those 34 games. He did record 25 strikeouts, though.

The following season, Cliff pitched with the Cubs. The Cubs used him a bit differently than the Indians had. He appeared in 19 games with the Cubbies and he threw 19.2 innings, so he was more of a one inning guy than a one batter guy. Used in that role, he ERA rose to 5.49 while his strikeouts dropped to 15. Plus, he gave up 7 home runs that year, while he had only surrendered 4 the previous year.

2005 was Cliff's last season in baseball. I don't know if he blew his arm out or what, but it seems strange to just hang it up like that. In this day and age, it seems like players want to keep playing and chase the dream, even if they have to do it in an independent league. But, that does not appear to be the case with Cliff.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

2003 Donruss, Mitch Wylie

#56 Mitch Wylie

Here is the second Mitch Wylie card that I got signed last season at a Wingnuts game. The first card was posted in April and you can see it here.

I mentioned in the previous post that Mitch didn't seem like much of a signer. Paul, of Paul's Random Stuff, agrees with that remark since he couldn't get him to sign in 2006 while Mitch was with the Norfolk Tides. I guess I just got lucky that day and, truthfully, I wouldn't have gotten his autograph if it wasn't for the help of his teammate, Jacob Butler. Even though Mitch might not like signing for people, he still seemed like a very nice person and we talked for a bit after he was done signing.

Last season, Mitch pitched for the St. Paul Saints of the American Association. He went 8-7 with a 4.11 ERA as a starter for them. I have no idea if Mitch is pitching this season. I know that he isn't with the Saints this year and I couldn't find anything recent about him on the web.

Remember when Donruss made the Rated Rookie cards that had actual Major League rookies on them?

Saturday, July 24, 2010

2003 Bowman, Zack Greinke

#BDP134 Zack Greinke

Here is the first of several Zack Greinke autographs that I have. This one was actually the second card that I got him to sign for me and I got it signed at the Royals very first Fanfest in the winter of 2008.

I don't think I need to tell you all who Zack Greinke is; he kind of made a name for himself last summer. Unfortunately, he hasn't had the same success this year that he had last year. It seems that everyone is laying off of his slider this year and that was his main strikeout pitch last season. He had 242 strikeouts last year in 229.1 innings. This year, he only has 113 Ks in 133 innings. So, he hasn't been striking batters out at the same rate as last year and he still isn't walking many, so that means that more balls are being hit into play. One result of that is that he has given up more home runs this year (13) than he did all of last year (11).

It is kind of weird seeing Zack with a Rawlings glove and Nike cleats. These days, he is a Mizuno guy. After winning the Cy Young award last season, Mizuno even presented Zack with a samurai sword. Based off of the press release, it seemed that Zack was much more enthused with the sword than the plaque.

If you ever want to see Zack's Cy Young award, it is on display at the Royals Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame is located in Kauffman Stadium and is open year round.

The last three cards I have posted on here all came out of the same two or three packs of 2003 Bowman Draft Picks and Prospects I bought. In those two or three packs, I got two of these Greinkes and two Ryan Howards.

Friday, July 23, 2010

2003 Bowman, Neal Cotts

#BDP126 Neal Cotts

Here is a card that I got signed in Des Moines, Iowa last summer while Neal was pitching for the Iowa Cubs. I got it signed after the game when Neal was leaving for the night. I think Neal signed all three cards for me, but I am not a hundred percent positive.

Neal pitched out of the bullpen for the White Sox and Cubs from 2003 to last year. He has one Major League save and a lifetime ERA of 4.63.

This year, it appears that Neal is with the Indianapolis Indians, the Pirates AAA team. He is currently on the seven day disabled list and it looks like he has been on it all year since he has no stats.

I like how Neal crosses his invisible "t's" in his last name.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

2003 Bowman, Jerome Williams

#BDP27 Jerome Williams

Here is a card that I got signed at an Oklahoma Redhawks game in 2008. Jerome was playing for the Las Vegas 51s at the time, back when they were a Dodger affiliate. There was a lady down by the dugout getting autographs that was joking with me and Jerome. She was saying that he has such a long name that he should charge five dollars a letter for his autograph. Or maybe she wasn't joking and this is just what his free version looks like because I can only make out a "J". Either way, Jerome was a friendly person.

I'm kind of lucky to have this card and the next two signed. I pulled all three cards out of the couple of packs of Bowman that I bought in 2003. I got this card signed before I knew about (where the previous nine cards were purchased from). Before finding that site, I had to get cards signed that I actually pulled out of packs. Since this is the only Jerome Williams card I have, I feel fortunate to have pulled it.

