Saturday, January 19, 2019

2008 Bowman, Dan Cortes

#BCP92 Dan Cortes

Here is a card that I got signed at Royals Fanfest in 2009. If I remember correctly, that was the first year of Fanfest. Back then, they would bring in the minor league award winners to sign and that is how I got this card signed.

2008 was when I got back into collecting autographs and the chrome cards were kind of new to me. I didn't have any experience getting them signed before this card and I had no idea of the concept of prepping cards. So, I took two of these chrome cards with me, the only two cards of Cortes that I had, and got them both signed. This one turned out okay. The other one looks horrible. But, I now know about prepping cards and I do not have an issue with chrome cards anymore. But, if given the choice, I would prefer a non-chrome card.

Dan never made it to the big leagues with the Royals, but he did see a bit of action with the Mariners. He got dealt to them for Yuniesky Betancourt during the 2009 season and made his Major League debut the following year. In his two stints with the Mariners in 2010-11, he pitched in 14 games in relief and was 0-3 with a 5.06 ERA. Sadly, the Royals won that trade.

Dan is no longer playing ball, having thrown his last inning in 2014 in the Atlantic League.

Friday, January 18, 2019

2008 Bowman, Ryan Khoury

#BCP36 Ryan Khoury

Here is a card that I got signed at a Wichita Wingnuts game in 2012. This is the only mainstream card of Ryan that was made, so I went ahead and got the x-fractor version to get signed. I think I got a regular version of the card signed, too, but that card was given away at some point.

Ryan has a stylish autograph, but this one is lacking a bit. At Lawrence-Dumont Stadium, the clubhouses are in left field. So, whenever players take the field, they usually come out carrying their bat, helmet, and glove. When Ryan signed this card, he was holding all that stuff in one hand while I held my card book for him to sign with his free hand. It still came out looking good, though.

Ryan played in the Red Sox system for six seasons, seeing action in AAA three different times. Over those six years, he was a .246 hitter with 24 home runs. He got released by the Sox during the 2011 season and caught on with a team in the Frontier League to finish the season. He then came to Wichita in 2012 and spent three years on the squad.

Ryan hit about .250 during his first two years in Wichita before breaking out in 2014. He had a career year that season, hitting .315 with 11 homers and 61 RBI en route to Wichita's lone American Association title. Ryan retired after that season.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

2008 Bowman, Danny Duffy

#BCP25 Danny Duffy

Here is a card that I got signed at Kauffman Stadium in 2011. Unlike the last card that I posted that I got signed at that park, this one was actually obtained inside of it.

When I had my last job, I usually had to work on Saturday and had Sunday off. So, for about eight years, most of the Royals games I attended were Sunday day games. It was not ideal for me since Sunday batting practice is rare and BP is the best time for 'graphing. But, you could usually count on pitchers hitting the field to get their work in, so I would mostly take cards of pitchers.

On this particular day in 2011, it was overcast with off and on rain. The White Sox were in town and the action on the Sox side of the field was not very good. I ended up on the Royals side and did much better over there. While I only got three Royals to sign for me, it was three times better than I did with the Sox. My dad spotted Danny signing, so I went over there and he signed three for me. I got lucky because it was still misting out and all three sigs came out without any issues.

Danny has been very hit and miss during his tenure with the Royals. The once prospect has dealt with some personal issues and injuries throughout his career. He is supposed to be Kansas City's top starter, but he has yet to log more than 28 starts or 180 innings. He has one double digit win season and that was the year he got demoted to the bullpen and made nearly as many relief outings as starts.

Nonetheless, I like Duffy and keep rooting for him. Every year, I am hoping it is the year that he figures it out and dominates. Hopefully 2019 is that year because the Royals are going to need him.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

2008 Bowman, Darren Ford

#BCP3 Darren Ford

Two posts ago, I mentioned the ballpark roadtrip that my buddy and I made to the Rickwood Classic in Birmingham, Alabama in 2010. The roadtrip was something we did nearly every year. But, he had a kid shortly after that and our roadtrips came to a stop. We managed a dual family roadtrip to Wrigley Field for its 100th anniversary in 2014, but it was pretty weak compared to how we used to do it.

In 2015, I jokingly texted him asking what parks we were going to check out that summer. He thought it was funny that I asked him that because he had to fly out to Seattle in a couple of months for a work seminar. The gears started turning and we managed to throw together a four day roadtrip. I flew up to Seattle to meet him and we hit up Safeco Field before renting a car and driving to Portland for a Hillsboro Hops game. We then drove down to a Sacramento River Cats game before finishing up with a Giants game. Even though the trip was on the short side by our standards, it was still the most unique one that we have had in that we flew there and back and had to rent a car. To date, that was the last trip we have been on. We might try to work out another dual family trip next year when the Rangers open their new ballpark.

