What is this? An autograph card from 2001 Bowman, card number BA-RJ.
Where'd I get it? I think it was out of a pack.
How much did it cost? Three bucks maybe?
Why is this so special? Not much to say about this one... Russ was a third round pick out of Miami, but never really went anywhere. The last I can find of Russ in baseball is a couple of games in Triple-A back in 2004. Catchers are hard to draft. If a catcher is all field, no hit, they might stick as a backup if their defense is spectacular. If they don't have the skills behind the plate, they have to move him somewhere else where the defense won't kill the team. Even if the kid has it all together and can field his position, hit lights out and call a good game, one collision at the plate can derail a career. I'm not sure why Russ didn't make it, or why he was out of baseball in 2005. He doesn't look like he's having a whole lot of fun on this card though. Frustration is evident in the signature too, it starts off with a strong Russ then trails off in a squiggle. It shows how hard things are for these draft picks, 1500 players are selected in the draft every year, looking to earn a spot on their team's 40-man roster. Once they finally reach the point where they are valuable enough to the franchise to protect on the roster, then they have to fight to get on the active roster. Just making the team for a cup of coffee is the result of lots of work developing their skills, attracting the attention of management, getting in the position to be called up and continuing to produce in the minors until there's an injury or need on the major league roster. It's insanely tough to make the show and many times it just doesn't happen for a player no matter how good they look on draft day.
I'm only putting autograph-related links in this blogroll. However, if you have a blog or a collector site not specifically about autographs, but with an autograph page or an "autograph" label on your blog posts, I'll put that link here.