Monday, October 27, 2014

1996 Best, Mendy Lopez

#40 Mendy Lopez

Here is a card that I picked up from Checkoutmycards for sixty cents.

Mendy's Major League career spanned parts of seven seasons with the Royals, Marlins, Astros, and Pirates. He was a utility infielder that played all four spots and a bit of outfield. He saw the most significant playing time as a rookie for the Royals in 1998. That season, he got into 74 games and had 206 at-bats. That was the only season that he ever had more than 100 at-bats. He hit .243 that year with 10 doubles and 15 RBI.

Mendy would play in just 117 games over the next six seasons. The only time he got decent playing time was when he came back to the Royals in 2003. That year, he got into 52 games and had 94 at-bats. He had career highs in home runs (3) and average (.277) that season.

While Mendy was never a star player, or even a regular, he is held high in Royals lore. On Opening Day in 2004, Mendy hit a three-run pinch hit home run in the bottom of the ninth inning to tie the ballgame. The Royals went on to win the game. It was supposed to be the home run that was going to jump start the team's season, as they were picked as the favorites by most people. But, the team never got it going and Mendy was sold to the Korean League after playing in just 18 games.

Even though Mendy hasn't played in the Majors since '04, he kept on playing in Mexico through last season.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

1995 Upper Deck Minors, Aaron Boone

#95 Aaron Boone

This is the second of three cards that I got signed by Aaron Boone at the College World Series this past summer. I posted the first one about a month ago and it can be seen here.

This is only the second signed card from this set that I own, and the first one that I have gotten in person. That is kind of a shame, because for a minor league set, this one really sets itself apart. Upper Deck did a good job with this one, even if they only copied their '95 base set look.

Aaron was working for ESPN when I got this card signed. He is still with them and you can hear him tonight working the World Series for ESPN Radio.

Speaking of the World Series, I made it to game one last week. The game did not turn out the way I wanted, but I still had a great time and enjoyed the experience. Since the Royals lost badly, the highlight of my day was getting a ball signed by Big Papi, David Ortiz.

I had to camp out by the Fox booth for over an hour to get the ball signed, but it was definitely worth it. Here was my view from the field while I was waiting.

Here was our view from the seats. Not too bad for just $165.

Monday, October 20, 2014

1995 Ultra, Chris Bosio

#99 Chris Bosio

This is the third and final card that Chris Bosio signed for me last year at Spring Training. Chris was the pitching coach for the Cubs at the time.

You can read more about that day in the last post about Chris Bosio.

Tomorrow, 10/21, I get to go to my very first World Series game and I am pumped! I have been rooting on my Royals for fifteen years and it had been a long fifteen years. It had gotten to the point that I just expected them to suck every year, and mostly they did just that. But, this year has obviously been different. The team has clicked at just the right time. I just hope that they can keep it going this week against the Giants. After their sweep of Baltimore, they have had a bit of a break. But, hopefully, they will pick right up from where they left off.

This is my third playoff game in Kansas City this year, so it has been an expensive month. But, I would not have traded it for anything. After taking my wife to two games, and our son and my good friend to one, I get to go to the World Series with my dad tomorrow. We have been to many games at The K together, including five or six opening days and the All Star Game, but nothing is going to compare to game one of the 2014 World Series. I can't wait.

Four more wins!

Go Royals!!!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

1995 Ultra, Kenny Lofton

#38 Kenny Lofton

Here is the third card that I have posted from the Kenny Lofton autograph line at the College World Series this year. It was an interesting autograph session as it was billed as hitting lessons and autographs. He was teamed up with Capital One and, before he started signing, he was over at the wiffle ball field Capitol One had set up. Normally, kids would be out there taking turns hitting a few balls and then shagging them. Then Kenny showed up and started giving lessons. It was pretty neat and he was really interactive with the kids. I told my then-fiance to take our kid over there, but he was way too deep in line to get to hit when Kenny was there.

While that was all going on, my dad and I were standing in line for autographs. There was a large monitor set up that was airing Kenny's hitting critique to everyone at Fanfest. I though it was pretty cool. My dad, on the other hand, thought otherwise. He was annoyed that he was over there and not signing and was worried that would be cutting into his time signing. I told him to chill out and that was how it was scheduled and that everything was going to be alright. As usual, I was right and I went through the line several times.

When I think of Kenny Lofton, I think of him as an Indian. He played for seventeen seasons and parts of ten of those were in Cleveland. He was with the franchise on three separate occasions and it is the only team, out of eleven, that he played with for more than one season. He ranks in the top ten for all time Indians players for hits (ninth), sac flies and WAR for position players (fourth), runs (third), and stolen bases (first). His 452 stolen bases is 173 more than second place, who happens to be Omar Vizquel.

On an unrelated note, I was supposed to be at game three of the ALCS tonight. Unfortunately, rain washed out the game and I was only an hour and ten minutes away from the stadium when I found out about postponement. But, I have it covered and, although I have to burn a day of vacation, I will be at the park tomorrow. I can't wait. Go Royals!!

