Friday, April 29, 2011

2005 Topps, John Buck

#444 John Buck

Here is the second signed 2005 John Buck card that I have posted in the last couple of weeks. The first one can be seen here and this card was signed at the same time as the first. This one, though, came out looking a little better than the first one.

This card was awarded to me when I won a contest on "A Pack a Day". Skoormit hosted his Cali vs. World contest and I was lucky enough to have the closest guess. Though this card wasn't the main prize, it was still nice to get. It was even nicer after I was able to get it signed.

When I posted the last Buck card on the 18th, John was hitting .208 with 8 RBI through 13 games. He now has played in 21 games, yet he is still hitting .208 with only one more RBI than he had nearly two weeks ago.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

2005 Topps, Val Majewski

#327 Val Majewski

Here is a card that I got signed at a Tulsa Drillers game last season. Val was playing for the Midland Rockhounds at the time and I was able to get him to sign this card right before the game started.

I actually picked this card up from a garage sale a couple of years ago. A buddy called me up to let me know he found a garage sale that had some baseball cards. I had nothing better to do, so I decided to head over there to see what it had. The guy that was selling the cards didn't know much about them. He just picked them in bulk to try to flip for a profit. Almost everything was from 2006-2008 and all of the decent cards were way overpriced. He did have an "eight cards for a dollar" bin, though, and that is where I found this card. The reason I bought it was because I had the chance to get an autograph from Val the season before, but I didn't have a card of him. So, I picked this one up with the hopes that I might some day run across him again and that obviously happened last summer.

Val used to be a highly touted Orioles prospect. He made his Major League debut for them in 2004 and played in just nine games before tearing his labrum. The injury caused him to miss all of 2005 and, from what I can tell, Val has not been the same player since.

Val has started each of the past three seasons in the Atlantic League, but he has caught on with an affiliated team each season. It doesn't look like he is playing in the minors right now, so it may be back to the Atlantic League again this season.

John Maine is playing for the Colorado Springs Sky Sox this year and I am trying to work out a date to go check them out. Hopefully he will still be there if I ever make it and I can add his signature to this card.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Some autos from Dave (Goose Joak)

Just over a week ago, I got an email from Dave, of Goose Joak fame, and he wanted my address. I sent it to him and I have been sitting here ever since wondering what he had for me. Well, I found out today when I got home from work and found a package in the mail. Here are the contents.

Dave is an Omaha Storm Chasers (Royals AAA) season ticket holder and he sent me some goodies from the Chasers home opener at brand new Werner Park. First up is the first ever issue the "O-Zone", the Chasers gameday program. It looks like there are a few good articles in there about how the new ballpark came to be and I am looking forward to reading those.

Next up is a photo of Werner Park that was probably given out at a game. The first thing I think when I see that photo is "man, that is a small park for AAA baseball". Dave said it was small when he first saw it in person, but I wasn't expecting it to be that small. I hope that it doesn't look even smaller when I get to see it in person.

At the same time, I am looking forward to a smaller ballpark for Omaha. I went to one O-Royals game at Rosenbaltt Stadium and most of the seats were either empty or covered up by tarps. The ballpark had grown so big to accommodate the College World Series and it eventually outgrew the O-Royals. That doesn't look like it is going to be the case anymore and I am looking forward to a more intimate feel at Chasers games.

The best part of the package, though, were the autographs that Dave got for me. On this card, he was able to get Mike Moustakas, Mike Montgomery, Blain Hardy, Jeff Suppan, Lucas May, and Greg Holland. For those that don't follow the Royals or Chasers, the two Mikes are two of the top rated prospects in the Royals highly-touted farm system, Blaine is an up and coming pitcher, Lucas and Greg both contributed to the Kansas City Royals last year, and Jeff was the Royals Opening Day starter about a decade ago.

While all of the autographs are great, the Jeff Suppan signature is probably my favorite. He spent a few years with the Royals in the 2000s, but I was never able to get an autograph from him.

Thank a lot, Dave! I really do appreciate it.

Monday, April 25, 2011

2005 Topps, Matt Rogelstad

#320 Matt Rogelstad

Here is a card that Paul, from Paul's Random Stuff, got signed for me at an Atlantic League game in 2009. Matt was playing for the York Revolution that summer and Paul was nice enough to get the card signed at a Newark Bears game in the second half of the season.

