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.

Monday, July 22, 2019

2008 Topps Heritage, Alexi Casilla

#588 Alexi Casilla

Card number 588 is the first card of this set that I am posting. But, it is not because I have very few cards from this set signed. It is because I have thirteen cards with a number lower than 588, but they all feature dudes that I have been posted on here before. So, '08 Heritage is going to go by quick- two individual posts and two "rest of" posts.

This is the card of Alexi Casilla that I got signed outside of Kauffman Stadium in 2012. Alexi was still with the Twins at the time and he was nice enough to come over and sign this lone card for me after getting off of the team bus.

Alexi played in the Majors for parts of nine seasons with the Twins and Orioles. Over that time, he hit .247 with 12 homers and 157 RBI. His best season was with the Twinkies in 2008 when he hit .281 with 7 home runs and 50 RBI.

Alexi is still currently playing, but it is in independent ball. He is currently trying to steal first base with the York Revolution in the Atlantic League.

Sunday, July 21, 2019

2008 Topps Chrome, Kevin Hart

#224 Kevin Hart

This is a card that I picked up in a trade in 2008 or 2009. Jim from saw some Cubs cards on my blog that he needed and we worked out a trade. I sent him a Brian McRae, Les Lancaster, and Juan Guzman card and I got this one in return. I think he might have got the better end of the deal, but what are you going to do?

Kevin had a relatively short Major League career. After breaking in with the Cubs in 2007, he threw his last Major League pitch with the Pirates in 2009. Over that span, he was 6-11 with a 5.27 ERA.

Despite the short career, he did have one postseason appearance. In the 2007 division series against the Diamondbacks, he came in to relieve Ted Lilly in the fourth inning of game two. He did not allow a hit in his inning of work, yet he still managed to allow two earned runs to score. He came in with a runner on third and one out and proceeded to strike out the two batter he faced. He came back out in the fifth and walked two of the three batters he faced. He got yanked from the game and two relievers managed to allow his two runners to score. So, he postseason stat line is 2 walks and 2 K's with an 18.00 ERA in an inning of work.

Saturday, July 20, 2019

2008 Topps Chrome, Luis Mendoza

#201 Luis Mendoza

Here is the second card of Luis Mendoza that I have posted on here. The first one got lumped into a "The Rest of 2008 Topps" post because I knew I had this card coming up and I didn't have enough cards from this set to do a "Rest of" post. So in all actuality, this is pretty much the first card of Luis that I have posted.

In 2012, I bought a Royals partial season ticket package just so I could get tickets to the All Star game in Kansas City. While I probably sold most of the tickets, I was pretty thrilled to attend the home opener. While some teams refer to that as Opening Day, it is only Opening Day when both teams enter the game with a 0-0 record. The Royals were 3-3 entering the game, so it was definitely a home opener. Anyways, I hung out by the Royals parking lot after the game to try to get some autographs and I came home with a few. This was one of the cards signed for me that day and Luis signed all three cards that I had of him.

Luis played in the Majors for parts of seven seasons with the Rangers and Royals. Over that time, he went 16-25 with a save and a 5.39 ERA. His best season was with the Royals in 2012. That year, he went 8-10 with a 4.23 ERA and 104 strikeouts.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

The Rest of 2008 Topps, Part V

Here are the final cards from 2008 Topps.

#UH207 Alberto Gonzalez
#UH211 Brett Tomko
#UH235 Eddie Guardado
#UH278 So Taguchi
#UH279 Alex Hinshaw
#TCP4 Luke Hochevar

Alberto Gonzalez- This is the second card of Alberto that I have posted on here and both have been lumped into a "best of" post. I have a third one coming up that will get its own post, so this is going to have to do for now. Alberto signed this card for me in 2015 while he was a member of the Wichita Wingnuts.

Brett Tomko- Believe it or not, but I did not get this card signed by the Royals parking lot. I actually got it at a Kansas Stars game in 2016.

Eddie Guardado- Eddie signed this one for me while I was waiting outside of Kauffman in 2017. Eddie was the Twins bullpen coach at the time.

So Taguchi- I got this card signed outside of Principle Park in Des Moines, Iowa in 2009. So was playing his final season in the U.S. that year and he spent the majority of the time with the Iowa Cubs. He signed two cards for me after the game and both featured his Japanese signature.

