Tuesday, December 25, 2018
#225 Roy Oswalt
In the two years of the Kansas Stars, I made it to two games and I did really well 'graphing. With the help of my dad, I came home with over seventy cards signed. It was a mixed bag of players that signed for me. Some were guys that I had gotten during their playing days, like Brad Penny. Others were guys that I got both years AND during their playing days- I now have fifteen cards signed by Brandon Inge after my dad and I each got three signed each year, plus the three I had from his playing days. Then there is Roy Oswalt. I had never gotten him before and he was nice enough to sign multiples for us. He was on the team both years, but I only got him to sign the first year. He was a two-per signer and my dad and I both got him. I believe I got two Astros cards signed, as well as a Phillies and Rockies card. Unfortunately, I do not have a Ranger card of him in my collection.
Roy was definitely one of the better 'graphs that I got from the Stars. He is up there with Josh Beckett and Tim Hudson. While Roy never brought home any hardware or a title, he was a dominate pitcher for nearly a decade that won twenty games twice, hit double digit wins for eight straight seasons, struck out 200+ twice, and made two All Star teams. Plus, he helped guide his clubs to four postseason appearances.
Roy finished his career after the 2013 season with a record of 163-102. He logged over 2,200 innings and had an ERA of 3.36 with 1,852 strikeouts.
Saturday, December 22, 2018
#207 Yuniesky Betancourt
Here is a card that I got signed at Royals Fanfest in 2010. Yuni had come over from the Mariners midway through the 2009 season and by Fanfest 2011, he had been traded to the Brewers in the Zack Grienke deal. As much as I loved Lorenzo Cain, the best part of that trade was getting the Brewers to take Yuni.
To be honest, I really do not remember why I didn't care for him. Before he was dealt to Milwaukee, he had a career year in Kansas City. That season, he hit .259 and had career-highs in home runs (17) and RBI (78). Those are some decent numbers for a shortstop. Those 78 ribbies tied him for the team lead and he also hit three grand slams that year.
Yuni finished his career after the 2013 season a .261 hitter with 80 dingers and 457 RBI.
Thursday, December 20, 2018
#146 Scott Kazmir
Here is a card that I got signed at a Royals game in 2009. Scott had just been traded to the Angels about a week before that and I got lucky by spotting him mulling around in the dugout while the Angels were taking batting practice. I called over to him and he came over and signed one of the three cards I had of him. I do not remember what other two cards I had at the time, but I doubt that they were better than this card.
While looking at Scott's stats, I was surprised to see that he hasn't pitched since 2016. I knew he was traded this past off-season from the Dodgers to the Braves in the great salary dump trade. I guess I just never realized that the Braves released him in Spring Training and nobody ever picked him up.
If Scott's career is indeed done, he had a nice one. Playing twelve seasons with six teams, he racked up a 108-96 record with a 4.01 ERA. The three time All Star played in three postseasons. His best year was with the Devil Rays in 2007 when he went 13-9 with a 3.48 ERA and a league leading 239 strikeouts. That was his only 200 strikeout season.
This is the first card on here that features a Tampa Bay Ray. I have posted a handful of Devil Rays, but this is the first one without the Devil moniker.
Wednesday, December 19, 2018
#118 Geovany Soto
Here is a card that I got signed at a Royals game in 2012. And by I, I really mean my future wife at the time. The two of us went to a weekday game against the Rangers and Geo was the starting catcher that night. He was out in the visiting team bullpen loosening up and I talked my future wife into asking for his autograph. I like getting autographs by the bullpen, but they usually consist of coaches or back-up catchers catching a bullpen session. Geo was down there by himself and I made my future wife ask for him to sign. I figured that he wouldn't sign since he was getting ready, but, in the off chance he did, he would be more willing to sign for a cute little female than my big, bearded ass. It actually worked and he even signed all three cards for her.
Unfortunately, my wife's autographing days are behind her. Ever since we had a little one, she gets tasked with watching over him while I do my 'graphing. One of these days, though, he will be 'graphing at my side and I may once again be able to put her to work for me.
Geo is one of those guys that had a monstrous rookie season and was never able to replicate it. He went off in 2008 with a .285 average, 23 home runs, and 86 RBI en route to an All Star Game selection and winning the National League Rookie of the Year. Even though he would play in the league for nine more seasons, he would never come close to those numbers again. By the time I saw him play that day in 2012, he wasn't even a .200 hitter any more. In fact, he barely reached double digit home runs in a season that he was traded for a minor league player that would never make the Majors.
In 2009, I went to an Iowa Cubs game and was impressed enough by a catcher's chest protector that I took a picture of it. It is Geovany's from the 2007 season when he was the Pacific Coast League MVP.
Tuesday, December 18, 2018
#82 Jayson Nix
Way back when in 2008, I started this blog. That was the year I got back into collecting autographs and I thought this blog would be a fun way to show off my cards. About a year into it, I thought I was going to eventually run out of cards to post on here. Well, long story short, it is ten years later and I am just now getting to cards that were made the year I started this thing. I started getting too many autographs and quit posting on a daily basis. Now, in 2018, I am posting a rookie card that was released in the year I started this blog and that guy doesn't even play any more.
