Thursday, December 31, 2015

2007 Topps, Jason Wood

#UH109 Jason Wood

Here is a card that I got signed at a Round Rock Express game in 2008. Jason was playing for the Albuquerque Isotopes at the time and he was nice enough to stop on the way to the field to sign this card for me. I mentioned in the last post how bad of luck I had with the '07 Topps Update and Highlights set and this one is a key example. Even Jason was not pleased with the results. He signed it and told me "that didn't take very well". Oh well; you live and you learn.

Jason was originally drafted by the A's in 1991. He advanced up the organizational ladder quickly before stalling out in AAA. He finally made his Major League debut with the A's in 1998 before being traded to the Tigers mid-season. He played in 40 games with the A's and Tigers in '98 and '99 and hit .220 as a utility infielder. After 1999, it was back to AAA.

Jason spent the next six seasons in AAA before finally getting a September call-up by the Marlins in 2006. He must have impressed the brass enough with that call-up, and the following Spring Training, as he made the Marlins Opening Day roster in 2007. He was used mostly as a pinch hitter that year, but did start a handful of games at first. He only hit .239 with 3 home runs and 26 RBI season, but it was the first time in sixteen seasons of pro ball that he did not spend one day in the minor leagues.

I hope everyone has a Happy New Year! I will see you sometime in 2016.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

2007 Topps, Esteban German

#UH77 Esteban German

I cannot believe that I have not posted a card on here for over three weeks. But, it has been a busy month with work and I have a baby on the way. Add in the fact that I lost my "baseball room" to the baby and it is easy to understand the lack of posts. Luckily, I mostly have the baby's room in order and I finally have my computer set back up. So I hope to get back to my sporadic posting. I get some time off when the baby arrives and I hope to get back to posting daily for a few weeks. I haven't done that in over three years.

Anyway, here is a card of Esteban German that I got signed by the Royals parking lot in 2008. The signature did not turn out too great, but that was back before I knew about prepping cards. A majority of my 2007 Topps cards that I have were unprepped and some came out better than others. The funny thing is that I had worse luck with the Update set than I did for the first two series. If you scroll down a bit and look at the other cards on this page, only the Erstad and Yost cards were prepped. The rest were not and they came out looking just fine. But, for the most part, that was not the case with Update and Highlights.

This one has some slight bubbling, but is generally okay. I got this same card signed a month earlier and it did not come out looking as good. Here is a photo of the original one.

Unfortunately, this was the norm for me with the Update series.

No, this card is not super mis-cut. My scanner lopped off the left edge and I did not feel like re-scanning it.

If anyone needs or wants the original card that I got signed, let me know and it is yours.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

2007 Topps, Darin Erstad

#UH72 Darin Erstad

Here is the fourth signature from Darin Erstad that I have posted on here. The first three all showed him as an Angel or Angels draft pick. Here is one from his time with the White Sox.

Darin's tenure in Chicago lasted all of one season. That year, 2007, he got into 87 games and he hit .248 with 4 home runs and 32 RBI. After that, he was off to the Astros where he would finish his career.

I got this card signed at a Kansas State baseball game in 2011 while Darin was a coach for Nebraska. The following season, he got promoted to the head coach position. In his four seasons as the head coach, he has finished as the conference tournament runner-up twice and has made the national tournament once. Last season, he lead the team to a 34-23 record, but failed to make the tournament.

The Huskers will be heading to Manhattan this next season for a single game against the Cats. It would be nice to make it up there for the game, but that is still a long ways away.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

2007 Topps, Alex Gordon

#634 Alex Gordon

Back-to-back superstars? That does not happen very often on this blog.

Here is a card of World Series Champion, and current free agent, Alex Gordon. This is just the second card of Alex that I have posted one here. The first one was posted back in May when I was just starting out my 2007 cards. I obviously have not made it very far since then.

Alex hit just .222 in the World Series, but he hit a clutch home run in game one. With the Royals down 4-3 with one out in the bottom of the ninth, Alex hit a solo shot to center off of Mets closer Juerys Familia to tie the game and send it to extra innings. The game ended up going fourteen frames before the Royals could muster the walk-off run. Alex would only get three more hits in the Series, but that game one homer really helped to swing the momentum to the Royals favor.

Alex missed out on a fifth straight Gold Glove this year when he missed about two months of the season to a groin strain. I really did not expect him to win the award because of the time missed, but I was glad to see that he was a finalist. Then, when I saw that Yeonis Cespedes won it, I was a little pissed considering that Cespedes spent the last two months in the National League. Plus, Cespedes' lack-luster play led to the first inside the park home run in the World Series since 1929. That does not seem that an American League Gold Glove player to me.

Like I said, Alex is currently a free agent. I have not heard very much talk about him to this point. I've seen some rumblings about the Cubs and Orioles and that has been it. Hopefully, he will end up staying in Kansas City.

I got this card signed by the Royals parking lot in 2008. Mike Aviles pulled up while Alex was signing and Alex quipped "hey, there's Mike Aviles!". Alex has always seemed like a straight-forward, no nonsense type of guy. All I could think after he said that was "is Alex Gordon being funny?". It kind of caught me off guard.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

2007 Topps, Josh Hamilton

#625 Josh Hamilton

Here is the second card that Josh Hamilton signed for me at a Rangers game in 2008. I posted the first card over five years ago and that one can be seen here.

The first card I posted of Josh showed him with the team that drafted him, Tampa Bay. Here he is with the Reds, the team that he made his Major League debut with. After being out of baseball for three seasons because of his drug addiction, Josh came back in 2006 and played in 15 games in the New York Penn League. He hit .260 with 3 doubles and 5 RBI. He must have shown signs that he was ready to break out because the Cubs picked him up in the Rule V Draft and promptly sold him to the Reds.

His time in Cincinnati lasted just one season. That year, he got into 90 games and hit .292 with 19 home runs and 47 RBI. That is really good considering that the highest level of baseball before that was 23 games of AA ball six years prior. After that season, the Reds shipped him to the Rangers for Edinson Volquez and another pitcher. Josh went off in the home run derby that next season and has pretty much been a household name ever since.

