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.