Monday, June 30, 2008

2005 Donruss Diamond Kings Chone Figgins

Who is this? Angels jack of all trades Chone Figgins.

What is this? An autograph card from 2005 Diamond Kings, card number 7. The card is serial numbered 155/200.

Where'd I get it? Flea market dude.

How much did it cost? Seven bucks if I recall correctly.

Why is this so special? It's an autograph, bat and jersey piece card, that's pretty special I guess. Figgins is a pretty good player, a 60 steal guy in an era where speedsters are rare, and can play just about anywhere on the field. I've been a fan of Chone for a while, he's from Georgia and I was following his career early on when I picked up a couple of his rookies cheap. These kind of cards stuffed with relics and a signature are commonplace now, but this is the first one that I picked up. There were rumors that he might have been traded to the Braves to replace Andruw floating around for a while this offseason, but nothing ever came of them. It's still a nifty looking card even if it has been rendered dirt common by legions of hundred dollar and up per pack products. I dig Chones' C-squiggle-F-squiggle-dot-dot signature too. You can see a smiling face on the right if youuse your imagination. The most special thing about this is that I have managed to post a card every day this month. Hooray for me!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

2002 Playoff Absolute Memorabilia Terrence Long

Who is this? A's outfielder Terrence Long.

What is this? An autograph card from 2002 Playoff Absolute Memorabilia, card number AI-53.

Where'd I get it? A blister package advertising one jumbo pack and a relic card for ten bucks.

How much did it cost? $10.

Why is this so special? Terrence was the first found pick of the Mets in the 1994 Draft, but he made his impact with the A's after New York traded him for Kenny Rogers in 1999. Terrence will always have a special place in my heart just for bringing the Gambler to New York in time for the playoffs. The next year Terrence had his best year in the bigs and came in second to Kaz Sasaki in the Rookie of the Year voting. After three more years of declining production and rising salary, the A's traded him to San Diego where he had one more decent year. Terrence finished out his career with a season with the Royals and a few games with the Yankees. I pulled this card when I lost my mind and bought one of those "Fat Pack + a Memorabilia card" things from Target. I not only beat the odds and pulled an autograph, but it's an amazing looking one at that. I never knew Terrence signed in Elvish. Terrence isn't one of the greatest players ever, but he indirectly made me a happy camper in 1999 and has a fantastic signature.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

1985 Fleer Alvin Davis

Who is this? Mariners first baseman Alvin Davis.

What is this? An autographed 1985 Fleer card, number 488.

Where'd I get it? Big auction lot.

How much did it cost? Less than a buck.

Why is this so special? Known as Mr. Mariner Alvin was the first - and pretty much only - star the Seattle Mariners had before Junior showed up. Alvin was the Rookie af the Year in 1984 and manned first for the M's for 8 years. His stats don't look spectacular nowadays, but 20 homers a season and a lifetime .280 average was pretty good for the dead-ball 80's. Alvin retired in 1992 after only 9 seasons in the league and a brief stay in Japan. He's still a fan favorite in Seattle though and he was the first member of the Mariners' Hall of Fame. Alvin knows his bible verses too as he has his signature inscribed with 1 Timothy 2:5: "For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus" Alvin's an 80's star and a nice guy it seems.

Friday, June 27, 2008

1997 Donruss Signature Series Michael Tucker

Who is this? Braves outfielder Michael Tucker.

What is this? An autograph card from 1997 Donruss Signature Series, Millennium Marks serial number 0300.

Where'd I get it? Who knows?

How much did it cost? Couldn't have been that much.

