Thursday, October 18, 2018

2005 Topps Total, Jason Repko

#299 Jason Repko

Here is a card that I got signed at a Wingnuts game in 2015. Jason was playing for the Sioux Falls Canaries at the time and was nice enough to stop and sign this lone card I have of him. What exactly he signed is unknown to me as this might be the worst looking autograph that I have ever posted on here. I have absolutely no clue what is going on with that signature.

Jason spent parts of seven seasons in the Major Leagues with the Dodgers, Twins, and Red Sox. Over that time he hit .224 with 16 home runs and 67 RBI. His best season was probably his rookie year with the Dodgers. Though he hit only .221, he played in a career-high 129 games and responded with 8 homers and 30 RBI.

Despite playing in 360 games for his career, this is the only card of Jason that Topps ever made. Besides this card, he has just a 2000 Bowman card and an Upper Deck card from each year from 2005-07. All of his cards picture him with the Dodgers.

Jason actually has two games of postseason experience, both in the Division Series. One was with the Dodgers in 2006 and the other was with the Twins in 2010. In both instances, he entered the games late as a pinch runner and failed to score.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

2005 Topps Total, Troy Percival

#233 Troy Percival

Here is the second card of Troy Percival that I got signed at a Kansas State baseball game last year. I posted the first one back in April. You can see that card and read about the miserable conditions Troy and I endured here.

I, and I am assuming most people, associate Troy as an Angel. After all, he spent eleven seasons with that organization. During that time, he racked up a club record 316 saves while making four All Star teams and helping the club to its lone World Championship. But, that all ended after the 2004 season when the Angels let him leave via free agency.

He signed on with the Tigers for 2005 and it was not a good one for Troy. He recorded only 8 saves while posting a then career worst ERA of 5.76. The Tigers shut him down in mid-July and he missed the rest of the season. He then missed all of the 2006 season, as well.

Troy finished his time in Detroit with a 1-3 record and 20 strikeouts.

Troy is currently the head coach of the UC Riverside baseball team.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

2005 Topps Total, Jack Wilson

#145 Jack Wilson

Here is the fourth card of Jack Wilson that I got signed at the Kansas Stars game last summer. While it isn't the last card of Jack that will be posted on here (I hope), it will be some time before I post another one since the next one in line is from 2011.

Jack spent parts of nine seasons with the Pirates from 2001-2009. Over that time, he hit .269 with 60 home runs and 389 RBI. In 2004, he was an All Star and won the Silver Slugger for National League shortstops.

In the last post about Jack, I talked about the new chapter of AAA baseball coming to Wichita. Since that time, the city has officially closed the books on the Wingnuts and they are no more. But, thanks to an auction and a farewell ceremony at Lawrence Dumont Stadium, I have acquired some neat memorabilia from the team and ballpark.

Two weeks ago, the Wingnuts held an auction and were getting rid of everything in the park that was not bolted down. Items varied from all the team store merchandise to grills and coolers to ladders to equipment to paper towel dispensers to office supplies to furniture used to furnish player apartments. There was quite an array of things to be bought. Here is a picture of the cool stuff that I came home with- a couple of section signs and a game-used batting helmet.

Then, three days ago, the city held a farewell ceremony for the park where fans could buy some of the seats. I had to work, but my wife, dad, and kids took a trip to Wichita and came home with four stadium seats.

Lawrence Dumont is going to be missed, but she had to go. The park was so out of date, fans couldn't even bring sunflower seeds in because they would clog up the drainage. While not having any minor league baseball nearby next summer is going to make for a long summer for me, it will be made up for when the Pacific Coast League comes to town the following year.

Friday, October 12, 2018

2005 Topps Total, Eli Marrero

#99 Eli Marrero

About ten years ago, I bought a box of 2005 Topps Total on Ebay. Because of that, I have a decent selection of cards from the set and it is a go-to whenever I need to find cards from someone that played in the mid-'00s. So here is the first in a long line of posts from this set that, knowing my posting routine, could very well last until Thanksgiving.

First up is this Eli Marrero card from his short tenure with the Royals. I got this card signed at the Reds minor league workout at Spring Training last year. Eli was the manager of the Reds Florida State League team in Daytona.

When I think of Eli Marrero, I think of a catcher with the Cardinals, not an outfielder with the Royals. Unfortunately, this was the only card of Eli that I could scrounge up before last year's Spring Training trip.

Eli played in the Majors for ten seasons with the Cardinals, Braves, Royals, Orioles, Rockies, and Mets. Over that time, he was a .243 hitter with 66 homers and 261 RBI. His best season was with the Cardinals in 2002. That year, he played in a 131 games and hit .262 with 18 home runs and 66 RBI.

I got to see Eli play in the big leagues on nine different occasions. Ironically, none of those were with the Royals. His tenure in Kansas City lasted just 32 games in 2005.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

2005 Topps, Andy LaRoche

#687 Andy LaRoche

Here is the first of several cards that I got signed by Andy LaRoche over the past three years. Andy played a partial season with the Wichita Wingnuts in 2015 and I got him on two or three occasions in Wichita. He then played for the Kansas Stars for the two years they were around and I got him once more that way. No matter how many cards you had of Andy to get signed, though, he was a strict two-per guy.

This was one of the last cards that I got signed by Andy during his tenure with the Wingnuts. At one point during that season, I had stopped by my dad's house to look for something and I found a blaster box full of cards from 2005 that I did not know I had. In it was this card and I was able to get it signed at a playoff game that fall.

Andy's tenure with the Dodgers lasted 62 games over two seasons. During that time, he hit just .217 with 3 home runs and 16 RBI. At the trade deadline in 2008, he was dealt to the Pirates in the three team trade that landed Manny Ramirez in Los Angeles.

On a curious note, the Royals signed Andy to a minor league deal this past season even though he had not played affiliated ball since 2014. He was assigned to AAA Omaha, but was on the disabled list the entire season. What makes it even more odd was that he was on the Louisville Stars roster to play in the Bluegrass World Series in August. Whether or not he appeared in any of those games, though, I do not know.

Monday, October 8, 2018

2005 Topps, Guillermo Quiroz

#329 Guillermo Quiroz

Here is the second card that I got signed by Guillermo Quiroz at a Sacramento Rivercats game in 2015. I posted the first card three months ago and that one can be seen here.

On the first card of him, it is a close-up photo of him in a blue jersey. Because of that, I decided to have him sign in black. It worked out great for that card, but not so much with this one. With the limited space and dark gray jersey, a blue Sharpie would have came out looking better.

Guillermo played in the Majors for parts of ten seasons with six different clubs- the Blue Jays, Mariners, Rangers, Orioles, Red Sox, and Giants. Yet, despite playing for so many teams, Guillermo did not get into very many ballgames. For his career, he played in 148 games. Over that time, he hit .199 with 3 home runs and 34 RBI. His biggest season was in 2008 with the Orioles. That year, he played in a career-high 56 games and he hit .187 with 2 home runs and 14 RBI.

