Wednesday, November 30, 2011
#BP9 Chase Fontaine
Here is a card that I got signed in 2009 in Wilmington, Delaware. I was out that way visiting an old Army buddy and the Wilmington Blue Rocks happened to be hosting the Carolina League finals the weekend I arrived. Even though it rained a lot that weekend, we still ventured up to a game and did okay getting autographs.
Chase was one of the final players that signed for me before the game and I probably would have been shut out by him if it wasn't for my buddy. When Chase was walking back to the dugout after warming up, I called out his name twice and I was ignored both times. My friend didn't think that was right and he yelled out "HEY CHASE" loud enough to be heard on the opposite side of the field. That finally got Chase's attention and he then came over and signed for me.
Looking at the pre-printed signature on the card, it appears that Chase had a neat looking autograph at one time. Unfortunately, he has shortened it a great deal and all that can really be made out now are his initials.
Monday, November 28, 2011
#BDP4 Brian Bannister
Here is a card that I got signed by the Royals parking lot back in the summer of 2008. Renovations were in high gear that summer and many areas were blocked off for construction. Because of that, they had to move the players parking lot a bit. When they moved the lot, they also made another change- they fenced in the lot for the first time. While the fence was a minor inconvenience, it was short enough to easily hand stuff over to get signed.
That players lot was just a temporary lot and it moved to its current location the following year. 2008 was the first time I had 'graphed outside of The K and, to date, it was the best year. It has been a downhill slide since then, kind of like Brian's career.
But, I will say this about Brian. First, he has one of the best and most consistent signatures I have ever seen. This was one of the first cards I ever got signed by him. When I gave him my book with three cards to sign, he signed the first one so slowly that I thought there was no way he was signing more than one. But, he did sign all three and it took him about ten seconds a card to sign. He is one of the few players I have met that take their time with each and every signature.
Also, Brian was the best signer on the Royals when he was there. He was always signing for everybody and he only turned me down once. When he did turn me down, he made sure to point out that he was late for a meeting and he would get me inside the park. And he did exactly that.
I wish things would have worked out better with Brian and the Royals, but that is just the way it goes. Nevertheless, Brian is a class act and I wish him the best.
I know he pitched in Japan last season, but he left his team after the earthquake/tsunami and did not pitch the rest of the season. I am assuming that he is a free agent this year, so it will be interesting to see where he ends up.
Sunday, November 27, 2011
#B12 Edwin Bellorin
Here is a card that I got signed at a Wichita Wingnuts game this past summer. Edwin was the Nuts starting catcher and, on that night, I somehow missed him before the game started.
This is the game that Mike Bacsik started for the visiting team and he exited the game after just one inning of work. Since he was my main target for the game, I went to the outfield so I could be by the clubhouse in case he came out. He eventually did come out and signed all three cards for me and I got Edwin to sign my two cards for me when he got to the clubhouse. That was the first time I had ever 'graphed at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium from the outfield and it will only be a last resort spot from now on. There is tall chain link fence separating the general public from the clubhouse and it is an imposing obstacle for getting cards signed. Luckily, I found a low spot on the ground and was able to get my cards through by going underneath the fence. It wasn't ideal, but it worked.
Edwin got into eight Major League games, but none of them were with the Dodgers. He made all eight appearances with the Rockies and they were spread out over three different seasons. In those eight games, Edwin went 3-13 with a run, a strikeout, and an intentional walk.
Saturday, November 26, 2011
#5 Mark Buehrle
Here is a card that I got signed through the mail in 2009. I sent this card to Mark at the White Sox Spring Training compound in February and I had it back in the first week of March. I don't send out too many cards to Spring Training anymore, but it obviously pays to send them out around the reporting day. That way you can get it to them before the bulk of the mail hits and before they get into the actual games. In other words, it gets to them when they have more free time to answer fan mail.
