Saturday, June 30, 2018

2001 Stadium Club, Scott Thorman

#159 Scott Thorman

Here is a card that I got signed at Spring Training last year. Scott is the manager of the Royals South Atlantic League affiliate, Lexington, and I was able to get him to sign two cards for me after the Royals minor leaguers worked out.

Out of all the Arizona League home's that I have been to, the Royals side of Surprise Stadium is one of my favorites. While you are not going to get any 'graphs from the big leaguers, it is a great spot to hit up the guys in the minors. The main reason for that is that the Royals put names on the back of the jerseys. Most of the teams do not do that and it is a pain trying to identify the lesser known guys. Also a plus is that the players have to walk quite a ways to get back to the clubhouse. There is no easy exit for them and you can get guys that you missed just by catching up to them.

The Lexington Legends finished up the first half of their season 2.5 games out of first place. It is still early into the second half, but they are off to a sluggish start. Through eight games, they are 2-6 and bringing up the rear of the South Atlantic League Southern Division.

I bought this card online as I wasn't really collecting cards in 2001. It just seems odd to me that Stadium Club would have draft pick cards. I know they did some draft pick sets early on in the brand, but this card feels out of place to me. This seems like something that should have been in Bowman.

College World Series Contest Finale

The CWS has been over for a couple of days and I am just now finding the time to update this. Sorry for the delay. It was a great finals this year with Arkansas being a foul pop-up from winning it to losing decisively in the third game. Oregon State won it in three games, which means we had to go to the tie-breaker for the first time in this contest and it was a nail-biter. Greg predicted 15 runs in the finals while Joey picked 20. So, 17 or fewer runs and it was Greg's; 18 or more and it was Joey's. In the bottom of the eighth inning of Game Three, OSU knocked in the fifth and final run of the game for the 18th run of the Series. Joey is the winner.

If you are one of the three other people that took the time to fill out a bracket this year, send me your address and I will get a consolation PWE out to you. Chances are that I probably already have your address, but send it to me anyways just to remind me. zman40 at hotmail dot com

I have decided that this year was the last year that I will hold this contest. I have been running it since 2010 and it has been a fun ride and something I have looked forward to every year. But, with only four people filling out brackets this year and no more free autograph signings at the CWS to fill the prize bucket, I think it is time to call it quits. Thank you to everyone that has ever filled out a bracket, no matter if you did just one or came back for multiples.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

2001 Pacific, David McCarty

#200 David McCarty

Here is a card that I got signed by David McCarty earlier this year. For a bit, I was sending out cards TTM to former Royals that I did not have signed cards from. That was how I got this one. I sent it to David in February and I got it back about five weeks later.

David played for the Royals for about two and a half seasons. His first season in Kansas City was his best season as a Major League player. That year was the only season that he played in over 100 games and he responded with a .278 average with 12 home runs and 53 RBI, all career bests for him. That was in 2000 on a very talented offensive squad.

I got to see David play two dozen times as a Royal and he always seemed to do well when I was there. He hit .295 with 10 RBI and 3 dingers in those games.

In 2003, with the Red Sox, David had the opportunity to pitch. He actually got three chances that season and he did well, posting a 2.45 ERA with 4 strikeouts in 3.2 innings of work.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

College World Series Contest Update

The College World Series finals are here. Unlike in past years, when the contest has been wrapped up by now, this one is still going strong and down to two contestants- Greg and Joey. Heading into the finals, Joey has a 17-13 lead. Joey got 3 points in the first phase and, having picked the finals participants, has 14 points through the second phase. Greg got 5 points in phase one and has 8 points through phase two.

In order for Greg to come back and win this thing, Oregon State has to win the Series in three games (which will tie the two at 17 points) with 17 or fewer runs scored in the three games. If Arkansas wins, Oregon State wins in two, or Oregon State wins in three with 18 or more runs scored, Joey will pull off the win.

It is going to be fun to watch how this thing plays out. I have never had to go to runs scored in this contest, so I am looking forward to putting that variable into play.

2001 Eugene Emeralds Greats, Brian McRae

#7 Brian McRae

Here is a unique card that was given to me unsigned by Rod, from Padrographs. He picked up this Emeralds All-Time Greats team set at an Ems clearance sale and was nice enough to give me some of the cards that featured Royals.

