Monday, June 24, 2019

2008 Topps, Josh Anderson

#UH7 Josh Anderson

Here is the first of three cards that I got signed by Josh Anderson in 2009. Josh was with the Royals at the time and I was able to snag him in Minnesota at the final regular season series at the Metrodome.

Josh appeared in 179 Major League games with four teams over a three year stretch. He saw action with the Astros, Braves, Tigers, and Royals. Over those 179 games, he managed to hit .272 with 4 home runs and 47 RBI. After his first two big league seasons, Josh was a .315 hitter. Then, after playing in 118 games in 2009 and hitting .240, his average dipped down to that respectable .272 lifetime average.

On a totally unrelated note, I went up to Omaha this weekend. I was hoping to catch an "if necessary" College World Series game, but the game wasn't necessary. I instead took in an Omaha Storm Chasers game, where I have had great 'graphing success in the past. Well, that success came to an end Saturday night. I came home from that game with four cards signed from two different guys. I wasn't very thrilled with those results.

The main reason for the low numbers was because it was a bobblehead night and quite a few fans showed up super early for that. When we arrived at the park fifteen minutes before the gates opened, there were lines halfway through the parking lot to get in and we didn't even have tickets yet. By the time we got inside, we were about forty people away from the clubhouse. Most of the guys that did sign only signed a few and it was for the first people they came across. I was hoping to get Keston Huira there, but he quit signing after the first ten people.

When it was all said and done, I got one card signed by Jake Hager and three from Brett Phillips, which probably gives me eight of him because he is a signing machine. My little guy got a card signed by Brett, too, so I am glad that he didn't come home empty handed.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

2008 Topps, Blake DeWitt

#603 Blake DeWitt

Here is the card of Blake DeWitt that I got signed at an Oklahoma City Redhawks game in 2008. That was before Oklahoma City was the Dodgers top affiliate, so Blake was playing for the visiting Las Vegas 51's. I only have one card signed by Blake, but I do not remember if he was a one-per guy or if this was the only card I had of him at the time. Considering that Blake played in 117 games with the Dodgers that season, I feel fortunate to have caught him at one of the 27 games he played in for Las Vegas.

Blake lasted in the big leagues for just six seasons, seeing time with the Dodgers, Cubs, and Braves. Over that time, he was a .257 hitter with 21 home runs and 135 RBI. His best season was his rookie campaign with the Dodgers in 2008. That year, he batted .264 with 9 homers and 52 RBI.

On an unrelated note, I posted a Felipe Paulino card yesterday. Unbeknownst to me at the time, Felipe had been pitching in the Atlantic League this season and he got signed by the Astros yesterday. So, he may be working his way back to the Major Leagues for the first time since 2014.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

2008 Topps, Felipe Paulino

#601 Felipe Paulino

Here is a card that I got signed at a Round Rock Express game in 2008. I was on my way down to my Grandma's and I made a pit stop in Round Rock, Texas to catch the Astros AAA franchise. I absolutely loved the park and I did alright on the autographing front, too.

The best part of Dell Diamond, from a 'graphing standpoint, was that the clubhouses were both in left field and the players actually had to walk across the concourse to get to the field. There was no way for them to sneak around and get onto the field without crossing it. It was great. Even if they took the back door, they still had to cross the concourse before hopping the fence to the bullpen, which I saw Burt Hooten do.

So far, that is the only AAA park that I have been to that has that configuration. Werner Park in Omaha comes close, as it too has both clubhouses behind left field. But, they get a ramp that heads under the concourse. It is still a great place to 'graph, but not quite as good as Round Rock. With Wichita getting a AAA team next season, I was hoping that they would set up the clubhouses in a similar fashion. But, they are going the traditional route and putting the clubhouses behind the dugouts.

As for Felipe, he pitched in the Majors for parts if six seasons with the Astros, Rockies, Royals, and White Sox. Over that time, he went 13-34 with a 5.22 ERA. His best season was with the Royals in 2011 when he went 4-6 with a 4.11 ERA and 119 strikeouts.

I have mentioned before that I somehow manage to get a decent amount of autographs by players that later become Royals. This is another example of that.

Friday, June 14, 2019

2008 Topps, Frank Catalanotto

#564 Frank Catalanotto

Here is a card that I got signed at a Royals game in 2008. Frank was playing for the Rangers at the time and was nice enough to come over and sign one of my cards during batting practice.

Frank played in the Major Leagues for thirteen seasons and saw time with the Tigers, Rangers, Blue Jays, Brewers, and Mets. Over that time, he was a .291 hitter that had 84 home runs and 457 RBI. He had double digit home run seasons five times, but never hit more than 13 homers in a season.

Frank had many good years in the Majors and it is hard to look at one and say that was his best season. But, if I had to pick one, I would go with 2001 with the Rangers. That was the first season that he had over 400 at-bats and he responded by hitting an impressive .330 with 31 doubles and 11 home runs. That .330 average ranked him fifth in the American League that year.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

2008 Topps, Tony Pena

#514 Tony Pena

To my surprise, this is the only autograph from Tony Pena, Jr. that I have. Since he played for the Royals for parts of three seasons, I assumed that I got him a few times. But, when I was looking to see if I needed to post this card or not, I discovered this was it.

I got this card signed by him from the Royals parking lot in 2008. The Royals were renovating Kauffman Stadium at the time and had a temporary team parking lot set up. That was my first year getting back into getting cards signed and I tore it up at that location. The players had to walk to a door that was right by the fence. Most of the guys would sign, but not all of them. When I got this card signed, Tony approached the door talking on his cell phone. Personally, it looked like a lot of players would just pull out their phone when they got out of their car and hold it up to their face so that they had a reason to ignore you. After seeing that tactic a few times, I would just ask them anyways. More than likely, they would ignore you. But, you never knew. I got lucky with this card as Tony was using the cell phone trick, but he still came over and signed my one card for me. He didn't mutter a single word while he was signing, either to me or to the phone.

Tony's Major League career lasted parts of four seasons. He came up with the Braves in 2006 and hit .227 in 44 at-bats. He got dealt to the Royals toward the end of Spring Training in 2007 and made the Opening Day roster. Nobody expected much from him that season and he exceeded expectations. While his defense was highly suspect, he hit a respectable .267 with 25 doubles and 7 triples. But the wheels fell off in 2008 and he hit just .169 in 95 games. It got even worse in 2009 and he was hitting .098 in mid-July when the Royals sent him down to Omaha for good.

Kansas City then tried to convert TPJ to a pitcher at the end of the season. He did well as a pitcher, but never made it back to the Major Leagues. He pitched in AAA from 2010-2013 with three different organizations, but couldn't get that call-up. After the 2013 season, he took his craft to Mexico where he would pitch through the 2017 season.

Monday, June 10, 2019

2008 Topps, John McLaren

#463 John McLaren

Here is a card that I got signed last year at a Wingnuts game. John was the manager of the visiting Texas AirHogs and I was able to get him to sign for me prior to the game starting.

Last year was John's only season with the AirHogs and it was an interesting one to say the least. Prior to that season, the team partnered with a the Chinese National baseball team and brought about thirty players from that club over to the States to get a taste of American baseball. There were still the normal minor league castoffs on the team and they were always shuffling their roster to get all of the Chinese players some action. Needless to say, but the team did not fare too well and they finished the season 25-75.

At the game I attended, I thought it would be cool if my kid could get some autographs from some of the Chinese players. We had a baseball and got about five of the guys to sign it. Then, Casio Grider, an American, saw my kid and asked for the ball. He then took it into the dugout and made everybody sign it. It turned out really good and even has John right on the sweet spot. It might be just a signed team ball from an American Association team, but, with the mixture of Eastern and Western signatures, it is probably the coolest looking signed ball you will ever see.

