Tuesday, November 30, 2010

2004 Topps, Eric Wedge

#275 Eric Wedge

Here is the fifth Eric Wedge card that I have posted on here. The one difference between this one and the other four is that this is the first Wedge card on here where he is a manager. He was a catcher on the previous four cards which can be seen here, here, here, and here. I got this card signed by the visiting teams dugout when the Indians were in Kansas City in 2008. The black Sharpie may not have been the best choice to use on this card.

I'm not sure if that is Tim Laker or Josh Bard that is about to pinkie-pick his nose, but I'm glad that Topps didn't put him in the small foil picture on the bottom-left corner of the card. Since the card is of Eric Wedge, why did Topps even bother to put the pitcher in that picture?

In case you haven't heard by now, Eric Wedge is returning to the Major Leagues as he is the new manager of the Seattle Mariners.

Five Eric Wedge autographs down, one more to go.

Monday, November 29, 2010

2004 Topps, Frank Catalanotto

#264 Frank Catalanotto

Here is a card that I got signed at a Royals game in 2008. Frank was playing for the Rangers then and I was able to get this card signed by the visiting team dugout. I only had two cards of Frank at the time, but Frank is a one-per guy and he only signed the other card I had. Lucky for me, my buddy Dustin was with me and he was able to get this card signed for me.

I didn't realize it until I checked his stats, but Frank has been playing in the Major Leagues since 1997. He has played for the Tigers, Rangers, Blue Jays, Brewers, and Mets. His best years probably came while he was with the Jays as he had a career high 13 home runs for them in 2003 and a career high of 59 in 2003 and 2005. However, his highest batting average in a season was .330 and that came as a Ranger in 2001.

Frank represented team Italy in the 2006 and 2009 World Baseball Classic.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

2004 Topps, Brian Lawrence

#184 Brian Lawrence

Here is another card in the long line of Padrographs that Rod sent me two years ago. This one features former Padre, Brian Lawrence.

Brian was drafted by the Padres in the 17th round of the 1998 draft. He advanced steadily through the Padres system and by 2001, he was pitching in the Major Leagues. From 2002-2004, Brian won at least 10 games each season including a career high of 15 in '04. Unfortunately, he also lost at least 10 games in each of those seasons. For those three seasons, he was actually four games under .500. In 2005, he went 7-15 with a then career high ERA of 4.83. After that season, Brian was traded to the Nationals for Vinnie Castilla.

Since then, Brian has bounced around the AAA circuit with a brief stop in the Atlantic League and briefer stint with the New York Mets. He pitched this past season with the Marlins AAA club in New Orleans and he went 11-8 with a 4.42 ERA. Brian's Minor League Baseball page lists him currently as a free agent.

This is the third post in a row that has been of a pitcher wearing Adidas cleats. I didn't realize Adidas cleats were popular in 2003.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

2004 Topps, Mike MacDougal

#113 Mike MacDougal

Here is a card of former Royals closer, Mike MacDougal. I have a few balls signed by Mike, but this is the only card. While Mike was a Royal, I was more interested in tailgating in the parking lot than going in early to get autographs. Plus, I wasn't collecting cards then, so I probably didn't even have any cards of him. Lucky for me, Uncle Moe, from My 2008 Topps Set Blog, sent me this card last year after I got a few '08 Topps cards signed for him. So today, I am thankful for Uncle Moe and his blog!

Mike, the Royals first round pick in 1999, played for the Royals for parts if six seasons. His most memorable season for me was 2003 when he made his lone All Star team (that was the last season that more than one Royal made the All Star team) and helped the Royals stay in first place for most of the year. He recorded a career-high 27 saves that season. But in 2005, Mike was the Royals pitcher of the year when he recorded 21 saves and struck out 72 in 70.1 innings. The Royals obviously didn't have very good pitchers that season.

Since his days in Kansas City, Mike has gone on to play for the White Sox, Nationals, and Cardinals. He had 20 saves for the Nats in 2009 and those are the only saves he has recorded since being traded from the Royals. With the Cardinals this past season, Mike posted a 7.23 ERA in only 18.2 innings of work.

