Tuesday, July 6, 2010
2000 BBM Willie Banks
Who is this? Newark Bears pitcher Willie Banks
What is this? An autographed card from the 2000 BBM set
Where'd I get it? Banks signed it for me at a Newark Bears game earlier this year.
How much did it cost? $2.75 from an eBay seller
Why is this so special? Jersey City native Willie Banks was the third overall pick in the 1987 draft. He spent nine seasons in the major leagues, both as a starter and a reliever.
Banks spent a short time with the Orix BlueWave in the Japanese Pacific League. The BlueWave is best known to American fans as Ichiro Suzuki's former team. They no longer exist; after the 2004 season, they merged with the Kintetsu Buffalos and the resulting team is now known as the Orix Buffaloes.
Now 41, Banks is still pitching professionally for the Newark Bears. He also serves as the team's unofficial pitching coach.
His autograph is a bit tough to make out, but I think I can spot the "W" and the "B"