Tuesday, January 19, 2010

2007 Somerset Patriots Alan Zinter

Who is this? Alan Zinter, a former major league ballplayer for the Houston Astros and Arizona Diamondbacks

What is this? An autographed card from the 2007 Somerset Patriots team set

Where'd I get it? I got it signed before a Somerset Patriots game in 2007

How much did it cost? The team set was $5 or $6

Why is this so special? When the Mets made Alan Zinter their number one draft pick in 1989, I don't think anyone would have expected him to become a real-life Crash Davis.

He played professional baseball for 19 seasons, finally calling it a career at the end of 2007. He still hasn't left the game behind -- he's a coach in the Diamondbacks system.

Zinter did get a shot at the majors in 2002, at the age of 34. His first hit was a home run off Scott Williamson, but their weren't many more. He had just 78 at-bats in the big leagues.

Zinter was 39 when I saw him play for the Patriots, but you never would have known it by watching him on the field. He had this amazing pre-game conditioning routine that nobody else could keep up with; Zinter was in better shape than guys who were ten years younger than him.

I like the card he signed because it's one of the few times I've seen this shot in a minor league card set. Zinter is rounding third after hitting a home run against the Road Warriors, a team that the Atlantic League creates in years when they have an odd number of home teams. The league foots the bill for the players and coaching staff, and they play every game on the road.

Zinter has a distinct signature; I wonder how many he's signed during his 20+ years in baseball.


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