Thursday, March 31, 2011

A quick Opening Day contest

I have four more 2005 Bowman Padrographs to post. So, to make it a tad bit more interesting, I am going to give one of them away. I was planning on giving the final one away since I already have a card signed by him. But, if you would prefer a different 2005 Bowman Padrograph, we might be able to work something out.

All you have to do to win the card is to correctly guess any of the next four Padrographs that are coming up. All four of them are coming from the '05 Draft Picks and Prospects set, so that should narrow it down a bit. You get only one guess. But, if there is not a winner by the time I post the next card on Friday, everyone can guess again. If nobody has won by Saturday's post (or if you are the only person trying), you can guess again. Same goes for Sunday.

Good luck and thanks for playing.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

2005 Bowman, Peeter Ramos

#271 Peeter Ramos

Here is the first of five 2005 Bowman Padrographs. This one features Peeter Ramos and Peeter never made it to the Major Leagues. He began his pro career in 2002 and he played in the Padres system through 2005, reaching as high as AA. He spent the next two seasons in the Phillies system, spending most of the time at AA. He did reach AAA with the Phillies, but that stint lasted just one game and two at-bats. He then spent 2008 in the Mets system before missing all of the 2009 season. He spent last season with Yuma of the Golden Baseball League.

Throughout his minor league career, Peeter is a .274 hitter with 22 home runs. He is only 29, so he might have a few more seasons left in him.

Tomorrow is Opening Day and I am looking forward to spending it in Kansas City for the first time since the 2007 season. There is a 50% chance of showers, but there isn't anything that I can do about that. If I get a chance, I will try to run a super-small contest tomorrow.

Monday, March 28, 2011

2005 Bowman, Kyle Nichols

#267 Kyle Nichols

Here is a card that I got signed at a Wichita Wingnuts game last season. Kyle was playing for the El Paso Diablos at the time and I was able to get him to sign this card just prior to gametime. I had actually bought this card the previous year to get signed at a KC T-Bones game. But, Kyle was released by the Joliet Jackhammers before the team got to Kansas City. Lucky for me, he found his way to the American Association for 2010.

Kyle was an undrafted free agent that was signed by the Diamondbacks out of college in 2001. He did well in the D-Backs system and by 2004, he was hitting .293 at the AAA level. That must not have been good enough for the D-Backs, though, as Kyle spent 2005 playing AA ball for the Reds and high-A for the Phillies. That was his last season in affiliated ball.

Since then, Kyle has been making the rounds in the independent circuits. He has played in the Northern League, the Atlantic League, the Golden league, and the American Association. Maybe he might find his way to the Can-Am League or the North American League this season, just to try something new.

Kyle has the distinction of having played with El Paso Diablos in both the Texas League and the American Association. There cannot be too many guys that can make that claim.

There will not be a post tomorrow. But, starting Wednesday, I will have five straight posts of Padrographs from this set. Just to break it up a bit, I may have a quick contest on Thursday or Friday. So, stayed tuned for that.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

2005 Bowman, Shane Costa

#200 Shane Costa

Here is a card that I did get signed in Albuquerque, New Mexico in 2008. Shane was playing for Omaha that season and I was able to get him to sign this card after the O-Royals took fielding practice. I did not own a card of Shane at that time, so I had to buy this card off of ebay. It obviously wasn't the best card to choose because of the Royals stupid black jerseys, but I was just starting to get back into autographs at that point and jersey color wasn't something that I was thinking about. You live and learn.

Shane has played parts of three seasons for the Royals, the most recent being 2007. He has 154 Major League games under his belt and he is a .254 hitter with 28 doubles, 5 home runs, and 42 RBI.

Shane hasn't played too much since the 2008 campaign. In 2009, he played in just one game and in 2010, he got into 14 games. He has obviously been injured, but I cannot find anything listing his injury.

It looks like the Royals failed to resign Shane and now he is going to try his luck with the St. Paul Saints of the American Association. Maybe I will be able to get a better card signed by him this season at a Wingnuts game.