2008 was my first year collecting autographs since my TTM days in the '90s and wasn't the only thing I did not know about. I also did not know about prepping cards. As a result, this card is not prepped and yet it still came out looking great. Nonetheless, I still prep any card that is chrome or has any gloss at all on it. It is better to be safe than sorry (or in this case, lucky).

Jerome pitched in the Majors from 2003 to 2007. He spent time with the Giants, Cubs, and Nationals. This year, he is pitching for the Uni-President 7-Eleven Lions of the Chinese Professional Baseball League (Taiwan).

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

2003 Bowman, Ray Sadler

#300 Ray Sadler

Here is the last of the independent league autographs, at least for a few days. There should be some more familiar names coming up over the next couple of days.

Here is another card of a Kansas City T-Bone that I got signed before the T-Bones/Wingnuts preseason game in Wichita, Kansas. When I saw that Ray was with the T-Bones this year, I got a little excited since I thought I was going to be able get get an autograph from a former Royal. Luckily, it didn't take me long to realize that I was thinking of Ray's older brother, Donnie.

While I was looking at Ray's stats, I was shocked to see that he played in the Majors briefly. He got called up by the Pirates in 2005 and he got into three games in May. In those games, he went 2-8 with one home run. The home run was off of Noah Lowry and Ray hit it in what was likely his last Major League game. So, that is a good way to go out in my opinion.

Ray has spent parts of four seasons at the AAA level, including last year with Durham. This season is his first in independent ball and Ray is doing very well. He is hitting .317 with 42 RBI in 51 games.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

2003 Bowman, Jon Nelson

#269 Jon Nelson

This is the latest autograph that I have acquired. I got this card signed by Jon after the T-Bones game on Saturday. Jon was the last player off of the field and, since the lights were off for the fireworks, he had to sign in the dark. Or at least he would have had to if it wasn't for a nearby usher who had his flashlight out for him. I guess I need to add a flashlight to my list of things to bring for post-game fireworks.

Jon is in his second season of independent ball. He played for Somerset, of the Atlantic League, last year and he is playing for Joliet, of the Northern League, this year. Prior to that, Jon spent seven seasons in the Mariners organization where he made it up to AAA.

Jon and yesterday's player, Chris Colton, were teammates in 2002 with the Everett Aqua Sox and are teammates this year with the Joliet Jackhammers.

Monday, July 19, 2010

2003 Bowman, Chris Colton

#199 Chris Colton

Here is the first card of 2003 and it features another independent player, Chris Colton. Chris signed this card for me prior to the Wingnuts/T-Bones preseason game in May. I had two of these cards for Chris to sign and when he saw them, he said "ooh, some old ones". I didn't know what to say to that since I didn't realize that there were some "new ones" out there.

I got this card signed in May, but I could have got it signed on Saturday. Last month, the Wingnuts traded Chris to the Joliet Jackhammers and that is who the T-Bones hosted Saturday. In the game, Chris went 2-5 with a triple, run, and RBI.

I believe that this is the first xfractor card that I have got signed.

2002 Upper Deck, Jason Cooper

#10 Jason Cooper

Here is the second and final card that Jason signed for me at a Wingnuts game two and a half weeks ago. I posted the other one on Friday, so you can see that one by scrolling down a bit.

I mentioned in the last Jason Cooper post that he will be playing in the American Association All Star game later this month. For the year, Jason is batting .338 with 26 doubles, 42 runs, and 42 RBI through 60 games. Those numbers all place him in first or second on his team, the St. Paul Saints.

On an unrelated note, the last time I posted some 2002 Upper Deck cards was at the beginning of May. One of the cards I posted was of Cory Aldridge. Cory, who went 0 for 5 in his brief Major League stint in 2001, was called up to the Majors by the Angels and he got his first big league hit on the tenth of this month. It was a long time coming and I'm glad that Cory did not have a hitless Major League career.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

2002 Topps Chrome, Kevin Hooper

#T257 Kevin Hooper

Here is a card that I got signed the same day as the Dewon Brazelton card that I posted earlier today. Kevin is the Wichita Wingnuts manager and I was able to get this card signed prior to a preseason game against the cross-state Kansas City T-Bones.

Kevin is a native Kansan and a Wichita State alumni that has been a part of the Wingnut organization for all three years of their existence. He played for the 'Nuts during their inaugural season and he hit .373 for them while making the All Star team. He retired from playing after that season and took over the managing duties shortly thereafter. He led the team to the playoffs last year and after a rough start this season, he currently has the Nuts in the middle of the pack in the second half of the season.

