Friday, April 30, 2010

2002 Topps, Dave Veres

#497 Dave Veres

Here is a card that was sent to me from Paul around Christmas-time last year. It features the former ten-year Major League veteran, Dave Veres.

Dave pitched for the Astros, Expos, Rockies, Cardinals, and Cubs during his career. He never started a game, but he finished 284 of them. In 1999, he recorded a career high of 31 saves for the Rockies. The amazing part about that is that he did that while posting a career worst ERA of 5.14.

Following that season, Dave was packaged together with Darryl Kile and sent to the Cardinals. He saved 29 games during his first season in St. Louis, but he lost his closer role over the next two years and only recorded 19 saves in that span. He spent three seasons with the Cardinals and he appeared in 71 games each season. I wonder if Tony LaRussa did that on purpose.

He signed with the Cubs in 2003 and ended up splitting the season between Chicago and Des Moines. He then spent all of 2004 playing for the Giants AAA team. He seems to have retired after that for two seasons. He then re-appeared for five games with the Rockies AAA team in 2007 and 2008 was spent with the York Revolution of the Atlantic League. He did not play at all last year and his career is likely over. He career numbers are 36-35 with a 3.44 ERA and 95 saves. Not too shabby.

Dave has a stylish and unique signature. I like it.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

2002 Topps, Kyle Farnsworth

#486 Kyle Farnsworth

Out of the seven 2002 Topps cards that I have signed, this is the only one that I was able to acquire on my own. I got this signed at Royals Fanfest last year, shortly after Kyle became a Royal. I had three cards of him in my book, but he only signed this one and it looks like he signed it with a Sharpie that was left over from the year before.

So far, this is the only Kyle Farnsworth autograph that I have. I saw him a couple of times last year in the parking lot, but he was pitching so poorly that I didn't even bother asking him to sign. It may be like that again this year if he continues to suck like he has in the first month.

Amazingly, Kyle has more strikeouts than innings pitched (coming into this season). He does throw hard and he can overpower batters. The only problem is that you can't put him into a game that matters. He's lights-out in blowouts. But if it's a one run game, or even tied, forget about it. It is almost guaranteed that he will squander the lead. I hope that he is able to turn that around this year because the Royals bullpen is awful and they need all the help that they can get.

Luckily, whenever I think of Kyle Farnsworth, I will always think of this rather than how bad a pitcher he has been for the Royals.

Today's word of the day, courtesy of Steve Stone: racky-tacked

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

2002 Topps, D'Angelo Jimenez

#428 D'Angelo Jimenez

Here is the final '02 Topps Padrograph and it is of D'Angelo Jimenez. Jimenez played for eight seasons with the Yankees, Padres, White Sox, Reds, Rangers, A's, and Nationals. He was basically a utitlity infielder (that doesn't look right, but an utility infielder doesn't sound right) with the exception of his 2004 season with the Reds. That year, he played in 152 games which was almost twice as many as he has played in before or since. He hit .270 that year with 12 home runs, 67 RBI, and a .990 fielding percentage at second base.

2007 was the last year he spent in the Majors. He did play last year, however, and he split his time between the Mexican League and the Newark Bears of the Atlantic League. I'm not sure if he is playing this year or not.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

2002 Topps, Jake Gautreau

#328 Jake Gautreau

Here is another Padrograph from Rod. This one features a former Padre first round pick, Jake Gautreau.

Jake was an All-American at Tulane in 2001 before being drafted by the Padres with the 14th pick in the draft. He signed quickly and made his professional debut with the Eugene Emeralds shortly afterwards. He hit .309 for them before earning a late-season promotion to the AAA club. He went 2-7 for them to finish out his first pro season.

He spent the following season, 2002, playing for the Padres high-A team, Lake Elsinore. He hit .268 with them and was moved up to AA in 2003. He spent all of '03 with the Mobile Bay Bears and hit .242. He ended up repeating AA in 2004, but evetually got promoted up to AAA for 48 games where he hit .274. According to the Baseball Cube, he even got traded twice on the same day that year. On July 30th, he is listed as being traded to the Rangers and then traded back to the Padres. I do not know what to make of that. I wonder if the trade got voided because of an injury. Unfortunately, it doesn't list who he was traded for.