My dad and I have a history of going to the final Royals game of the season. Back in 2001 or 2002, we were at the final game. There was hardly anyone there, so we went down and sat right behind the Royals dugout. During the game, Carlos Beltran came up to bat and on one of the pitches, he got a little off balance and in front of the pitch and he ended up throwing his bat. That bat came straight at me. I watched on Sports Center later that night and you could see me trying to hide behind my scorebook as the bat came towards me. Luckily, the Royals dugout protected me. Mike MacDougal wasn't so lucky as Carlos' bat ended up hitting him in the head and fracturing his skull. How's that for a September call-up? Mike spent a few days in the hospital, but he still has lingering effects from the incident including numbness in some fingers on his throwing hand (at least he did as a Royal). But at least I got on Sports Center.

I hope you all have a great Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

2004 Topps, Kerry Lightenberg

#71 Kerry Lightenberg

Here is a card that I got signed at a Wichita Wingnuts game in 2009. Kerry was trying to mount a comeback that season withe St. Paul Saints and I was able to get this card signed while he was making his way to the dugout from the clubhouse. Unfortunately, this was the only card that I got signed by him because this was the only card I could find. I had bought a couple of cards from checkoutmycards.com for the game, but I completely forgot to look for cards of Kerry. Luckily, I was able to find one in my collection the day before the game.

Kerry had an interesting career. He went undrafted out of Minnesota and began his pro career playing for the Minneapolis Loons of the North Central League and the Prairie League. The manager of the Loons was the former Braves backstop, Greg Olson, and he got the Braves to give Kerry a shot. So Kerry was sold to the Braves for $720 worth of equipment.

Kerry started his career in affiliated ball in 1996 with the then high-A Durham Bulls. He appeared in 49 games that season and he posted a 2.41 ERA while racking up 20 saves. He started the next season in AA and did good enough that he finished it in the Majors. In 1998, Kerry took over the Braves closer role and he went on to save a career high 30 games that year.

Kerry missed all of the 1999 season due to injury, but was able to come back in 2000. He lost his closer role that season to John Rocker, but he still finished the season with 12 saves. He played for the Braves for two more seasons as a middle reliever before joining the Orioles as a free agent in 2003. He played one season there before going to Toronto for a year. In 2005, he played in seven games with the Diamondbacks and that was his last foray at the Major League level. He played one more season of AAA ball before calling it quits.

He made his comeback last year with the Saints and he had an 3.00 ERA in 36 inning of work while striking out 29 and saving 15 games. He retired towards the end of the season with a knee injury.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

2004 SP Prospects, Christopher McConnell

#251 Christopher McConnell

Here is the third and final 2004 ninth round draft pick from the SP Prospects set. I got this card signed this past season and the one difference between Chris and the prvious two guys that I posted from this set is that, as of the end of the 2010 season, Chris is still in affiliated ball. I got this card signed in Springdale, Arkansas at a Northwest Arkansas Naturals game while I was on my way back home from the Rickwood Classic. Chris was playing for the Naturals, the Royals AA team.

Chris was drafted by the Royals out of high school with the 265th pick of the 2004 draft. Chris' pro career got off to a slow start and it was 2007 before Chris advanced to high-A. It would be two more years before Chris got to AA and he would have to repeat that level in 2010. Last season with the Naturals, Chris hit .231. Yet, he somehow managed to be one of nine or ten Naturals that made the Texas League All Star team.

Until I started to post the cards from this set, I had no idea that the three guys that I have cards signed from were all drafted within six spots of each other. Trevor Lawhorn was number 258, Jim Fasano was 261, and Chris was 264. Normally, a weird coincidence like that could take years to accomplish. But I was able to stumble across the three players in less than a months time. What are the odds?

I was pretty disappointed in Chris' signature. It looks like he signs his first and last name the same. I could understand that if you are Randy Ready and there isn't much difference between you first and last name. But Chris' names don't even begin with the same letters.

In case you are wondering, only three out of the thirty players taken in the ninth round of the 2004 draft have reached the Major Leagues.

