Friday, April 30, 2010
Who is this? 1980s St. Louis Cardinals second baseman Tom Herr
What is this? An autographed card from the 1982 Fleer set
Where'd I get it? I got it signed before Wednesday's doubleheader between the Lancaster Barnstormers and Newark Bears
How much did it cost? I'm not sure where I picked up this card
Why is this so special? You've got to love those old 1982 Fleer cards. Tommy Herr was lucky because the photo on his card is actually in focus, even though it's not a great shot.
Herr was a Cardinal for 10 seasons. He went to three World Series with them, earning a ring in 1982. He represented the National League in the 1985 All-Star Game, and he was the last National League player to drive in 100 runs while finishing the season with fewer than 10 home runs.
After he retired from baseball, Herr became the first manager of the Lancaster Barnstormers. He led them to their only Atlantic League championship in 2006. Herr then left the team to manage the Hagerstown Suns in 2007. Last season, he returned to the Barnstormers as the team's bench coach. This season, Herr is filling out the Lancaster lineup card again.
Tom Herr comes from the era when players still had legible autographs.
Thursday, April 29, 2010
Who is this? Former St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Danny Cox
What is this? An autograph card from the 1989 Donruss set
Where'd I get it? I got it signed before yesterday's doubleheader between the Lancaster Barnstormers and the Newark Bears.
How much did it cost? No idea where I picked up the card
Why is this so special? Danny Cox spent 11 years in the majors, retiring with a 74-75 lifetime record. He pitched in three World Series - 1985 and 1987 for the Cardinals and 1993 for the Blue Jays
After he retired, Cox managed the Gateway Grizzlies in the Frontier League for three seasons. He is currently the pitching coach for the Lancaster Barnstormers in the Atlantic League. And he still has that great mustache. :)
Cox doesn't have the prettiest signature, but it's fairly legible.
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Who is this? Washington Nationals pitcher Craig Stammen
What is this? An autograph card from the 2010 Topps Heritage set
Where'd I get it? I wrote to Stammen a couple of weeks ago and asked him to sign it. I got it back on Monday.
How much did it cost? About $1 for the card plus postage
Why is this so special? Craig Stammen is a talented young starting pitcher for the Washington Nationals. He didn't have a great rookie season in 2009, but he showed flashes of potential.
After getting knocked out in the second inning against the Philadelphia Phillies on April 14, Stammen rebounded with a pair of strong starts against the Colorado Rockies and Los Angeles Dodgers. He'll face Ricky Nolasco and the Florida Marlins on Friday.
The way Stammen signed his first name, it almost looks like he wants to go by "CJ." His last name is pretty legible, though.
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Who is this? Former Cardinals outfielder Brian Barton
What is this? An autograph card from the 2009 Topps set
Where'd I get it? This is the second card that Barton signed for me before an exhibition game between the Bridgeport Bluefish and Newark Bears on April 18th.
How much did it cost? The card came out of a blaster purchased at Target last year.
Why is this so special? I already wrote about Barton when I posted the other card I got signed, so I won't repeat that here.
Observant card collectors might notice that the card Barton signed is not from the regular Topps set. It's one of the variant editions produced for Target last year, printed on traditional cardboard cardstock and utilizing the classic Topps logo.
I originally thought this was s fun parallel set to try to collect. For Series I, Topps shipped full blasters of the variant cards. They had their own UPC code so you could easily find them if you were looking. My memory is a bit fuzzy a year later, but I think I spent between $80-$100 on them.
Series II came out with the same parallels, but there was a change in the program. Instead of getting a full blaster of the exclusive special cards, you only got two packs. At $1 per card, it was no longer a fun collecting project -- it was a huge money sink. I didn't buy any. The parallels continued into Series III, officially known as Topps Update & Highlights. I shudder to think how much someone would have to spend to put that whole set together.
Barton's signature still isn't very pretty, but I think it looks better on a card where it's not on top of a pre-printed facsimile autograph.