While that trade might have fallen through, the next one didn't. That off-season, Jake was traded to the Indians. He spent two seasons with them and he hit .253 the first season and .194 the second season (both with the Tribe's AAA club). He was then traded to the Mets early in the '07 season and he hit .226 with them in 62 games before getting released. It looks like 2008 was his last season playing ball and that year was spent with the Ft. Worth Cats of the American Association.

Monday, April 26, 2010

2002 Topps, Travis Wade

#320 Travis Wade

Here is a card that was sent to me last year by Paul, of Paul's Random Stuff. It features Travis Wade. Travis has never played in the Majors, but he did make it up to AAA. That's not bad for a guy that went undrafted.

According to the Baseball Cube, Travis went to college at Eastern Michigan. He must not have played there since he made his pro debut with the Kalamazoo Wings of the Frontier League at the age of 18. He only made two appearances for them that year and he ended up playing for a couple of teams in the Texas-Lousiana League the following year. He must have impressed a scout there because the Astros signed him the following season.

Travis played in the Astros organization for four seasons and he pitched in 27 AAA games in 2002. The Astros released him before the 2003 season and he was picked up by the Giants and assigned to their AA team. He pitched there for one season before being let go.

After that, Travis has been a mainstay in the Atlantic League. He pitched for the Newark Bears from 2004-2006. He then pitched for the Long Island Ducks for a year and a half before moving to the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs for a half season. Last year, he split time with the York Revolution and the Victoria Seals of the Golden Baseball League. I have no idea if he is pitching this season or not.

This signature on this card is hard to make out because it is so dark. But, this is pretty much the only mainstream card available of Travis Wade, so I can't complain (not that I would complain about a free autograph). As always, thanks Paul.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

2002 Topps, Bobby Jones

#17 Bobby Jones

Here is the first of seven cards from the 2002 Topps set. Out of the seven, I got one of them signed myself. The rest were given to me by Paul and Rod. This one is obviously a Padrograph and is from Rod.

This is not the first Bobby Jones autograph. I got my first one TTM in the early 1990s. I posted it almost a year and a half ago and it can be seen here. The coolest thing about the two cards is the evolution of Bobby's autograph. The signature on this card and the signature on first card vary greatly.

The signature on this card basically looks like "BS". I'm not saying it is a fake autograph, I'm saying that his signature isn't much more than a "B" and an "S" (that is supposed to be a "J"). The signature on the older card looks like "Bay" and then you really can't make out a last name. But, the first letter of his last name looks very similar to what I call the "S" on this card. The "B" changed a bit over time, but his "J" that looks like a "S" is bascailly the same. It's always cool to see how a player's signature evolves over time.

Whenever I see a card from this set, I always think it is a gold card. Did Topps make gold cards for this set and, if they did, were they very noticable from the base cards?

Friday, April 23, 2010

2002 Fleer Tradition, Ramiro Mendoza

#292 Ramiro Mendoza

Here is a card that Paul, of Paul's Random Stuff, got signed for me last year at a Newark Bears game. Last summer, Paul got more Atlantic League autographs than he knew what to do with. So, rather than going to the games and not getting autographs, he offered to get some cards signed for his readers. I had just got this card in a repack box around that time, so I sent it to him even though he said not to send him any cards of pitchers. Luckily, Paul came through for me and I now have this card to show for it.

Is it just me, or did Ramiro just fall off the map? It seemed like he was a very good reliever for the Yankees in the late '90s/early 2000s. Or maybe I just heard his name too much since the Yankees were always in the World Series then. Either way, it just seems like he has not been the same since he left the Bronx and signed with the Red Sox.

Ramiro is not on the Newark Bears roster this year and I do not know if he is playing for anyone else.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

2002 Fleer Tradition, Xavier Nady

#243 Xavier Nady

Here is a second Xavier Nady card that was given to me by Rod, of Padrographs. The first one was posted about a week ago. Rod sent me a few Padrograph doubles and for some reason, I kept both Nady cards and gave away the other doubles. Why I kept the two Nady cards, I do not know. Maybe I kept them because they were the only signed cards I had at the time by a player whose first name begins with an "X". I don't know.

