Tuesday, April 30, 2019

2008 Grandstand Bowie Baysox, Mike Rodriguez

NN Mike Rodriguez

Here is another Oriole minor leaguer that was given to me by Ryan in 2013. This one features Mike Rodriguez.

Mike was originally drafted by the Astros in the second round of the 2001 draft. He played in the Astros system for seven seasons and reached AAA with them, spending two seasons at that level. Then, he joined the O's in 2008 and was demoted to AA. In 2009, he played in the Atlantic League before retiring at the end of the season.

Mike finished his career a .269 hitter with 34 home runs and 348 RBI.

With two Grandstand cards back-to-back, it is good to see they used different borders with the two sets. Many times, with so many minor league teams and so few card companies making team sets, borders get repeated among the various teams. I definitely like the border on this one better than the one on yesterday's card.

Monday, April 29, 2019

2008 Grandstand Aberdeen IronBirds, Joe Esposito

NN Joe Esposito

Here is a card that was given to me by Ryan, from The Great Oriole Autograph Project, in 2013. Ryan had sent me a little care package at the time and in it was some random signed minor league cards that he had acquired over the years. This is one of those cards and one more will be coming up in the next post.

Joe pitched in the minor leagues from 2007-2012. He spent the first three seasons in the O's system before joining the Phillies organization for two years and then finishing in the Atlantic League. Minus his Atlantic League time and 14 games in AA, he spent his time in some sort of A-ball.

For his career, Joe was 26-23 with 12 saves and a 3.74 ERA. His best stint in the minors was with the Delmarva Shorebirds in 2009. That season, he got into 18 games in relief and was 3-0 with 2 saves and a 2.43 ERA. He also recorded 52 strikeouts in just 33.1 innings. He was also about two and a half years older than the average player in the South Atlantic League that season and the O's cut ties with him when the season was over.

Friday, April 26, 2019

The rest of 2008 Goudey

#86 Brian Bannister
#88 Billy Butler
#170 Wladimir Balentien

When I was originally mapping out how I was going to post my '08 Goudey cards, I thought that there was going to be seven cards crammed into this post. Well, it did not turn out that way. I ended up giving the three Hall of Famers their own posts rather than lumping them in with these guys.

All of these cards were signed in 2008 and it shows because they are in black Sharpie. I used to always take a black Sharpie with me, but not any more. Now it is always blue. But, I will say that the black actually looks better on this set than blue does. The black is nice and bold and really stands out. On a couple of the ones I posted that were done in blue (Ian Kennedy and David Murphy), the blue blends in with the team name on the jersey.

Brian Bannister- Brian signed this card for me before a game at The K. Prior to signing this card, he was out on the field tossing curve balls to Kyle Davies from about 120 feet away.

Billy Butler- Billy signed this card from the Royals parking lot after a game.

Wladimir Balentien- This is the first card from Wladimir, but he is going to be featured in his own post next week. He signed this one for me during batting practice at a Rangers game. The signature on this card looks like "BaSS".

Thursday, April 25, 2019

2008 Goudey, David Murphy

#188 David Murphy

For whatever reason, I thought that I had already posted a card of David Murphy on here at some point. It turns out that is not the case. So, I had to rewind a bit to get this one in.

I got his card signed by him outside of Kauffman Stadium in 2012. He arrived at the ballpark that day on the team bus. If you have never 'graphed players getting off of a Major League bus, it can be difficult. For starters, the players are all in their street clothes and are a challenge to identify. The bigger name guys are easier to spot, but everyone wants their autograph and I rarely try for them because of that. If someone is lucky enough to get them to come over, I will just hop into that mob. Usually, I try to identify one or two players or coaches and just bet on them. It worked out that September day in 2012 in Kansas City as I was somehow able to recognize David Murphy. He was the only guy from the bus that would come over and sign for me.

David played in the Majors for parts of ten seasons with the Red Sox, Rangers, Indians, and Angels. He spent the bulk of that time in Texas and was very consistent during his seven seasons playing outfield there. With the Rangers, he hit .275 and averaged 14 home runs and 58 RBI a season for them as a regular.

David finished his career in 2015 with a .274 lifetime average with 104 homers and 472 RBI.

Monday, April 22, 2019

2008 Goudey, Jeff Francoeur

#M-JF Jeff Francoeur

Here is a card that I got signed by Jeff Francoeur at Royals Fanfest in 2011. Back then, it seemed like I would get at least one jersey card a year signed at the event. That is not the case anymore. Nowadays, it is impossible to get in more than one line per session and the bigger name guys (ie, the ones with jersey cards) only sign once a day. With six lines and not knowing who you are going to be getting, I don't even waste my time buying these for Fanfest anymore. But, I am glad that I bought this one the 2011 event.