Matt was signed as a non-drafted free agent by the Mariners in 2003. He had quite a whirlwind season that year. Though he only played in 45 games that summer, he had stops in Rookie ball, low A, high A, and AAA. That doesn't happen all too often. He came back to reality after that season, though, as he spent the next two and a half seasons playing in the California League. In 2005, he got his first taste of AA and he hit only .185 in 23 games. The Mariners let him go after that season.

Matt was picked up by the Nationals after that and he spent a majority of his time with them (two seasons) on their Carolina League team. He then played in the Atlantic League in 2009 and the Golden Baseball League last year. I have no idea if Matt has found a team for this season.

Matt is Canadian and he was a member of their 2008 Olympic baseball team.

Matt's signature is unique. You can easily make out "Matt" and the first letter of his last name. After that though, it looks like he is tallying how many autographs he has signed that day.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

2005 Topps, Phil Nevin

#252 Phil Nevin

Here is the first of two Padrographs that I have from the 2005 Topps set. This one features the 1992 Golden Spikes winner, Phil Nevin.

Phil was the top ranked college player while with Cal State Fullerton in 1992. He did so well that season that the Astros drafted him with the first overall pick. Unfortunately for the Astros, Phil never lived up to his college performance and he only played 18 games with the Astros before he was traded to the Tigers. He played parts of three seasons in Detroit before being dealt to the Angels. The Angels kept him around for only a season before trading him to the Padres.

With the Padres, Phil finally found a home. He stayed with the Padres for six seasons and he had his best years there. In his first season, he reached double digit home runs for the first time when he had 24. His home run numbers climbed to 31 the follwing season and then reached 41 the year after that. That seaason, 2001, Phil also had career highs in RBI (126) and average (.306). Phil made his lone All Star team that season.

Phil played in San Diego through 2005. That season, he was traded to the Rangers. The following season, he was then traded to the Cubs who then shipped him off to the Twins later on that same season. That was Phil's final season playing.

These days, Phil is the manager of the Toledo Mud Hens. It seems strange that a player that has played as recently as 2006 is now managing at the AAA level. He only managed in the independent Golden League for one season before taking over the Tigers AA team for one season. The Tigers must really think highly of him to have him managing their top farm team with only two years of managing experience.

I had the chance to get Phil's autograph in person a few years ago while I was at the College World Series. Phil was signing at the Nike store just down the road from Rosenblatt, but I didn't find out about it until just before the signing. So, I had nothing to get signed and the organizers didn't provide any pictures or anything for him to sign. So, I passed on that opportunity.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

2005 Topps, So Taguchi

#199 So Taguchi

Here is a card that I got signed in Des Moines in 2009. So was playing his final season in the States and he spent a majority of the season playing for the Iowa Cubs. I was able to get this card and another card signed by him as he was leaving the park for the night. There was a good-sized crowd outside the Cubs clubhouse, but So was nice enough to sign for everyone there. I had seen him sign three cards for a few people, but by the time he got to me, he was only signing two. I can't complain though since he signed both of my cards in English and Japanese. Until a couple of weeks ago, those were the only cards I had that were signed in Japanese.

It looks like So went back to Japan last season and played with the Orix Buffaloes. He turns 42 this summer, so it will be interesting to see if he has any more left in him. He did OK last year, hitting .261 in 53 games.

I was surprised to see that So played second base for the Cardinals three times. I did not expect to see that.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

2005 Leaf, Hector Gimenez

#220 Hector Gimenez

Here is a card that I got in a repack box from Wal-Mart two years ago. I bought a few repack boxes from there between 2008 and 2009 and this is not the only hit that I got. In fact, I pulled my lone jersey letter swatch (or whatever they are called) from a pack that came out of a repack box. Unfortunately, I haven't bought any repack boxes recently. The ones that I was buying back then always had packs from the years that I wasn't collecting cards, so it was fun to see what I missed. It seems that all of the repack boxes that are out there now have packs from 2007 and 2008 and that doesn't intrigue me at all.