Alex Hinshaw- This is the first card of Alex that I have posted on here. But, I have another one that will get its own post. That one is a 2009 card, so it might not show up on here until 2022. Alex signed this card for me while he was with the Wingnuts in 2014.

Luke Hochevar- I have no clue where this card came from. Night Owl probably sent it to me. I am assuming that the card was a Target exclusive, but I am not even sure about that. All I know about the card is that Luke signed it for me at Fanfest in 2009.

And that is it for '08 Topps. You can say whatever you want about the design of the set, but I will say this- you will never get 2008 Topps confused with any other Topps set.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

2008 Topps, Part IV

#597 Kyle Davies
#623 Trey Hillman
#UH15 Kevin Cash
#UH89 Joakim Soria
#UH92 Eric Hinske
#UH144 Robinson Tejeda

I am almost done with '08 Topps, so I had to break down the last two post to six cards each. This one is a little Royals heavy.

Kyle Davies- Believe it or not, I got this card signed by the Royals parking lot in 2008.

Trey Hillman- I almost posted this card by itself a few weeks back. Then I remembered that I posted a minor league card of Trey many years ago. This one was signed by the Royals parking lot in 2008.

Kevin Cash- I got this card signed in Omaha in 2011 while Kevin was coaching for Round Rock. He has moved up a bit since then and is currently the manager for the Rays.

Joakim Soria- The one current player in the batch, who is currently pitching for the A's. Unlike the last two Royals, I got this card signed at Royals Fanfest in 2009.

Eric Hinske- I got this card signed last year outside of Kauffman Stadium when Eric got dropped off from an Uber. That is another thing that has changed while 'graphing outside of The K in the last ten years. Players now get dropped off from Ubers instead of cabs. The cabs could be seen from miles away and the Ubers now just magically appears. Eric was a coach for the Angels at the time, but has since moved on to the Diamondbacks.

Robinson Tejeda- I got this one signed by the Royals parking lot, but it was is in 2009. I think this is the first time that I got a players base card and update card signed from the same year.

Friday, July 12, 2019

The Rest of 2008 Topps, Part III

#429 Billy Butler
#441 Miguel Olivo
#483 Mike Jacobs
#498 Matt Chico
#549 Gregg Zaun
#556 John Gibbons
#577 John Buck
#589 Dave Trembley
#594 Andy LaRoche

Billy Butler- Like most of the Royals cards from this set, Billy signed this card for me by the Royals parking lot in 2008.

Miguel Olivo- Also by the Royals lot in '08.

Mike Jacobs- Got this card signed by Mike at Royals Fanfest in 2009.

Matt Chico- I got this one signed at a Wingnuts game in 2012 while Matt was playing for the visiting New Jersey Jackals of the Can-Am League.

Gregg Zaun- Gregg signed this one for me in Kauffman Stadium in 2009. He was with the Orioles at the time and he signed right after batting practice.

John Gibbons- The former Royals bench coach signed this card at a Royals game in 2009.

John Buck- John signed this card by the Royals parking lot after a game in 2008. He made an error that cost his team the game, but was still kind enough to sign some autographs afterwards.

Dave Trembley- For some reason, I thought I posted Dave's 2007 Topps card. Well, it turns out that he wasn't in '07 Topps. I was thinking of the Sam Perlozzo manager card that I got signed. So, this card should have been posted on its own. I will make up for it when I get to 2009 Topps Heritage. Dave signed this card for me at a Royals game in 2009.

Andy LaRoche- I got Andy on multiple occasions as he once played for the Wingnuts and also played with the Kansas Stars. This is one of the ones he signed for me as a Nut in 2015.

Posting all of these cards from 2008 Topps makes me realize how much I miss manager cards. For some guys, a manager card would be the only Topps card they ever get.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

The Rest of 2008 Topps, Part II

#208 David DeJesus
#237 Eric Wedge
#302 Horacio Ramirez
#313 Kameron Loe
#318 Ned Yost
#333 Jayson Nix
#342 Matt Belisle
#403 Nate Robertson
#404 Cecil Cooper

David DeJesus- This is another one that I got signed by the Royals parking lot in 2008. This one was done a month before the German and Gload cards from the previous post.