One of these days, I would like to get this card finished. Right now, Gabe Gross is coaching at Auburn. I was hoping I would have been able to get it done at the College World Series this past summer, but Auburn got knocked out in the Super Regional. Maybe next year will be different.

Saturday, October 6, 2018

2005 Topps, Al Pedrique

#268 Al Pedrique

Here is a card that I got signed at a Spring Training game earlier this year. Al was the first base coach for the A's and they were the away team at the Angels Tempe Diablo Stadium. Prior to entering the park, my plan was to 'graph the Angels side and send my oldest boy over to grab some A's for me. Once I got inside, though, my plans changed. The Angles side was lined with people from dugout to foul pole while there wasn't a soul on the visiting side. So, I took the A's side and my kid took the day off and it worked out great. I think I got nearly twenty cards signed that day, along with a Marcus Semien batting glove.

Al managed in the Major Leagues for half a season. The Diamondbacks finished with a winning record in 2003, but they were a disaster come 2004. They started off the year 29-50 before Bob Brenly, the manager of their lone World Championship team, got the ax. Al took over and did just a bit worse than Bob did. He finished the year with a 22-61 record. The D-backs finished the year 51-111. So far, that is the only season that the D-Backs have lost 100 or more games.

Al was replaced with Bob Melvin the following year and has never been given another chance to manage a Major League team. But, he seemed to do alright in his first season as the A's first base coach as they grabbed a Wild Card spot this year.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

2005 Topps, Scott Sullivan

#224 Scott Sullivan

Here is a card that I got signed through the mail earlier this year. I got on a kick for a bit of sending cards out to former Royals who I did not have any cards signed by and that is why I wrote to Scott. It took about three months to get this card back.

Scott pitched in Kansas City for just one season, his final season in the Majors. That year, he was 3-4 with a 4.77 ERA in 60.1 innings of work. Prior to joining the Royals, Scott pitched nine and half years for the Reds and had a half season with the White Sox. He was 40-28 with 9 saves and a 3.98 ERA for his career.

Here is a fun fact- forty different ballplayers have appeared in the Majors with the last name of Sullivan. I never would have guessed that. But apparently, Sullivan was a very common surname back in the day. For instance, only two Sullivans have played in the Majors this century. On the opposite end of the spectrum, eighteen different Sullivans pitched in the 1800s, including three that were born in Ireland.

Scott has got a beautiful looking signature.

Friday, September 28, 2018

2005 Fleer, Ryan Madson

#142 Ryan Madson

Here is the second of three cards that I got signed by Ryan Madson at a Royals game in 2015. I posted the first card two years ago and it can be seen here.

When I posted that last card, Ryan had just come off of a World Series victory with the Royals and signed himself a nice three-year deal with the A's. His tenure in Oakland lasted just a year and a half, though, as he was traded to the Nationals at the deadline last year. He pitched well for them down the stretch last season, but was a bit shaky this year, posting a 5.28 ERA in 44.1 innings of work. Nonetheless, the Nats were able to send him to the Dodgers at the end of August for a minor league player. Unfortunately, things haven't gotten any better in Los Angeles as he has racked up a 7.36 ERA in just 7.1 innings of work.

Being 38 years old and having an expiring contract, I would be surprised to see Ryan pitching next year. But, you never know. I didn't think he was going to make the Royals roster in 2015 after not pitching in four years and he still has a job in the Majors.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

2005 Bowman Heritage, J.P. Howell

#SG-JH J.P. Howell

Here is a card that I picked up for cheap from COMC last year. This one set me back all of $1.50. I picked it up just because it showed JP as a Royal.

JP pitched more games for the Royals than I realized. He started fifteen games with them in 2005 and was 3-5 with a 6.19 ERA. He was then traded to the Devil Rays in 2006 for Joey Gathright. He started 18 games for the Rays in '06 and '07 before moving to the pen in '08 and establishing himself as a reliable reliever.

Over the course of his career, JP was 36-30 with 22 saves and a 3.83 ERA. His best season was with the Rays in 2008 when he went 6-1 with 3 saves, a 2.22 ERA and a career-high 92 strikeouts. He pitched for the Rays through the 2012 season before moving on to the Dodgers for four years. He spent last year, which looks like his final year, with the Blue Jays.

This is an odd card. I love Heritage cards and you cannot beat an on-card autograph. But, it just seems extremely odd that the players were told to sign the cards on the "No Pepper Games" sign.

I have no clue what is going on with JP's signature. Does he just sign Howell? Or is he trying to make his J and his P look like an H? Your guess is as good as mine.

Monday, September 24, 2018

2005 Bowman Heritage, Brad Corley

#290 Brad Corley

Two posts ago, I showed off the Gio Gonzalez auto that I got in a trade with a random reader for a pair of '05 Bowman Heritage Cesar Carrillo cards. When we made the deal, he gave me a list of cards that he had available for trade. I picked the Gio card and told him to throw in an '05 Bowman Heritage card that he had dupes of. This is that throw-in card.

Brad played in the minors for five seasons, never making it above AA. The second round pick out of Mississippi State reached the AA level in just his third year of pro ball, but could never get any higher. Despite hitting .262 in his first full season there, the Bucs cut ties with him in 2009 and he finished the season playing for the Rockies AA team. That was Brad's last year in baseball.

In parts of three season in AA, Brad hit .249 with 18 home runs and 81 RBI.

In my last post, I poked fun at the pose that Drew Butera was in. This one isn't much better, but it looks much cooler thanks to the Heritage effect.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

2005 Bowman, Drew Butera

#BDP44 Drew Butera

Drew Butera played for the Royals for parts of four seasons. Over that time, this is one of the two cards that I got him to sign for me. Granted, he does not have a lot of cards out there and I got him to sign a card for me once when he was a Dodger. But still, two cards in four years just goes to show how hard it has gotten to get Royals autographs in Kansas City.

I got this card signed by Drew at Royals Fanfest in 2016. The Royals were coming off their World Series championship and Fanfest was a madhouse. Because of the outrageous number of people attending the event, I did not bother standing in line for autographs. It just did not make sense to get in a line for an unknown signer that was going to show up in two hours. Luckily, I was able to snag some alumni autos at the alumni line whenever they showed up. Plus, I got a few alums by the wiffle ball field when they went over there to help the kids out. Right when we got in the doors, my kid got Mike Moustakas by the wiffle ball field, but he did not sign for me. But, I was able to get Drew over there later on that day and it was the only card I got signed at Fanfest by a current player. It was an odd Fanfest for me to say the least. But, that is what happens when your favorite team is a World Champ.

Despite being drafted by the Mets in the fifth round of the 2005 draft, Drew never played in the Majors with the club. He played in their system for two years before getting traded to the Twins for Luis Castillo.