I'm not sure whose fake signature is on this card, but I am pretty sure that it is not Shane's. Adam Lind would be my first guess.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

2005 Bazooka, Dallas McPherson

#171 Dallas McPherson

Here is a card that I got signed by the former Angels prospect, Dallas McPherson. I bought this card off of ebay in 2008. That was either before or before I knew about the site. I bought this card because I was going to Albuquerque for a game and Dallas was playing for the Isotopes at the time, who were still affiliated with the Marlins. Unfortunately, I did not get this card signed at that game because I spent the entire time 'graphing the Omaha Royals in the visiting dugout. Luckily, I did catch up to Dallas a few months later when the 'Topes were playing in Round Rock. I had three cards in my book for Dallas to sign, but he would only sign one item. But, I am glad that he signed this card since it is the only card from this set that I have got signed.

Dallas was a top notch prospect that never panned out. He was the #12 prospect in baseball prior to the 2005 season, yet he has only seen action in 128 Major League games. The most time he saw in one season was in 2005 when he played in 61 games with the Angels. Since then, he has seen some time with the Marlins, missed all of 2009, and then played for the A's AAA team last season. He was in camp this spring with the White Sox, but they just recently sent him down to the minor league camp. You have got to wonder how much more Dallas has in his tank.

Dallas sure has an interesting signature. All I can make out of it is the "D" and his number 8. It sure looks a lot different than the one that is featured on his Baseball Almanac page.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

2004 Topps, Reggie Taylor

#142 Reggie Taylor

Here is the final card before I start into my 2005 cards. When I finished up with the 2004 cards, I thought I would be on to the '05s in three weeks or less. That was on January 9th, so I obviously did not meet my deadline. A couple of autograph packages, Royals Fanfest, and a job promotion turned my three week timetable into about eleven weeks. But, I made it through and I will start on the '05s tomorrow or Saturday.

Speaking of autograph packages, that is where I got this card. It was included in the last package that was sent to me by Paul's Random Stuff.

Reggie played in the big leagues with the Phillies, Reds, and Devil Rays. He only got into a handful of games with Philly and Tampa Bay, but he saw some decent playing time with the Reds in 2002 and 2003. In '02, he played in 135 games and he hit .254 with 9 home runs and 38 RBI. That was his best season at the Major League level.

Even though Reggie hasn't played in the Majors since 2005, it looks like he is still playing. Since 2005, Reggie has played in the Atlantic League, Mexican League, International League, and American Association. Last season was split between Mexico and the Atlantic League.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

2004 SP Prospects, Luke Hochevar

#NH-LH Luke Hochevar

Here is a card that I got signed by Luke Hochevar at Royals Fanfest. This was one of four game-used cards that I got signed that day and it is the first game-used card that I have posted on here. I think that I now have six game-used cards signed.

This year, Luke gets the nod as the Royals Opening Day starter. I have mixed feelings about that, but after the loss of Grienke and Meche, Luke kind of became the ace of the staff by default. The main problem I have with Hochevar is that he has a hard time staying healthy. In three seasons with the Royals, he has yet to throw over 150 innings. Last season, he only threw 103 innings. Maybe all of that will change this season and he will be able to last 180 innings or more. I can only hope that that is the case.

The other problem I have with Luke is his consistency. There are some days when he looks like he really knows what he is doing and then other days where he just looks confused and beaten on the mound. I would prefer him to be in control every game he pitches, but just being more consistent in his starts would be good enough for me.

On an unrelated note, I will say that Luke has been a good signer thus far into his career. I have got him to sign inside the ballpark and outside by the parking lot. He even signed outside the ballpark one day for about ten minutes when he had his Saint Bernard with him.

I didn't realize that the flat bill trend was going on in 2004. I don't recall seeing flat bills until Chad Cordero was sporting one in the 2005 season. Nevertheless, Luke still wears the flat bill. Maybe it was he that started the trend.