I got the card signed at a Royals game last summer at the alumni signing the Royals host on Sundays. To my amazement, Brian has never seen this card before and was wondering if I could get him one. He apparently has a nice collection of his cards and was wanting to add this one to it. I wish he would have told me that before he had signed it and I just would have gave him this one.

When I got home, I looked online for this card and even contacted Rod to see if he had an extra. I came up empty handed with both of those endeavors. I saw Brian earlier this year at a Royals game and told him I couldn't find another one and he had the same experience with his own search. I again offered this one up to him, but he told me not to worry about it. So, if anyone has this card in their collection, I know a fellow collector that needs it.

The neat thing about this set is that the images appear to be airbrushed. It is hard to tell with the signature on this card, but all the lines on the jersey have over-spray around them.

Friday, June 22, 2018

2001 Bowman, Jason Marquis

#291 Jason Marquis

Here is a card of Jason Marquis that was given to me by Rod, from Padrographs, when we met up at a Hillsboro Hops game in 2015. Jason pitched for the Padres for two seasons, so I am assuming Rod picked up this card with a signed Padres card to add to his collection.

Jason pitched in the Majors for parts of fifteen seasons with nine clubs- the Braves, Cardinals, Cubs, Rockies, Nationals, Diamondbacks, Twins, Padres, and Reds. Over that time, he amassed a 124-118 record with one save and a 4.61 ERA. He pitched in five postseasons and won a Silver Slugger Award.

Jason pitched for Atlanta for four seasons, going 14-15 with a 4.45 ERA. He also picked up his lone save as a Brave. After the 2003 season, he and Adam Wainwright were dealt to St. Louis for JD Drew and Eli Marrero. The Cardinals went on to play in two World Series over the next three years, so I would say that they fared better from that trade. Interestingly, when the won the Series in 2006, Jason did not appear in a single postseason game.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

2000 Fleer Tradition, Jeff Montgomery

#244 Jeff Montgomery

I cannot believe that it has been nearly four years since I have posted a card of Jeff Montgomery. When I posted that last card, the ninth signed card from Jeff, I complained that I had too many signed cards from him. While I don't mind a lot of different signed cards of the same person, it gets really hard to posts those cards with meaningful commentary on here after the third post. Luckily, I haven't had to worry about that the last four years.

I got this card signed at the last Royals Caravan that the team held in 2015. The team was fresh off their American League pennant run and they threw a less than spectacular Caravan together. The leg that came through Kansas consisted of Monty, Lane Adams, and Brandon Finnegan. It wasn't completely awful since I did not have an autograph from Adams or Finnegan. But, I had to find a card of Finnegan quick since he was drafted in 2014 and didn't have any mainstream cards yet. I ended up with a Panini Draft card and all was well.

The Royals went on to win it all in 2015 and they did a rather unusual Caravan in 2016. Rather than take players around, they took their World Series trophy. Knowing that the trophy was going to be displayed for eternity at Kauffman Stadium, I did not bother with that. In 2017 and 2018, the Royals did nothing and, as of right now, the Royals Caravan appears to be dead in the water. But, with how awful the team is right now, it might not be a bad idea to get something restarted next year. We will have to wait to see what happens.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Contest Reminder

The College World Series starts tomorrow, so you had better get a bracket filled out soon. Remember, there is a Topps Series 2 blaster up for grabs this year. Just read the post before this one to see what you have to do.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

College World Series Contest, Phase 2

In case you haven't noticed, I've been running a little contest here for the past two weeks that revolves around the College World Series. Eight people have already entered and have a tiny head start. But, it is not too late to get in on the action. There are plenty more points to be earned and no one is even close to locking this thing up yet. So here is all you have to do- fill out a College World Series bracket.

Keep in mind that this bracket is nothing like filling out a March Madness bracket. The reason for that is because of the loser's bracket. But, I am going to try to make this as simple as I can. Here is my homemade bracket. Click on it to hopefully see a bigger view.

Here is a how the bracket breaks down. There are two groups in the bracket- A and B. Each group has six games in it. All you have to do is guess who is going to win each of the games as they advance towards the championship round.

For instance, group A has Oregon St. and UNC squaring off in game 1 and Washington and Mississippi St. going in game 2. Pick who is going to win each of those games and then those two teams will square off in game 3. The losers of games 1 and 2 will then square off in game 4. Then, the loser in game 3 plays the winner of game 4 in game 5.

