Monday, May 30, 2011

College World Series Contest

Earlier today, the NCAA announced the 64 teams that will be competing for the 2011 College World Series championship. To commemorate it, I am holding the second annual College World Series contest here at Autographed Cards. It is going to be a couple of weeks before the main phase of the contest starts, but you can earn some bonus points this week that could make a difference when the main portion gets going. All you have to do right now is pick the eight teams that are going to be playing in Omaha. Here are the teams to choose from.

Slot One

1. Virginia
2. East Carolina
2. Fresno St.
3. St. John's
3. UC Irvine
4. Navy
4. San Francisco

Slot Two

1. TCU
1. Rice
2. Oklahoma
2. Baylor
3. Dallas Baptist
3. California
4. Oral Roberts
4. Alcorn St.

Slot Three

1. Florida St.
1. Texas A&M
2. UCF
2. Arizona
3. Alabama
3. Seton Hall
4. Bethune-Cookman
4. Wright St.

Slot Four

1. Clemson
1. South Carolina
2. Connecticut
2. Stetson
3. Coastal Carolina
3. North Carolina St.
4. Sacred Heart
4. Georgia Southern

Slot Five

1. Florida
1. Georgia Tech
2. Miami (FL)
2. Southern Miss
3. Jacksonville
3. Mississippi St.
4. Manhattan
4. Austin Peay

Slot Six

1. Arizona St.
1. Texas
2. Arkansas
2. Texas St.
3. Charlotte
3. Kent St.
4. New Mexico
4. Princeton

Slot Seven

1. Vanderbilt
1. Oregon St.
2. Oklahoma St.
2. Creighton
3. Troy
3. Georgia
4. Belmont
4. Alabama-Little Rock

Slot Eight

1. Cal State Fullerton
1. North Carolina
2. Stanford
2. Florida International
3. Kansas St.
3. James Madison
4. Illinois
4. Maine

All you have to do is pick one team from each slot for a total of eight teams. For every team that you pick that makes it into the College World Series, you will get one point and that point(s) could be the difference between winning and losing in the second round. If you don't feel like participating right now, that's fine. You can enter the second phase without participating in the first, but you might have some ground to make up.

I haven't figured out what the prizes are yet, but last year's top prizes were autographs from three Hall of Famers (Killebrew, Rice, and Sutter). I have a few things laying around that I plan to give away, plus I usually end up with some really good stuff at the College World Series. I will post a few of the prizes when the second phase begins. The rest will be announced at the conclusion of the contest.

Last year, I had a bonus question that was worth a couple of extra points. I don't have one for this year, but you can get one bonus point just by pimping this contest on your blog. Just leave a link in the comments and I will chalk you up a point (yes, I use a chalkboard for scoring this contest).

Here is the format that your entry (comment) should look like.

Slot one: Navy
Slot two: Baylor
Slot three: Seton Hall
Slot four: Stetson
Slot five: Manhattan
Slot six: Texas St
Slot seven: Belmont
Slot eight: Kansas St

Link to your blog (which can be in a separate comment).

If you have any questions, ask in the comments or email me at zman40 at hotmail dot com. The deadline to enter the first phase of this contest is 11:00 am (central)Friday . Good luck and thanks for playing.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Contest Starting Tomorrow

The 64 teams that will be participating in the NCAA baseball tournament will be announced tomorrow. With that, I will be holding my second annual College World Series contest. It will be run just like last years, so you can go back and see what went down a year ago by checking out these posts.

See you tomorrow night.

Friday, May 27, 2011

2005 Topps Total, Lance Cormier

#607 Lance Cormier

Here is the second of three cards that Lance signed for me last year on the final day of the regular season. It was a Sunday day game and Lance was out on the field early getting his work in. He was mainly just playing catch, but the guy that he was playing catch with was the other pitcher featured on this card, Randy Choate. When Lance came over to sign and he saw this card, he turned around to see if Randy was still on the field. When he saw that he wasn't, Lance told me that Randy had some stuff to do in the clubhouse, but that their lockers were next to each other and whenever one of them got this card to sign in the mail, they would have the other guy sign it too. I thought that was pretty cool. It's too bad that those two aren't on the same team this year.