Monday, November 22, 2010

2004 SP Prospects, James Fasano

#248 James Fasano

Jim has spent the past three seasons playing in the now apparently defunct Northern League. He spent the entire time with the Kansas City T-Bones and I got this card signed when the Bones visited the Wichita Winguts for a pre-season game earlier in the year.

Jim was drafted by the Rangers in the ninth round of the 2004 draft out of the University of Richmond. He began his pro career that summer playing for the Spokane Indians of the Northwest League and he hit .266 in 300 plate appearances. He was bumped up to the Midwest League's Clinton Lumber Kings in '05 and he hit .302 there in 394 plate appearances. He got promoted to the California League the following season, but he only played in 14 games before getting moved up to AA. At AA, Jim played in 96 games and batted .244.

2007 was much like 2006 for Jim. He started out in the California League and played in 18 games before moving back up to the Texas League. That season for the Frisco Roughriders, Jim hit .284 (the highest he had hit since 2005) with 9 home runs and 39 driven in. Once that season was over, Jim was without a job.

I guess the Rangers just gave up on Jim because he didn't figure into their future plans. He must not have fit into any other teams plans since he ended up in the Northern League. But, he was done well in Kansas City by hitting 20 home runs twice and hitting a career high .319 this past season. It will be fun to see what the future holds in store for Jim.

Interesting to me is that Jim was the 261st overall pick in the '04 draft. That is three picks after yesterdays player, Trevor Lawhorn. Of the two people that were drafted between those two, neither one has played pro ball since 2007. So these two must be doing something right. I actually have one more 2004 ninth round draft pick coming up tomorrow. The only difference is that this one is of a guy that is still playing affiliated ball.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

2004 SP Prospects, Trevor Lawhorn

#245 Trevor Lawhorn

Here is a card that I got signed back in May at a Wichita Wingnuts game. Trevor was playing for the Souix Falls Pheasants at the time.

Trevor was drafted by the Reds in the ninth round of the 2004 draft out of East Carolina. He was in the Reds organization for three years and got up to the high-A level. But after hitting .224 for Sarasota in 2006, Trevor was dealt to the Blue Jays organization. The Jays must have released him in Spring Training because he never played for any of their teams.

Instead, he started 2007 with Souix Falls and did good enough to get another look in affiliated ball. The Mariners picked him up and assigned him to their A team. He played with them for 29 games before joining the Nationals organization. He finished out 2007 with them and played with them in 2008 where he hit .236 at two levels of A ball. He even tried to convert to a pitcher that year, but he posted a 5.68 ERA in 6.1 innings. In 2009, it was back to Souix Falls and that is still where he plays now.

Trevor was the 2009 American Association All Star game MVP.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

2004 National Pastime, Angel Berroa

#24 Angel Berroa

Here is a card that I got signed in Albuquerque, New Mexico in 2008. At that point in his career, Angel was playing for the Omaha Royals and he was probably the highest paid player in the minor leagues. But, he was still nice enough to sign a card for me.

When I got to the ballpark that day, I went down to the visiting team's dugout and Angel was the only player I recognized. I asked him to sign and he told me that he had work to do. Since I had never been able to get Angel's autograph while he was in Kansas City, I just figured he wasn't a signer. But soon after that, the O-Royals took the field for fielding practice and Angel went to work like he said he was going to.

While the O-Royals were taking ground balls, I noticed I was the only person by the dugout trying to get autographs. Everyone else was by the walkway that led from the clubhouse to the field, but was separate from the dugout. So I went over there and it was a good thing I did. As soon as the players left the field, they went straight to that tunnel to the clubhouse.

When Angel came by, I didn't think I was going to be able to get anything signed by him because someone else was signing for me at the time. Luckily, Angel remembered me (I was the only person at the ballpark wearing an '80s style powder blue Royals jersey) and when he saw I was busy 'graphing someone else, he stood there and signed a couple of autographs for other people while he waited for me to finish. As soon as I was done getting an autograph from the other guy (Damon Hollins maybe?), Angel came up and signed this card. I didn't even have to ask him again. After he signed my card, he headed straight for the clubhouse. He only signed one out of the three cards I had and it was a glossy one that hadn't been prepped, but it was still a memorable experience. To this day, this is the only thing that Angel ever signed for me.