It is hard to make out anything from Kevin's signature, but I still think it is a good looking 'graph.

I've never been much into buying packs of Topps Chrome, so I don't know a lot about the product. It just seems stange to me that Topps would make a chrome version of it's Traded set.

2002 Topps, Dewon Brazelton

#T209 Dewon Brazelton

Here is a card that I got signed at a Wichita Wingnuts preseason game earlier this year. The Nuts hosted the Kansas City T-Bones of the Northern League that night and I got to see my first professional ballgame that involved two Kansas clubs.

I got this card and a couple others signed prior to the game while Dewon was heading to the dugout. He was the last T-Bone to leave the clubhouse and he came out without a glove while wearing running shoes and a St. Louis Cardinals pullover. I couldn't see a number, so I just guessed that it was Dewon and I guessed right for once.

Speaking of the Kansas City T-Bones, I went to see them play last night. It's not very often that I drive to Kansas City while the Royals are in town and not see them play, but I made an exception yesterday. I decided to go to the T-Bones game since they were hosting their third annual Kansas City A's reunion.

I have known about the reunion since the team's press release in May. It was pretty vague and it said to keep checking back on a possible autograph session. So, I kept checking back and all they did was re-issue the release two times with the same wording. So, I went ahead and bought some cards of the A's that were supposed to be there and hoped for the best.

The drive to the ballpark was supposed to be just over two hours. I left early enough to get to the park forty-five minutes before the the gates opened so I could get some food before the game. But, I ended up sitting in traffic on I-70 by Lawrence for two hours because of two separate accidents in the same vicinity. So, instead of getting there with plenty of time to spare, I got there just before first pitch.

There was no autograph session, but most of the players hung out in a suite. I ended up hanging out by the stairs to the suit and I was able to get some autographs from a few of the guys as they left. But, I missed their pregame introductions and I had no clue on who was who, so it wasn't the most ideal autograph setting for me. But, I was able to get eight cards signed by seven former KC A's.

Since I got to the park so late, I wasn't able to get my cards signed from the players and coaches as they took the field. So, I decided to stay until the game was over to get them as they went back to the clubhouse. Because of that decision, I got to sit through a four hour long lop-sided victory. The final score was 14-5 for the visiting team as twenty-nine hits were collected in the game. To make matters worse, they cut the lights off as soon as the game was over for the fireworks show and that further hindered my 'graphing for the night. When it was all said and done, I came home with fifteen signed cards from twelve guys.

Since, I didn't get a post up last night (I got home a bit late), I will post another one tonight. Tomorrow will be the last day of my autograph recap and I will be continuing with my 2003 cards tomorrow night. The 2003 cards are going to begin just like the recap is ending- with independent league autographs.

I've got one last thing about Dewon. He is not on the T-Bones roster anymore and I have no idea if he is even playing anymore.

Friday, July 16, 2010

2002 Bowman, Jason Cooper

#BDP9 Jason Cooper

Here is another card that I got signed at a Wingnuts game this year. Jason plays for the St. Paul Saints and I got this card signed at the last Nuts game I went to two weeks ago.

Jason was a third round pick of the Indians in 2002 out of Stanford. It looked like he was on the fast track to the Majors as he was in AAA by 2004. But, it hasn't worked out for him and he has spent parts of six seasons in AAA, all with the Buffalo Bisons. In over 1500 AAA at-bats, Jason is a .240 hitter with 49 homers and 226 RBI.

Last season was his last year playing affiliated ball. He played 26 games for the Bisons before hitting the Atlantic League for a bit and eventually ending up in St. Paul.

Just like Reggie Abercrombie, Jason will be representing the North Division at the American Association All Star game later this month.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

2001 Topps Stars, Reggie Abercrombie

#193 Reggie Abercrombie

Here is a card that I got signed at a Wichita Wingnuts game back in May. Reggie is playing for the Sioux Falls Pheasants this season and he is doing quite well. He has been named player of the week in the league a couple of times and he will be playing in the American Association All Star game in Wichita at the end of the month. So far this season, Reggie is batting at a .353 clip with 17 home runs and 62 RBI in only 55 games. While the American Association is not the Pacific Coast League, those are still some impressive numbers. One of the home runs he hit was at the game I attended.

I bought this card from because it was the only card they had at the time of him as a Dodger. I was a little bit worried about the signature not showing up very well because of the darkness and blueness of the card, but it turned out looking alright.