As for John, he got to manage 159 Major League games. He took over the Mariners gig after Mike Hargrove abruptly resigned midway through the 2007 season. The M's went 43-41 under John and finished the season 88-74. He was brought back in 2008 and was 25-47 before being fired. He then got to manage three games with the Nationals in 2011 as their interim manager and was 2-1. For his 159 games, John had a record of 70-89.

Monday, June 3, 2019

2008 Topps, Gavin Floyd

#293 Gavin Floyd

Here is a card that I got signed at a Royals game in 2009 while Gavin was still with the White Sox. That game was a Sunday day game, so the only real chance of getting autographs that day was from pitchers. I had three cards of Gavin to get signed, but this was the only one he did for me. After his successful 2008 season, I was more than happy to just get him on one.

Gavin pitched in the Majors for parts of thirteen seasons with the Phillies, White Sox, Braves, Indians, and Blue Jays. Over that time, he amassed a 74-76 record with a 4.37 ERA. He never made an All Star team and he only pitched in the postseason once. He reached double digit win totals with the White Sox in five straight seasons from 2008-2012. Unfortunately, he only had a winning record during one of those seasons.

Those five years were a great stretch for Gavin. During that time, he had a 4.12 ERA and averaged 151 strikeouts a season. But, then 2013 came and he was only able to make five starts that season before getting shut down and having Tommy John surgery. He would go on to pitch in 44 more Major League games before calling it a career after the 2016 season.

Thursday, May 30, 2019

2008 Topps, Brandon McCarthy

#156 Brandon McCarthy

Here is a card that I got signed by Brandon McCarthy at a Rangers game in 2008. At the time, my grandparents were living in southern Texas and I went to visit them in early September. Since it was still baseball season and a fairly long drive, I took my time getting there and back by stopping at some ballgames. For that trip, I believe I caught games for the Round Rock Express, San Antonio Mission, Grand Prairie AirHogs, and the Texas Rangers. Brandon signed this card for me at the Rangers game.

Brandon pitched in the Majors for thirteen seasons and it looks like he called it a career after last year. Over that time, he pitched with the White Sox, Rangers, A's, Diamondbacks, Yankees, Dodgers, and Braves. He finished with a 69-75 record and a 4.20 ERA.

It looks like the toughest part of Brandon's career was staying healthy. Minus a full season out of the the Sox pen in 2006, he only pitched in 30 games once in his career. Coincidentally, that was the only season that he ever reached double digits in wins. Once he became a full time starter in 2007, he only averaged 17 starts a season.

Brandon had his best season in 2011 with the A's. That year, he finished the season 9-9 with a 3.32 ERA and a career-high 123 strikeouts. The crazy part is that he missed all of the 2010 season to a shoulder injury, but came back in 2011 and threw five complete games with one being a shutout. Had his team given him some run support that season, he probably would have had only one complete game (the shutout). Three of the complete games were on the road with the A's losing, so Brandon only had to toss eight innings to get credit for it. The fifth complete game was in Kansas City where Brandon took the mound in the ninth inning of a tie game before losing on a sac fly with one out. So, that was an 8.1 inning shutout. For his five shutouts, he was 1-4 and his offense averaged 1.8 runs a game while being outscored by two runs over the five contests.

Saturday, May 25, 2019

2008 Topps, Jamey Carroll

#137 Jamey Carroll

I have finally made it up to 2008 Topps. Prior to this year, it probably would have taken me at least four months to post the sixty or so cards from the set that I have got signed. But, now that I am (usually) only giving a player one post before lumping them into "Rest Of" set round-up, I should be able to get through this set in about a month.

So, here is the first card I have to post. It is a card of Jamey Carroll that I got signed at an Astros pre-season game in 2009. That spring, I had to head down to the Houston area for a cousin's wedding. The Astros had just wrapped up Spring Training in Florida and were home for two games against the Indians before the regular season started. They also hosted Fanfest during one of those games, so it worked out really well as I was able to get a lot of free Astros alumni autos while taking in a meaningless game. Jamey was playing for the Indians at the time and this was the only card I had of him to get signed.

Jamey wrapped up his twelve year career after the 2013 season. Over that time, he played with the Expos/Nationals, Rockies, Indians, Dodgers, Twins, and Royals. He was a career .272 hitter that had 13 home runs and 265 RBI. His best season was probably with the Rockies in 2006 when he hit .300 with 5 homers and 36 runs driven in.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

The Rest of 2008 Stadium Club

#137 Brandon Jones
#139 Jayson Nix

This is it from the resurrected 2008 Stadium Club set. I have just three cards signed- one from a pack and two in-person sigs. Both of the in-person autos were obtained in Wichita's now extinct Lawrence-Dumont Stadium.

Brandon Jones- It has been four years since I posted a card of Brandon Jones. The former Braves prospect played in only five games in 2007, but he somehow got a decent amount of cards in 2008 sets. He played with the Braves for parts of three seasons and he hit .257 with 1 homer and 22 RBI over 51 games. His one home run was off of Ervin Santana. Brandon signed this card for me at a Winguts game in 2014 while he was a member of the Kansas City T-Bones.

Jayson Nix- I posted my first Jayson Nix card just six months ago when I finally got around to posting cards from 2008. In both initial posts of Jones and Nix, I talk about how I once thought I was going to run out of autographs for this blog. Silly me. Anyways, I got this card signed at a Kansas Stars game in 2016 when the team made their NBC World Series debut.

Next up is 2008 Topps. I probably have about sixty cards from the set signed. But, the majority of those cards are going to be repeats, so I should be able to get through the set in about a dozen posts. It might take me a full month to do twelve posts, but we will make it through.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

2008 Stadium Club, Brent Lillibridge

#157 Brent Lillibridge

Here is a card that I pulled out of a blaster in late 2009. I guess I was really wanting to open some packs at the time and there wasn't anything new out. So, I found a year old blaster at Walmart for a reduced price and went that route. It worked out well for me as I got this card in it.

Brent spent parts of six seasons in the Majors with six different clubs. He made his debut with the Braves in 2008 before being dealt to the White Sox after the season. He then spent nearly four years in Chicago before they dealt him to the Red Sox in 2012. His tenure in Boston lasted exactly one month before they shipped him to Cleveland. He finished off the season with the Indians before signing with the Cubs for the 2013 season. He lasted in the Cubs organization for for half the season before they sold him to the Yankees. Though he played AAA ball in 2014, he never made it back up to the Major Leagues.

For his career, Brent played in 358 games and hit .205 with 19 home runs and 71 RBI. His best season was with the White Sox in 2011. That year, he played in a career-high 97 games and he hit .258 with 13 homers and 29 driven in.

Nearly three years after pulling this card, I would get Brent's autograph in-person. Actually, my oldest boy got it for me and then held the card against his Royals jersey and smeared it. So, this is one of the rare instances where I prefer a certified autograph over an in-person autograph.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

2008 SPx, Alex Gordon

#WM-GO Alex Gordon

Since this is the fifth card of Alex Gordon that I have posted on here, I would normally add him in a set round-up post. But, this is the only card from this set that I have signed, so Alex gets another stand alone post.

I bought this card to get signed at a Royals Fanfest, but I missed out on Alex that year. Luckily, I was able to get him by the Royals parking lot after their home opener in 2012. I miss the days when you could easily get autographs by the Royals parking lot.

