Tuesday, December 17, 2019

1952 Topps, Carl Erskine

#250 Carl Erskine

For no apparent reason, I haven't posted a card on here for two weeks. It is Christmas time and my weekends off have been dealing with shopping and whatnot. Plus, we finally got our house a puppy last week. But, for whatever reason, I haven't felt like posting much lately, which is a shame because I have got a few '50s cards to show off and those are really hard to beat. So, I made time tonight to feature one last 1952 Topps card. This is now the sixth '52 that I have got signed and I got it through the mail two months ago. It took me a whole nine days to get back. If I am going to make it to nine signed cards from this set, I am going to have to purchase the remaining three signed cards.

This is only the second card of Carl that I have posted on here and it has been nearly eleven and a half years since I posted the first one. I originally posted a '55 Bowman of Carl way back in the first month of this blog. I got that card signed at a Brooklyn Cyclones game and it was a blast getting (at that point) my oldest signed card autographed in-person. Since then, I have added three more signed cards of him to my collection and even one to my son's, all through the mail. In fact, the next card that I have to post on here is one of Oisk.

In that first post many moons ago, I mentioned nothing of Carl's playing career. Back then, it was all about how I got the card signed. But, Oisk had great career, all spent with the Dodgers. He suited up for them for twelve seasons and got to call Brooklyn and Los Angeles home. He finished his career with a 122-78 record with 13 saves and a 4.00 ERA. He made one All Star team and pitched in five World Series, winning it all in 1955.

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

1952 Topps, Howie Judson

#169 Howie Judson

Here is another recent through the mail success of mine. I sent this card to Howie in September and I had it back two weeks later.

Howie pitched in the Majors for seven seasons with the White Sox and Redlegs. He both started and relieved, but spent the majority of his career coming out of the bullpen. Over his career, he went 17-37 with 14 saves and a 4.29 ERA. I didn't even realize they tracked saves in the '40s.

It is so odd to me to see the strikeout and walk numbers from guys that played in Howie's era. Just like Carl Sheib, Howie finished his career with more walks than strikeouts. He walked 319 batters while just striking out 204 over 615 innings of work. That is good for a about three K's per nine innings of work. Nowadays, a pitcher with that kind of K/9 wouldn't even sniff the Majors, especially as a reliever. It is crazy how the game changes.

I noticed that Howie and Eddie Robinson, who are both pictured with the Sox in this set, are rocking two different hats. According to Dressed to the Nines, this hat was last used in 1945. The hat Eddie is wearing was last used in 1950. I wonder how accurate that site is as Howie didn't make it to the Majors until 1948.

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

1952 Topps, Irv Noren

#40 Irv Noren

Next up in the '52 Topps procession is this beautiful looking horizontal card of Irv Noren. I sent this card, along with ten bucks, to Irv in October and I had it back two weeks later. Sadly, Irv passed away three weeks after I got the card back.

Irv played in the Majors for eleven seasons with the Senators, Yankees, A's, Cardinals, Cubs, and Dodgers. Over that time, he was a .275 hitter with 65 home runs and 453 RBI. His best season was probably his rookie campaign in Washington. That year, he hit .295 with career-highs in homers (14) and RBI (98). Despite those impressive numbers, Irv did not receive a single vote for Rookie of the Year. Four years later, with the Yankees, Irv would get his lone All Star team nomination in a season in which he finished with a .319 average, 14 homers, and 66 RBI.

Irv appeared in three World Series as a Yankee, all against the Dodgers. The Yanks triumphed in two of the three and Irv hit .148 in eleven World Series games. He was also a member of the Yankees 1956 championship team, but missed most of the season and the Series to injuries.

Irv played in three NBA games in 1946 with the Chicago American Gears.

Monday, November 25, 2019

1952 Topps, Eddie Robinson

#32 Eddie Robinson

A few months ago, I decided to start a new project. My leads on 1981 Donruss were drying up and I needed a new excuse to send out some TTMs. So, I came up with my Topps Prime Nine project. The goal of the project is to get nine cards from every Topps base set signed, starting with this one. I picked nine because there are nine slots in a sheet and all of these are going in their own album. It is like the history of Topps, but with autographs added.

With the exception of the early Topps sets, it was going to be an easy task to accomplish. But, I made one stipulation and that has proven to make the task much more difficult than I anticipated- a player can only appear in the album one time. So, while my log says that I have thirteen 1976 Topps cards signed, a few of those guys are Royals alums that I have many autographs from. Then I have to choose if I use that player for that set or if he is needed to fill up a page in another set. Because of that, some Royals greats are in my Prime Nine album in uniforms other than the Royals just so I can fill up a page. John Mayberry is a Blue Jay and Willie Wilson is a Cub. That isn't right, but that is the way it is for now.

Anyways, the Prime Nine album is why I got this card signed. Before I started it, I had just two 1952 Topps cards signed. I figured I had better start sending out some cards for this set because there are not too many guys from it still around. Eddie, for instance, turns ninety-nine in three weeks. I sent this card to him in September, along with ten bucks, and I had it back in eight days.

Eddie played in the Majors for parts of thirteen seasons with the Indians, Senators, White Sox, A's, Yankees, Tigers, and Orioles. He was a big first baseman that could really swing the stick. The .268 lifetime hitter had four straight seasons in the early '50s with 20 or more homers and three straight years of 100+ RBI. He made the All Star team in each of his 100 RBI campaigns as well as the 1949 season. Eddie's best year was with the Sox in 1951 when he hit .282 with 29 homers and 117 RBI. Besides the four All Star games, he also played in the World Series twice.

Follow me on Twitter to see all of the Prime Nine TTMs as they arrive in my mailbox. @zmills40

Sunday, November 24, 2019

1951 Topps, Wally Westlake

#27 Wally Westlake

Around the same time I decided that I needed a signed '51 Bowman for the collection, I also decided that I needed a signed '51 Topps. So, I found this card of Wally Westlake at a reasonable price and dropped it in the mail. The beautiful, small, squarish piece of cardboard made it back home one month later. Wally even included three signed postcards commemorating highlights of his career.

Wally played in the Majors for parts of ten seasons with the Pirates, Cardinals, Reds, Indians, Orioles, and Phillies. He came up with Pittsburgh in 1947 at the age of twenty-seven and would go five straight seasons of hitting double digit home runs, including a single season best of 24 with the 1950 squad. Over that time, he also had two 90+ RBI campaigns and topped out at 105 in 1949.

Then, in June of 1951, Wally got traded to the Cardinals. Despite making his first and only All Star team that season, that trade signaled the beginning of the end for Wally's career. In 1952, Wally got traded twice more and eventually ended up in Cleveland. He stuck around there for for two and half seasons, but only as a part time player. It was with the Indians in 1954 where Wally played in his lone World Series. He got into just two games and went 1-7.

In 1956, Wally played in five games for the Phillies and then called it a career. Like many young men of Wally's generation, he lost three years of playing time to the War. That obviously delayed his Major League debut, but he had a fine start just the same. Besides playing in an All Star game and a World Series, he also hit for the cycle twice and was the first white batter ever hit by a black pitcher. That last part felt really weird typing, but is a true statement.

As for 1951 Topps, the set was actually some type of game. It consists of just 52 cards, just like a card deck. You can tell on the top of this card that the card has some perforation to it, so I have no idea how these cards were distributed. But, I am willing to bet that they did not come with gum. That is just a guess, though.

Here are the postcards Wally sent me.

Wally passed away a little over two months ago.