Why is this so special? Michael Tucker was hot as anything in 1993 or 1994. I remember seeing his rookie cards all over the place. He was the Next Big Star! Him and Mike Kelly. I ignored him because he was a Royal and bought up all the Mike Kelly cards before he became a Star. Mike flopped and Tucker was traded to the Braves in 1997. So of course I snagged as many of Michael's cards as I could get my hands on. He had a good year with the Braves in 1997, an ok one in '98 and then got shipped off to the Reds with Denny Neagle. The only problem with this is that we gave up Jermaine Dye to get Tucker, and received Bret Boone from the Reds in return. OUCH. And this wasn't the 37 homer Mariners Boone, this was the hitting .252 stinkerooni Boone. So yeah, that didn't work out too well. Tucker had a decent career although he never came close to the star status predicted. He still lasted 12 years in the bigs as a platoon outfielder and had one last hurrah with the Mets in the 2006 NLCS. Plus he's fondly remembered by Royals fans apparently. I'm not sure where I got this, I probably paid too much for it in any case. It's still a Braves auto with a nice sig with the uni number inscription. It's got numbers stamped on the back too, wheee!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

2008 Upper Deck Joel Peralta

Who is this? Royals pitcher Joel Peralta.

What is this? An autograph card from 2008 Upper Deck, card number SS-JP

Where'd I get it? Sports Card Alley.

How much did it cost? Two dollars.

Why is this so special? I got this card for 2 reasons: I thought it was a rookie auto, and it was from 2008 so if the guy was stuck in low A-ball or something there would be time for him to improve. Boy was I wrong. Joel is actually a 32 year old middle reliever for the Royals and he's kind of stunk up the joint this year. He was optioned to Triple-A Omaha after blowing a couple of saves but pitched well and got called back up on the 23rd. That doesn't change the fact that he's a middle reliever for the Royals. This is a nice freaking signature though, featuring a little swirly flourish encapsulating Joel's uniform number.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

2005 Donruss Yadier Molina

Who is this? Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina.

What is this? A 2004 Studio autograph card inserted into 2005 Donruss. I'll explain later. Card number is 241 and it is serial numbered 083/100.

Where'd I get it? Not entirely sure.

How much did it cost? If I got it from a pack, three bucks. If not, who knows.

Why is this so special? In 2005, Donruss inserted 50 2004 Studio 'update' cards into their base brand packs. The cards had 2004 Studio stamped on them as well as a 2004 copyright date. The only way to distinguish these update cards from the regular '04 Studio cards is by the card number. [edit- I goofed] Numbers 1-200 are from 2004 Studio, 201-250 are the '05 inserts. There was a parallel autograph version called "Private Signings" and this is one of those parallels. They are sneaky, even the authentic signature impression on the sticker reads 2004. I got fooled the first time I posted one of these cards, thinking it was from 2004.

Everyone in St. Louis and half the people in New York know why Yadier is special. His home run in game 7 of the 2006 NLCS sent the Mets packing and put the Cardinals in the World Series. He's only hit 27 other homers in his 5 years with the Cards so he definitely has a good sense of timing. His brothers Bengie and Jose are also catchers in the majors and like Yadier have earned World Series championship rings. Yadier got absolutely hammered in a collision at the plate with Eric Bruntlett in a game on June 15th, but he's already back in the lineup for the Cards. Catchers are tough sonofaguns. This would be a dream card for any Cardinal fans, with the playoff hero posing with the Gateway Arch in the background. Like our buddy Miguel Montero (and Abe for that matter) Yadier has a pretty cryptic signature. m0_y0. It looks good though, I wish I had a funky signature like that.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

2005 Sweet Spot Classic Phil Niekro

Who is this? Philip Henry Niekro, the finest knuckleballer to ever knuck a ball.

What is this? An autograph card from 2005 Sweet Spot Classic, card number PN.

Where'd I get it? Champion Sports Cards.

How much did it cost? $16.

Why is this so special? The scan sucks, but the card looks great. That's supposed to be copper foil on the front but after three scans I gave up on it looking like anything but mud. The ball is white, the stitches are red and there's a nice blue ballpoint signature right on the sweet spot of course. The ballpoint is key here as anyone who has ever watched their hero sign on a leather ball with a sharpie can attest. This is my third Knucksie auto on a ball, One is on an American League ball and the other was signed in blue sharpie in person so I don't mind the smudge. Phil was my favorite pitcher when I was a kid so Knucksie autos always welcome in my house.