Until recently, Hector had a stat line of two games played with two at-bats and no hits. That was with the Astros in 2006. After that, he played in the Rays and Pirates organizations and he spent all of last season catching for the Pirates AA team in Altoona [on a side note, Altoona has a new mascot- Al Tuna]. Fast-forward to this year and it appears that Hector broke camp with the Dodgers. He was 1-7 to start the year before heading to the disabled list ten days ago because of a swollen knee. That is great that he made it back to the Majors after such a long break away and it is cool that he finally got his first Major League hit. 0-2 would have been an unfortunate career line.

It is funny that Baseball Almanac has this same card posted for Hector's signature. Lucky for them, though, that they have a card that is signed with a fresh Sharpie. I wasn't so lucky.

Monday, April 18, 2011

2005 Fleer, John Buck

#23 John Buck

Here is the second John Buck autograph that I have posted on this blog. I posted the first one this past December and that one can be seen here.

I got this card signed at a Twins game in 2009. The Royals had a chance to close down the Metrodome for good that season. But, they got swept and the Twins ended up playing a tiebreaker and a playoff series there to close down the dome. Still, it was fun to be at the Metrodome during what could have been two of the last three games there. While they weren't playoff games, there was certainly a playoff atmosphere and that place was rocking. That is one thing that Target Field will never be able to reproduce- the Metrodome's loudness.

Anyway, I got this card signed before one of the games while the Royals were taking batting practice. I had planned on getting this card signed with a black Sharpie, but John had kept someones blue Sharpie and he was signing everything with that. But, it still came out OK in blue.

John signed a nice little contract this off season with the Marlins and he is off to a bit of a slow start so far. Through 13 games, John is hitting just .208. But, he has driven in 8 runs, so it looks like he is making his hits count.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

2005 Donruss Signature, Jose Guillen

#147 Jose Guillen

Here is a card that I bought from in September. Jose may quite possibly be my least favorite Royal of all time, but at least I now have an autograph from him and it only set me back $1.49.

I tried on many occassions to get Jose to sign by the Royals parking lot and I was always turned down. Eventually, I gave up on even asking him to sign because I already knew the answer. But, it is now 2011 and Jose's 36 million dollar contract is finally off the books. Good riddance Jose.

This is the first Nationals card that I have posted on here.

Friday, April 15, 2011

2005 Donruss, Barry Zito

#281 Barry Zito

Here is one of my favorite through the mail successes of all time. Why, you may be asking, would a Barry Zito TTM rank so high in my book? Well, I got this card signed TTM in 2005. That summer, I was deployed to FOB Falcon on the south side of Baghdad. There were no baseball cards to buy at the PX that summer, so I made my dad send me some whenever he sent over a care package. Eventually, I decided that I was going to try to send one card to a player from each team and try my TTM luck from the other side of the planet.

That was the first time I had sent out any autograph requests since 1997 and I did not have very good results. I never got around to sending one per team. But, I did send out about fifteen and only three of them made it back to me. This was the second one that I got back and I was very excited to get an autograph from the 2002 American League Cy Young Award winner. But, what really made the return special was this yellow post-it note that was stuck to the card.

I do not send out very many TTM requests to current Major Leaguers anymore, but I have sent out a bunch in the past. To this day though, this is the only time a current player has ever sent me a hand written note of any type. And, considering the circumstances, I doubt that any note could ever top this one.

I know that Barry is not the pitcher that he once was. But, he is a class-act in every sense of the term and sometimes that is better than being a great pitcher.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

2005 Donruss, Ken Harvey

#215 Ken Harvey

Here is a card that Paul, from Paul's Random Stuff fame, got signed for me at an Atlantic League game two years ago. Ken was playing for the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs at the time.

Ken's Major League career lasted just parts of four seasons. But in that short time span (271 games), Ken did two things that I will never forget. The first is that he made the American League All Star team in 2004. Carlos Beltran should have been the Royals representative that year, but he was traded to the Astros shortly before the All Star break. Since the Royals had to have an All Star, Ken got the nod based off of his .330 batting average.