As for the Topps Stars set, this is the only card that I have out of it. I thought that it might have been an insert in 2001 Topps until I saw the number on the back. I have no idea who all is in the set, but if it is a bunch of Reggie Abercrombies, they might have picked a poor name for the set (unless it is a 2010 American Association set).

2001 Topps Chrome, Brant Brown

#382 Brant Brown

Here is the third and final Brant Brown card that I have to show on here. Just like the first two, this one was acquired at the Northwest Arkansas Naturals game while Brant was working as the visiting team's hitting coach. You can see the first one here and the second one here.

Brant's Major League career spanned parts of five seasons with the Cubs, Pirates, and Marlins. He is a career .247 hitter with 45 home runs and 55 more strikeouts than hits. His best season was probably 1998 with the Cubs. He had 14 homers and 48 RBI while batting .291, a career high. After that season, the Cubs flipped him to the Pirates in exchange of Jon Lieber. In 1999, Brant had better power numbers than the previous year, but his average dropped almost 60 points. That was his last season as an everyday player.

Brant's final season in pro ball was in 2003. He finished up his career in the independent Northern League with the Schaumburg Flyers.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

1999 SP, Carlos Febles

#CF Carlos Febles

Here is the second Carlos Febles card that I have posted on here and, unlike the first one, this one is a pack-pulled on-card auto that was given to me by Brian, from Play at the Plate. I got lucky and won the first manager fired contest that he had and this is one of the great prizes that he included in the prize pack. I now have two autographs from this set and both of them are Royals that Brian has sent my way. I wonder how many autographs that he has from this set.

It is kind of cool to compare the two Febles signatures. They are signed almost ten years apart, but you can definitely see that his signature evolved a great deal in that time.

I think that I have his signature on a Royals team ball, somewhere. I need to find his signature on there and compare to the two different ones that I have. That signature would probably be from 2000 or 2001, so it would probably resemble this signature more than the newer one. When I post my next Febles autograph, I just may have to do that.

As for my last post, I ended up giving the "Rod Carew" ball back to my aunt. She was glad that I did and she was not very happy about the whole deal. She had bought the ball at a Rotary dinner silent auction fundraiser and she could not figure out why the guy would do what he did. That's why I do not buy autographs. I had enough bad experiences in the '90s to know better and that is why I prefer to get them in person (or from other bloggers). My aunt doesn't think that she will be able to get her money back, but her husband knows the guy that had the ball and she said that he will be getting an earful. I guess that is better than nothing. Thanks for helping me choose the right course on this one, especially Jeff Bunnell.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


I'm in a bit of a pickle here and I could use anybody's advice. Here's the deal. A couple of months ago, my aunt bought me an autographed ball at a Rotary Club's silent auction. She knows that I'm into autographs and she thought that she would help me out and she bought the ball. The ball is supposedly signed by Rod Carew and it was donated to the auction by a guy that knew a guy that knew Mr. Carew. When she bought it, she told me that there was no certificate of authenticity, but that the guy was trying to get one. I told her not to worry about it since I have seen enough fake COAs that I really don't credit them anymore. There are enough resources on the net now to do that.

Anyway, my aunt got into town today from California and she gave me the ball. Here it is.

The first thing I thought when I saw the signature was- WTF? Sharpie? The second thing I thought was- there is no way that says Rod Carew. I know how most modern signatures do not look like what they should be, but that is not always the case for some of the older players. It seems like most of the players pre-1990 have fairly legible signatures. I assumed that would be the case for Rod, but I wanted to make sure before I cast any judgement. So, the first I did when I got home was to head to ebay to take a look at some Rod Carew autographs. As I expected, none of them look anything like mine.

In every scan/photo I saw on there, you could always make out "Rod" in the signature. All of the balls I saw where signed in ballpoint, so I tried to focus on the cards as a reference since they are usually signed in Sharpie. Here is one of the better looking certified autos that I could find. Obviously, we do not have a match.

So, I started to hope that my aunt hadn't spent too much on me when I noticed that the invoice was in the box. She spent $90 on this for me. It looked like most autographed balls on the bay were going for $40-$60. If the money from the Rotary auction is going to charity, it really isn't that bad of buy (if it was real).

So, here is my question to you all. Do I tell my aunt that she got suckered? I certainly appreciate the gesture from her, but what would I do with this ball? She is only in town for about a day and a half longer and I don't know what to do.

If I don't tell her, she is out ninety bucks and I have a useless baseball and a new ball cube. If I do tell her, there may be some chance that she could get her money back. I don't know how the Rotary works, but judging by her invoice, I think that she should have some valid points for getting her money back. Here is a scan of it.

