Thursday, May 31, 2012

24 hours left...

To get into the College World Series Contest. See the previous post to enter and good luck! If you want to get a bonus point for pimping the contest, that has to be done before 8:00 am Central time.

Monday, May 28, 2012

College World Series Contest

Earlier today, the NCAA announced the 64 teams that will be competing for the 2012 College World Series championship. To commemorate it, I am holding the third 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 here 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. Florida
1. North Carolina St
2. Georgia Tech
2. Vanderbilt
3. Charleston
3. UNC Wilmington
4. Bethune-Cookman
4. Sacred Heart

Slot 2

1. Virginia
1. South Carolina
2. Oklahoma
2. Clemson
3. Appalachian St
3. Coastal Carolina
4. Army
4. Manhattan

Slot 3

1. Oregon
1. Purdue
2. Cal St Fullerton
2. Kentucky
3. Indiana St
3. Kent St
4. Austin Peay
4. Valparaiso

Slot 4

1. Rice
1. Baylor
2. Arkansas
2. Dallas Baptist
3. Sam Houston St
3. UT Arlington
4. Prairie View
4. Oral Roberts

Slot 5

1. Texas A&M
2. San Diego
2. TCU
3. New Mexico
3. Mississippi
4. Creighton
4. Dayton

Slot 6

1. Miami (FL)
1. LSU
2. UCF
2. Oregon St
3. Missouri St
3. Belmont
4. Stony Brook
4. La-Monroe

Slot 7

1. North Carolina
1. Arizona
2. East Carolina
2. New Mexico St
3. St. Johns
3. Louisville
4. Cornell
4. Missouri

Slot 8

1. Stanford
1. Florida St
2. Pepperdine
2. Mississippi St
3. Michigan St
3. Samford
4. Fresno St
4. UAB

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 some of the prizes from the previous years include autographs from Hall of Famers Harmon Killebrew, Jim Rice, Rod Carew, and Bruce 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 am going to try to keep all of the prizes autograph related this year. I just probably won't know what they are until I get back from Omaha on the 17th of June.

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: Florida
Slot two: Army
Slot three: Kent St
Slot four: Dallas Baptist
Slot five: TCU
Slot six: Belmont
Slot seven: Missouri
Slot eight: UAB

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.

Keep in mind that the main portion of this contest is filling out a College World Series bracket when that field is determined in a couple of weeks. Every year, there are a couple of people that enter the first phase of the contest that never end up filling out a bracket. Those people have yet to win this contest.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

2006 Topps, Turkey Red, Clint Barmes

#TRA-CB Clint Barmes

Here is a card that I won in a contest about three years ago. The contest was held at "A Pack a Day" (remember that blog?) by skoormit. He had a bunch of packs of late '80s Topps and the contest was called "California vs The World". To win the contest, I think you had to pick if the cards would contain more California-born ballplayers or foreign players and how many more there would be. I guessed California and somehow managed to guess a closer amount than anyone else. Skoormit asked me what I wanted for a prize and, when I told him that I mainly just focus on autographs, he sent this card to me as the grand prize. He also included a Bo Jackson bat card that I thought was pretty cool and a bunch of random Royals cards.

Speaking of contests, the college baseball season is heating up and that can only mean one thing. It's about time for my third annual College World Series contest. On Monday, the 64 team field will be introduced and it will be on. I have to work all day tomorrow, so expect the contest to be posted later in the evening. The contest will be run like it has in the past and you can check out the past ones by clicking on the contest label on the right side of the blog.

Friday, May 25, 2012

2006 Topps Turkey Red, Brandon Inge

#512 Brandon Inge

Here is the second Brandon Inge card that I have to post. I got Brandon to sign for me once and it was before the Royals final game of the season last year. I got to the ballpark just in time to get Brandon as he arrived in his cab. He signed all three cards for me and seemed to sign everything for everyone that was out there.

I was surprised when the Tigers released Brandon last month. He was a life-long Tiger who had been with the team for a dozen years. He had an off year last season that included a mid-season demotion to AAA and then got off to a slow start this season, as well. Through nine games with Detroit, Brandon was only hitting .100 when he was let go. The A's picked him up on the cheap shortly thereafter and Brandon was hitting .227 with them before landing on the disabled list with a strained groin.

Brandon's signature isn't exactly readable, but whose is anymore? At least I can make out his initials.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

2006 Topps Turkey Red, David DeJesus

#464 David DeJesus

Here is the third David DeJesus card that I have posted on here. This signature was obtained by the Royals parking lot prior to a game in 2009.