Monday, April 26, 2010
Who is this? Atlanta Braves reliever Jesse Chavez
What is this? An autographed card from the 2009 Topps set
Where'd I get it? I wrote to Chavez around Opening Day and asked him to sign it. I got it back last week.
How much did it cost? Around $1 for the card and postage
Why is this so special? Chavez had a decent rookie season for the Pittsburgh Pirates last year, though he did surrender an alarming 11 home runs in 67.1 innings. During the winter, he was traded twice. Pittsburgh sent him to Tampa Bay in the Akinori Iwamura trade, and the Rays dealt Chavez to Atlanta in the Rafael Soriano deal.
Chavez's signature is very scribbly, but I can make out the "J" and I think I see a "C."
Sunday, April 25, 2010
Who is this? Mike Costanzo, third baseman for the Camden Riversharks
What is this? An autographed card from the 2005 Topps Update & Highlights set
Where'd I get it? I got it signed before the opening night game between the Camden Riversharks and Newark Bears last week.
How much did it cost? I probably got the card out of a pack.
Why is this so special? Costanzo was the 65th player selected in the 2005 amateur draft and was once regarded as a top prospect by both the Phillies and the Astros. He has been part of trades for Brad Lidge and Miguel Tejada, and he represented Italy in the 2009 World Baseball Classic.
Unfortunately, his plate discipline has left a lot to be desired. For his career, he's averaged over a strikeout per game. That's probably why he's playing for the Riversharks this year.
Costanzo was fairly friendly when I asked him to sign the card, so I wished him luck. His second at bat of the game, he hit a grand slam. Oops. :)
He has a pretty nice signature for a modern player.
Saturday, April 24, 2010
Who is this? Former Texas Rangers outfielder/first baseman Jason Botts
What is this? An autographed card from the 2006 Topps set
Where'd I get it? I got it signed before Thursday night's game between the Newark Bears and the Camden Riversharks
How much did it cost? I'm pretty sure the card came out of a pack.
Why is this so special? Although Jason Botts wasn't selected until the 46th round of the 1999 amateur draft, he developed into one of the Texas Rangers' top prospects.
Botts made his major league debut on Sept. 14, 2005. He went 0-for-3 with a walk as the DH in a Texas victory over Baltimore. Botts appeared in 9 more games that September, and had short stints in the big leagues in each of the next three years.
While he never really lived up to expectations, Botts appeared in 93 major league games and has a lifetime .230 batting average, a .669 OPS, 5 home runs and 28 RBI.
In 2008 and 2009, Botts played in Japan. This year, he went to spring training with the Chicago White Sox but was cut. He is currently the starting first baseman for the Camden Riversharks in the Atlantic League.
Botts has an interesting signature, but please don't ask me to read it.
Friday, April 23, 2010
Who is this? Jason Botts, currently the first baseman for the Camden Riversharks
What is this? An autographed card from the 2009 BBM Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters set
Where'd I get it? I bought the card on eBay and got it signed last night at the game between the Camden Riversharks and Newark Bears.
How much did it cost? $2.75
Why is this so special? Jason Botts spent some time with the Texas Rangers (and I'll talk about that when I get to posting the other card he signed for me last night.)
But I never really took notice of him until I started seeing the YouTube videos of the cheer songs that the Fighters fans came up with for him.
When he signed with the Camden Riversharks, I decided to try to track down a Fighters card to get signed.
Botts was nice enough to sign the two cards for me before going out to warm up last night, but he wasn't especially talkative. In his first at-bat with Camden, he hit a home run.
His signature bubbled a little bit on this card, but it's not especially noticeable if you're not looking for it.
Thursday, April 22, 2010
Who is this? Minnesota Twins reliever Matt Guerrier
What is this? An autograph card from last year's Topps set
Where'd I get it? I wrote to Guerrier around Opening Day and asked him to sign it; I got it back earlier this week.
