Wednesday, December 30, 2009

1998 UD3, Gary Matthews Jr.

#209 Gary Matthews Jr.

Here is the last card from 1998 and it has a lot going on in it. Of course, this is a Padrograph from Rod that features Gary Matthews Jr. This card is from the UD3 set and it has about everything that you would ever want a card to have. It has foil, three photos of the player, a bar code, and some other special effects jazz. You don't see too many cards like this anymore. This is about as far away from Topps Heritage as you can get.

This card makes the list as one of my favorite Padrographs. The reason for that is because of "The Catch".

The reason I like that card is because I was at the game where Gary made the catch.

I was on leave at the time and my buddy and I decided to head down to Texas to see the ballparks in Arlington, Houston, and Frisco. The first game we saw was on July 1st in Arlington. The Rangers were hosting the Astros for a Saturday day game and we had tickets for the bleachers just to the right of center field.

Mike Lamb came up to bat in the eighth inning. It was his fifth at-bat of the day and I happened to look at my scorecard when I noticed that he was a single away from the cycle. I have never seen a cycle before I was pretty excited since all he needed was a single.

Well, he ended up crushing the ball to deep center field instead. I was just watching the ball, wondering if it was going to make it out or not. I see Gary chasing the ball down out of my peripheral vision until he started to get close to the wall. Then I lost sight of him for a split second. Just as the ball was about to land in the batters eye, I see the top half of Gary pop out of nowhere and make this circus catch. It was unbelievable. It was hands-down the best play that I have ever seen in person and it happened about fifty feet from where I was seated. I couldn't wait to see the replay on Sports Center later on that night. That is going to be a tough catch to top.

I'm still waiting on seeing a cycle, though.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

1998 Upper Deck. Will Cunnane

#501 Will Cunnane

This is the next to last 1998 card and it is also the next to last Padrograph. This one features relief pitcher Will Cunnane, a former member of the Padres, Brewers, Cubs, and Braves.

Will played parts of eight seasons in the Majors and he made 184 appearances, 12 of which were starts. In those 184 games, he was 13-12 with a 5.26 ERA, 3 saves, and 234 strikeouts. 2004 was his last season in the Majors, though he still kept at it in the minors until 2008. He finished his career with the Newark Bears of the Atlantic League. It seems like quite a few of the players that I have signed 1998 cards of ended up in the Atlantic League.

I don't have too many cards from the '98 UD set. When I first got them, I loved the look of them. Now I am not too sure about them, but they are not bad.

Monday, December 28, 2009

1998 Topps, Dave Martinez

#134 Dave Martinez

Here is a card that I got signed by Dave Martinez this past September in Baltimore. The Rays were in town that day and Dave is their bench coach.

Dave seems like a great signer. I have asked him to sign for me twice and each time I came away happy. He signed three cards for me in '08 in Kansas City and another two or three cards for me in Baltimore this year. You can see one of the '08 cards here which links to the rest of the ones I got that year.

Dave has an interesting signature. His first name isn't exactly readable, but if you know who it is from, you can kind of see that it probablty says Dave. I can't say that for his last name. His last name looks more like Egyptian hieroglyphics than Martinez.

As for '98 Topps, they do not seem like anything special to me. Plus, their '99 cards have the same color border as these do which is kind of a negative for me. At least the '99 cards have less foil. But I must point out that these cards scan much better than most cards with foil on them. I guess that that is a positive.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

1998 Topps, Kevin Brown

#6 Kevin Brown

Here is a card of the six-time All Star, Kevin Brown. I got this card signed through the mail, most likely in 1998. This was either the last or next to last ttm return that I had for about seven years (Sandy Alomar Jr. was the other one).

Looking back, I am kind of surprised that I got this card returned and signed. At the time, Kevin was one of the premeir pitchers in the game. From 1996-1999, Kevin was 69-35 with a 2.51 ERA. During that time, he never threw less than 233 innings or had an ERA over 3.00. Plus, he struck out over 200 batters in three out of the four years.