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

1951 Bowman, Carl Scheib

#83 Carl Scheib

Two years ago, I was looking through my signed cards and I realized that I did not have a signed 1951 Bowman. So, I purchased this card of Carl, mailed it to him the next day, and had it back signed the next week. Three months later, at the ripe ol' age of 91, Carl passed away.

Carl pitched in the Majors for parts of eleven seasons with the A's and Cardinals. He broke into the Majors at the age of sixteen in 1943 and hung in the game until 1954. Over that time, he went 45-65 with 17 saves and a 4.88 ERA. One of his best seasons was with Philadelphia in 1951. Though he finished the year with a 1-12 record, he posted a 4.47 ERA and had career highs in saves (10) and strikeouts (49).

One thing that strikes me when I look at Carl's stats is his strikeouts and walks. Carl was not a strikeout pitcher by any means. In '51 when he struck out 49, it took him 143 innings to reach that number. In fact, Carl was more likely to walk the batter than strike him out. He finished his career with 493 walks to only 290 strikeouts. That has got to be one of the worse K:BB ratios in the history of the game. In 1949, he walked 118 batters. Add in his 191 hits allowed in his 182.2 innings of work and you have a WHIP of 1.692, which was barely above his career average. It was a different game back then and probably better, too.

On the flip side, Carl was a decent hitter that hit .250 for his career. In 1948, he hit .298 in 104 at-bats with 21 RBI and 13 extra base hits. He hit so well that year that he got two starts in the outfield. Like I said, it was a different game back then.

And probably better, too.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

2008 Upper Deck X, Jeremy Guthrie

#UDXM-JG Jeremy Guthrie

Remember this craptastic set? It was a one and done from Upper Deck and that was a good call by them. They seemed to be making a quite a few one and done sets around that time. It is kind of funny now because this set sort of reminds me of this year's Topps Fire set, which I have yet to buy any of.

This is the second card of Jeremy Guthrie that I have posted on here. But, since this is the only card from this set that I have signed, it gets its own post. And I am okay with that because it is a relic card and I like Guthrie. I posted his first card four years ago and it can be seen here.

J-Guts pitched for the O's for five seasons and had double digit wins in four of those seasons. Unfortunately, he also had double digit losses in each those four seasons and lead the league in losses twice, with 17 both times. So, he finished his stay in Baltimore with a 47-65 record with a 4.12 ERA and 602 strikeouts.

As much as I do not like this set, this card actually look really good signed. It looks slightly better than the '04 Topps Total card that I posted first and that is usually a great set for getting signed.

I got this card signed at Royals Fanfest in 2014.

It only took me eleven months to make it through the 265 cards from 2008 that I have signed. Considering that I only posted 154 times this year, I think I did alright. Now, it is time to hit the rewind button and start posting all of the older cards that I have got signed since then. It should go by fairly quickly until we get to '81 Donruss. Then, it might take me an entire year to get all of those cards posted. The next month, however, is going to be nothing but cards from the '50s. So, if you like vintage cards, keep checking back through Christmas.

Friday, November 15, 2019

The Rest of Upper Deck USA

#USA-10 Jordy Mercer
#USA-PP Petey Paramore
#38 Eric Hosmer

For starters, these cards actually come from two different sets and one of them might be an insert set for the Upper Deck base set. But, who cares? They are all Team USA baseball from Upper Deck, so they are getting lumped together.

Jordy Mercer- A good friend of mine got this signed for me at a Wilmington Blue Rocks playoff game in 2009. I was 'graphing the home team and my buddy was nice enough to try the visiting side. It was an overcast day that day with off and on rain. I told him to not even bother trying to get autographs when it was sprinkling, but I think he was doing his best to get some cards signed for me that he went all in, rain or not. So, this one got hit with a couple of rain drops. Luckily the other one Jordy signed came out a little better.

Petey Paramore- I got this card signed at a Wingnuts game in 2013 while Petey was playing with the Kansas City T-Bones. I bought this card just to get it signed and it came out looking fantastic.

Eric Hosmer- Eric signed this card for me in 2009 in Burlington, Iowa. The Burlington Bees were a Royals affiliate at the time and I was able to get Eric to sign a couple of cards for me before the game I attended. That was the first time I ever got his signature.

Thursday, November 14, 2019

2008 Upper Deck USA, Pedro Alvarez

#USA-17 Pedro Alvarez

Here is a card that I got signed at the 2009 Future's Game in St. Louis. Pedro was on Team USA that day and I was lucky enough to get him to sign two cards prior to the game starting.

Pedro played in the Majors for nine seasons with the Pirates and Orioles. Over that time, he was a .236 hitter with 162 home runs and 472 RBI. His best season was with the Bucs in 2013 when he hit .233 and had career highs in homers (33) and RBI (100). That was also the only season that he ever made an All Star team.

It looks like Pedro's career might be over as he did not play in a game in the Majors or minors this past season.

Speaking of minors, Wichita finally named their new AAA team yesterday and it is probably the worst name in Minor League Baseball- the Wichita Wind Surge. How dumb is that? Anyways, I am still anxiously waiting to go to games at the new park and seeing some AAA ball on a regular basis. I doubt, however, that I will be wasting my money on any Wind Surge gear. Maybe I will just buy a Marlins hat or shirt. Or maybe I will just rock my Royals gear there all season long.

As for Pedro, he has a unique looking signature. It looks more like graffiti than a signed name to me.

Monday, November 4, 2019

The Rest of 2008 Upper Deck Timelines

#85 Rico Washington
#95 Yaz Yabuta
#186 Chris Smith
#196 Joakim Soria
#328 Brandon Jones

This set was basically an Upper Deck version of Topps Archives. While some of the cards had their own borders made just for the set (see Washington and Yabuta), most of the cards were inspired by some Upper Deck cards that came out in the '90s.

Rico Washington- Rico signed this card for me at a Winguts game in 2010 while he was with the Kansas City T-Bones.

Yaz Yabuta- Yaz signed this card for me after a Royals game in 2009. He was in the parking lot and about to hop in his card before coming over and signing two cards for me.

Chris Smith- Chris spent a season playing for the Wingnuts in 2013, which is when he signed this card for me. When I last posted a card of Chris in 2015, he was pitching in the Padres system. The following year, he made it back to the Majors with the A's and pitched in 27 games with them between 2016 and 2017. He finished his career with a 1-4 record with a 5.41 ERA.

Joakim Soria- Joakim signed this card for me from the Royals parking lot in 2010. That was probably the last year that you could get a decent amount of autographs from the Royals lot.

Brandon Jones- I got this card signed by Brandon in 2014 at a Wingnuts game. He was playing for the Sioux Falls Canaries at the time.

Friday, November 1, 2019

2008 Upper Deck Timelines, Joey Votto

#119 Joey Votto

Back in the day, Joey Votto was a TTM machine. But, he stopped signing through the mail in 2012. Luckily I was able to get him when the getting was good in 2009. I sent this card to the Reds Spring Training facility and I had it back about three weeks later.

Joey had a rough season this year. But, he is still a .307 lifetime hitter. Even if the 2010 National League MVP has a repeat of 2019 in 2020, he still should reach some milestones. Right now he is just 16 home runs shy of 300 and 134 hits shy of 2,000. The 2,000 hit mark is going to be the easier of the two to reach since he hasn't hit 16 or more dingers in a season since 2017 when he smacked 36.

I really like the card that I picked out to get signed. Sure, he Allen & Ginter rookie card would have looked fantastic. But, I really love the nostalgia of this card with its 1992 feel.