Eric Wedge- I got this one signed by Eric during Indians batting practice in Kansas City in 2008. In case you haven't heard, last month Eric was named the new head coach at Wichita State. Hopefully he can bring some luster back to a once proud baseball institution.

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

Kameron Loe- I got Kameron after an Oklahoma Redhawks game in 2008.

Ned Yost- Ned yosted this card for me after Royals batting practice at The K in 2011. Normally, you can't see the Royals take batting practice at home. But, you can buy early bird stadium tour tickets that get you in just in time for Royals BP. They cost about $10-12 a person and you still need a separate game ticket. In all actuality, all the early bird ticket is good for is getting a great 'graphing spot.

Jayson Nix- I believe this is the third card I have posted of Jayson. There should be three more coming and all six of them came from the Kansas Stars game I attended at the 2016 NBC Wolrd Series.

Matt Belisle- Outside of The K in 2010. That was about the time that it really started to suck 'graphing outside that ballpark. Since then, it has primarily been about hitting up the visiting team as they straggle in.

Nate Robertson- Here is the third card of Wichita native, Nate Robertson, that I have posted on here. The first one came from a Wichita card show and the second was from a Stars game. This one was obtained at the same card show as the first card. That show was at Rock's Dugout in Wichita. Rock usually hosts six shows a year, but I think he cut back to four this year. He always either brings in someone to sign or he has Beckett there grading cards. Unfortunately, Rock hasn't had a baseball player there signing in quite some time and, because of that, I don't think that I have attended a show there in three years.

Cecil Cooper- I posted that first card of Cecil way back in 2009. That card was obtained through the mail, just like this one. But, this card was signed about a year ago when I was getting a bunch of Senior League cards signed. I needed Cecil for that set and sent this one along, too, just so I could have a manager card signed by him.

Monday, July 8, 2019

The Rest of 2008 Topps, Part I

#19 Robinson Tejada
#23 Chin-lung Hu
#34 Aaron Cook
#57 Wladimir Balentien
#133 Mike Bacsik
#148 Gerald Laird
#153 Luis Mendoza
#189 Esteban German
#196 Ross Gload

I posted thirteen individual cards from 2008 Topps with all but one of them being players that have never been featured on here. Now, it is time to the forty or so players that have been posted previously. This is the first in a five part series for this set.

Robinson Tejada- I got this card signed at a Royals game in 2008 while Rob was still with the Rangers. This is another example of me getting a guy's autograph before they become a Royal.

Chin-lung Hu- I got this card signed at an Oklahoma Redhawks game while he was playing for the visiting Las Vegas 51s.

Aaron Cook- Aaron signed two cards for me at a Royals game in 2008. He signed during batting practice and he is still the only starting pitcher to sign for me in the ballpark prior to their start. Both cards he signed for me were signed in black and both signatures were placed right on top of the pre-printed signature and are really hard to make out. That is why you should use blue Sharpies kids.

Wladimir Balentien- This is one of the three cards that Wlad signed for me at a Rangers game while his Mariners were taking batting practice in 2008.

Mike Bacsik- Mike signed three cards for me at a Wingnuts game in 2011 while he was playing for Ft. Worth.

Gerald Laird- Gerald signed three for me during batting practice at Kauffman Stadium during the 2008 season.

Luis Mendoza- Here is another future Royal. But, unlike Robinson Tejada, I did not get his autograph until he joined the organization. I got this card signed by the Royals parking lot after their home opener in 2012. This is the first card of Luis that I have posted on here, but he will be getting his own post shortly.

Esteban German- I got this card signed by the Royals parking lot in 2008.

Ross Gload- I also got this card signed by the Royals parking lot in 2008, probably on the same day that I got the German card signed. It is crazy that I got so many 2008 cards signed in 2008. We are at the All Star break in 2019 and I only have two 2019 Topps cards signed.

Saturday, July 6, 2019

2008 Topps, Shelley Duncan

#UH308 Shelley Duncan

Here is the final single card post from 2008 Topps. I still have quite a few cards from the set to show and those are going to have to be broken up into multiple posts, so I am not quite done with the set yet.

Here is the card of Shelley Duncan that I got signed at a Diamondbacks Spring Training game in 2014. I had set up shop along the third base line that day and somehow he had gotten past me down the line. But when I called out to him, he came back over to me and signed one of the three cards I had of him.