For his career, Kevin had 211 wins with a 3.28 ERA and 2.397 strikouts. He played for the Rangers, Orioles, Marlins, Padres, Dodgers, and Yankees. He made six All Star teams, pitched in two World Series, and was a Wolrd Champion with the 1997 Florida Marlins.

Unfortunately, all of his highlights may ultimately be overshadowed by a couple of negatives. In 1998, he signed a 7 year/105 million dollar contract with the Dodgers, only to have three healthy seasons with them. Then, at the end of 2007, his name came up in the Mitchell Report.

It will be interesting to see how Kevin Brown is remembered twenty years from now.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

1998 Team Best, Ryan Minor

#31 Ryan Minor

Here is a cool minor league card that I won in a contest last year. The contest was held by the Paul, of Paul's Random Stuff, and all I had to do was answer a simple question. I had name all of the professional teams that drafted Ryan. The trick to the question was the Ryan was also drafted by the Philadelphia 76ers of the NBA. He obviously chose the baseball route instead.

His playing career lasted ten seasons. During that time, he got into 142 Major League games in a four year span with the Orioles and Expos. He only hit .177 in those games with 5 home runs. The Dodgers even experimented with using him as a pitcher, but that plan was short-lived. After a few seasons of playing and coaching in the Atlantic League, Ryan is now the batting coach for the Delmarva Shorebirds.

Ultimately, Ryan will probably be remembered as the guy that replaced Cal Ripken Jr. when Cal decided to end the streak.

I thought that it was kind of neat that he is now coaching the same team that he is playing for on this card. Obviously, the Shorebirds are still around and they are still affilated with the O's.

Friday, December 25, 2009

1998 Pacific Online, Greg Myers

#645 Greg Myers

Here is a Padrograph from Rod. This one features Greg Myers on a Pacific Online card. This is my only card from that set and I know nothing about them. I don't know if they were available online or if they are called that because of the web address that were printed on the top. It is hard to believe that in 1998, just over ten years ago, the internet was still a relatively new thing.

I remember Greg Myers, but mostly just by name. I was shocked when I looked at his stats and saw that he played in the Majors for parts of 18 seasons. Throughout his career, he was primarily a backup catcher. There were only three seasons when he appeared in over 100 games. He spent time with the Blue Jays, Angels, Twins, Braves, Padres, Orioles, and A's. He appeared in two World Series games with the Padres in 1998 and four more with the Braves the following year. He was 2-10 in the two Series with one RBI.

2003 was his last full season in the Majors. That year, he appeared in 121 games (a career high) and he hit .307 with the Jays. That was the only time he ever hit over .300. He only appeared in 14 more games the following two seasons. He didn't play in the minors at all during that time, so I can only guess that he must have been hurt.

Still, I think that it is pretty cool that he had a career year in '03 at the age of 37. He had career highs in every major offensive stat except for doubles and triples. He is a career .255 hitter and without his 2003 stats, his career average probably would have been under .250.

I hope that everyone is having a great Christmas!!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

1998 Donruss, Jose Silva

#248 Jose Silva

Sorry about the lack of a post yesterday, but work has been knocking me down lately. Christmas is going to be my first day off since last Tuesday and I needed some time to recharge the batteries. I was going to skip todays post as well, but I feel a little refreshed after a nice two hour nap.

Here is a card of Jose Silva that the Troll sent me this summer. Jose played in the Majors for seven years with the Blue Jays, Pirates, and Reds. He was a reliever most of that time and he has a career ERA of 5.41 with 4 saves. Jose made his Major League debut in 1996 and none of his Major League stats really stands out to me.

The one thing that does stand out is that Jose is still pitching professionally. Since 2004, Jose has been pitching in the Mexican League. He has spent the last four seasons with Monterrey and he saved 18 games for them last season. He is even pitching in the Mexican Winter League right now with the Tomateros de Culiacan. I have never taken Spanish, but I'm pretty sure that he is playing for the Culiacan Tomatos. There are just not enough professional teams around anymore that are named after fruits or vegetables.