I was pretty excited when I bought this card because it looked really cool online. I swore that it was a triple swatch with two bat pieces and one jersey piece. But, then it arrived and I was a little disappointed. There are no bat pieces on the card. It just has the one jersey swatch and room for two more relic pieces that are filled with some gold foil instead. That was kind of a bummer. But it was cheap and I got it signed, so it turned out well.

Alex had been playing some pretty bad baseball the last few years, but he has picked it up this season. Through 43 games this year, Alex is currently hitting .291 with 8 homers and 33 RBI. If he stays healthy and keeps driving in runs, he may get his first 100 RBI season of his career.

Speaking of his career, there was some talk of this season being his last. But, with him hitting the ball again, he has backed off the retirement talk a bit and is considering playing some more. If he keeps hitting, I am fine with that.

Friday, May 17, 2019

2008 Razor, Tanner Scheppers

#148 Tanner Scheppers

Here is a card that I bought off of COMC for a whopping $1.25. The only reason why I bought this card is because I had the pleasure of watching Tanner pitch in the American Association before he went to the Majors. While a couple of Wingnut players are currently playing in the Majors, I do not remember seeing them play in Wichita. But, I do remember Tanner pitching.

In 2008, Tanner was drafted in the second round by the Pirates. He and the Pirates could not agree to a contract before the deadline and Tanner re-entered the draft the following year. In order to stay fresh before the draft, Tanner signed with the St. Paul Saints. He pitched in four games with the Saints before getting drafted by the Rangers at the end of the first round. He signed that time around and his time in the American Association came to a close.

Tanner pitched in the Majors for parts of six seasons with the Rangers. During that time, he was 12-7 with 3 saves and a 4.23 ERA. His best season came in 2013 when he logged a career high 76.2 innings and responded with a 6-2 record with a save and a 1.99 ERA. That was his only Major League season with an ERA under 4.00.

Tanner pitched in Japan last year and it looks like is not playing right now. He could be injured or he might not have a team to play for. I do not know. I bet that the Saints would take him back, though.

Even though it does not mention a team anywhere on this card, I am chalking this up as a Pirate card because they drafted him in 2008.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

2008 Razor, Mike Montgomery

#84 Mike Montgomery

Back in the day, Mike Montgomery was a highly touted Royals prospect. That was the main reason that I got this card signed. In 2009, he was the Roylas minor league pitcher of the year. Because of that, he was at Royals Fanfest in 2010 when he signed this card.

Unfortunately, it never worked out for Mike when he was with the Royals. I heard a few different reasons for why that was, but the main one I heard was that the Royals deemed him uncoachable. He had a private pitching coach during his time as a Royal minor leaguer and he apparently valued his advice over any of the Royals coaches. So, prior to the 2013 season, the Royals packaged him in a deal with Wil Myers and sent them to the Rays for James Shields and Wade Davis. I would say that deal worked out well for the Royals.

Mike made his Major League debut with the Mariners in 2015. He has appeared in the Majors every year since then and even won a World Series with the Cubs in 2016. To date, he is 21-25 with 3 saves and a 3.64 ERA in 152 games with 56 of those being starts. He is having a rough start to this season, but has only pitched in five games so far. Through 7.2 innings of work, he currently is 1-0 with a 5.87 ERA and 5 strikeouts.

Monday, May 13, 2019

2008 Razor, Jordy Mercer

#82 Jordy Mercer

Here is another card that I got signed at the Wilmington Blue Rocks playoff game in 2009. Jordy was playing for the visiting Lynchburg Hillcats at the time and I was lucky that my buddy was able to get this card signed for me and that it came out looking this good. I mention that last part because it was kind of raining when he got this card signed and one of the cards Jordy signed got hit with a rain drop and kind of ruined the signature. The third card he signed looked like it might not have got prepped and got pelted with two rain drops. But, at least this one came out looking great!

Looking back at my lone trip to a baseball game in Delaware, I am kind of surprised by the percentage of autographs that I got that went on to appear in the Majors. Minus a couple of Rocks that I got for my Burlington Bees team set, I would guess that at least 85% of the players that signed for me that day at least appeared in the Major Leagues. That seems pretty good for an A ball game.

As for Jordy, he is currently playing for the Tigers, but is on the IL right now (I might never get used to saying/typing IL). This is his eighth season in the Majors and he has been rather consistent so far in his career. His numbers are a bit down right now, but he typically is good for a .255 average with about 10 homers and 50 RBI.

I am pretty sure that Jordy is pictured in his Oklahoma State uniform here, which means that I most likely saw him play in college. I went to a Wichita State game in 2007 where they hosted the Cowpokes, so there is a good chance that Jordy played in that game.

That is two posts in a row of current players. That is unheard of on here. Just wait until the next post when it makes it to three straight. Just for fun, if anyone actually makes it down this far in the post, leave a comment on who you think the next player is. Here is a hint- the card is from this set. There may be prizes involved just for making a guess.

Friday, May 10, 2019

2008 Razor, Eric Hosmer

#3 Eric Hosmer

Does anyone else remember this set? If it wasn't for the cards from it that I bought to get signed, I certainly would not. I never saw any packs of this stuff and have no idea how it was distributed. Since I have none, I am sure it wasn't something you could pick up at your local big box store. A quick peek at COMC makes it look like 2008 was the only year that the company did a mass released baseball set.

Here is the card of Eric Hosmer that I got signed in Burlington, Iowa in 2009. I was on my way to the Future's Game in St. Louis and decided to veer off to the north to take in a Burlington Bees game. The Bees were a Royals affiliate at the time and play in a beautiful little ballpark that was built in 1947.

That was the first time I ever got to see Hoz play, but it certainly was not the last time. I believe I saw him play one more minor league game after that before having the pleasure to watch him play 46 times as a member of the Royals. He was a key cog during the Royals second championship in 2015 and scored the tying run in game five of the Series that sent the game into extra innings. The Royals went on to win the Series in the 12th inning and Hoz's mad dash to home in the top of the ninth is still highly regarded in Royals lore. It is simply referred to as "The Slide".

Nowadays, Eric is out west playing for the Padres. Because of that, I may never seem him play again. For whatever reason, the Padres are the franchise that I have seen play the least amount of times. In my twenty-five years of attending Major League games, I have seen the Padres play twice. I saw them play in Denver in 1996 and in San Diego in 2008. They are one of just two teams (the Phillies being the other) that I have never seen play in Kansas City.

Thursday, May 9, 2019

The Rest of 2008 Playoff Contenders

#8 Byron Wiley
#32 Josh Vitters

That is it, just two posts from Playoff Contenders. There was just one new guy and two repeats.

I never bought any packs of this product. I just bought a few singles in the hope that I could get them signed. Overall, they are not bad cards to get autographed. The lack of a background helps out by making the auto that much easier to see.

But, one thing that I do not like about these cards is that they say "ROOKIE" in big font right across the front of the card. I think that just looks tacky and takes away from what is only an average looking card at best. Plus, and I know it is a small sample size, none of the three guys I posted were even rookies in 2008. Two are in their college unis and the other is maybe in a Spring Training uniform and sporting a snap back. The earliest any of the guys made the Majors and officially became a rookie was Chase d'Arnaud in 2011.

Byron Wiley- I got this card signed at a Wingnuts game in 2014. I believe Byron was playing for the Laredo Lemurs at the time. I like this card just because he is rocking his Kansas State digs in the photo, though it is not quite as cool as the card I linked to.

Josh Vitters- This card was signed at the same time as the last two cards of him I posted- at the 2009 Futures Game. Those were all the cards I had of him at the time, but I would eventually run into him a couple of years later and add two more signed cards by him to the collection.