I really like this Fleer Tradition set. It has a nice Goudey feel to it, even though Upper Deck's Goudey is still a few years away. I also like the post-9/11 American flag that they added to the front. That is a very nice touch. Overall, these are great looking cards that are perfect for atuographs. I just wish that I had more of them signed.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

2002 Fleer Focus JE, Damian Rolls

#187 Damian Rolls

Here is a card that I got signed in Kansas City last summer. I got it at Community America Ballpark while Damian was playing for the Kansas City T-Bones of the Northern League. I got the card signed shortly after getting to the ballpark after Damian was talking with a group of people off of the concourse. I intercepted him when he was making his way to the clubhouse and he signed all three cards for me. Like Mitch Wylie, he was very talkative.

This makes the list as one of my favorite autographs. The reason for that is because Damian is the only Major League ballplayer that I have ever played against. We played one game against each other in the 1994 American Legion Kansas state tournament. I was supposed to play against him one other time in 1996, but he left his team after getting drafted.

For the game we did play, I do not remember him at all. In fact, I had no idea who he was until he got drafted and some of the guys on the team remembered him. The only thing I remembered was that we won the game and advanced to the finals. But, it is still fun to say that I played against Damian Rolls.

Damian retired from playing after last season and he is now the T-Bones hitting coach.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

2002 Donruss Rookies, Mitch Wylie

#74 Mitch Wylie

Here is the third and final 2002 Donruss Rookies card that I have signed. The first one featured a guy that played in just over a hundred Major League games. The second had a guy that pitched in 11 Major League games. This one features a player that never played in the Majors.

I got this card signed last season in Wichita, Kansas while Mitch was playing for the St. Paul Saints of the American Association. The clubhouses at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium are located behind the left field fence for both teams, so it is a good place to get autographs since all of the players have to cross the field to get to the dugouts.

On the particular game that I went to, I got all of my Saints cards signed along the left field line except for my three Mitch Wylie cards. I think he might have been walking to the dugout with Kerry Lightenberg, but I was more focused on Kerry than Mitch. So, I went down by the dugout to look for him and I wasn't having much luck. I ended up asking one of the more friendlier players that I got an autograph from where Mitch was and he said that he was in the dugout and offered to grab him for me. I took him up on that offer and and he fetched Mitch for me.

When he did that, he got a dirty look from Mitch. Mitch slowly got up and came over to me as I asked him for a few autographs. Based on the look he gave his teammate, I wasn't expecting many pleasantries while he was signing. But, out of the blue, he asked me if I was from Wichita. I told him that I live about eighty miles north of town and he wondered if I go to many games there. I told him that I didn't make it to too many games because the organization seemed kind of childish and bush-league. He agreed with me and I went on to tell him how the team was ran by the local minor league hockey outfit and that they present the ballgame the way they do their hockey games. I ended up talking to him for a few minutes after he signed and I must say that it was a good conversation. It was certainly better that I ever would have expected by the look he gave his teammate.

Monday, April 19, 2010

2002 Donruss Rookies, Jeremy Hill

#57 Jeremy Hill

Here is another card that was given to me by Paul, of Paul's Random Stuff. Paul has sent me at least twenty autographed cards, but this one is different from all of the rest. This is the only card that he has sent me of a player whose autograph I already had. I didn't get the autograph in Kansas City; I had to drive a little further for it. But, that is a story for another time (like when I get to the 2003 cards).

Jeremy only pitched in the Majors for parts of two seasons (2002-2003). He pitched in 11 games and has a career ERA of 3.48 with 8 strikeouts and 8 walks in 10.1 innings. The Royals traded him to the Mets at the deadline in 2003 and he hasn't been able to claw his way back up to the Majors yet.

I'm guessing that Paul got this card signed in 2006 while Jeremy was pitching for the Newark Bears. Jeremy then missed all of 2007 and pitched in Mexico in 2008. Last year, he was able to latch on with the Angels system and he is currently pitching for their AAA team in Salt Lake City. It would be great to see him called up at some point this year just because of the fact that not too many people who pitch in independent leagues and Mexico can climb their way back to the Majors.

I just learned from The Baseball Cube that Jeremy was originally drafted as a catcher. After hitting under .200 in his fifth season in the minors, he switched over to pitching in 2001 and made his Major League debut a year later.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

2002 Donruss Rookies, Julius Matos

#52 Julius Matos

Here is a Padrograph that I really like. The reason I like it so much is because it is of a former Royal. I never got Julius' signature while he was with Kansas City, so this card helps me out there. There have been a few Padrographs that Rod has sent me of guys that played for the Padres and the Royals. Those are a little bit more special to me, especially when it is of a player that I actually got to see play.