I got this at the local card shop today. There wasn't anything I was really looking for, if I wasn't out running errands in the area already I probably wouldn't have gone. I found a Chipper card I didn't have, picked up the Trading Card History giveaway cards for the week an looked through the wax. Topps series 2 - meh. UD series 2 - I like retail better. SPX - $19 a pack, oh joy. They had Chrome packs for three bucks each or 6 for $17. The box of Chrome was was sitting on the autograph case so I absentmindedly looked in the case. They had a Brooks Robinson auto card for $18. Shameful, concidering the Chrome autographs of nobody prospects hiding in the box will book for at least that. I saw Phil and did a double take. Knucksie apparently got promoted from the Braves ghetto into the top shelf of 'good' autograph cards. the price tag said $20 and there was a 20% off sale. Sooo... I could get a pack of SPX or a handful of Chrome and chase an auto of God knows who, or get the signature of my childhood hero. Tough choice.

Monday, June 23, 2008

2007 Topps Co-Signers Miguel Montero

Who is this? Diamondbacks catcher Miguel Montero.

What is this? An autograph card from 2007 Topps Co-Signers, card number108. The card is serial numbered 017/275.

Where'd I get it? Sports Card Alley.

How much did it cost? Two bucks.

Why is this so special? Three for five dollar autograph cards were back at the flea market this weekend, problem is I had a tough time finding three I wanted. This one was the first one I picked out and it was a no-brainer. I love picking up box hits from premium products for a fraction of the cost of a pack. Miguel is actually in the bigs too, although he's platooning with Chris Snyder at catcher for the snakes. I'd root for Miguel, but he's blocking Robby Hammock out of the majors. Maybe I can pull for Miguel and root against Chris Snyder since I don't think I have one of his autograph cards. Boo Chris! I have no idea what this signature is supposed to say. It looks like hieroglyphics. Loop with a hat, loop with no hat and meathook must mean Miguel Montero in ancient Egyptian. Where's Jean-Francois Champollion when you need him?

Sunday, June 22, 2008

2006 '52 Topps Rookie Card Yurendell De Caster

Who is this? Pirates third baseman Yurendell De Caster.

What is this? An autograph card from 2006 '52 Topps Rookie Card, card number 52S-YD

Where'd I get it? That same eBay guy with all the penny cards.

How much did it cost? One one thousandth of a ten dollar bill.

Why is this so special? Ok, so I probably overpaid for this one. Yurendell's entire major league career to date consists of two at bats in three games for two strikeouts. The Curacao native has played for the Dutch national team (including the 2007 European Championship gold medal winners) so we might see him again in the 2009 WBC. We won't see him with Pittsburgh because he's with the Nationals organization now, stuck in Triple-A Columbus. His realative anonymity still didn't keep some goober from videoing him looking over the DVD rack in Wal-Mart. Yurendell has an elegant minimalist signature on this card. I don't mind someone signing their name as Y d Ct when their name is 17 letters long and he's given a space smaller than the cap on a Sharpie to sign.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

1999 Team Best Jason Standridge

Who is this? Devil Rays pitcher Jason Standridge.

What is this? An autograph card from 1999 Team Best.

Where'd I get it? El cheapo eBay Auction.

How much did it cost? One cent.