The second, and more memorable, memory that I have of Ken is his walk off home run at Kauffman Stadium in 2003. The Royals were in the midst of their great 16-3 start that would pad their division lead through the All Star break. On April 18, the Tigers visited the Royals for the second home stand of the year. The Royals were 11-3 at that point and 38,937 fans showed up for the game. It was a tightly contested game that was tied 3-3 after nine innings of play. The game dragged on into the 11th inning with neither team looking like they were going to end it anytime soon. But, Ken led off the bottom half of the inning and hit an 0-2 pitch for a home run to win the game. There were still at least 30,000 people at the game and the house was rocking. To this day, that is still the best Royals game that I have ever been to.

Here is my lasting memory of Ken Harvey.

Unfortunately for me, I was more into tailgating at that time than getting autographs. So, this is the only signature from Ken that I have. Thanks Paul!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

2005 Diamond Kings, Miguel Olivo

#206 Miguel Olivo

Here is the second of maybe seven or eight Miguel Olivo autographs that I own. I got this one signed by the Royals parking lot prior to a game in 2009.

I bought this card for cheap from just because it is from a set that I had never seen before. I thought that it would be a good card to get signed when I bought it, but I really wasn't too pleased with the results afterwards. It came out OK, but I really don't like the dark blue strip running vertically across the center of the card. If the strip was a different color or a lighter shade of blue, I think that I might have been a little more happy with the turnout. But, oh well. It is still a neat card from a good-looking set.

This season, Miguel has returned to the Mariners and I might be seeing him play Saturday afternoon in Kansas City. So far this year, Miguel is off to a slow start. He is just 6-33 (.182) with no extra-base hits and 13 strikeouts. Ouch!!

The first Miguel Olivo card was posted this past September and it can be seen here.

Monday, April 11, 2011

2005 Carolina-California All Star Choice, Mario Delgado

#9 Mario Delgado

Here is a cool card that I got signed at a Wichita Winguts game last season. Mario was a member of the 'Nuts most of last season and I was able to get this card signed just prior to a game last July. A special thanks goes out to Ryan, from The Great Orioles Autograph Project, who just happened to have this card in his collection and was nice enough to send it my way.

Mario was drafted by the Phillies in the 14th round of the 2001 draft. He spent just two years in the Phillies system before having to find work in the independent leagues. He caught on with Schaumburg of the Northern League and he played there for two seasons before getting picked up by the Orioles. He then spent two seasons in the Orioles system (and was a Carolina League All Star) before heading back to the independent circuits.

In 2007, he played with Kansas City of the Northern League before splitting 2008 between Lincoln of the American Association and Sussex of the Can-Am League. I actually saw Lincoln play that year and now that I think of it, I remember Mario. He did not play in 2009, but he resurfaced with the 'Nuts last season. He played in 68 games with them and hit .288 with 11 home runs before he got released when the Mexican League's season ended. He then moved on to Schaumburg for a second stint.

Mario was a bit of a fan-favorite in Wichita last year because of his body type. To put it nicely, he was the Latino equivalent to Mo Vaughn. Mario is a big dude. It was sad to see the 'Nuts let him go just so they could pad their roster with some Mexican League castoffs. But, that is baseball.

Thanks again, Ryan!.

I believe that this is the first card that I have posted of the Frederick Keys. The Keys are still the Carolina League affiliate to the Orioles.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

2005 Bowman Heritage, Cesar Carrillo

#336 Cesar Carrillo

Here is the last Bowman Heritage card from 2005 and this one features a Padrograph of Cesar Carrillo. Rod sent me this card last summer.

Cesar was drafted by the Padres in the first round of the 2005 draft and he ended up spending some time at AA that season. He must have pitched too many innings that season between the minors and college since he only pitched in ten games in 2006. It was more of the same in 2007 as Cesar only pitched in five games, all at the AAA level. In 2008, it was back to high-A and Cesar pitched in fifteen games that season.

Cesar got back into form in 2009 and was finally able to pitch a whole season. He spent the majority of the season in AA, though he did get a brief big league call-up in August. He started three Major League games that season and he went 1-2 with a 13.07 ERA in just 10.1 innings.