Julius only played two seasons in the Majors. He got into 76 games with the Padres in 2002 and 28 games with the Royals in 2003. He was a .244 career hitter that had 4 home runs and 26 RBI.

He played three more years in the minors, splitting time with the Montreal, Toronto, and San Diego organizations, as well as a brief stint with Winnipeg of the Northern League. 2006 was his last season in baseball.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

2002 Bowman Heritage, Jimmy Gobble

#158 Jimmy Gobble

Here is a card that I got signed in September of 2008. I got it signed hours before a Royals game when Jimmy arrived at the ballpark. Jimmy was always a pretty good signer. But since I hardly have any cards of him, I probably ended up with more signatures on baseballs than on cards. I think I only have two cards signed by him and the only reason that I have this card signed is because dayf sent it to me when I won a contest.

Jimmy is currently pitching for the Rockies AAA team in Colorado Springs. I think that he is a quality LOOGY and if used strictly as one, I think he can be competitive in the Majors. Just don't let him face any righties. Over the last two seasons, righties have hit .361 against him while he has held lefties to a .207 average.

I wish I was collecting cards when this set came out.

Friday, April 16, 2010

2002 Bowman, Mark Teahen

#BDP39 Mark Teahen

Most of my Mark Teahen autographs are on Royals cards. So, when I saw this card on, I knew I had to have it.

That was a year ago, while Mark was still a Royal. I got this card signed last May at a Royals game after they finished up their BP. Mark was one of the best signers on the Royals and he signed all three cards for me. The other two cards I got signed were some newer 2009 cards and Mark said "ooh, some new cards I haven't seen yet". It's always cool to show a player some cards of him that he hasn't seen. I'm guessing that this card wasn't one of them.

In 2006, Mark was the Opening Day thrid basemen for the Royals. He got off to a poor start and eventually found his way to Omaha for a stint. When he got called back up, he went on a tear and ended up with 18 home runs and 69 RBI, both career highs (in only 109 games as well). The next season, he only hit 7 homers and all the Royals fans were trying to figure out who Mark Teahen was. Was he the 18 homer guy or the 7 homer guy? Well, we eventually found that he is good for about a dozen a year and may even hit an occasional inside the parker.

Mark is now with the White Sox and, despite the low average (.227), he is off to a good start. He has more walks than hits and most of his hits have been for extra bases. I know it's early, but he has an OBP of .414 and an OPS of .914. Not bad for the nine-hole hitter.

When I think of Bowman, I usually think of black borders. I thought that way about this set as well until I looked closer at them. The corners on these cards are teal. While the borders are mostly black, I think that the teal corners are a nice touch. That way, when a corner gets dinged up, it's not as noticable as it would be with black corners. Just thought I would throw that out there. I haven't seen this year's Bowman yet, but it would be nice if they aren't as black as they have been.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

2002 Bowman, Xavier Nady

#426 Xavier Nady

Here is the second of three 2002 Bowman cards. I think that it is odd that the first two cards were given to me by two different people on differents sides of the country (this one is from Rod of Padrographs) and yet the cards are numbered 425 and 426. What are the odds of that?

Like I said, this card is a Padrograph. It is also one of the few cards that have been posted on this blog of a current player. Trust me, as the cards get more and more current, so will the players. Tomorrow's card is of a current player as well, but don't expect one every day from here on out.

I'm sure just about everyone knows who Xavier Nady is, so I'm not going to rehash his playing career. For those of you who do not remember, he missed most of last year because he needed Tommy John surgery and he is currently on the Cubs roster.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

2002 Bowman, Benito Baez

#425 Benito Baez

Here is the 2002 Bowman card that has been coming up for about a week now. It is another Atlantic League signature, coutesy of Paul. When I first got this card from him last year, I didn't realize that Benito pitched in eight Major League games. I just figured that out ten minutes ago. I figured that, like most Bowman cards of players that you never heard of, Benito ended up spending his entire career in the minors. Obviously, that is not the case here.

Benito made his Major League debut in August of 2001, his seventh season in pro ball. In his eight games, he threw 9.1 innings with a 13.50 ERA. He gave up 14 runs on 22 hits and 6 walks. But, on a positive note, he did strikeout 14 batters.