Why is this so special? Standridge was a first round pick of the Devil Rays in 1997 but only pitched 21 games for them before bouncing around to Texas, Cincinnati and Kansas City. He signed with Fukuoka of the Japanese Pacific League after being waived by the Royals. The Alabama native has dropped off the earth since then as I can't find any info for 2008. I used to be active in several simulation leagues that ran off of Front Page Sports '98, and Jason was in my bullpen for one of those teams. That's the reason I picked up his autograph, because of a computer game I played about 6 or 7 years ago. Hey, it cost a penny. Jason has a nice out of control signature with a bold J and a last name that looks like it's trying to eat itself. There's an inscription underneath that looks kind of like a bible verse, but I can't tell what it is. The Book of Squiggle 4:13. Actually, it might be Philemon. That kind of looks like Phil, right? No , there was no apostle Phil. It's a dude that Paul wrote a letter to. Actually now that I looked it up there is no Philemon 4:13 at all. So uh, yeah, I don't know what that is down there. Maybe Jason was going out with a Christian chick at the time and she was watching him sign these cards so he started putting random bible verses on there to make her happy. Maybe I should go to church tomorrow and ask the priest what the heck verse this is.

Friday, June 20, 2008

2004 Upper Deck Etchings Randy Winn

Who is this? Mariners outfielder Randy Winn.

What is this? An autograph card from 2004 Upper Deck Etchings, card number ET-RA. The card is serial numbered 36/100.

Where'd I get it? Who knows?

How much did it cost? Ummm...

Why is this so special? I have no idea where or why I got this card. It's kind of neat looking with lots of foil, maybe that's why. It sort of looks like a steampunk trading card with all the gears. I think the Etchings set was riffing on a currency theme in a not-so-subtle reference to the value of cards. The other neat thing about this card is that it has a sticker auto, but it's a paper sticker instead of a plastic one. There's an annoying "Uppper Deck Etchings" microprint all over it but other than that it looks good and scans great. It's also nice porous paper so the ink sticks to it nicely. I'm not sure I've seen this on any other auto card, too bad it's not used more often.

I don't have a whole lot to say about Randy. He's an average outfielder who is currently manning right field for the Giants. His main claim to fame is that he was the compensation The Davil Rays paid to Seattle for signing away Lou Piniella for their manager. Randy did a hell of a lot better in Seattle than Lou did in Tampa. It's a shame the matte sticker is marred by such a blah autograph. I don't know what that's suppsed to say but it ain't Randy Winn. More like DPW7 with a dot in search of an i. At least it's serial numbered... hooray.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

2000 Topps Traded Tony Pena Jr.

Who is this? Braves shortstop Tony Pena Jr.

What is this? An autograph card from 2000 Topps Traded, card number TTA39.

Where'd I get it? Same eBay seller as the Klesko.

How much did it cost? $1.29

Why is this so special? This card kind of illustrates the danger in interweb shopping sprees. Ok, it's a Brave, he did actually have a cup of coffee with the team in 2006, I like his pop as a player, but good lord, it's Tony Pena Jr. Mario Mendoza is worried about losing his relevance with Tony starting in KC. To wit: Chipper Jones would have to go 0 for 331 in order to drop to Tony's batting average. Great Googely Moogely. Still, you have to be a pretty damn good player to keep your job while hitting about .150. Or maybe he has photos of David Glass shopping at Target, who knows. It was cheap, I like this autograph set, it's an on-card autograph, and most importantly, it's a Brave. Plus Tony can't his any worse this season, can he?

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

1993 Team Stadium Club Ryan Klesko

Who is this? Braves first baseman Ryan Klesko.

What is this? An autographed 1993 Team Stadium Club card, card number 26.

Where'd I get it? EBay auction.

How much did it cost? One penny.

Why is this so special? As I stated over here, I've gone on some real eBay binges lately. One such binge recently netted me four cards for this blog. Here's how it happens: I'm looking for something completely unrelated, often not to buy but for a blog post. I find a cool auction and click on the seller's other auctions. I find something I ABSOLUTELY MUST HAVE. Then I look through the rest of the listings to see if I can combine shipping and save some money by spending even more money. I discover in the fine print that if I buy 10 or more auctions, I seve even MORE on shipping. Now, I'm buying the store because I am an idiot. I ended up with a ton of cool stuff though and it was all under 15 bucks. Gotta love penny auctions. That's where I got this card. Here's the disclaimer from the listing:


So yeah, it's an autograph card with no COA and dubious provenance of a player that could be described as a 'minor star' if you're feeling generous that day. Who freaking cares? It cost me a penny. The signature doesn't look a whole lot like my other autograph card of him, but it does look like the signature on another '93 Stadium Club card. I remember clearly that these exact cards were signed, placed in a blister pack and sold in Wal-Mart and book stores in the early nineties with a COA, so this could be one of those cards. Or it could be a total fake. Again, it cost me a penny. Ok, plus 50 cents for the shipping. Where else could you get such a thrilling mystery for 51 cents? Maybe a used book store in the bargain section. I'll save my money for the cards and read up on the mysteries online.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

2004 Upper Deck Yankee Classics Phil Linz

Who is this? Yankees shortstop Phil Linz.

What is this? An autograph card from 2004 Upper Deck Yankees Classics , card number AU-24.

Where'd I get it? Flea market.

How much did it cost? The price sticker says $15, and I bought it either half off or 65% off. Half off is $7.50, 65% off is $5, let's split the difference and say $6.25.

Why is this so special? Two words: Harmonica. Incident. As immortalized in Jim Bouton's Ball Four, after a tough loss to Chicago in 1964, Phil was on the back of the Yankee team bus practicing on his harmonica. Manager Yogi Berra didn't think playing "Mary Had a Little Lamb" was appropriate after losing a game so he told him to knock it off. Phil was wrapped up in his playing and asked Mickey Mantle what Yogi said. Mickey's response? "Play louder". One harmonica slapped out of Phil's hands later and the press had a field day giving incompetent Yankee management their excuse to fire Yogi at the end of the season. The Yanks lost the World Series in game 7 to the Cardinals, Yogi was fired unfairly and the Yankees entered one of the most dismal stretches of their existence. Poor infamous Phil finished out his career with Philly and the Mets. Phil and Yogi were good sports about it though. Phil credits the incident with keeping his name in public's mind after all these years. "All my jobs have been because of that; people remember me because of that one incident". Phil currently works for a Title Insurance Company in New York City who are kind enough so sponsor Phil's Baseball-Reference page. This is a nice looking signature from Phil, and is a great addition to the collection of any Yankee fan, anyone who loves Ball Four, or any harmonica aficionados out there.

Monday, June 16, 2008

2006 Bowman Originals Jason Marquis

Who is this? Braves pitcher Jason Marquis.

What is this? An autograph buyback card from 2006 Bowman Originals, 2000 Bowman Chrome card number 12. The cards is numbered 14/16.

Where'd I get it? Flea market dude.

How much did it cost? Ten bucks.

Why is this so special? This is a situation where I went looking to buy an autograph card no matter what and ended up paying more than I planned for a player I don't like. It's a Brave, it's short printed and it's purdy so no big deal. Bowman Originals was a high-end product where Topps bought back a bunch of old Bowman cards, got them signed, serial numbered them, slabbed them and stuck 'em two per pack with a few base cards to fatten up the box. They weren't quite as expensive as these packs, but they weren't cheap either. There was only one card numbered to 25 or less per every 8 boxes so believe it or not Jason here was the case hit. I still got it for ten bucks and I still think I paid too much.

Jason is a solid pitcher but he's rubbed me the wrong way from his time with the Braves. He always seemed to underachieve with the team and it didn't help that he got into Bobby and Leo's doghouse frequently. Then he gets traded to the Cardinals in the JD Drew deal and immediately wins 15 games. Meh. Now he's pitching for the Cubs. Double meh. But, like I said before, it's pretty, low numbered and a Brave. Interesting choice by Jason on the signature location. He squished it up next to the facsimile signature and it looks a bit like an unkempt squiggle.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Ricky Bottalico

Who is this? Phillies pitcher Ricky Bottalico.

What is this? An autographed 1995 Pinnacle card, number 143.

Where'd I get it? A card shop outside Nashville, Tennessee in about '97 or so.