In Angel's final years with the Royals, I often referred to him as a bum because of the hole in his bat and glove. But on one spring day in 2008, Angel redeemed himself a bit.

Since playing for the Royals, Angel has spent some time with the Dodgers, Yankees, and Mets. He spent part of this past season playing for the Fresno Grizzlies and he is currently playing winter ball in the Dominican Republic.

In case you forgot, Angel was the 2003 American League Rookie of the Year. I did not call him a bum once during that season.

If you have never seen these National Pastime cards, they are kind of neat. The player's picture on the card is raised like the old Action Packed football and minor league cards from the early '90s.

Angel's name is not pronounced angel. It is ON-HELL.

Friday, November 19, 2010

2004 Justifiable, Brian Anderson

#1 Brian Anderson

Here is a card that I got signed at Royals Fanfest ten months ago. I was lucky to get this card signed since I didn't go through the line where Brian was signing. Instead, I was waiting in line for the second group of signers and if you want to guarentee that you get to go through the line, you have to be in line before the first group is done.

So I was standing in line waiting for the first group to finish so the second one could come up. When the first group was finally done signing, they all got up and left. Luckily, Brian didn't make it too far. He apparently ran into someone he knew and stopped to talk to them. I didn't think he was going to stand there too long since he was right beside the autograph line. But, he was still talking after a minute, so I went over there to get my card signed. I don't like going up to people that are talking just to interupt them for an autograph, but Brian made it easy for me. I stood off to the side with my autograph book and Brian just reached over and grabbed it and signed my card without missing a beat in his conversation.

Brian was a questionable addition to the Royals last off-season. He was one of the first free agents the Royals signed and, to me, it seemed like the Royals had signed a player that they already had in the form of Mitch Meier. It then got stranger when the Royals added Scott Podsednik and Rick Ankiel. In Spring Training, Brian ended up being the odd man out, so the Royals did what any other team would do and they converted Brian to a pitcher.

He pitched in 17.1 innings this season between three levels of minor league ball and he posted a 2.08 ERA with 17 strikeouts and five walks. The Royals outrighted Brian to AAA on Wednesday, but he opted to become a free agent. So all the National League teams should be on the prowl. The next Brooks Kieschnick is available on the free agent market.

This is the only 2004 Justifiable card that I have signed and I love it. This set was meant to be signed.

Brian is playing for the Winston-Salem Warthogs on this card. There is still a team in Winston-Salem, but they are now called the Dash (after the dash between Winston and Salem). The Dash are still affiliated with the Chicago White Sox.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

2004 Greats of the Game, Bobby Shantz

#55 Bobby Shantz

Here is a card that I got signed through the mail two years ago. I bought this card off of ebay and I intended to use this card as a test run. Since Bobby had his best years in the early '50s, some of his better cards were a little pricey. So I bought this card for a dollar plus shipping and I sent it to Bobby to get signed. If it came back, the plan was to buy a card from the '50s of him and then send it to him.

Obviously, this card made it back and it only took eight days. Ten days after that, I finally had his '54 Topps card and I sent that one to him, too. It made it back just as quickly as the first and he even inscribed "1952 AL MVP" on it as requested.

I would say more about Bobby, but I would just be repeating everything I said when I posted his '54 Topps card. Check it out to find out more. Or, if you would rather have Paul's take on Bobby's career, you can read about it at Auto-Matic for the People.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

2004 Fleer Tradition, Jake Peavy

#264 Jake Peavy

Here is an autograph from the 2007 National League Cy Young award winner, Jake Peavy. This card was given to me by Rod, from Padrographs. Out of all the autographs that he has sent my way, this one is one of my favorites. It's not everyday that an autograph from a former Cy Young winner arrives in the mailbox unexpectedly, but it did happen about two years ago. In fact, there was even a second former Cy Young winner in that package.