Look at the description section. It says that it is a "Rod Carew signed [illegible] MVP 1977 baseball". If this was a 1977 baseball, it would be an American League baseball (or maybe even a National League ball). But, this ball is a Major League baseball (I know there is no photo of the logo; just trust me). I do not know for sure when they started using the Major League ball, but I do know that it was around the most recent turn of the century. It certainly wasn't anywhere near 1977.

So, I figured at the very least, my aunt could argue that aspect of it, regardless of the authenticity of the signature.

What do you all think?

Monday, July 12, 2010

1999 Just Minors, Pablo Ozuna

NN Pablo Ozuna

Here is another signed minor league card that was sent to me by Padrograph Rod. This one features the former Marlin, Rocky, White Sock, and Dodger utilityman, Pablo Ozuna.

Pablo played in the Majors for seven years. During that time, he spent time playing every position except pitcher and catcher. If he was still playing today, maybe he would have taken Omar Infante's spot on the All Star team.

Actually, Pablo is still playing. He just signed on with the Newark Bears of the Atlantic League a few days ago.

On this card, Pablo is playing for the Portland Sea Dogs. The Dogs are still members of the Eastern League, but they have shed there teal for some navy and red as they are now affiliated with the Red Sox.

Unfortunately, the card back is one of those "congratulations on recieving a limited edition autograph card of Pablo Ozuna from Just Minors", so I have no idea what position Pablo is listed as on it.

1999 Bowman, Brant Brown

#279 Brant Brown

Here is the second of three cards that Brant signed for me before a Frisco Roughriders/Northwest Arkansas Naturals game last month. Brant is Frisco's hitting coach.

So far, this is the only '99 Bowman card that I have signed. And, having bought none of these packs when they came out, this is one of the few cards from the set that I own. So, what I am the most curious about is the background on this card. It is supposed to be the California shoreline, but it really doesn't look too good on this card. It looks more like a volcano than anything else. Does anyone remember if every card had a goofy background like this or was it only certain cards? I wonder if there is a Kansas background and what it looks like.

It's kind of funny to compare Bran't signature now to the one used on the card. Even the one printed looks pretty stylish, but it is nothing compared to Brant's current signature.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

1998 Bowman, Jose Amado

#212 Jose Amado

Here is a card that I got signed earlier this season at a Wichita Wingnuts game. Jose is the Nuts hitting coach and I was able to get this card signed prior to one of their preseason games in May.

Just like the last couple of guys I have posted on here, Jose never made it to the Major Leagues. He played seven years of affiliated ball in the Mariners, Royals, and Reds organizations and the highest level he reached was AA. While in AA, he played for the Wichita Wranglers who play at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium, the present day home of the Wingnuts.

After his affiliated days were over, Jose moved onto the independent route for three seasons before bouncing around the Mexican League and other indy leagues. His final season playing was 2008 and he actually finished his career playing for the Wingnuts. This is his first year on their coaching staff.

Jose's first name in his signature is easily readable, but I have no idea what is going on with his last name or the little squiggly that follows it.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

1996 Old Judge, Chad Renfroe

#28 Chad Renfroe

Here is another card that was sent to me by Rod, of Padrographs. It's another Signature Rookies release of a guy that never made it to the Majors. In fact, in four seasons of pro ball, Chad never made it to the AA level. He spent the whole time with rookie and various A teams. But, at least he is immortalized in this Old Judge set.

Does anyone remember buying any of these Old Judge cards? I don't recall ever seeing packs of them and I wondered if they were an insert or a stand alone brand. I only have one other SR Old Judge card and it was given to me, too. If it wasn't for those two cards, I doubt that I would have even known that the Old Judges existed.

I always chuckle to myself whenever I see one of these Signature Rookies cards and the number of these cards that they had the players sign. 6000? I couldn't imagine signing 6000 of these. My signature would probably change three or four throughout the course of the signing. It would be interesting to see how different the signature is on card 1 compared to card 6000.

Friday, July 9, 2010

1995 Signature Rookies, Ivan Arteaga

#3 Ivan Arteaga

Here is another non-Padre card that Rod, of Padrographs, was nice enough to send my way. So far, I now have three cards from '95 Signature Rookies that were given to me by three different people, and none of the three cards look the same. I did not buy any Signature Rookies in 1995, so I have no idea which is what.