I hope everyone has a Merry Christmas tomorrow!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

1998 Collector's Choice, Jamey Wright

#364 Jamey Wright

This is the second card that Jamey signed for me by the Royals parking lot back in April. That was the day I drove three hours to the ballpark, froze my butt off for three hours getting autographs, and then drove three hours home. I wasn't prepared for the unpleasant weather during the day and I did not want to put up with it that night. That was my only Royals parking lot autograph experience this past season.

I would say a little more about Jamey here, but I have one more card of him to post and I'll save it for that. It's late and these extra-long hours I've been working are starting to take their tole on me.

But, on a bright note, I got my first Christmas present of the year and I am ecstatic to say that I have a new oldest signed card. It is so old that it almost beat my former oldest signed card by a decade. I thought about posting it tonight, but I'll go ahead and finish off the '98s before I post it.

Speaking of "new oldest signed card", that phrase just sounds so awkward that I may have to copyright it.

I'm not sure if I mentioned it before, but I like Collector's Choice. I'm just kidding; I say it on about every other card I post about it. I haven't completely lost my mind yet.

Monday, December 21, 2009

1998 Collector's Choice, Jamie Navarro

#336 Jamie Navarro

Here is another card that the Troll sent to me. He sent this one along a couple of months ago with the Jared Sandberg card.

Jamie pitched for twelve seasons with the Brewers, Cubs, White Sox, and Indians. He was 116-126 for his career with a 4.72 ERA. He was mostly a starter and he won a career high 17 games with the Brewers in 1992. He pitched in over 200 innings a year six times and he recorded 32 complete games. As a Cub in 1996, he had 158 strikeouts which was also a career high.

He made his final Major League appearance in 2000, but his career wasn't quite over yet. In 2001, he pitched for Newark of the Atlantic League. It looks like he sat out of the '02 season, but he made a comeback in 2003. That year, he 17 games with Newark, 2 games with the Louisville Bats, and 5 games with Oaxaca of the Mexican League. That was his final season playing professional ball.

I like this card since the picture is of him signing autographs. Those are always good cards to have signed. But, one thing kind of freaks me out. That is the hand in the top left. If you click on the scan, you might see what I'm talking about. The hand looks kind of shapeless since you can't see any fingers from that angle. If even appears that Jamie is kind of looking at strangely, like he is trying to figure out what is going on with it. Or, maybe I have just been working too much lately.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

1998 Bowman Chrome, Jeff Wallace

#106 Jeff Wallace

The final 1998 Bowman card is from the Collective Troll. This one is of former reliever Jeff Wallace, who spent three seasons with the Bucs and one with the Devil Rays. In 137 innings of work, Jeff was 3-3 with a 4.20 ERA.

It looks like the Pirates mainly used him as a left-handed specialist. He appeared in 90 games with them and pitched 86.2 innings. In his one season with Tampa Bay, he made 29 appearances (one was a start) and pitched in 50.1 innings. His ERA that season was 3.40. That was the lowest of his career since his brief 11 appearance rookie year. It seems strange that a season like that would be the last time he pitched in the Majors.

The Red Sox claimed Jeff off of waivers after that season and he pitched in 24 games the following minor league season. He appears to have hung them up after that.

Interestingly, Jeff was originally drafted by the Royals. He was sent to the Pirates in the deal that brought Jay Bell and Jeff King to Kansas City.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

1998 Bowman, Kevin Nicholson

#338 Kevin Nicholson

Here is another Padrograph from Rod. This one features Kevin Nicholson. Kevin got into 37 games for the Padres in 2000 and he hit .216 with 1 home run. The homer was off of Ron Villone.

Kevin was a first round pick of the Padres in 1997. He quickly moved up through the ranks and was in the Majors in 2000. Unfortunately, that was his only taste of big league action. He spent the next four seasons in the minors with the Padres, Rockies, Cardinals, and Pirates organizations.

