Friday, September 28, 2018

2005 Fleer, Ryan Madson

#142 Ryan Madson

Here is the second of three cards that I got signed by Ryan Madson at a Royals game in 2015. I posted the first card two years ago and it can be seen here.

When I posted that last card, Ryan had just come off of a World Series victory with the Royals and signed himself a nice three-year deal with the A's. His tenure in Oakland lasted just a year and a half, though, as he was traded to the Nationals at the deadline last year. He pitched well for them down the stretch last season, but was a bit shaky this year, posting a 5.28 ERA in 44.1 innings of work. Nonetheless, the Nats were able to send him to the Dodgers at the end of August for a minor league player. Unfortunately, things haven't gotten any better in Los Angeles as he has racked up a 7.36 ERA in just 7.1 innings of work.

Being 38 years old and having an expiring contract, I would be surprised to see Ryan pitching next year. But, you never know. I didn't think he was going to make the Royals roster in 2015 after not pitching in four years and he still has a job in the Majors.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

2005 Bowman Heritage, J.P. Howell

#SG-JH J.P. Howell

Here is a card that I picked up for cheap from COMC last year. This one set me back all of $1.50. I picked it up just because it showed JP as a Royal.

JP pitched more games for the Royals than I realized. He started fifteen games with them in 2005 and was 3-5 with a 6.19 ERA. He was then traded to the Devil Rays in 2006 for Joey Gathright. He started 18 games for the Rays in '06 and '07 before moving to the pen in '08 and establishing himself as a reliable reliever.

Over the course of his career, JP was 36-30 with 22 saves and a 3.83 ERA. His best season was with the Rays in 2008 when he went 6-1 with 3 saves, a 2.22 ERA and a career-high 92 strikeouts. He pitched for the Rays through the 2012 season before moving on to the Dodgers for four years. He spent last year, which looks like his final year, with the Blue Jays.

This is an odd card. I love Heritage cards and you cannot beat an on-card autograph. But, it just seems extremely odd that the players were told to sign the cards on the "No Pepper Games" sign.

I have no clue what is going on with JP's signature. Does he just sign Howell? Or is he trying to make his J and his P look like an H? Your guess is as good as mine.

Monday, September 24, 2018

2005 Bowman Heritage, Brad Corley

#290 Brad Corley

Two posts ago, I showed off the Gio Gonzalez auto that I got in a trade with a random reader for a pair of '05 Bowman Heritage Cesar Carrillo cards. When we made the deal, he gave me a list of cards that he had available for trade. I picked the Gio card and told him to throw in an '05 Bowman Heritage card that he had dupes of. This is that throw-in card.

Brad played in the minors for five seasons, never making it above AA. The second round pick out of Mississippi State reached the AA level in just his third year of pro ball, but could never get any higher. Despite hitting .262 in his first full season there, the Bucs cut ties with him in 2009 and he finished the season playing for the Rockies AA team. That was Brad's last year in baseball.

In parts of three season in AA, Brad hit .249 with 18 home runs and 81 RBI.

In my last post, I poked fun at the pose that Drew Butera was in. This one isn't much better, but it looks much cooler thanks to the Heritage effect.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

2005 Bowman, Drew Butera

#BDP44 Drew Butera

Drew Butera played for the Royals for parts of four seasons. Over that time, this is one of the two cards that I got him to sign for me. Granted, he does not have a lot of cards out there and I got him to sign a card for me once when he was a Dodger. But still, two cards in four years just goes to show how hard it has gotten to get Royals autographs in Kansas City.

I got this card signed by Drew at Royals Fanfest in 2016. The Royals were coming off their World Series championship and Fanfest was a madhouse. Because of the outrageous number of people attending the event, I did not bother standing in line for autographs. It just did not make sense to get in a line for an unknown signer that was going to show up in two hours. Luckily, I was able to snag some alumni autos at the alumni line whenever they showed up. Plus, I got a few alums by the wiffle ball field when they went over there to help the kids out. Right when we got in the doors, my kid got Mike Moustakas by the wiffle ball field, but he did not sign for me. But, I was able to get Drew over there later on that day and it was the only card I got signed at Fanfest by a current player. It was an odd Fanfest for me to say the least. But, that is what happens when your favorite team is a World Champ.

