Sunday, October 23, 2011
2003 Upper Deck 40 Man, Brandon Inge
#273 Brandon Inge
Here is a card that I got signed prior to the Royals final game of the season this year. Brandon was nice enough to have his cabbie drop him off at the "designated autograph zone" (for more on that, see this post) and he signed everything for everybody, including all three cards that I had. All of us 'graphers were wishing him the best of luck against the Yankees in the ALDS, and he really seemed to appreciate the good wishes.
In case you didn't notice, Brandon had an off year this year. He is only a .235 career hitter, but he failed to reach .200 this year for the first time since his rookie season. It was so bad for him that the Tigers traded for Wilson Betemit a few weeks before the deadline and sent Inge, a 2009 All Star, to AAA.
Inge tore up the International League for 29 games before getting called back to Detroit for the final month and a half of the season. He did raise his average twenty points after being back with Detroit. He even had his average above the Mendoza Line for a bit before slipping over the final week. So, it would appear that the demotion might have helped him out a bit.
Since I have gotten back into collecting autographs, I have taken this card with me every time I have 'graphed the Tigers. I like this card because it is the only card of Inge that I have that shows him as a catcher. Inge began his career as a catcher, but he switched to third base in 2005. Then, being the team player that he is, he went back to catcher in 2008 after the Tigers traded Ivan Rodriguez to the Yankees. He has been playing third ever since.