This has got to be one of the worst poses for a catcher. Despite the lack of catcher equipment, it really does not look like Drew is playing catcher. What is that pose supposed to represent? Is it him catching a pitch out or a throw home from an infielder for a force out?

Thursday, September 20, 2018

2005 Bowman, Giovanny Gonzalez

#158 Giovanny Gonzalez

Every once in a while, I will get a random email from somebody that I do not know who wants to trade for a card they found on my blog. More often than not, it is somebody working on a set and they discovered that I posted a card that they needed. That is how I ended up with this card. Somebody noticed that I had some '05 Bowman Heritage cards that they needed and gave me some signed cards to pick from. This is the one that I chose. In order to land this card, I had to pony up two different Cesar Carrillo cards from that set. I think I did OK with that trade.

When I first saw this card, I was not expecting Gio to be pictured with the White Sox. I had no idea he was ever in their organization. Well, it turns out that he was also in the Phillies organization, too, before making his Major League debut with the A's in 2008.

Since making that debut, Gio has pitched eleven seasons and is currently 126-97 with about ten days left in this season. His best season was with the Nationals in 2012 when he was 21-8 with a 2.89 ERA and 207 strikeouts. He has never won more than 16 games any other season in his career, but he has run off a string of eight straight seasons with double digit wins and is one win away from his ninth straight.

Gio is currently hurling for the Brewers and is 2-0 in three September starts with a 1.65 ERA. With nine games left and a 3.5 game lead for the wildcard, Gio is trying to help his club reach the postseason for the fourth time in his career.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

2004 Upper Deck Vintage, Joe Beimel

#222 Joe Beimel

Here is a card that I got signed after the Kansas Stars game I attended last year. I didn't have any cards of Joe prior to him being put on the roster, so I had to buy a couple online. Anymore, I am pretty weary of buying cards just to hope that I can get them signed. But, on some lesser known players, especially relief pitchers, I will still do that now and then and it payed off with Joe. I couldn't get him before the game, but I got his attention afterwards and he came and signed the two cards I had of him.

In case you are wondering, Joe Beimel cards are hard to come by. Even though he pitched for thirteen seasons in the Majors, from 2001-2015, and logged almost 700 innings, there are hardly any cards of Joe. There is one Dodger card of him that Upper Deck made in 2007 and the rest of his cards are Pirate cards that came out between 2001 and 2004. This is just another example of the relief pitcher getting the shaft from card companies.

Joe pitched for the Pirates for four seasons. In 23 starts and 176 relief appearances, Joe was 11-20 with a 5.03 ERA. Those four seasons include the first three of his career and a fourth in 2011.

I once asked for Joe Beimel's autograph when he was playing for the Rockies. The only problem was that I did not have any cards of him and I gave him a card of Matt Belisle to sign.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

2004 Upper Deck Vintage, Barry Zito

#14 Barry Zito

Here is the second card that Barry signed for me during his farewell campaign with the Nashville Sounds in 2015. I posted the first card three years ago and it can be seen here.

This card marks a bit of a milestone for this blog. This is the 100th Athletics card that I have posted on here. Only two other teams have hit the 100 card mark, the Royals and Padres. The Royals are up there because they are my local team. The Padres passed the mark because Rod, from Padrographs, loves to send me signed Padre cards. The A's reached that level because they used to play in Kansas City and I like getting KC A's cards signed. By my best count, I currently 26 signed KC A's cards with all but one of those already being posted on here. If it wasn't for my interest in that era of the team, there would have only been about 80 A's cards posted on here. In case you are wondering, the Angels are the team that is closest to reaching 100 card posts and they are currently sitting on 82.

Barry pitched for the A's for seven seasons and went 102-63 with a 3.58 ERA. During his time in Oakland, he made three All Star teams and was awarded the 2002 American League Cy Young Award. That year, he was 23-5 with a 2.75 ERA and 182 strikeouts.

Last I heard, Barry was trying to make it as a musician in Nashville. I have heard one of his songs and I actually like it. You can check it out on YouTube here.

Friday, September 14, 2018

2004 Upper Deck Sweet Spot, Tim Hudson

#85 Tim Hudson

Here is the second card that I got signed by Tim Hudson at the NBC World Series in 2016. I posted the first one last month and it can be seen here.

At that game, I did 98% of my 'graphing by the clubhouse and batting cages in left field. The one problem with 'graphing there is that there is a nine foot tall chain link fence to keep you from going into the clubhouse. Since I use a book with photo corners to hold my cards in, the fence was a major obstacle for me. If I were getting balls signed, it would not be a big deal. But, I do not toss the book around like I would a baseball.

So, to circumvent the fence, I ended up finding a low spot on the ground and handing my book under the fence. While it wasn't ideal, it certainly got the job done and all the cards came out OK with the exception of this one. This one ended up scraping the bottom of the fence and it caused a streak right through the signature. But, considering that I got about forty cards signed at that spot and only one got messed up, I think I came out alright.

Tim pitched for Oakland for six seasons and had some of his best success with them. He went 92-39 with the A's. I know wins and losses do not tell much of a story of how good a pitcher is doing, but that .702 winning percentage is really impressive. Tim made two All Star teams with the A's and won 20 games for them in 2000 and had a single season high of 181 strikeouts in 2001.

I was a little worried about how well the signature was going to show up on this foil card. But, minus the streak, it came out looking good.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

2004 Topps Total, Tom Martin

#263 Tom Martin

Here is the second of three cards that Tom Martin signed for me a the Kansas Stars game I attended in 2016. I posted the first one ten months ago and it can be seen here.

This card exemplifies why I loved Topps Total. Tom Martin pitched in the Major Leagues for parts of eleven seasons. Yet, if it was not for Topps Total, he would have one lonely Major League card from the 1998 Topps set. But, Topps included him in two of their three Total sets to get him up to a measly three cards. That is three times better than one, though. Kevin McCarthy has been pitching out of the Royals bullpen for three seasons now and he has yet to receive a card because Topps does not like middle relievers. The inclusion of those unheralded bullpen arms is why I liked Total.

By the time Tom joined the Dodgers in 2003, he was playing for his fifth different Major League team after having previous gigs with the Astros, Indians, Mets, and Devil Rays. With the Dodgers, Tom became a full time LOOGY and pitched in a career-high 80 games while logging just 51 innings to the tune of a 3.53 ERA. It was more of the same the next season until the Dodger traded him to the Braves for a minor league player at the trade deadline.

In his season and a half with LA, Tom was 1-3 with a save over 127 games and 79.1 innings of work. He had a 3.74 ERA and stuck out 69 batters.

Monday, September 10, 2018

2004 Topps Total, Jack Wilson

#91 Jack Wilson

Here is Jack Wilson card number three from the Kansas Stars game last year. Jack stopped to sign after the game we were at and signed all six cards for us and he did it super-fast. He was speed signing on his way out to the paid autograph signing. I wonder if he signed just as fast for that signing. The first two cards I posted of Jack were both 2004 cards, too, and they can be seen here and here.