Despite being drafted by the Mets in the fifth round of the 2005 draft, Drew never played in the Majors with the club. He played in their system for two years before getting traded to the Twins for Luis Castillo.

This has got to be one of the worst poses for a catcher. Despite the lack of catcher equipment, it really does not look like Drew is playing catcher. What is that pose supposed to represent? Is it him catching a pitch out or a throw home from an infielder for a force out?

Thursday, September 20, 2018

2005 Bowman, Giovanny Gonzalez

#158 Giovanny Gonzalez

Every once in a while, I will get a random email from somebody that I do not know who wants to trade for a card they found on my blog. More often than not, it is somebody working on a set and they discovered that I posted a card that they needed. That is how I ended up with this card. Somebody noticed that I had some '05 Bowman Heritage cards that they needed and gave me some signed cards to pick from. This is the one that I chose. In order to land this card, I had to pony up two different Cesar Carrillo cards from that set. I think I did OK with that trade.

When I first saw this card, I was not expecting Gio to be pictured with the White Sox. I had no idea he was ever in their organization. Well, it turns out that he was also in the Phillies organization, too, before making his Major League debut with the A's in 2008.

Since making that debut, Gio has pitched eleven seasons and is currently 126-97 with about ten days left in this season. His best season was with the Nationals in 2012 when he was 21-8 with a 2.89 ERA and 207 strikeouts. He has never won more than 16 games any other season in his career, but he has run off a string of eight straight seasons with double digit wins and is one win away from his ninth straight.

Gio is currently hurling for the Brewers and is 2-0 in three September starts with a 1.65 ERA. With nine games left and a 3.5 game lead for the wildcard, Gio is trying to help his club reach the postseason for the fourth time in his career.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

2004 Upper Deck Vintage, Joe Beimel

#222 Joe Beimel

Here is a card that I got signed after the Kansas Stars game I attended last year. I didn't have any cards of Joe prior to him being put on the roster, so I had to buy a couple online. Anymore, I am pretty weary of buying cards just to hope that I can get them signed. But, on some lesser known players, especially relief pitchers, I will still do that now and then and it payed off with Joe. I couldn't get him before the game, but I got his attention afterwards and he came and signed the two cards I had of him.

In case you are wondering, Joe Beimel cards are hard to come by. Even though he pitched for thirteen seasons in the Majors, from 2001-2015, and logged almost 700 innings, there are hardly any cards of Joe. There is one Dodger card of him that Upper Deck made in 2007 and the rest of his cards are Pirate cards that came out between 2001 and 2004. This is just another example of the relief pitcher getting the shaft from card companies.

Joe pitched for the Pirates for four seasons. In 23 starts and 176 relief appearances, Joe was 11-20 with a 5.03 ERA. Those four seasons include the first three of his career and a fourth in 2011.

I once asked for Joe Beimel's autograph when he was playing for the Rockies. The only problem was that I did not have any cards of him and I gave him a card of Matt Belisle to sign.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

2004 Upper Deck Vintage, Barry Zito

#14 Barry Zito

Here is the second card that Barry signed for me during his farewell campaign with the Nashville Sounds in 2015. I posted the first card three years ago and it can be seen here.

This card marks a bit of a milestone for this blog. This is the 100th Athletics card that I have posted on here. Only two other teams have hit the 100 card mark, the Royals and Padres. The Royals are up there because they are my local team. The Padres passed the mark because Rod, from Padrographs, loves to send me signed Padre cards. The A's reached that level because they used to play in Kansas City and I like getting KC A's cards signed. By my best count, I currently 26 signed KC A's cards with all but one of those already being posted on here. If it wasn't for my interest in that era of the team, there would have only been about 80 A's cards posted on here. In case you are wondering, the Angels are the team that is closest to reaching 100 card posts and they are currently sitting on 82.

