Thursday, February 24, 2011

1997 Donruss Signature Autographs, Mark Kotsay

#63 Mark Kotsay

Here is a card that I bought along with most of the Leaf Signature cards that I posted last week. This is the first card that I have from this set and I do like it. It is a bit more colorful than the Leaf set, but the cards seems to cost a bit more as well. This one cost me $1.75. While that is not expensive in any way, most of the autographs are a little more pricey than the '96 Leafs. For instance, there are 145 cards from this set on sale at right now and only seven of them cost a dollar or less. For the '96 Leaf set, 84 of their 511 cards costs a dollar or less. It obviously seems like the difference in price has to do their availability.

I bought this card of Mark just because of his college career. Growing up in Kansas in the late '80s and early '90s, there was always one baseball constant and that was Wichita State baseball. Sure I wanted to be a big league player when I was growing up, but I would have rather played in the College World Series than the MLB World Series. That was just the way I grew up. Because of that, I was always watching the CWS and it was during the 1995 CWS that Mark Kotsay became a known name to me. He had an outstanding season that year as he won the Golden Spikes Award and was named the Most Outstanding Player at the CWS.

In 1996, Mark's Cal State Fullerton team went to Wichita for regional play and, even though his '96 season was less spectacular than his '95 season, I wasn't going to miss the chance to see the future star in action. So, a buddy and I drove down to Wichita to see Fullerton take on Rice. While I no longer remember who won the game, I do know that I got to see Mark play in college.

That is one of the fun things about D1 baseball. It is a lot like the lower level minor leagues. There are hardly any household names and at least 95% of the players are not going to make it to the Majors. But, when you do catch lightning in a bottle, it is always fun to look back and say "yep, I got to see that guy play when he was in college".

As for the most recent Major Leaguer that I saw play in college, here is a grainy picture of one Buster Posey leading off of first base at the 2008 CWS.

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