Jake was traded to the White Sox before the trade deadline in 2009. Since joining the south siders, he has only pitched in 20 games. He has spent a great deal of time on the disabled list and, if I remember correctly, he was even injured when he was dealt. He last pitched on July 6 and to be honest, I have no idea what his status is for next season. So, it looks like the Padres may have recieved the better end of that trade since Clayton Richard (one of the four players dealt for Peavy) went 14-9 this season and he makes about $15 million less than Jake.

I've been a fan of Jake's since 2005 when I read in ESPN The Magazine that Jake's favorite song is Pancho and Lefty.

I can't figure out why this set is the Tradition set while the Tradition set was called Platinum. That set looks like 1984 Fleer, so I would think it would be Tradition. This set looks like a totally redone 1990 set (which was an ugly set with no tradition what so ever), so I would have thought that this might have been the Platinum set. Shows how much I know.

Monday, November 15, 2010

2004 Fleer Tradition, Brad Ausmus

#79 Brad Ausmus

Here is a card of the recently retired Brad Ausmus. Brad played in the Majors for eighteen years and he spent the first seventeen of them without ever spending a day on the disabled list. That all changed this past season. After starting just one game at the beginning of the season, Brad was put on the DL because of back pain. The back pain eventually led to surgery, which some thought would be the end of Brad's career. But, he fought back and was back with the team by the end of July. It was after that first game back that Brad announced that this would be his final season.

Brad played for the Padres, Tigers, Astros, and Dodgers in his career, spending a majority of the time in Houston. He won three Gold Gloves in his career and was named an All Star once. He finished his career in seventh place among catchers in games caught and in third place for putouts by a catcher. What happens next in Brad's career is anyones guess, but I would be terribly surprised if he did not end up coaching or managing (either Majors or Minors) soon.

This card was given to me last year by Paul, of Paul's Random Stuff. I would assume that Paul got this card signed TTM, but you know what happens when you assume.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

2004 Fleer Platinum, Ty Wigginton

Here is a card that I got signed at Kauffman Stadium in 2009. Ty was in town with the Orioles and I was able to get this card signed during batting practice. He only signed one card for me. I don't know if that is his standard practice or if he only signed one because I screwed up and put an Aubrey Huff card on the same page as two of Ty's cards. My bad.

Ty finished up his ninth Major League season for his fifth franchise. He has played for the Mets, Pirates, Devil Rays, Astros, and Orioles. With the O's this past summer, Ty made his first All Star team. If I remember correctly, he was the American League's version of Omar Infante (the super-utility guy on the squad). He finished the season with a .248 average along with 22 home runs and 76 driven in. He just missed his career highs of 24 and 79 that he had with the Rays in 2006.

I really like this Fleer Platinum set. It obviously is a modern take on the 1984 set, with only slight modifications. Plus, it is not glossy, which is always a plus in my book.

Friday, November 12, 2010

2004 Fleer Platinum, Joe Randa

#34 Joe Randa

Here is a card that I got signed at the weird Royals Caravan appearance last winter at the Kansas State basketball game. I call it weird since there wasn't a autograph signing and that is usually the whole point of the Caravan. Instead, the three players attended a private party and then watched the first half of the basketball game before leaving. Luckily, I was on top of my game that night and I came home with three hard-earned autographs (two from Joe and one from George Brett).

When I first started this blog, I did not have a single card signed by Joe. I had a few balls signed by him and an 8x10 and maybe a team issued postcard, but no baseball cards. Now, after a card package from Padrographs, the Royals caravan, and Royals Fanfest, I think I am up to at least six cards signed by Joe. He is starting to be one of the more frequent caravan/fanfest attendees and the cards are starting to stack up. Lucky for me that I have a ton of unsigned Randa cards laying around. I'm even trying to trade for his 1998 Topps card on Topps Million Card giveaway right now, just so I can have a signed Tigers card of him.