Ivan's professional career lasted six seasons with three organizations, an independent team, and a Mexican League team. He was originally signed by the Expos and he played in their system for only a year before being sent to the Rockies. In their system, he played another two years, both at the AA level. After that, he missed two seasons with an injury. Then the Mets gave him a shot and he spent one season with them split between high-A and AA. After that, he played a year and a half in the independent Norther League East (a league I had not heard of) and part of a season in Mexico. 2000 was his final season playing.

When I first saw this card, I thought that the NH on his hat might have been New Hampshire. It turns out that it is the old New Haven Ravens.

This is the first autograph that I have posted on here of someone whose first name starts with an "I".

1994 Donruss, Steve Buechele

#555 Steve Buechele

Here is the third and final card that Steve signed for me last month at the Northwest Arkansas Naturals game. You can see the first one here and the second one here.

When I got back from my trip and as I was going through all of the cards that I got signed, I was shocked to find this out- this is the only '94 Donruss card that I have signed. I thought for sure that I at least had a couple signed. But, that was not the case at all. I guess that I was getting the set confused with '95 Donruss. Oh well, at least I now have one-ninth of a Joy of a Completed Page. Only eight more to go.

When I was in Omaha for the College World Series, I had the pleasure to meet Steve's son, Garrett. Garrett was playing for Oklahoma and he was recently drafted by the Rangers. He is only a sophomore, so I asked him if he planned on signing with the Rangers and he said he was. Since his dad is the manager of the Rangers AA team, I asked him if he was looking forward to playing for his dad in a couple of years and he sounded like he was really looking forward to it. Finally, I asked him if his dad was enjoying himself in Frisco and Garrett said that he was and that it was "a great gig".

Here is a card that Garrett signed for me while I was pestering him with these questions. One last thing about Garrett- he seems like a great kid and he answered most of the questions I asked with "sir". That is something that I am not really used to while getting autographs.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

1994 Collector's Coice, Glenallen Hill

#137 Glenallen Hill

Here is a card that I got signed in front of Kauffman Stadium in May when the Rockies were in town. Glenallen is the Rockies first base coach. I had three cards in my book for him to sign, but he only signed this one. If I would have known that he was only going to sign this one, I would have given him a black Sharpie instead of the blue one. But, that is how it goes sometimes.

I actually have a pretty neat memory of Glenallen Hill. I remember watching a Cubs game on TV in 1998 or 1999. Glenallen was at bat and at one point, he called time out and stepped out of the box. The umpire, however, didn't grant him time and he stayed in his crouch and actually motioned for the pitcher to pitch the ball. So, the pitcher pitched it and Glenallen jumped back into the batter's box and somehow managed to get a base hit out of it.

I really can't make out much from Glenallen's signature. It kind of looks like he might only sign his first name, but it is hard to tell.

1993 Upper Deck, Frank Tanana

#68 Frank Tanana

Here is the third and final Frank Tanana card that I got signed through the mail in May. You can see his signed '81 Donruss here and '85 Topps here. If I send out multiple cards to get signed, I usually send cards of the player on different teams. It was just a coincidence that I also sent him cards from three different manufactures.

To me, this set is probably my favorite Upper Deck set of all time. The '93 set is just a great looking set with bright photos, a border, and most importantly- no foil. I don't think I can say a bad thing about the base cards in the set. They just don't make them like they used to.

I only have six cards from this set signed, but this is the first one I have added to my collection since the early '90s. So far, all of them have been acquied TTM.

The signature got smudged a bit on this card, but it still looks better than the Dave Fleming card that I have signed out of the set.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

1993 Topps, Mark Strittmatter/Lamarr Rogers

#746 Mark Stritttmatter and Lamarr Rogers

Here is a card that I was able to get both signatures on in about a month and a half. That is the second quickest dual signature card that I have completed. The quickest one took about a week, while others have taken me a couple of years or more.

I'll lead off with Mark Strittmatter. Mark is actually the bullpen catcher for the Colorado Rockies. I first discovered this card by checking out SCN and I saw that someone sent this card to Mark, care of the Rockies. When I saw that, I went over to the Rockies site to see what position he held and I didn't see his name on there. I obviously didn't check to see who their bullpen catcher was. But, when the Rockies came to Kansas City for the first weekend of interleague play, I checked their site again and I noticed Mark on there. So I took this card with me to the game and I was able to get it signed while the '85 Classic was going on.

While I was watching the old-timers softball game, I made sure to sit in the left field foul territory in case any Rockies pitchers went to the outfield to get some work in. It was a decent place to be and I got a few autographs from pitchers and coaches out there.