Barry pitched for the A's for seven seasons and went 102-63 with a 3.58 ERA. During his time in Oakland, he made three All Star teams and was awarded the 2002 American League Cy Young Award. That year, he was 23-5 with a 2.75 ERA and 182 strikeouts.

Last I heard, Barry was trying to make it as a musician in Nashville. I have heard one of his songs and I actually like it. You can check it out on YouTube here.

Friday, September 14, 2018

2004 Upper Deck Sweet Spot, Tim Hudson

#85 Tim Hudson

Here is the second card that I got signed by Tim Hudson at the NBC World Series in 2016. I posted the first one last month and it can be seen here.

At that game, I did 98% of my 'graphing by the clubhouse and batting cages in left field. The one problem with 'graphing there is that there is a nine foot tall chain link fence to keep you from going into the clubhouse. Since I use a book with photo corners to hold my cards in, the fence was a major obstacle for me. If I were getting balls signed, it would not be a big deal. But, I do not toss the book around like I would a baseball.

So, to circumvent the fence, I ended up finding a low spot on the ground and handing my book under the fence. While it wasn't ideal, it certainly got the job done and all the cards came out OK with the exception of this one. This one ended up scraping the bottom of the fence and it caused a streak right through the signature. But, considering that I got about forty cards signed at that spot and only one got messed up, I think I came out alright.

Tim pitched for Oakland for six seasons and had some of his best success with them. He went 92-39 with the A's. I know wins and losses do not tell much of a story of how good a pitcher is doing, but that .702 winning percentage is really impressive. Tim made two All Star teams with the A's and won 20 games for them in 2000 and had a single season high of 181 strikeouts in 2001.

I was a little worried about how well the signature was going to show up on this foil card. But, minus the streak, it came out looking good.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

2004 Topps Total, Tom Martin

#263 Tom Martin

Here is the second of three cards that Tom Martin signed for me a the Kansas Stars game I attended in 2016. I posted the first one ten months ago and it can be seen here.

This card exemplifies why I loved Topps Total. Tom Martin pitched in the Major Leagues for parts of eleven seasons. Yet, if it was not for Topps Total, he would have one lonely Major League card from the 1998 Topps set. But, Topps included him in two of their three Total sets to get him up to a measly three cards. That is three times better than one, though. Kevin McCarthy has been pitching out of the Royals bullpen for three seasons now and he has yet to receive a card because Topps does not like middle relievers. The inclusion of those unheralded bullpen arms is why I liked Total.

By the time Tom joined the Dodgers in 2003, he was playing for his fifth different Major League team after having previous gigs with the Astros, Indians, Mets, and Devil Rays. With the Dodgers, Tom became a full time LOOGY and pitched in a career-high 80 games while logging just 51 innings to the tune of a 3.53 ERA. It was more of the same the next season until the Dodger traded him to the Braves for a minor league player at the trade deadline.

In his season and a half with LA, Tom was 1-3 with a save over 127 games and 79.1 innings of work. He had a 3.74 ERA and stuck out 69 batters.

Monday, September 10, 2018

2004 Topps Total, Jack Wilson

#91 Jack Wilson

Here is Jack Wilson card number three from the Kansas Stars game last year. Jack stopped to sign after the game we were at and signed all six cards for us and he did it super-fast. He was speed signing on his way out to the paid autograph signing. I wonder if he signed just as fast for that signing. The first two cards I posted of Jack were both 2004 cards, too, and they can be seen here and here.

Since I still have three more Jack Wilson cards to post on here, I am going to mix it up a bit today. In case you haven't heard, Wichita is going to be getting a AAA team. The New Orleans Baby Cakes are going to be relocating to Kansas in a couple of years, once a new ballpark is built. That is huge news for the area and, while I appreciate the effort of the Wingnuts while they bridged the gap of affiliated ball, I cannot wait for the Cakes to get here. It is going to be a brand new autographing scene in Wichita when that happens and I am really excited.

Here is a first look rendering of the new ballpark.