I was kind of surprised to see that Mark has never been a twenty game winner. He won nineteen in just his second full season in the Majors and has not been able to win more than sixteen since then. In fact, he hasn't even won sixteen since the Sox World Championship season in 2005. Mark has been pretty consistent over the last three seasons, though, as he was won thirteen games in each of them.
Mark is currently a free agent right now and, according to MLB Trade Rumors, there are at least thirteen teams interested in him. It seems like the Nationals have made the biggest push to land him, but anything can happen during the off-season. The Royals are reportedly in the mix, as well, but I would be shocked if that happened. Frankly, it is hard for me to picture Buehrle with anyone but the White Sox. But, that could change.
Even though I have been sending out TTMs since 1988, I really wasn't that good at it until recently. I don't know how many cards I have sent out that were so dark that the signature was almost invisible or were too glossy and the signature bubbled up. But, by 2009, I had finally figured it out. As a result, I sent this beauty to Mark and I could not be any happier with the results.
Thursday, November 24, 2011
#209 Charlton Jimerson
Here is a card that Paul, from Paul's Random Baseball Stuff, got signed for me in 2009. That year, Paul had 'graphed so many Atlantic League games that he had autographs from about everyone that he needed. Being the gracious blogger that he is, he offered to get stuff signed for other people over the course of the remainder of the season. So, I sent some cards out to Paul and he did a great job of getting most of them signed for me.
Charlton has an interesting career stat line. He appeared in thirty-one games over a four year span with the Astros and Mariners. He must have been used mostly as a defensive replacement because he only had nine at-bats in those thirty-one games. But, in those nine ABs, Charlton had four hits and two of them were for home runs. That is not a bad career stat line. Four out of nine is good for .444 career average. But, if Charlton hadn't got that one at-bat with the M's in 2008, he would be a .500 hitter. I don't care if it is only eight at-bats, but four for eight would be something to brag about. Heck, I'd even brag about .444, but that is just me.
In Paul's Thanksgiving post today, he mentioned this blog as one of the things he was thankful for. Obviously, this is a two way street here and I am thankful for all the cards and autographs Paul has thrown my way.
While I am giving thanks, I also want to thank Ryan, Brian, Greg, Rod, Marck, and all of the other bloggers that help make this community what it is. I don't post as much as I would like any more. But, without you all, I probably wouldn't be blogging at all. Thanks, guys!
Monday, November 21, 2011
#129 Zack Greinke
Here is the third card of Zack that I have posted on here. I said that the last time I posted a card of him, but I am pretty certain that this actually is the third card of him.
I got this card signed by the Royals parking lot in April of 2009. That was the day I went to Kansas City to 'graph the parking lot and the game, but the weather was colder than I anticipated. Being under-dressed for a chilly night game did not sound like fun, so I called it quits after 'graphing the parking lot. But, I got over twenty cards signed, so it was a good trip.
When Zack signed this card for me, he was in the midst of his 38 inning scoreless inning streak. But, he was still nice enough to sign a couple of cards for me. It was misting at the time, so the "G" is a little smudged from a small drop of rain.
Zack is not the most personable guy in baseball. But for whatever reason, once the Sports Illustrated with him on the cover came out in 2009, he was signing for everybody after games. That is unusual behavior for a guy that suffers from social anxiety disorder. He didn't talk much or smile while he was doing it. But that fact that he was doing it said a lot about him.
Sunday, November 20, 2011
#46 Coco Crisp
For some reason, I thought that this was the first Coco Crisp card I have posted on here and I had a nice write-up in my head for it. Turns out that I posted my first Coco card back in May and I used that write-up then. What's this world coming to?
In my last Coco post, I talked about how he had battled injury plagued seasons in 2009 and 2010. It looks like he stayed pretty healthy this year and he appeared in 136 games, which was the most he had played since 2007 with Boston. This season, he finished with a .264 average with 27 doubles and a career high 49 stolen bases, which tied him for the lead league with Brett Gardner. It seems strange that an Oakland Athletic would lead the league in stolen bases.
Coco is a free agent now and it will be interesting to see where he ends up next season. I haven't heard any rumors about him yet, but it is still early.