To date, I have posted four Joe Randa cards. You can see the first one here, the second one here, and the third (AKA Freddy Kruger sweater card) here. The next card I have to post of him is a 2006 card, so it may be a while before that gets posted. There is probably a better chance of me posting a card from Fanfest before I get to the '06 card.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

2004 Donruss, Cesar Izturis

#286 Cesar Izturis

Here is a card that I got signed in Baltimore in 2009. I flew out there in September to visit a friend and I made him take me to a couple of ballgames. One of the games was a Rays-Orioles match up at Camden Yards and I had the pleasure to meet and 'graph with Ryan, from the Great Orioles Autograph Project.

Ryan was a great host for that game. Not only did he provide us with tickets, but he also took me around to all of the autograph hot spots at the park. One of those spots was right beside the O's dugout just before the game started and that is where I got this card signed.

When we got down to that spot, Cesar was the only person in the dugout and he was just sitting on the bench. There were some people down in that area that looked like they were wanting autographs, but since Cesar wasn't signing, I just figured that they had asked and been told no. That wasn't the case because a little bit later, someone walked up and asked Cesar to sign and he did. Then I kind of felt like a dumbass, but at least I got my cards signed. He signed two of the three cards I had.

Cesar's signature isn't exactly readable, but it sure is snazzy-looking.

I hope everyone is having an enjoyable Veteran's Day.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

2004 Donruss, Dustan Mohr

#141 Dustan Mohr

Here is a card that I got signed at a Wichita Wingnut game in 2009. Dustan was an original Wingnut and he played on the team for two seasons. I got this card signed at a pre-season game that year when the 'Nuts hosted Wichita's Newman University. Newman is a NCAA division two school and the main reason I went to the game was because my best friend's-wife's-sister's-boyfriend played for Newman at the time.

Dustan played in the Majors with the Twins, Giants, Rockies, Red Sox, and Devil Rays. In 504 games, he hit 49 home runs while driving in 156 and hitting at a .249 clip. In my opinion, he is the biggest name to wear the Wingnut uniform to date.

Dustan played for the Wingnuts in 2008 and 2009. He played this past season for the Atlantic League's Long Island Ducks.

I got a couple of cards signed by Dustan in his two years in Wichita and this one is by far the best looking.

Monday, November 8, 2010

2004 Donruss, Runelvys Hernandez

#135 Runelvys Hernandez

Here is the second of three cards that Runelvys signed for me in Round Rock, Texas in 2008. You can see the first one here and read about all the trouble I had to go through to get the cards signed.

Runelvys was a mixed bag while he was in Kansas City. When he was on, he was very good. But the main problem he had was conditioning. He always came to Spring Training out of shape and, one season, the Royals actually started him on the disabled list for "fatigue". But it was really for being overweight. He was even referred to as "Dos Chins" by some of the Royals faithful on the Royals message boards. Eventually, though, he wore out his welcome and the Royals granted him his free agency after the 2006 season. He made four more starts with Houston in 2008 and it appears that his career is now done.

I mentioned in the first Runelvys post that that card had the better looking signature of the three cards he signed for me. Just compare this one to that one to see what I mean.

This is the only Press Proof card that I have signed and I'm not even sure what the Press Proof cards are for or how they were disrtibuted.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

2004 Donruss, Jeremy Affeldt

#128 Jeremy Affeldt

Here is a couple of cards of World Series champion, Jeremy Affeldt.

I got these two cards signed at different points in 2005. My dad got the one on the left signed for me at a local Royals Caravan stop. I was either deployed to Iraq at the time or I was in Georgia getting ready to deploy. That's why my dad was in charge of it. Apparently it was sprinkling when my dad left the signing and that is why there is some spots in the signature. Why he didn't cover them up, I do not know. I guess that is just what happens when you leave other people in charge of getting autographs for you. At least the other cards he got signed came out alright.

The card on the right was the result of a TTM attempt later that year. I was deployed in Iraq at the time and this is one of three TTM returns I had that summer. The nice thing about TTMing from Iraq is that you didn't have to pay for postage to mail something to the States. You just needed to include return postage, so it cost half as much as it usually does.