Not only is this the first game-used card that I have posted on here, this is also the fisrt Team USA card as well.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

2004 SP Prospects, Christopher McConnell

#CH Christopher McConnell

Earlier this month, I posted a Nic Jackson card that I got in a trade with reader Peter. This was the other card that was included in the trade. To land the two cards, I had to send Peter three signed SP Prospects cards from this set. The trio included Trevor Lawhorn, James Fasano, and the base Christopher McConnell card.

When Peter first proposed the trade, he said that he was trying to complete the '04 SP Prospects set. Since the three cards he wanted from me were signed, I just assumed that he was trying to get the whole set signed. But, after exchanging emails, I learned that was not the case. He just wanted to complete the set and a signed base card was just as good as an unsigned one.

In our first volley of trade proposals, I told Peter that I would trade the Lawhorn and Fasano cards to him since they are still playing in the American Association and they wouldn't be hard to replace them. I doubted that I would ever run into McConnell again, so I wanted to keep his card. But, Peter said that he would throw in this card, which had a much better looking signature on it than mine did, and I bit. So, the trade was my three signed SP Prospects cards for this card, the Nic Jackson card, and two random unsigned cards from this set.

Even though this autograph is on a sticker, the signature on it is so much better than the ballpark signature that I got from Chris. So, it was a good trade. Thank you Peter and I hope your set collection is progressing nicely.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

2004 Donruss, Darin Erstad

#73 Darin Erstad

On Wednesday, I went to my first ballgame of the year and I got to see the Nebraska Cornhuskers lose to the Kansas State Wildcats in Manhattan, Kansas. It was a great game and the Cats were able to come out victorious, 6-5, thanks to a pair of three run home runs. But, the highlight of my day was getting some cards signed by the newest member of the Huskers coaching staff, Darin Erstad.

I got to the park right after the gates opened and I went over to the visiting team's dugout. The dugouts at Tointon Family Stadium are not very good areas to get signatures, so I went out to the outfield area in foul territory. It's a good place to get autographs, as long as the person you are trying to get a signature from heads out into the outfield or the bullpen.

At first, I didn't think that Darin was even going to leave the dugout. Then, as the Huskers were taking fielding practice, Darin grabbed a fungo and started for the outfield. He stopped directly in front of me and started to stretch. My dad, doing his best Captain Obvious impression, was nice enough to whisper to me "there he is". But, I let Darin be as he continued to stretch and then take some practice hacks with the fungo. He then went further out into the field to hit some flies to the outfielders.

When the outfielders were done with their drills, Darin started running back to the dugout. I was a little amazed as I don't think that I had ever seen a coach run that fast. He was moving so fast that I didn't think he was going to stop, or even hear me, when I asked for his autograph. But, he did hear me and by the time he came to a stop, he had to back up three feet to where I was. He then proceeded to sign three cards for me and three for my dad as I was asking him how his players were getting along with the new bat restrictions. I also asked him how he liked having the Nebraska jersey on again and he said it was great and that he was loving it.

All in all, it was a great day and it was fun to be graphing at the park. I had such a good time that I am heading down to Wichita tomorrow to try my luck at a Wichita State game.

Friday, March 18, 2011

2004 Bowman, Terry Tiffee

#SOF-TT Terry Tiffee

Here is a quick post about my former college teammate, Terry Tiffee. I've talked about Terry a couple of times on here when I posted two of his minor league cards that he gave me. You can see the first one here and the second one here.

To be honest, I haven't talked to Terry since August of 2008. He made the Olympic baseball team that summer and I gave him a call before he left for Beijing and wished him luck. I also gave him a bit of crap for leaving the Las Vegas 51s, who I would be seeing play while he was in China.

The following season, Terry was with the Lehigh Valley IronPigs and he spent a good deal of time on the disabled list. He only played in 64 games that season and he did not play at all last season.

