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.