He must have blown out his arm during his cup of coffee. The next season, he only made five appearances with the Marlins GCL team. The season after that, he made three appearances with their Florida State League team. He ended up pitching for the Atlantic League's Road Warrior team the next two seasons and spent his final season pitching for the Newark Bears in 2008.

If you want to see a crazy-looking card, click on the Baseball Almanac link at the top (Benito's name) and look at the autograph that BA has on record from him.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

1989-90 Pacific Senior League, Willie Aikens

#147 Willie Aikens

Here is the second card that I got back from Willie Mays Aikens. It obviously turned out much better looking than the last one and he added a cool inscription. I think that this is the first card that I have gotten back that says "best of luck". Why he added an inscription to this one and not the other, I do not know. But, I am happy with the results nonetheless.

I'm going to keep this one short for now and try to get a 2002 Bowman up later tonight. The card does all the talking in this post.

Monday, April 12, 2010

1981 Donruss, Willie Aikens

#220 Willie Aikens

I know that I was supposed to start my 2002 cards today, but I had another SASE stuffed into my mailbox today. So, here is Willie Mays Aikens.

Aikens had a an eight year Major League career and he played for the Angels, Royals, and Blue Jays. He hit over 20 home runs three times and had a career high of 98 RBI in 1980, his first season in Kansas City. His claim to fame is being the first player to have two two-homer games in a World Series when he accomplished the feat during the 1980 Series. He was the only person to ever do that until Chase Utley duplicated the feat last year. I guess that having two multi-homer games in the World Series is a good way to lose since both the 1980 Royals and 2009 Phillies lost.

Unfortunately, Willie is probably more famous for his off the field issues than what he did on the field. In 1983, he was one of four Royals that were suspended (and then un-suspended) for attempting to purchase cocaine. Then, in 1994, he was sentenced to prison for over 20 years for selling an undercover police officer 50 grams of crack. He got released in the spring of 2008.

Shortly after his release, I saw Willie at a Royals game. The Rockies were in town and this guy came over by the dugout where I was getting cards signed. He was talking to Jamie Quirk and Clint Hurdle, both former Royals. I had no idea who he was until that fall when the Kansas City Star ran an article on him. Luckily, they had a picture of him or else I would never had known who I had seen.

It seems like the Royals and the community have taken Willie back. He was even on the field for Opening Day in Kansas City. I hope that continues and that Willie can get his life back on track.

I sent Willie two cards and he signed them both for me. This card would probably look better with a black Sharpie, but beggars can't be choosers. Unfortunately, both cards came back with creasing starting in the middle of the bottom edge extending more than half way up the left edge.

I'll post the second Aikens card tomorrow and I might start my 2002s tomorrow night, as well. Also, like Bill Virdon, Willie added his return address to the envelope.

It took ten days to get the cards back.

'81 Donruss Tracker: 59/100

Sunday, April 11, 2010

1963 Topps, Bill Virdon

#55 Bill Virdon

Here is the second card that I got in the mail from Bill Virdon. The '81 Donruss card of him was the only one I had of him, so I picked this one up from for about a dollar. This is the only signed '63 Topps card that I have so far.

Bill played in the Majors for parts of twelve seasons with the Cardinals and Pirates. He was the Rookie of the Year in 1955 with the Cardinals and that looks like the best season that he had. He had 17 home runs that season and 68 RBI, both career highs. He finished his career in 1968 with 1,596 hits, 91 home runs, 502 RBI, and a .267 average.

If you look at his stats, you'll notice a two year gap from 1966-'67. Baseabll Almanac says he got released after the '65 season and then signed with the Pirates in the middle of the '68 seasons. He played in six games and went 1-3 with 2 RBI before getting released about a month later. Does anyone know the story behind that?

Speaking of Baseball Almanac, they lists Bill's nicknames as Quail and The Milkshake Man.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

1981 Donruss, Bill Virdon

#384 Bill Virdon

I was ready to post the first card from 2002 on here today, but I got this card in the mail yesterday. So, I figured that I would post this one before I got started on the '02s.

Bill seems like he was a hot commodity as a manager in the '70s and early '80s. He managed four clubs from 1972 to 1984 and everytime he got fired (except for the last time), he had a Major League managerial job waiting for him the next season.

