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.