At that point, there will be one team left in the group that is 2-0 (winner of game 3) and one that is 2-1 (winner of game 5). Those two teams play in game 6, which is an elimination game. If the 2-0 team loses, they play a game 7 and the winner advances to the championship. If the 2-0 team wins game 6, they go straight to the championship without game 7. BUT, for the sake of this bracket, I am going to count games 6 and 7 as one game. Just pick who you think is going to advance. It doesn't matter how they do it. I call it game 6/7.

After that, you should have a team advancing out of group A. Do the same for group B. Those two teams are your final teams. In the CWS, they play a best of three series for the championship. Pick who you think will win it all and if they will win it in two games or three. Then, for a tie breaker, guess how many runs will be scored in the championship series (the final two or three games).

It might be easier for you to fill it out on paper first. But to enter the contest, leave a comment looking something similar to this.

A2: Washington
A4: Oregon St
A5: Washington
A6/7: UNC

B1: Arkansas
B2: Florida
B3: Florida
B4: Texas Tech
B5: Arkansas
B6/7: Arkansas

Arkansas over UNC in two games, 9 runs scored

For the sake of the tie breaker, DO NOT pick a number already chosen by someone else. Even if your teams do not make it to the finals, the tiebreaker will still apply to you in the event of a tie.

If you guess every game right, including how many games will be played in the finals, you can come out with 22 points.

The CWS begins at 3:00 PM, eastern, on Saturday, June 16. So, all entries must be in by that point. If you have any questions at all, feel free to email me at zman40 at hotmail dot com. Or, just ask in the comments.

Here are the standings so far. All correct guesses were worth one point and nobody picked the two and three seeds that made the CWS.

Greg- 5 points- Florida, Texas, UNC, and two points for pimping the contest, one on blogger and one on twitter
Kin- 5 points- Florida, Texas Tech, Texas, UNC, Oregon St
Wilson- 5 points- Florida, Arkansas, UNC, Oregon St, and pimped on blogger
Joey- 3 points- Florida, UNC, Oregon St
Jeff- 3 points- Florida, Texas Tech, Oregon St
Lost Collector- 2 points- Texas, UNC
Rod- 1 point- Oregon St
John- 0 points

There is only a five point differential between first and last, so this is still anyone's to win. Even if you didn't enter the first phase, you can still get in on the action and have a legitimate shot at winning. Again, the winner of this will be taking home a blaster of Topps Series Two.

Good luck and thanks for playing!

1999 Topps Chrome, Ryan Christenson

#88 Ryan Christenson

Here is a card that I got signed by Ryan Christenson at a Spring Training game earlier this year. Ryan is the bench coach for the A's and he was nice enough to sign my one card for me prior to the start of the game.

Ryan played in the Majors for six seasons with the A's, Diamondbacks, Brewers, and Rangers. Over that time, he got into 452 games and he hit .222 with 16 home runs and 102 RBI. His best season was his rookie campaign with the A's in 1998. That year, he hit .257 with 5 homers and 40 RBI, all single season highs for him.

Ryan's playing career overlapped the time when I was in college and not actively collecting cards. Still, I somehow ended up with a decent amount of Topps product from 1999 and was lucky enough to have this lone card of him to get signed. Ryan has a long last name and I am amazed whenever I see a plaery sign every single letter like he does. That is a rarity in this day and age.

Friday, June 8, 2018

1999 Topps, David Dellucci

#179 David Dellucci

Here is the first of three cards that David Dellucci signed for me when he played of the Kansas Stars last summer. The Stars were a group of former pro players that competed in the NBC World Series against predominantly college athletes.

David played in the Majors for thirteen seasons with the Orioles, Diamondbacks, Yankees, Rangers, Phillies, Indians, and Blue Jays. Out of all those teams, he spent the most time with the D-Backs, playing with them for parts of five and a half seasons. Over that time, he got into 503 games and he hit .272 with 25 home runs and 156 RBI. He was with the club when they won the World Series in 2001 and was mainly used as a defensive replacement during the playoffs. He got into six games and was 2-4 at the dish. Just prior to the 2003 trade deadline, David was traded to the Yankees. He would make his second and final World Series appearance with them and go 0-2 in four games.

