Saturday, June 26, 2010
2008 Bridgeport Bluefish Derrick Ellison
Who is this? Binghamton Mets reliever Derrick Ellison
What is this? An autographed card from the 2008 Bridgeport Bluefish team set
Where'd I get it? Since I kept missing him at the ballpark, I mailed it to Ellison and asked him to sign it. I got it back about a week later.
How much did it cost? The team set cost about $5-$6, plus shipping
Why is this so special? Ellison wasn't drafted by any major league team, so he began his pro career with the Richmond Roosters in the independent Frontier League in 2001. He got his first taste of affiliated ball in 2005, when the Seattle Mariners signed him and sent him to Inland Empire in the California League.
Ellison wasn't very successful there, but he went back to independent ball and tried again. In 2008, he got off to a strong start as the Bridgeport Bluefish closer and was named to an Atlantic League All-Star team. After the All-Star Game, he was signed by the Milwaukee Brewers and sent to their Florida State League team.
Last year, he spent most of the year with the Brewers' AA affiliate in Huntsville, but he also spent time in the Mets' organization with both Binghamton and Buffalo. He also pitched for the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs in the Atlantic League. This year, he's back in Binghamton. At age 31, he probably will never reach the major leagues. But he just doesn't seem to be the kind of person who will ever give up, and you never know what kind of opportunities may present themselves to a determined left-handed pitcher.
Ellison has a neat autograph, featuring his full name. He also inscribed a Bible verse, Hebrews 11:6 - "But without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him."