I got to see Josh play one time with the Reds. It was at Wrigley Field and Josh pinch hit in the eighth inning of a tied game. He hit a two run home run to propel the Reds to a win. It was pretty awesome. I have seen him play nine more times since then and have seen two more home runs. But, that first one, as a Red, was the most memorable.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

2007 Topps, Ned Yost

#617 Ned Yost

Here is a quick pre-Thanksgiving post of the manager of the 2015 World Series Champions, Kansas City Royals. This is the first card of a member of the team that I have posted since they won it all last month. My wife got this card signed by Ned prior to a Spring Training game in 2013. I have only been to two Royals Spring Training games, but Ned signed for a ton of fans at both games.

I believe that this is the fifth card of Ned that I have posted on here. I posted three cards of him as a player and then posted a manager card of him this past spring. When I posted that card, I commented that I did not realize at the time that I was getting that card signed by the manager of the next American League champs. I am still floored that they won the Series this year. Ned has always baffled me with the way he has used his bullpen, but he finally figured out the HDH scenario last year, Herrera to Davis to Holland. That formula faltered this year when Holland struggled and eventually needed Tommy John surgery. But Ned pieced it together and, while it wasn't as steadfast as HDH, he was able to make it work. It helped a bunch that he had Wade Davis in his pen kill any potential rallies.

On the last card of Ned I posted, I talked about his managerial career in Milwaukee. Even though he is still a Brewer on this card, I am going to talk about his tenure with the Royals. And all I have to say about that is that Ned is the club's winningest manager. His 468 wins tops Whitey Herzog by 58. I still cannot believe that fact. I know Ned has a couple of seasons on Whitey and a losing record (which should not be that way after next year), but I still have a hard time coming to grips with him being the franchise leader. That could be because I have been a Royals fan since 2000 and they have pretty much sucked that entire time until lately. Success has been for me to adjust to, apparently.

I hope you all have a great Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 22, 2015

2007 Topps, Sam Perlozzo

#608 Sam Perlozzo

Here is the second of two cards that Sam Perlozzo signed for me outside of Kauffman Stadium in 2008. Sam was the third base coach for the Mariners at the time and he signed for me after arriving at the ballpark with three other members of the coaching staff. I posted the first card that he signed in 2012 and that one can be seen here.

Sam managed the O's for parts of three seasons. He got the job in 2005 after replacing Lee Mazzilli. Sam lead the club to a 23-32 record down the stretch and they finished 74-88. 2006 was his only full season as a Major League manager and the team went 70-92 that season, finishing fourth in the AL East. In 2007, the Orioles started out 29-40 before Sam got the ax. He was replaced by Dave Trembley who went 40-53 over the remainder of the season.

Sam was the Mariners third base coach for just the 2008 season. He moved on to the Phillies in 2009 and worked as a base coach for them before being dismissed after the 2012 season.

I think it is strange that the manager cards from 2007 Topps lack that facsimile signature that all of the rest of the cards from the set have. Topps did the same thing in 2008, as well. I have no idea why that it the case, but they sure do work better for autographs without it on there. Luckily, Topps has not done that since the 2008 set.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

2007 Topps, Brian Bannister

#587 Brian Bannister

I have posted a few cards of Brian Bannister before, but this is the first one of him as a member of the Kansas City Royals. The Royals got him from the Mets after the 2006 season in an exchange for Ambiorix Burgos. Considering that Burgos went on to have a multitude of legal problems, I would say that it was a good trade for the Royals.

Brian pitched just one season for the Mets and he went 2-1 with a 4.46 ERA. He appeared in eight games with six of them starts. He struck out 19, but walked 22.

I have said it before and I will say it again. Brian has one of the best and most consistent signatures I have ever seen. Every time I got him to sign, he took his time and gave me the best autograph that he could. I asked him once about his perfect looking signature and he told me that I should see his dad's. So, I sent an '81 Donruss to Floyd and I was impressed. But, I must say that I like Brian's better. Floyd's was actually readable, though.

I got this card signed by the Royals parking lot in 2008.

I am pretty sure this card is a photoshopped version of Brian's '06 Topps and Bowman cards. It is not the same photo, but is from the same sequence of photos.

Friday, November 13, 2015

2007 Topps, Willie Bloomquist

#585 Willie Bllomquist

Here is the second card that Willie signed for me at Royals Fanfest in 2009. Willie was a new addition to the team at the time and was one of the first autographs I got that day. I posted the other card that he signed for me that day back in 2010 and it can be seen here.

Willie has played in the Majors for fourteen seasons and is the ultimate utility man. He has started a game at every single position except for pitcher and catcher. I guess his main position would be shortstop as that is where he has played the most. But, he is comfortable at the second and third and all of the outfield positions. First base is where he has seen the least amount of playing time.

Willie played his first seven seasons with the Mariners before having some short stops in Kansas City, Cincinnati, and Arizona. He then rejoined Seattle in 2014 and played there until getting released this past summer. He was hitting just .159 at the time of his release. With him turning thirty-eight later this month, I think it is a safe bet that Willie's career is over. I could be wrong, though.

Back-to-back Mariners on here. That does not happen very often.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

2007 Topps, Horacio Ramirez

#549 Horacio Ramirez

Here is the first of three cards that Horacio Ramirez signed for me one day while he was with the Royals. I got the cards signed after a day game day in 2008 while Horacio was signing from the Royals parking lot. That was the good old days when Royals actually signed before and after games from the lot.

Horacio was drafted by the Braves out of high school in the fifth round of the 1997 draft. He made his Major League debut with Atlanta in 2003 and made 29 starts with the team. He was an impressive 12-4 during his rookie year, but his 4.00 ERA and 100 to 72 strikeout to walk ratio says that he probably got lucky that season. But, those 12 wins and 100 Ks were career highs for him.

He seems to have been banged up for most of the 2004 season as he only appeared in ten games with the Braves and just five minor league games. He was 2-4 in the Majors with a 2.39 ERA. But, he had nearly one walk for every strikeout. He was back in form in 2005 as he started 32 games for the Braves. That season, he logged 202.1 innings and went 11-9 with a 4.63 ERA while striking out 80 and walking 67.

The heavy workload in 2005 must have hindered Horacio in 2006. That season, he made just fourteen starts for Atlanta and had four in the minors. In the Majors, he was 5-5 with a 4.48 with 37 Ks and 31 walks. After the season, the Braves flipped him to Seattle for Rafael Soriano.

