Who is this? Brian Bannister, a pitcher for the Kansas City Royals
What is this? An autographed card from the 2006 Norfolk Tides team set
Where'd I get it? Zach of Autographed Cards was nice enough to get it signed for me at the Kansas City Royals Fan Fest earlier this month
How much did it cost? I think I spent around $12 for the team set
Why is this so special? The Norfolk Tides ended their long-time affiliation with the New York Mets after the 2006 season. I got to see them play a couple games against Scranton Wilkes-Barre during Easter weekend that year.
At the time, Brian Bannister was in the major leagues impressing Mets fans. He'd appear in six games for the Tides while working back from a hamstring injury. During the off-season, Omar Minaya made one of the worst trades of his Mets' tenure. He shipped Bannister to Kansas City for future criminal Ambiorix Burgos, who never contributed to the Mets.
While the Mets struggled to find a fifth starter in 2007, Bannister had a great rookie season for the Royals. He went 12-9 with a 3.87 ERA and was named the AL Rookie of the Month twice. He has not been able to duplicate that level of success since then, but maybe 2010 will be his year.
Bannister's signature remains very legible and has not changed much since his days with the Mets.