He began his managing in '72 with the Pirates. In his first season, he lead the Bucs to the NL East title where they lost the NLCS to the Reds. After 136 games into 1973, he was replaced. He managed the Yankees in '74 and lead them to a second place finish. After 104 games the next year, he was replaced. He then took over the Astros for the last 35 games of the 1975 season.

With the Astros, he had his longest tenure as a manager. He lasted there until 1982, when he got replaced after 111 games. During that time, he lead the team to two playoff appearances in 1980 and 1981. He lost to the Phillies in the '80 NLCS and the Dodgers in the '81 playoffs. 1981 was the strike-shortened season and the Astros were the second half winners.

In 1983, Bill took over for the Expos and guided them to an 82-80 record. But, after going 64-67 in 1984, he was replaced. According to Wikipedia, he got replaced by the manager that he replaced twice- Danny Murtaugh in Pittsburgh and Jim Fanning in Montreal.

It took 18 days to get this card back. He actually placed his return address on the SASE, as well. It's not too often that you get a TTM back and know with 100% accuracy who it is from.

I have one more Bill Virdon card that I will post tomorrow and then I should start the 2002s on Monday.

'81 Donruss Tracker: 58/100

Friday, April 9, 2010

1981 Donruss, Paul Splittorff

#342 Paul Splittorff

Here is the second and last card that I got signed at the game yesterday. I got this card signed right before the game started inside Kauffman Stadium's sports bar, Rivals. Paul is doing the pre and postgame show for Fox Sports Kansas City this year and I was able to get this card signed after the pregame show that is filmed in the bar.

In the past, Paul has always been the color man on the TV broadcasts. But last year, Paul came down with a serious throat infection that left him unable to broadcast for the year. He finally came back in September and helped out with the pregame show. It looks like that is going to be his role this year as well.

Amazingly, this is only the second signed card by Paul that I have. He usually performs the color man role for Big 12 basketball games, so he doesn't make it to Fanfest or any of the caravan tours. The last time I got a signature from him was in 2006 at Tropicana Field. That signature was on a ball. Here is the other card that I have signed and I got it at the Turkey Bowl in 2003. That was posted in the first few weeks of this blog.

For an older player, it is hard to read Paul's signature. It seems that most of the guys from that era have legible signatures (Tom Brookens excluded).

'81 Donruss Tracker: 57/100

Thursday, April 8, 2010

1981 Donruss, Tom Brookens

#6 Tom Brookens

Sorry about the lack of a post yesterday. I had to work a double and when I got home, I spent a few hours going through cards for today. Today, I went to my first Royals game of the year and that is where I got this card signed. I believe that this is the first card I have posted on my blog that I got signed in-person on the same day. So, I guess it worked out good that I skipped yesterday. Otherwise, I would be posting a 2002 Bowman card rather than this '81 Donruss.

I was surprised to see that the Tigers took batting practice today. It was a day game on a getaway day and usually only pitchers will work out on those. Tom is the Tigers first base coach and this is the only autograph that I got out of them today. Magglio was signing baseballs across the dugout. He was signing in Sharpie, so I didn't bother with him. Fu-Te Ni signed a few balls as well, but I wasn't ready to use my only ball on him. Austin Jackson signed a couple on the opposite end of the dugout, but I do not have any cards of him. I asked Gene Lamont to sign, but he just walked on by. Tom was the last batting practice pitcher of the day and he was the last man off of the field. I asked him to sign and he came over and signed quite a few autographs. I normally will take more than one card with me for all of the players and coaches. But, when it comes to '81 Donruss, I usually just take that card. I do that just in case they only sign one card. That way, I get the card I want signed. I'm glad I did that today because Tom was only signing one item per person.

It was funny when Tom started signing. Kids started coming out of the woodwork to get some stuff signed by someone they have probably never heard of.

I got one other '81D signed at the game and I will post that tomorrow. As for the game, it was like every other Royals game this year. It was a good game until the starter exited the game. On a positive note, I finally got some sun this year.

Tom has an interesting autograph. His "T" looks more like a "D". Based on how this card is signed, it looks like he signs his "T" with a downward stroke and then crosses the top from right to left. His "B" is pretty interesting as well, as is the rest of his last name.