Frenchy was an absolute stud when he came up. I had the privilege of watching him play multiple times in his first full season in the Majors since I was stationed in Georgia at the time and he was a joy to watch. But then 2008 came and his numbers dropped off dramatically. While he was never the same run driving-in-machine that he was in 2006 and '07, but he still stuck around in the league through the 2016 season.

He finished his career a .261 hitter with 160 home runs and 698 RBI. He had three really good seasons- the aforementioned 2006 and '07 seasons and 2011 with the Royals. In '06, he hit a career high 29 home runs. In '07, he hit .293 and knocked in 105 runs. In 2011, he hit .285 and had 20 homers, 87 RBI, and hit a career best 47 doubles. He made history that season by being part of what I believe is the first outfield trio to all have 40+ doubles in a season. His other two counterparts were Melky Cabrera and Alex Gordon.

One of my best memories at a game involves Frenchy. On May 13, 2006, I was at Turner Field to see the Braves host the Nationals. The Braves entered the ninth inning down 5-3. Brian McCann lead off the bottom of the inning with a solo home run to bring the game to within one. A handful of singles later, Jeff came up with the bases loaded. Instead of just knotting up the game or driving in two on a single, Jeff hit a walk off grand slam to send the Braves home a 8-5 winner. That was so awesome! I mentioned the walk off to him when he signed this card and he told me it was still his best memory as a ballplayer.

Saturday, April 20, 2019

2008 Goudey, Billy Wagner

#GG-BW Billy Wagner

Here is a card that I pulled out of a pack in 2008. And, of course, the pack was a retail pack from Wal-Mart. Ninety percent of the packs I get are retail and all of my best pack pulled autos came out of retail packs.

Billy pitched in the Majors for sixteen seasons with the Astros, Phillies, Mets, Red Sox, and Braves. Over that time, he had a 47-40 record with 422 saves and a 2.31 ERA. Billy made seven All Star teams during his career, was in the top five of saves in the National League four times, and made the postseason seven times. His 422 saves rank him sixth all-time.

Billy was fairly consistent his whole career, minus the postseason where he had a 10.03 ERA in 11.2 innings of work. But, the one season that stands out to me is his final season in 2010 with the Braves. Billy turned thirty-nine during his one season in Atlanta and had a phenomenal year. That season, he was 7-2 with 37 saves and a 1.43 ERA. Better yet, he struck out 104 batters in just 69.1 innings. It was his first 100 strikeout season since 2003. Way to go out on top, Billy!

Billy has been eligible for the Hall of Fame for four years now. He stayed in the 10-11% voting range for the first three years before jumping up to 16.7% this year. It was a nice spike, but he has a long ways to go to reach the magical 75% plateau.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

2008 Goudey, Bobby Thomson

#217 Bobby Thomson

This is probably my favorite signed 2008 Goudey that I own. While I have a few cards from the set signed by some bigger names, I also have other cards signed by those guys that I enjoy more. But, this one, on the other hand, is the only card that I have signed by Bobby and I absolutely love it. Plus, the fact that it is a mini makes it that much better.

I got this card signed through the mail in November of 2008. In fact, over a four day stretch that month, I got back Bobby Doerr, Sparky Anderson, and this card, all from this set. That was a fun week of checking the mailbox.

Bobby had a fifteen year career in the Majors, playing with the Giants, Braves, Cubs, Red Sox, and Orioles. He was a .270 career hitter that racked up 264 home runs and 1,026 RBI. He made three All Star teams, had four 100 RBI seasons, played in one World Series, and hit one of the most iconic home runs in baseball history.

I didn't notice it on the Doerr or Anderson cards, but it just seems off to see Ken Griffey on the front of this card. I love that Upper Deck put Griffey and Jeter on there to replace Lou Gehrig, but it just doesn't work on cards that feature players that played before Griffey, Sr. played.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

2008 Goudey, Chris Young

#155 Chris Young

This is one of the two cards that I got signed by Chris Young at Royals Fanfest in 2017. The other card I had him sign was his 2016 Topps card that showed him celebrating the Royals World Championship, which was a must for a Royals fan. I had one other card with me that day of him, his 2008 Allen & Ginter. I asked my wife which one I should get signed and she wisely chose this one.