At one point, this guy was walking out to the bullpen and he had a big gear bag with him. I assumed that it was the bullpen catcher because of the size of the bag and because I knew it wasn't Miguel Olivo or Paul Phillips. So, from my seat, I yelled out "Mark!" to see if it was him or not. He instantly looked over to me, so I held up this card and asked if he would sign it for me. He said something to me that I couldn't make out and pointed to the bullpen. He kept on walking and headed to the pen to catch a bullpen session for Jhoulys Chacin. As soon as Jhoulys had finished his session, Mark took off his mask and chest protector and then ran over to where I was to sign my cards. I thought that was an extremely nice gesture on his part. Not too many guys will hustle over to you to give an autograph. After he signed, he ran back to the pen to get back to work.

As for Lamarr, the plan was to get him to sign the card the very next day at a Wichita Wingnuts game. Lamarr was the batting coach of the visiting St. Paul Saints. But, unfortunately, the six hours in the sun the day before, on the hottest day of the year, wore me out and I did not make it to the game. But, the Saints were back in town this past weekend and I was able to finish the card then.

I was a little leery of asking Lamarr to sign when I did, but I figured that the worst that was going to happen was he would ignore me or say no. The reason I say that is because I intercepted him between the clubhouse (in left field) and the dugout (first base side) and Lamarr's hands were full. He had his coaching helmet, a line-up card, and some other paper work all in one hand and a coffee in the other. He came over and set his coffee down on a ledge and signed the card while I held it in my book.

While they are not the most noticeable names in the game, I am still glad to have both of their signatures on this card.

As for their playing careers, they vary greatly. Mark actually wore a Major League uniform as a player, while Lamarr never got above AA. Mark got called up to Denver in 1998 as a September call-up and he made it into 4 games. He got 4 at-bats and struck out 3 times without recording a hit. Lamarr was out of affiliated ball after four seasons in the minors and he ended up playing a couple of seasons with the St Paul Saints, the team he coaches today.

What is up with these cards? What was Topps thinking when they decided to turn a card sideways and then put two photos on it that each had a regular border around them. To make it worse, they even put a Topps logo on each picture like you were supposed to cut it in half or something. That might make a little sense if there were two different card numbers on the back. But, there is only one number on the back and it is on Lamarr's side. Plus, the Rockies cards are awful for autographs since every single player has on a black batting practice jersey. But, I made due with what I had. It's not like there are many cards out there of these two guys.

Monday, July 5, 2010

1993 Stadium Club Braves, Melvin Nieves

#28 Melvin Nieves

Here is another card that was sent to me by Rod, of Padrographs. At first, I thought that this was some random autograph that Rod had acquired through the years. But, after checking out Mel's career stats, I noticed that he actually played for the Padres from 1993 to 1995. I am assuming that Rod got this card signed in person while Mel was playing for the Las Vegas Stars, but I could be wrong.

Melvin played in the Majors for seven seasons with the Braves, Padres, Tigers, and Reds. His best season was probably 1996 as a Tiger. That season, he got into 120 games and he had career highs in hits (106), doubles (23), triples (4), homers (24), walks (44), and strikeouts (158). The next season, he struck out 157 times while getting 72 less at-bats than the previous year. His power numbers were still there, but his average dropped down to .228. After that season, the Tigers flipped him to the Reds for Paul Bako and Donne Wall. He played one season in Cincy before heading back to the minors to finish his career. 2006 was his last full season of playing ball, though he did have a brief comeback in the Mexican League in 2008.

This card is actually from a Braves team set that Stadium Club put out that year.

In 1993, the Braves traded Melvin and Donnie Elliott to the Padres for Fred McGriff. I don't think that trade worked out too well for the Padres.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

1993 Donruss, Larry Carter

#76 Larry Carter

Here is a card that I got signed in Springdale, Arkansas when I went on my little ballpark road trip. Larry is the pitching coach of the Northwest Arkansas Naturals. I got him to sign it while he was enjoying a pregame coffee in the dugout.

Larry had a weird and short professional career. He was drafted by the Cardinals in the tenth round of the 1986 draft out of West Virginia State. He pitched in eight games that year with the Cards rookie club and then missed all of '87. The Cardinals released him after that season and the Giants picked him up. He worked his way up the Giants ladder and made his Major League debut on September 6, 1992. He ended up making six starts with the Giants during his call-up and he went 1-5 with a 4.64 ERA, 18 walks, and 21 strikeouts. That is the extent of his Major League career.