Last week, I ran into another old college teammate/roommate that said he had talked to Terry a few months back. He said that Terry sat out last year because of an injury, but that he was still trying to come back from it. How true that is, I don't know. But, if Terry is trying to get back into the game, I wish him the best of luck.

I picked up this card from for $1.29. It is an odd looking card, but at least it is an on-card autograph.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

2003 Topps Total, Luke Allen

#9 Luke Allen

Here is another card from the recent package from Paul. This one features the former Rocky and Dodger, Luke Allen.

Luke was signed by the Dodgers as a non-drafted free agent after graduating high school in 1997. In 2002, he had his first taste of the AAA level, a level that he would get to know really well in the coming years. Luke only played in five games at that level in 2002. That is kind of surprising since he played in six Major League games that September where he went 1-7 with a double and two runs scored.

That off-season, Luke was traded to the Rockies and he would play in two games for them in the Majors. The rest of the year was spent at AAA. Luke went on to play for four more AAA teams over the next three seasons before splitting time in 2007 between the Mexican League, the Atlantic League, and the Dodgers AA team. 2008 was then split between the Mexico and the Can-Am League. That was Luke's final season playing.

For his Major League career, Luke was 1-9.

I believe that this is the second time that this card has been posted on a blog. This looks like the card that Paul posted on Auto-Matic for the People in December of 2009. As Paul noted on that post, Luke certainly has a unique signature. It has changed quite a bit from the one that is posted on his Baseball Almanac page (the link up top).

I'm getting ready to go to my first game of the year today. The Kansas State Wildcats are hosting the Nebraska Cornhuskers and one of the coaches for the Huskers just happens to be Darin Erstad. I'm hoping to have a card of him to post on here in a couple of days.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

2003 Topps, Clint Nagoette

#T139 Clint Nagoette

Here is another card from the most recent package that was sent my way by Paul's Random Stuff. This one features the former Mariners prospect, Clint Nagoette.

Clint was drafted by the M's in the fifth round of the 1999 draft. He moved steadily up the farm system ladder and by June of 2004, he got his first taste of big league action. In his Major League debut, Clint entered the game in relief in the third inning and he gave up four runs in four innings of work, while striking out one and walking four. He also took the loss that day.

Speaking of that loss, Clint got a decision in each of his first seven appearances. He lost his initial relief appearance, won his first start, lost his next three starts, and then lost his next two relief outings. He started his career 1-6 in seven games and never got another decision ever again. Clint got into twelve games with the M's in 2004, three in 2005, and one in 2006. That was the last time he pitched in the Major Leagues.

Clint pitched in the Mariners organization through 2006 before joining the Mets AAA squad in '07. That gig lasted just one season and Clint pitched in the Atlantic League in '08 and '09. He spent last season pitching for Edmonton of the Golden Baseball League.

While this is the first signed Clint Nagoette card that I have obtained, I did get Clint's signature once before. Clint was a 2003 Texas League All Star and I was able to get him to sign my program at the All Star game in Wichita that year. But, it is always cooler (for me at least) to have the signature on a card.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

2003 Fleer Tradition, Mark Kotsay

#273 Mark Kotsay

I posted a Mark Kotsay autograph a few weeks ago and it was a card that I had bought off of a few months back. Two weeks after that card arrived at my house, this card arrived in a package from Padrograph Rod. My first thought when I saw this card was "dammit, I wasted two bucks on a Kotsay autograph two weeks ago". Then reason set in and I was happy that I had a signed card of Mark as a Marlin and a Padre. So, it's all good.

Throughout his career, Mark has played for the Marlins, Padres, A's, Braves, Red Sox, and White Sox and, right now, he is in Spring Training as a member of the Brewers. While he has never lived up to the hype that he generated in college, he has certainly been a very serviceable Major Leaguer. His best season came as an Athletic in 2004. That was the only season that Mark has ever hit over .300 and he also had career highs in hits, doubles, and extra base hits.