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

2008 Playoff Contenders, Chase d'Arnaud

#65 Chase d'Arnaud

This is a card that I got signed at a Wilmington Blue Rocks game in 2009. Chase was playing for the visiting Lynchburg Hillcats at the time. The game I attended was a Carolina League playoff game that almost got rained out. They got the game in, but pregame was a little soggy which made the 'graphing rough. That day, I 'graphed the home team and I entrusted a buddy to get the Hillcats for me. I guess I didn't stress to him enough to not bother getting the players to sign if it was raining because he got me a few smeared autos. This one, however, came out unscathed and looks rather nice.

To date, Chase has played parts of seven seasons in the Majors with the Pirates, Phillies, Braves, Red Sox, Padres, and Giants. Over that time, he is a .222 hitter with 5 home runs and 40 RBI over 236 games. His best season was with the Braves in 2016 when he got into a career high 84 games and responded with a .245 average and a home run with 21 runs driven in.

Chase is currently playing for the Rangers AAA affiliate in Nashville and is off to a rough start. Through 17 games, he is hitting just .193. Considering that he played in the Majors as recently as last year, there is still time for him to get it going and get called up again.

Monday, May 6, 2019

2008 PCL Top Prospects, Wladimir Balentien

#33 Wladimir Balentien

Here is the third and final card from this prospect set that I have been able to get signed. This one was signed at a Rangers game in 2008. Seattle was in town and I was able to get Wladimir on three cards cards while the Mariners took batting practice. I posted one card already and that one can be seen here.

At the time, I didn't know anything about Wladimir. But, I had a few cards of him, so I figured that he must have been an up and comer and I was excited that I got his autograph. Unfortunately, he never thrived in Major League baseball. He played his last game in the Majors in 2009 and batted .221 with 15 home runs and 52 RBI in 170 games.

In 2011, he went to Japan to play and he is a stud over there. He signed with the Yakult Swallows and is still playing with that team this season. In his first two seasons in Japan, he hit 31 home runs each year. Then, in 2013, he went off and knocked 60 bombs, breaking the Japanese single season record of 55. Since that year, he has had 30+ home runs every year minus what I am assuming was an injury plagued 2015.

Wladimir is in his ninth season with Yakult and is currently hitting .284 with 8 home runs and 29 RBI through 29 games. For his Japanese career, he is currently a .272 hitter with 263 homers and 699 runs driven in. Considering that he drove in 131 in a season twice, I honestly thought that he would have more RBI than that.

This is the first card that I have ever posted of a Rainier player. I have posted some Tacoma cards before, but those were from the early '90s when the team was called the Tigers. They switched to the Rainiers in 1995.

Sunday, May 5, 2019

2008 PCL Top Prospects, Mark Saccomanno

#27 Mark Saccomanno

Here is the card that I got signed the day I bought it. After seeing a couple of people getting cards from this set signed pregame, I went and bought the set during the game in the hopes that I could get some signed afterwards. This is the one card that I got signed after the game.

I bought this card and got it signed in August of 2008. Less than a month later, Mark would get called up to the Astros for a brief cup of coffee. He made it into ten games during his September call-up and went 2-10 with a double and home run. That .200 lifetime average and on-base percentage doesn't look too hot, but he makes up for it with a .600 slugging percentage.

As for the home run he hit, he got it in his first Major League at-bat. He pinch hit for the pitcher in the bottom of the fifth inning and hit the very first pitch he saw from Ian Snell for a dinger to put the 'Stros up 1-0. Houston tacked on two more runs that inning and pulled off a 3-2 victory. All three runs were scored with two outs.

Mark was back in Round Rock the next year. His numbers slacked off a bit from his '08 season and he never got called up again. The Astros released him after the season and the Marlins picked him up. He played one season in their organization and called it a career after the season ended.

Friday, May 3, 2019

2008 PCL Top Prospects, Sam Fuld

#5 Sam Fuld

In 2008, I found myself at a Round Rock Express game and I ended up picking up this Top Prospects set. My thinking was that I could probably get quite a few of them signed. It turns out that I could only get three signed in the eleven years I have had the set. I got one that day, one the next month, and one the next year. This is the one I got in 2009. Sam was playing for the Iowa Cubs still and I got him in Des Moines between games of a doubleheader.

Sam spent parts of eight seasons in the Majors with the Cubs, Rays, A's, and Twins. Over that time, he hit .227 with 12 home runs and 112 RBI. One of his best seasons was in 2014 and it was also his craziest. He started off the year with the A's, but got picked up off waivers by the Twins in late April. He stayed with Minnesota up to the trade deadline when he was traded back to the A's for Tommy Milone. So, the A's basically traded a decent pitcher for a player that they had designated for assignment three months earlier. You do not see that everyday.

Over the course of that 2014 campaign, Sam played in 113 games and had a career high 351 at-bats. He finished the season a .239 hitter with 4 homers and 36 RBI.

Sam hit just .197 for the A's in 2015 and retired after that season.

Thursday, May 2, 2019

2008 Just Minors

#27 Chris Getz
#46 Daniel Mayora
#60 Derrick Robinson

I only have three cards signed from this set and all three feature players that have been posted on here before. So, I get an easy day today.

Chris Getz- This card was signed at Royals Fanfest in 2013.

Daniel Mayora- I got this card signed at Dodgers Spring Training in 2014. To my surprise, Daniel is still playing ball. He is playing in Mexico, where he has played since 2017.

Derrick Robinson- Derrick signed this card for me in 2009 while he was a member of the Wilmington Blue Rocks. Derrick last played pro ball in 2017. In 2016, he played in the American Association and I was bummed that I could not find his 2013 Topps Update card to get signed at a game. It was in my collection, but missing in action.

I find it strange that this is a minor league set, but it really doesn't focus on the minor leagues. I know three cards is a small sample size, but only one of the three shows a definitive minor league uniform. While the other two could possibly be minor league unis, they could just as easily be Spring Training shots. The backs have no mention of the minor leagues and don't even tell you where the players played the previous season when the racked up the stats that are listed.

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

2008 Grandstand Bowie Baysox, Mike Rodriguez

NN Mike Rodriguez

Here is another Oriole minor leaguer that was given to me by Ryan in 2013. This one features Mike Rodriguez.

Mike was originally drafted by the Astros in the second round of the 2001 draft. He played in the Astros system for seven seasons and reached AAA with them, spending two seasons at that level. Then, he joined the O's in 2008 and was demoted to AA. In 2009, he played in the Atlantic League before retiring at the end of the season.

Mike finished his career a .269 hitter with 34 home runs and 348 RBI.

With two Grandstand cards back-to-back, it is good to see they used different borders with the two sets. Many times, with so many minor league teams and so few card companies making team sets, borders get repeated among the various teams. I definitely like the border on this one better than the one on yesterday's card.

Monday, April 29, 2019

2008 Grandstand Aberdeen IronBirds, Joe Esposito

NN Joe Esposito

Here is a card that was given to me by Ryan, from The Great Oriole Autograph Project, in 2013. Ryan had sent me a little care package at the time and in it was some random signed minor league cards that he had acquired over the years. This is one of those cards and one more will be coming up in the next post.

Joe pitched in the minor leagues from 2007-2012. He spent the first three seasons in the O's system before joining the Phillies organization for two years and then finishing in the Atlantic League. Minus his Atlantic League time and 14 games in AA, he spent his time in some sort of A-ball.

