Monday, January 18, 2010
2007 Somerset Patriots Michel Hernandez
Who is this? Michel Hernandez, a catcher formerly of the New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays
What is this? An autographed card from the 2009 Someset 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 card set was around $5 or $6.
Why is this so special? When we first got a look at Michel Hernandez in 2007, we knew he wouldn't be around too long. Nobody could figure out what he was doing in independent baseball in the first place.
He was strong defensively -- good at blocking balls in the dirt and throwing out baserunners. He could hit for average and power -- at least against Atlantic League pitching. He seemed like a good guy, if maybe a bit shy.
Maybe five or six weeks into the season, Tampa Bay signed him and put him in triple-A Durham. Against better pitching, he didn't put up the same offensive numbers that he did in Somerset.
Tampa Bay cut him loose at the end of the season and he signed with the Pittsburgh organization for 2008. When Tampa Bay needed a backup catcher, they remembered Hernandez and re-acquired him. He even made it onto the World Series roster, though he didn't play in a game.
Usually, the guys I see in the Atlantic League are just trying to hang on. It's special when one of them is able to make it back to the big leagues.
Hernadez's autograph looks like a seismograph, doesn't it?