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.
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.