For his career in Atlanta, Horacio was 30-22 with a 4.13 ERA with 248 strikeouts and 200 walks.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

2007 Topps, Doug Davis

#489 Doug Davis

Somehow, I have neglected to post on here for two and a half weeks. I have no idea where the time has gone and have no excuse for the lack of posts. At this rate, and with the holiday season coming up and a child on the way, I do not see things getting any better in the near future. But, I have this weekend off and will try to get s couple of cards in before my crazy work month officially begins.

Here is the first of three cards that Doug Davis signed for me in 2012 while he was with the Omaha Storm Chasers. I got the cards signed at a game in Oklahoma City. Doug was not starting that day, but I was able to coax him out of the dugout to sign right before first pitch. Even though his Major League career was unofficially over at that point, it was still cool to add some signatures from a seasoned vet.

Speaking of vets, Happy Veterans Day to all that have served!

Sunday, October 25, 2015

2007 Topps, Chris Shelton

#479 Chris Shelton

Here is a card that I got signed at an Oklahoma Redhawks game in 2008. Chris, who played for the Redhawks, was nice enough to sign the one card I had of him before the game started.

Chris spent parts of five seasons in the Major Leagues and he put up some real decent numbers in Detroit in 2005 and '06. In '05, he hit .299 with 18 home runs and 59 RBI, all career highs. His numbers dipped just a bit the next season, but the still hit .273 with 16 dingers and 47 RBI. Then, in 2007, he did not make the Tigers roster out of Spring Training and spent the entire season in AAA. The tigers traded him to the Rangers after the season was over and that ended his tenure in Detroit.

Chris got called up to the Majors a couple of times with the Rangers and Mariners, but failed to have any significant impact. After hitting 35 home runs as a Tiger, he would hit just two more outside of that organization.

Chris last played professionally in 2010.

As far as I can remember, there are not very many horizontal cards in 2007 Topps. This is the only horizontal card from the set that I have got signed and it is the best-looking one by far.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

2007 Topps, Aaron Cook

#415 Aaron Cook

I got this card signed at a Royals game in 2008 while the Rockies were taking batting practice. I never would have thought that I was going to get Aaron's autograph that day as he was scheduled to start the game. But, there he was standing in the dugout during BP signing for people. When he got to me, I said "I thought you were starting today". He gave me a quizzical glance and told me that he was.

To this day, I am pretty sure that this is the only autograph that I have ever gotten from a starting pitcher during pregame on a day he pitches. Starters usually have a routine and that routine normally does not include signing autographs. Even at all of the Wichita Wingnuts games I have been to, I cannot remember ever getting an auto from a starter. It was very weird.

2008 was my first year back into autograph collecting after a long hiatus. All of the Topps cards from 2007 and 2008 had the pre-printed signature on them. But, back then, I was too naive to ever think about using a blue Sharpie to contradict more with the black pre-print. Because of that, I have a few cards from those sets where the real one and the fake one overlap. Some look better than others. This may just be the worst one I have, though, as they overlap so well that it is kind of hard to make out his actual signature. I, of course, got his '08 Topps signed that day, too, and it looks about the same.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

2007 Topps, Gereald Laird

#412 Gerald Laird

Here is a card that I was able to get signed at a Royals game in 2008 while Gerald and the Rangers were taking batting practice. He signed all three cards for me that day.

Gerald played for the Rangers for six seasons, which is twice as long as he played for any of the other four teams he played for. He played in 374 games for them, spending nearly all of that time at catcher. He hit .255 as a Ranger and tagged 25 home runs while collecting 134 RBI. His best season for them was his final season in Arlington in 2008. He played in just 95 games that year, but hit .276 with 6 home runs and 41 RBI. While he had a few more dingers and RBI the season before that, he also played in 25 more games and hit 50 points lower.

After that season, the Rangers traded Gerald to the Tigers for Guillermo Moscoso.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

2007 Topps, Kevin Kouzmanoff

#263 Kevin Kouzmanoff

I was supposed to post this card before the Miguel Olivo card, but I apparently got a little out of order. So, here it is.

This is another Kevin Kouzmanoff card that Padrograph Rod sent my way. I posted the first one a couple of weeks ago and it can be seen here. This one is cooler than the first one because that one was a sticker autograph. This one is most likely a TTM success as it is personalized to Rod.

This is the second card that I have posted on here of a card that is personalized to someone other than me. The first one was also from Rod, but it was an old '71 Topps card of Ron Slocum that is addressed to Gary. Maybe that should be a new collecting project of mine- collect personalized autographs addressed to other people. Surely those would go for a little bit lower price.

On the last post about Kevin, I talked about his career with the Padres. They dealt him to the A's prior to the 2010 season and that began the beginning of the end for him. He had a decent year in Oakland that season, hitting 16 home runs and driving in 71. But, his average drooped to .247. In 2011, he was hitting just .221 before the A's sent him to the Rockies mid-season. He finished up hitting .255 in Denver before being banished to the minor leagues for the next couple of seasons.

Then he caught a break last year when he was in the Rangers organization and Adrian Beltre got hurt. He got called up and went on a tear. In just 13 games, he hit .362 with 2 home runs and 10 RBI. His efforts were rewarded with his only Player of the Week Award. But, Beltre came back and it was back down to AAA to finish off the year. He was unable to parlay his success into a permanent spot or to force a trade. So, he finished off the year in AAA and then called it a career after the season was up.

Kevin finished his career a .257 hitter with 87 home runs and 371 RBI.

The signature on this card did not stick to the gloss too well. I had that problem with some of the '07 set, too. Most of the cards that I got signed in then set was back when I did not know about prepping. But, most of my cards came out OK until I got to the Update and Highlights set. Those were the ones that I had the most problems with.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

2007 Topps, Miguel Olivo

#375 Miguel Olivo

I believe that this is the fourth card of Miguel Olivo that I have posted on here, but the first one I have posted since 2011. The first one I posted of him was when he was with the White Sox and the second two were from his days with the Mariners.

I got this card signed by Miguel outside of Kauffman Stadium in 2010.