I really like these blue bordered Bazooka cards. I think they were a one per pack parallel just like Topps Total did with their grey bordered cards. The blue just accents the card better, especially if the signature is in blue as well. The fortune on the bottom is dumb, though.
This card was signed at Royals Fanfest in 2009, just like yesterdays card.
Saturday, November 19, 2011
#749 John Bale
Here is the first 2006 card that I have to post and it is one of my favorites. It doesn't feature a prominent player or even a player I am fond of. But, this card is special to me as it is my first Japanese card that I have got autographed. Actually, this is the only Japanese card that I have got signed in-person. My other two Japanese autos were both pulled from packs.
I got this card signed at Royals Fanfest in 2009. I was a partial season ticket holder that year and season ticket holders got into Fanfest an hour earlier than the general public for an extra autograph session. John was in the first session I attended and he seemed thrilled that I had this card of him. He was sitting next to Trey Hillman, who managed in Japan, and he had to show the card off to him. Unfortunately, the autograph got a little smudged, which was most likely my fault. But I am still happy with the results.
John lasted in Kansas City for three uninspiring seasons. He never accomplished much and he spent a lot of time on the disabled list. One time when he was on the DL, he punched a wall and broke his hand because he wasn't happy with the speed of his recovery. Obviously, the broken hand set him back farther.
2009 was the last time John pitched in the Majors. He spent 2010 back with the Hiroshima Carp and I think he pitched for Camden of the Atlantic League last season.
Friday, November 18, 2011
#203 Paul Molitor
I know that I was supposed to start my 2006 cards today, but I have a neat little tale to tell instead.
Last week, I started sending out my Topps Diamond Anniversary cards. I sent four out on Tuesday and nine out on Wednesday and cards have been arriving at my house daily since Saturday. Yesterday, I got home from work and I was happy to find three TTM returns in the mail box. I started to check them out to guess who was inside and then I noticed something strange. One of the envelopes did not have a forever stamp on it. I doubled checked the hand writing to make sure it was a TTM and it was my hand writing, but a weird colored blue pen was used. It then hit me. This was a TTM I had sent out a few years ago. This was back before I used forever stamps, before I used a good pen on my envelopes, and before I started tracking all of my requests sent out. So I ripped the envelope open and I was thrilled to death when this was the card that I pulled out.
I honestly have no idea when exactly I sent this card out. I looked though my autograph log and the best I could come up with is that I sent this card out at some point during the 2009 season. I had written this card off as a goner a long time ago, but it made it back home about 900 days after I sent it out (give or take 150 days). I guess the message here is to never give up hope. You just never know.
I had success with Molitor one time during his playing days, but I sent out a bad card to get signed and the signature is barely noticeable. Based off of that card, I could not be happier with the way this card turned out. It is not the best photo in the set, but at least I can make out Paul's signature.
'81 Donruss Tracker: 86/100
2006s are coming tomorrow.
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
#217 Kevin Melillo
Here is the second card that Kevin Melillo signed for my buddy in Colorado Springs over the summer while he was with the Salt Lake Bees. If you are unfamiliar with Kevin, he is one of the elites of the game as he has a 1.000 career on-base percentage. He is the second player that I have gotten an autograph from who has a 1.000 OBP (Adam Greenberg is the other).
This is the first card from the 2005 Cracker Jack set that I have got signed. I was deployed in '05 and the only cards I saw that year were the Donruss, Topps, and Topps Total packs that my dad sent me in care packages. I really liked the '04 Cracker Jacks cards and I must say that I was extremely disappointed when I first saw the '05 cards. I'm sure the cards mirror an original Cracker Jack set, but I cannot get over what looks like a cinder block wall in the background. I'm too lazy to look up what one of the original cards looks like, but I really hope that there is not a cinder block wall in the background. Get rid of the wall and this set may be better than the '04 set.
