Thursday, September 25, 2008

2008 UDX Josh Newman

Who is this? Rockies pitcher Josh Newman.

What is this? An autograph card from 2008 UDX, card number JN.

Where'd I get it? Out of a retail pack.

How much did it cost? $1.99.

Why is this so special? I have no idea how I'm pulling all these autos out of retail packs. I didn't even want this pack, I just got it to review on the blog. But got it I did, so let's find out who this dude is. The team on the card is the Rockies, but Josh is actually in the Kansas City organization after getting picked up on waivers this summer. CBS Sportsline has tagged him with the "nothing more than organizational depth at this point in his career" line that they use so often for anyone who doesn't have any fantasy league impact. It's true that he hasn't pitched well at all in his brief 14 game career, but the guy's name is Joshua PAUL Newman. Dude just needs to drop the Josh and start sneaking salad dressing or spaghetti sauce out onto the field. I bet Paul Newman could win 20 games with his Sockarooni ball. Josh/Paul also went to THE Ohio State University, so that's another plus or minus depending on your point of view. The guy's only 26 years old, plus he's a lefty pitcher whose arm is still firmly attached to his body so I have a feeling he'll have a shot to pitch somewhere. Not a bad looking card, I like the big puffy J and the N that sort of morphs into a pictogram of Mt. Fuji in the signature. Hmm... now I'm wondering how many lefty relief pitchers I have autogrphs from. It certainly seems like I have a few of them. I think I should start using a lefty reliever tag.

Monday, September 22, 2008

2008 Bowman Jose Mijares

Who is this? Twins pitcher Jose Mijares.

What is this? An autograph card from 2008 Bowman, card number SOF-JM.

Where'd I get it? It was a redemption card from Topps.

How much did it cost? One buck for the redemption card.

Why is this so special? One of my two favorite card shops in Atlanta has a couple of auto-relic binders on the counter for all the low-end hit cards that aren't quite caseworthy. The first page or two of each binder (one is for baseball, the other everything else) has cards for a dollar, the rest of the cards range from three to fifteen. When I went last week there was a UD Ballpark with a quad jersey (very similar to a quad laser, actually) with Griffey, Schmidt, and a couple of other dudes that was tempting, but I passed in favor of a Tony Gwynn rookie. I think I made the right choice, but Michael Jack is one of my weaknesses. At any rate, whenever I go there I make a point of getting at least one or two dollar autos to use as posts here and for trade fodder. We all love opening a package and pulling an autograph, and for a buck it's a cheap way of sweetening the pot on some trades. I got five of 'em when I went last week, and I got this redemption card when I went the month before. Most of the cheapo autos are late '90s to early '00s minor league stuff like this, but someone apparently busted a box or two of Bowman recently and there was some '08 stuff in there including the redemption. Everyone hates redemption cards as much as they love autographs so I got one cheap. Delayed gratification paid off today as Tristar Fulfillment came through for me today.

When I first sent this card off, it looked like Jose was a minor league relief pitcher who was injured. While this card was being processed, Jose got called up to the bigs and debuted against the Orioles on September 13th. Jose is getting a good, hard look by manager Ron Gardenhire, and has been thrown in some high pressure set up situations so far. He's pitched really well too, and is making a case to be on the 2009 roster. The Twins don't need a closer right now as Joe Nathan is signed through 2011, but a dominant setup man is just as critical in today's game. Plus closers generally have pretty short lifespans in the bigs and it's always good to have one waiting in the wings, especially a young one that isn't going to require a huge contract. Jose has only pitched 6 games in the majors so it's a little early to anoint him as a future elite closer but it looks like he'll be interesting to watch anyway. He does have an elite signature though, look at that work of art. An elegant, unique, legible autograph from a twenty-three year old? That's big league stuff right there.

Friday, September 19, 2008

2008 Moments and Milestones Clay Buchholz

Who is this? Red Sox pitcher Clay Buchholz.

What is this? An autograph card from 2008 Moments and Milestones, card number RA-CB.