Jeremy always seemed like a nice guy while he was in Kansas City. These are the only cards I have signed by him, but I have a few autographs on team balls. One time in 2003, Jeremy and Mike MacDougal climbed into the stands on a cold and rainy April day to sign autographs. I wasn't at the game that day (it was postponed), but I did see a picture of it on the Royals website. That is the only time that I have seen a player in the stands to sign autographs (though I heard that Barry Bonds did the same thing later that year).

Saturday, November 6, 2010

2004 Donruss, C.C. Sabathia

#109 C.C. Sabathia

Here is a card that I got signed through the mail in 2009. I sent this card to CC during Spring Training and after a five and a half month wait, it arrived safe and sound at the end of August. At first, I thought that it was a little strange that the card was postmarked in Oakland on a day that the Yanks were playing in the Bronx. Luckily Dan, from the apparently defunct OMGautos, also got his CC Spring Training TTM attempt back the same week that I did and he had a hypothesis to the Bronx/Oakland dilemma. I guess that the Yankees were in CC's hometown of Oakland the week before and Dan suggested that CC got caught up on his fan mail then and had a family member take care of mailing it all out. Whether that is true or not, I don't know. But it will work for me.

I have no idea if CC is still signing through the mail, but it wouldn't hurt to send something his way this coming Spring Training to find out. Not too many of the big name players still sign TTM. So when they do, you might as well take advantage of it.

Friday, November 5, 2010

2004 Bowman Heritage, Alberto Callaspo

#367 Alberto Callaspo

Here is one of three cards that I got Alberto to sign for me while he was a Royal. I got them signed in April of 2009 when I was hanging out by the Royals parking lot before a game. It was a weekday game and it was still chilly out, so I was the only person out 'graphing the Royals lot. That may have worked in my favor because I had heard that Alberto wasn't much of a signer because he didn't speak much English. With it being just me instead of a group of people, Alberto may have let his guard down on that occasion. Or maybe the rumors were just rumors and Alberto is a great signer. But, since he is no longer a Royal, I may never find out.

Alberto had an up and down time as a Royal. He was acquired in a trade with the D-Backs prior to the 2008 season. He didn't play much that year and, in fact, he was even put on the disabled list for a while after getting a DUI. But that all changed in 2009 when Alberto had his break-out year.

Prior to 2009, Alberto had no home runs and 29 RBI in 399 Major League at-bats. That all changed last season when Alberto hit his first career home run, and then ten more, while driving in 73. Everyone knew that Alberto could hit, but no one knew that he had some pop in his bat as well. He ended the season hitting .300 with 41 doubles, 8 triples, 79 runs, 52 walks, 51 strikeouts, and a .813 OPS.

Now, if only he had a position to play. But, I will get into that more when I post the next Callaspo card in December.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

2004 Bowman, Josh Wahpepah

#BDP110 Josh Wahpepah

Here is the final 2004 Bowman card that I will have to post on here for some time. I figured that I would post two cards today since I have been slacking recently. Plus, I am more than ready to move on to some other 2004 cards.

This signature was acquired at the Kansas City T-Bone/Wichita Wingnut preseason game I attended earlier this year. That game was kind of neat because it pitted two teams from different leagues against each other. That is not going to be the case next year since the Bones have joined the American Association and are going to be in the same division as the Nuts.

Josh was drafted by the Brewers out of Cowley College in Arkansas City, Kansas, in the third round of the 2004 draft (other Cowley alums include Junior Spivey and Travis Hafner). He pitched in 15 games that summer in the Pioneer League and posted a 4.40 ERA while starting and relieving. He moved up to the South Atlantic League in 2005 and he posted a 3.95 ERA in 27 games, again split between starting and relieving. He was bumped up to the Florida State League in 2006 and he had an ERA of 4.49 in 24 games while mostly starting. He repeated the FSL in '07 and was used primarily out of the bullpen and his ERA improved to 3.26 in 41 games. He then repeated the FSL again in 2008 and his ERA was 3.97 in 35 games. He got a brief promotion that year to AA and he had a 9.64 ERA in 4 innings of work. In 2009, he was finally moved out of the FSL and he played AA ball the whole season. With the Huntsville Stars, Josh appeared in 33 games (4 starts) and he had a record of 1-2 with a 5.18 ERA. The Brewers released him after the season.