In 2004, his last season of affiliated baseball, this Vancouver native represented his country in the Athens Olympics. Canada finished fourth after losing the bronze medal game to a Japanese team that included Kosuke Fukudome, Kenji Jojima, Daisuke Matsuzaka, and Hiroki Kuroda. That was Canada's first and only appearance in the Olympic tournament.

Kevin spent 2005 and 2006 with the Somerset Patriots of the Atlantic League. Those would be his final two seasons of professional ball.

I have one more '98 Bowman card coming up tomorrow. So far for this set, I have had two from the Collective Troll and two from Padrographs. Whose is going to take the fifth and final game tomorrow?

Friday, December 18, 2009

1998 Bowman, Buddy Carlyle

#315 Buddy Carlyle

Continuing the trend, here is another card that was sent to me by another blogger. Since this one is of a Padre, you have probably already figured out that it is from Mr. Padrograph, Rod.

This one features journeyman pitcher Buddy Carlyle. Buddy's career has taken him from the Reds to the Padres to the Hanshin Tigers in Japan to the Royals to the Yankees to the Dodgers to the Marlins and to the Braves. He was even sold to the LG Twins of the Korean League. But I can't find any stats for him there, so I'm not sure if he actually pitched for them.

With all of the organizations he pitched for, he only pitched in the Majors with the Padres, Dodgers, and Braves. The Braves picked him up in 2007 and threw him into the starting rotation when they started losing pitchers to injuries. In 20 starts and two relief appearances, he went 8-7 with a 5.21 ERA. He pitched out of the pen in '08 and he had a 3.59 ERA in 62.2 innings of work. In 2009, however, Buddy had a 8.86 ERA over 16 outings. He became a free agent after the season and will be heading back to Japan next year as a member of the Nippon Ham Fighters.

This is a pretty cool card with the US map in the background. I have no idea if this is an insert or if it is a seperate set. Buddy is from Omaha and you can clearly see Omaha on the map. You can even see where I live on it. You can't make out the name, but it is the dot to the left of Manhattan, Kansas.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

1998 Bowman, Chad Hermansen

#168 Chad Hermansen

Here is another card from the Troll. This one was part of the first package he sent me when he had already given away the Royals '87 Donruss Opening Day team set.

This is the second Chad Hermansen autograph that I have. I got the first one in a pack of 1995 Classic 5 Sport. The great thing about this autograph is that you can actually see it. The one on the 5 Sport is on such a dark area of the card that you can barely make it out. So this is a definite upgrade. Plus, I like how the out of focus ball is in the picture. That's a nice touch.

Since this is a signed Pirates card, I am going to guess that the Troll got it signed at a Spring Training game.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

1998 Bowman, Jared Sandberg

#78 Jared Sandberg

This is the first of five '98 Bowman cards on here and this one came from the Collective Troll. This one features Ryne Sandberg's nephew, Jared. The Troll sent me this card and one other '98 card at the end of September, along with some assorted Royals and '81 Donruss.

Jared was taken in the 16th round of the 1996 draft by the Devil Rays. I am assuming that that was the first year they drafted. Anyway, Jared's pro career got off to a slow start and he didn't get above A ball until his fifth season. In his sixth season, though, he got a call up to St. Petersburg and he appeared in 39 games for the D-Rays, hitting .2o6 with a home run and 15 RBI. He got into 102 games the next season and he hit .229 with 18 homers. It seems that his one problem was strikeouts. That season, he struck out 139 times in 358 at-bats. The following season would be his last as a Major Leaguer and he went on to hit .213 with 6 home runs in 55 games.

He spent all of the next season with the Rays AAA affiliate before they granted him free agency. He spent the next three seasons playing for three AA teams and one independent team. His final season was 2007 as a member of the Royals AA affiliate in Wichita. I went to a few games in Wichita that season, but I do not remember seeing Jared.