Where'd I get it? Out of a pack.

How much did it cost? A folding Lincoln.

Why is this so special? For some reason I think this card was featured on the sell sheet for this product. This would have been a much sweeter pull a few months ago, but as rookie autos go it's better than a kick in the teeth. Clay pitched a no hitter last year on September 1st and was in Double-A this September 1st after going 2-9 with a 6.75 ERA. He didn't get a September call up either, but he pitched 130 innings this year in the majors and minors. That's plenty for a 23 year old pitcher. He's one more goofy thing away from becoming a Springer guest. Right now it can be chalked up to youthful exuberance, but he's pretty close to that third strike. I like the way the sticker auto is embedded in the card like a little frame, I hate Clay's signature. Uninteresting hieroglyphics. Actually the bast thing about the card is the scoreboard background. That looks pretty slick.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

2007 Topps Chrome Kory Casto

Who is this? Nationals outfielder Kory Casto.

What is this? An autograph card from 2007 Topps Chrome, card number 355.

Where'd I get it? Out of a pack in the cheapo bin at Target.

How much did it cost? $1.59 for the pack.

Why is this so special? Any autograph pulled from a Chrome retail pack that has survived the ravages of the pack searchers is pretty special. Kory is the rare Chrome auto prospect that is actually still in the league a year after the card comes out. Kory might need a change of scenery in the offseason as the OF/3B/1B is blocked just at every osition on the Nat's roster. He's not displacing Ryan Zimmerman at third (although an injury to Invader Zim got him a bunch of at bats this year), the Washington outfield is stacked and There's Nick Johnson and Dmitri Young over at first. They can't both be injured at the same time all the time. Making things worse is that Kory has been hovering around the Mendoza line in his infrequent at-bats. Kory's about to hit his prime years and has raked in the minors, but it's real easy to turn from can't miss prospect to Quadruple-A player in this league. The signature itself appears sort of chicken scratchy at first glance but upon further inspection is simply very concise in expressing the maximum amount of information in a minimal amount of pen strokes. Thankfully, it is on a sticker, because otherwise I would never ever be able to scan the thing.

One last thing about the back of the card... Did Topps leave out a line of text? On the very first sentance of his bio paragraph it says "Just three days after the bad news"... what bad news? Topps never tells us what bad news he got. Did his dog get run over by a steamroller? His girlfriend run off with a biker gang? Did he lose his lucky rabbit's foot? I think I can infer that he didn't make the team out of spring training, but got called up right away. I can't let a error like that slide though. All you armchair editors and English teachers out there can feel free to grade my posts for grammatical errors as well. Turnabout is fair play and besides eye alwais maek sur two proffraed mi postst at leest to thyme's.

Monday, September 15, 2008

1988 Topps Dick Williams

Who is this? Mariners manager Dick Williams.

What is this? An autographed 1988 Topps card, card number 104.

Where'd I get it? Andy at 88 Topps Blog.

How much did it cost? Won it in a contest.

Why is this so special? Dick is in the Hall of Fame as a manager, but he also had a pretty decent 13 year career in the majors. He's in the Hall of Fame for his managerial career though as he won two titles with the A's and took the Red Sox and the Padres to the World Series as well. I won this from Andy in a contest on 88 Topps Blog, and this card is by far the favorite of the ones I got for two reasons.

This card with Dick sporting a somewhat goofy looking expression from 1953 Topps was one of the first ones I owned from the '53 set and may have been my first Brooklyn Dodger card ever.

Also the man has a helluva mustache.

Friday, September 12, 2008

1995 Signature Rookies Hector Trinidad

Who is this? Cubs pitching prospect Hector Trinidad.

What is this? An autograph card from 1995 Signature Rookies, card number 35.

Where'd I get it? Who knows?

How much did it cost? Not much.