Thursday, October 31, 2019

2008 Upper Deck A Piece of History, Alberto Gonzalez

#129 Alberto Gonzalez

Here is the third card of Alberto Gonzalez that I have posted on here. But, since this is the only card from this set that I have signed, the first two cards were all part of a "Rest of" round-up. That way, I would only have to do one post of Alberto. The first card I posted can be found in this '08 Bowman post and the second one in this '08 Topps post.

Nearly all of Alberto's cards are from 2008, so I was surprised that he played in the Majors for parts of seven seasons with the Yankees, Nationals, Padres, Rangers, and Cubs. Over that time, he played all four infield positions over 426 games. He was a .239 career hitter with 4 home runs and 91 RBI. His best season was with the Nationals in 2009. That season, he played in 105 games and got a career-high 291 at-bats. He responded with a season best average of .265 with a home run and 33 RBI.

2013 was his last season in the Majors. By 2015, he had fallen down to the independent American Association. He spent 30 games with the Wichita Wingnuts that year and that was how I was able to get the cards signed. The Tigers ended up signing him mid-season and he would play some AA ball in their organization before getting released in early 2016. That was the last year that he played affiliated ball. Since then, he has only participated in the Venezuelan Winter League.

Monday, October 28, 2019

The Rest of 2008 Upper Deck Heroes

#88 Brad Penny
#142 Felix Pie

I guess this set was kind of an Upper Deck version of Topps Heritage. In the early '90s, Upper Deck had Heroes insert cards that focused on a different player each year and this set mimics those inserts. The 2008 version was a 200 card set that featured past and present stars along with some rookies. And the set had about a bazillion parallels of numbered variations. You could pull base cards numbered to 25, 49, 99, 149, 199, 249, 299, 399, and 499. It was a little ridiculous.

Brad Penny- I got this card signed by Brad at a Twins game in 2012 while he was with the Tigers. I missed out on getting a card signed by Brad while he was on a rehab assignment in Oklahoma City in 2008 because I did not know about the assignment. So, I was happy to make up for that at the Twins game and was pretty excited to get a relic signed by him. Five years later, I would add six more autographs from him to my collection when he played for the Kansas Stars.

Felix Pie- This is the third and final card that I got signed by Felix at an Orioles game in 2009. I was thinking that I got an Orioles card signed by Felix, but that is not the case. After having about 100 Cubs cards made of him in 2007 and '08, he only got three base cards in 2009 as an Oriole.

Sunday, October 27, 2019

The Rest of 2008 Upper Deck Documentary

#133 Mark Teahen
#CC Callix Crabbe

Upper Deck Documentary was a great concept- the set chronicled every game from the 2008 season. In fact, it chronicled every game twice- once from the home team perspective and once from the visitor's. Because of that, the set ended up being 4890 cards. While Upper Deck had an interesting concept, the set ended up being a failure for many reasons.

For starters, the photo on the front of the card has nothing to do with the game documented. For Teahen's card, there is no mention of him in the write-up on the back. It is only about Zack Grienke. Secondly, the same photos got used on multiple cards. The Teahen photo is used on at least ten different cards. And my least favorite part about the set is that it doesn't tell you who is actually pictured on the card. The only name listed anywhere on the Teahen card is Grienke's. So, while Upper Deck had a great idea for a card set, they executed it very poorly and Documentary was a one and done set.

Mark Teahen- I got this card signed at the Metrodome in 2009 at the final regular season series at the "park".

Callix Crabbe- I bought one pack of documentary and I pulled an auto. Yay me! Callix never played a Major League game with the Brewers, but did see some time with the Padres.

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

The Rest of 2008 Upper Deck First Edition

#271 Rob Johnson
#278 Luis Mendoza
#297 JR Towles
#327 Kerry Wood
#408 Oliver Perez
#422 Wilson Betemit
#425 Bobby Abreu

I am not really sure what is going on with this set. I guess that it was Upper Deck's version of Topps Opening Day in that it lacks foil (although '08 Opening Day had foil). While all seven cards are foil-less, the cards come in two variations. The first three cards are from the main release of First Edition and the cards are glossy and they say "First Edition". The last four cards are from First Edition Update and the cards have no gloss and they do not say "First Edition". I have no clue why they switched up between the two releases, but I obviously prefer the non-gloss cards for getting signatures.

Rob Johnson- I didn't have much to choose from when I got Rob's autograph at a Rangers game in 2008. So, it was this card and his base Upper Deck card.

Luis Mendoza- Luis never pitched for the Red Sox. But, I guess this was the only photo Upper Deck had of him when they decided to make this card. Luis signed this one for me after the Royals home opener in 2012.

JR Towles- JR must have been a bigger prospect than Rob Johnson because I had a lot more options for cards with JR than I did with Rob. JR signed for me after a Round Rock Express game in 2008.

Kerry Wood- I got Kerry to sign at a Royals game in 2009 while he was with the Indians. Needless to say, but I was super-excited to get his autograph.

Oliver Perez- Speaking of the Indians, Ollie signed this card for me just last season when Cleveland came to The K. I saw the Indians play in Kansas City twice last year and Ollie signed both times. I took three cards to get signed the first time and he signed two of them. I got the third card signed when I saw them again a month later.

Wilson Betemit- I got Wilson to sign this card for me from the Royals parking lot in 2010.

Bobby Abreu- Bobby signed for me during batting practice at The K in 2009 while he was with the Angels.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

The Rest of 2008 Upper Deck, Part II

#407 Doug Davis
#427 Luis Hernandez
#446 Felix Pie
#518 Reggie Abercrombie
#526 Mark Teahen
#549 Delwyn Young
#670 Vincente Padilla
#712 Elliot Johnson
#98-JK Jason Kendall

Here are the last of the 2008 Upper Deck base set.

Doug Davis- Doug signed this card for me at an Oklahoma Redhawks game in 2012. He was playing for the visiting Omaha Storm Chasers.

Luis Hernandez- Luis signed this card for me after batting practice at The K in 2009 during his one season with the Royals. He would later go on to play for the Wichita Wingnuts. But, by the time he was in Wichita, all of my cards of him were already signed.

Felix Pie- I was able to get Felix by the Orioles dugout on my last visit to Camden Yards in 2009.

Reggie Abercrombie- Though he never played for the Wingnuts, he played in the American Association long enough for me to get multiple autographs from him throughout the years. This one was obtained in 2016 while he was with Winnipeg. He was still with the club this past season at the age of thirty-eight.

Mark Teahen- Mark was always a great signer while with the Royals. This is one of the cards that he signed for me by the Royals parking lot in 2008.

Delwyn Young- I got Delwyn to sign two years ago while he was a member of the second, and last, incarnation of the Kansas Stars.

Vincente Padilla- Vincente signed for me at a Royals game in 2008. His Rangers were taking batting practice at the time.

Elliot Johnson- Elliot signed for me at a Scranton-Wilkes/Barre Yankees game in 2009. He was playing for the visiting Durham Bulls at the time.

Jason Kendall- Jason worked as a special adviser for the Royals for a few seasons and I was able to get this card signed outside The K in 2013. That day, I had just this one card of him and it was on the same page as two Emilio Bonifacio cards. When I gave him my book to sign, he said "dude, that's not me". When I pointed out his card, he was like "oh, I was going to say I'm not black".

Friday, October 18, 2019

The Rest of 2008 Upper Deck, Part I

#22 Lenny Dinardo
#36 Gregg Zaun
#146 Miguel Olivo
#162 Mike Bacsik
#185 Doug Brocail
#196 Chris Coste
#253 Kyle Davies
#336 Feilpe Paulino
#376 Brian Bannister

There are nothing but pitchers and catchers in this post.

