Who is this? Frank Rodriguez, a former pitcher for the Boston Red Sox, Minnesota Twins, Seattle Mariners and Cincinnati Reds
What is this? An autographed card from the 1995 Fleer All-Rookies set
Where'd I get it? I got the card signed before a Newark Bears game in 2008
How much did it cost? Less than a quarter
Why is this so special? Frank Rodriguez had a great collegiate career, earning the Dick Howser Trophy and leading the Howard Junior College (Big Spring, Texas) to the National Junior College World Series Championship in 1991 .
The Boston Red Sox drafted Rodriguez as a shortstop in 1990, but he didn't sign until the next year. They turned him back into a pitcher in 1992, and he made his major league debut in 1995. The Red Sox traded Rodriguez to Minnesota for Rick Aguilera.
In Minnesota, Rodriguez spent most of his time in the starting rotation. He did not enjoy much success. His career big league record is 29-39, with a 5.33 lifetime ERA.
Rodriguez did not play professional baseball in North America between 2002 and 2007, but he attempted a comeback with the Newark Bears in 2008 at the age of 35. It didn't quite work out, and Rodriguez retired again.
Rodriguez has an interesting abbreviated autograph: F_k R_d_z
In 1995, Fleer produced a nine-card All-Rookies set that could be obtained by mailing in a redemption card found in packs. I bought the complete send-away set for a quarter at a local card show.
I actually saw five of the nine players included in the set in Atlantic League action between 2005 and 2008. Unfortunately, I didn't get the card set until 2008 so I was only able to get two signed.
M1 Edgardo Alfonzo (2006 Bridgeport Bluefish, 2007-08 Long Island Ducks)
M2 Jason Bates
M3 Brian Boehringer (2006-07 Bridgeport Bluefish)
M4 Darren Bragg (2005 Nashua Pride)
M5 Brad Clontz (2005 Somerset Patriots)
M6 Jim Dougherty
M7 Todd Hollandsworth
M8 Rudy Pemberton
M9 Frank Rodriguez (2008 Newark Bears)