For his career, Joe was 26-23 with 12 saves and a 3.74 ERA. His best stint in the minors was with the Delmarva Shorebirds in 2009. That season, he got into 18 games in relief and was 3-0 with 2 saves and a 2.43 ERA. He also recorded 52 strikeouts in just 33.1 innings. He was also about two and a half years older than the average player in the South Atlantic League that season and the O's cut ties with him when the season was over.

Friday, April 26, 2019

The rest of 2008 Goudey

#86 Brian Bannister
#88 Billy Butler
#170 Wladimir Balentien

When I was originally mapping out how I was going to post my '08 Goudey cards, I thought that there was going to be seven cards crammed into this post. Well, it did not turn out that way. I ended up giving the three Hall of Famers their own posts rather than lumping them in with these guys.

All of these cards were signed in 2008 and it shows because they are in black Sharpie. I used to always take a black Sharpie with me, but not any more. Now it is always blue. But, I will say that the black actually looks better on this set than blue does. The black is nice and bold and really stands out. On a couple of the ones I posted that were done in blue (Ian Kennedy and David Murphy), the blue blends in with the team name on the jersey.

Brian Bannister- Brian signed this card for me before a game at The K. Prior to signing this card, he was out on the field tossing curve balls to Kyle Davies from about 120 feet away.

Billy Butler- Billy signed this card from the Royals parking lot after a game.

Wladimir Balentien- This is the first card from Wladimir, but he is going to be featured in his own post next week. He signed this one for me during batting practice at a Rangers game. The signature on this card looks like "BaSS".

Thursday, April 25, 2019

2008 Goudey, David Murphy

#188 David Murphy

For whatever reason, I thought that I had already posted a card of David Murphy on here at some point. It turns out that is not the case. So, I had to rewind a bit to get this one in.

I got his card signed by him outside of Kauffman Stadium in 2012. He arrived at the ballpark that day on the team bus. If you have never 'graphed players getting off of a Major League bus, it can be difficult. For starters, the players are all in their street clothes and are a challenge to identify. The bigger name guys are easier to spot, but everyone wants their autograph and I rarely try for them because of that. If someone is lucky enough to get them to come over, I will just hop into that mob. Usually, I try to identify one or two players or coaches and just bet on them. It worked out that September day in 2012 in Kansas City as I was somehow able to recognize David Murphy. He was the only guy from the bus that would come over and sign for me.

David played in the Majors for parts of ten seasons with the Red Sox, Rangers, Indians, and Angels. He spent the bulk of that time in Texas and was very consistent during his seven seasons playing outfield there. With the Rangers, he hit .275 and averaged 14 home runs and 58 RBI a season for them as a regular.

David finished his career in 2015 with a .274 lifetime average with 104 homers and 472 RBI.

Monday, April 22, 2019

2008 Goudey, Jeff Francoeur

#M-JF Jeff Francoeur

Here is a card that I got signed by Jeff Francoeur at Royals Fanfest in 2011. Back then, it seemed like I would get at least one jersey card a year signed at the event. That is not the case anymore. Nowadays, it is impossible to get in more than one line per session and the bigger name guys (ie, the ones with jersey cards) only sign once a day. With six lines and not knowing who you are going to be getting, I don't even waste my time buying these for Fanfest anymore. But, I am glad that I bought this one the 2011 event.

Frenchy was an absolute stud when he came up. I had the privilege of watching him play multiple times in his first full season in the Majors since I was stationed in Georgia at the time and he was a joy to watch. But then 2008 came and his numbers dropped off dramatically. While he was never the same run driving-in-machine that he was in 2006 and '07, but he still stuck around in the league through the 2016 season.

He finished his career a .261 hitter with 160 home runs and 698 RBI. He had three really good seasons- the aforementioned 2006 and '07 seasons and 2011 with the Royals. In '06, he hit a career high 29 home runs. In '07, he hit .293 and knocked in 105 runs. In 2011, he hit .285 and had 20 homers, 87 RBI, and hit a career best 47 doubles. He made history that season by being part of what I believe is the first outfield trio to all have 40+ doubles in a season. His other two counterparts were Melky Cabrera and Alex Gordon.

One of my best memories at a game involves Frenchy. On May 13, 2006, I was at Turner Field to see the Braves host the Nationals. The Braves entered the ninth inning down 5-3. Brian McCann lead off the bottom of the inning with a solo home run to bring the game to within one. A handful of singles later, Jeff came up with the bases loaded. Instead of just knotting up the game or driving in two on a single, Jeff hit a walk off grand slam to send the Braves home a 8-5 winner. That was so awesome! I mentioned the walk off to him when he signed this card and he told me it was still his best memory as a ballplayer.

Saturday, April 20, 2019

2008 Goudey, Billy Wagner

#GG-BW Billy Wagner

Here is a card that I pulled out of a pack in 2008. And, of course, the pack was a retail pack from Wal-Mart. Ninety percent of the packs I get are retail and all of my best pack pulled autos came out of retail packs.

Billy pitched in the Majors for sixteen seasons with the Astros, Phillies, Mets, Red Sox, and Braves. Over that time, he had a 47-40 record with 422 saves and a 2.31 ERA. Billy made seven All Star teams during his career, was in the top five of saves in the National League four times, and made the postseason seven times. His 422 saves rank him sixth all-time.

Billy was fairly consistent his whole career, minus the postseason where he had a 10.03 ERA in 11.2 innings of work. But, the one season that stands out to me is his final season in 2010 with the Braves. Billy turned thirty-nine during his one season in Atlanta and had a phenomenal year. That season, he was 7-2 with 37 saves and a 1.43 ERA. Better yet, he struck out 104 batters in just 69.1 innings. It was his first 100 strikeout season since 2003. Way to go out on top, Billy!

Billy has been eligible for the Hall of Fame for four years now. He stayed in the 10-11% voting range for the first three years before jumping up to 16.7% this year. It was a nice spike, but he has a long ways to go to reach the magical 75% plateau.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

2008 Goudey, Bobby Thomson

#217 Bobby Thomson

This is probably my favorite signed 2008 Goudey that I own. While I have a few cards from the set signed by some bigger names, I also have other cards signed by those guys that I enjoy more. But, this one, on the other hand, is the only card that I have signed by Bobby and I absolutely love it. Plus, the fact that it is a mini makes it that much better.

I got this card signed through the mail in November of 2008. In fact, over a four day stretch that month, I got back Bobby Doerr, Sparky Anderson, and this card, all from this set. That was a fun week of checking the mailbox.

Bobby had a fifteen year career in the Majors, playing with the Giants, Braves, Cubs, Red Sox, and Orioles. He was a .270 career hitter that racked up 264 home runs and 1,026 RBI. He made three All Star teams, had four 100 RBI seasons, played in one World Series, and hit one of the most iconic home runs in baseball history.

I didn't notice it on the Doerr or Anderson cards, but it just seems off to see Ken Griffey on the front of this card. I love that Upper Deck put Griffey and Jeter on there to replace Lou Gehrig, but it just doesn't work on cards that feature players that played before Griffey, Sr. played.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

2008 Goudey, Chris Young

#155 Chris Young

This is one of the two cards that I got signed by Chris Young at Royals Fanfest in 2017. The other card I had him sign was his 2016 Topps card that showed him celebrating the Royals World Championship, which was a must for a Royals fan. I had one other card with me that day of him, his 2008 Allen & Ginter. I asked my wife which one I should get signed and she wisely chose this one.

Chris pitched in the Majors for thirteen seasons with the Rangers, Padres, Mets, Mariners, and Royals. Over that time, he had a 79-67 record with a save and a 3.95 ERA in nearly 1300 innings of work. He appeared in the postseason twice and made one All Star team.