This year, Lance was pitching for the Dodgers and he was having a rough start to the season. He pitched 13.2 innings and he gave up 15 earned runs and 4 home runs. Three days ago, the Dodgers designated him for assignment. Who knows where he will end up now.

I still can't get over how nice and stylish Lance's signature is.

The first Lance Cormier post can be viewed here.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

2005 Topps Total, Lenny DiNardo

#599 Lenny DiNardo

Here is the second Lenny DiNardo autograph that I have posted on here. I posted the first one a little over a year ago and it can be seen here. That one was obtained in 2009 while Lenny was pitching for the Royals AAA team in Omaha. This autograph, on the other hand, was acquired later on that season after Lenny had been called up by the Royals.

I got the card signed in Minneapolis while the Royals were making their final visit to the Metrodome. I almost didn't ask Lenny to sign since he had pitched so poorly the night before (seven runs in a one inning start), but I figured that might be the last chance to get some more cards signed by him. So, I asked him and Lenny was very nice about the whole thing. Usually when I ask a player to sign, I also ask how they are doing when they come over. But Lenny beat me to it and he actually asked how I was doing before I could ask him. It was good to see that his poor start the night before was behind him. If it wasn't, he did a really good job of hiding it.

It looks like Lenny is pitching for the Sacramento River Cats this season and it appears that Lenny's 2011 season is beginning just like his 2009 season ended. He has one start this season and he pitched 1.1 inning and gave up six earned runs before getting the hook. Ouch.

For some reason, Topps decided to double up relievers on their 2005 Topps Total cards. I suppose that helped to cut down on cards in the set, but I would have preferred that they all got their own card. Now I have to try to track down John Halama to get the other half of this card signed.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

2005 Topps Total, Jason Dubois

#494 Jason Dubois

Here is a card of the former Cub and Indian, Jason Dubois. I got this card signed outside of Principle Park in Des Moines, Iowa in 2008 after an Iowa Cubs game.

Jason played in 86 Major League games in 2004 and 2005. Most of that playing time came in 2005, which was split between Chicago and Cleveland. With the Cubs that season, Jason had 12 doubles, 7 home runs, and 22 RBI. After the trade to the Indians, he added 2 more dingers and 2 RBI. He hit just .235 for the season, though.

Since then, Jason has been playing AAA baseball. He spent some time in the Orioles, Nationals, Mets organizations as well as going back to the Iowa Cubs three different times. Jason played of the I-Cubs again last season, but I can't find any stats on him for this year. On his player page, Jason is listed as active in the Cubs organization, but it lists his team as the Tiburones de La Guaira, a Venezuelan winter league team.

Monday, May 23, 2011

2005 Topps Total, Joey Gathright

#347 Joey Gathright

Here is card of the former Ray, Royal, Cub, and Red Sock, Joey Gathright. I got this card signed at a 2008 Royals Caravan stop here in town and Joey was accompanied by Brian Bannister, Billy Butler, and I think Dennis Leonard. Overall, it was a nice selection of players. Too bad the Caravan doesn't make it to these parts any longer.

Joey was drafted by the Devil Rays in the 32nd round of the 2001 draft. Despite being the 949th player taken that year, Joey made his Major League debut in 2004. Joey had one skill that coouldn't be taught and that was speed. Speed got him to the big leagues and speed defined his game. The only problem was that Joey couldn't hit.

That may have been a bit harsh. Joey could hit the ball. He just couldn't hit the ball hard. For a guy that was as fast as Joey, you would think that he would be a doubles and triples machine. However, that was not the case. In 1175 Major League at-bats, Joey recorded only 30 doubles and 8 triples (and 1 home run). He had 309 hits in the Majors, so 270 of his hits were for singles. I don't know how one could check it out, but I would guess that maybe as many as a third of those hits were infield hits, too.