Since I still have three more Jack Wilson cards to post on here, I am going to mix it up a bit today. In case you haven't heard, Wichita is going to be getting a AAA team. The New Orleans Baby Cakes are going to be relocating to Kansas in a couple of years, once a new ballpark is built. That is huge news for the area and, while I appreciate the effort of the Wingnuts while they bridged the gap of affiliated ball, I cannot wait for the Cakes to get here. It is going to be a brand new autographing scene in Wichita when that happens and I am really excited.

Here is a first look rendering of the new ballpark.

This is a new development and many details are still unannounced. They haven't even set a date on when the team will start play in Wichita. The Cakes lease on their current ballpark runs through 2021, but they make it sound like the new place will be ready for the 2020 season. I am assuming they will buy out the final year on the lease so the new park doesn't go unused for a summer.

Saturday, September 8, 2018

2004 Topps Cracker Jack, Rafael Palmeiro

#38 Rafael Palmeiro

This has been a pretty bleak year for in-person autographs. Spring Training wasn't as good to me as I had expected. I've only been to three Royals games and did horrible at two of those. The Kansas Stars jumped ship for Louisville. The only place where I have got any consistent action has been at Wingnut games and through the mail requests.

The majority of cards I get signed at Wingnuts games are Bowman and Topps Pro Debut cards. Every now and then, a team has a guy with a bit of big league experience, or maybe even a coach. But this year, something unheard of happened. Rafael Palmeiro, at 53 years of age, signed a contract with the Cleburne Railroaders and I knew I would be getting his autograph when the team came to Wichita in May.

In the days leading up to the game, I was a bit nervous. Cleburne was playing up north and Raffy was not on the road trip. Luckily, he met up with the team in Wichita and was at the game I attended.

I got to the game about five minutes after the gates opened and, to my amazement, Raffy was already on the field. He was down in the dugout talking to another player. I went down there and waited for a break in the conversation so I could ask him for his autograph. When he came over, I was in awe with how well conditioned he looked. Besides for his grey beard, he looked like he belonged there and still looked like a Major League slugger. We traded some banter about his experience in the American Association as he signed my three cards and a ball.

I stayed at the game long enough to see him bat twice. In his first at-bat, we snagged a foul ball before he popped up. Then, in his second at-bat, he roped a single to right field. That was the first time I had seen him play since 2004.

Even though Raffy ended his career on a sour note, he still finished with 3,020 hits and 569 home runs. Getting him to sign for me at a Wichita Wingnuts game was the highlight of my 'graphing summer.

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

2004 Topps, David Pauley

#T208 Dvaid Pauley

This is the second card of David Pauley that I have ever posted on here. I posted the first one eight years ago. When I posted that card, I was surprised to see that David had actually pitched in the Major Leagues because I had never heard of him. When I was getting ready to post this card, I again thought that I was going to post a card about a guy that had never pitched in the Majors. I guess my memory is not as good as it once was.

David pitched in 91 games over a five year span with the Padres, Red Sox, Mariners, Tigers, Angels, and Blue Jays. He started 20 of those games and was 9-19 for his career with a 4.68 ERA. His best season was with the Mariners in 2011. In 39 relief outings, David was 5-4 with a 2.15 ERA in 54.1 innings of work. He was then dealt to the Tigers at the deadline with Doug Fister and his numbers went up with Detroit. Even with his 5.95 ERA with the Tigers, he still managed a 3.16 ERA for the season. That was the only time he had an ERA under 4.00.

Despite pitching for six different clubs, David only has Padre and Red Sox cards made of him. All of those were made in 2006 or earlier.

This card, like the first one of Pauley, were given to me by Rod from Padrographs.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

2004 Topps, Justin Germano

#T118 Justin Germano

This card is almost a rarity for this blog. This is a signed Padre card that was not given to me by Rod, from Padrographs. I actually got this card signed myself.

Justin was on the Kansas Stars roster in 2016 and I was able to get him to come over and sign by the third base line before the game I attended. That was after I got the boot by the clubhouse where I was killing it. Once I joined the masses down the line, the going got rough and I was only able to snag Justin and Adam LaRoche. I am glad I was not in that spot the entire time.

Justin had a whirlwind career, appearing in Major League games in nine seasons with seven different teams- the Padres, Reds, Indians, Red Sox, Cubs, Blue Jays, and Rangers. Despite playing for all those teams, he only has Padre cards and a lone Phillies card. The Phillies card is from the 2006 Topps '52 rookie set. I am not sure how that card makes any sense since Justin made his Major League debut in 2004 with the Padres. Nonetheless, I kind of wish I would have picked that card up to get signed.

Friday, August 31, 2018

2004 Topps, Phil Nevin

#446 Phil Nevin

Here is the first of three straight Padre cards. This one is a Padrograph that was given to me by Rod in 2015.

This is now the sixth card of Phil Nevin that I have posted on here. I got three signed by him in Spring Training in 2014 and Rod has given me three cards on two separate occasions. I think I am good to go on cards signed by Phil. When I went and saw the Yankees play earlier this year, I didn't even bother looking for any cards of him.

Phil played for a handful of clubs during his career, but San Diego is where he spent the majority of his time. He spent nearly seven seasons with the Friars and racked up a .288 batting average with 156 home runs and 573 RBI. He ranks in the franchise's top ten in average, slugging, OPS, runs, hits, singles, doubles, home runs, total bases, and RBI. He made his lone All Star team as a Padre in 2001.

If I do ever get a chance to get Phil's signature again, I might try to find a card or two of him. But, with five signed Padre cards already, I will probably stay away from those cards. Instead, I will look for him playing with the Astros, Angels, Cubs, Rangers, or Twins. I already have a Tiger card signed by him.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

2004 Topps, Ron Gardenhire

#283 Ron Gardenhire

Here is a card of Ron Gardenhire that I got signed at a Royals game last year. Ron was the bench coach for the Diamondbacks at the time and he seemed a little shocked that I asked for his autograph. He asked me why I wanted his autograph and assumed it was because I couldn't get Paul Goldschmidt to come over. I told him it was because I don't get to see him anymore since he doesn't lead the Twins to town a dozen times a year to whoop up on the Royals. He just chuckled and signed the three cards I had of him.

After the season, he got the Tigers managerial job and gets to come back to Kansas City a dozen times a year. Luckily, though, his new team currently lacks the talent that he had in Minnestoa a decade ago.

Ron managed the Twins for thirteen seasons and was 1068-1039. During that time, he lead the Twins to a AL Central crown six times. Unfortunately, they never fared well in the postseason, going 6-21 while winning just one series. That series was Gardenhire's first trip to the postseason in his first year of managing, 2002, when his team beat the A's in five games.

Monday, August 27, 2018

2004 Topps, Brad Penny

#236 Brad Penny

Here is the second card of Brad Penny that I got signed at the NBC World Series in 2016 while Brad was a member of the Kansas Stars. I posted the first card about ten days ago and it can be seen here.