Why is this so special? Man, I don't know nothing about Hector Trinidad. He never made it past Double-A. I kind of forgot I had this post scheduled for today. Since this post sucks, I'll do another one tonight that's actually good.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

1999 Just Minors Sean Burroughs

Who is this? Padres prospect Sean Burroughs.

What is this? An autograph card from 1999 Just Minors, serial numbered #77/200.

Where'd I get it? Atlanta Sports Cards.

How much did it cost? A buck.

Why is this so special? I was surprised to see that Sean was out of the league while looking up his stats. A few years ago he was a solid third base prospect for San Diego, but got injured and fell out of favor due to his lack of power. I thought he would at least be playing somewhere, but I don't see any stats for him for 2008. He's the son of unlikely MVP candidate Jeff Burroughs and Sean was born in Atlanta while Jeff was a member of the Braves. The card is ok looking, typical Just Minors. The signature is clear, on card and on a nice white background. Just got that part right at least. This must be some sort of parallel as it is die cut with round corners and hand numbered 77 out of 200. He's out of the majors but he's still got memories of the Little League World Series and his interview with Letterman.

Monday, September 8, 2008

2003 Topps Luis Aparicio

Who is this? Hall of Fame shortstop Luis Aparicio.

What is this? An autograph card from 2003 Topps, card number ???.

Where'd I get it? Out of a pack.

How much did it cost? Two bucks.

Why is this so special? Little Louie. Hall of Famer. 1956 Rookie of the Year. World Series Champ in 1966. Has a truckload of Gold Gloves. A mess of All Star appearances too. You can take your pick of of a number of certified autographs of Luis for under twenty bucks. Why would anyone collect prospect autos?

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

2007 UD Masterpieces Cliff Lee

Who is this? Indians pitcher Cliff Lee.

What is this? An autograph card from 2007 Masterpieces

Where'd I get it? Out of a pack of 2007 Masterpieces.

How much did it cost? Three bucks.

Why is this so special? Dadgum, UD Masterpieces shore has some purdy cards. This card came out of a retail pack I picked up at Target. They had no blasters so I grabbed a few looking to fill in my set. I didn't expect to get this. At the time it was a pretty blah autograph as Cliff was suffering through a terrible year. I remembered the Cliff from 2005 though and was pretty happy with it. The card looks great too, with an on card autograph on that perfect textured paper that sucks up the ink so well. t's an interesting signature too, while it borders upon squiggle it also conveys "C. Lee" quite well. I'm wishing now that I hadn't abandoned my fantasy baseball leagues now as Cliff was my very last pick in a live draft. I needed a pitcher, and took a shot on Cliff. It paid off, or would have if I had checked my lineup at anytime after May. Ah well, at least I'm good at drafting.

Monday, September 1, 2008

2003 Topps Legends Carl Erskine

Who is this? Brooklyn Dodgers pitcher Carl Erskine.

What is this? An autograph card from Topps Legends, card TT-CE.

Where'd I get it? Out of a pack.

How much did it cost? Whatever the pack cost.

Why is this so special? I'm not even sure what pack I pulled this card out of to be honest. My best guess is Fan Favorites or Heritage. Topps Legends cards were seeded through several products that year and I managed to pull a couple of them. This is a nice autograph from Oisk, an inportant piece to the Brooklyn Dodger staffs of the 50's. Erskine had a great curve that he used to strike out batters. He set a record of 14 strikeouts against the Yankees in the 3rd game of the 1953 World Series that stood for ten years before being broken by fellow Dodger Sandy Koufax. Oisk also pitched two no hitters for the Bums against the Cubs and hated rival Giants. Carl spent his entire 12 year career with the Dodgers and was a starter for the World Series Champs in 1955. He is also a class act, who coached the college baseball team in his home town after retiring and has been very active in charities for people with Down syndrome. This is a really fantastic looking signature, I especially love the bold E at the front of Erskine. I don't understand why collectors don't like these cards of vintage stars more, you can pick up this card dirt cheap nowadays. This guy won the World Series with the Brooklyn Dodgers! Does no one have a sense of history anymore??