This is the only signed card of Miguel that I have of him as a Marlin, though he played in Miami for two seasons and then a third season six years later. During the first stint, he was their primary catcher and did well for them offensively. He hit 16 home runs each of the first two seasons while hitting at least 20 doubles and 58 RBI each year. His second stint got him into just 33 games for them and he hit .204 with 4 home runs and 9 RBI.

Miguel got a bit of a bad rap last season when he bit a teammate's ear off during a AAA game. Despite that fiasco, I liked him when he was in Kansas City. Though he struck out a lot, he had some pop and he signed quite a few cards for me. That is always a plus.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

2007 Topps, Robinson Tejeda

#221 Robinson Tejeda

Here is the second card of Robinson Tejeda that I have ever posted on here. The first one was posted five years ago and it was a Bowman card that showed him as a young Phillies minor league pitcher. Here is one that shows him as a Major Leaguer and it was signed outside of Kauffman Stadium in 2009 while he was playing for the Royals.

Robinson pitched for the Rangers for parts of three seasons from 2006 to 2008. He was mainly used as a starter and he posted a 10-14 record over 33 starts. His ERA in those games was 5.59. He pitched 6 innings of relief in 2008 and gave up 6 runs. The Rangers designated him for assignment and the Royals picked him up. He would go on to pitch for the Royals through 2011.

This past season, Robinson pitched for the Joplin Blasters of the American Association and did not fare well. Over 9 starts, he posted a 9.21 ERA before getting released.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

2007 Topps, Brent Clevlen

#59 Brent Clevlen

Here is the third and final Brent Clevlen card that I have to post on here. All three were done this year, with the first one, his 2002 Bowman, being posted back in January. The second one, his 2006 Topps '52, was posted in May. The first two signatures were obtained at Wichita Wingnuts games and this one is no different.

When I posted the last card of Brent, he was playing down in Mexico at the time. After the Mexican League season ended, he returned to Wichita to help them on their postseason push. After batting .301 in Mexico, Brent made it back north in time to play in eleven American Association regular season games. Over that stretch, he hit a whopping .444 with a home run, 5 doubles, and 9 RBI while helping the Wingnuts win their fifth straight division title. His hot finish cooled off in the playoffs, though, as the Nuts lost in the first round while Brent went just 2-21 in the series.

The photo on this card is kind of rare for Topps any more. While it is not uncommon to find a posed shot in a Topps product, most of those shots are taken at Spring Training. This posed shot is taken in Detroit.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

2007 Topps, Todd Greene

#44 Todd Greene

Here is the third and final card that I got signed by Todd Greene in 2009. Todd signed for me twice that summer, once in Kansas City and once in Baltimore. He was the Rays quality assurance coach at the time. I posted the first card from Baltimore in 2009 and it can be seen here. The lone card from Kansas City was posted in 2011 and that one can be seen here. This one was signed along with the first one while I was in Baltimore in September of 2009.

As far as I can tell, Todd only coached with the Rays for one season. After 2009, he got into scouting. He scouted for the Mariners for a few years before joining the Diamondbacks in 2013 as a scout and a special assistant to the general manager. But, according to some, he is apparently a Major League managerial candidate. That is news to me, but I just found this article from Baseball Essential that backs that up. According to it, Todd would be a cross between Mike Sciosca, Mike Matheny, and Joe Maddon. It will be interesting to see if he gets a shot at the Majors without any minor league managing experience.

I had no idea, but, according to that Baseball Essential article, Todd caught the ceremonial first pitch that president George W. Bush threw out prior to game three of the 2001 World Series.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

2007 Topps, Joey Gathright

#27 Joey Gathright

Here is the first of many cards from 2007 Topps that I will be posting in the coming months. Considering that I have over thirty cards from this set signed, and I only post about a dozen cards a month, I am going to be posting cards from this set all the way to Christmas.

This is the third card from Joey Gathright that I have posted on here. The first one was obtained in 2008 at a Royals Caravan stop. I got the second one a couple of years ago while Joey was playing in the American Association and his signature changed dramatically over the five years. Joey went from signing his initials in 2008 to doing an actual full signature in 2013. Based off that bit of info, you can tell that Joey signed this card for me in 2008. He signed around the time of the first card, but at Royals Fanfest.

When the Royals acquired Joey from the Rays, I was expecting tons of plays like the one on this card. Unfortunately, even with Joey's amazing speed, he did not do that great in the spacious outfield of Kauffman Stadium. In 2006, the year Joey joined the Royals, he lead the league in range factor/game for outfielders with a 2.66 rating. But, he was at a 2.91 as a Ray and then slipped to a 2.49 with the Royals. That number, as a whole, slid to 2.40 in 2007 and then 1.98 in 2008, his final season with the Royals. By that time, he was -5 in total zone total fielding runs above average (Rtot).

The Royals and him parted ways after that season and it would four seasons before the Royals landed the centerfielder that I thought Joey was going to be. Plus, the new centerfielder, Lorenzo Cain, could hit.

Nonetheless, this is a cool photo to start 2007 Topps.

Monday, September 28, 2015

2007 SP, Kevin Kouzmanoff

#164 Kevin Kouzmanoff

Here is another card in the long line of Padrographs that Rod has sent me. Rod sent me my initial Padrographs in 2008 and this was not one of those. This one came from Rod in 2011. To date, this is the only card that he has sent me that features a sticker autograph.

Kevin Kouzmanoff played for the Padres for parts of three seasons after coming over from Cleveland for Josh Barfield. He was the everyday third baseman for San Diego while he was there and he put up some decent numbers. He consistently hit around .260 and had at least 18 home runs, 30 doubles, and 74 RBI every year for the Friars. He topped off with 23 home runs in 2008 and 88 RBI in 2009.