Brad pitched for the Marlins for parts of six seasons. Over that span, he was 50-43 with a 4.12 ERA and 583 strikeouts. He never made an All Star team with the club, but he did help them win their second World Series title in 2003 by going 14-10 during the regular season.

The 2003 postseason was a mixed bag for Brad. He made two appearances in the Division Series and pitched 5.2 innings while giving up 4 runs in a start and a relief appearance. Despite his bad start and blown save, the Marlins won both games he pitched in. In the NLCS, Brad did a little worse. Pitching in three games, with only one being a start, he was 1-1 with a 15.75 ERA in four innings of work. In his start in Game 2, Brad lasted just 2 innings while giving up 7 runs. He got moved to the bullpen after that and threw two scoreless innings in his two outings and picked up the win in Game 7.

Then, in the World Series, he got moved back to the starting rotation and got the ball in Game 1. He stepped it up for that series and picked up W's in the two games he pitched. He threw 12.1 innings in the Fall Classic and gave up just 3 earned runs for a 2.19 ERA. Though Brad would see the postseason two more times in his career, that was his only trip to the World Series.

At the trade deadline the following year, Brad is dealt to Los Angeles in a six-player deal.

Friday, August 24, 2018

2004 Topps, Jack Wilson

#204 Jack Wilson

Here is the second card of Jack Wilson that I have posted on here. Jack signed six cards for my dad and I last summer after a Kansas Stars game at the NBC World Series. I posted the first card just last week and it can be seen here.

For me, Jack was a household name during his years with the Pirates. The Pirates were a little lean while he played and that might have helped him stand out more. But, for whatever reason, I would have thought that he would have been on more All Star teams than the shortstop I posted two days ago, Jason Bartlett. But, that is not the case. Both guys made one All Star team.

Jack made the team in 2004. That season was a good one for him. He hit over .300 for the only time in his career. He also had single season highs in doubles (41), triples (12), and hits (201). In the All Star Game, he went 0-2 after entering the game in the sixth inning.

I have seen this card referenced as something like "turning two on Tatooine"

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

2004 Studio, Jason Bartlett

#208 Jason Bartlett

Every once in a while, my dad will buy me some baseball cards. He's been doing it since the mid-80s and I do not see him stopping anytime soon. Even when I was in college and could care less about baseball cards, my dad would still buy me a pack or two every now and then. I think he is just curious of what they are looking like from year to year.

Anyways, a couple of years ago, my dad called me to tell me that he pulled an autograph out of a pack. I was expecting something cool out of a current pack of Allen & Ginter or even Topps Archives. Nope, this was the card he pulled. It turns out that he got bored by the card selection at Target, so he picked up a repack box with a few packs and a 100 loose cards. This was one of the loose cards.

Now, I don't mean to sound like I am ungrateful that my dad pulled this card. That is not the case as I love any and all autographs, especially guys that I never got in-person that had respectable careers, like Jason. I just wasn't expecting him to pull an auto that was a dozen years old.

Jason played in the Majors for ten seasons with the Twins, Rays, and Padres. Over that time, he hit .270 with 31 home runs and 286 RBI while playing in the postseason three times. He best season was with the Rays in 2009 when he had career-highs in nearly every offensive category including average (.320), runs (90), doubles (29), home runs (14), RBI (66), and stolen bases (30). He was rewarded that season with his only All Star team selection.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

2004 Grandstand Midwest League Top Prospects, Sean Thompson

Here is a Padrograph that was given to me in 2015 when I met up with Rod in Hillsboro, Oregon. This one features Padre farmhand, Sean Thompson.

Leading up to this post, I was thinking that this was going to be my third post of Sean because I thought that Rod had given me a couple of autographs from him ten years ago. It turns out that this is the first post of Sean because those other two posts were of former Padre, Mike Thompson.

While Mike actually pitched in a handful of games at the Major League level, the same cannot be said of Sean. The highest Sean reached was the three games he pitched in AAA in 2007. Aside from the scoreless inning he accumulated at that level, he spent parts of three seasons in AA and was 19-23 with a 4.05 ERA.

In his All Star season with the Fort Wayne Wizards, Sean was 9-6 with a 3.65 ERA and had 157 strikeouts in 148 innings.

Fort Wayne joined the Midwest League in 1993 and kept the Wizards moniker until changing the name to the Tin Caps in 2009.

Friday, August 17, 2018

2004 Fleer Tradition, Jack Wilson

#291 Jack Wilson

Here is the first of six cards that Jack Wilson signed for my dad and I after the Kansas Stars game last year. Unlike the previous year, we actually stuck around for the whole game since there were fewer people and I thought that I could get a few cards signed. I am glad I did as I was able to add Jack to the collection. Even though there was a paid autograph session after the game, Jack still made his way down the line, hurrying as many free signatures as he could. Being in such a rush, I really did not expect him to sign three for each of us.

The signature is really hard to make out, but he signed the cards in record time. I tried to find a newer, authentic auto from Topps to compare these to, but it appears Jack hand't had an autograph insert since 2005. The ones from '05 are definitely easier to read, though. I am just curious if all of his signatures look similar to this now or if this is just a super-rushed version.

You have got to love the retro uniform on this card. It would be much better, though, if it wasn't so baggy. It looks like this photo is from a contest against the Phillies at old Veterans Stadium.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

2004 Fleer Tradition, Brad Penny

#236 Brad Penny

I have gotten Brad penny to sign for me a couple of times during his playing days, so I assumed that this was going to be my third post about him. It turns out it is just the second as I haven't posted the jersey card that he signed for me in 2012. The one card I posted was a minor league signature card that I picked up for cheap. I bought that card to make up for me not having a card of him to sign at a AAA rehab start he made in 2008. Then, of course, I get him to sign at a game a few years later.

I got this card signed at a Kansas Stars game in 2016. Brad was pulled out of the clubhouse to do an interview with a local TV outlet and I got him to sign after the interview. He signed my three cards and the three that my dad gave him. So, I will be having a couple Brad Penny cards coming up on here over the next few months.

Brad was originally drafted by the Diamondbacks in the fifth round of the 1996 draft. But, he would never play for their big league club. They traded him to the Marlins in 1999 for Matt Mantei. Brad would make his Major League debut with the fish the following season. He won his debut, pitching seven innings of one run ball against the Rockies. He struck out three batters and the lone run he gave up was a solo home run to Mike Lansing in the first inning.

Monday, August 13, 2018

2004 Bowman Heritage, Blake Hawksworth

#320 Blake Hawksworth

Here is a card that I got signed at the College World Series last summer. Blake was the pitching coach for Cal State Fullerton and I was able to get him to sign two cards for me prior to a game in which his pitching staff blew a lead against Oregon State. Somehow, this autograph got smudged and I have no clue how it happened.