This is the last card from my between years recap and I will dig into my 2006 autographs on my next post. I've got about sixty cards from that year and at the pace I am on, it will take me about four months to get them all posted. Since the Royals decided to cancel Fanfest (BOOOOOOO) this year so that they can focus on the All Star Game, it might be a quick transition from 2006 to 2007. About the only cards that I will have to post between the two years will be my Topps Diamond Giveaway cards that I get signed through the mail. I've got about half of those cards sent out already and three of them are back home. If I can keep it up, it should be a mildly entertaining off-season despite the one year loss of Fanfest.
Monday, November 14, 2011
#296 John Gibbons
Here is a card that I was supposed to post back in April, but I somehow forgot to scan the card. This card features the former Blue Jays manager, John Gibbons.
I got this card signed at the Metrodome in 2009 during the last regular season series played there. The Royals were in town and John was the bench coach at the time. I got this card signed prior to one of the games over by the bullpen. I had to wait a while for him to get off of his cell phone to get him to sign, but my patience paid off.
That was the last time that I got John to sign for me. After that season, I got one more card of him that I wanted signed and it never happened. And it may not happen now that the Royals released him of his coaching duties. The Royals didn't give a full reason as to why John was let go, but they did say this. The Royals bench coach is their catchers coach and they wanted a catcher's coach that spoke Spanish, since their top three catchers are all Latino. Maybe they should have just bought Rosetta Stone for him.
The Royals new bench coach is Chino Cadahia who came over from the Braves. I know very little about Chino, but I do know that he didn't play in the Majors. That means there are not very many cards out there for him to sign for me. Checkouotmycards.com only has the 2009 Topps Heritage short printed coaches card that is going to $3.60 and two over priced minor league coaching cards.
Sunday, November 13, 2011
#32 Jason Jennings
Here is the first of three cards that Jason Jennings signed for me in Amarillo this past summer while he was playing for the Grand Prairie AirHogs. Prior to the game, Jason was out on the field doing his workouts. He was wearing shorts and a t-shirt with no number on it, so I was unsure whether that was him or not. Eventually, I asked one of his teammates who the guy on the field without a uniform on was and he confirmed to me that it was Jason. So, when Jason finally left the field for the clubhouse, I asked him to sign and he was happy to do so.
Like I said in the last Jennings post, this card came out looking great. The wide white border and minimal background leaves plenty of room for a signature. Because of that, I may need to start looking for more cards from this set in the future.
Yesterday, I got my quickest TTM return ever. I sent the card out on Tuesday and I had it back on Saturday. I probably would have had it back on Friday, but that was Veteran's day and there was no mail. It obviously helped that the card only had to travel about one hundred miles from my home. But nevertheless, this is one turnaround that I will probably never beat (unless I move to Florida).
Saturday, November 12, 2011
#12 Kevin Melillo
If you have never heard of Kevin Melillo before, don't feel bad. I hadn't either. But, after checking out his career stats, I found that Kevin has an interesting stat line. For his career, Kevin has a 1.000 on-base percentage.
On June 24, 2007, the A's were in New York during an interleague series against the Mets. The Mets were cruising along with an 8-2 lead when the A's came to bat in the eighth. With the pitcher's spot due up to lead off the inning, A's manager Bob Geren inserted Kevin Melillo into the lineup as a pinch hitter. Kevin worked the count full against Guillermo Mota before taking ball four. Kevin ended up stranded at first and he was replaced by a pitcher in the bottom half of the inning. To date, this is the only Major League action that Kevin has experienced.
My buddy, Adam, got this card signed for me when we were in Colorado Springs this summer. Kevin was playing for the Salt Lake Bees at the time and he signed this card before the game started.
I bought this card from checkoutmycards.com, so it is the only card from the set that I own. But, I wonder if all the cards in the set have the same strange shaded area along the border of the card. I thought at first that the shaded area might have been set to kind of outline Kevin's batting stance. But it goes too far out in front of him and then both of his feet are in shaded areas, so I doubt that is the case. If only I had another card from the set to compare it to.