This is the very first Devil Rays card on here.

With the Troll's autographs, I usually guess wrong on how he got them. But, it is still fun to do. I think that he got this one in person, maybe after an interview.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

1998 Best, Braden Looper

NN Braden Looper

This card of former reliever/now starter, Braden Looper, is one of the few cards from 1998 that wasn't sent to me by another blogger. In fact, I got this card in one of the strangest places. You know those packages of cards from Target that has 100 random cards in it and a couple of junk wax packs? I actually bought one of those once and I got this card in it. I was so happy about it that I went and bought another one. I wasn't so lucky on the second one and I never bought any more.

Looper, a Wichita State alum, used to close for the Marlins and Mets. As a Met in 2004, he recorded a career high 29 saves. He then went to St. Louis and pitched in relief for a year before Tony LaRussa decided to turn him into a starter. He has started since 2007 and his numbers aren't that great. He is 38-33 with a 4.76 ERA and 295 strikeouts. His career ERA is 4.15, so it was probably under 4 as a reliever.

This is actually my fourth card that I have posted of the Prince William Cannons. The previous three were of Yankee farmhands. This one is from their affiliation with the Cardinals.

I probably don't have to say it because it is so obvious, but I will anyway. Braden Looper has one of the worst signatures that I have ever seen.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

1997 Score, Rafael Bournigal

#305 Rafael Bournigal

This is the last Score card from 1997. It is hard for me to believe that I actually have three cards from the set signed. At this time last year, I didn't have one.

This card came to me from the Collective Troll. It was in the lot of cards that he sent me when he realized that he had already given out the Royals Donruss Opening Day teamset. Since someone had already claimed the Royals, he sent me some autographs instead. I think I came out better with the autographs, so I have no complaints.

Rafael played in the Majors for seven seasons with the Dodgers, A's, and M's. He was just a part time player throughout his career and the most games he got into in a season was 88 with the A's in 1996. He was a career .251 hitter that had 4 homers. The one stat of his that stands out is his strikeouts. He had 932 at-bats, but only 64 strikeouts. Unfortunately, he only amassed 59 walks. I guess he just went to the plate swinging (and making contact).

The Score set has an interesting look to it. It is pretty bland by Score's standards. The white borders don't bother me too much, but the one thing I do not like about them is the lower-case font. That probably annoys me more than anything.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

1997 Score, Fred McGriff

#172 Fred McGriff

Just like the Sandy Alomar card a couple of days ago, this is the second McGriff card that I have posted on here. The first one was posted back in January and it was a Padrograph like Alomar's.

This one, on the other hand, came to me from the ladies at Dinged Corners. I had sent them a huge David Wright poster from work and they sent me a couple of autographs and some Royals cards as a thank you. The other card was of Scott Sanderson, so this one was the better of the two.

Unlike the Alomar card, I hadn't already had McGriff's autograph before being sent one. So, I feel pretty fortunate that two other bloggers had the kindness to send me a couple. And for me, it is always a bonus when I have two of a player on two different teams.

Last year I had sent the Crime Dog a few cards to sign and I never got them back. So that just makes these two extra special.

Friday, December 11, 2009

1997 Score, Brian McRae

#99 Brian McRae

This is the sixth and final (so far) Brian McRae card that I have posted on here. I got this card signed this past spring at the Spring into Sports youth baseball clinic. I had another card of Brian that I got signed at the event, but I sent it to Paul since it was on a Mets card.

Brian is set to appear at Royals Fanfest next month. I think that I have one more card of him that I want signed (two if I can find another Mets card of him). When Fanfest comes, there are going to be a handful of players that I already have a ton of autographs from. I think that I will try to get some cards signed for some other bloggers with those players. Let me know if you might be interested.

So, just to recap, here are all the previous B-Mac cards I have had on here.

#1- A nice Spring Training shot on a '91 Leaf.

#2- A nice posed shot on the old Royals Stadium astroturf, courtesy of '91 Topps.