Unfortunately for Joey, speed wasn't enough to prolong his career. He got released by the Orioles AAA team last season and finished the year in the Atlantic League. I cannot find anything about him for this season, so I am assuming he has yet to find a team.

Joey's signature is basically just his initials. That is kind of boring.

If Joey can't find a team this season, maybe he could join the circus and become a car jumper or something.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

2005 Topps Total, Gregg Zaun

#313 Gregg Zaun

Here is a card that I got signed at a Royals game in 2009. Gregg was with the Orioles at the time and I was able to get this card signed after batting practice was over. Gregg was in the last group of hitters and I asked him to sign while he was making his way to the clubhouse. He said something back to me that I couldn't make out and he kept walking to the tunnel. I figured that was the end of that, but he popped back out just a few seconds later after setting his bat down.

The only problem was that didn't pop back out in the dugout by where I was standing. Instead, he went onto the field behind the dugout. So, instead of just handing him by card book, he motioned for me to throw my book to him. My card book is just a homemade book I have constructed and I do not throw it. The cards are held in the book by just two corners and I do not trust my construction enough to let it fly. The last thing I need is for some cards to fly out and then have someone who could care less about them pick them up off the dugout floor. But, luckily, someone threw Gregg a ball that landed down in the dugout by where I was standing. After he retrieved and signed the ball, I handed him my book and he signed all three cards for me.

Gregg has played in the Major Leagues since 1995. The strange part about that is that I have less than five different cards of him.

Gregg retired from the game in March and he is now helping out with the Blue Jays radio and TV broadcasts.

Friday, May 20, 2011

2005 Topps Total, Coco Crisp

#119 Coco Crisp

Here is a card that I got signed at Royals Fanfest in 2009. Coco was only with the Royals for one season and most of that time was spent on the disabled list. As a result of that, the Fanfest signing was the only chance I have had to get Coco's signature. Luckily, he broke the rules and signed three cards for me.

Coco played in just 49 games with the Royals in 2009 before being shut down. If I remember correctly, he ended up having surgery on both of his shoulders that season. While trying to battle through the injuries, Coco ended up hitting just .228 as a Royal. That was the only time in his career that he hit under .250.

He left Kansas City as a free agent and he signed on with the A's last season. It looks like he battled the injury bug again last year as he only played in 79 games. Coco is healthy this year, though, and through 38 games he is hitting .278 with 14 extra-base hits.

Coco has an interesting looking signature. It looks like there is an "L" in the middle of it. His middle name is Loyce, so maybe he has his middle initial in there.

This card is one of the gray parallels that I believe were inserted one per pack.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

2005 Topps Total, Todd Greene

#113 Todd Greene

This is the second Todd Greene card that I have posted on my blog. The first one was posted about a year and a half ago and that signature was acquired at an Orioles game in 2009 while Todd was coaching for the Rays. This autograph was obtained during the same season, but at a Royals game. In fact, I got this card signed a couple months before I got the card in Baltimore signed. I got this one signed while at the Kauffman Stadium entrance. Todd and Pat Burrell shared a cab to the ballpark and, while Pat did sign a couple of autographs, Todd was the easier autograph to get. There was a nice-sized crowd surrounding Burrell.

Todd played in the Majors for parts of eleven seasons. He spent time with the Angels, Blue Jays, Yankees, Rangers, Rockies, and Giants. He was primarily a backup catcher, though he did get in a few games in the outfield and at first base. For his career, he was a .252 hitter that hit 71 home runs. His best season came in 1999 when he played in a career high 97 games. He hit .243 that season with 14 home runs and 42 RBI. He got 321 at-bats that year and the most that he ever got after that in a season was 205.

According to Wikipedia, Todd is now a scout for the Mariners.

I think that this is the first time that I have had back-to-back posts with players that have the same last name since I posted the Alomar brothers a couple of years ago. As far as I can tell, Todd and Khalil are not related though.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

2005 Topps Gallery, Khalil Greene

#43 Khalil Greene

Here is a card of the former Padre, Cardinal, and college standout, Khalil Greene. This card is another in the long line of Padrographs given to me by Rod.