Then, prior to the 2010 season, he was dealt to the A's, with Eric Sogard, for Scott Hairston and Aaron Cunningham. His numbers slipped a bit in his first season back in the American League as his average dipped to .247. But, he still hit 16 dingers and 32 doubles while driving in 71. That was his last season as an everyday player.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

2007 Multi Ad Sports, Omaha Royals

#4 Brian Bannister
#14 Shane Costa
#20 Mike Jirschele
#26 Neal Musser

At Royals Fanfest in 2009, the Omaha Royals had a booth set up. They had a bunch of freebies sitting on their table, including random cards from this 2007 team set. Neal Musser and Shane Costa were both at Fanfest that year and, since I only had one card of each, I made sure to grab their cards. I also grabbed the Bannister and the Jirschele. I am not really sure why I grabbed the Jirschele. It was probably because he was the AAA manager and he usually gets called up to the big leagues after the AAA season is over. Either way, I grabbed four cards and I was able to get all four signed in 2009. I got Costa and Musser at Fanfest, Bannister at the Royals Caravan, and Jirschele after an O-Royals game in Des Moines.

I really like this set. Though the photography needs some help to make it look less "foggy", the layout is really good. I love the way the bat is used for the name, position, and team. The fact that it is a black bat makes it even better. Multi Ad did a good job with adding the gold ring on the bat that matches the font color.

Out of all of these guys, Jirschele is the only one that is still in baseball. Musser and Bannister have not pitched since 2010 and Costa last played in 2012. Jirschele is currently the third base coach for the Royals.

This is the last card of Shane Costa that I have to post on here. You can see his first one here and the second one here. There will be one more Neal Musser, a couple more Mike Jirscheles, and quite a few more Bannisters.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

2007 Just, Jason Berken

#JA-04 Jason Berken

This is the second card of Jason Berken that I have posted in here. The first one was posted in 2011 and that card was given to me by Ryan, from The Great Orioles Autograph Project. This one, too, was given to me by Ryan. But this one came from him in 2013.

Jason pitched in the Majors for parts of four seasons. He mainly played for Baltimore, but he did have a brief stop with the Cubs in 2012. Over those four seasons, Jason pitched 248.2 innings, splitting them almost equally as a starter and a reliever. He holds a career 10-20 record with a 5.36 ERA and 163 strikeouts. His best season was his first season coming out of the pen for the O's in 2010. That year, he was 3-3 with a 3.03 ERA.

Jason still pitches and has spent the past three seasons playing AAA for three different organizations. He just finished up the 2015 campaign pitching for the Phillies AAA team in Lehigh Valley. He went 5-8 with a 4.61 ERA for them.

Monday, September 21, 2015

2007 Hawaiian Winter Baseball, Michael Wilson

#34 Michael Wilson

Here is an oddball that I found on COMC this year for a Wingnuts game. Mike was playing for the Winnipeg Goldeyes at the time and I could not resist pulling the trigger on this unique card for $1.25.

But, then I got to the game and I was a little worried. I pulled up the Goldeyes roster and Mike was not on it any more. So, I switched over to the American Association's transactions page and found that he had signed with a Mexican team that day. I soon found out from some of the players that he was still in Wichita and at the ballpark, but I never saw him leave the clubhouse prior to first pitch. I started scouring the stands, thinking he might have been there in his regular clothes, but to no avail. Then, after an inning of play, Mike came out of the clubhouse and took a seat in the dugout. I had to wait until after the game, but I was able to get my two cards signed by him.

The Hawaiian Winter League lasted only three seasons, from 2006-2008. It featured up-and-coming talent from MLB and the Japanese leagues. There were only four teams in the league and they shared two ballparks. As far as I can tell, only the Waikiki BeachBoys put out a card set in 2007. There are still a few of the cards on COMC, but there is nobody available that I have actually heard of.

Just in case you are wondering, there is a white border on the top of the card. For some reason, my scanner decided to chop it off.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

2007 Granstand New Britian Rock Cats 25th Anniversary, Pat Neshek

#17 Pat Neshek

This is probably the longest title of any post I have done yet. I always thought the longest title would have Hollandsworth or Saltalamacchia in it. Turns out I just needed to post a minor league 25th anniversary card.

Earlier this year, right before Spring Training started, I sent Pat Neshek his 2014 Topps All Star card to sign. Since it is Pat, I included three signed cards that I had extras of. In exchange for those three cards, Pat sent back the signed All Star card was well as three minor league cards that he signed for me. This is one of those cards. I have already posted the other two and those can be seen here and here.

By Pat's standards, he is having an off year this season. He has pitched in 61 games and he has a record of 3-6 with a save and a 3.46 ERA. That ERA is about a half a run over his career ERA. It probably doesn't help that he has to pitch half of his games in little ol' Minute Maid Park. But, that is what he signed on to do. If the Astros do not blow it, at least he has a chance to pitch in the postseason this year.

Friday, September 18, 2015

2007 Grandstand Delmarva Shorebirds, David Cash

NN David Cash

The next few posts are all going to be minor league or winter ball cards and we are going to start off with this card of David Cash from the Delmarva Shorebirds Grandstand set. This card was sent to me by Ryan, from The Great Orioles Autograph Project, two years ago.

David Cash had a short professional baseball career. He was drafted by the Orioles in the 40th round of the 2006 draft out of Florida. The O's had drafted him three years prior to that in the 21st round, but he obviously chose the college route. His draft stock sure did drop over that time.

He made his professional debut in the New York Penn League in 2006 and did well. He hit .297 in the 30 games he played in and had a home run and 12 RBI. He was bumped up to Delmarva the next season and hit .262 with a home run and 51 RBI. He must have got hurt the next season as he was limited to just 17 games, all with Delmarva. In 2009, he was bumped up to High-A Frederick and he hit just .219 in 69 games. That was the last season David played ball.

Over four seasons, David hit .255 with 3 home runs and 89 RBI.

David sure has an interesting signature. His first name looks pretty normal. But, I have no idea what is going on with his last name.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

2007 Goudey, Alberto Callaspo

#GG-AC Alberto Callaspo

Mike Jacobs was looking lonely in my binder as the only 2007 Goudey card that I had signed. So, to make him feel a little better, and to add another signed card from this great looking set, I picked up this signed Alberto Callaspo card from COMC for about two bucks. An on-card autograph from this iconic looking set cannot be beat, especially for two dollars.

This is the fourth card of Alberto Callaspo that I have posted on here. The first three were all obtained in 2009 while Alberto was with the Royals. I posted the first two of those in 2010 and then it was a couple of years before I got around to the third one.

