Who is this? former New York Yankees 3rd baseman Graig Nettles What is this? An autographed card from the 1976 Topps set Where'd I get it? Nick from Baseball Happenings got it signed for me last year.
Why is this so special? Happy New Year! Graig Nettles' autograph is the first one that I'm posting in 2011.
Nettles was a six-time All-Star and a two-time Gold Glove winner, but I know him best as the father of Somerset Patriots third baseman Jeff Nettles. (What can I say -- I watched Jeff Nettles play in the Atlantic League for years... Graig Nettles was a role player at the end of his career by the time I started to follow baseball.)
Nettles occasionally attended Somerset Patriots games to watch his son play, but he was usually mobbed by autograph seekers if he didn't go up to one of the stadium's luxury boxes. It never really felt appropriate to me to bother a father trying to watch his son's game, so I never approached him to ask for an autograph. (plus I wanted to watch the game, too)
Graig Nettles has two World Series rings, 2,225 hits, 390 home runs and 1,314 hits for his career. He received 8.3 percent of the votes in the 1994 Hall of Fame election, his first year on the ballot. Each year, his support dropped until he was removed from the ballot after receiving just 4.7 percent of the vote in 1997.
Baseball Reference tracks a stat called Wins Above Replacement, which attempts to measure how much more valuable a player is than a hypothetical "average" player. Nettles was worth 61.6 WAR during his career, more than Hall of Famers Harmon Killebrew, Dave Winfield and Willie Stargell, among others.
Nettles' autograph looks like it was a little cramped because he signed it on card... perhaps on a larger item it would look a little neater.
I'm only putting autograph-related links in this blogroll. However, if you have a blog or a collector site not specifically about autographs, but with an autograph page or an "autograph" label on your blog posts, I'll put that link here.