Chris pitched in the Majors for thirteen seasons with the Rangers, Padres, Mets, Mariners, and Royals. Over that time, he had a 79-67 record with a save and a 3.95 ERA in nearly 1300 innings of work. He appeared in the postseason twice and made one All Star team.

Chris probably had his best season during the 2007 campaign with the Padres. While his record wasn't great (9-8), he did post a 3.12 ERA and stuck out a single season best 167 batters. Coincidentally, that was the one year he made the All Star team.

While I wasn't a huge Chris Young fan during his tenure with the Royals, especially after his first season, I absolutely love his signature. It is actually readable, which is a rare trait anymore.

Sunday, April 14, 2019

2008 Goudey, Dennis Eckersley

#135 Dennis Eckersley

I figured that since Bobby Doerr and Sparky Anderson each got a post from this set, Eck might as well get one, too.

So, here is the third and final card that I got him to sign at the College World Series in 2014. My main focus at the event was getting his '81 Donruss signed. After that, I had this card and his '87 Fleer card and it didn't really matter which one got signed. In the line, I had the '81D and my wife had the other two cards. Somehow, she sweet-talked her way into getting both of them signed by him. She never ceases to amaze me.

Anymore, when retired players appear in modern sets, I would much rather get an original card of theirs signed instead of one after they retired. And, while I wanted a signed card of Dennis with the A's, he was with them during the junk wax era. So, when it came down to taking a 1990 Donruss card or this one, this was the easy choice.

Dennis pitched for the A's for nine seasons and was phenomenal. After being a starter his whole career, the A's threw him out of the bullpen and it resurrected his career. During his tenure in Oakland, he went 41-31 with 320 saves and a 2.74 ERA. He made four All Star teams with them and lead the league in saves twice, including his career high of 51 in 1992. Plus, he helped the club to the postseason four times and helped them to the championship in 1989.

For a couple of years, the CWS stopped doing autograph signings. It was kind of a bummer because I was so used to coming home from Omaha with autographs like this. Then last year, they started it back up again. The only difference was that they were during the week instead of the weekend. The day I was there last summer was supposed to have Ryan Howard signing. But, some crazy weather hit town and it got cancelled. So, you will not be seeing a signed 2008 Goudey Ryan Howard on here.

I posted the first two cards of Dennis two years ago. His '81D can be seen here and his '87 Fleer here.

Saturday, April 13, 2019

2008 Goudey, Joe Blanton

#133 Joe Blanton

Here is a card that I got signed in Kansas City during Joe's brief stay with the Royals. It was a Sunday day game, which is autograph day at The K. Like most everything else that the Royals do that is autograph related, the event is poorly ran. You have to get to the park early so that you can make it into one of the two lines. Of course, you have no clue who is going to be signing, so it is a total crapshoot. Once you are in line, you have to stand there for thirty minutes before the players come out. Then, they only sign for about twenty minutes.

On this particular day, I got in one line and my wife and kid got in the other. The dude in my line ended up being a reliever that didn't have any cards. So, I got out of line. The other line had someone I needed, so my family stayed in it. Since it was autograph day, I didn't bring my book with me. I put my cards in two hard cases so I could split them up between the two lines. So, once I got out of line, I was free to head down to the field and try to get some of the pitchers out there. Joe ended up being the only guy that I got and I only had this one card in my case. But, that is alright since this is probably the best Joe Blanton card that I own.

Joe lasted in the Majors for thirteen seasons and saw time with the A's, Phillies, Dodgers, Angels, Royals, Pirates, and Nationals. Over that time, he amassed a 101-97 record with 2 saves and a 4.38 ERA. He last pitched in the Majors in 2017.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

2008 Goudey, Ian Kennedy

#131 Ian Kennedy

Here is a card that I got signed by Ian Kennedy at a Royals game in 2012. Ian was with the D-Backs at the time and I had a rough outing on the 'graphing front that day. As it turned out, Ian was the only guy I got. But, he did sign all three cards that I had of him, so it could have been much worse. And, considering that he was a year removed from a 21 win season, it was a good autograph to get at the time.

Fast-forward seven years later and now Ian isn't that great of a grab. After two very disappointing years in the Royals rotation, Ian has been sent to the bullpen this season. Minus the money the Royals are paying him, it is a move that I like. Last season, Ian did fairly well during his first time through the line-up. But, things weren't as good the second time around and they got even worse on the third trip through the order. So, the demotion made sense to me. As it stands right now through the Royals first twelve games of the season, Ian has been the most constant reliever in an awful bullpen. Hopefully, he can keep it up.