Khalil was the man in college while playing for Clemson and, in 2002, he won the Dick Howser Trophy and the Golden Spikes Award. Winning those two awards generally means that you are the best college player in the nation that year. Some recent winners of both include Buster Posey, Stephen Strasburg, and David Price.

Khalil was drafted that year by the Padres in the first round and in 2003, he got his first taste of big league action. When 2004 rolled around, he was on the Padres roster to stay and he stayed there through the 2008 season. His best year with the Padres came in 2007 when he clubbed 27 home runs while driving in 97. His numbers slipped the following year and the Padres traded him to the Cardinals.

2009 was a bad year for Khalil. He played in just 77 games and he spent some time on the disabled list battling social anxiety disorder. The Cardinals released him after the season was up and Khalil signed a contract with the Rangers for 2010. However, he was still battling his social anxiety disorder and he did not report to Spring Training.

I have no idea if Khalil is ever going to play again. It would be great if he could overcome his disorder and get back into the game. Whether or not that happens remains to be seen.

I think that this is the only card that I have from the 2005 Topps Gallery set. I had bought a few packs of Gallery before, but this card is a little different from the ones I had bought. The packs I bought were all glossy. While this card has a little bit of gloss to it, the texture of the card is different. It reminds me of Upper Deck Masterpieces.

Monday, May 16, 2011

2005 Topps Chrome, Brandon Sing

#UH184 Brandon Sing

Here is the second of three cards that Brandon Sing signed for me at a Wichita Wingnuts game last year. If you are thinking "great, that means that there is going to be one more card of this dude", don't worry about that. The third card was given away and it has already been posted over at Automatic for the People. The first card, which I posted about a month and a half ago, can be seen here.

I bought this black refractor off of just to get it signed. I don't remember what I payed for it, but it was probably around the two dollar range. Overall, I am very happy with the way this one turned out. The black signature and the black border really work well together. The card is numbered to 250, so this is probably one of the "rarer" cards that I have got signed. I've gotten a few relics signed before, but I am pretty sure that they were not numbered.

Brandon is back with the Pheasants this season. Through four games, he is hitting .231 with a double, two home runs, and three RBI. Those three extra-base hits are the only hits that he has.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

2005 Topps, Beau Jones

#UH326 Beau Jones

Here is a card that I got signed at a Northwest Arkansas Narutals game last season. Beau was plyaing for the Frisco Roughriders at the time and I was able to get him to sign this card from the Riders dugout before the game started.

So far, Beau's claim to fame is being the only player that the Rangers got in the Mark Teixeira trade that has not made it to the Major Leagues yet. But, he is looking to change that.

So far this season, Beau has spent time in AA and AAA. He started the season back in Frisco and he threw 6.1 scoreless innings before getting promoted to the Round Rock Express (I'm still not used to the Express being affiliated with the Rangers). In Round Rock, he has pitched 10.1 innings with a 2.61 ERA. He has 7 walks and 7 strikouts and batters are hitting .368 against him. This is Beau's first taste of AAA ball. He is only 24 years old, so he still has some time to develop.

Beau's signature is something else. I really don't know what to make of it. I can make out a "B" and that is about it. Overall, his signature looks like a rotated pound sign (#).

Saturday, May 14, 2011

2005 Topps, Manny Parra

#UH303 Manny Parra

Here is a card that was sent to me by Matt from Heartbreaking Cards of Staggering Genius. A couple of years ago, I sent him some random cards for his collection. Three weeks later, Matt sent me a random package that included three autographed cards that he got out of a lot off of Ebay.

Manny has been pitching in the big leagues since 2007 and he has spent the entire time with the Brewers. He has started and relieved, but he has spent more time as a starter. He has had two seasons where he has had 10 or more wins and two seasons of 10 or more losses. His career ERA is 5.13 while his win-loss record is 24-30. His highest strikeout total for one season came in 2008 when he struck out 147 batters.