Since leaving the Royals, Alberto has played for the Angels, A's, Braves, and Dodgers. He spent three and a half seasons with the Halos before being dealt to the A's at the trade deadline in 2013. He played in Oakland through last season and then signed on with the Braves during the offseason. He played there for a couple of months before being dealt to the Dodgers in May. His stay in LA was barely longer than his tenure in Atlanta as the Dodgers released him three weeks ago.

It will be interesting to see if Alberto can catch on with another team next season. He will be thirty-three then and his offensive numbers have been on the decline since he maxed out as a Royal in 2009. That year, he hit .300 with 11 home runs and 73 RBI.

If he does call it a career, he will finish as a .265 hitter with 52 home runs and 369 RBI.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

2007 Goudey, Mike Jacobs

#158 Mike Jacobs

Here is the first of what is three cards from 2007 that I got signed by the former Met, Marlin, Royal, and Diamondback, Mike Jacobs. But, this is not the first Mike Jacobs card that I have posted on here. I posted the first one about four years ago and that card can be seen here.

Mike played for the Royals for one season and I got more than my fair share of cards signed by him during that year. This one is no exception as I was able to get this card signed outside of Kauffman Stadium while Mike was arriving at the park one July afternoon.

I always liked the Upper Deck made Goudey sets, even the creepy-looking finale in 2009. They had great card stock and bright card fronts that were perfect for getting autographs on. While I bought plenty of the cards from 2008 and 2009 sets, I have very few from the 2007 set. I didn't really get back into collecting cards until 2008 and I completely missed out on this set. Nearly all of the cards I have from 2007 were purchased in 2008 or later and I am pretty sure I never saw a loose pack of this set for sale. But, I can think of a few cards I have from the set, so I must have been lucky to get one in a repack box. I am assuming that is how I got this card, but it could have been sent to me or I could have purchased it from COMC.

Either way, I am glad that I have it.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

2007 Fleer, Tim Corcoran

#369 Tim Corcoran

Here is a card that I got signed at a Round Rock Express game in 2008 while Tim was pitching for the visiting Albuquerque Isotopes. The Express have a sweet autographing set-up where the players have to walk across the left field concourse to get to the field. That is where I got Tim when he signed this card.

Tim pitched for the Rays for parts of three seasons. He was used as a starter and a reliever and he logged 130.1 innings in the Majors. Over that time, he went 5-9 with a 4.97 ERA. All of his decisions came in 2006, the only year he started games. He pitched 90.1 innings that year and had an ERA of 4.38 with 59 strikeouts.

Even though 2008 was the last time Tim pitched in the Major Leagues, he continued to pitch in the minor leagues through the 2013 season. In all, he played for sixteen seasons and logged 1272 innings of work.

I have a hard time calling this set a Fleer set since it was put out by Upper Deck. But, that is the way things were in 2007.

Friday, September 11, 2015

2007 Fleer, Kevin Hooper

#19 Kevin Hooper

Here is the fifth Kevin Hooper card that I have posted on here. Kevin is the manager of the Wichita Wingnuts and all of the cards I have of him were signed at Nuts games, except for this one.

Every year, the Nuts and Wichita's hockey team, the Thunder, hold a "Nuts and Bolts" promotion. At the Nuts game, it will be hockey themed with a player or coach from the Thunder there to throw out the first pitch. At the Thunder game, it is just the opposite. I happened to get this card signed at a Thunder game about six years ago when they still played at the Kansas Coliseum.

I decided to go to the "Nuts and Bolts" game that year and I took two baseball cards with me- this one and one of Nate Robertson, a part owner of the Nuts. It just so happened that Kevin was the one there representing the team and he was out on the ice for the ceremonial puck drop to start the game. I waited for Kevin to leave the ice and got him to sign my card then. I had a cold at the time and had a dry throat and was hoarse, so I had to call for him a few times before he heard and came over. But, I finally got him and this is the only baseball card that I have ever gotten signed at a hockey game.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

2007 Donruss Elite, Sam Runion

#38 Sam Runion

Here is the second card that Sam Runion signed for me at the Burlington Bees game in 2009. The first one was his 2007 Bowman card and that one can be seen here.

When I posted that first card, I talked about Sam's time in the Royals system, which lasted through the 2013 season. After that, he was picked up by the Rays, but lasted with their AA team for 13.1 innings. They cut him loose and the Nationals picked him up and he has pitched with them ever since.

Last year, he spent his season at three different levels of the minors ranging from High-A to AAA. He only pitched in 27 games, all relief outings except for one. So, he may have been having some kind of arm issue.

This year, though, he pitched in 48 games split between AA and AAA. He had a good season, going 6-5 with 4 saves and a 2.91 ERA. He struck out 60 in 65 innings of work. Unfortunately, it was not good enough for him to get the call to the Majors. But, there is still time for him as he is on twenty-six years old.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

2007 Donruss Elite, Derrick Robinson

#18 Derrick Robinson

Here is a card of Derrick Robinson that I got signed at the same Wilmington Blue Rocks game as the Bryan Morris card I last posted. The only difference was that Derrick was playing for the home team.

Derrick spent most of 2013 in the Major Leagues with the Reds. I had no idea that was the case until I pulled his card out of 2013 Topps Update. By that time the Royals had given up on him and I figured that he did not really have a shot at making it. I guess it's a good thing I am not a prospector.

Derrick played in 101 games that year, but he only started 37. He pinch ran 6 times and pinch hit 36 times. He hit a respectable .255 with 7 doubles, 3 triples, and 8 RBI. The one stat, though, that surprises me is that he only stole 4 bases and it took him 9 attempts to make that happen.

When Derrick was a prospect with the Royals, the one thing he had going for him was speed. He stole 50 or more bases for four years straight in the minors, topping off at 69 for the Blue Rocks in 2009. The guy had speed, he just had problems getting on base. Then, he made it to the Majors and hit for a higher average there than his career minor league mark, but he couldn't steal any more. I never would have guessed that.

After 2013, the Reds let Derrick become a free agent and nobody picked him up. He sat out all of 2014 before the Nationals signed him for this season. He spent the majority of this season back in AA and he is hitting .250 heading into the final week of the season. He has stolen 17 bases on 26 attempts.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

2007 Donruss Elite, Bryan Morris

#10 Bryan Morris

Here is a card that I got signed at a Wilmington Blue Rocks playoff game in 2009. Bryan was playing for the visiting Lynchburg Hillcats at the time and he signed this card,and one other, for me before the game started.