Mark broke into the big leagues as an outfielder, but he has been spending a majority of his time at first base over the last couple of seasons. With the first base job locked down in Milwaukee, it will be interesting to see what Mark's role is going to be with his new team.

Friday, March 11, 2011

2003 Fleer Platinum, Andy Van Hekken

#234 Andy Van Hekken

Here is a card that Paul, from Paul's Random Stuff, sent me last month. It features Andy Van Hekken, a career minor leaguer that does have five Major League starts under his belt. One of those starts, his very first in fact, was pretty awesome.

Andy made his Major League debut on September 3rd, 2002. He faced the Cleveland Indians in Detroit and, even though he gave up eight hits and walked two, none of the Indians crossed that plate that night as Andy went on to pitch a complete game shutout. While there was really nothing spectacular about his performance (he only recorded one strikeout), it is hard to top a complete game shutout in a Major League debut.

Unfortunately, the rest of his September wasn't as spectacular as the beginning, as he lost three of his next four starts and his ERA jumped to 3.00. But, if Andy never reaches the Majors again, at least he has a respectable career line of 1-3 with a 3.00 ERA and a shutout.

Since his big league time, Andy has been pitching all over the minor leagues. He had spent time in the Reds, Braves, and Royals organizations before heading to the Atlantic League for parts of three seasons. He is currently in the Astros organization after pitching all of last season with their AAA squad.

In case you thought that Andy has a very Dutch sounding name, it could be because he is from Holland (Michigan).

Thursday, March 10, 2011

2002 Topps 206, Shane Halter

#240 Shane Halter

Here is the second Shane Halter card that I got signed at Fanfest. The first card I posted was a trippy Sports Illustrated card that I posted last week. Obviously, I like the look of this card much better. It is a nice classic design of a player in a classic Negro League jersey. Plus, it it signed and it doesn't get much better than that.

Shane played for the Tigers for four seasons and he got a lot of playing time at third base and shortstop, as well as the rest of the infield and some outfield. His best season for his career happened with Detroit in 2001 when he had career highs in virtually every offensive category, including average (.284) and doubles (32). But, while Shane had a good season that year at the dish, the same cannot be said about his fielding. He committed 26 errors that season, which lead the American League. As far as I can tell, that is the only time that he lead the league in anything.

I find it strange that Shane added his number to this card since he only wore number 4 during his time with the Royals. As a Tiger, it looks like he was 17 and 39.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

2002 Bowman, Kory DeHaan

#145 Kory DeHaan

Here is a card that I meant to post on Sunday, but then never got around to doing so until today. I guess it has been one of those weeks. But, here is another Kory DeHaan auto that was sent to me by Padrograph Rod. I posted another DeHaan signature just over a year ago and it can be seen here.

When I posted the card last year, I mentioned that Kory was going to be the batting coach for the Padres Arizona League team last season. He must have done a good job there because he got promoted this season. This year, he will be the batting coach for the Padres Midwest League team, the Fort Wayne TinCaps.

Kory has a good-looking signature. It is not often that a player's autograph looks that much better than the pre-printed one on the card. It is usually the other way around.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

2002 Bowman, Nic Jackson

#129 Nic Jackson

Here is a card that I picked up in a trade last year. Reader Peter, from New Jersey, saw a few 2004 SP Prospect cards that he needed for his collection and this was one of the cards that I got in return.

Nic looked like he was on the fast-track to the Major Leagues. He was a third round pick by the Cubs in 2000 and, by 2003, he had a full season of AAA ball under his belt. But, it looks like he got hurt the following season as he only played in one AAA game and thirteen Florida State League games. He then missed all of 2005.

He came back in 2006 and hit .297 in 74 AA games, but it wasn't enough for the Cubs and he was with the Mets and Phillies organizations in 2007. In 2008, he played in the Atlantic League and he has spent the last two seasons playing for the Fargo-Moorhead Redhawks of the Northern League. As of right now, Nic is still on the Redhawks roster, so there is a chance that I might see him play this summer as the Redhawks are now members of the American Association.