'81 Donruss Tracker: 56/100

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

1981 Donruss, Phil Niekro

#328 Phil Niekro

I was going to post the first card from 2002 today. But, I had this card waiting for me in the mailbox when I got off of work and I figured that there wasn't any better time to post it. So here is an '81 Donruss Phil Niekro.

One thing that caught me by surprise when I was looking at Phil's stats is how long he played for Atlanta. When I started collecting cards in the mid-eighties, it seems like Phil was with a different team every year. I guess that I always figured that he bounced around like that his whole career. I had no idea that he pitched for Atlanta from 1964 to 1983. That is a pretty good tenure. I guess I should have known better considering that there is a statue of Knucksie in front of Turner Field. They don't just make those things for anybody.

Phil won 318 Major League games, was a three-time 20 game winner, five-time Gold Glover, and made five All Star teams. He only played in two of the All Star games, but he recorded a save in his first one in 1969.

I sent this card to Phil on the 22nd, so it took fifteen days to get back to me. I included a ten dollar check with the request. I figured that if I could spend ten bucks on Andre Dawson, I could spen ten bucks on Phil Niekro as well. I think that a ten dollar check may make its way to Rollie Fingers before long.

'81 Donruss Tracker: 55/100

Monday, April 5, 2010

2001 Upper Deck MVP, Adam Eaton

#275 Adam Eaton

Here is the last card from 2001. This is a Padrograph of Adam Eaton.

Adam was a first round draft pick by the Phillies in 1996. Three years later, he was part of a deal that sent him to the San Diego organization in exchange for Andy Ashby. In his first season with the Padres, he spent more time with the big league club than the in the minors. He pitched for for the Padres through the 2005 season, winning 11 games for them twice.

Before the 2006 season, he was packaged in a deal that sent him and Akinori Otsuka to the Rangers for Chris Young and Adrian Gonzalez. Without looking up any stats, I think that it is safe to say that the Padres got the better of this deal.

Adam pitched one year with the Rangers before signing a three year deal with the Phillies. He ended up getting released before Spring Training last year and was able to catch on with the Orioles. The O's released him after 8 starts and an 8.56 ERA. The Rockies picked him up after that and he spent the rest of the 2009 season with them and their AAA team. I have no idea if he was in camp with anyone this spring.

For his career, Adam is 71-68 with a 4.94 ERA and 855 strikeouts.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

My 2010 Topps Heritage fantasy team

Here is my Cardboard Junkie Topps Heritage fantasy team. You can see all of the cards I had to choose from a couple of posts down.

c- Geo Soto CHC and AJ Pierzynski CWS
1b- Kendry Morales LAA
2b- Jose Lopez SEA
ss- Erick Aybar LAA
3b-Pablo Sandoval SF
of- Ryan Ludwick StL Jayson Werth Phi Andre Either LA
ci- Joey Votto CIN
mi- Martin Prado ATL
4th of- Jacoby Ellsbury BOS
util- Jeff Francoeur NYM
p- Cliff Lee SEA Mariano Rivera NYY (my one insert/sp)Edwin Jackson AZ Johan Santana NYM Aaron Harang CIN Jair Jurrjens ATL Tim Wakefield BOS

2001 Upper Deck, Jason Smith

#287 Jason Smith

Here is a card that I got signed during the 2008 season. I was able to get it signed a few hours before the ballpark opened while I was hanging around the Royals team parking lot. It was the only card of Jason that I had at the time, so I was glad that I got it signed. Jason carpooled with a couple of other players (Mike Aviles maybe). I already had sigs from the other two guys, so Jason was the one that I was after and it turned out OK. Amazingly, this is one of two cards from 2001 that I got out of a pack and then got signed. The rest of the 2001s were either given to me or purchased to get signed.

Jason is a journeyman utility player that can play anywhere in the infield. He has played at least part of a season in the Majors every year since 2001. He has played for the Cubs, D-Rays, Tigers, Rockies, Blue Jays, D-Backs, Royals, and Astros. He's a .212 career hitter that has 17 home runs. The official minor league website currently lists him as a free agent.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

2001 Topps Traded, Brian Buchanan

#195 Brian Buchanan

Two Buchanans in two days. That doesn't happen too often here.

Since I just talked about Brian yesterday, I'll keep tonight's post short. I will say that I like this card. I never heard of Topps Heritage until 2003 and even then, I didn't realize how it worked. I didn't know that 2001 redid the '52 set and that every set thereafter would go in order. I bought one pack in 2003 and didn't get any more until 2007. This design has been a little played out after the Topps '52 Rookies sets, but I still like it.