#3- Another Spring Training batting picture from '92 Donruss. But this one has Brian seemingly leaping over a pitch in a single bound.

#4- A nice-looking '92 Stadium Club of Brian heading to first in powder blue.

#5- A '95 Leaf card of Brian as a Cub.

I like the photo on this card (I know another blogger that might like it as well and it isn't the Night Owl). The photo seems real clean and crisp. It also appears that Brian has come to a stop. It must have been a quick play (like scoring from third on a groundball) since it seems that there wasn't enough time to get the bat out of the way.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

1997 Collector's Choice, Sandy Alomar Jr.

#93 Sandy Alomar Jr.

I got this card signed through the mail in either 1997 or '98. It was either the last or next to last success I had for about eight years.

Incidentally, this is not the first Junior Alomar card that I have posted on here. I posted the first one almost a year ago. That one was on a '90 Fleer card that was given to me by Rod of Padrographs. It's kind of cool to have two signed cards from him on two different teams.

If I said it once, I've said it twice, but I really liked Collector's Choioce. If Upper Deck would have released some CC sets in the last couple of years instead Upper Deck X, maybe they would still have a Major League liscense. It's unlikely, but you never know.

If you compare the two signatures of Sandy that I have, you'll see that they are very similar. The only difference is that the first one was signed on a vertical card and he signed his last name under his first. This one is horizontal and he had enough room to put his two names side by side. It's good to see that he took advantage of the extra space provided by the horizontal card. Most players would just sign it the same or just sign it like it was a vertical card.

1997 Cal/Car All-Stars, George Lombard

#35 George Lombard

Sorry for the super-late post, but I've had a long day today. For starters, I ended up having to work three and half hours longer than I was supposed to. To make the day even worse, I stayed up too late last night and got up too early today. Then throw in the fact that I am getting a cold and you might begin to see how my day was. I came home from work and ate and then fell asleep on the couch watching hockey.

I'm up now, so here is a post for George Lombard.

This is another card that Paul, from Paul's Random Stuff, got signed for me at an Atlantic League game this past summer. George was playing for the Ducks at the time.

George has been playing pro ball since 1994. I thought that he was a career minor leaguer, but I was wrong. He has appeared in 144 Major League games with the Braves, Tigers, Devil Rays, and Nationals. Half of those games came in 2002 as a member of the Tigers. For his career, he is a .220 hitter who has 77 hits and 111 strikeouts.

He has also played at the AAA level with Boston, Florida, Los Angeles, and Cleveland. He played in 8 games this past year with the Columbus Clippers before moving to the Atlantic League. With the Ducks, he hit .343 in 50 games with 11 homers and 49 RBI. I would think with a season like that, he will have a job somewhere next season.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

1997 Cal/Car All Stars, Mark DeRosa

#30 Mark DeRosa

I got this card signed this past April at the first Major League game I attended this year. Mark was with the Indians then and he signed all three of my cards during batting practice. I have four cards from this set signed, and this is by far the best one.

I find it hard to believe that Mark has been in the Majors since 1998. When I think of him, I don't think of a ten-year vet. He is a free agent this year and it will be interesting to see what king of deal he gets. He is a versatile player that can play anywhere in the infield and the corner outfield positions. He's good for 20 home runs and 75 RBI, but he will be turning 35 in February. I really don't see him getting more than a three year deal, but you never know.

I didn't notice it on the first two cards from this set I posted, but it is pretty obvious on this card. Whoever made this set decided to tilt all of the pictures so the they are aligned with the reddish-orange border. I thought that they were trying to outdo some of the '70s Topps shots, but that doesn't appear to be the case.

As for the Durham Bulls, they are still around. But, they moved from high-A all the way up to AAA. You don't see that very often. I hear that it might have something to do with some movie.