Cesar spent all of last years minor league season playing for the Padres AAA team. Then, in September, Cesar started popping up repeatedly on the waiver wire. On the 9th, Cesar was selected off waivers by the Phillies. Six days later, he was selected by the Padres from the Phillies. Then, on the 22nd, he was selected by the Astros and they still have him in their organization. It looks like Cesar will be starting off this season with their AA affiliate.

All in all, I really like this Bowman Heritage set. All of the autographs that I posted from it turned out OK, even this ballpoint signature. I just wish that I would have known about this set 2005.

Friday, April 8, 2011

2005 Bowman Heritage, Luis Hernandez

#277 Luis Hernandez

Here is a card that I got signed at a Royals game in 2009. Luis signed it by the dugout after he finished taking his hacks in batting practice.

Luis began his professional career with the Braves in 2002, but he never played a game as a member of the Atlanta Braves. He made his Major League debut with the Orioles in 2007 and he went on to hit .290 with a home run in 30 games with them. The .290 average is the highest he achieved in the Majors.

He was back with the Birds in 2008 and he hit .241 in 36 games. For 2009, he was with the Royals organization and he hit .205 in 37 games for Kansas City. Last season was spent with the Mets and he hit .250 with 2 home runs in just 17 games.

It looks like Luis is playing for the Mets AAA team this year, though he did not play yesterday in the Buffalo Bisons opener.

Luis certainly has an interesting looking signature. The only thing that I can make out from it is the first letter of his first name and the last letter of his last name. I do like how he underlines his name, though.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

2005 Bowman Heritage, Brandon Sing

#235 Brandon Sing

Here is a card that I got signed at a Wichita Wingnuts game last season. Brandon was playing for the Sioux Falls Pheasants last year and I was able to get this card signed prior to the start of the game.

Brandon was drafted by the Cubs out of high school in the 20th round of the 1999 draft. He advanced through the Cubs system slowly, not reaching AA until 2003. He didn't do so hot there, so he had to repeat high-A in 2004. With the Daytona Cubs that year, he hit a career high 32 home runs. He was bumped back up to AA the following season and he responded with 26 dingers.

2006 was split between AA and AAA and Brandon regressed that season. In 33 AAA games, Brandon had 4 home runs and a .170 average. In 85 AA games, he had only 8 home runs and a .204 average. The Cubs let him go after that season and he spent 2007 with the Orioles AA team. Since 2008, Brandon has been playing in the independent circuits, spending one season in the Atlantic League and two in the American Association.

Last season, Brandon clubbed 27 home runs for the Pheasants. The strange part about it was that he had either 22 or 23 homers at the All Star break. He took part in the home runs derby before the game and didn't do too well. Maybe the derby screwed him up just like it supposedly did for Bobby Abreu.

For those of you keeping score at home, this card is a mini.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

2005 Bowman Heritage, Shane Costa

#227 Shane Costa

2005 Bowman Heritage starts out just like the regular Bowman set did- with Shane Costa!

So, here is another Shane Costa autograph. I posted the first one about a week ago and it can be seen here. While the first one was signed at a ballgame, I got this one signed at Royals Fanfest two years ago.

I did a much better job picking out this card than I did when I bought Shane's regular Bowman card. By the time I bought this card, I had found and my ebay card buying days were over. Shane is not wearing the old black Royals jersey on this card, so you can actually see his autograph. Too bad that there isn't more to see in his signature. All I can make out is "Sh Cta" and then his number.

Monday, April 4, 2011

2005 Bowman, Chase Headley

#BDP119 Chase Headley

Here is the fifth and final 2005 Bowman Padrograph. It is also the last card from the 2005 Bowman set. Also, this is the card that was won by the Night Owl on Opening Day, so it will only be in my collection for a few more days.

Chase was drafted by the Padres in the second round of the 2005 draft, out of Tennessee. He was fast-tracked to the Major Leagues and he made his debut in June of 2007. He only played in eight games for the Padres that year, but at least he got a taste of things to come.

He split 2008 between the Majors and AAA, but by 2009, San Diego was his home for good. Over the last two seasons, Chase has averaged about 159 games played with a batting average of .263. He had 31 doubles, 12 home runs, and 64 RBI in 2009, but those numbers slipped to 29, 11, and 58 in 2010. Still, that is not bad for a 26-year old.

