Wednesday, October 31, 2018

2005 Topps Total, Tom Martin

#624 Tom Martin

Here is the third and final card of Tom Martin that I got signed at the Kansas Stars game last year. I posted the first card, an Orioles minor league card, nearly a year ago and an '04 Topps Total card two months ago.

This is also the last card from the 2005 Topps Total set that I have to post for now. When I posted the first one nearly three weeks ago, I speculated that it would take me until Thanksgiving to get the nine cards posted. Having got them all by Halloween has been a nice accomplishment for me. I still wish I had the time to post one a day like I did ten years ago, but life doesn't always allow you to do the things you want to do.

Tom pitched for Atlanta for just parts of two seasons. During that time, he was 0-1 with a 5.59 ERA in 33 games.

I thought that it was very odd where Tom signed this card. I have seven dual player cards from this set that I have got signed and every single one of them, except for this one, is signed on one side or the other. I am not sure what Chris Reitsma is up to these days. But, if I ever run across him to finish this card off, Tom's signature in the middle of the card will definitely throw the card out of balance.

As for Tom, he is now one of the Buckmen from Buck Commander.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

2005 Topps Total, Cal Eldred

#613 Cal Eldred

Here is a card that I got signed this past summer in Kansas City. Cal is the pitching coach for the Royals and I was able to get him to sign some cards for me from the bullpen at one of the games that I went to. When he saw this card, he made sure to tell me that he wasn't the one I needed to sign this card. That is no joke and I doubt that I will ever be able to add Adam to it.

While Cal signed three cards for me that evening, and this is the first of those three to get posted on here, this is not the first card of him to ever appear on this blog. I sent Cal a TTM request in the mid-'90s and I posted that card nine years ago. That card, a '93 Fleer, was glossy and unprepped and the signature bubbled up pretty good. But, you can still make it out and it is cool to see that Cal's signature has not changed a bit in nearly twenty-five years. He has, of course, added a Bible verse and his number to his autograph.

Speaking of his number, he wore 21 during that majority of his career. But, in his three seasons with the Cards, he wore 23. Considering that there are hardly any cards of him from his time in St. Louis, it is cool that he signs his correct number when given the chance.

During Cal's time with the Cardinals, he was 12-6 with 9 saves and a 3.41 ERA.

When I got Cal to sign this card, it was during Player's Weekend. The name on the back of his jersey was "Corn Fed". I asked him about that and he said it was because he was always a bigger guy and that it didn't help that he was from Iowa.

Friday, October 26, 2018

2005 Topps Total, Jake Peavy

#475 Jake Peavy

Here is the first card of Jake Peavy that I have posted in eight years. That one was given to me by Rod, from Padrographs. This one, on the other hand, was obtained in-person last summer while Jake was playing for the Kansas Stars.

I had three cards for Jake to sign, but he was strictly a one-per guy. Luckily, I gave some cards to my dad and he was able to get a second card signed for me. That one is from a 2014 set, so it will be another eight years before I get that card posted. Who am I kidding? At my rate, it will be closer to eighteen years.

When I last posted a card of Jake, he was still an active player. That is not the case anymore as he last played in 2016. He had a rough go at life since that 2016 season which included a divorce and his financial adviser screwing him out of millions of dollars he had saved up for retirement. He was trying to make a comeback this season, but I had not heard anything about that since Spring Training.

So, if Jake never pitches again, he will finish his career with a record of 152-126 and a 3.63 ERA with 2,207 strikeouts.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

2005 Topps Total, Corky Miller

#461 Corky Miller

Here is the lone card that I got signed by Corky Miller at Spring Training in 2017. Corky is the Reds roving catching instructor and I was able to get him to sign this lone card at Reds minor league camp.

This is the only card of Corky that I own, so I assumed he had a relatively short career. That is not the case as he played in Major League games in eleven different seasons. He never played in more than 39 in any given season, so he was more of a third string catcher than anything.

Over his eleven seasons, Corky got into 216 games with the Reds, Twins, Red Sox, Braves, and White Sox. The majority of his playing time came during his two stints with the Reds, with whom he played in 153 games. For his career, Corky hit .193 with 11 home runs and 67 RBI. His best season was with the Reds in 2002. That year, he played in a career-high 39 games and hit .254 with 3 home runs and 15 RBI.

This is the only Major League card of Corky that does not show him playing for the Reds. And, even though his career lasted into the 2013 season, this is the last Major League card of him.

I was looking forward to seeing what Corky's real name was. It turns out that it is actually Corky. His full name is Corky Abraham Philip Miller. There have been two other players that played in the Majors that went by Corky, but it was just a nickname for the other two.

Monday, October 22, 2018

2005 Topps Total, Koyie Hill

#401 Koyie Hill

Here is the first of three cards that I got signed by Koyie Hill at the Kansas Stars game last summer. Koyie was on both editions of the Stars squad, but I struck out with him in 2016. It seems like I did better with the pitchers in 2016 and then did better with the hitters in 2017. I could be completely off base on that assessment, but that is the way it seems.