Monday, December 7, 2009

1997 Cal/Car All Stars, John Mizerock

#26 John Mizerock

I got this card signed in '08 at a Royals game. John was the Royals bullpen coach at the time and I got this card signed by the bullpen while John was smoking a cigarette (actually, I got it right after he smoked it). He signed all three cards for me and a fourth at a later date. I'm not sure which is which now, but you can see them here, here, and here.

I like how this sets reverses the colors for the two leagues. I also like cards of players/coaches signing autographs. Those are fun cards to have signed.

John was the manager of the Wilmington Blue Rocks in this card. They are still playing in the Carolina League and they are still affiliated with the Royals, though they were not for a few years. John managed at every level for the Royals and was even an interim manager in Kansas City once. He won at every level and has even been a base coach for the big league club. But for some reason, Dayton Moore and Trey Hillman thought that he was best suited for a bullpen coach. That is until this season ended and they decided they need a former pitcher for a bullpen coach. So, for the first time in a while, John is no longer a part of the Royals organization. I wish him the best of luck.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

1997 California/Carolina League All Stars, Tim Garland

#7 Tim Garland

This is the second card that I got signed by Tim Garland at a Lancaster JetHawks game in 2008. Tim was the visiting Stockton Ports batting coach at the time. I got the first card signed prior to the game. I bought this set and a couple of other for cheap right before the game started. This was by far the best set that I bought as there are many established Major League players in it. I was also pleasantly surprised to find this card of Tim in there as well. I was able to get this card signed after the game.

In 1997, Tim stole 85 bases and earned himself a spot on the California League All-Star team. The only problem with that was that he was about 27-years old at the time. That is kind of up there for a high-A player.

Tim seems to have had an on and off career. There are a few gaps in his stats. Read the first post to see what I mean. Make sure you check out the comments on it, too. I sure I will get some great comments on this one in a few months from my favorite anonymous commenter.

Tim is representing the San Jose Giants in this card. The SJ Giants are still alive and kicking in the California League.

I have no idea who made this set. There is no copyright data on the back or anything.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

1997 Bowman Chrome, Heath Murray

#270 Heath Murray

Here is another Padrograph. This is the third Padrograph so far for my '97 cards. Heath got more Major League playing time than the first, Joe Long. But his brief career doesn't come close to matching the second's, Matt Clement.

Heath was a third round draft choice of the Padres, coming from the University of Michigan. After four seasons in the minors, Heath got his first taste of Major League action. Between 1997 and 2003, Heath appeared in 88 games, mostly in relief, with the Padres, Tigers, and Indians. He has a career record of 2-15 with a 6.41 ERA. He recorded 94 strikeouts in 158.2 innings and he also walked 94 batters. 2002 was his last season playing ball.

Does anyone know if this is the first Bowman Chrome set? Unlike the newer sets, I think that you could actually tell the difference between the chrome and regular sets in 1997. They look to be numbered one to whatever and do not have all the crazy letters in front of the numbers like Bowman now does. When I finally get to the newer sets, I will probably just do them all together. That way I won't have to bother finding out if a card is from the chrome set or if it is a chrome card inserted into the base set.

Friday, December 4, 2009

1997 Bowman, Jamey Wright

#403 Jamey Wright

Here is a card that I got signed back in April. I had the day off on a Monday, so I went to Kansas City to get some autographs. I got to the ballpark around noon and stayed for about three hours. I was planning on going go to the game, but I was freezing after three hours in the parking lot and decided to go home. I got home in time to see the game on TV. I ended up missing a pretty good ballgame. But, I was warm, though.

Jamey was a starter for most of his career. He has spent time with the Rockies (twice), Brewers, Cardinals, Royals (twice), Giants, and Rangers. In 2006, the Giants started to use him as a reliever and the Rangers followed suit the following season. In his first year with the Rangers, he posted the best ERA of his career, 3.62. It jumped up to 5.12 in his second season and the Rangers let him walk. He signed with the Royals last off-season and posted a 4.33 ERA with them this past year. He is now a free agent.