Anyways, I bring all of that up because I got this card signed on that 2015 trip out west. Darren was playing for the Cats at the time and he was nice enough to sign three cards for me that evening.

Darren played in 33 games with the Giants in 2010 and 2011. Over those two short stints, he never started a game and he only got 14 at-bats. But, he did manage to get 4 hits, score 7 runs, and steal 9 bases.

Darren is still playing ball, but last season was spent in the Atlantic League. Speed is a big part of his game. He stole 36 bases last season, which gives him over 450 steals for his professional career.

Here is the updated 2008 Bowman map.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

2008 Bowman, Will Rhymes

#BP108 Will Rhymes

Here is a card that I got signed outside of Kauffman Stadium in 2011. Prior to 2011, The K was a great spot for 'graphing as players arrived at the ballpark. Then, there was an incident involving Melky Cabrera and an idiot fan and the Royals made a lot of changes that made it not so great for getting autographs. The biggest change was that Royals players got shuttled into the park from their parking lot in a golf cart. I use to get a ton of 'graphs from Royals players as they arrived, but that is a thing of the past. Maybe five percent of the arriving Royals will stop to sign on the way in now.

Another thing the team did after the Melky incident was declare certain areas outside the park as "NO AUTOGRAPH ZONES". They had signs made up with that saying and everything. The signs only lasted a couple of seasons and they now have barricades set up where visiting players can walk into the park. At least with the barricade, you can still ask the player to sign at the barricade.

On the day that I got this card signed, I was breaking the rules. Will arrived in a cab and got dropped off at the "no autograph zone" (nowadays, they all show up in Ubers). I went over and asked him to sign anyways. I just had this one card of him and I was in and out. Now, if it was a big name player and he got mobbed, security would have come out. But, I had him one-on-one and it was quick, so there was no issue.

Will played parts of three seasons in the Majors with the Tigers and Rays. He appeared in 130 games and he hit .266 with 2 home runs and 29 RBI. His best season was his rookie campaign in 2010. That year, he got into 54 games and he hit .304 with a home run and 19 RBI. That first home run was off of Zack Greinke.

Monday, January 14, 2019

2008 Bowman, Sal Sanchez

#BP83 Sal Sanchez

Back in the day, my best friend and I would make yearly ballpark trip to parks around the country. Now we are both married and have kids and we are doing really good if we see each other three times a year. But before we got married, every summer we would plan a trip to see various parks. It started as just Major League venues, but we started incorporating minor league parks into our trips as a way to break up long drives. Then, in 2010, we did something that we have only done that one time. We did a ballpark trip exclusively of minor league parks.

That year, we decided to go to the Rickwood Classic in Birmingham, Alabama. Rickwood Field is the oldest ballpark in the United States and every year the Birmingham Barons play one game there. 2010 marked the 100th anniversary for the ballpark, so it seemed like a perfect time to go. On the trip, we also made stops to see games in Tulsa, Springdale (Northwest Arkansas), and Hoover, Alabama at what was then the Barons everyday ballpark.

This is one of the cards that I got signed at Rickwood. The Barons are the White Sox AA team and I was able to get Sal to sign this card after doing some soft-tossing by the dugout.

Sal never reached the Major Leagues, but he did do everything he could to try. Originally drafted as an outfielder, Sal spent five seasons trying to work his way up and he never made it past Birmingham. A .240 hitter at the time, the Sox decided to switch him to pitcher. In his third season as a pitcher, he was back in Birmingham and seemed to do okay. He was 2-4 with a save and a 3.38 ERA in 42.2 innings of relief work.

I guess that wasn't good enough and the Sox let him go. He pitched for a couple of independent teams in 2014 and then threw 16 frames in the PCL in 2015 before calling it a career.

In 2007, Sal made a case for this card by hitting .343 in the Pioneer League.

Here is the new and updated 2008 Bowman map.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

2008 Bowman, Alex Burnett

#BP64 Alex Burnett

Here is a card that I got signed at a Wingnuts game in 2014 while Alex was playing for Sioux City. It was about 95 degrees that day and he came out of the clubhouse in a hoody and with his hood up. I asked him what was up with the hoody and he was curious if it was too hot for that or not.