Speaking of Royals games, I went to one today and got to see the bullpen blow another lead en route to their tenth straight loss. On top of that, the 'graphing was nearly non-existent. The Royals open up the outfield an hour and a half before first pitch, but you cannot head down by the field until an hour prior. During the thirty minute gap, there were six Mariner pitchers on the field getting their work in. Two minutes before you could head down by the field, they all went back into the clubhouse. Booooo.

But, I was able to snag three from Royals pitching coach Cal Eldred and three from the M's starting catcher, Tom Murphy. So, it could have been worse.

This card is another example of how I somehow manage to get autographs from future Royals players.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

2008 Goudey, J.R. Towles

#85 J.R. Towles

Here is a card that I got signed at a Round Rock Express game in 2008. JR was the starting catcher that night for the Express and would not sign on the way to the field, since he had to get his pitcher warmed up. But, on the way out, he stopped and signed for everybody after the game. He signed all three cards that I had of him.

JR spent parts of five seasons playing for the Astros. Over that time, he got into 155 games and he hit .187 with 11 home runs and 50 RBI.

When JR initially got called up in 2007, he went on a mini-terror. Though he played in just 14 games and had just 40 at-bats, he would hit .375 with 5 doubles, 1 home run, 12 RBI, and only strike out once in the process. Unfortunately, he could never replicate those numbers again.

JR signed this card in about the worst spot possible. But, what are you going to do?

Monday, April 8, 2019

2008 Goudey, Andrew Miller

#74 Andrew Miller

Here is card that I got signed in Kansas City last summer. Andrew was playing for Cleveland at the time and I was lucky enough to catch him as he was dropped off at the ballpark. Andrew was a total class act and signed for everybody on his way in. He signed this card and his 2018 Topps Heritage card for me.

By the time this card came out, Andrew, once a highly touted prospect, was looking like he was a bust. He was in his third season of pro ball and on his second team. Through his first two seasons, he was 5-6 with an ERA of 5.69 while walking 49 and striking out 62 in 74.1 innings of work with Detroit. Things didn't get any better in Miami. In his first season with the Marlins, he was 6-10 with a 5.87 ERA. It was more of the same in 2009 and he then spent most of 2010 in the minor leagues.

The Marlins then flipped him to Boston for Dustin Richardson and it was more of the same in 2011 with the Sox. Then, in 2012, Boston moved Andrew to the bullpen full time and things started to click. Used as a LOOGY that first year in the pen, Andrew posted a 3.35 ERA over 40.1 innings. In 2013, he had his first season of more than a strikeout an inning. In 2014, he had his first 100 strikeout season and did it in just 62.1 innings.

During that 2014 campaign, Andrew got dealt to the Orioles at the trade deadline. The O's went on to the postseason that year and that was the first of five straight years of him pitching in the playoffs. He pitched for the Yankees in 2015 and then the Indians for the last three years.

Andrew signed with the Cardinals during the off-season and is off to a rocky start. In just 3.1 innings of work in five games, he is 0-1 with a 10.80 ERA. It is still early, so hopefully he can get it going soon.

I absolutely love this set and I was thrilled to get a card from it signed by a current player last season. There are not too many guys from this set still playing, so it is always fun when I am able to add to it.

Saturday, April 6, 2019

2008 Goudey, Sparky Anderson

#46 Sparky Anderson

Here is the second card in the set that is a repeat post of a Hall of Famer. I first posted a card of Sparky over nine years ago and it can be seen here. That card was, of course, his '81 Donruss card. I am so glad that I got that card signed for my set. I am even more glad that I mailed it to him when I did; he passed away eight months later.

This one was obtained through the mail in 2008, two years before the '81D. But, the '81D sports a slightly better looking signature. I could just be thinking that because that one is signed in blue, though.

The Big Red Machine was before my time. Whenever I think of Sparky Anderson, I always picture him in a Tigers uniform. So, when this card came out with him as a Red, I knew I had to get it signed. The Big Red Machine might have preceded me, but I still know of their accolades and know that Sparky was at the helm.

Sparky managed in the Majors for a whopping twenty-six years, nine with the Reds and the rest with Detroit. Over that time, he had a .545 winning percentage while going to the postseason five times and winning it all three times. He was twice named manager of the year and got inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2000.

Thursday, April 4, 2019

2008 Goudey, Alfonso Soriano

#33 Alfonso Soriano

Last year, for a brief four month span, Alfonso Soriano was signing autographs through the mail. I noticed it in August. By Thanksgiving, it was over. Luckily, I sent this one card to him in the middle of October and I had it back before the honey hole dried up. I thought I might have been too late on the action, but it made it back home in about two weeks time.