Kevin is playing for the Kane County Cougars in this card. The Cougars are still around, but they are now affiliated with the Kansas City Royals.
Friday, November 11, 2011
#127 Jason Jennings
Here is a card that I got signed at a Wichita Wingnut playoff game a few months ago. That's right. The 2002 National League Rookie of the Year was pitching in the American Association this season. He was the ace of the Grand Prairie AirHogs staff and, although I got to see the Hogs play twice, I wasn't lucky enough to see him pitch. I did get some cards signed by him both times, though.
I got three cards signed by Jason in July when I made the trip down to Amarillo. But when the Wingnuts made the playoffs and I decided to go to a game, I couldn't find the stack of Jason Jennings cards I had in July. So, on short notice, this was the only card that I could find of him and I am not that thrilled with the results. I never realized it before I got this card signed, but purple jerseys and signatures do not work well together. I was debating whether to get this one signed in blue or black and I doubt that black would have came out looking any better. But that is okay. The next Jennings card I will post looks much better.
I hope everyone is having a great Veteran's Day!!
Tuesday, November 8, 2011
#NPJ-ER Eddie Rodriguez
Here is a card that I got signed prior to the Royals last home game of the season. That day, I took advantage of the "Early Bird Special" stadium tour and I got to go in and watch the Royals take batting practice an hour before the gates opened. It worked out really great as I was finally able to land a few Royals signatures that I had not had yet.
One of those new additions was Eddie Rodriguez, who has been with the Royals since 2009. I've had plenty of opportunities to have Eddie sign for me, but there has been one problem. It is extremely had to find cards of him. Eddie never played in the Majors and his minor league playing days took place in the late '70s and early '80s when minor league cards were less prevalent. He managed in the minors and coached in the Majors, but there were not any major issue cards made of him. He has a few minor league cards from team sets, but I have never seen any of them show up on checkoutmycards.com. I'm sure that I could find some on Minor League Singles, but I am lazy and comc.com is so much easier.
Eventually, though, this card appeared on comc.com for less than two dollars and I was more than happy to pick it up. I like getting jersey cards signed and this one came out looking good.
When I originally got this card, I just assumed it was from the same set that my Luke Hochevar jersey card was from. Turns out that I was off on that assumption. But, to my defense, if you check out the card of Luke, you will be able to see why I thought that.
Monday, November 7, 2011
#819 Joaquin Arias
Here is a card that I got signed in Omaha over the summer. Actually, my buddy, Dustin, got this one signed for me. That's right. If you go to a ball game with me, I'm probably going to put you to work.
In Omaha, both the visiting and home clubhouses are located behind the right field fence. Therefore, both teams take the field from the same spot. To make it easier on myself, I put my buddy in charge of graphing the home team and I took on the visiting team. It only took a couple of minutes to realize that Dustin was not quite up to the task of identifying players, asking them to sign, and then finding the cards of that player. So, to take a little burden off of him, I took on the identifying and asking part and Dustin just had to worry about finding the cards.
The reassigned tasks were working out great until Joaquin Arias came out. Just as Joaquin appeared, I realized that I had let Spike Owen get by me. Since Spike was with the visiting team, I asked Joaquin to sign and then ran over to where Spike was signing. I get over to Spike and was waiting for an autograph when Joaquin came up to me to sign. Dustin was still in his original spot, so I had to explain to Joaquin that that was the guy that needed his autograph. He had a confused look on his face, but went over and signed all three cards without any complaints. I must say that I'm not used to having players track me down to sign for me.
I have no idea what is going on with Joaquin's signature. He might be pulling a Joakin Soria by only signing his last name.
Sunday, November 6, 2011
#JF Jonathan Fulton
Here is another card that I was able to get signed in Amarillo over the summer. Jon was playing for the Grand Prairie AirHogs and he signed this card for me prior to the game.
Jon's career is kind of similar to the last guy I posted that signed in Amarillo- Van Pope. While Van might have risen through the ranks faster than Jon, both ended up converting to pitchers in the minor leagues. The main exception, though, is that Jon is still trying to make it as a pitcher while Van converted back to the infield.