It is not very often that I get autographs from coaches at the College World Series, but I have got a few. Off the top of my head, I have got Mike Benjamin, Mike Birkbeck, Ray Heyward, Lars Davis, and Chris Valaika. Considering that I have been going to the CWS every year for a dozen years now, you can see that autograph chances with guys that have cards are pretty scarce.

Blake pitched in the Majors for three seasons with the Cardinals and Dodgers. Over that span, he was 10-13 with a 4.07 ERA in 183.1 innings of work. His best season was with the Cards in his rookie season, 2009. That year, he was 4-0 in 30 appearances out of the pen and had an ERA of 2.03.

Cal State Fullerton seems to go through pitching coaches pretty rapidly. The year before Blake was the pitching coach, Chad Cordero had the role and some other guy had the job this season. Right now, the Titans do not even have a pitching coach listed on their website.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

2003 Upper Deck Vintage, Josh Beckett

#114 Josh Beckett

Here is another card that I got signed at the Kansas Stars game in 2016. When I went to that game, I had made my way around to the outfield to be by the clubhouse in left. I was doing really well there at first, as there was hardly anybody there 'graphing. Eventually, people caught on and there was a decent-sized crowd back there trying to get autographs from the players. Josh was the last that I got in that area before the no-fun police came out and erected a PVC pipe fence to keep people back from the chain link fence. It was the dumbest thing I had ever saw and it really put a damper on my evening.

Nevertheless, I was pretty excited to get Josh Beckett's autograph. I had three cards for him to sign, one for each team he played with, but he just signed this one. My dad got him on one, too, and it just so happened to be on his 2014 Topps Heritage card, the 1965 design that this card is based on.

For me, Josh became a big-name player during the Marlins improbable World Series run in 2003. He had a 9-8 record during the regular season, but he stepped it up in October. He took the loss in his one start in the Division Series against the Giants while tossing seven innings of one run ball. Then, in the NLCS, he started two games, and relieved in one, and he nabbed one win while posting a 3.36 ERA for the Series. His one win was a game five complete game shutout to stave off elimination. Then, in the World Series against the Yankees, he lost game three before coming back in game six and tossing a shutout in Yankee Stadium for the championship.

Josh would go on to win another World Series with the Red Sox in 2007, but him raising his arms after getting Jorge Posada to ground back to him is how I remember Josh.

Friday, August 3, 2018

2003 Upper Deck Vintage, Tim Hudson

#15 Tim Hudson

Here is a card of Tim Hudson that I got signed at the Kansas Stars game in 2016. That was the first year the Stars played in the NBC World Series and it was quite an event. I had to buy tickets in advance of the game because they were selling out. That never happens for that tournament. The game was actually sold out before I got tickets, but they ended up releasing some standing room only tickets and I was able to get some of those. It probably didn't help that I was going to the first game that the Stars played in and there was lots of hoopla for it.

Unfortunately, after playing in the tournament for two years, the Stars did not come back this year. They claim they didn't come back because the casino that hosted them, the Kansas Star, was hosting a convention and didn't have rooms for the team. Personally, I think that is a load of crap. I think that the NBC didn't want them out there whooping up on college kids. But, that is just my opinion. Needless to say, but I did not go to the NBC World Series this year.

The Stars players obviously had a good time playing because they "relocated" to Louisville this year and are playing in the Bluegrass World Series right now. This is the inaugural year for the Bluegrass World Series and it is basically the NBC World Series, but at a nicer venue and with the Stars. It is kind of sad that Louisville recognized the opportunity that the Stars provided, but not Wichita.

Tim Hudson is still playing for the Stars, but he has not started either of their two games yet.

Thursday, August 2, 2018

2003 Upper Deck 40 Man, Jeff Fassero

#445 Jeff Fassero

Here is the third and final card of Jeff Fassero that I got signed at a Reds Spring Training game last year. Jeff is the pitching coach for the Reds AAA affiliate in Louisville and he was nice enough to stop and sign on his way to the dugout. I posted the first card of Jeff, a nice-looking Expos card, earlier this year and it can be seen here. The second card I posted can be seen here.

Jeff arrived in St. Louis just before the 2002 trade deadline after being sent over by the Cubs for a pair of players to be named later. He made 16 relief appearances with the Cards and was 3-0 with a 3.00 ERA in 18 innings. He helped the Cardinals make the postseason and pitched well in relief there, as well. In the Division Series against the D-Backs, Jeff picked up two of the three victories for the team, tossing 2.2 innings of shutout ball in the three game sweep. He only pitched in one game of the NLCS against the Giants, facing two batters and getting them both out. That was the closest that Jeff had ever come to playing in the World Series.

He spent all of 2003 with the Cardinals and did a bit of everything. He appeared in 62 games, which included 6 spot starts, and racked up a 1-7 record with 3 saves and a 5.68 ERA. Despite the lofty ERA and being 40 years old, he still had something left in the tank and pitched for three more seasons with the Rockies, Diamondbacks, and Giants.

Jeff spent parts of sixteen seasons in the Major Leagues and went 121-124 with 25 saves and a 4.11 ERA.

This has got to be one of the best looking Jeff Fassero cards out there. I am glad that I had it in my collection and was able to get it signed.

Monday, July 30, 2018

2003 Upper Deck, Brett Tomko

#407 Brett Tomko

Here is a card that I got signed at the NBC World Series two years ago when the Kansas Stars made their first appearance there. The Stars were a roster of former Major League players competing in a tournament against college kids. Even though Wichita hosts the tournament every year, I never bothered to go until the Stars came around.

When I went to the Stars first game, I got there really early to try to get players as they showed up to the ballpark. That was a bust as all the guys came on a bus and the bus didn't stop outside of the park; it backed up into the gates. So, I went inside and it was a madhouse in there. There was a game going on at the time, so I made my way to the outfield to see if I could get some players by the clubhouse and batting cages. To my amazement, I was the only person out there and I quickly nabbed Brad Penny and Roy Oswalt after they concluded interviews with the local news outlet.

Shortly thereafter, another guy joined me out there. And then one more. We tore it up for about a half hour until a crowd gathered out there with us. Then the fun police came out and shut us down. They threw up a PVC fence to keep everyone away from that area. So, I went back to the third base line to join the madhouse and I only got two guys to sign for me there. That was nothing compared to the forty cards I got signed by the clubhouse.

This year's NBC World Series started up this past weekend and, sadly, the Stars are not a part of it. That is too bad since 'graphing the Stars games the last two years had definitely been my 'graphing highlight each season.

Sunday, July 29, 2018

2003 Ultra, Barry Wesson

#227 Barry Wesson

Here is the second card that I got signed by Barry Wesson at a Kansas Stars game two years ago. I posted the first card last week and that one can be seen here. Naturally, I did not have any cards of Barry prior to the Stars heading to Wichita to compete in the NBC World Series. Since he was probably the least known member on the team, I figured I had a pretty good chance of getting him to sign. So, I bought the two cards from COMC and Barry came through for me.

