Monday, July 16, 2018

2002 Topps Total, Phil Nevin

#TTC24 Phil Nevin

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

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

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

Sunday, July 15, 2018

2002 Topps Total, Doug Henry

#611 Doug Henry

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

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

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

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

Friday, July 13, 2018

2002 Fleer Tradition, Eddie Guardado

#U320 Eddie Guardado

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

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

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

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

2002 Fleer Tradition, Brandon Berger

#U173 Brandon Berger

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

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

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

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

Friday, July 6, 2018

2001 Topps, Brian Meadows

#316 Brian Meadows

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

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

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

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

Thursday, July 5, 2018

2001 Topps, Joe Nathan

#292 Joe Nathan

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, July 2, 2018

2001 Topps, Jeff Reboulet

#141 Jeff Reboulet

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

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

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

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

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