Josh signed on with the T-Bones last season, but he got cut before the regular season began. I cannot find any stats for him for 2010.

I got to see something pretty cool on the day Josh signed this card for me. Josh's wife and son were at the game and they were talking prior to the game by the Wingnuts bullpen. Josh's son was just a toddler that could barely walk, but Josh brought him onto the field so that father and son could have some good bonding time. If Josh's career is actually over like it appears to be, I am sure that is a memory that he will never forget. It's just too bad that his son was too young to remember it.

2004 Bowman, Chad Blackwell

#BDP101 Chad Blackwell

Here is another card that I got signed at an independent game. I got it signed at a Kansas City T-Bones game in 2009 while Chad was playing for the Joliet Jackhammers. Like most of the autographs I get at T-Bones games, I got this one while Chad was heading from the clubhouse (in rightfield) to the field.

Chad was drafted by the Royals out of South Carolina in the sixth round of the 2004 draft. Like the rest of the guys in the Draft Pick and Prospect set, he signed fast enough to play in 21 Pioneer League games where he posted an ERA of 3.27 in 21 appearances while notching 7 saves. He did even better the following year in the Midwest League when he posted a 2.23 ERA in 48 games while saving 14.

Following the 2005 season, Chad was dealt to the Pirates in a package that landed the Royals their 2006 All Star, Mark Redman. That began a merry-go round career for Chad.

He lasted in the Pirate organization for all of one year and he posted a 5.66 ERA while spending most of his time in the Carolina League. The following season was split between the independent Northern League and the Florida State League as a Dunedin Blue Jay. I'm guessing he started the year in Gary since he was still in the Blue Jay organization the following year. He spent 2008 with Dunedin again and posted a 3.18 ERA there. But, in 5 games at the AA level, he posted a 9.39 ERA in 7.2 innings.

He found himself in AA again in 2009, this time with the Angels Texas League team, that Arkansas Travelers. He lasted 8 games and he posted a 9.26 ERA in 11.2 innings. He was then cut loose and that is when he joined the Joliet Jackhammers.

Chad spent 2010 in the independent Golden Baseball League with the Edmonton Capitals. He had a 3.40 ERA and recorded a career-high 19 saves, which tied him for second in the league.

I like Chad's t-shirt on this card.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

2004 Bowman, Sean Kazmar

#BDP84 Sean Kazmar

Sorry about the lack of posts lately. I caught a bit something on Sunday and was under the weather for a couple of days. But, I'm back and here is another card from the 2004 Bowman set. Don't worry, I only have a couple more posts from this set and then it will be on to some more well-known names. Just bear with me for a few more days.

Here is a Padrograph of Sean Kazmar. Sean was drafted by the Padres in the fifth round of the 2004 draft. He signed and hit .249 that year at two different levels (mostly short-season ball). He played in the Midwest League in '05 and he hit .267 with 10 home runs. He moved up to the California League the following season and he hit .250 with 13 home runs and 72 RBI in that hitter-friendly league. He started out in the Cali League in 2007 before getting a promotion to the Texas League mid-season. Unfortunately, he struggled at the AA level and had to repeat it in 2008. He must have shown some improvement there because the Padres called him up in the middle of August.

In a month and a half on the Major League roster, Sean got into 19 games. He had 38 at-bats and he collected 8 hits (.205), which included one double. He also struck out 14 times while walking 5 times and driving in 2. In 55 chances in the field, he only committed one error.

After his extended September call-up, Sean has spent the past two seasons on the Padres AAA team in Portland (make that their former AAA in Portland). In '09, he hit at a .235 clip in 366 at-bats. But, he improved on that this past season, hitting .275 in 499 at-bats. It will be interesting to see where Sean plays this next season.

This card, of course, is another card in the long line of Padrographs I have.