Lenny Dinardo- Lenny signed this card for me before a game in Minneapolis in 2010 when he was with the Royals. It was at the final regular season series at the Metrodome.

Gregg Zaun- Lenny signed for me during batting practice at the K in 2009. He was with the Orioles at the time.

Miguel Olivo- I got this card signed by Miguel after a Royals game in 2008. He signed from the Royals parking lot.

Mike Bacsik- I got this card signed at a Wichita Wingnuts game in 2011. Mike was the starting pitcher for Ft. Worth that night and would not sign before the game. But, he came through afterwards, despite getting yanked in the first inning of the contest.

Doug Brocail- Doug signed this card for me at an Astros pre-season game at Minute Maid Park in 2009. Since it is dark picture, I thought that I would give the silver Sharpie a try. I did not like the results. Luckily, he was willing to go over it in blue for me.

Chris Coste- Last year, Chris got appointed to the coaching staff of the Fargo Moorehead Redhawks. So, I made sure to hit up a Wingnuts game while they were in town so I could get three cards signed. My two year old also got a card signed and he was thrilled as can be with it.

Kyle Davies- This is one of the many cards Kyle signed for me at the Royals parking lot in 2008.

Felipe Paulino- Felipe signed two cards for me at a Round Rock Express game in 2008. His unprepped '08 Topps card came out looking much better than this one.

Brian Bannister- Speaking of cards that came out looking bad, this one may take the cake. I am sure glad that I learned about prepping glossy cards at some point in 2009. This one was signed at a Royals game in 2008. He signed it after throwing 120 foot curveballs to Kyle Davies.

Thursday, October 17, 2019

2008 Upper Deck, Zach Duke

#UDJ-ZD Zach Duke

My name is Zach and, whenever I run into a Zach (or Zack or Zac) that plays ball, I like to get a card personalized to me. It may be a little weird and a bit creepy, but I call it my "To Zach, From Zach" collection. This is the first card that I have posted from this collection.

I got this card signed by Zach at a Royals game in 2015. He was playing for the White Sox at the time. It was a Sunday day game in early September and it was super hot. The 'graphing sucked as all I got was Duke. But, he did sign all three of my cards in addition to personalizing this one. Mike Sweeney was at the game for Sweeney bobbleheads. But, by the time I realized he was there and signing at the Hall of Fame, they had closed the line off.

To make matters worse, my wife was five months pregnant and battling a terrible migraine. The sun and heat weren't helping her out at all, so we left the game about the time it started. It was not the way I envisioned the day going, but I was not about to jeopardize my wife's and unborn son's health for a ballgame.

As for Zach Duke, he pitched for the Reds for half of the 2019 season before getting released in July after going 3-1 with a 5.01 ERA. It is quite possible that his career is over and, if it is, he lasted fifteen seasons and pitched for the Pirates, Diamondbacks, Nationals, Reds, Brewers, White Sox, Cardinals, Twins, and Mariners. He has a 69-91 record with 4 saves and a 4.31 ERA. In 2009, he represented the Pirates on the National League All Star roster.

Monday, October 14, 2019

2008 Upper Deck, Yasuhiko Yabuta

#729 Yasuhiko Yabuta

Anyone remember this guy? Yaz was the Royals first, and so far only, foray into bringing a Japanese player over to the States. It did not fare too well for the franchise or the player.

At the time, the Royals were under the helm of Trey Hillman, who himself had come over from managing in Japan. Trey had nothing but great things to say about Yaz and was surely instrumental in getting him for the Royals. But, Yaz struggled to find the strike zone in the Major Leagues and he struggled as a result.

In 2008, his first season in America, he appeared in 31 games for the Royals. He logged 37.2 innings of work and was 1-3 with a 4.78 ERA. While that ERA is on the high side, it was about par for the course for a Royals relief pitcher at the time. But, like I said, he struggled with the strike zone and walked 17 batters while only striking out 25. He did even worse in 2009 while only appearing in 12 games for the Royals. That year, though, he went 2-1 with a 13.50 ERA in 14 innings of work. His walk rate was a bit worse that time around as he walked 7 and struck out just 9 batters.

After that season, the Yaz Yabuta experiment was over and he went back to Japan. In 2011, he had his best season ever when he had a 1.75 ERA and 31 saves for the Chiba Lotte Marines.

Yaz signed two cards for me after a game in the Royals parking lot in 2008.

Sunday, October 13, 2019

2008 Upper Deck, Callix Crabbe

#706 Callix Crabbe

Back-to-back Padrographs! Ten years ago, that was a regular occurrence. Nowadays, they are few and far between. But in 2009, they were so common that I started to post two cards a day- one Padrogarph and one non-Padrograph. That was back in the day when not only did I have time to post daily, but I could bust out two a day. The times sure have changed. Anyways, here is the card of Callix Crabbe that Rod sent me way back when.

Callix was a Rule V pick of the Padres prior to the 2008 season. He made the team's roster out of Spring Training and got into 21 games with them. Unfortunately, those 21 games would be the only time that Callix would see the Major Leagues. During that time, he hit just .176 with a double and 2 RBI. On May 16th of that season, the Padres returned Callix back to the Brewers organization.

He would spend the rest of '08 in AAA before getting let go by the Brew Crew. He would play three more years of professional ball before hanging up the cleats.

Unlike many of the guys that I have posted that had rookie cards in this set, Callix actually got a Topps base card as well.

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

2008 Upper Deck, Scott Hairston

#633 Scott Hairston

Here is a card that was given to me by Rod, from Padrographs, many years ago. If I remember correctly, it was in his initial package he sent me that included over 125 signed Padre cards. That has been over ten years ago now. It is truly hard to believe that I have been at this blog for that long.

As for Scott, he had a long eleven year Major League career. During that time, he played with the Diamondbacks, Padres, A's, Mets, Cubs, and Nationals. He was a .242 career hitter that knocked 106 home runs and drove in 313 RBI. His best season was with the Mets in 2012. That year, he played in a career high 134 games and responded by batting .263 with 20 home runs and 57 RBI. Despite the long career, Scott never appeared in the postseason.

It looks like Rod and I were in the same boat in 2008 and getting glossy cards signed without prepping them first.

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

2008 Upper Deck, Bill White

#356 Bill White

Here is a card that I got signed by one of the four Bill White's to play Major League Baseball. This Bill White is the only one to play the game in this century and he signed it for me at a Rangers game in 2008.

Bill pitched in just 17 Major League games, all in relief with the Rangers. Over those 17 outings, he was 2-0 with a 9.45 ERA in 13.1 innings of work. He did well in his initial call-up in 2007. That season, he got into 9 games and pitched 9.1 innings. While he walked 7 batters, he did record 9 strikeouts while collecting his pair of wins and posting a 4.82 ERA for the season. But, the wheels fell off in 2008 when he walked 11 batters and gave up 9 earned runs in just 4 innings of work. 2008 was Bill's last season in affiliated ball.

I find it odd that Upper Deck did not use a picture of Bill as a Ranger on this card. He never played in the Majors with Washington and he logged big league action with Texas in 2007. They used a picture of him as a Ranger in their Artifacts set that year, but not this set.

This is another classic example of why you need to prep glossy cards.

Friday, October 4, 2019

2008 Upper Deck, Chris Seddon

#342 Chris Seddon

Here is a card that I got signed at a Round Rock Express game that I attended in 2008. Chris was playing for the visiting Albuquerque Isotopes at the time. I did not catch him pre-game, but he was pointed out to me later as he was charting pitches in the stands. You never know how a player is going to be while he is charting pitches, but Chris was nice enough to sign this one card for me.