Alex played parts of four seasons in the Majors with the Twins, Orioles, and Cubs. Over that time, he appeared in 177 games in relief and racked up a record of 8-11 with a 4.69 ERA. His best season was probably the 2012 campaign with the Twins. That year, he appeared in a career-high 67 games and 71.2 innings. While his WHIP was well over 1.00 and his K/9 was around 4.5, he held opponents to a 3.52 ERA, which was nearly two runs less than his previous career-best. But, that was the beginning of the end for Alex. The next year was spent with four different franchises and he would only log 2.2 innings of work in the Majors, which was evenly split between the Orioles and Cubs. Then it was on to the American Association in 2014.

In 2015, Alex pitched 8.2 inning in Mexico before calling it a career. Nonetheless, encounters with players like Alex were definitely the highlights of 'graphing Wingnut games. While I am going to miss that franchise, especially this coming year when there will be no minor league ball in Wichita, I am sure I will forget about the American Association pretty quickly once AAA ball comes to town.

Friday, January 11, 2019

2008 Bowman, Alex Liddi

#BP63 Alex Liddi

Here is a card that I got signed by Alex Liddi at the Futures Game in St. Louis in 2009. If you are unfamiliar with Alex, he does have a claim to fame. He is the first born and raised Italian to play in the Major Leagues.

It was cool having an Italian in the Futures Game that year. The Futures Game pits the USA against the World, but the World mainly consist of Puerto Ricans, Dominicans, a couple of Asians, and the token Canadian. It was cool to have a European in the game just to help give it a real worldwide feel.

Alex played in 61 Major League games with the Mariners from 2011-2013. Over that time, he hit .208 with 6 home runs and 16 RBI. Even though he hasn't played in the big leagues for five years, he is still playing baseball. He spent this past season playing AA ball in the Royals organization. It was a rough year for him as he hit just .247. But, he did jack 23 home runs and drove in 72. Considering he was playing AA last year at the age of 29, five years removed from the Major Leagues, one has to wonder how much he has left in the tank. It looks like he wants to keep playing, though, as he is currently playing in the Mexican Winter League.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

2008 Bowman, Luis Durango

#BP52 Luis Durango

Here is a Padrograph that was given to me early on in my blogging days. Rod and I started our blogs around the same time and he once sent me stack of over 100 signed Padre cards. This is one of those.

Luis is kind of a rarity in this set based on the fact that he actually made it to the Major Leagues. Okay, maybe it is not that rare- nearly half the prospects that I will be posting on here made it to the Show.

Luis played in 39 Major League games with the Padres and Astros from 2009-11. In his limited work, he actually did real well. In 2009, he played in just nine games, but went 6-11 at the plate. Then, in 2010, he got into 28 games and went 12-48 with 5 steals. In 2011, he got into just two games and was 1-6. So, all in all, he finished his career a .292 hitter. All 19 of his hits were singles.

This past season, Luis was playing in the American Association and I happened to catch him at a Wingnuts game where I got three more cards signed by him. He has a cool looking sig that has changed a bit since this one was signed.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

2008 Bowman, Kent Sakamoto

#BP42 Kent Sakamoto

In 2009, I flew out east to visit an Army buddy that was living in Maryland at the time. The visit just happened to coincide with the Carolina League playoffs that were taking place up the road in Wilmington, Delaware. Being a Royals fan, I was determined to make my buddy take me up there to watch the Blue Rocks in action.

We almost didn't go to the game as it was raining a ton when I got out there. My buddy was convinced they were not going to play, but he really didn't want to go anyway. After considering not going, I figured it was worth a shot and we made the drive.

It was not the best 'graphing conditions with the wet weather, but we managed to snag a few dry autographs. I focused on the Wilmington side and made my buddy do the Lynchburg side. He did surprisingly well for not being a baseball fan. In fact, he did a little too good and was out 'graphing in the rain and ended up with a few autos that smeared from rain drops. But, this is one of the the ones he got and this one came out looking great.

Kent played in the Pirates organization for just four seasons and never advanced above high-A Lynchburg. In 2009, he was repeating high-A and having a dreadful season. In 72 games, he hit just .189 with 7 home runs and 29 RBI. That was the end of the road for him in affiliated ball and he then jumped to the American Association for two seasons before calling it a career.

Delaware is now added to the 2008 Bowman map.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

2008 Bowman, Jacob Butler

#BP5 Jacob Butler

Here comes the first of many of the prospect and draft pick cards from 2008 Bowman. Most of these guys will be career minor leaguers, but there will be a small handful that did at least appear in a Major League game. Jacob Butler is not one of those guys.