This is a new development and many details are still unannounced. They haven't even set a date on when the team will start play in Wichita. The Cakes lease on their current ballpark runs through 2021, but they make it sound like the new place will be ready for the 2020 season. I am assuming they will buy out the final year on the lease so the new park doesn't go unused for a summer.

Saturday, September 8, 2018

2004 Topps Cracker Jack, Rafael Palmeiro

#38 Rafael Palmeiro

This has been a pretty bleak year for in-person autographs. Spring Training wasn't as good to me as I had expected. I've only been to three Royals games and did horrible at two of those. The Kansas Stars jumped ship for Louisville. The only place where I have got any consistent action has been at Wingnut games and through the mail requests.

The majority of cards I get signed at Wingnuts games are Bowman and Topps Pro Debut cards. Every now and then, a team has a guy with a bit of big league experience, or maybe even a coach. But this year, something unheard of happened. Rafael Palmeiro, at 53 years of age, signed a contract with the Cleburne Railroaders and I knew I would be getting his autograph when the team came to Wichita in May.

In the days leading up to the game, I was a bit nervous. Cleburne was playing up north and Raffy was not on the road trip. Luckily, he met up with the team in Wichita and was at the game I attended.

I got to the game about five minutes after the gates opened and, to my amazement, Raffy was already on the field. He was down in the dugout talking to another player. I went down there and waited for a break in the conversation so I could ask him for his autograph. When he came over, I was in awe with how well conditioned he looked. Besides for his grey beard, he looked like he belonged there and still looked like a Major League slugger. We traded some banter about his experience in the American Association as he signed my three cards and a ball.

I stayed at the game long enough to see him bat twice. In his first at-bat, we snagged a foul ball before he popped up. Then, in his second at-bat, he roped a single to right field. That was the first time I had seen him play since 2004.

Even though Raffy ended his career on a sour note, he still finished with 3,020 hits and 569 home runs. Getting him to sign for me at a Wichita Wingnuts game was the highlight of my 'graphing summer.

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

2004 Topps, David Pauley

#T208 Dvaid Pauley

This is the second card of David Pauley that I have ever posted on here. I posted the first one eight years ago. When I posted that card, I was surprised to see that David had actually pitched in the Major Leagues because I had never heard of him. When I was getting ready to post this card, I again thought that I was going to post a card about a guy that had never pitched in the Majors. I guess my memory is not as good as it once was.

David pitched in 91 games over a five year span with the Padres, Red Sox, Mariners, Tigers, Angels, and Blue Jays. He started 20 of those games and was 9-19 for his career with a 4.68 ERA. His best season was with the Mariners in 2011. In 39 relief outings, David was 5-4 with a 2.15 ERA in 54.1 innings of work. He was then dealt to the Tigers at the deadline with Doug Fister and his numbers went up with Detroit. Even with his 5.95 ERA with the Tigers, he still managed a 3.16 ERA for the season. That was the only time he had an ERA under 4.00.

Despite pitching for six different clubs, David only has Padre and Red Sox cards made of him. All of those were made in 2006 or earlier.

This card, like the first one of Pauley, were given to me by Rod from Padrographs.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

2004 Topps, Justin Germano

#T118 Justin Germano

This card is almost a rarity for this blog. This is a signed Padre card that was not given to me by Rod, from Padrographs. I actually got this card signed myself.

Justin was on the Kansas Stars roster in 2016 and I was able to get him to come over and sign by the third base line before the game I attended. That was after I got the boot by the clubhouse where I was killing it. Once I joined the masses down the line, the going got rough and I was only able to snag Justin and Adam LaRoche. I am glad I was not in that spot the entire time.

Justin had a whirlwind career, appearing in Major League games in nine seasons with seven different teams- the Padres, Reds, Indians, Red Sox, Cubs, Blue Jays, and Rangers. Despite playing for all those teams, he only has Padre cards and a lone Phillies card. The Phillies card is from the 2006 Topps '52 rookie set. I am not sure how that card makes any sense since Justin made his Major League debut in 2004 with the Padres. Nonetheless, I kind of wish I would have picked that card up to get signed.