Chris probably had his best season during the 2007 campaign with the Padres. While his record wasn't great (9-8), he did post a 3.12 ERA and stuck out a single season best 167 batters. Coincidentally, that was the one year he made the All Star team.

While I wasn't a huge Chris Young fan during his tenure with the Royals, especially after his first season, I absolutely love his signature. It is actually readable, which is a rare trait anymore.

Sunday, April 14, 2019

2008 Goudey, Dennis Eckersley

#135 Dennis Eckersley

I figured that since Bobby Doerr and Sparky Anderson each got a post from this set, Eck might as well get one, too.

So, here is the third and final card that I got him to sign at the College World Series in 2014. My main focus at the event was getting his '81 Donruss signed. After that, I had this card and his '87 Fleer card and it didn't really matter which one got signed. In the line, I had the '81D and my wife had the other two cards. Somehow, she sweet-talked her way into getting both of them signed by him. She never ceases to amaze me.

Anymore, when retired players appear in modern sets, I would much rather get an original card of theirs signed instead of one after they retired. And, while I wanted a signed card of Dennis with the A's, he was with them during the junk wax era. So, when it came down to taking a 1990 Donruss card or this one, this was the easy choice.

Dennis pitched for the A's for nine seasons and was phenomenal. After being a starter his whole career, the A's threw him out of the bullpen and it resurrected his career. During his tenure in Oakland, he went 41-31 with 320 saves and a 2.74 ERA. He made four All Star teams with them and lead the league in saves twice, including his career high of 51 in 1992. Plus, he helped the club to the postseason four times and helped them to the championship in 1989.

For a couple of years, the CWS stopped doing autograph signings. It was kind of a bummer because I was so used to coming home from Omaha with autographs like this. Then last year, they started it back up again. The only difference was that they were during the week instead of the weekend. The day I was there last summer was supposed to have Ryan Howard signing. But, some crazy weather hit town and it got cancelled. So, you will not be seeing a signed 2008 Goudey Ryan Howard on here.

I posted the first two cards of Dennis two years ago. His '81D can be seen here and his '87 Fleer here.

Saturday, April 13, 2019

2008 Goudey, Joe Blanton

#133 Joe Blanton

Here is a card that I got signed in Kansas City during Joe's brief stay with the Royals. It was a Sunday day game, which is autograph day at The K. Like most everything else that the Royals do that is autograph related, the event is poorly ran. You have to get to the park early so that you can make it into one of the two lines. Of course, you have no clue who is going to be signing, so it is a total crapshoot. Once you are in line, you have to stand there for thirty minutes before the players come out. Then, they only sign for about twenty minutes.

On this particular day, I got in one line and my wife and kid got in the other. The dude in my line ended up being a reliever that didn't have any cards. So, I got out of line. The other line had someone I needed, so my family stayed in it. Since it was autograph day, I didn't bring my book with me. I put my cards in two hard cases so I could split them up between the two lines. So, once I got out of line, I was free to head down to the field and try to get some of the pitchers out there. Joe ended up being the only guy that I got and I only had this one card in my case. But, that is alright since this is probably the best Joe Blanton card that I own.

Joe lasted in the Majors for thirteen seasons and saw time with the A's, Phillies, Dodgers, Angels, Royals, Pirates, and Nationals. Over that time, he amassed a 101-97 record with 2 saves and a 4.38 ERA. He last pitched in the Majors in 2017.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

2008 Goudey, Ian Kennedy

#131 Ian Kennedy

Here is a card that I got signed by Ian Kennedy at a Royals game in 2012. Ian was with the D-Backs at the time and I had a rough outing on the 'graphing front that day. As it turned out, Ian was the only guy I got. But, he did sign all three cards that I had of him, so it could have been much worse. And, considering that he was a year removed from a 21 win season, it was a good autograph to get at the time.

Fast-forward seven years later and now Ian isn't that great of a grab. After two very disappointing years in the Royals rotation, Ian has been sent to the bullpen this season. Minus the money the Royals are paying him, it is a move that I like. Last season, Ian did fairly well during his first time through the line-up. But, things weren't as good the second time around and they got even worse on the third trip through the order. So, the demotion made sense to me. As it stands right now through the Royals first twelve games of the season, Ian has been the most constant reliever in an awful bullpen. Hopefully, he can keep it up.

Speaking of Royals games, I went to one today and got to see the bullpen blow another lead en route to their tenth straight loss. On top of that, the 'graphing was nearly non-existent. The Royals open up the outfield an hour and a half before first pitch, but you cannot head down by the field until an hour prior. During the thirty minute gap, there were six Mariner pitchers on the field getting their work in. Two minutes before you could head down by the field, they all went back into the clubhouse. Booooo.

But, I was able to snag three from Royals pitching coach Cal Eldred and three from the M's starting catcher, Tom Murphy. So, it could have been worse.

This card is another example of how I somehow manage to get autographs from future Royals players.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

2008 Goudey, J.R. Towles

#85 J.R. Towles

Here is a card that I got signed at a Round Rock Express game in 2008. JR was the starting catcher that night for the Express and would not sign on the way to the field, since he had to get his pitcher warmed up. But, on the way out, he stopped and signed for everybody after the game. He signed all three cards that I had of him.

JR spent parts of five seasons playing for the Astros. Over that time, he got into 155 games and he hit .187 with 11 home runs and 50 RBI.

When JR initially got called up in 2007, he went on a mini-terror. Though he played in just 14 games and had just 40 at-bats, he would hit .375 with 5 doubles, 1 home run, 12 RBI, and only strike out once in the process. Unfortunately, he could never replicate those numbers again.

JR signed this card in about the worst spot possible. But, what are you going to do?

Monday, April 8, 2019

2008 Goudey, Andrew Miller

#74 Andrew Miller

Here is card that I got signed in Kansas City last summer. Andrew was playing for Cleveland at the time and I was lucky enough to catch him as he was dropped off at the ballpark. Andrew was a total class act and signed for everybody on his way in. He signed this card and his 2018 Topps Heritage card for me.

By the time this card came out, Andrew, once a highly touted prospect, was looking like he was a bust. He was in his third season of pro ball and on his second team. Through his first two seasons, he was 5-6 with an ERA of 5.69 while walking 49 and striking out 62 in 74.1 innings of work with Detroit. Things didn't get any better in Miami. In his first season with the Marlins, he was 6-10 with a 5.87 ERA. It was more of the same in 2009 and he then spent most of 2010 in the minor leagues.

The Marlins then flipped him to Boston for Dustin Richardson and it was more of the same in 2011 with the Sox. Then, in 2012, Boston moved Andrew to the bullpen full time and things started to click. Used as a LOOGY that first year in the pen, Andrew posted a 3.35 ERA over 40.1 innings. In 2013, he had his first season of more than a strikeout an inning. In 2014, he had his first 100 strikeout season and did it in just 62.1 innings.

During that 2014 campaign, Andrew got dealt to the Orioles at the trade deadline. The O's went on to the postseason that year and that was the first of five straight years of him pitching in the playoffs. He pitched for the Yankees in 2015 and then the Indians for the last three years.

Andrew signed with the Cardinals during the off-season and is off to a rocky start. In just 3.1 innings of work in five games, he is 0-1 with a 10.80 ERA. It is still early, so hopefully he can get it going soon.

I absolutely love this set and I was thrilled to get a card from it signed by a current player last season. There are not too many guys from this set still playing, so it is always fun when I am able to add to it.