I got this card signed at a Wingnuts game in 2009 while Jacob was with the St. Paul Saints. How is that for some bad luck? He does good enough in 2007 to get a card in the 2008 Bowman set, only to find himself in an independent league in 2009. Nonetheless, Jacob was a cool dude and very talkative.

Prior to meeting him, I wondered if the facsimile signature on his card might have been mistakenly taken from another player and put on his card. If Topps put the wrong picture on Brian Bannister's card, it is possible they could have put the wrong sig on a card, too. Besides, look at that signature. In now way, shape, or form does that look like Jacob Butler. So, before he signs this card, I ask him if they got the wrong signature on the card and he tells me that that is his sig. I was surprised and asked him why it looks like it ends with a "y". He said, "well, that's uh, uh, uh I'm not really sure what that is" and then slaps down a nearly identical signature on the card.

In 2007, Jacob had a full season in high-A in the Florida State League. Like I said, he did good enough to warrant this card, hitting .273 with 23 homers and 85 RBI. He got moved up to AA the next season and his numbers fell to .242, 16, and 64. He was just 25 years old at the time and the Jays cut him loose after the season. He played two seasons of independent ball before calling it a career.

I was looking at all the places that I got cards signed for this set and I probably got them signed in over a dozen ballparks across ten states. So, I made a map for this set showing all the places I got a card signed. Yesterday's card was signed in Oklahoma City and this one was in Wichita. I will update the map whenever I add a new place.

Monday, January 7, 2019

2008 Bowman, Chin-lung Hu

#208 Chin-lung Hu

Here is a card that I got signed at an Oklahoma Redhawks game in 2008. The Redhawks were hosting a Mickey Mantle bobblehead giveaway, so I rounded up a group to make the four hour trip to OKC. The Las Vegas 51s were the visiting team and they were the team I focused on 'graphing that day. The 51s were affiliated with the Dodgers at the time and that is how I got this card signed. Interestingly, the Dodgers affiliate is now Oklahoma City.

I was excited to get a couple of cards signed by Hu at the time. But, Major League baseball never panned out for him. He played bits of five seasons in the Majors with the Dodgers and Mets and he hit just .176 over 193 at-bats. He did okay in his first call-up with the Dodgers in 2007, hitting .241 with two dingers 29 at-bats. Those were the only home runs he would ever hit as a Major Leaguer. Things went downhill from there. By his last appearance in the Majors, with the Mets in 2011, Hu went 1-20 with 11 strikeouts. He would spend the next season in the Atlantic League before calling it quits.

In 2006, I went to a Jacksonville Suns game (who were the Dodgers AA affiliate at the time) and I remember seeing some interesting tee-shirts at the gift shop. They read "Hu's on second". I almost bought one.

Sunday, January 6, 2019

2008 Bowman, Brian Bannister/Luke Hochevar

#193 Brian Bannister

I know I said in yesterday's post that I was only going to be posting cards of players once. If I had more cards after that, they were going to get lumped into a group post like the one I did yesterday. I guess I lied, because I have posted multiple cards of Brian Bannister. In fact, I once quit blogging for about forty-five days because I did not want to do another Brian Bannister post. But, I thought that this card was pretty neat and I had to show it off in its own post. For the record, I did skip Billy Butler to get to this card.

Anyways, one year at Royals Fanfest, I was in line next to an older kid and he did not have a card of the player that was currently signing at that line. I had extras, so we made a trade. He gave me his stack to look through and I found this card, which I had not seen before. I instantly noticed it was an error because it says Brian Bannister and has his facsimile signature and stats on it, but it has a picture of Luke Hochevar. So, I traded for this card, but wasn't really sure what I was going to do with it.

About a week later, the Royals Caravan rolled through my town and Bannister was one of the guys on my leg of the tour. I took this card with me even though I was unsure if Brian would sign it for me. When I got up to him, I asked him if he would sign the card even though he isn't pictured on it. He was like "oh sure, I have a few error cards out there". Then, once I had Brian on the card, I knew I had to get Hochevar on it.

Fast-forward two years later and I am again at Royals Fanfest and I am in Hochevar's line. I get up to him and I show him the card and tell him that I was hoping he would be able to sign it for me. He just sat and stared at it a few seconds and was speechless. I take it that he had never seen the card, let alone signed one. He finally came to and signed it and was even curious when I had got Brian to sign it.

So, here it is- my only dual signed card with one player pictured on it. While it is not the coolest card in my collection, it is definitely unique.