Jon was drafted by the Marlins in 2003 and made his professional debut that year in Rookie ball. Through five seasons, Jon hit just .236 and never made it out of high-A. So, the Marlins converted him to a pitcher and they got some mixed results from him. In his first season as a pitcher, he posted a 3.04 ERA in the Gulf Coast League while notching 5 saves. He was bumped up to high-A the next year and he had an ERA of 2.42 over 22.1 innings. He repeated high-A the following year and his ERA grew to 4.43. But, he did get his first taste of the AA level that season and he had a 10.80 ERA in just 1.2 innings of work. The Marlins released him after the season and no other Major League team wanted him.
So, he ended up signing with Grand Prairie and he did pretty well with them. In 53.1 inning of work, he posted a 2-2 record with a 2.53 ERA while striking out 41 and walking just 16. Plus, he was a member of the 2011 American Association championship team.
I wish I could tell you more about Topps Clubhouse Collection, but this is the only card that I have from it and it was purchased off of checkoutmycards.com. All I know is that if Topps hadn't issued the set, I would not have a Jonathan Fulton autographed card in my collection.
Friday, November 4, 2011
#649 Jack McKeon
For some reason, I never had any desire to send Jack McKeon any cards to get signed. But when Jack was brought back to manage the Marlins this season, I couldn't resist sending him some cards. I have no idea why I suddenly had the urge when he got back with a Major League team, but I did. Nevermind that he was already a good signer from his home address before he was brought back. But, I sent him three cards in August and all three came back signed three weeks later. And, to further illustrate my sudden quest to get Jack's signature, it was the only TTM request I did all summer.
I picked this card to send to him since it was the only Marlin card that I could find that seemed suitable to send out. I'm not positive, but I think that Jack is sitting front and center in the first row. I usually never do anything with team cards like this, so it was nice to be able to put one to use.
Wednesday, November 2, 2011
#118 Jason Phillips
This is the second and final card that Jason signed for me prior to a Royals game this past April. Jason was working with the Mariners as their bullpen catcher at the time.
Jason Phillips' Major League career lasted seven seasons with the Mets, Dodgers, and Blue Jays. He spent a majority of the time with the Mets and he had a career year with them in 2003. That season, Jason had career highs in at-bats (403), hits (120), doubles (25), home runs (11), runs (45), and RBI (58).
For his career, Jason finished with a .249 average with 30 home runs and 168 RBI.
I don't know about you, but I will always remember Jason for the glasses that he wore on the field. They are hard to see in this photo, but you can get a better look by checking out the first card that I posted of him. The glasses are kind of unique and they make him stand out like Kareem Abdul Jabbar did in the '80s. Too bad Jason wasn't quite as good as Kareem.
I like the way this card turned out. Jason has a large signature and the horizontal layout provides ample room for him to sign. The picture probably could have been cropped a little better to get the back of the pitcher's leg out of the photo. But, other than that, it is a good-looking card that now looks even better with Jason's signature on it.
Tuesday, November 1, 2011
#124 Ramon Santiago
Here is a card that I was able to get signed in Minneapolis over the summer at the one Twins game I went to. The Tigers were in town and Ramon was nice enough to sign all three cards for me.
By looking at this card, I just assumed that Ramon had to be the longest tenured Tiger on the club. This card is from 2004, so you know he was with the team in '03, too. But you know what happens when you assume. Turns out that Ramon was traded to the Mariners straight across for Carlos Guillen before the '04 season started. So I guess that might make Carlos the longest tenured Tiger?
It is funny that Ramon played for the Mariners and I had no clue. All this time, I had thought he was a life-long Tiger. Turns out that he didn't play much for the Mariners, though. In his two seasons there, he only played in 27 games and he hit just .170 in that limited action. The rest of the time was spent with Seattle's AAA club.
I honestly have no clue what is going on with Ramon's signature. I can kind of make out his number (39), but just barely. The rest is a mystery to me.