Saturday, April 6, 2019

2008 Goudey, Sparky Anderson

#46 Sparky Anderson

Here is the second card in the set that is a repeat post of a Hall of Famer. I first posted a card of Sparky over nine years ago and it can be seen here. That card was, of course, his '81 Donruss card. I am so glad that I got that card signed for my set. I am even more glad that I mailed it to him when I did; he passed away eight months later.

This one was obtained through the mail in 2008, two years before the '81D. But, the '81D sports a slightly better looking signature. I could just be thinking that because that one is signed in blue, though.

The Big Red Machine was before my time. Whenever I think of Sparky Anderson, I always picture him in a Tigers uniform. So, when this card came out with him as a Red, I knew I had to get it signed. The Big Red Machine might have preceded me, but I still know of their accolades and know that Sparky was at the helm.

Sparky managed in the Majors for a whopping twenty-six years, nine with the Reds and the rest with Detroit. Over that time, he had a .545 winning percentage while going to the postseason five times and winning it all three times. He was twice named manager of the year and got inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2000.

Thursday, April 4, 2019

2008 Goudey, Alfonso Soriano

#33 Alfonso Soriano

Last year, for a brief four month span, Alfonso Soriano was signing autographs through the mail. I noticed it in August. By Thanksgiving, it was over. Luckily, I sent this one card to him in the middle of October and I had it back before the honey hole dried up. I thought I might have been too late on the action, but it made it back home in about two weeks time.

It is always nice when a six time All Star starts randomly signing cards through the mail. But, I am sure that he got overwhelmed real quickly and that is why he gave it up. On SCN, there are probably over 125 successes listed on there and that is just from the people that bother to track their successes on the site. Who knows how many requests he actually got during that time.

Nonetheless, I was able to add an autograph to my favorite set from 2008 for a dollar in postage. I will take it.

Alfonso played in the Majors for sixteen seasons with the Yankees, Rangers, Nationals, and Cubs. Over that time, he hit .270 with 412 home runs and 1,159 RBI. He played in the postseason five times, including two World Series appearances. He had over 100 RBI four times and hit 30+ homers seven times, including a career high of 46 with the Nats in 2006.

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

2008 Goudey, Bobby Doerr

#26 Bobby Doerr

I know I said that I was going to change things up and not do individual posts of guys that have been posted on here before. But, I have three cards signed by Hall of Famers in this Goudey set and it does not feel right to just lump them together with the other guys. So, for now, two of the three Hall of Famers will get their own post. In the end, I am sure all three will get their own.

Here is the card of Bobby Doerr that I got signed through the mail in 2008. I sent two cards his way towards the end of the year and I had them both back and signed in about eight days. That turn around time still impresses me.

Bobby might have been one of the greatest signers to ever live and I have no clue how he was able to pull it off like he did into his late nineties. I can't imagine the amount of fanmail that he had to receive on a daily basis. That man had to have set aside time every day to keep churning out the autographs like he did. He was truly an asset to the autograph community and is dearly missed.

I posted the other Doerr card way back in 2010 and you can see that post here. That card is from a 2003 set. It is pretty sad that I have only gotten up to my 2008 cards since posting that card nearly nine years ago. If you don't want to go back to see that post, here is the card.

Four years ago, I posted another Bobby Doerr through the mail autograph. For Christmas in 2013, my then fiance ponied-up some dough and bought me a graded 1939 Playball Bobby Doerr. Being the autograph nerd that I am, I busted that beauty out and sent it to get signed. While his signature wasn't nearly as neat as it was in 2008, it still came out looking great. I am forever thankful for my wife for buying me that card. She is pretty freaking awesome.

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

The Rest of 2008 Donruss Threads

#65 Danny Duffy
#69 Ryan Patterson
#DK-6 Josh Vitters

We hit the about everything in this set, from a Hall of Famer to a career minor leaguer and everything in between. While Donruss Threads is not the most appealing set of 2008, it sure is a great set to get signed. With the overexposed white border, the signatures really pop off the card.

Danny Duffy- He signed this card for me prior to a Royals game in 2011. It looks like he is the last active Major League player that I have posted from this set, though he is hurt and yet to play this year.

Ryan Patterson- It has been just over seven years since I have posted a Ryan Patterson card. The last couple I posted were signed while he was a Wingnut in 2010. This one was signed the year before when he was with the Ft. Worth Cats and it was signed at a Lincoln Saltdogs game.

Josh Vitters- I posted the first Josh Vitters card less than a week ago. This one was signed at the same time as the first.

Up next comes my favorite set from 2008- Goudey.

Monday, April 1, 2019

2008 Donruss Threads, Taylor Teagarden

#DK-22 Taylor Teagarden

Here is the first of three cards that I got signed at a minor league game in 2010 while Taylor was playing for the Frisco RoughRiders. The RoughRiders were playing in Springdale, Arkansas that night and Taylor was the starting catcher. After the game, I went down to the Frisco dugout to see if I could snag a couple more autographs. Taylor came by and I asked him to sign. He said he would in a minute. More often than not, that response really means "No". But, Taylor went into the dugout, bagged up his gear, and then came out and signed. He signed all three cards for me that night.

Taylor spent parts of eight seasons in the Majors and saw time with the Rangers, Orioles, Mets, and Cubs. Over that time, he was a .202 hitter with 21 home runs and 70 RBI in 180 games. Taylor's best season was the 16 games he played for the Rangers in 2008. Over 47 at-bats, he hit 6 dingers and drove in 17 runs while managing to hit .319.

Taylor was drafted in 2005, so it seems odd that he is pictured in his college uniform on this card. But, it looks like the photo might have been taken at the College World Series, which is always cool. Texas won it all in 2005. On top of that, Taylor was a member of the 2008 US Olympic baseball team that brought home the bronze in Beijing.

Sunday, March 31, 2019

2008 Donruss Threads, Blake Wood

#DK-5 Blake Wood

Here is the first of three cards from this set's Diamond Kings insert set. I don't remember pulling any of these inserts out of packs in 2008, so I think I bought them all just to get signed. As far as Diamond Kings go, they are pretty lackluster compared to the Diamond Kings I collected as a kid. That is Panini for you, though.

When I was looking at stats, I was shocked to see how much Blake has pitched in the Majors. He has pitched in the big leagues every year since 2010, except for 2012 and 2015. Over that time, he has pitched in 270 games with the Royals, Indians, Reds, and Angels. Despite pitching in so many games, Blake only has one Major League card- a 2010 Bowman card.

Over Blake's 270 games, he is 16-16 with 2 saves and a 4.47 ERA. His best season was probably with the Reds in 2016. That year, he had single season highs in games, innings, and strikeouts. He even managed to strikeout more than a batter an inning in the process.

I have always said that signing autographs is good karma. It seems that Major League players that sign autographs for me tend to have good games. That was certainly true in 2010 when Blake signed this card for me. Blake entered the game in the ninth inning with his Royals trailing by one run. Despite giving up two singles, he managed to get an inning ending double play and come out of the inning unscathed. When the Royals came up in the bottom half of the inning, they won the contest on an Alex Gordon walk-off home run and Blake picked up his first Major League win.

Sadly, I did not attend that game. I drove up to Kansas City in the morning and got autographs as players were entering the ballpark. Once I got what I could get, I grabbed some Chipotle and headed home.

Saturday, March 30, 2019

2008 Donruss Threads, Josh Vitters

#95 Josh Vitters

Here is another card that I got signed at the 2009 Futures Game in St. Louis. Josh was representing the USA club and was nice enough to sign three cards for me that day. A year later, he would sign two more cards for me at the Rickwood Classic in Birmingham.