Barry played in 15 games for the Astros in 2002. In those games, he went 4-20 with a triple and an RBI. The Angles claimed him on waivers in September of that season, but he saw no time with them that year. He did play in 10 games with them the next season, though.

For his career, Barry hit .194 with 1 home run and 4 RBI in 25 contests. His lone home run was hit off of John Thompson of the Rangers.

I hate black jerseys on baseball cards. This auto does look slightly better in person than on the scan.

Saturday, July 28, 2018

2003 Lancaster Jethawks Grandstand, Mike Aldrete

#25 Mike Aldrete

It took me two tries, but I finally got this card signed at Spring Training this year. I took it with me last year and I finally got Mike's attention right before the National Anthem. He was rushed and only signed two cards before tripping over the stairs to hit the field for the anthem. This was the one card he did not sign. But, I caught the A's in action this spring and I got Mike's attention with plenty of time to spare. He ended up signing this card and two more for me this go around.

I bought this team set ten years ago when I went to a Lancaster Jethawks game. They were having a clearance sale in the team store and I picked up three random team sets for cheap. Up to this point, I have only had one card from each set signed. But with this card, I now have two signed from the 2003 set. Lance Cormier is the other card from the set that I got signed.

Mike only managed the Jethawks for one season and the team did well under his leadership. They went 73-67. Despite the winning record, the team finished fourth in the five team California League South Division. They were two games out of second place and a trip to the postseason. That was the last time Mike managed a team.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

2003 Fleer Tradition, Eric Hinske

#483 Eric Hinske

I have only been to two Royals games this summer and the 'graphing has not gone well. The first game I went to was against the Yankees and I got shutout on autographs. The last game I went to was against the Angels. It was a three o'clock start time, so I got there early to try to get some of the players when they arrived at the ballpark. It was a complete waste of time since Hansel Robles was the only Angel to sign and I did not have a card of him. All of the players and coaches that came off the bus completely ignored everybody.

The one exception to that was Eric Hinske. He arrived early in a cab and was nice enough to sign for whoever wanted him to. He was pretty funny because he signed a ball for a kid who then asked him who he was and he started giving the kid crap for not knowing who he was asking an autograph from. The funny part was that the kid's mom didn't think Eric was funny and she started defending her little boy. Eric had a big smile on his face and told her "I'm just giving you a hard time; but seriously, you should know who you are asking to get an autograph from". The mom really didn't like that, but I thought it was funny and completely true.

Eric had a huge rookie season with the Jays in 2002. That year, he wound up hitting .279 with 24 home runs and 84 RBI. Those numbers were good enough to land him the American League Rookie of the Year Award. Unfortunately, even though he would go on to play eleven more years, he was never able to match the numbers he put up in his rookie season. He would, however, play in three straight World Series from 2007-2009 with three different clubs. He brought home a ring in two of the three.

Eric is currently the hitting coach for the Angels.

Friday, July 20, 2018

2003 Fleer Focus, Guillermo Quiroz

#175 Guillermo Quiroz

Here is a card that I got signed at a Sacramento Rivercats game in 2015. Quiroz was playing for the Cats at the time and he was nice enough to stop and sign two cards for me. I opted to get him in black because of the blue jersey and I must say that I am pleased with the results.

Back then, I used to always take a black and a blue Sharpie with me when I would go 'graphing. Since I used to do well with the Royals, it was a must with all the cards with blue jerseys like this one. But now the Royals are crap signers and I rarely bother with a black Sharpie any more. It is now blue or nothing.

Quiroz played parts of ten seasons in the big leagues with six different clubs. He topped out at 56 games in a season and was mostly used as a team's third catcher. There were five seasons when he played in less than five games and only two where he played in more than seventeen. For his career, he hit .199 with 3 home runs and 34 RBI.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

2002 Upper Deck Honor Roll, Barry Wesson

#131 Barry Wesson

Here is a card that I got signed two years ago when the Kansas Stars competed in the NBC World Series. Barry was on the Stars team and was one of the first cards I got signed that evening. He was standing outside the batting cages taking practice swings and hanging out with his son. I asked him to sign and he seemed a little reluctant to, which surprised me. I would expect that from the bigger names at the event, but not from a guy that I had never heard of before he was put on the roster.

Barry played just 25 games in the Majors over parts of two seasons with the Astros and Angels. With the Angels, whom he didn't play a game with until the 2003 season, he got into 10 games and he was 2-11 with 2 runs, 1 home run, and 3 RBI. That dinger was the only one he hit in the Majors and it was hit in his final Major League game. Up to that point that September, Barry was 0-7 before getting the start in left in game 162. Batting ninth, he went 2-4 with 2 RBI in an Angels 4-2 win over the Rangers. Barry would play three more seasons in the minors, but never make a return to the highest level again.

Based off of this card, I do not think that Honor Roll is a good name for this set. I think that Upper Deck Mug Shot is a better description. The only thing missing is a placard with the player's info on it.

Monday, July 16, 2018

2002 Topps Total, Phil Nevin

#TTC24 Phil Nevin

Here is the fifth card of Phil Nevin that I have posted on here. I posted the first one back in 2011 after Rod had sent it to me. Then, I posted three in 2014 and 2015 after I had gotten them signed at Spring Training when Phil was the manager of the D-Backs AAA team. Now, here is this one, another gift from Rod. This one was given to me three years ago when we met up at a Hillsboro Hops game.

If you look at the number on this card, you will see that it has an insert-like number. This card is actually a team checklist. I don't think I ever bought any packs of 2002 Topps Total, but it seems odd that a team checklist card would be considered an insert. It is worth noting that '02 Topps Total was actually a glossy set unlike later sets. But, while the front of this card is glossy, the back of it is not. Also, this card and Phil's base card look exactly the same on the front.

Phil no longer works in the Diamondbacks organization. He is currently the third base coach of the Yankees.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

2002 Topps Total, Doug Henry

#611 Doug Henry

It feels like I have posted a dozen cards of Doug Henry on here. Since he was the Royals bullpen coach for five years, I would always head over in his direction whenever I was striking out with players at Kauffman Stadium. To my amazement, this is only the seventh card of Doug that I have posted. It will also be the last for some time as he no longer works for the big league club. I do have two more cards to post of him, but they are both minor league coaching cards.

Doug spent his final season pitching for the Royals. He did not do too well, but he still got a decent workload. He pitched 75.2 innings in 53 games and was 2-2 with a 6.07 ERA and 57 strikeouts. I saw him pitch eight times that season and he did slightly better when I was there. He picked up both of his wins during those games and had an ERA of 4.96.

With this signed Royals card, I have a signed card from Doug with every team he played for except the Giants. And the only reason I never got a Giants card signed by him is that there are none (as far as I can tell).