How much did it cost? Around a dollar for the card plus postage
Why is this so special? Guerrier is an important member of the bullpen for my emergency fallback team, the Minnesota Twins. Each of the last two seasons, he's led the American League in appearances.
Guerrier has a pretty nice autograph, but I've never seen a "G" like that before.
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Who is this? Former Baltimore Orioles closer Jorge Julio
What is this? An autographed card from the 2004 Topps Total set
Where'd I get it? I got it signed before Sunday's exhibition game between the Newark Bears and Bridgeport Bluefish
How much did it cost? The card came out of a Topps Total pack purchased in 2004.
Why is this so special? For three years, Jorge Julio was the closer for the Baltimore Orioles. In 2003, he saved a career high 36 games and he has a total of 99 saves to his credit over a nine year major league career.
Julio has pitched for 8 different major league teams, most recently the Milwaukee Brewers in 2009. This season, he'll start the year pitching out of the bullpen for the Bridgeport Bluefish in the independent Atlantic League of Professional Baseball.
I've never managed to figure out Julio's signature, but he does take time to sign it carefully.
Sunday, April 18, 2010
Who is this? Former St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Brian Barton
What is this? An autographed card from the 2008 Bowman Chrome set
Where'd I get it? Barton signed it for me before today's exhibition game between the Bridgeport Bluefish and Newark Bears
How much did it cost? I'm not sure where I got the card
Why is this so special? Brian Barton came up through the Cleveland Indians system, but he didn't make it to the big leagues with them. He was selected in the Rule V draft by the St. Louis Cardinals following the 2007 season.
Barton spent 2008 in the majors, hitting .268 with two home runs and 13 RBI in limited duty. He was traded to Atlanta in 2009, but spent most of the year in the minors. This year, he was in spring training with the Dodgers, but he got released at the end of March. He's currently a member of the Bridgeport Bluefish in the independent Atlantic League of Professional Baseball.
Barton's signature isn't all that pretty, but I can't complain about penmanship when a player stops to sign before a game. Besides, it doesn't look much sloppier than the facsimile signature printed on the card.
Thursday, April 15, 2010
Who is this? Michael Dunn, a pitcher for the Atlanta Braves
What is this? An autographed card from the 2010 Topps set... I think it's the first regular 2010 card posted on this blog.
Where'd I get it? I wrote to Dunn at the Braves spring training camp and asked him to sign it; I got it back this week
How much did it cost? About a dollar, between the card and postage.
Why is this so special? When I pulled this card out of a pack, I recognized Dunn's name from last year's Trenton Thunder team. He had a good year, moved up to AAA and got to make his big league debut for the Yankees in September.
During the off-season, Dunn was traded to the Atlanta Braves with Melky Cabrera for Javier Vasquez.
Dunn began his professional career as an outfielder, but didn't switch to pitching until the 2006 season.
He's got an interesting stylized autograph, and you can still almost still read a few of the letters. I wonder what it will look like in a couple more years.
Monday, April 12, 2010
Who is this? Steve Lyons, a 1980s utility player who spent most of his career with the Chicago White Sox
What is this? An autographed card from the 1987 Fleer set
Where'd I get it? I wrote to Lyons and asked him to sign it last month; I got it back last week
How much did it cost? About a dollar for the card and postage
Why is this so special? Lyons spent nine years in the major leagues, but he's best remembered for one play -- when he unbuckled his pants to get the dirt out while standing on first base.
I also remember a This Week in Baseball feature that highlighted his versatility -- he once played every position in an exhibition game. After Lyons ended his playing career, he became a broadcaster.
I think it's neat that Lyons included his nickname "Psycho" when he signed the card. I don't know how he came by that nickname, and I'm not quite sure that I want to. :)
Saturday, April 10, 2010
Who is this? Flyleaf is a Christian rock / metal band from Texas
What is this? An autographed CD booklet from Flyleaf's latest album, Momento Mori
Where'd I get it? I won it through a Twitter contest held by MySpace Music
How much did it cost? Free
Why is this so special? I rarely have luck with any kind of contest, so I was happy to win. I enjoy Flyleaf's music, but I never expected to get the band member's autographs.