How much did it cost? Two bucks

Why is this so special? There was a really good card shop up in Nashville back when I lived up there. I have no clue if it's still around and I don't feel like driving the four hours to find out. It was a great store though. It was a huge brightly lit store with lots of singles, tons of wax, and some memorabilia. They had a couple of boxes of autographed cards on sale for two bucks each. They got them from a guy who was a big baseball and hockey fan. He'd go to spring training and a bunch of hockey games and get autographs, and sold a bunch to the store. Most of the stuff they had for baseball was picked over, but I have a few sheets of hockey autos I got from them. One of the few baseball autos I bought there was this Ricky Bottalico card. It's a little smudgy, but the signature is strong and readable. Markers didn't play well with those newfangled glossy cards back in those days. Ricky was the Phillies' closer when I got it, and was an All-Star the year before. That was pretty much the height of his career. He had arm surgery in '98, was traded to the Cardinals in '99 and bounced around the league as a reliever until retiring in 2005 after a season in the Brewers' bullpen. He was a broadcaster for the Phillies in 2007 and is currently the analyst for the Lehigh Valley IronPigs minor league team. Who knows, with a lot of hard work maybe one day he'll be as good a broadcaster as Harry Kalas. He'll never be able to say his name like Harry though... Bowtahllleecooo. Man, if I didn't have Pete and Skip to listen to, I'd be really jealous of Phillie fans who got to hear Harry all those years.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Harry Spilman

Who is this? Astros first baseman Harry Spilman.

What is this? An autographed 1984 Donruss card, number 258.

Where'd I get it? Out of a huge lot from Yahoo! auctions.

How much did it cost? Less than a buck.

Why is this so special? I don't have a heck of a lot to say about 'ol Harry. He was a bench player at best during his 12 year career. I don't remember this guy at all from his playing days and can't really think of anything to say about him. He's from Albany Georgia, and he currently is the hitting coach for the Nashville Sounds. He probably has a card in the Sounds' 2007 team set if you're a fan. Only five bucks and you get a Ryan Braun too, not a bad deal! I went to a bunch of Sounds games when I lived up in Nashville and it looks like they did a cool revamp of their logo. Hopefully they kept the big guitar scoreboard. Harry is also the best pinch hitter in R.B.I. Baseball for all you 8-bit aficionados. The signature is damn hard to read in the scan but the way Harry is signed so it looks kind of like an upside down 41 is pretty nifty looking. It's not certified, and I don't even remember who the guy is, it's probably worth less than your average '84 Donruss common, but what the heck it's an autograph. Do YOU have an autograph of Harry Spilman?

Friday, June 13, 2008

2006 Fleer Greats Mike Hargrove

Who is this? Indians first baseman Mike Hargrove.

What is this? An autograph card from 2006 Fleer Greats, card number NG-MH.

Where'd I get it? Atlanta Sports cards.

How much did it cost? $5.

Why is this so special? I always knew Mike Hargrove as Grover, the Indians' great manager, not The Human Rain Delay. Apparently Grover was the 70's version of Nomar Garciaparra with his OCD routine at the plate. I liked the Indians team back in the mid 90's and I thought Hargrove was a pretty good manager. I liked the fact that the Braves beat them in '95 better, but I was rooting for them in '97. He also managed for the Orioles and Mariners before resigning out of nowhere in 2007 in the middle of a winning streak. He's currently managing an independent league team in Kansas, the Liberal BeeJays. No, I'm not kidding. They're really called the Liberal BeeJays. Bee Jay as in American League founder Ban Johnson you dirty-minded folk.

This card is the autographed version of the Nickname Greats insert set from Greats of the Game. Mike even signed it with the nickname inscription. It's a pretty sweet idea but I'm not too thrilled about the clear plastic sticker stuck on the card. It simultaneously mars the photo and makes the signature hard to read. That aside, it's a pretty neat autograph from a guy who made a big impact in the league, especially in Cleveland.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

2003 Team Topps Legends Bert Campaneris

Who is this? A's shortstop Bert Campaneris.