A few years back, I almost bought a game-used jersey of Doug's. It was only $10 at Royals Fanfest. Even though I knew I could get it signed, I did not buy it. Signed jerseys are kind of a pain and they take up a lot of room when framed. It would have been cool, but I resisted. I already have one jersey up in my room and I really don't have room for another.

Friday, July 13, 2018

2002 Fleer Tradition, Eddie Guardado

#U320 Eddie Guardado

Here is a card I got signed last year when the Twins were in Kansas City. Eddie is the Twins bullpen coach and he stopped to sign for me after getting off the team bus. I asked him how he was enjoying coaching and he told me that it was "OK". I asked him why it was just OK and he told me that players are just too soft these days. It seems that Eddie and Mike Matheny are on the same page.

Eddie pitched for the Twins for the first eleven seasons of seventeen year career. Over that time, he held about every role a left-handed pitcher could hold. He started, was a LOOGY, did middle relief, and was a closer. Counting the seven games he appeared in for the Twins after being acquired at the 2008 trade deadline, Everyday Eddie was 37-48 with 116 saves and a 4.53 ERA with the Twins.

Eddie had back-to-back 40 save seasons with the Twins in 2002 and 2003. He racked up 45 the first year and 41 in the second. He was rewarded both years with an All Star selection, the only two of his career. This card represents his first selection. In the 2002 mid-summer classic, Eddie struck out the only two batters he faced- Andruw Jones and Jose Hernandez. Maybe if he would have pitched longer, or not relieved Barry Zito after he faced just one batter, the game might not have ended in a tie.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

2002 Fleer Tradition, Brandon Berger

#U173 Brandon Berger

Here is another former Royal that I got signed through the mail this year. I sent this card to Brandon in February and I had it back ten days later.

Brandon was 14th round pick by the Royals in 1996 out of Eastern Kentucky. While he was slowly moving up the organizational ladder, he wasn't even a blip on the radar. That all changed in 2001 when he had a monster year in AA. That season, he batted .308 with 40 home runs and 118 RBI. He got a September call-up from the Royals and continued his hot season, going 5-16 with four extra-base hits, including two dingers.

He made the Royals Opening Day roster in 2001 and it turned out to be a rough season for Brandon. Through July 20th, he hit .227 with 5 home runs and 14 RBI. He was then sent down to AAA for the second time that season and would stay there until the rosters expanded in September. It was a rough September for him and he finished the season with a .207 average with 6 homers and 17 RBI.

After that, Brandon would only play in 24 more Major League games over the 2003-2004 seasons. He never hit another home run and he finished his career a .212 hitter with 8 home runs and 24 RBI.

Friday, July 6, 2018

2001 Topps, Brian Meadows

#316 Brian Meadows

This is a card that I got signed through the mail earlier this year. For a bit, I was sending out TTMs to former Royals that I did not have signed cards from. This is the third one of those out of the last five card posts and my next one will be the same. It was fun adding Meadows, Reboulet, and McCarthy to the collection since they were members of the Royals team I grew to love, the 2000 squad.

Brian only pitched in Kansas City for two seasons and he had just 21 appearances, with all but one being starts. He went 6-2 in his first season there with two complete games and a 4.77 ERA. But, the next year, he dropped to 1-6 with an ERA of 6.97. That was that for Brian with the Royals.

He went on to pitch five more years after that, mainly with the Pirates, where he found a home in their bullpen. Brian finished his career with a 47-62 record with 10 saves and a 5.05 ERA.

Prior to joining the Royals, Brian pitched with the Marlins and Padres. He also played one season, his final one, with the Devil Rays.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

2001 Topps, Joe Nathan

#292 Joe Nathan

Here is a card that I got signed last summer at the NBC World Series. Joe was playing for the Kansas Stars, a team of former players taking on college players in a tournament. Like many players on the team, Joe was very fan-friendly and spent a decent amount of time signing autographs the day I was there.

Joe spent the majority of his career pitching in the American League Central, so I had the chance to see him many times in Kansas City. Every time I tried to 'graph his team, I always took this card with me. It was the only card of him I had with the Giants. And, for a long time, it was the only non-Twins card I had of him. I obviously struck out every time as he had to retire and come to Wichita in order for me to get it signed.

Joe spent his first four seasons pitching for the Giants. He started 29 games for then his first two years before becoming firmly entrenched in their bullpen in the fourth year. That season, he made a career-high 78 appearances. He logged 79 innings with a record of 12-4 and a 2.96 ERA and 83 strikeouts. While he finished nine games, he did not record a save. Tim Worrell was getting all the saves that season for the Giants.

After the season, San Francisco shipped Joe and Francisco Liriano off to Minnesota for A.J Pierzynski.

For his career with the Giants, which included the last 4.1 innings of his career in 2016, Joe was 25-10 with a save and a 4.06 ERA.

Monday, July 2, 2018

2001 Topps, Jeff Reboulet

#141 Jeff Reboulet

Here is the card that I got signed through the mail by Jeff Reboulet. I sent this card to him at the end of January and I had it back in about a week.

I sent this card to get signed since Jeff is a former Royal and I never got his autograph when he was with the team. He spent one season in Kansas City in 2000. That was a fun offense to watch, though Jeff did not provide much of it. He hit .242 with 14 RBI and no home runs as a Royal.

Jeff spent twelve seasons in the Majors as a utility player with the Twins, Orioles, Royals, Dodgers, and Pirates. He played in 100+ games twice, but never got over 250 at-bats in any given season. He hit .240 for his career with 20 home runs and 202 RBI.

With the O's in 1997, he made his only trip to the postseason. In the two series, he was 1-7. His lone hit was a solo home run off of Randy Johnson in the fourth and final game of the Division Series.

The back of this card lists Jeff's position as SS-3B. That is odd since he played second base 50 times in 2000. He played third 11 times and short only 5 times.

Saturday, June 30, 2018

2001 Stadium Club, Scott Thorman

#159 Scott Thorman

Here is a card that I got signed at Spring Training last year. Scott is the manager of the Royals South Atlantic League affiliate, Lexington, and I was able to get him to sign two cards for me after the Royals minor leaguers worked out.

Out of all the Arizona League home's that I have been to, the Royals side of Surprise Stadium is one of my favorites. While you are not going to get any 'graphs from the big leaguers, it is a great spot to hit up the guys in the minors. The main reason for that is that the Royals put names on the back of the jerseys. Most of the teams do not do that and it is a pain trying to identify the lesser known guys. Also a plus is that the players have to walk quite a ways to get back to the clubhouse. There is no easy exit for them and you can get guys that you missed just by catching up to them.

The Lexington Legends finished up the first half of their season 2.5 games out of first place. It is still early into the second half, but they are off to a sluggish start. Through eight games, they are 2-6 and bringing up the rear of the South Atlantic League Southern Division.

I bought this card online as I wasn't really collecting cards in 2001. It just seems odd to me that Stadium Club would have draft pick cards. I know they did some draft pick sets early on in the brand, but this card feels out of place to me. This seems like something that should have been in Bowman.