Anyone notice anything funny about the picture on this card? For some reason, David is wearing a right-handed glove on his left hand (which is his throwing hand) and the glove is backwards. I would hope that David is smart enough to wear a glove the correct way and on the correct hand, but you never know. He could have been just goofing around. Or, maybe Topps decided to photoshop the glove in and do a terrible job of it in the process.

David had an off year last season with the A's. He is now a Cub and is off to a decent start. He is hitting .282 so far this season and a quarter of his hits are for extra bases. Too bad the rest of the team isn't playing any better as the Cubs are only 15-29 right now after dropping their last nine contests. Unfortunately, my Royals have already had a twelve game skid this year, so I don't feel sorry for the Cub fans yet.

On Tuesday, I went to my first Wingnut game of the season and I think I might have had my best autograph day ever. I came home with 34 signed cards and I got every single card that I took with me signed. A lot of the cards were doubles as many of those players are lucky enough to just have one card, but is was still a good day. The two best signatures I got were from former National Matt Chico and the 2003 American League Rookie of the Year, Angel Berroa, who signed a bat card.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

2006 Topps Turkey Red, Coco Crisp

#378 Coco Crisp

Here is the third and final card that I got signed by Coco Crisp at Royals Fanfest in 2009. That year was Coco's only season with the Royals and he only got into 49 games with them as he battled injury problems all season long. He ended up having surgery on both shoulders that season and the Royals didn't re-sign him. Because of that, these three cards that I got signed at Fanfest are the only three autographs that I have of him.

Coco has been playing for the A's since leaving Kansas City and, after battling injury problems his first season there, he had a productive year with them last year. He played in 136 games and hit .264 while sharing the lead league in stolen bases with 49. He is off to a bit of a slow start this year, though, as he is only hitting .197 through 19 games. Having played in so few games makes me wonder if he is battling the injury woes again this season.

I really liked this Turkey Red set when it came out in 2006. For me, it was so much more different than any of the other sets with its look and feel. But, I am not as pleased with it any more. Once I finally got some cards from the set signed, I started to change my opinion. It would seem like a great set to get signed except for the fact that the pictures are so dark that the autograph isn't as easy to make out as it should be. Luckily Topps fixed that aspect of the set by the time it had been reduced to an insert. But, by that time, it was too late.

On a personal note, I have now been to five Royals games this year and the team is a whopping 0-5 in the games I have been to. Welcome to the life of a Royals fan. I'm going to my first Wingnuts game of the year tonight and I am really looking forward to that. It seems like I have more cards to take with me to get signed than usual, so I am hoping to come home with a big score. It helps that the visiting New Jersey Jackals has former big leaguers Matt Chico and Angel Berroa on their roster.

Friday, May 18, 2012

2006 Tristar Prospects Plus, Brad Lincoln

#P-12 Brad Lincoln

Here is a card that I got signed at the Futures Game in St. Louis, Missouri in 2009. Brad was in AA at the time and he got picked to represent the USA team before getting bumped up to AAA in the second half of the season. I was lucky enough to get this card signed by Brad during the pre-game workouts. It was a madhouse there and I am hoping that there will be fewer 'graphers at the event this summer in Kansas City. I'm sure that is just wishful thinking, but you never know.

The Futures Game in 2009 will best be remembered by me for the four hour rain delay that struck in the middle of the first. Halfway through the delay, Brad decided that he wanted to play some frisbee out on the field and, to his dismay, the frisbee landed on the tarp covering the infield. So, being the good-hearted ballplayer that he is and not wanting to tear up the tarp with his spikes, Brad removed his cleats before retrieving his frisbee. He then proceeded to remove his socks and then hike his pants up. I took a picture of it and I was far away, so it is not that great. But, this will always be how I remember Brad Lincoln.

Brad broke into the Majors with the Pirates in 2010. He pitched in 11 games that year and posted a 1-4 record with a 6.67 ERA. He got into 12 games last season and increased his win/loss record to 2-3 while dropping his ERA to 4.72. After mostly starting games his first two seasons, Brad has mainly pitched out of the pen so far this season and he has had much better results. Through 8 outings thus far, Brad is 3-0 with a 1.34 ERA while almost striking out a batter per inning.

On a completely unrelated note, I did something really stupid yesterday. I went to the Royals game and 'graphed the players parking lot afterwards. When I was done with that, I went to my car to leave and set my autograph book on the roof while I got settled inside. I then drove off and left my precious little book behind. I only lost three autographs, but I lost about fifty cards including cards from three different minor league team sets. Stupid, stupid, stupid!!! Needless so say, I was a little more than bummed out when I got home last night and realized what I had done. Oh well. It will be the last time I ever make that mistake.