Last week I posted a card of Scott Livingstone and talked about a crazy, come from behind win for the Rockies. Jamey Wright was the starter in that game for the Rox and he got rocked.

I got this card from

Thursday, December 3, 2009

1997 Bowman, Matt Clement

#207 Matt Clement

Here is another 1997 Bowman Padrograph. This one features Matt Clement, a guy I never think of as a Padre. If it wasn't from this card, I would probably be oblivious to the fact that he ever wore a Padres uniform. But, he did in fact make 67 starts for San Diego over two plus years. For some reason, I always picture him as a Cub. I think the reason for that is because of a game I saw him pitch on TV in 2002, his first season as a Cub. I was in college, so the game had to have been somewhat early in the season. But I remember it because the Cubs announcers (probably Chip Caray and Steve Stone) mentioned that he kind of looked like Abe Lincoln with a goatee instead of a beard. So to this day, when I think of Matt Clement, I think of Lincoln, too.

Matt was never a number one starter type. But, he was a great innings eater and you know that those are always in demand. The most wins he had in a season was 14 as a Cub in 2003. It was gaurenteed that he was going to strikeout at least 130 batters a year and he had a career high of 215 in '02. He had a career ERA of 4.47. Like I said, he wasn't number one starter material, but you can see why he would be in demand (although he would have been the Royals number one starter if he had played for them).

In 2006, Matt only made 12 starts for the Red Sox before having season ending shoulder surgery. He missed all of the next season rehablitating. Prior to 2008, the Cardinals signed him to a Major League contract and he was put on the disabled list before making an appearance in Spring Training. He was released by the Cards without having thrown one pitch for them. The Blue Jays signed him to minor league contract this past year. Matt failed to make the rotation out of Spring Training and retired.

According to Wikipedia, Matt is now the head basketball coach at the high school he attended.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

1997 Bowman, Joe Long

#152 Joe Long

He is a Padrograph from Joe Long. Joe made 8 relief appearances for the Padres in 1997. He pitched 11 innings and gave up 10 earned runs. He struck out 8, but he also walked 8. He had 1 wild pitch, gave up 1 home run (to Chris Widger), and hit 1 batter. But, he didn't have any balks.

That was the only taste of the Big Leagues that Joe ever got. He spent the next two years playing AAA for the Expos and Pirates. He played for Newark, of the Atlantic League, in 2000 and then hung them up after that season.

This card would have been a really good looking card if Topps would not have put the flag on it backwards. Good job, Topps.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

1997 Best Lancaster Jethawks, Jim Slaton

#2 Jim Slaton

Believe it or not, this is actually the third Jim Slaton card that I have posted on here. I got all three cards signed at an Oklahoma Redhawks game in '08 while Jim was the pitching coach for the Las Vegas 51s. The first two cards were posted in this blog's infancy over a year ago. The first one was posted in August of '08 and the second one was done in October of '08. So far, that is the biggest gap between cards that were signed together.

I didn't say much about Jim in the first two Jim Slaton posts, so I will take care of that now. Jim had a 16-year career with the Brewers, Tigers, and Angels. He made one All Star team as a Brewer in 1977 as he went on to record a career high 17 wins. After the season, the Brew Crew shipped him to Detroit for Ben Oglivie and then was able to sign as a free agent the following season. He had a career 4.03 ERA and he is the Brewers all-time leader in wins, innings, starts, and shutouts. He started coaching after his playing days and he was still the Dodgers AAA pitching coach this past season.

As for this card, I got the team set for cheap at a Lancaster JetHawks game last year. The 'Hawks revamped their logo prior to last season and they were trying to get rid of anything with an old logo on it in their gift shop. So I was able to pick up two or three old JetHawk team sets and a California/Carolina League All Star set for a buck or two each. It is hard for me to believe that it takes a logo change to drop the prices of old team sets. It amazes me that some teams keep trying to sell five to ten year old team sets for the usual eight or nine dollars. You would think that they would drop the price after a year or two.