Chris played in the Majors in parts of three seasons that were spread out over five years, seeing time with the Marlins and Indians. Over that span, he appeared in 38 games and was 2-3 with a 5.47 ERA. His best season was with the Tribe in 2012 when he racked up a career best 34.1 innings and a 3.67 ERA.

After his stint in Cleveland, Chris took to the international circuit and played one year in Japan and three in Korea before calling it a career after the 2016 season. He coached in the Angels organization in 2018, but I could not find any info on him for this past season.

I wish I would have prepped this card and then used a blue Sharpie. Luckily, his great looking signature helped to make up for my short-comings. It almost seems that his sig was made to sign horizontal cards.

Thursday, October 3, 2019

2008 Upper Deck, Justin Maxwell

#326 Justin Maxwell

Here is a card that I got signed outside of Kauffman Stadium in 2014 while Justin was with the Royals. He got dropped off at the park that day and was nice enough to sign all three cards for me.

I like to think that signing autographs is good karma and that the player usually has a good game after signing earlier in the day. That was not the case for Justin. He got the start in right that night and went 0-3 against Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers. He made one more start for the Royals four days later before being shipped to Omaha for the remainder of the season while the rest of the club went on to the World Series.

Justin played in the Majors for parts of seven seasons with the Nationals, Astros, Royals, and Giants. Over that time, he was a .220 hitter with 41 home runs and 133 RBI. His best season was with the 'Stros in 2012. He played in a career high 124 games that season and responded with 18 dingers and 53 RBI.

Speaking of dingers, I got to see Justin hit a memorable one with the Royals in 2012. It was a Sunday afternoon in late September against the Rangers. James Shields and Alexi Ogando were the starting pitchers and they each cruised through their outings without allowing any runs. The bullpens took over and took a 0-0 game into the tenth inning. In the bottom of the tenth, the Rangers bullpen started to falter as Neal Cotts and Joakim Soria loaded the bases with nobody out. Joakim then induced a foul pop and a weak ground ball for two easy outs and was on the verge of getting out of the inning. But, Justin Maxwell came up and battled. He worked the count full before sending the sixth pitch of the at-bat about 400 feet to left field for a walk-off grand slam. It was phenomenal! That was the second walk off granny I had ever seen and, coincidentally, the second walk off granny Justin had hit.

I love the picture on this card. Apparently in 2007, the Nationals had the chance to head over to the then under construction Nationals Park and take some batting practice. Luckily, Upper Deck added this card to their set.

Monday, September 30, 2019

2008 Upper Deck, Rob Johnson

#321 Rob Johnson

Here is what I miss about not having Upper Deck around anymore. Rob Johnson had three at-bats in six games in 2007. He did not make the '08 Topps base set, but he got some love from Upper Deck. Upper Deck had the tendency to include some fringe Major Leaguers in their main issue that Topps would always pass on. Rob would go on to play in 265 games and he would get just one Topps card. And, if it wasn't for Upper Deck, I would not have a Rob Johnson autograph. His Topps card came out in 2010 and I only interacted with him in 2008. The three cards after this one are all going to feature rookies that got no love from Topps, too.

Rob played in the Majors for parts of seven seasons with the Mariners, Padres, Mets, and Cardinals. Over that time, he was a .200 hitter with 8 home runs and 64 RBI. His best season was probably the 2009 season when he saw action in 80 games with the M's and hit .213 with 2 dingers and 27 RBI.

Rob had the privilege of making two pitching appearances at the end of his career. In those two games, he logged 1.1 perfect innings and recorded two strikeouts. The two unlucky individuals to strike out against the back-up catcher were Eric Thames and Paco Rodriguez.

Rob signed this card for me during batting practice at Kauffman Stadium.

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

2008 Upper Deck, Matt Thornton

#284 Matt Thornton

Here is a card that I got signed at a Royals game in 2008. It was a Sunday day game, so the best chance for getting autographs in the ballpark that day was going to be from the pitchers. Anymore, when the pitchers are out getting their work in, they only wear tees or jackets with no number on it. Because of that, I personally have a tough time identifying players at the park. But, it is always a little easier with the lefties because there are less of them to sort out. That was how I got Matt ID'd.

Matt pitched in the big leagues for thirteen seasons with the Mariners, White Sox, Red Sox, Yankees, Nationals, and Padres. Over that time, he appeared in 748 games and logged 662.2 innings. He was the definitive LOOGY. For his career, he was 36-46 with 23 saves and a 3.41 ERA. He appeared in the postseason twice and he made the American League All Star team in 2010.

I am very surprised that I got this card signed in blue instead of black. Black seems like it was my go-to in 2008.

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

2008 Upper Deck, Yorvit Torrealba

#246 Yorvit Torrealba

Here is a card that I got signed at Kauffman Stadium in 2009 while Yorvit was with the visiting Colorado Rockies. I was able to get him during batting practice and he signed just this one card for me. It is quite possible that this was the only card I had of him at the time.

Yorvit spent parts of thirteen seasons in the Majors, seeing time with the Giants, Mariners, Rockies, Padres, Rangers, Blue Jays, and Brewers. Over that time, he was mainly used as a back-up or platoon catcher as he only played in more than 100 games in a season twice- once with the Rox and once with the Rangers. Nonetheless, he still racked up a .256 average for his career with 56 homers and 339 RBI. His best season was with the Rockies in 2007. Though he hit .255, he had career highs in homers and RBI with 8 and 47 respectively.

The two seasons that Yorvit played in more than 100 games are eerily similar. Both years, he played in 113 games. Both years, he had 396 at-bats. And both years, he played in the World Series.

I wish I would have used a blue Sharpie more often back then.

Friday, September 20, 2019

2008 Upper Deck, Jeff Keppinger

#237 Jeff Keppinger

I like to think that I know all of the players that have put on a Royals uniform since I started rooting for the team in 2000. But, every now and then, one evades me. That is the case with Jeff Keppinger. Until I just looked at his stats, I had no idea that he once suited up for the Royals. It was only for 22 games in 2006, but it still counts.

Jeff had a good career as a utility man that lasted nine seasons. Over that time, he played for the Mets, Royals, Reds, Astros, Giants, Rays, and White Sox. He was a .282 career hitter that ended up with 45 home runs and 295 RBI. His best season was probably with the Rays in 2012. That season, he had 40 RBI while having a career year with 9 dingers and a .325 average.

I got this card signed at an Astros preseason game at Minute Maid Park in 2009. That was Jeff's first season with Houston and this is probably the first autograph he signed as an Astro at Minute Maid Park.

I only got two cards signed by Jeff that day because that was all I could find of him. Despite entering his fifth season in the league, there were only a handful of cards made of him at that point. The other card he signed was his '09 Topps Heritage.

At that point in 2009, I was still relatively new to in-person 'graphing. I still had not learned about prepping cards, so there is some slight bubbling going on with this card. That is something that you will be seeing more or as I move through this set. Also, I was obviously still using a black Sharpie. This card would have came out so much better had I used blue.

Thursday, September 19, 2019

2008 Upper Deck, Milton Bradley

#189 Milton Bradley

We have finally made it to Upper Deck! It was looking like that was never going to happen, but here we are. If I can get back to a semi-consistent posting schedule, I might be able to wrap up all of the 2008 cards by Thanksgiving. That is a big IF, though.