Saturday, January 5, 2019

The rest of 2008 Allen & Ginter

#221 Tim Hudson
#237 Zack Greinke
#307 Pat Neshek
#US50 John Buck

I have over 250 cards signed from 2008 sets. Since I am doing good to average a post every other day, it is going to take me a year and half to get all of those cards posted. So, to help speed up the process, I am going to cut some corners for the first time ever on here. The new rule is that each player gets one post. If that player comes up again, he gets lumped into a set round-up post like this one. The one exception would be that if I only have one card from a set signed, it is getting its own post regardless. It only saved me three posts on this one. But, when I get to Topps, it will save me more than thirty posts.

Tim Hudson- Kansas Stars game in 2016

Zack Greinke- Royals Fanfest 2009, my first Greinke card on here since 2012. Can you believe I actually gave away a signed Greinke Sports Illustrated on here once?

Pat Neshek- TTM 2009, my first return from Pat

John Buck- Royals parking lot 2008

The links take you back to an original post of that player.

Thursday, January 3, 2019

2008 Allen & Ginter, Lisa Leslie

#AGA-LL Lisa Leslie

For the first time on this blog, here is a non-baseball related autograph. That is one of the fun things you run into with Allen & Ginter. Surprisingly, this is the only signed non-baseball related A&G card that I own. While I have pondered sending out a few to get signed TTM, I have never pulled the trigger. A few that I wouldn't mind getting are Mark Spitz, Henry Rollins, Richard Petty, and Tommy Lee. Whether I ever get around to getting any of those signed is another question.

As for this card, I won it in a contest from Night Owl back in the day. I have no clue what I had to do to win it or why it was being given away. But, it featured an autograph, so I entered and obviously won. It also came with a relic card of Mark Buerhle.

Back whenever I won this card, I was always getting in on blog contests. Some I would win and most I would lose. But, anymore, it seems like I rarely bother entering contests. While there a many cool ones out there, I just don't care enough to enter. All I really care about are autographs. If those are not part of the prize, I am not interested. I figure it is better to let someone win that might actually enjoy the non-autographed prize then for me to enter just for the sake of entering.

Having said that, if Night Owl were giving this card away now, I am not sure if I would even enter. Sure, it is an autographed card. But, I don't like basketball and really do not like women's basketball. On the other hand, though, it is Allen & Ginter and it is of a person I have actually heard of. Lisa Leslie is one of two female basketball players I am aware of.

One year, I bought a box of Ginter and got a redemption card. I was pretty excited until I read who it was. It was the head basketball coach of the UConn women's team. Luckily, Topps was unable to fulfill it and they sent me a signed card of Gary Sheffield instead. That is a win in my book.

Editor's update: I lied. I also have an '09 A&G signed and framed card from a volleyball player. My bad.

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

2008 Allen & Ginter, Brandon Phillips

#285 Brandon Phillips

Here is a card that I got signed through the mail back when Brandon Phillips signed through the mail. At one point, he was a pretty reliable TTM signer. But, he hasn't signed anything TTM since 2009, which just happens to be the year I sent this to him. I sent it to him during Spring Training and I got it back just as the season was starting. I sent along an Indians card with this one, but that one did not make it home. I am not sure which card I sent him, but there is no way it would have came back looking as good as this Allen & Ginter.

Brandon played in nine Major League games last year with the Red Sox and hit just .130 in his limited action. Considering that he will be turning 38 this summer, I think the chances of him getting picked up by a team are slim. But, you never know.

If, in fact, he is done playing, he had a good career. Spending parts of seventeen seasons in the Majors with the Indians, Reds, Braves, Angels, and Sox, Brandon was a .275 hitter with 2,029 hits, 211 home runs, and 951 RBI. He was a three time All Star that snagged four Gold Glove awards and a Silver Slugger. He had double digit home runs in eleven seasons and he even reached the 100 RBI plateau once.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

2008 Allen & Ginter, Bob Motley

#261 Bob Motley

Here is a card that I got signed at All Star Game Fanfest when it was held in Kansas City in 2012. It features Negro League umpire, Bob Motley.

Bob umped in the Negro Leagues for a dozen years, where he shared the field with legends like Hank Aaron, Satchel Paige, and Willie Mays. After baseball integrated, Bob tried working his way into the Majors Leagues, but never got higher than AAA. In 1979, he did get the call to come work in the Majors during an umpire strike. But, he was unwilling to cross the picket line in order to reach his dream.

Prior to his umpiring career, Bob was a Marine in World War II. He saw action on Okinawa and received a Purple Heart after getting shot in the foot. Bob was recovering from his wound when he started umpiring softball games near the hospital grounds.

Sadly, Bob passed away just over two years ago. He was the last living Negro League umpire. About two months after that, the Negro League Museum in Kansas City unveiled a bronze statue of him.