Bryan has been playing in the Major Leagues since 2012. I, however, had no idea until I pulled a card of him out of 2013 Topps Heritage. It didn't help matters that I pulled that card in the middle of 2014..

Bryan made his Major League debut with the Pirates in September of 2012 in a game against the Cubs. He entered the game in the ninth inning with the Bucs down 7-4. He faced three batters (Luis Valbuena, Anthony Rizzo, and Alfonso Soriano) and retired them in order. He pitched in four more games that month and only gave up one earned run.

He spent most of 2013 in the Pirates bullpen and he had a very solid season. He was 5-7 with a 3.46 ERA in 65 innings. He made the postseason roster and pitched in one NLDS against the Cardinals and pitched a scoreless inning.

Last season, he was putting up similar numbers when the Pirates traded him to the Marlins in June. He had a stellar finish in Miami, going 4-1 with a 0.66 ERA over 41 innings.

This year, he has posted a 4-3 record with a 3.04 ERA over 47.1 innings so far.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

2007 Bowman's Best, Joe Gaetti

Here is a card of Gary Gaetti's son, Joe, that I got signed at a Kansas City T-Bones game in 2009. Joe was playing for the Northern League's Joliet JackHammers.

Joe was drafted by the Rockies in the twelfth round of the 2003 draft out of North Carolina State. He rose steadily up the Rockies minor league ladder and reached AAA in 2007. At that level, he hit .270 with 11 home runs and 32 RBI in 74 games. But, it was not enough as the Rockies let him go after the season.

Joe then began a whirlwind minor league journey where he played for five different organizations over the next two seasons. He saw time in the Texas League with the A's and Rangers. He played in the Eastern League with the Red Sox and Twins. Just to not leave out the Southern League, he played there too with the Rays. And for good measure, he saw some time in the Pacific Coast League and the Northen League. Joe spent 2010 in the Atlantic League before calling it a career.

His best season was with the Modesto Nuts in 2005. He hit .332 with 21 home runs and 87 RBI.

This card came out looking great signed.

Since I have posted every single card that I got signed at T-Bones games, I guess it is time to check out some picture of the T-Bones field, Community America Ballpark. The place was built in 2003 for the Bones and is in the Legends district that features shopping, dining, the Kansas Speedway, and Sporting KC's soccer stadium. The park is dug into the earth and doesn't have much view from the outside.

In 2009, Sporting KC (then the Kansas City Wizards) played at Community America Ballpark while Arrowhead Stadium was being renovated. Some changes were made to the ballpark to accommodate soccer. Bleachers were added in left field and most of the dirt was removed from the field. The diamond then resembled an astroturf field with its dirt sliding pits.

The bleachers have since been removed and the infield has returned to normal.

The clubhouses are behind the berm seating in right field which makes it easy to get autographs at the games.

I had the privilege of seeing a few Major Leaguers play at the park. In 2008, the ballpark hosted the Willie Wilson Classic old-timers game. Fergie Jenkins started the game for the green team.

In 2009, Willie Wilson played one game for the T-Bones and started in center. He went 0-1 with a strikeout.

Community American Ballpark is a great place to see a game. With so much to do in the area, it is easy to see why the T-Bones are consistently in the top third of the American Association's attendance.

2007 Bowman Sterling, Ole Sheldon

#BSP-OS Ole Sheldon

Here is another card of Ole Sheldon that I got signed at a Wingnuts game in 2010 while he was playing for the St. Paul Saints. I posted a card of Ole a few months back that I got signed at a Nuts game in 2009. That card can be seen here.

Ole's affiliated playing days came to a close in 2009. He split that season with the Saints and the Kinston Indians. Still, Ole went on to play for four seasons after that, all with the Saints. His best season in St. Paul came in 2010 when he hit .280 with 22 home runs and 79 RBI. He is the Saints all-time leader in home runs (67), RBI (271), extra base hits (154), at-bats (1367), games (355), and sac flies (15).

Ole's playing career came to an end after the 2013 season, but he still gets to suit up with the Saints players all summer as he is currently their hitting coach. He must be doing a good job, too, as the top two hitters in the league both play for St. Paul.

I am going to try to see the Saints play the Wingnuts next week if there are any '07 Bowman set builders out there that need a card signed by him.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

2007 Bowman Sterling, Jeremy Papelbon

#BSP-JPA Jeremy Papelbon

Here is the third and final Jeremy Papelbon card that I got signed at the 2010 Rickwood Classic. You can see the first card here and the second card here.

Jeremy was drafted by the Cubs in the nineteenth round of the 2006 draft out of North Florida. He signed with the Cubs shortly after and made his professional debut with the Boise Hawks that year. He had a good first season, going 4-0 with 3 saves and a 1.86 ERA over 18 games. He got bumped up to Midwest League the next season and went 9-6 with 3 saves and a 3.11 ERA.

He continued his progression in 2008 as he played high-A in the Florid State League. He went 2-1 with 2 saves and a 2.57 ERA. In 2009, he was in AA and half of his appearances were as a starter. His numbers slipped a bit and he finished with a 6-5 record with a 3.38 ERA. He pitched in two AAA games that year, as well, and did not fare too well. He pitched 4.2 inning and gave up five runs on ten hits.

He repeated AA in 2010, and his numbers got even worse than the first go-around. That year, he was 1-2 with a save and an ERA of 5.54. Jeremy ended up retiring after the season.

Jeremy is the younger brother of Jonathan Papelbon.

While Jeremy never made it to the Major Leagues, he does have a big league signature. All three sigs on the cards look nearly identical. That does not happen too much any more.

2007 Bowman Sterling, Greg Porter

#BSP-GP Greg Porter

Here is the third and final Greg Porter card that I have to show. This one was signed at at the same Wingnuts exhibition game as the last card of him I posted.

Greg was a little wearing of signing this card because of all the gloss. He actually rubbed it down a little bit before he signed it and then told me that using an eraser on it before signing works really well. Even though I use baby powder for prep now, I really had no clue about prepping cards back in 2009. I had just heard of the eraser method around that time and had actually prepped this card with one. Still, it is always cool to get some 'graphing tips from the guys doing the 'graphing.