First up from 2008 Upper Deck is this card of Milton Bradley that was given to me by Rod, from Padrographs. If it wasn't for this card, I wouldn't even remember that Milton played for the Padres. He seems to have played for quite a few teams during his career, but all I remember him with are the Indians, Rangers, and Cubs. It turns out that he also played with the Expos, Dodgers, A's, and Mariners.

During his twelve year big league career, Milton was a .271 hitter with 125 home runs and 481 RBI. His best season was with Texas in 2008 when he made his lone All Star team while hitting .321 with 22 dingers and 77 driven in.

Unfortunately, Bradley's long baseball career has been overshadowed by his temper and domestic issues, which resulted in a 32 month prison sentence.

Monday, September 16, 2019

The Rest of 2008 Tristar Prospect Plus

#3 Eric Hosmer
#52 Jaff Decker

Eric Hosmer- I can't believe this is only the second card of Hos that I have posted on here. The guy was a mainstay on the Royals for seven seasons and I racked up a few autographs from him during his time in the Royals organization. Then, when I finally get around to posting some cards of him, he is with the Padres. But, that is how it goes. That is especially how it goes when I post cards on here from oldest to "newest".

I got this card signed by Eric in Burlington, Iowa in 2009 while he was playing for the Bees.

Jaff Decker- I have not posted a card of Jaff on here before. But, at some point, I will. So, he gets lumped into this "rest of" post just so I did not have to do a repeat Hosmer post. This card was given to me by Rod in 2011.

I am glad I never bought much of this product. In the limited cards that I have signed, they are horrible for autographs. There is a dark border, zoomed in shots, and dark pictures. This set is the complete opposite of that year's Tristar Projections set. I glad I bought a lot of Projections and passed on this one.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

2008 Tristar Prospect Plus, Jay Jackson

#FH-JJ Jay Jackson

Here is a card that I pulled out of a pack in 2009. While I bought quite a few packs of 2008 Tristar Projections, I only bought one pack of Prospect Plus. That one pack yielded this autograph, so it worked out well.

Jay made his Major League debut with the Padres as a September call-up in 2015. He appeared in six games and posted a 6.23 ERA with 4 strikeouts in 4.1 innings of work. Jay got released after the season and he took his craft to Japan for the next three years. Playing for the Hiroshima Carp, Jay went 10-8 with 2 saves and a 2.10 ERA while striking out 192 batters in just 176 innings.

He came back to the States this season and was signed by the Brewers. It has worked out well for him as he has been on the big league roster since mid-July. This time around, he has so far pitched 24.1 innings and is 1-0 with a 4.81 ERA and 37 strikeouts.

With the big white border on this card, it looks like this card should have came out of the Projections set instead of this one.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

2008 Tristar Prospect Plus, Allan Dykstra

#31 Allen Dykstra

Coming into this post, I was assuming that I was going to be doing another post about a career minor league player. Unbeknownst to me, though, is that Allan made his Major League debut with the Rays in 2015.

The Rays picked him up as a free agent after the 2014 season and he made their Opening Day roster. He made his Major League debut in the Rays third game of the season and was 0-1 with a walk and a strikeout. He would go on to play in thirteen games that month before the Rays sent him down to AAA. During his time in the Majors, he hit .129 with a home run and 4 RBI. His lone homer was a three-run shot off of Yankees pitcher, Adam Warren.

Allan would only appear in 39 games in AAA before being released by the Rays. He then signed on with the Sugarland Skeeters to finish off the season. He called it a career after that.

What a whirlwind season. After being taken in the first round of the 2008 draft, he finally made it to the Majors in 2015, only to finish the season in the Atlantic League. It is a crazy game these guys play.

This card was given to me by Rod, of Padrographs, when I met up with him in Hillsboro, Oregon in 2015.

Friday, September 6, 2019

The Rest of 2008 Tristar Projections

#83 Darren Ford
#90 Josh Horton
#198 Mitch Einertson
#256 Josh Vitters
#320 Salvador Sanchez
#399 Desomd Jennings

Darren Ford- Unlike the last card of Darren that I got signed at a Sacramento River Cats game, this one was pulled out of a pack. I actually bought the pack at the Kauffman Stadium gift shop for eight bucks just because it also came with an Eric Hosmer card. It worked out well as I eventually got the Hosmer card signed and I got an auto in the pack.

Josh Horton- I love the way this card looks. Josh's loopy blue signature just looks like it was made for this card. It is perfect. It definitely came out a lot better than the last card of him I posted when I had him sign in black. This card was signed at a Tulsa Drillers game in 2010 while he was playing for Midland.

Mitch Einertson- Mitch played for the Wingnuts for parts of two seasons and I was able to get this card signed at one of their games in 2012.

Josh Vitters- I got this card signed in Hoover, Alabama in 2010 while Josh was playing for the visiting Tennessee Smokies.

Salvador Sanchez- Sal signed this card for me the day after I got Vitters to sign. This time, though, it was in Birmingham at historic Rickwood Field for the 100th anniversary of the ballpark.

Desmond Jennings- I got Desmond to sign at the 2009 Futures Game in St. Louis.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

2008 Tristar Projections, Carlos Triunfel

#370 Carlos Triunfel

Here is the last single card post from this set. Then, I will do a "rest of" post before moving on- moving on to another Tristar set, Prospect Plus.

So, here is a card that I got signed at a Sacramento River Cats game in 2015. Carlos was playing with the Cats at the time and was nice enough to come over and sign the two cards of him that I had.

Carlos played parts of three seasons, from 2012-14, with the Mariners and Dodgers. Over that time, he appeared in just 39 games with nearly half of those with the M's in 2013. In his 39 games, he got 81 at-bats with 13 hits. Along with his .160 average, he also had a home run and 6 RBI. His lone home run was a solo shot off of Colorado's Tammy Kahnle in Denver.

Carlos kept playing ball through last season, spending last year with the New Jersey Jackals of the Can-Am League.

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

2008 Tristar Projections, Eddie Kunz

#243 Eddie Kunz

In 2009, I went down to Houston for my cousin's wedding. While it was before the baseball season officially started, it was really good timing because the Astros were in town. They had wrapped up their Grapefruit League schedule and went home to Minute Maid Park for two exhibition games before the season got underway. During one of those games, Minute Maid hosted Astros Fanfest.

Strosfest was way different than Royals Fanfest. The biggest difference was that it was held during a ballgame. Because of that, no current Astros players participated. So, it was only alumni that signed. Some signed for free and some costs money. It was a rather busy afternoon with running around getting alumni autographs, a baseball game in the background, and a card show at the event. But, it was a great time and I got a lot of cool autographs from the alumni signings, including a couple of '81 Donruss cards. Plus, I pulled this card out of a pack from the card show.

Eddie was drafted by the Mets at the end of the first round of the 2007 draft. In 2008, he was making his Major League debut with them and would appear in four games and post a 13.50 ERA with a strikeout in 2.2 relief innings. Sadly, that would be the only time he pitched in the Majors.

Usually, when a players gets to the top that quick, they tend to stick around a bit. But, not Eddie. He spent 2009 in AAA before spending all of 2010 in AA. Prior to the 2011 season, he was dealt to the Padres and would repeat AA. 2012 was split between AA and AAA and Eddie called it quits after that season.

In case you are wondering, Eddie's one Major League strikeout was Marlins pitcher, Josh Johnson.