Brad is playing for the Hickory Crawdads in this card. The Crawdads were the Pirates A team when this card came out, but they have since switched to the Rangers. They are a part of the South Atlantic League and they play in Hickory, North Carolina.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

2006 Tristar Prospects Plus, Luke Hochevar

#P-9 Luke Hochevar

Here is the second card of Luke Hochevar that I have posted on here. The first one I posted of him was a Team USA card from his college days. Now I have a minor league card of him and I'm sure the next card will be a Major League card.

I got this card signed at Fanfest in 2009, just like Monday's post.

The last time I posted a card of Luke, I talked about his consistency. Little has changed since then. So far this year, he has had a couple of decent outing sandwiched between some awful outings. I've had the misfortune of seeing him pitch in two of the three Royals games I have been to and they have not been pretty. He surrendered seven earned runs in the first inning of the home opener against the Indians. Then, earlier this month, he couldn't make it out of the third inning against the Yankees while serving up seven more earned runs. And, to add to my poor luck this season, Luke is slated to pitch in tomorrows game that I am attending against Baltimore. I'm just hoping to see a near-quality start out of him.

Luke is pictured as a Burlington Bee in this card. The Bees play in Iowa as a member of the Midwest League. I attended a game there in 2009 and they have a really nice field. They are no longer affiliated with the Royals, however, as they and the A's swapped Midwest League teams prior to last season.

This is the first Tristar card that I have posted on here. I'm not really familiar with the 2006 Tristar set and, in fact, I don't even remember where I got this card. All I know is that it is an insert card from the set and I think it came out looking good signed.

Monday, May 14, 2012

2006 Topps Heritage, John Buck

#234 John Buck

Here is the fourth card that I have posted of John Buck. John spent six seasons in Kansas City and he was a good signer. As a result, I have got a decent collection of autographed cards from him. I was able to get this card signed at Royals Fanfest in 2009. Luckily, the Royals were not hosting the All Star Game that year and they were able to put on a Fanfest.

John is playing for the Marlins right now and, like usual, he is off to a bit of a slow start. So far, he is just hitting .200 for them through 25 games. Last season was his first year in the National League and his numbers dropped off a bit from his All Star season with Toronto. You would think his numbers would improve a bit on his second go around, but that is not the case yet.

Remember when about a third of the teams in baseball wore the jersey vests? Even the Royals went through that phase. Does any team even wear them now? It might be cool for a team to wear one again as long as they are the only team doing it. It got a little out of control the last time around.

Friday, May 11, 2012

2006 Topps Heritage, Brayan Pena

#225 Brayan Pena

Here is the first card I have posted this year that I actually got signed this year. I got this card signed by the Royals parking lot after their home opener last month. Brayan had the day off that day, yet was still more than willing to sign autographs for the fans afterwards. He signed both cards that I had of him and the other one ended up being the second 2012 card that I got signed that day. After three Royals game thus far, I am still sitting at two 2012 signed cards. But still, that is better than last year as I didn't get a 2011 card signed until the end of June.

Topps must have been feeling pretty boring in 2006. This photo was taken at the same time as the one used in Brayan's Topps card. Heck, it might even be the exact same photo. Shame on you Topps. That card can be seen here and it was signed at the Royals home opener in 2009. Home openers must be a good time to get Brayan's signature.

Brayan is off to a fairly decent start this year. He is hitting .250, which is basically his career average, and nearly half of his hits are doubles.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

2006 Topps 52, Reggie Abercrombie

#TCRC71 Reggie Abercrombie

Here is a card of Reggie Abercrombie that I got signed at the 2010 American Association All Star Game in Wichita. Reggie was playing with the Sioux Falls Pheasants that season and he was an obvious choice for the All Star team as he finished the season hitting .328 with 22 home runs and 90 RBI in 88 games.

Prior to the All Star game that year, I had gotten the base version of this card signed by Reggie. Then I found this card for cheap on and I decided to upgrade. Unfortunately, I'm not sure that I made the best choice there. In retrospect, I think I like the signed base cards better. There really is no point of chroming Heritage-style cards. But, oh well. I have one signed and I will learn from it.