Shelley played in the Majors for parts of 7 seasons with the Yankees, Indians, and Rays. Over that time, he was a .226 hitter with 43 home runs and 144 RBI. His best season was with the Indians in 2011 when he had career highs in average (.260), doubles (17), homers (11), and RBI (47).

Currently, Shelley is working for the Blue Jays as their Major League field coordinator. I have no idea what a field coordinator does. But he is listed with the Jays coaching staff and is assigned a number, so he must suit up for games.

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

2008 Topps, Robert Andino

#UH269 Robert Andino

In 2009, I flew out to Maryland to visit an Army buddy. Since I was out that way and it was still baseball season, I had to take in a couple of baseball games. The first game I went to was a Wilmington Blue Rocks playoff game. The Rocks are a Royals affiliate, so that was a must. Then, you can't go to Maryland without taking in an Orioles game, so we went there, too. Plus, I was able to meet up with Ryan, from The Great Orioles Autograph Project, at the game and do some 'graphing with a local, which helped out a ton.

Long story short, this is one of the autographs that I got at Camden Yards that night and I would not have got it if it wasn't for Ryan. I thought that the 'graphing was done after batting practice. But Ryan knew better and we went down by the Orioles dugout while they were coming out of the tunnel right before the game and we got some more. Robert was nice enough to stop and sign one of the two cards that I had of him.

Robert played in the Majors for parts of ten seasons with the Marlins, Orioles, and Mariners. Over that time, he was mainly a part time player except for 2011 and '12 with the O's. He hit .233 for his career with 18 dingers and 97 RBI. His best season was with the O's in 2011. He played in a career-high 139 games that season and responded with a .265 average with 5 homers and 36 RBI.

I had first visited Camden Yards in 2001 while Cal Ripken, Jr. was still active. After he retired, the O's retired his number and placed a monument outside of the park with the rest of their retired numbers. I was looking forward to seeing his number 8 on display, but some rowdy drunks had other plans. Four days before I got there, four guys stole the three and a half foot monument and threw it in the back of their pickup truck. So, when I got there, all that was left for me to see was the base and a crime scene.

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

2008 Topps, Travis Denker

#UH201 Travis Denker

When I started posting my 2008 cards, I changed up my format a bit where I would not post multiple cards of the same player. Once a player gets a card posted, any subsequent cards would get lumped into a post with other guys from that set that had already been posted. I have been doing good with staying with that format, but I am going to make an exception today. So, here is the third and final card of Travis Denker that I have to post. I posted his first card four years ago and his second one three years ago. The reason why Travis gets a third post is because I have a neat piece of memorabilia from him that I had been planning to post with this card ever since I got it signed in 2015.

In 2014, Travis was playing for the Laredo Lemurs in the American Association. The Lemurs made the playoffs as the wild card and played against the number one seed Wichita Wingnuts in the first round of the playoffs. I attended the deciding game four of that series, which the Wingnuts won. But, just before the 'Nuts punched their ticket to the finals, Laredo had the tying run on base in the top of the ninth with two outs. Travis Denker was on deck and, when the batter made the third out to end the game, he smashed his bat into the ground.

The Wingnuts stormed the field to celebrate and the Lemurs made the long walk back to the clubhouse to get ready for a long bus ride home. While the 'Nuts were celebrating, I saw Laredo's trainer grab Denker's busted bat from the on deck circle. He then walked over to a kid and offered it to him and the kid didn't want it. So, the trainer started to make his way to the clubhouse and I hollered for him when he got by me and I asked for the bat. He seemed surprised that I wanted it and pointed out to me that it was broken. I told him it was okay and he brought it over to me.

So, I got the bat and just had to figure out a way to get it signed. Denker signed to play in Mexico the next season, so it looked like I was going to luck out. But, he ended up back in Laredo after the Mexican season was over and Laredo made the trip to Wichita shortly after. So, I took my bat to a game with me and I got his attention when he was coming to the field. I asked him if that was his bat and he said that it wasn't as he was using a different bat that year. I told him that it was from the previous season and he realized that it was his and was more than happy to sign it for me.

Sure, Travis only played in 24 Major League games. But I still think it is cool that I have a game used bat signed by him and it only cost me two general admission tickets to Wingnut games.