Monday, October 13, 2014

1995 Team Set, Harrisburg Senators

#17 Steve Faltseisek
#20 Tony Kounas
#27 Mark Charbonnet
#38 Antonio Grissom

Here is a foursome from the Harrisburg Senators team set from 1995 that was sent to me a couple of years ago by Ryan, from the Great Orioles Autograph Project. These are not the first cards of the Senators that he has sent me. He sent me three from the '94 set, too, and those can be seen here. Like I said on that post, I believe that the Sens were Ryan's local minor league team back in the day and that is how he got these cards signed. I very easily could be wrong, though.

Out of these four players, three of them never made it above AA-ball, which is the level Harrisburg was at. Two of those three only got one crack at AA and were either out of baseball or in an independent league afterwards. Tony Kounas was spending his third straight season at AA, first with the Expos organization, but was done after that season.

Steve Falteisek was the highlight of this group. Not only was he a pitcher on a card with a posed batting shot, but he also made it to the Majors. He made his debut with the Expos in 1997 and had five relief appearances and posted a 0-0 record and 3.38 ERA. He spent all of '98 in the minors before make it back up to the bigs in '99 with the Brewers. He got into ten games and again did not get a decision. And his ERA ballooned to 7.50. That was his last chance in the Majors, though he did pitch professionally through the 2003 season. His career stats are no decisions and a 5.85 ERA with 6 walks and 7 strikeouts over 20 innings.

Mark Charbonnet played minor league ball for twelve seasons. About a third of that time was spent in independent leagues that are no longer around- the Western League and the Prairie League. Some of the teams he played for in those include the Moose Jaw Diamond Dogs, the Southern Minny Stars, the Bend Bandits, the Zion Pioneerzz (yes, two Z's), and the Tri-City Posse. I do not remember either of those leagues, but at least they left us some interesting team names.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

1995 Signature Rookies Preview, Wilton Guerrero

#16 Wilton Guerrero

Here is a card that I picked up from COMC for a mere sixty cents. I normally try to avoid buying Signature Rookies cards if I can. But Wilton falls into a certain category where I make an exception. Like John Mabry, I got something signed by Wilton at a game once and it was not a baseball card. It was a wrong that needed corrected and I could not pass it up for sixty cents.

I got a roster signed by Wilton in St. Louis in 1998. Jim Eisenreich also signed the roster and I posted a picture of it a few years back. It can be seen here.

Wilton broke in with the Dodgers in 1996 and was a regular in 1997. He hit .291 with them that year and had career highs in home runs(4), triples(9), and RBI(32). He was then packaged in a deal at the deadline in '98 and shipped off to Montreal for Carlos Perez and Mark Grudzielanek. He played with the Expos for two and a half seasons, and got some decent playing time, before signing with the Reds in 2001.

He played sparingly in Cincy for a season in a half before being part of a three team deal that included Carl Pavano, Cliff Floyd, and Ryan Dempster. He finished off the 2002 season with the Expos before spending all of '03 in the minors. He resurfaced in the Majors in '04 for 24 games with the Royals. I am a die-hard Royals fan, but I had no idea Wilton was ever on the team. I was in basic training for most of that season, so I guess that is my excuse. 2004 was the last time he played a Major League game.

For his career, Wilton hit .282 with 11 home runs and 127 RBI.

Speaking of Royals, did anyone notice that they went up 2-0 in the ALCS today? Whether you like the Royals or not, you have to admit that they sure make their games interesting.

It is impossible to tell in this scan, but this card is a mini-sized. It is not quite Allen and Ginter mini, but is the same size as the Old Judge card I posted yesterday.

Friday, October 10, 2014

1995 Old Judge, Kym Ashworth

#2 Kym Ashworth

To commemorate the beginning of the American League Championship Series, here is a card of Kym Ashworth. What does Kym have to do with the ALCS you ask? Absolutely nothing. But, this card was given to me by Ryan, from The Great Orioles Autograph Project. The Oriole are, of course, hosting the Royals tonight for game one, so there is the tie-in.

Speaking of the start of the ALCS, the Royals Playoff Contest is officially closed. Thanks to everyone that entered and good luck. But, most importantly, go Royals!!

As for Kym, he was an Australian that was signed by the Dodgers at a young age. He made his professional debut with the Great Falls Dodgers in 1993 at the tender age of fifteen. Yikes! That has got to be quite an adjustment for a fifteen year-old to come halfway around the world to play a professional sport. At least he already spoke English. He made eleven starts that summer and went 3-3 with a 2.44 ERA with 52 strikeouts to 14 walks.

He was bumped up to the California League the next season and went 6-7 with a 3.95 ERA and 109 strikeouts. He even made one start at the AA level as a seventeen year-old. He took the loss in that game, but did strike out six with no walks.

He was in the Florida State League for the '95 season and was 7-4 with a 3.52 ERA and 97 strikeouts. Then he ended up missing all of the '96 season to injury and made just thirteen appearances in '97. He played one more season in the Tigers organization before calling it quits are the age of twenty-one.