Manny has yet to pitch this season in the Majors. He began the season on the disabled list and he is currently doing a rehab assignment for the Brewers AAA team, the Nashville Sounds. Through 10.1 innings with them, Manny is 0-1 with a 6.10 ERA with 5 walks and 8 strikeouts.

Friday, May 13, 2011

2005 Topps, Joe Randa

#UH51 Joe Randa

Here is the first of three cards that I have signed from the Update and Highlight set. While I have posted at least four or five Joe Randa cards on here in the past, this is actually the first signed Randa card that I ever got. And if you are curious as to how I got it, just look at what team Joe is playing for and you can probably figure it out. Yep, this card is a Padrograph. Since it was my first signed Randa card, I must say that I was pretty excited when I got it.

Joe's tenure in San Diego was short. The Royals decided on a youth movement for 2005 and they did not bring Joe back. So, Joe signed with the Reds and he did good enough there to get traded to a contender at the trade deadline. The Reds shipped him to the Padres and, with them, Joe played in his first and only playoff series. Unfortunately, Joe only played in three games as the Padres were swept by the Cardinals. But, that is further than he would have ever got with the Royals.

It looks like the photo on this card is a photo-shopped picture of him as a Red. He is wearing home white in the photo, but the seats in the stands are red. Cincinnati and St. Louis are the only ballparks I can think of that have red seats, but you can never see the ones in St. Louis because the park is always packed.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

2005 Topps, Jeff Niemann

#682 Jeff Niemann

Here is a card that I got signed at Kauffman Stadium last year on the final day of the season. It was a Sunday day game, so the hitters didn't take batting practice. Luckily, though, the Rays were heading to the playoffs and their pitchers were out on the field getting their workouts in.

That day also happened to be "bark at the park" day, so there were a bunch of dogs at the ballpark. Prior to the start of the game, the dogs and owners got to take a lap around the warning track and Jeff waited paitiently for them all to go past so that he could sign some autographs for the fans. Jeff must be a dog person because it looked like he enjoyed seeing some of the dogs that paraded past him.

I never realized how big Jeff was until I saw him that day. He is 6'9" and he towers over the rest of the Rays pitching staff.

So far this season, Jeff is not off to the start that he wanted. He is 1-5 through 6 starts with a 5.74 ERA.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

2005 Topps, Vicente Padilla

#630 Vicente Padilla

Here is the second of three cards that Vicente Padilla signed for me at a Royals day game in 2008. Padilla was with the Rangers at the time and I was able to get the cards signed before the game while the pitchers were getting their work in. The first card I posted can be seen here and I never would have guessed that this unprepped glossy card would come out looking better signed than the UD Vintage card did. The signature is still unreadable, but at least it shows up better on this card.

I was surprised to see that Vicente is pitching out of the Dodgers bullpen this season. He spent his first three Major League seasons pitching out of the bullpen, but he had been a starter since 2002. He is off to a good start, though, as he is 0-0 with 2 saves and a 2.57 ERA. Those two saves doubled Vicente's career total.

Monday, May 9, 2011

2005 Topps, Miguel Olivo

#618 Miguel Olivo

Here is the second 2005 Miguel Olivo card that I have posted recently. The other one can be seen here. If you are wondering where I got this card signed, read the other post. This card was signed at the same time. It is worth noting that Miguel hit a home run that night after signing my cards. I think that signing autographs and good karma go hand in hand.

When I posted that last Olivo card, Miguel was hitting just .182 with no extra-base hits. He has picked it up a little bit since then and his average has risen to .212. He has also added two doubles and two home runs.

I picked this card up from the garage sale where I bought the Val Majewski/John Maine card.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

2005 Topps, Dave Roberts

#604 Dave Roberts

Here is a Padrograph of Dave Roberts. Dave is one of four players in Major League history to be named Dave Roberts.

Dave played in the Majors for ten seasons with the Indians, Dodgers, Red Sox, Padres, and Giants. He never made an All Star team and he never played in a World Series. But, he did swipe a bag that ultimately propelled his team to the World Series. In case you forgot which team that was, it was the Boston Red Sox in 2004. Even though he only played in 48 games with the Red Sox, I'm sure that Dave will forever be remembered as the guy that stole the base that helped the Sox "reverse the curse".