I have no idea where Peter got this card signed. If I had to take a wild guess, I would guess that it was signed at an Atlantic League game. How true that is, I may never find out. But, I am actually more curious as to what type of pen was used to sign the card. It certainly wasn't a Sharpie. The best guess for that is that a paint marker was used. But, whatever was used to sign this card, it sure looks unique.

Friday, March 4, 2011

2001 Royal Rookies, Ememencio Pacheco

#27 Ememencio Pacheco

Here is another autograph from the latest package that was sent to me by Paul's Random Stuff. The one features Ememencio (not Ememencia as listed on the card) Pacheco. If this guy did not acquire the nickname of Eminem during his playing days, then his teammates just were not trying.

Pacheco was signed by the Rockies out of the Domincan and he made his professional debut in the Arizona League in 1998. He played in the Rockies system until the 2002 season when he made his way to the White Sox organization. He stayed with the Sox into 2005, reaching as high as AAA, before he wound up in the Atlantic League later that season.

Pacheco has a career minor league record of 51-40 with a 4.34 ERA. His best season came at the AA level in 2003 when he posted career bests in wins (12) and ERA (2.56). His 2.56 ERA was the only sub-3.00 ERA he had posted at any level.

For some reason, this card got a little crooked when I scanned it. Rather than rescan it, I just did a bit of cropping of the card. That is why it looks like that.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

2000 Team Best Rookies, Mike Thompson

#197 Mike Thompson

Here is a Padrograph from former Padre, Mike Thompson. Make pitched in the Majors for parts of two seasons, 2006 and 2007. In 2006, he made 16 starts and had 3 relief appearances with the Padres. He had a record of 4-5 with a 4.99 ERA while striking out only 35 in 92 innings of work.

In 2007, Mike pitched exclusively out of the 'pen for the Padres and he only logged 15.2 innings of work. In that time, he had no record and an ERA of 6.90 while striking out 5 and walking 7.

After the '07 season, Mike signed with the Pirates. He pitched in the minor league system in 2008 and then apparently called it quits after the season was over.

This is the first card that I have seen from this set. The set is a little boring and it reminds me of the 1990 Best set. The only thing that changed on the front of the card between the two sets is that the 2000 set has the card number on it and the Team Best logo. I do like the idea of having guys from the Rookie Leagues in the set, though. It seems a bit odd, but at least those guys have some cards in a semi main stream set.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

2000 SP Top Prospects Chirography, Brad Penny

#BP Brad Penny

Here is another card that I bought from a few months back. The reason why I bought this card is because I missed out on getting a card signed by Brad in 2008. That summer, I went down to Oklahoma City to visit AT&T Bricktown Ballpark. The visiting Las Vegas 51s were in town and Brad was on a rehab assignment with them. The only problem was that I was unaware that Brad had joined the team and I didn't take any of his cards down there with me. When I found out he was there, I tried to trade for a card of his and I had no luck. I even found a guy with a small stack of his cards, but he wouldn't trade me one because "he didn't have any of these cards signed yet".

By then, I was hoping that Brad wouldn't even sign, but that wasn't the case. Brad is from Oklahoma and still lives there in the offseason. Because of that, he came out early to sign and he signed for everybody. It was good to see a big league player do that, especially in his home state, but I just wish that I had a card for him to sign. Instead, I got I got my ticket stub signed. But now, I do finally have a card signed by him and it only set me back $1.15.

I like the look of this card. It is a little odd, but it sure does showcase the signature. This design probably wouldn't go over today with the players, though, as many of them do not like to sign big open white spaces. I don't understand it, but they claim it has something to do with identity theft.

It looks like Bard is pitching for the El Paso Diablos in this card. The Diablos are no longer a part of the Texas League, but they have been reincarnated into the Diablos of the American Association. The back of the card features a Portland Sea Dogs logo because, by the time this card came out, Brad had been traded to the Marlins organization.

Here is a picture from Brad's rehab start in OKC.