What is this? An autograph card from Topps, card number TT-BC.

Where'd I get it? A pack of something or other. Probably Heritage or Archives.

How much did it cost? Four bucks or so for the pack.

Why is this so special? Campy was the long time shortstop for the Oakland A's through their Championship years. Bert was not known for his power but he hit two homers in his debut for the A's, one off of pitcher Jim Kaat off the very first pitch he saw. Other than a fluke year in 1970 when he hit 22 homers out of nowhere, Campaneris never hit more than 8 homers in any season and ended his career with 79. Bert was a speed merchant who wreaked havoc on the basepaths as he bunted his way on base and stole bases right and left once he got there. He led the league in steals six times and retired with 649 total steals, good for 14th all time. Campy was a very popular player for the A's and as a publicity stunt, he played all nine positions in a game in 1965. The other stunt Bert is known for is chucking a bat at Lerrin LaGrow's head in a playoff game against the Tigers in 1972 after getting plunked by the pitcher. Tiger manager Billy Martin charged the field and was a major combatant in the brawl that ensued. Billy later managed Campy in 1983 as he brought back the speedster for one last season in New York.

I know I pulled this card from a pack, but which pack it was from is stumping me. I think Team Topps Legend was a cross-brand insert set anyway. I'm going to say it was from Archives or Fan Favorites or whatever they called it that year. I had some good luck with pulling autos from that set in '03. Bert is another one of those greats from the 60's and 70's that aren't remembered as much as they should be simply because they didn't make the Hall of Fame. It's still a nice autograph from an A's legend. I'm getting spoiled by all these great looking on-card autographs. The streak ends tomorrow, sadly.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

2000 Fleer Autographics Joe Crede

Who is this? White Sox third baseman Joe Crede.

What is this? An autograph card from 2000 Fleer something or other. I can't find it in my price guide.

Where'd I get it? Could be from anywhere, really.

How much did it cost? I have no earthly idea. I might have shoplifted the thing for all I know.

Why is this so special? This is one of those 'mystery' cards where I have no idea where it came from. I've had it forever though. Might have been out of a pack, might have been from a shop, might have been an auction. It's a pretty kick ass card though wherever it came from. Autograph cards from the late 90's and early '00s just seem to have been designed better than a lot of them today. This card is a perfect example. There's a good action shot of Joe, a little color in the background to keep it from getting boring, and a nice large clear space for a signature where the name and logo don't get in the way. Joe's signature, by the way is fantastic. A nice big J and C with flair, and even better every letter is completely legible. You can paste that sig to the bottom of the Declaration of Independence it looks so nice. Joe is having a pretty fantastic year himself, having hit 14 homers already. It looks like prospect Josh Fields pushing for Crede's job has gotten Joe back on track after an injury riddled '07 season.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

2005 Topps Finest Jake Stevens

Who is this? Braves pitcher Jake Stevens.

What is this? An autograph card from 2005 Topps Finest, card number FA-JST.

Where'd I get it? EBay auction.

How much did it cost? Would you believe a quarter?

Why is this so special? Yeah, I know. An autograph for a quarter? A refractor autograph for a quarter? I shiny, pretty, red and blue with little diamonds all over it refractor autograph for a quarter? And it's a Brave! What's up with this? Jake Stevens was a third round pick of the Braves back in 2003. He had a fantastic year for A-Ball Rome in 2004, winning 9 games and striking out over a batter an inning. In 2005 he hit all the top prospect lists (and check out the names on that linked list, holy frijoles!) and had 'rookie' cards all over the place in '05 card issues. He technically was in Upper Deck's prospect premieres set in '03, but those don't count this week. As his card issues went up, so did his ERA. He also had disciplinary issues, and got suspended and demoted. He still managed to pitch one game in Triple-A Richmond last year, getting a win in long relief. After that though all news dried up on 'ol Jake, which is strange for a 23 year old former top prospect. After some digging I found this link that stated he retired after getting suspended (or maybe cut) from the team last year. I got some confirmation on a autograph hunter blog, and if anyone would know they would. I guess that's why it was a quarter. It's still a Brave, and it's still shiny and it's still signed so who cares.