Greg had a good season in 2006, at least good enough to get into all of the 2007 Bowman sets. 2006 was his second year in AA and he hit .298 with 20 home runs and 71 RBI for the Angles Texas League affiliate, the Arkansas Travelers. He split 2008 between AA and AAA and put up good numbers at both stops. In AAA, he hit .345 with 7 home runs and 33 RBI in 56 contests. But, the Angles let him go after the season.

He spent the next season playing AAA for the Nationals and Yankees before winding up in Wichita in 2009. He played four seasons of independent ball before retiring after the 2012 season.

I was at a Wingnuts game last week and I noticed that the club added some banners around the concourse honoring their division and league championships and some of their best players. Greg has a banner up for his stellar 2009 season when he hit .372 with 21 home runs and 86 RBI. I wish I would have taken a picture of it so show on here.

You can see the first Greg Porter card I posted here and the second one here.

Friday, August 14, 2015

2007 Bowman Heritage, Mike Thompson

#SG-MT Mike Thompson

This is the second Mike Thompson autograph that I have posted on here and both of them were given to me. I posted the first card of him back 2011. That card was given to me by Rod, of Padrographs. This one was given to me by Matt, from Heartbreaking Cards of Staggering Genius. I sent him some random cards way back when and he repaid me by sending me a couple of random autographs.

I have mixed feelings about this Signs of Greatness insert set. The design isn't bad for a signature set with the obvious white signing area. But, this Bowman Heritage set looks great signed, so the white signing area may be a little overdone. It probably comes in handy for a card of a player in a darker jersey. But, it is unnecessary on a card with a white or grey. Still, I like the look of this card better than the first Mike Thompson card I posted.

Mike last pitched professionally in 2010. After being out of baseball for a year, he joined the Atlantic League's Somerset Patriots for one season. He started 11 games for them and went 4-3 with a 4.29 ERA.

If I did not know any better, I would think that the first letter in Mike's name started with a "Z".

2007 Bowman Heritage, Greg Porter

#BHP96 Greg Porter

This is a card that I got signed signed by Greg Porter at a Wingnuts spring training game in 2009. Every year, the Nuts open their spring schedule with a game against one of the local colleges in Wichita. In 2009, they played Kansas Newman, an NAIA school. My best friend's brother-in-law was playing for Newman at the time, so we went down to the game to see him play. I took a few cards with me and this is one of the ones I got signed that day.

This is the second card of Greg Porter that I have posted. The first one was posted just a couple of months ago and that card can be seen here. I have one more Greg Porter card to post after this one and it should be up in a few days.

Greg was drafted by the Reds in the third round of the 1998 draft out of high school. He did not sign, however, and instead went to Texas A&M. He played there for three seasons before being drafted by the Angels in the 45th round of the 2001 draft. I am not sure what happened while he was in college, but his draft stock sure plummeted while at College Station.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

2007 Bowman Heritage, Jim Fasano

#BHP92 Jim Fasano

Here is a card that I got signed at an independent league game in 2009. While I do most of my minor league graphing at the American Association's club in Wichita, I got this one signed at a different spot. This card was signed at a Kansas City T-Bones game back when they were still in the Northern League. Jim was playing for the Bones at the time and he signed the card for me before hitting the field for warm-ups.

Jim was drafted by the Rangers in the ninth round of the 2004 draft out of Richmond. He made his professional debut that season and hit .266 in the Northwest League. He was bumped up to the Midwest League the following season and he hit .302 there. He spent most of 2006 in AA where he would hit just .244. He repeated AA in 2007 and his average rose to .284. But, it was not enough, and the Rangers released him after the season.

After that, he caught on with the T-Bones and he would play for them for the next four seasons before being traded to Fargo-Moorehead during the 2011 season. He did really well with the Bones and had two 20 home run seasons during his tenure there. Unfortunately, it was not enough to get him back to affiliated ball.

Jim's last season playing was in 2013 and he spent that season playing in Italy. He hit .265 for an awful team that finished the season 4-38. Yikes.

Monday, August 10, 2015

2007 Bowman Heritage, Jeremy Papelbon

#BHP83 Jeremy Papelbon

Here is the second of three cards that Jeremy Papelbon signed for me at the 2010 Rickwood Classic. If you are unfamiliar with the Rickwood Classic, it is a lone minor league game played once a year at the oldest ballpark in the United States, Rickwood Field in Birmingham, Alabama. Even though the Birmingham Barons are in their second ballpark since moving out of Rickwood in 1988, they still play one game a year there and it is a great time.

At the game I went to, they celebrated Rickwood's 100th anniversary and the teams wore uniforms from minor league teams from 1910. The Barons wore some plain looking Barons uniforms and the Tennessee Smokies wore uniforms from the Appalachians. Harmon Killebrew was there to throw out the first pitch and sign autographs during the game. I ended up spending more time going through the autograph line than watching the game.

For some reason, I never did a write-up from the game. But, I did post a few pictures from the game when I got around to posting the Harmon Killebrew card.

Jeremy Papelbon had the sense to get Harmon's autograph before the game, as well.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

2007 Bowman Heritage, Nick Van Stratten

#BHP82 Nick Van Stratten

Here is the second card that Nick Van Stratten signed for me at a Burlington Bees game in 2009. Back then, the Bees were the Midwest League affiliate for the Royals. They are currently an Angels farm team, though they had a brief affiliation with Oakland in between the two. The Royals switched their Midwest League affiliation to the Kan County Cougars in 2011 before switching over to the South Atlantic League and the Lexington Legends in 2013. Nevertheless, I still occasionally wear my Bees t-shirt that I bought at the game in 2009.

Speaking of my Bees shirt, I wore it to a Wilmington Blue Rocks playoff game later that season. Nick had been promoted to Wilmington at that point and, when he saw me in that shirt, he shouted out to me "Nice shirt!" and gave me a thumbs up.

Nick is still playing in Mexico right now for the Broncos de Tamaulipas. He is doing real well with a .378 average over 188 at-bats. A couple of his Laredo Lemurs teammates from last year are on the team with him- Travis Denker and Cesar Carrillo. Apparently playing on the Mexican border wasn't good enough for them, so they had to venture down for the real deal.