Koyie played in the big leagues for parts of eleven seasons with the Dodgers, Diamondbacks, Cubs, Marlins, and Phillies. The fourth round draft pick out of Wichita State made his Major League debut with the Dodgers in 2003. He played in just three games for them before being dealt to the D-Backs for Steve Finley.

With the D-Backs, Koyie got into 47 games over a two year span. During that time, he hit .228 with 12 RBI and 1 home run, the first of his career.

That home run was pretty clutch at the time. The D-Backs were trailing the Pirates 7-3 in the bottom of the ninth. Koyie came up with two on and one out. He hit the first pitch he saw off of Jose Mesa for a three-run homer that brought the score to 7-6. The D-Backs got one more run off of Mesa to tie it before losing in the tenth inning. Mesa was able to pick up the win despite blowing the save and surrendering four runs in one inning of work.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

2005 Topps Total, Jason Repko

#299 Jason Repko

Here is a card that I got signed at a Wingnuts game in 2015. Jason was playing for the Sioux Falls Canaries at the time and was nice enough to stop and sign this lone card I have of him. What exactly he signed is unknown to me as this might be the worst looking autograph that I have ever posted on here. I have absolutely no clue what is going on with that signature.

Jason spent parts of seven seasons in the Major Leagues with the Dodgers, Twins, and Red Sox. Over that time he hit .224 with 16 home runs and 67 RBI. His best season was probably his rookie year with the Dodgers. Though he hit only .221, he played in a career-high 129 games and responded with 8 homers and 30 RBI.

Despite playing in 360 games for his career, this is the only card of Jason that Topps ever made. Besides this card, he has just a 2000 Bowman card and an Upper Deck card from each year from 2005-07. All of his cards picture him with the Dodgers.

Jason actually has two games of postseason experience, both in the Division Series. One was with the Dodgers in 2006 and the other was with the Twins in 2010. In both instances, he entered the games late as a pinch runner and failed to score.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

2005 Topps Total, Troy Percival

#233 Troy Percival

Here is the second card of Troy Percival that I got signed at a Kansas State baseball game last year. I posted the first one back in April. You can see that card and read about the miserable conditions Troy and I endured here.

I, and I am assuming most people, associate Troy as an Angel. After all, he spent eleven seasons with that organization. During that time, he racked up a club record 316 saves while making four All Star teams and helping the club to its lone World Championship. But, that all ended after the 2004 season when the Angels let him leave via free agency.

He signed on with the Tigers for 2005 and it was not a good one for Troy. He recorded only 8 saves while posting a then career worst ERA of 5.76. The Tigers shut him down in mid-July and he missed the rest of the season. He then missed all of the 2006 season, as well.

Troy finished his time in Detroit with a 1-3 record and 20 strikeouts.

Troy is currently the head coach of the UC Riverside baseball team.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

2005 Topps Total, Jack Wilson

#145 Jack Wilson

Here is the fourth card of Jack Wilson that I got signed at the Kansas Stars game last summer. While it isn't the last card of Jack that will be posted on here (I hope), it will be some time before I post another one since the next one in line is from 2011.

Jack spent parts of nine seasons with the Pirates from 2001-2009. Over that time, he hit .269 with 60 home runs and 389 RBI. In 2004, he was an All Star and won the Silver Slugger for National League shortstops.

In the last post about Jack, I talked about the new chapter of AAA baseball coming to Wichita. Since that time, the city has officially closed the books on the Wingnuts and they are no more. But, thanks to an auction and a farewell ceremony at Lawrence Dumont Stadium, I have acquired some neat memorabilia from the team and ballpark.

Two weeks ago, the Wingnuts held an auction and were getting rid of everything in the park that was not bolted down. Items varied from all the team store merchandise to grills and coolers to ladders to equipment to paper towel dispensers to office supplies to furniture used to furnish player apartments. There was quite an array of things to be bought. Here is a picture of the cool stuff that I came home with- a couple of section signs and a game-used batting helmet.

Then, three days ago, the city held a farewell ceremony for the park where fans could buy some of the seats. I had to work, but my wife, dad, and kids took a trip to Wichita and came home with four stadium seats.

Lawrence Dumont is going to be missed, but she had to go. The park was so out of date, fans couldn't even bring sunflower seeds in because they would clog up the drainage. While not having any minor league baseball nearby next summer is going to make for a long summer for me, it will be made up for when the Pacific Coast League comes to town the following year.

Friday, October 12, 2018

2005 Topps Total, Eli Marrero

#99 Eli Marrero

About ten years ago, I bought a box of 2005 Topps Total on Ebay. Because of that, I have a decent selection of cards from the set and it is a go-to whenever I need to find cards from someone that played in the mid-'00s. So here is the first in a long line of posts from this set that, knowing my posting routine, could very well last until Thanksgiving.

First up is this Eli Marrero card from his short tenure with the Royals. I got this card signed at the Reds minor league workout at Spring Training last year. Eli was the manager of the Reds Florida State League team in Daytona.

When I think of Eli Marrero, I think of a catcher with the Cardinals, not an outfielder with the Royals. Unfortunately, this was the only card of Eli that I could scrounge up before last year's Spring Training trip.