So far this season, Chase is 3-12 with a homer and 4 RBI in just three games.

I didn't notice it until I looked at the scan of this card, but Chase is wearing white pants that have pinstripes on them. Since the Padres haven't sported pinstripes since 2001, I am going to guess that this photo was taken while Chase was playing for the Eugene Emeralds.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

2005 Bowman, Nick Hundley

#BDP90 Nick Hundley

Here is the fourth of the five 2005 Bowman Padrographs. This one features Nick Hundley.

Nick was drafted in the second round of the 2005 draft out of Arizona. Like the previous two 2005 Padre draft picks I posted, Nick progressed steadily through the Padres farm system and he made his Major League debut in 2008. He got into 60 games that season and he hit .237 with 5 home runs and 24 driven in.

In 2009, Nick played five AAA games and spent the rest of the time on the big league roster. That season, he got into 78 games and he hit .238 with 8 home runs and 30 RBI. Last season, he played in 85 games and his average rose to .249 while hit hit 8 dingers and knocked in 43.

So far this season, Nick is off to a hot start. In just two games, Nick is 4-8 with a double, a triple, and four RBI. If he keeps progressing at the Major League level like he has been, Nick could be in for a pretty good season.

For the Opening Day contest, Night Owl won by correctly guessing Nick.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

2005 Bowman, Josh Geer

#BDP82 Josh Geer

Here is the third of the five 2005 Bowman Padrographs. This one features Josh Geer.

Josh was drafted by the Padres in the third round of the 2005 draft out of Rice. He progressed steadily up the ranks and he got his first shot at AAA in 2007. He started out 2008 in AAA, as well, and he did good enough to get called up to the Majors at the very end of August. In the last month of that season, Josh got five starts and he went 2-1 with an ERA of 2.67. That is not a bad start to a Major League career.

Unfortunately, Josh could not keep it going in 2009. He started that season with the big league club and he went 1-7 with a 5.96 ERA through the first four months of the season. The Padre brass were not impressed and they shipped him back to AAA after 17 starts. Josh has not appeared in the Majors since.

Josh spent all of last season with the Padres AAA team in Portland. The Portland Beavers are no more, so it looks like Josh is going to start this season with the Padres new and temporary AAA team, the Tuscon Padres.

I mentioned in yesterdays post that the Padres no longer wear these sand colored road uniforms. Rod left a comment saying that this is the first season for the new gray uniforms. That is too bad because I always liked the sand colored ones just because they were different.

Friday, April 1, 2011

2005 Bowman, Cesar Ramos

#BDP65 Cesar Ramos

Here is the second of the five 2005 Bowman Padrographs that I have to post. Unlike the first one, this guy has some Major League service time.

Cesar Ramos was selected by the Padres as the 35th overall pick of 2005 draft after playing college ball at Long Beach State. He progressed steadily up the minor league ranks and by the end of 2008, he had one season of AAA under his belt. He repeated AAA in '09, but by September, he had earned himself a September call-up. In five games that month (two starts), Cesar had an 0-1 record with a 3.07 ERA. He did not allow a home run and he struck out 10 in 14.2 innings.

He started off the 2010 season with the big club and it looks like the Padres decided to use him as a LOOGY last year. Through the first month of the season, Cesar had pitched in six games, but he had just 2.1 innings of work to show for it and a 3.86 ERA (one earned run). In May, Cesar had a couple of bad outings (one where seven runs were scored in one inning) and he was shipped back to Portland. But, again, he did good enough in Portland to get another September call-up. In the final month of the season, Cesar threw 3.2 scoreless innings to drop his ERA to 11.88 for the season.

In December, Cesar was packaged in the deal that took Jason Bartlett from Tampa Bay to San Diego. Cesar had a good spring and made the Rays Opening Day roster. Hopefully he will stick a little longer this year than last.

I noticed on Sportscenter last night that the Padres no longer wear these sand colored road uniforms. Is this the first season that they have gone back to grey?

Though the autograph is a little bubbled, it is interesting to note that Cesar's signature looks just like the one pre-printed on the card.

Congrats to the Night Owl for swooping in and taking yesterdays contest in less than an hour. I hope to have your card posted on Monday.