The Kansas Stars are no more this year, which is pretty disappointing for me. I had quite a time 'graphing them the last two years. But, the team is still going to be playing together this summer at the Bluegrass World Series in Louisville as the Louisville Stars. I have no idea who they will be competing against, but it is sure to be a good time. So, if you are going to be in the Louisville area between July 30th and August 4th, it may be worth checking out.

Thursday, June 7, 2018

1999 Topps, Jeff Fassero

#117 Jeff Fassero

Here is the second of three cards that Jeff Fassero signed for me at a Reds Spring Training game last year. Jeff is the pitching coach for the Reds AAA affiliate in Louisville and he was nice enough to stop and sign three cards for me before a game at Goodyear Ballpark. I posted the first card earlier this year and it can be seen here.

After having a career-year with the Expos in 1996, Montreal shipped Jeff to Seattle shortly after the season for almost nothing in return. Jeff had two solid seasons in his first two years in Seattle, hitting double-digit wins each year and helping the club to a playoff birth in 1997. He made one start in the Division Series that season and pitched eight inning of one run ball for the win.

Then, in 1999, his third season with the Mariners, Jeff's numbers took a gigantic plunge. Over a 139 innings, Jeff was 4-14 while posting a 7.38 ERA. He ended up back in the bullpen for the first time since his second year in the Majors. The M's ended up trading him to the Rangers for a player to be named later and that later named player never played an inning in the Major Leagues.

For his nearly three seasons with the M's, Jeff was 33-35 with a 4.62 ERA.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

1999 Topps, Darryl Strawberry

#18 Darryl Strawberry

Here is the fourth and final card that I got signed by Darryl Strawberry when he was preaching in Wichita two years ago. There are four of us in the family and we all got one card signed. My wife and my then eight month old baby got extra cards signed for me. My oldest son got to pick out a card of Darryl for himself. This is the card he picked out and it is currently in my collection as he didn't really care for it. Had I known that before the event, I would have just picked out another Mets card of my choosing.

This was not the first time that had happened. I have a signed '84 Topps Ken Oberkfell in my collection that my kid abandoned.

I was hoping to post the picture that we all took with Darryl, but I am not even sure if we even have it anymore. It was on my wife's phone and that thing got wiped clean around that time. She is in bed now, but if she does happen to have it still, I will post in on here soon.

You can see my first three cards of Darryl here, here, and here.

The Super Regionals are set and there were a decent amount of upsets. No one has a chance of locking up all eight spots, but every one has a chance for points. Here are the teams that every one has a chance of getting in. They are all one seeds unless otherwise noted.

John- 2.Auburn, Stetson, Minnesota
Greg- Florida, Texas, 3.Cal St Fullerton, 2.Vanderbilt, UNC
Rod- 2.Tennessee Tech, Stetson, Oregon St
The Lost Collector- 2.South Carolina, Texas, 3.Cal St Fullerton, UNC
Kin- Florida, Texas Tech, Texas, UNC, Oregon St
Joey- Florida, UNC, Oregon St
Jeff- Florida, Texas Tech, 2.South Carolina, Oregon St
Wilson- Florida, Arkansas, UNC, Oregon St

Monday, June 4, 2018

1999 Fleer Sports Illustrated, Bob Feller

NN Bob Feller

Here is a card of Bob Feller that I won in a contest three years ago. Brian, from Play at the Plate, picked up some cards and happened to get a couple of autographed cards from Hall of Famers. All you had to do to win one of them was guess who he got. I threw Bob Feller out there and came home a winner.

I have actually posted an autograph from Bob Feller on here before. In 2009, I stopped at Van Meter, Iowa to visit the Bob Feller Museum. Back then, I had a lot more time on my hands and I actually did a write-up on the visit and my trip to the Metrodome. You can read about it and see the signed card of Bob that I bought there here.

I thought I had heard rumblings about the museum closing after Bob passed away in 2010. But, it looks like it is still up and running.

Bob pitched for the Indians for eighteen seasons. During that time, he went 266-162 with 21 saves. He was a 20 game winner six times and had a career high of 27 in 1940. In 1946, he struck out 346 batters and was the first pitcher to hit the 300 strikeout mark in over thirty years. He finished his career with 2581 Ks and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1962.