The next season, Larry was back at AAA. He pitched in seven games and compiled a 2.88 ERA and then never pitched in affiliated ball again. He threw 57.1 innings the next year for the Tyler Wildcatters of the Texas-Louisiana League and that was the end of his career. But, at least he is still in the game and coaching at the AA level.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

1992 Upper Deck, Mike Benjamin

#268 Mike Benjamin

Here is the second and final Mike Benjamin card that I got signed in Omaha the day before the College World Series started. You can see the first one here.

As I mentioned in the first Benjamin post, Mike was sporting some of the best pork-chop sideburns that I had every seen in person. They must have been a new thing for him because right after Mike signed my cards, the Arizona State head coach came over and asked if he had the sideburns on the card. I told him no and that the only thing Mike had on in this card was a confused look. I was hoping that Mike might tell me a little more about that turn back the clock day, but that was not the case.

It is still a interesting looking card and I am glad that I was able to get it signed.

1992 Score, Steve Buechele

#695 Steve Buechele

Here is the second of three Steve Buechele cards that I got signed while Steve was managing the the visiting Frisco Roughriders in Springdale, Arkansas.

One thing that I always think about when I think of Steve Buechele is his hair. Steve had to have played some hockey in high school because he always seemed to have a nice mullet. Jaromir Jagr must have been a big Steve Buechele fan because he took Steve's style to the next level.

One thing I think about whenever I see this set is the rectangular strip on the left side of the card. It is part of the border and the team logo is on it and part of the player's picture usually extends onto it too. But when I see the strip, I tend to think that it would be a great place for the player to sign if his arm or leg wasn't hovering over the strip. It could be similar to 1998 Bowman, but with a real signature on it.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

1992 Score, Danny Jackson

#120 Danny Jackson

Here is the second and final card that my dad was able to get signed for me at the '85 Classic in May. In fact, this is the last card that I have to post from the '85 Classic. I got a bunch of cards signed that day by the Rockies, but this is the last one signed by one of the '85 Classic participants.

Danny's career lasted fifteen seasons with the Royals, Reds, Cubs, Pirates, Phillies, Cardinals, and Padres. A former first round pick by the Royals, he was traded to the Reds after the 1987 season in which he was 9-18 with a 4.02 ERA. I'm sure most Reds fans weren't thrilled about that trade at the time. But, in 1988, Danny ended up having the best season of his career as he went on to a 23-8 record with 2.73 ERA and 161 strikeouts, all career highs. If it wasn't for an amazing year by Orel Hershiser, Danny probably would have won the Cy Young award.

While having a great year, Danny also threw over 260 innings. That looks like it cost him over the rest of his career because he only threw over 200 innings one more time while he threw under 100 four more times. He did enjoy some success later in his career, though, and he even made a second All Star team in 1994 as a member of the Phillies.

The CWS Contest Prizes

Here is what everyone was playing for in the CWS contest, in no particular order- an '03 UD Vintage Harmon Killebrew in-person autograph, a lot of seven duplicate autographs I have (see picture below), '08 Topps Todd Helton game worn, '08 Sweet Spot Jim Thome game worn, '09 Topps Heritage Cameron Maybin bat, '09 A&G Ryan Braun game worn, '09 OPC triple swatch Pudge/Posada/Varitek, '09 Topps Lou Gehrig manupatch, '08 Topps Chrome Tim Lincecum xfractor, a lot of three Topps MCG codes, an 8x10 signed by Nomar Garciaparra, an 8x10 signed by Jim Rice, and an 8x10 signed by Bruce Sutter.

Ryan, from the Great Orioles Autograph Project, won the contest and Brian, from The Play at the Plate, is the runner-up. Ryan gets to pick out the six items that he wants and Brian gets to pick out five that he wants. To decide who gets what, we are going to have a draft. Ryan gets picks 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, and 11 while Brian gets picks 2,4,6,8, and 10. To make your pick, just leave a comment and make sure to go in the right order. Take your time; I probably won't be able to get the prizes out for another week.

1992 Donruss, Steve Foster

#420 Steve Foster

Here is the third and final Steve Foster card that I got signed at Kauffman Stadium earlier in the year. You can see the first one here
and the second one here.

In case you missed out on the second Steve Foster post, an anonymous commenter left an interesting comment. He said that he played ball with Steve at Texas-Arlington and that Steve had some interesting sayings that included "finer than frog hair" and "so hard a cat can't scratch it". I'll have to mention one of those the next time I try to get his autograph. Feel free to put one of those sayings into a sentence in the comments below.

I wonder if this card qualifies as an awesome night card. It does in my book and it is even more awsome because it is a signed night card of a player signing autographs. You can't beat it.