It seems that a few people don't care for this year's set and I can't say that I blame them. But, from an autographers standpoint, you just cannot beat a card that doesn't need to be prepped prior to signing. That's why I like Heritage and will continue to buy future products.

Both Buchanan card I posted on here were purchased from

Friday, April 2, 2010

2010 Heritage Blaster Fantasy Break

Here is my blaster of 2010 Topps Heritage for the Cardboard Junkie fantasy league. Here is a recap of the packs.

Pack 1
Edwin Jackson-P
Baltimore Orioles
Pedro Feliz-3b
berlin Wall
Kung Fu Panda-3b

Pack 2
Guerrero chrome-of

Pack 3
Cliff Lee-p
Damon/Feliz WS thang
Chris Davis-1b
Jeter WS MVP SP-ss

Pack 4
Nick Johnson-1b
H Wagner
Wade Davis-p
R Ludwick-of
J Bruce-of

Pack 5
Brad Bergensen-p
H Matsui WS card-of?
Ryan Doumit-c
Miggy Tejada AL MVP SP-ss?

Pack 6
Delmon Young-of
A Everett-ss
M Riverea NAP-P
I Stewart-3b
Michael Brantley-of

Pack 7
League Leaders (Mauer, Ichiro, Jeter, Cabrera)
Carlos Gonzalez-of
The Riot-ss
Jayson Werth-of

Pack 8
Y Betancaurt-ss
M Mora-3b
Jose Lopez-2b

I think that is all of them. Out of all of those, I came out with three shortprints, one chrome and one insert.

For positions, here is the breakdown.

Pitchers- 12 (+1 insert)
Catchers- 4
First Base- 4
Second Base- 3
Third Base- 4
Shortstop- 5 (plus 3SPs)
Outfield- 18

I will post my team tomorrow night.

2001 Topps Chrome, Brian Buchanan

#72 Brian Buchanan

Here is a card that I got signed last year on my College World Series trip. I usually try to go to some minor league games on the trip and last year I went to Des Moines, Iowa. I got to see the Iowa Cubs host a double header against the Omaha Royals. Brian was playing for the O-Royals at the time and I got this card signed outside of the ballpark after the games. Brian seemed like a nice guy and signed for everyone who wanted his autograph.

Brian has had a long career in professional baseball. He is a former Yankee first round draft choice (1994) that got traded to the Twins in the Chuck Knoblauch deal. He made his Major League debut for the Twins in 2000 and he played in 30 games for them that year. He spent time with the Twins, Padres, and Mets over the next four seasons.

The last time he played in the Majors was 2004. Since then, he has mostly played AAA ball. He also spent one season in Japan and half a season in the Northern League. He is now officially retired from baseball and this season will be his first season as a manager. He will be in charge of the Royals rookie team, the Idaho Falls Chukars.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

2001 Topps, Alex Arias

#T81 Alex Arias

Here is a Padrograph that came out of the '01 Topps Traded set. Surprisingly, I already had an Arias autograph. The first one came out of a pack of Leaf Signature Series. Since I already did a write-up on Alex for the first card, I'm going to talk about something different today. I'm going to talk about my first baseball game of the year.

On Tuesday, I drove to the Little Apple to see the #20 Kansas State Wildcats host the #30 Wichita State Shockers. The day got off to a bad start when I got to the ticket window and discovered that they didn't take debit cards. After a long walk back to the car, a drive to the nearest gas station, and a longer walk back to the ballpark, I made it inside just in time for the first pitch. It was hard to find a seat at the game since there was a record crowd of 4,745 at the game.

I found a seat in the right field line bleachers. The bleachers were installed last season to accommodate all of the fans for the KU/K-State game (the previous record crowd) and thank goodness that they are still in place.

It was a beautiful day on Tuesday and I got to watch five innings of baseball before I needed my jacket. Plus, the Cats won the game 8-3 after a five run seventh inning broke the 3-3 tie. I just hope that the big crowds continue for the rest of the season since the team seemed to really play off of the crowd.

With the victory, Kansas State moved to 20-3 on the season while Wichita State dropped to 14-8. Here's a few random pictures of the game.