Here is a card that I got signed by Jayson Nix at the Kansas Stars game in 2016. I was pretty lucky to get Jayson to sign because I did not recognize him at all. He was sporting a large beard at the time and he had always seemed pretty clean cut while he was playing. Eventually, he got close enough to me that I could barely make out his name on his bat. He came over and signed three cards for both my dad and myself.
Jayson had a whirlwind career. In his seven year Major League career, he saw time with eight teams. He started out with the Rockies before playing with the White Sox, Indians, Blue Jays, Yankees, Phillies, Pirates, and Royals. Before this post, I had forgotten he played briefly for the Royals in 2014. I guess he didn't stand out too much when he went 0-11 in ten regular season and postseason games.
Jason finished his career a .212 hitter with 38 home runs and 130 RBI. His best season was probably during the 2010 campaign, which was split with the White Sox and Indians. He got off to a rocky start in Chicago, but ended up hitting .234 with 13 homers and 29 RBI after the Tribe claimed him on waivers in June.
Thursday, December 13, 2018
#767 Joe Beimel
Here is the second and final card that I got signed by Joe Beimel at the Kansas Stars game last year. I posted the first card three months ago and it can be seen here.
Joe pitched for the Dodgers for three seasons and did really well. He started off as a middle reliever before transitioning to the left-handed specialist role. Over that time, he had a record of 11-4 with 3 saves and a 3.14 ERA. That was the lowest ERA he had with any single franchise.
In 2008, Joe was 5-1 with the Dodgers and posted a career-best 2.02 ERA. By that time, he was in full LOOGY mode, logging just 49 innings of work in 71 appearances. He also got his first taste of the postseason that year. He appeared in three games of the NLCS and worked a scoreless two-thirds of an inning while walking two batters.
For his career, Joe was 29-34 with 5 saves and a 4.06 ERA.
Joe has an interesting signature where the first letters of each name are made with the same stroke. You really can't make out much more after that, though, and it looks like his name ends with a capital "S".
Wednesday, December 12, 2018
#390 Chris Coste
Here is the first of three cards that I got signed by Chris Coste this past summer. Chris joined the Fargo-Moorhead Redhawks coaching staff prior to this past season and I was able to get him at a Wingnuts game one morning. That's right, it was at a morning game. The Nuts hosted camp day at the park and a bunch of daycares and YMCA clubs showed up to a really hot day of mid-week morning baseball.
Chris is from the Fargo-Moorhead area and it was cool to see him with the Redhawks, a team he used to play for. Tim was born in Fargo and played college baseball in Moorhead. He then played with the Redhawks for four years before getting signed by the Indians prior to the 2000 season. He then played mostly AAA ball for five years before making his Major League debut with the Phillies in 2006 at the age of thirty-three.
The best season for Chris was probably his rookie season. Though he played in just 65 games, he hit .328 with 7 homers and 32 RBI. He would never hit over .300 again and he would only top his home run and RBI numbers in 2008 when he would play in a career-high 98 games.
For his career, Chris hit .272 with 23 home runs and 108 RBI.
Tuesday, December 11, 2018
#23 Delwyn Young
Here is the first of three cards that I got Delwyn young to sign for me at the Kansas Stars game I attended in 2017. Unlike most of the cards I got signed that day, I had to wait around until after the game to get him to sign.
Delwyn played in the Majors for parts of five seasons with the Dodgers and Pirates. Over that time, he hit .258 with 17 home runs and 81 RBI. His best season was with the Pirates in 2009. That year, he got into a career-best 124 games and he hit .266 with 7 home runs and 43 RBI.
Delwyn would spend most of 2010 in Pittsburgh before spending all of 2011 in AAA. The following year, he would end up in the Atlantic League and spend the next four seasons there before retiring.
Monday, December 10, 2018
#59 Josh Donaldson
Here is one of my most recent in-person autographs. If you recall, Josh Donaldson was traded to the Indians late this past season. Even though he was pretty much injured when he got traded, he managed to make it into sixteen September games for The Tribe. When I went to a game for the final series of the season in Kansas City, the Indians were in town and, apparently, Josh is a great signer. He signed for quite a bit during batting practice and even signed all three of the cards I had of him. I was quite impressed.
Even though Josh never played a game for the Cubs, I still thought that I should take this card with me. Along with this card, I also got a Blue Jays card and an A's card signed. All three featured a rushed looking ballpark signature, but one had one more loop in it than the other two. This is not that one. In fact, it looks like Josh had a hard time staying on the card with this one.
Although Josh managed to hit .280 for Cleveland during that final month of the regular season, the trade didn't really work out for them. They were going to win the division and make the playoffs with or without Josh. They were banking on him to help them during that postseason and that just didn't happen. Josh was 1-11 in the Division Series as the Indians were swept by the Astros.