Josh, a former number three pick by the Cubs, would only play in 36 Major League games. In 2012, he was tearing up the Pacific Coast League. Through 110 games, the twenty-two year old was hitting .304 with 17 home runs and 68 RBI. The Cubs called him up to the big leagues and he would hit just .121 in 99 at-bats over the final two months of the season.

It was back to the minors in 2013 and, after hitting just .213 in AAA in 2014, Josh was out of baseball.

He came back in 2016 and joined a team in the Atlantic League and he struggled. He dropped down to the American Association in 2017 and struggled there. Last season, he played in the Can-Am League and could only muster a .247 average at that level at the age of twenty-eight. I would be very surprised if he got signed by a team this year, but you never know.

Anymore, I only go 'graphing with a blue Sharpie. That obviously wasn't the case in 2009. But, the last two cards I posted from this set were signed in black and they both look great. Some sets are just like that.

Friday, March 29, 2019

2008 Donruss Threads, Jesus Montero

#80 Jesus Montero

I just got back from Opening Day in Kansas City and I had a blast. Even though the weather sucked and there was nearly a two hour rain delay, I still had a fantastic time. The 'graphing was nearly nonexistent because of the rain, but I somehow managed to get a whopping three cards signed. But, that is alright. I have done worse in better weather. Plus, I ran into Travis Kelce and had him sign my autograph book. I now have two autographs in it from football players that I have met at baseball events.

Speaking of rain delays, I once sat through a four hour rain delay after getting this card signed. Jesus signed this for me prior to the Futures Game in St. Louis in 2009. About the time that game started, the rains came and almost never let off. If it hadn't been for a six hour drive to get to St. Louis, I probably would not have waited it out. I did skip the celebrity softball game, though, because of the delay.

Jesus lasted in the Majors for parts of five seasons. He broke in with the Yankees in 2011 and got off to a good start, going 20-61 in 18 games. The Yankees then traded him to the Mariners after the season and he was the every day catcher in Seattle in 2012. He responded with a .260 average with 15 homers and 62 RBI. That was his only season as a full time player.

Jesus only played in 73 games for the M's over the next three seasons and never got it going. In 2016, the M's put him on waivers during Spring Training and Jesus never played in a Major League game after that, though he did play winter baseball this past offseason.

Jesus finished his career a.253 hitter with 28 home runs and 104 RBI.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

2008 Donruss Threads, Fernando Garcia

#78 Fernando Garcia

Here is a card that I got signed at a Burlington Bees game in 2009. I had very few cards to get signed at that game, so I bought a Bees team set just to make it worthwhile. But, it was nice to get the few cards I did take with me signed.

Fernando had a short baseball career. Drafted by the Royals in the 28th round of the 2007 draft, he would go on to play just four seasons in the organization. In his first pro season, he played in just 15 games and hit a whopping .088. Yet, somehow, Donruss decided to make a card of him.

He did slightly better the next year, hitting .238, and even better the year after that, hitting .260. In 2010, playing in high-A Wilmington, his numbers took a dip and he hit just .186. The Royals cut him loose after the season.

In 2011, Fernando would finally make it to Kansas City. But, it wasn't with the Royals, it was with the T-Bones. He did well in his limited action, hitting .303 in 24 games. After the season, Fernando retired from baseball.

In his limited action spread out over four affiliated minor league stops, Fernando managed to hit .227 with 2 home runs and 52 RBI in 691 at-bats.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

2008 Donruss Threads, Sean O'Sullivan

#67 Sean O'Sullivan

In 2011, my best friend and I took one of our annual ballpark road trips and we headed north that year. It was a short trip by our standards as we just took in a Twins game and a couple of minor league games. One of the minor league games that we saw was an Omaha Storm Chasers game.

Werner Park, the Chasers home, has one of the best set-ups for autograph collectors. Both clubhouses are in left field and the players walk down a single walkway to enter the field. Both teams use the same ramp and it is great. It can be a struggle as is gets closer to gametime, though, as there are quite a few players from both teams jamming up the walkway and you are trying to figure out who is who and find their cards. So, on that particular trip, I decided to 'graph the visiting team and I made by friend get the home team for me.

By the time Sean O'Sullivan came out, it was close to gametime and the walkway was crowded. I was able to pick Sean out of the pack and I called for him. I was getting cards signed by a visiting player at the time. He came over to me and I just played it off like I didn't call for him and pointed at my buddy. He had the card ready and handed it down and this is the end result.

With Wichita building a new ballpark, I hope that they have an entrance like Werner Park where you can 'graph both teams from one spot. It is so convenient.

As for Sean, he saw time in the Majors for parts of seven seasons with the Angels, Royals, Padres, Phillies, and Red Sox. Over that time, he was 13-23 with a 6.01 ERA. His best season was probably in 2009, his initial call-up to the Majors. He pitched in twelve games, ten starts, and was 4-2 with a 5.92 ERA. That was the only time that he threw over 50 innings in a season and had an ERA under 6.00.

I actually own a game worn Sean O'Sullivan Spring Training jersey. I picked it up for ten bucks at a Fanfest once thinking it would be easy to get signed. That never happened.

Monday, March 25, 2019

2008 Donruss Threads, Duke Snider

#13 Duke Snider

In 2008, I got back into collecting autographs in a big way. After being away from the hobby for over ten years, 2008 was a reawakening for me. I started taking cards with me to games instead of balls, I started this blog, and, maybe most importantly, I got back into through the mail autographs again.

I started sending autograph requests through the mail during Spring Training in 1988. I only got one back, but I was so excited about it that I became hooked. I kept sending out TTMs to teams into my high school years before finding other interests. Then, in 2008, I found that there were databases online with retired players home addresses. Finding that rekindled my TTM spirit and I got back at it again.

This was one of the cards that I sent out TTM in my return to the hobby. Even though this set is great for autographs, I wish I would have sent another card. Ideally, an actual card of Duke's from his playing day would have been the best option. Second best option would have been a Topps All-Time Fan Favorite card. But, I went with what I had handy and it still came out looking great. It just didn't look time specific for Duke Snider.

Nonetheless, I still love this card and am glad to have it in my collection. Duke is a Hall of Famer that had five 40 home runs seasons, six 100 RBI seasons, made eight All Star teams, and played in six World Series. He got elected to the Hall in 1980.

I do not recall paying a fee for Duke to sign this for me, but I would not be surprised if I sent a ten dollar bill along with it.

I will say that for a non-licensed Donruss set, I am surprised that you can make out most of the team name on the front of the jersey, not to mention the cap logo.

Friday, March 22, 2019

2008 Donruss Elite, Byron Wiley

#CP-23 Byron Wiley

This is my last card from 2008 Donruss Elite. Unlike all the other cards from the set that I have posted, I did not get this card signed in-person or pull it from a pack. I actually bought this card from COMC. Being a K-State grad, I just could not pass this beautiful card up. Even if it wasn't signed, I still might have bought it. Now, since the Cats got spanked today in the opening round of the tournament, there will be no more talk about them.

Byron was drafted by the Reds in the 22nd round of the 2008 draft. He lasted just three seasons in affiliated ball. Over that time, he never made it out of A ball and he hit .275 with 23 homers and 119 RBI in 191 contests. Those aren't horrible numbers. But, they are a bit skewed as he hit .328 in his first season of rookie ball and then hit 12 home runs and drove in 64 in his second pro season. In 2010, he played in just 42 games before missing all of 2011.

By the time he came back in 2012, he was playing independent ball. He played a season in the Frontier League before joining the American Association for three seasons. Coincidentally, I ran across him at a Wingnuts game once and was able to add a couple more autographs to the collection from him. But, this one is still by far my favorite. You just cannot beat a signed card with a Powercat on it.