Friday, August 23, 2019

2008 Tristar Projections, Jeremy Hellickson

#208 Jeremy Hellickson

Here is a card that I got signed at a Royals game in 2010 while Jeremy was a rookie with the Rays. It was a Sunday day game, so I was trying to get pitchers down the line in the outfield. When Jeremy came over to sign, I handed him my card book and Sharpie. I always try to take the cap off of the Sharpie just to make it easier for the players. On that day, Jeremy didn't realize that I took the cap off for him and he tried to take it off himself. Instead, all he did was get blue Sharpie all over his hand. When he realized what he had done, he just looked up at me and gave me a dirty look. It was quite funny.

Jeremy pitched for the Rays for five seasons, going 40-36 with a 3.78 ERA. The Rays traded him to the Diamondbacks after the 2014 season and he has bounced around a bit since then. Besides playing for the D-Backs, he has seen time with the Phillies, Orioles, and Nationals, his current team. But, this season has basically been a wash for him as he has been on the injured list since late May (I think that is the first time Injured List has been used on here). For his career to date, Jeremy is 76-75 with a 4.13 ERA. He was the 2011 American League Rookie of the Year and he won a Gold Glove in 2012.

Jeremy is pictured with the Columbus Catfish on this card. Unfortunately, the Catfish no longer exist. They left Georgia after the 2008 season and became the Bowling Green Hot Rods.

Thursday, August 22, 2019

2008 Tristar Projections, Wade Davis

#201 Wade Davis

Here is a card that I got signed at Royals Fanfest in 2013. At the time, Wade had just come over from the Rays. He was basically a throw-in in the Wil Myers/James Shields trade. There wasn't any real expectations for him except to help fill in the rotation. Absolutely no one envisioned that he was going to be a dominant reliever that would anchor a bullpen that would lead the Royals to back-to-back World Series appearances, let alone revolutionize how a bullpen could be used.

While with the Rays, Wade was a starter for his first two plus years before moving to the bullpen for his last season in Tampa Bay. As a starter, he was 25-22 with a 4.22 ERA and 254 strikeouts in 388.1 innings of work. Then, out of the 'pen, he was 3-0 with a 2.43 ERA and 87 K's in just 70.1 innings of work. Why the Royals would want to move him back to the rotation is beyond me. They probably just lacked rotation depth and needed a starter.

So, Wade started his Royals career as a starter and made 24 starts in 2013 and also had 7 relief appearances at the end of the year. As a starter, he was 6-10 with a 5.67 ERA with 107 strikeouts in 125.1 innings. In his brief time out of the 'pen at the end of the year (after missing a month of the season to injury), he was 2-1 with a 0.90 ERA and 7 strikeouts in 10 innings.

The Royals kept him in the bullpen the following year and the rest is history. For three seasons of relief work out of the Kansas City 'pen, Wade would go 19-4 with 47 saves, a 1.18 ERA, and 234 strikeouts in 182.2 innings. On top of that, he only allowed three home runs. And, as if you thought those numbers were lights out, he was even better in the postseason.

During the Royals two postseason runs, Wade was 2-0 with 4 saves with a 0.36 ERA and 38 strikeouts in 25 innings of work. Those numbers just look unreal.

The Royals traded Wade to the Cubs before the 2017 season and he signed with the Rockies last year where he would lead the National League in saves. But, he is having a rough go of it this year and is not the team's closer and is sporting a non Wade Davis-like ERA of 7.43.

In case you are wondering, this card has an error on the back. It lists Wade's birth date as 9/8/89 when it is actually 9/7/85.

Monday, August 19, 2019

2008 Tristar Projections, Balbino Fuenmayor

#182 Balbino Fuenmayor

Here is a card that I got signed at a Burlington Bees game in 2009. Actually, my dad got this card signed for me. The Bees were a Royals affiliate at the time, so I was on that side of the field getting Bees autos. I sent my dad over to 'graph the visiting Lansing Lugnuts side for me and he was able to get two cards signed for me. This is obviously one of those cards.

If you have never heard of Balbino, you are missing out on an interesting story. The Blue Jays signed Balbino out of Venezuela in 2006 and he spent seven seasons in the Jays system. The only problem was that he never made it out of A ball. In fact, he spent parts of four seasons with Lansing. So, the Jays let him go and it was off to the independent leagues. Over a two year stretch, he played in the Can-Am League, American Association, and the Frontier League.

He did good enough there to get a look by the Royals in 2015 and made their AA team out of Spring Training. He then proceeded to tear up the Texas League and found himself playing for the World Team at the Future's Game during the All Star break. For that season, that was split between AA and AAA, Balbino ended up batting .341 with 17 home runs. He would then spend all of 2016 in Omaha where he hit .291 with just 6 homers.

The Royals released him after that season and he hasn't played affiliated ball since. But, he is still playing and is tearing up the Mexican League this summer. Through 99 games, Balbino is batting .329 with a career high 30 home runs. Being just twenty-nine years old, there still may be hope for him to return to affiliated ball.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

2008 Tristar Projections, Eric Duncan

#175 Eric Duncan

It was bound to happen. When you make a minor league set, you know going into it that not every player is going to make it to the Majors. Here is the first player from this set that I have posted that never made it.

Eric is pictured with the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees on this card and I actually got it signed at a SWB Yankees game. What are the odds of that? Well, to be exact, my buddy got it signed at the game. I was busy 'graphing the visiting Durham Bulls and he was nice enough to grab a few 'graphs for me from the Yankee side.

Eric was the Yankees first round pick in 2003. He was a top 100 prospect for a couple of seasons and got his first taste of AAA in 2006. Then he got stuck in AAA and was there through the 2009 season, which is when he signed this card. The Yankees released him after that season and he went on to play three more years of AA ball with three different organizations before calling it a career.

It is hard to tell in the scan, but this card is a reflective parallel.

The Yankees still have their AAA team in SWB, but they have ditched the Yankee name. They are now the Rail Riders.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

2008 Tristar Projections, Jordan Brown

#170 Jordan Brown

Here is a card that I got signed at an Iowa Cubs game in 2011. Jordan was playing for the visiting Nashville Sounds at the time and was nice enough to sign three cards for me that day.

Jordan spent parts of two seasons in the Majors. He saw time with the Indians in 2010 and the Marlins in 2013. During those two seasons, he hit .225 with 7 RBI. Though he never hit a dinger at the Major League level, he did manage to swat 8 doubles and those made up a quarter of his hits. Jordan last played professionally in 2014.

For whatever reason, it seems like the Nashville Sounds are the minor league team that I have seen play the most, with the exception of Omaha. And I have never been to a game in Nashville. That will all change next year when the Baby Cakes move to Wichita. They should pass Omaha and Nashville unless the 'graphing their is just terrible. They are going to have netting from foul pole to foul pole, so who knows.

Speaking of Wichita baseball, they are slowly releasing seven finalists for the team name. The first one came out last week and it is the Wichita River Riders. While I do not hate the name, AAA baseball already has the Rail Riders and I don't think it needs another name that sounds so similar. To make matter worse, the River Riders have an awful logo that looks more like a logo for the River Festival than a professional sports franchise.

As for the Akron Aeros, whom Jordan is pictured with here, they are still the AA affiliate for the Indians. But, they changed their name and are now the Rubberducks. In case you didn't know that Rubberducks was one word, now you know.

Friday, August 9, 2019

2008 Tristar Projections, Matt Antonelli

#124 Matt Antonelli

Here is a card that I purchased when making a COMC order in 2012. For the longest time, I always felt like I needed to buy an autograph whenever I made a purchase on there. Because of that, I bought a lot of Bowman and Topps Pro Debut autos that I really didn't need. So, I have discontinued that practice. But, I will occasionally buy an auto with my purchase. Those, though, tend to be of guys I collect in some way, shape, or form. On the bright side, this card only set me back 95 cents. It's listed as $2.43 right now.