Nevertheless, Josh was able to get a quick deal done this off-season and will be joining a new organization next year. On November 26th, the Braves signed him to a one year, $23 million contract. I was surprised to see him jump on a one year deal so soon, but, after last off-season, I can't say that I blame him.
Saturday, December 8, 2018
#398 Reggie Abercrombie
Here is another card of Reggie Abercrombie that I got signed at a Wichita Wingnuts game in 2016 while he was with the Winnipeg Goldeyes. I posted another card from that day about a week ago and it can be seen here. In that post, I talked extensively about Reggie's long career in the American Association. Unfortunately, his Major League career was not nearly as long.
Reggie spent parts of three seasons in the Majors with the Marlins and Astros. Over that time, he played in 180 games and he hit .223 with 9 home runs and 34 RBI. All but 34 of those games came with the Marlins, where he was a .208 hitter with 7 home runs and 29 RBI.
In his one season in Houston, Reggie got just 55 at-bats, but he responded by hitting .309 with a pair of dingers and driving in 5. He started the month of September with a .200 average, but finished strong to raise it to its final level. That apparently was not good enough as he wound back up in AAA the following season before landing in independent ball the year after that.
This is a good looking card, but it is a little bit off for a copy of the 1957 set. The non-posed shot is just wrong. It has a classic big head, but the head is not looking at the camera. It is looking at the pitcher. I am fairly certain that there are no cards in the '57 set where that is happening.
Friday, December 7, 2018
#UH244 Brad Penny
Here is the third card from Brad Penny that I got signed in Wichita in 2016 while Brad was playing for the Kansas Stars. I posted the other two cards in August and they can be seen here and here.
Those first two cards showed Brad with the Marlins, the team he came up with. Less than a year after helping them win the World Series, the Marlins dealt Brad to the Dodgers at the 2004 trade deadline. Unfortunately, the acquisition of Brad did not help the club down the stretch run. He battled injuries and pitched just 11.2 innings over three starts for the Dodgers. The team still won the National League West, but Brad was not available in the playoffs.
But, he did go on to have some good seasons in Los Angeles. In 2006 and 2007, he would post back-to-back 16 win seasons and make the All Star team each year. He even got the start in the '06 game. For his four plus years with the Dodgers, Brad was 46-33 with a 4.07 ERA and 462 strikeouts.
After becoming a free agent after the 2008 season, Brad would enter journeyman status by playing with five different clubs over the next six seasons. That whirlwind included two stops in San Francisco and a reunion with the Marlins. He finished his career in 2014 with a 121-101 record with a 4.29 ERA and 1,273 strikeouts.
During Brad's fourteen year career, I only got to see him pitch once. That one time happened to be a rehab start in Oklahoma City in 2008. I didn't even know he was going to be there, so I had nothing to get singed and the man signed for everybody prior to making the start.
Thursday, December 6, 2018
#UH198 Mike Zagurski
It has been a week since I last posted a card. Since that last post, I have worked every single day for twelve hours a day. I have three more days of this, but my shift is about to change. Instead of working 6 A.M. to 6 P.M, my next three shifts will be from 6 P.M. to 6 A.M. Then, I will get a couple of days off and be back to normal. The one exception is that I am going to be on nights for good. So, I am not quite sure how that is going to affect my posting. I hope, at the vary least, that I will still post about twelve to fourteen cards a month. Who knows? Maybe I will be able to post more often on this schedule. Only time will tell.
Anyways, here is a card of Mike Zagurski that I got signed at Spring Training this year. Mike was in camp with the Brewers and I was able to get him at the team's minor league morning workout. I caught him as he was trying to leave the fields and head to the clubhouse. The Brewers were hosting the Royals that day, so I had some Royals gear on. Mike saw that and let it be known that he was not a Royals fan. I told him that I was from Kansas and I remembered that he played his college ball at KU. Once we got to talking, I found out that he played ball in community college in Hutchinson, which is twenty-five miles down the road. It is always fun to meet up with someone on the backfields in Arizona that has some Kansas ties.
That day, I did not even plan on 'graphing the Brewers minor league complex. I had planned on going to the game, but I wanted to hit up the White Sox morning practice first. When I got to Glendale to see the Sox, it was dead. We stood around with one other family waiting for the gates to open before someone from the other family made a phone call and found out the White Sox were hosting a night game that evening. Because of that, the gates to the practice field would not open until 3:00. So, we jetted over to Maryvale and did what I could there. Lesson learned.
As for Mike, he has seen stints at the big league level with the Phillies, Diamondbacks, Pirates, Yankees, and Brewers. Those stints were over six seasons that spanned twelve years. He made his debut with the Phillies in 2007 and then would not make it back to the Majors until 2010. He then saw action in 2011, '12, and 13. He then spent a few more years in the minors and in Japan before resurfacing with the Brewers for one inning of work this year. Over that time, he has a 1-1 record in 91 games with an ERA of 7.78. He is averaging a strikeout per inning, though.