Friday, January 8, 2010
2007 Columbus Clippers Jason Simontacchi
Who is this? Jason Simontacchi, a former major league pitcher for the St. Louis Cardinals and Washington Nationals
What is this? An autographed card from the 2007 Columbus Clippers team set
Where'd I get it? Jason Simontacchi signed it before a game between the Long Island Ducks and Somerset Patriots in 2008.
How much did it cost? I got the card in a trade.
Why is this so special? Jason Simontacchi was never supposed to make it to the major leagues. He was a late round draft pick of the Kansas City Royals in 1996, but they cut him loose after two lackluster minor league seasons.
In 1998, Simontacchi found himself pitching for the Springfield Capitals in the independent Frontier League. There, he went 10-2 with a 2.98 ERA for the league champion team. That was good enough to get him back into affiliated ball.
He struggled again in 1999, this time in the Pirates' organization. In 2000, Simontacchi played for the Italian National Team in the Olympics. He signed with the Twins organization in 2001 and finally made it to AAA. The next year, he made his major league debut for the Cardinals at the age of 28, winning the Rookie of the Month award in June.
Simontacchi had two good seasons as a starter for St. Louis, but his career was derailed by shoulder injuries. He finished with a 26-17 major league record and a 5.07 lifetime ERA. Simontacchi's final season was 2008, when he pitched in seven games for the Long Island Ducks.
Considering the number of autographs he must have signed over his career, I'm surprised that Jason Simontacchi never came up with a quick version that omitted most of the letters in his name.