Dave is currently the first base coach for the Padres.

I thought it was kind of funny that this card was first signed with a silver sharpie and then gone over with a black one. That pretty much sums up my experience with the silver sharpie. I have tried it twice and was unhappy with the results and had the player try again in a different color. I'm glad that I am not the only one that has gone through that.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

2005 Topps, Zack Greinke

#564 Zack Greinke

This may be the third Grienke autograph that I have posted on here, but this is actually the first Grienke 'graph that I ever got. This is the third and final TTM that I got in 2005 while deployed to Iraq. I wrote to Zack at some point during the season and I got this card back in November. It is a good thing that it came back when it did because I was back in the States less than two months later and I doubt that it would have ever made its way back to me if that had happened.

It looks like Zack doesn't sign TTM anymore, so it was good that I sent this card when I did. Although, it didn't seem that good when I got it considering that Zack finished the 2005 season 5-17 and then missed most of '06 with social anxiety disorder. But, that is how the ball bounces.

Zack made his Brewer debut last night and he pitched 4 innings and allowed 5 runs (4 earned) on 5 hits while walking 1 and striking out 6. It wasn't a horrible debut, but I'm sure it wasn't quite what Brewer fans were wanting.

Speaking of debuts, the Royals called up their 2008 first round draft pick, Eric Hosmer, today. Eric was tearing up the Pacific Coast League this past month to the tune of a .439 batting average. While I am sure he is not going to hit like that in the Majors, it is still exciting that he is getting called up so soon. It's just too bad that I have to work tomorrow night since it has already been announced that he is going to be in the starting line-up.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

2005 Topps, David DeJesus

#474 David DeJesus

Here is a card that I was able to get signed at a Royals Caravan appearance in 2008. The Caravan had a good selection of players as David, Joey Gathright, Billy Butler, John Mayberry, and Frank White all made the trip here. The event was held at Wal-Mart of all places, but it worked out great and I had a good time. Unfortunately, the last two Caravans have scrapped my town from the schedule, so there is no telling if will ever attend another one.

This is the first DeJesus signature that I have posted on here and this is one of the better looking DeJesus autographs that I have. I've seen about four different versions of David's signature and they don't come much better than this, especially on a card.

DeJesus, who was traded to the A's this past offseason, was a fan favorite while in Kansas City. Most fans referred to him as DDJ and I am sure most of them were sad to see him get traded. They are probably even more sad with the fact that the main player we got for him has a 4.66 ERA in four AAA starts. But, we just have to trust "the process", or so we are told.

So far this season, David is off to a slow start. He is hitting just .227 through 26 games and he only has three extra-base hits. He had a start similar to that in 2009 and he finished the season hitting .281. I wouldn't expect anything less than that out of him this season, as well.

Monday, May 2, 2011

2005 Topps, Ross Gload

#468 Ross Gload

Here is the first of a couple of cards that I got signed by Ross Gload during his tenure with the Royals. I got this card signed by the Royals parking lot in 2008. That year, the Royals were in the midst of their stadium renovations and the Royals parking lot was set up in a different area than it is now. These days, the players parking lot is is a little less accessible than it was during the renovation years.

When I got this card signed, I was standing by the players exit from the parking lot with a small group of graphers. I asked Ross if he would sign for us and he said "for you kids, sure, since kids don't even collect cards anymore". I told him that most cards were too expensive for kids to collect these days and he said "I suppose you're right". It was certainly an interesting interaction.

I enjoyed the time Ross spent with the Royals. He was primarily the starting first baseman and, though he was small for a first baseman, he had a good stick and a good glove. He is not the type that is going to club a lot of bombs, but he always seemed to put the ball in play.

Before he went to the Royals, Gload's White Sox teammates had nicknamed him Ichigload because he was able to hit about anything.

Ross is playing for the Phillies now and through 14 games, he is 4-16 with one RBI. It looks like he is primarily being used as a pinch hitter.