It is always nice when a six time All Star starts randomly signing cards through the mail. But, I am sure that he got overwhelmed real quickly and that is why he gave it up. On SCN, there are probably over 125 successes listed on there and that is just from the people that bother to track their successes on the site. Who knows how many requests he actually got during that time.

Nonetheless, I was able to add an autograph to my favorite set from 2008 for a dollar in postage. I will take it.

Alfonso played in the Majors for sixteen seasons with the Yankees, Rangers, Nationals, and Cubs. Over that time, he hit .270 with 412 home runs and 1,159 RBI. He played in the postseason five times, including two World Series appearances. He had over 100 RBI four times and hit 30+ homers seven times, including a career high of 46 with the Nats in 2006.

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

2008 Goudey, Bobby Doerr

#26 Bobby Doerr

I know I said that I was going to change things up and not do individual posts of guys that have been posted on here before. But, I have three cards signed by Hall of Famers in this Goudey set and it does not feel right to just lump them together with the other guys. So, for now, two of the three Hall of Famers will get their own post. In the end, I am sure all three will get their own.

Here is the card of Bobby Doerr that I got signed through the mail in 2008. I sent two cards his way towards the end of the year and I had them both back and signed in about eight days. That turn around time still impresses me.

Bobby might have been one of the greatest signers to ever live and I have no clue how he was able to pull it off like he did into his late nineties. I can't imagine the amount of fanmail that he had to receive on a daily basis. That man had to have set aside time every day to keep churning out the autographs like he did. He was truly an asset to the autograph community and is dearly missed.

I posted the other Doerr card way back in 2010 and you can see that post here. That card is from a 2003 set. It is pretty sad that I have only gotten up to my 2008 cards since posting that card nearly nine years ago. If you don't want to go back to see that post, here is the card.

Four years ago, I posted another Bobby Doerr through the mail autograph. For Christmas in 2013, my then fiance ponied-up some dough and bought me a graded 1939 Playball Bobby Doerr. Being the autograph nerd that I am, I busted that beauty out and sent it to get signed. While his signature wasn't nearly as neat as it was in 2008, it still came out looking great. I am forever thankful for my wife for buying me that card. She is pretty freaking awesome.

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

The Rest of 2008 Donruss Threads

#65 Danny Duffy
#69 Ryan Patterson
#DK-6 Josh Vitters

We hit the about everything in this set, from a Hall of Famer to a career minor leaguer and everything in between. While Donruss Threads is not the most appealing set of 2008, it sure is a great set to get signed. With the overexposed white border, the signatures really pop off the card.

Danny Duffy- He signed this card for me prior to a Royals game in 2011. It looks like he is the last active Major League player that I have posted from this set, though he is hurt and yet to play this year.

Ryan Patterson- It has been just over seven years since I have posted a Ryan Patterson card. The last couple I posted were signed while he was a Wingnut in 2010. This one was signed the year before when he was with the Ft. Worth Cats and it was signed at a Lincoln Saltdogs game.

Josh Vitters- I posted the first Josh Vitters card less than a week ago. This one was signed at the same time as the first.

Up next comes my favorite set from 2008- Goudey.

Monday, April 1, 2019

2008 Donruss Threads, Taylor Teagarden

#DK-22 Taylor Teagarden

Here is the first of three cards that I got signed at a minor league game in 2010 while Taylor was playing for the Frisco RoughRiders. The RoughRiders were playing in Springdale, Arkansas that night and Taylor was the starting catcher. After the game, I went down to the Frisco dugout to see if I could snag a couple more autographs. Taylor came by and I asked him to sign. He said he would in a minute. More often than not, that response really means "No". But, Taylor went into the dugout, bagged up his gear, and then came out and signed. He signed all three cards for me that night.

Taylor spent parts of eight seasons in the Majors and saw time with the Rangers, Orioles, Mets, and Cubs. Over that time, he was a .202 hitter with 21 home runs and 70 RBI in 180 games. Taylor's best season was the 16 games he played for the Rangers in 2008. Over 47 at-bats, he hit 6 dingers and drove in 17 runs while managing to hit .319.

Taylor was drafted in 2005, so it seems odd that he is pictured in his college uniform on this card. But, it looks like the photo might have been taken at the College World Series, which is always cool. Texas won it all in 2005. On top of that, Taylor was a member of the 2008 US Olympic baseball team that brought home the bronze in Beijing.