Matt had the privilege of playing 23 Major League games with the Padres in 2008. During that time, he hit just .193 with a homer and 3 RBI. His one dinger was a two-run shot off of Jason Hirsch at Coors Field.

Despite never making it back to the Major Leagues, Matt continued to play ball up into the 2013 season.

This card features Matt with the San Antonio Missions, who were the Padres AA team at the time. The Missions are still around and they got bumped up to AAA this season, though they still play in an AA ballpark. The Missions are now the Brewers top affiliate.

For some reason, Tristar did not list a position on cards for this set.

Thursday, August 8, 2019

2008 Tristar Projections, Duane Below

#62 Duane Below

First off, I fianlly made it back home after a little ballpark trip with the family. I have always wanted to take my dad to Wrigley Field and I finally had that chance last week. Chicago is about twelve hours away from here. So, with my three year old, I had to break the drive down in segments so we would all survive. Because of that, the five day trip took us to four ballparks. Besides Wrigley, we took in Busch Stadium, Bosse Field in Evansville, Indiana and Impact Field in Rosemont, Illinois. Personally, I had a blast. I am not too sure about my fourteen year old and wife, though. But, I am glad that they came along, nonetheless.

As far as this card, I got it signed at a Royals game in 2011. Duane was with the Tigers at the time and he signed two of these cards for me before the game started. I still have the other one he signed, so it is available to anybody that needs it.

Duane pitched in the Majors for parts of three seasons with the Tigers and Marlins. In that time, he pitched in 44 games (3 starts) and was 2-4 with a 4.27 ERA. He last pitched in the Majors in 2013 and has pitched in Korea and Japan since then. He is still playing now as he is working on stepping off of the rubber to throw to first in the Atlantic League.

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

2008 Topps Opening Day

#166 Brian Bannister
#205 Brandon Jones
#210 Josh Anderson

Brian Bannister- Man, does this card look good or what? Brian probably has the best looking signature from anyone that has played in the past ten years with the exception of Mariano Rivera. All three of these cards are signed in blue, but this one just stands out more because of that majestic signature. Brian signed this card for me at Royals Fanfest in 2010. When he was signing it, I told him what a good looking signature he had and he told me that he got it from his dad and that I should take a look at his dad's signature. So, I did that and Floyd has a nice sig, but not quite as nice as Brian's.

Brandon Jones- Brandon played in the American Association for three seasons, so I was able to get him a couple of times in Wichita. This one was signed there in 2012 while he was with the Kansas City T-Bones.

Josh Anderson- Josh signed for me at the final regular season series at the Metrodome while playing for the Royals. If I would have gotten the regular issue Topps card signed that looked like this, I would have had both of his 2008 Topps cards signed. But, I had to be a bit different and go the Opening Day route.

This set is way different that Opening Day sets are now. Anymore, they look just like the base set with two exception- the Opening Day logo and no foil. This set added foil instead of taking it away.

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

The Rest of 2008 Topps Heritage, Part II

#472 Manny Corpas
#479 Tony LaRussa
#532 Willie Bloomquist
#561 Mike Aviles
#628 Esteban German
#670 Joakim Soria
#672 Taylor Teagarden
#RP2 Mike Aviles

Manny Corpas- This is the second card that Manny signed for me at a Royals game in 2010 while he was still with the Rockies.

Tony LaRussa- I got this one signed through the mail in 2009. I sent him his '81 Donruss card to sign and threw this one in with it. I still need to get an A's card signed by him and maybe even a card from his playing days. In case you are wondering, it looks like Tony still signs through the mail. If you need his autograph, send it care of the Boston Red Sox.

Willie Bloomquist- Willie signed this card for me in Minneapolis when I went to the Twins final regular season series at the Metrodome. Willie was playing for the Royals at the time.

Mike Aviles- I got this card signed by the Royals parking lot in 2009. Before leaving for Kansas City that week, I went by my local card shop to see if he had this card. He did not, so he opened packs until he pulled this one for me.

Esteban German- Esteban signed this one for me at Royals Fanfest in 2009.

Taylor Teagarden- I got this one signed in Springdale, Arkansas in 2010 while Taylor was playing for the Frisco Rough Riders. He was nice enough to sign for me from the dugout after the game.

Mike Aviles- In case you couldn't tell by the super thin signature, this card was signed at the same time as the other Aviles card on here. It was a regular Sharpie, so I am not sure why it came out so thin. He must have just been grazing the surface of the card with it.

On a side note, I almost posted one of these cards of Mike Aviles as its own post. Then, after a quick search, I realized I posted his 2006 Bowman card way back in 2011. Yikes! It took me eight years to get from my 2006 cards to my 2008s.

Friday, July 26, 2019

The Rest of 2008 Topps Heritage, Part I

#7 Joey Gathright
#42 Jason Jennings
#96 Mark DeRosa
#123 Sam Fuld
#144 JR Towles
#152 Brian Bannister
#211 Mike Sweeney
#269 Horacio Ramirez
#417 Nate Robertson

Joey Gathright- I got this card signed by Joey by the Royals parking lot in 2008. Back then, he was signing just his initials. I got him five years later at an American Association game and he was signing his full last name at that point.

Jason Jennings- Speaking of the American Association, Jason did some time there in 2011. He signed this card for me at an Amarillo Sox game in 2011 while he was a member of the Grand Prairie AirHogs.

Mark DeRosa- I got this card signed at a Royals game in 2009. Mark was with the Indians at the time and he signed during batting practice.

Sam Fuld- Sam signed this card for me between games of a doubleheader in Des Moines, Iowa in 2009. He was playing for the Iowa Cubs.

JR Towles- JR signed this card for me after a Round Rock Express game in 2008.

Brian Bannister- I got this card signed at a Royals game in 2008.

Mike Sweeney- This card was given to me by Uncle Moe in 2009. I probably sent him some cards for his 2008 Topps set and he hooked me up with a few autos in return.

Horacio Ramirez- Horacio signed for me from the Royals parking lot after a game in 2008.

Nate Robertson- I got this card signed by Nate at a card show in Wichita in 2015.

Thursday, July 25, 2019

2008 Topps Heritage, Jose Arredondo

#638 Jose Arredondo

Here is a card that I got signed at Kauffman Stadium in 2009. The Angels were in town that day and Jose was the first guy on the team that appeared in the dugout right before batting practice. He just walked out in a warm-up jacket with headphones on to catch the end of the Royals batting practice session. With the jacket on, I wasn't really sure who he was and that was before I had a smart phone. So, I thumbed through my cards and deduced that it had to be Jose. I got his attention and was right. He made me go to the opposite end of the dugout to sign, but I was able to get my spot back afterwards.

Jose pitched in the Majors for just parts of four seasons with the Angels and Reds. Over that time, he was 22-11 with a save and a 3.27 ERA. His best season was his 2008 rookie campaign with the Angels. That year, he racked up an impressive 10-2 record while working exclusively out of the bullpen. Plus, he had a 1.62 ERA and 55 strikeouts in 61 innings of work.

Jose last pitched in the Majors in 2012. I am guessing that some arm problems derailed his career as he missed all of the 2010 season. He was out of baseball after 2013, only to reappear in the Atlantic League in 2016 and 2017. It looks like his career is officially over now.

I love Jose's signature. It is not readable, but it definitely has some flair and a very legible #66.