Flyleaf is made up by singer Lacey Mosley, guitarists Sameer Bhattacharya, Jared Hartmann and Pat Seals and drummer James Culpepper. I can pick out Lacey's signature, but I'd be hard-pressed to match up the others to the correct band members.
Thursday, April 8, 2010
Who is this? Albuquerque Isotopes' pitcher Luis Ayala
What is this? An autograph insert card from the 2003 Donruss The Rookies set
Where'd I get it? CheckOutMyCards.com
How much did it cost? $3
Why is this so special? For a few seasons, Luis Ayala formed half of an imposing tandem in the Montreal Expos/Washington Nationals' bullpen. Then he injured his arm during the 2006 World Baseball Classic and missed the whole season after having Tommy John surgery. He was never quite the same afterwards.
The Mets acquired Ayala with the hopes that he could fill in for injured closer Billy Wagner late in the 2008 season. He did his best, but he wasn't up to the job. Ayala gave up the last run ever at Shea Stadium, an eighth inning home run to Dan Uggla on Sept. 28, 2008.
Ayala has a pretty nice looking autograph, but I've never seen anyone else make an "A" quite like that.
Tuesday, April 6, 2010
Who is this? Buffalo Bisons' pitcher Pat Misch
What is this? An autograph card from the 2007 Upper Deck Spectrum Rookie Signatures insert set
Where'd I get it? CheckOutMyCards.com
How much did it cost? $2.89
Why is this so special? After spending parts of three season in the bullpen for the San Francisco Giants, lefthander Pat Misch came to the Mets midway through the 2009 season. He appeared in 22 games for New York, including seven starts. Misch generally kept the Mets in games. I would not be surprised if he sees time in New York again this season.
I'm not quite sure what's going on with Misch's last name in the signature on this card, but it looks interesting. For those who might be wondering, the autograph is signed on a clear label that is attached to the card. It looks nicer than most, but it's still a sticker autograph.
Sunday, April 4, 2010
Who is this? former Philadelphia Phillies slugger Greg Luzinski
What is this? An autographed 8x10 photo
Where'd I get it? at Bull's BBQ in Citizens Bank Park
How much did it cost? $7
Why is this so special? Greg "The Bull" Luzinski was a star for the Phillies for most of the 1970s and earned a World Series ring as part of their 1980 championship team. He was a 4-time all-star and he retired with over 300 home runs and 1000 RBI.
Luzinski opened Bull's BBQ at the Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, and can usually be found there signing autographs for fans. I didn't expect him to be on hand for the exhibition games this weekend, or I would have brought a card to get signed. Fortunately, there was a stand with various Bull's BBQ souvenirs, including some 8x10 photos.
Luzinski has a very nice, clear autograph. You can really tell that penmanship used to be a big deal when you see the signatures of older former players.
Friday, April 2, 2010
Who is this? Emil Brown, a former Major League outfielder who played for the Pittsburgh Pirates in the late 1990s
What is this? An autographed card from the 1999 Upper Deck SP Signature insert set
Where'd I get it? CheckOutMyCards.com
How much did it cost? $2, less than the one I lost on eBay a few months ago.
Why is this so special? Brown was a Met for about a week last season, so I needed his autograph for my collection. This is his only certified autograph card. He's got a relatively clean signature. Unlike many later Upper Deck issues, this one is signed on the card, not a sticker.
Brown was never a particularly good Major League player, but I have to give him credit for making it and sticking around for 10 seasons. He did have two solid years for the Kansas City Royals in 2005 and 2006. He hit .286 with 17 home run, 86 RBI an .804 OPS and a 113 OPS+ in 2005, his best season.