This is the second card from this set that I have and both of them are Dodger players. I think it is kind of funny that the two guys got different D's airbrushed on their hats. Here is a link to the first one.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Kansas City Royals Playoffs Contest

It has been a while since I have posted a contest on here. Since my team has made it further than everyone thought that they should have, I have decided to hold a contest. It is the first annual Royals Playoff Contest. I hope that this will be a yearly thing.

All you have to do is predict how the Royals season will end.

If you think they will lose in the ALCS, just comment that they will lose in the ALCS and in how many games (4,5,6,or 7). Then guess how many runs they will score in the series. But, if you think that they will make it to the World Series, leave a comment that states whether or not they will win or lose the World Series, how many games it will take for that to happen, and how many runs they will score in the World Series.

In order to win, you first must have to predict their outcome (lose ALCS, win WS, lose WS). If you get that right, it will then go by games in the deciding series (4,5,6 or 7). If there are still two or more people still tied at that point, it will go down to runs scored by the Royals as the tie-breaker.

Say they win the World Series in six and and three people pick that they win, but one each picks game five, six, and seven. Whoever picked six would be the winner. But, if they won and two people predicted it and one said five and one said seven, it would go to the runs scored tie-breaker.

Just to hopefully avoid any confusion, the tie-breaker only applies to the following scenarios.
1. Two or more people correctly guess the same outcome and number of games. 2. Two or more people correctly guess the outcome, but are all off by one game (ie, two pick game 4 and one picks game 6 in a five game series).

If it happens to be that it goes six games and one person picks seven and two or more pick four, whoever picked seven will be the winner because that person was closest.

As far as picking the runs scored in the deciding series, you cannot pick a number picked by another contestant, regardless of whether or not you both picked the same initial outcome. And, in the off chance that it comes down to a tie-breaker and each contestant is off by the same amount, I will evoke the Price is Right Rule. Whoever is closest without going over will win. But, that will only happen if it comes down to two people and one is over by the same number that one is under.

It has been a really long day for me, proceeded by a really long week. I hope that this all makes sense. If something does not, email me at zman40 at hotmail dot com.

Just leave your picks in the comments to this post. You must enter by the time game one of the ALCS starts on Friday.

As far as winnings, the winner will win these three signed cards. Each person here has done something to help the Royals advance as far as they have.

We have signed cards by Christian Colon, Eric Hosmer, and Greg Holland.

Good luck and thanks for playing!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

1995 Fleer, Carl Willis

#217 Carl Willis

I did my best for eighteen years on not getting a card from this set signed. Then, last year at Spring Training, I relented. Carl was the pitching coach for the Mariners at the time and this was the lone card that I took of him with me. I had gotten three cards signed by him in 2009, so I was low on cards of him that were unsigned. This was the only one that I found, so I broke down and got this special looking card autographed.

For some reason, I completely forgot that I needed him on my '09 Topps Heritage Indians coaches card that is only signed by two of the four guys.

This has to be the most horrific set ever made. I believe that there were a couple of different layouts, each one as bad as the rest. I don't think that I have to tell you how bad this card is. It speaks for itself. I do have to wonder, though, why Fleer thought that they had to include the player's height and weight on the front of the card. Very strange.

Despite the layout of the card, the signature came out looking OK. Not bad for a card where the player looks like he is pitching in a Cypress Hill video.

I mentioned in the last post that I got married over the weekend. Here is another picture from after the ceremony. We decided to do our pictures at our local ball field and I could not be happier with the results. I can't wait to see the rest.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

1995 Bowman's Best, Raul Casanova

#67 Raul Casanova

Here is a card that was given to me by Rod, from Padrographs. He sent me this card about three years ago, but I somehow forgot to post it the last time I was in a between years recap. So here it finally is.

This is actually the second Raul Casanova card that Rod sent. I posted another one five years ago and it can be seen here. Both of the cards he sent me were pretty cool, but I think I would have to go with the Bowman's Best if I had to pick a favorite of the two.

It has been over a week since I have posted and, for once, I actually have a good excuse for the lack of posts. On Saturday, I married the love of my life. We had been together for about two and a half years and engaged the past ten months. While she is nowhere near the baseball fan that I am, she puts up with my fandom and actually enjoys going to ballgames with me. She is now a diehard Royals fan and we had the luxury of taking our very short honeymoon to the Royals game three clinch of the Division Series. Next Monday, assuming she can get off of work, we will be heading back to Kansas City for honeymoon part II, ALCS game three.

So, between the wedding and the Royals in the playoffs, it has been a whirlwind week. I'll be happy when everything gets back to normal and the Royals are World Champions!

Here are some pics from the game.

Here is us tailgating right after we got there. You can barely make out Kauffman Stadium over our vehicle. We got to the park two hours before first pitch and had to walk a ways to get to the ballpark.

Here is the view from our seats in the bottom of the first. We ended up in the very last row of the upper deck. But, at least we had seats. A buddy of mine bought standing room only tickets off of stubhub and paid about four times what we paid. Plus, we were covered when it rained.

My fifteen years of being a Royals fan have finally paid off. Plus, I now have a partner to enjoy going to games with for the rest of our lives. Can't wait until Monday. Go Royals!!