Tuesday, September 18, 2018

2004 Upper Deck Vintage, Barry Zito

#14 Barry Zito

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

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

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

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

Friday, September 14, 2018

2004 Upper Deck Sweet Spot, Tim Hudson

#85 Tim Hudson

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, September 13, 2018

2004 Topps Total, Tom Martin

#263 Tom Martin

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

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

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

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

Monday, September 10, 2018

2004 Topps Total, Jack Wilson

#91 Jack Wilson

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

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

Here is a first look rendering of the new ballpark.

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

Saturday, September 8, 2018

2004 Topps Cracker Jack, Rafael Palmeiro

#38 Rafael Palmeiro

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

2004 Topps, David Pauley

#T208 Dvaid Pauley

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

2004 Topps, Justin Germano

#T118 Justin Germano

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

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

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