Monday, January 3, 2011
2004 Topps Total, Vito Chiaravalloti
#875 Vito Chiaravalloti
Here is the final 2004 Topps Total card and it is of a player that quite possibly has the coolest name in my autograph collection- Vito Chiaravalloti. I have no clue how to pronounce that last name. But, when you have a last name that stretches from armpit to armpit on the back of your jersey, you have a great name. Throw in Vito to go along with the last name and you are set.
Vito was a 15th round draft choice by the Blue Jays in the 2003 draft. He played rookie ball that summer for the Auburn Doubledays and he hit good enough there (.351 average with 12 homers in 68 games) to be named the Short Season A Player of the Year. He moved up to high-A the following year and his average dropped to .266 while he had 14 home runs in 122 games. He started out 2005 at AA, but after hitting just .236 in 45 games, he was bumped back down to high-A where he posted a .212 average in 42 games. He started off 2006 in AA again. But after hitting .190 through 42 games, the Blue Jays released him. He was picked up by the Orioles, but after hitting .075 for their high-A team, they released him as well.
After that, it was on to the Atlantic League. He played his first season there with the Road Warriors and he hit .296 with 19 home runs. That seems pretty good for a guy that did not play a single home game that season. He must have impressed someone because in 2008, Vito got to play half of his games at home as a member of the Somerset Patriots. His average dipped to .234 with them and he moved on to the Camden Riversharks in 2009. That was the season that I got this card signed. And me getting it signed consisted of me putting this card in an envelope and sending it to New Jersey where Paul, of Paul's Random Stuff fame, was nice enough to get it signed for me. With Camden, Vito raised his average back up to .272.
For the 2010 season, Vito only played in a handful of games with the Patriots and Riversharks. By a handful, I mean twenty. He hit .233 in his seventeen games with Camden and then went 1-7 in three games with Somerset. So, unless he got injured, it appears that Vito Chiaravalloti's career might be done. [Edit: Turns out the Vito had pretty much retired to become a school teacher, but he came back for a few games when the teams were short on help. Here's the article. Thanks Paul!]
There are still some free packs of football and wrestling/racing cards up for grabs in my previous post. Free free to snag them.