Reggie played for the Pheasants last year and he is currently playing in Mexico right now. So far, he is hitting .347 with 11 home runs and 35 RBI through 38 games with the Pericos de Puebla. If he isn't picked up by a Major League team during the season, there is always the possibility that he could end up on an independent team as the Mexican League's season finishes up at the end of July.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

2006 Topps 52, JR House

#256 JR House

Here is the second card of JR House that I have to post. The last one was posted over two years ago, yet this card was signed at the same time as the last. Like quite a few of the recent cards I have posted, this card was signed between games at a doubleheader in Des Moines, Iowa in 2009 while JR was playing for the Omaha Royals.

Since the last JR post, he has spent some time in AAA and the Atlantic League. 2010 was split between the Buffalo Bisons and the Newark Bears with the majority of the time being spent with Buffalo. Last season was spent entirely in the Atlantic League with the Long Island Ducks and he hit .305 with 19 home runs and 81 RBI over 113 games. I know it is just the Atlantic League, but that still sounds like a really good season to me.

I can't find any info about JR playing anywhere this year, so it will be interesting to see if he turns up. The official minor league site lists him as on a Venezuelan winter team and that is about the only info I have found on him. I checked all of the Atlantic League rosters and did not see him on there. I did see some interesting names, though.

Monday, May 7, 2012

2006 Topps 52, Alberto Callaspo

#223 Alberto Callaspo

Here is the third and final card that I got Alberto Callaspo to sign for me in 2009. Alberto was with the Royals at the time and I was lucky enough to get him by the Royals parking lot prior to a game. That was the only time that I ever got Bert to sign for me and I think I got lucky because I was the only person 'graphing the lot that day. Rumor had it that he didn't sign much because his English wasn't very good. But, since I was by myself, he might have been less intimidated than if there had been a crowd. Or maybe it was just my lucky day. Either way, you can check out the first Callaspo card I posted here and the second one here.

Last season was Bert's first full season with the Angels and he hit .288 as the Angles everyday third baseman. Most of his offensive numbers were down a bit, but he did get about a hundred less at-bats than he had the previous two seasons. He is off to a rocky start this year, though, as he is only hitting .232 through 19 games with no extra-base hits.

On a side note, I got my first TTMs of the year back today. I got a little side-tracked with my Topps Diamond giveaway project with the move and all. But, I finally got most of them out and I got two of them back today. I'm looking forward to wrapping up my drawn out 2006 collection and start posting some older cards.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

2006 Topps 52, Jason Bulger

#222 Jason Bulger

Here is a card that I got signed in Colorado Springs last summer while Jason was pitching for the Salt Lake Bees. My buddy Adam 'graphed the Bees side of the field before the game and he missed out on Jason. I got a little bit luckier after the game as I was able to get him heading back up the steps to the clubhouse. Since Jason is a reliever, there doesn't seem to be too many cards of him. I couldn't find one in my collection and had to resort to buying this card off of COMC. I was a little short on money that week and I only got one card of him instead of the usual three. But, at least you won't be seeing any repeat posts of Jason Bulger any time soon.

Jason has spent time in the bigs every year since 2005. He was with the D-Backs that season and has been with the Angels every year since. His most productive season as a Major Leaguer came in 2009 when he appeared in a career high 64 games and 65.2 innings. His ERA was 3.56 that season and he went 6-1 while recording his only Major League save.

This season, Jason has moved on to the Yankees organization and is off to a rough start in AAA. Through 9.1 innings so far, he has given up 6 earned runs while walking 9 to just 6 strikeouts.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

2006 Topps 52, Tim Hamulack

#158 Tim Hamulack

Here is the third and final Tim Hamulak card that I got signed in Des Moines, Iowa in 2009. In fact, I got this card signed the same day that I got yesterdays card signed. The only difference is that yesterdays card was signed between games of a doubleheader while this card was signed prior to the first pitch of the first game. And by prior to the first pitch, I mean about two minutes before the first pitch while Tim was sitting in the bullpen. You can see the first Hamulack card that I posted here and the second one here.

Tim pitched in the Major Leagues for parts of two seasons. He got called up by the Mets in 2005 and pitched 2.1 innings of relief over 6 games and allowed 6 earned runs, including 3 home runs. That was good for a 23.14 ERA. The next year, he got called up by the Dodgers and he fared a little better that time. That season, he logged 34 innings over 33 games and kept his ERA down to 6.35. It's not wonderful, but it was definitely better than the previous season. To date, that has been the extent of his Major League experience. The one bright spot of his Major League line is that he has 36 strikeouts in 36.1 innings.

Tim has pitched in the minors since then, splitting last season between the Red's AA team in Carolina and Lancaster of the Atlantic League. I don't see Tim with an affiliated team right now. So, if he pitches this season, he will likely start out in an independent league.