Eli played in the Majors for ten seasons with the Cardinals, Braves, Royals, Orioles, Rockies, and Mets. Over that time, he was a .243 hitter with 66 homers and 261 RBI. His best season was with the Cardinals in 2002. That year, he played in a 131 games and hit .262 with 18 home runs and 66 RBI.

I got to see Eli play in the big leagues on nine different occasions. Ironically, none of those were with the Royals. His tenure in Kansas City lasted just 32 games in 2005.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

2005 Topps, Andy LaRoche

#687 Andy LaRoche

Here is the first of several cards that I got signed by Andy LaRoche over the past three years. Andy played a partial season with the Wichita Wingnuts in 2015 and I got him on two or three occasions in Wichita. He then played for the Kansas Stars for the two years they were around and I got him once more that way. No matter how many cards you had of Andy to get signed, though, he was a strict two-per guy.

This was one of the last cards that I got signed by Andy during his tenure with the Wingnuts. At one point during that season, I had stopped by my dad's house to look for something and I found a blaster box full of cards from 2005 that I did not know I had. In it was this card and I was able to get it signed at a playoff game that fall.

Andy's tenure with the Dodgers lasted 62 games over two seasons. During that time, he hit just .217 with 3 home runs and 16 RBI. At the trade deadline in 2008, he was dealt to the Pirates in the three team trade that landed Manny Ramirez in Los Angeles.

On a curious note, the Royals signed Andy to a minor league deal this past season even though he had not played affiliated ball since 2014. He was assigned to AAA Omaha, but was on the disabled list the entire season. What makes it even more odd was that he was on the Louisville Stars roster to play in the Bluegrass World Series in August. Whether or not he appeared in any of those games, though, I do not know.

Monday, October 8, 2018

2005 Topps, Guillermo Quiroz

#329 Guillermo Quiroz

Here is the second card that I got signed by Guillermo Quiroz at a Sacramento Rivercats game in 2015. I posted the first card three months ago and that one can be seen here.

On the first card of him, it is a close-up photo of him in a blue jersey. Because of that, I decided to have him sign in black. It worked out great for that card, but not so much with this one. With the limited space and dark gray jersey, a blue Sharpie would have came out looking better.

Guillermo played in the Majors for parts of ten seasons with six different clubs- the Blue Jays, Mariners, Rangers, Orioles, Red Sox, and Giants. Yet, despite playing for so many teams, Guillermo did not get into very many ballgames. For his career, he played in 148 games. Over that time, he hit .199 with 3 home runs and 34 RBI. His biggest season was in 2008 with the Orioles. That year, he played in a career-high 56 games and he hit .187 with 2 home runs and 14 RBI.

One of these days, I would like to get this card finished. Right now, Gabe Gross is coaching at Auburn. I was hoping I would have been able to get it done at the College World Series this past summer, but Auburn got knocked out in the Super Regional. Maybe next year will be different.

Saturday, October 6, 2018

2005 Topps, Al Pedrique

#268 Al Pedrique

Here is a card that I got signed at a Spring Training game earlier this year. Al was the first base coach for the A's and they were the away team at the Angels Tempe Diablo Stadium. Prior to entering the park, my plan was to 'graph the Angels side and send my oldest boy over to grab some A's for me. Once I got inside, though, my plans changed. The Angles side was lined with people from dugout to foul pole while there wasn't a soul on the visiting side. So, I took the A's side and my kid took the day off and it worked out great. I think I got nearly twenty cards signed that day, along with a Marcus Semien batting glove.

Al managed in the Major Leagues for half a season. The Diamondbacks finished with a winning record in 2003, but they were a disaster come 2004. They started off the year 29-50 before Bob Brenly, the manager of their lone World Championship team, got the ax. Al took over and did just a bit worse than Bob did. He finished the year with a 22-61 record. The D-backs finished the year 51-111. So far, that is the only season that the D-Backs have lost 100 or more games.

Al was replaced with Bob Melvin the following year and has never been given another chance to manage a Major League team. But, he seemed to do alright in his first season as the A's first base coach as they grabbed a Wild Card spot this year.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

2005 Topps, Scott Sullivan

#224 Scott Sullivan

Here is a card that I got signed through the mail earlier this year. I got on a kick for a bit of sending cards out to former Royals who I did not have any cards signed by and that is why I wrote to Scott. It took about three months to get this card back.

Scott pitched in Kansas City for just one season, his final season in the Majors. That year, he was 3-4 with a 4.77 ERA in 60.1 innings of work. Prior to joining the Royals, Scott pitched nine and half years for the Reds and had a half season with the White Sox. He was 40-28 with 9 saves and a 3.98 ERA for his career.

Here is a fun fact- forty different ballplayers have appeared in the Majors with the last name of Sullivan. I never would have guessed that. But apparently, Sullivan was a very common surname back in the day. For instance, only two Sullivans have played in the Majors this century. On the opposite end of the spectrum, eighteen different Sullivans pitched in the 1800s, including three that were born in Ireland.

Scott has got a beautiful looking signature.