Monday, June 9, 2008

2002 Fleer Greats Maury Wills

Who is this? Dodger shortstop Maury Wills.

What is this? An autograph card from 2002 Fleer Greats.

Where'd I get it? Atlanta Sports Cards in Alpharetta.

How much did it cost? Five bucks.

Why is this so special? I'm not sure if I'm ecstatic for getting a certified autograph of an all-time great for five bucks or mad that I found it so cheap. This card cost something like 1/1000th of a scrub prospect's superfractor. Can someone explain this to me? It's not the first time Maury was disrespected, on the advice of their scouts Topps declined to sign Maury to a contract in the minors. Later on they scrambled to get him on a card once he hit the bigs and became a star. Upstart Fleer beat them to the punch in 1963, and Topps ended up faking a 1962 rookie card in their MVP subset in 1975. Maury's '62 season was amazing as he won the MVP award and broke Ty Cobb's single season stolen base record. Like Maris a year earlier, Maury got the dreaded Asterisk because he played in a 162 game season that year. Asterisk or no, he revolutionized the use of the stolen base as a weapon in the 60's and led the Dodgers to 3 World Series titles. Plus he named his son Bump. How cool is that. I bought a ton of these packs when they first came out but never landed an autograph. I would have been thrilled to pull this gold sparkly card with Maury's John Hancock. You suckers buy the superfractors, I'll buy up the stars.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

2007 TriStar Prospects Plus Nick Noonan

Who is this? Giants draft pick Nick Noonan.

What is this? An autograph card from 2007 Tri-Star Prospects Plus, card number FH-NN.

Where'd I get it? Out of a Tri-Star blaster.

How much did it cost? $3.

Why is this so special? You faithless turncoats thought I wouldn't make it, but I did! Ha! This sucker was posted before midnight so it counts so nyahhh. Nick was the Giants' first round pick last year. He's currently on the A-Ball Augusta GreenJackets playing short and hitting very well. He's also a teammate of everyone's favorite, Madison Bumgarner. A friend of mine went to a few GreenJackets games a few years ago and gave me a wonderfully gaudy tie-dye t-shirt with a hippie insect tripping out on it. I love the shirt but I'm unfortunately too old to wear it without being self-conscious and not old enough to wear it and not give a shit that I look ridiculous. I like the look of these cards, but the signature is a bit scribbly. Nick needs to work on that once he's done in the batting cage. I'm rooting for Nick to make the bigs and be a star for the Giants. I'm a huge fan of Caddyshack and my dream is to go to a major league stadium and heckle some poor player named Noonan. Noooooonan! Nnnnnnoooonan!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Bowman Russ Jacobson

Who is this? Phillies catcher Russ Jacobson.

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.

Friday, June 6, 2008

1992 Donruss Sam Militello

Who is this? Yankees pitcher Sam Militello.

What is this? An autographed card from 1992 Donruss "The Rookies", Card number BC-16.

Where'd I get it? Out of a large autograph lot won off of Yahoo! Auctions.

How much did it cost? Less than a buck.

Why is this so special? I don't have a whole lot of memories of Sam other than he completely tore up the minors, got called up to the Yankees, ended up on a bunch of rookie cards and then injuries ate him up. It's a shame, a guy with a name like Sam Militello should have had a long career with the Yankees. This is a really nice looking card of Sam but the gold foil is rendered invisible by the scanner. The signature is nice and clean though, a distinctive Smilitello with big swooping Ls. I wonder what those buildings are in the background. Sorry folks, the Yankees were completely off my radar in the early 90's and I just can't think of anything to write about today. There's probably a ton of Yankee fans with long tales of disappointment and woe out there, but I ain't one of 'em. I promise to have a more interesting post tomorrow.