Monday, February 28, 2011
Who is this? Lancaster Barnstormers pitcher Jose Sanchez
What is this? An autographed card from the 2009 Binghamton Mets team set
Where'd I get it? Sanchez signed it for me at a Newark Bears game
How much did it cost? The team set cost around $10
Why is this so special? Jose J. Sanchez has pitched professionally for seven seasons. He began his career in the New York Mets organization in 2004. He briefly made it to AAA Buffalo in 2009, his final season of affiliated baseball.
Last year, Sanchez started 27 games for the Lancaster Barnstormers in the independent Atlantic League. He was 7-11 with a 5.45 ERA.
Sanchez has a neat autograph - he signed the card on an angle so he wouldn't have to compress it.
Sunday, February 27, 2011
Who is this? Lancaster Barnstormers relief pitcher Tim Hamulack
What is this? An autographed card from one of the Topps 52 Rookies sets... I think it's from the 2006 one. Where'd I get it? Hamulack signed it for me before a Newark Bears game last year.
How much did it cost? If it's a 2006 card, I probably spent a quarter for it. If it's from 2007, I probably got it out of a pack.
Why is this so special? Hamulack, a 32nd round draft pick, spent nine seasons in the minor leagues with 5 different organizations before finally making his major league debut with the Mets in 2005. During that off-season, he was included in a trade to the Los Angeles Dodgers that brought Duaner Sanchez to New York.
Hamulack got most of his major league experience with the Dodgers in 2006, appearing in 33 games. Since then, Hamulack has pitched for minor league or independent league teams. Last season, he was 6-5 with 11 saves and a 2.35 ERA for the Lancaster Barnstormers in the Atlantic League. I'm not sure where (or if) Hamulack will be playing in 2011.
Hamulack's ballpark autograph doesn't differ much from the facsimile signature on the card.
Saturday, February 26, 2011
Who is this? Camden Riversharks infielder Kyle Haines
What is this? An autographed card from the 2009 Camden Riversharks team set
Where'd I get it? Haines signed it for me at a Newark Bears game last year
How much did it cost? I think the team set cost $5 or $6, but I really don't remember.
Why is this so special? This scan has been sitting on my computer since last June, so it's time to post it.
Haines was selected by the San Francisco Giants in the 31st round of the 2004 draft. He played in their farm system for five seasons, advancing as far as AA ball. In 2009, Haines spent time in the Indians organization and with the Camden Riversharks in the independent Atlantic League.
Haines spent the full season in Camden in 2010, hitting .254 with 1 home rune and 23 RBI in 358 at-bats. I'm not sure where (or if) Haines will be playing in 2011.
He's got a very nice autograph, particularly for a signature obtained at the ballpark.
Friday, February 25, 2011
Who is this? Baltimore Orioles Hall of Fame manager Earl Weaver
What is this? A 2004 Topps Retired Signature Autographs card
Where'd I get it? I won it in a contest run by Ryan of the Great Orioles Autograph Project
How much did it cost? It was free
Why is this so special? This is the nicest sports card prize I've ever won, and one of a relatively small number of cards signed by Hall of Famers in my collection.
Weaver spent his entire 17-year managerial career with the Orioles. His Baltimore teams won four pennants and one World Series title. His overall record was 1480-1060, a .583 winning percentage.
Despite his success, Weaver is best remembered for his 97 career ejections and legendary arguments with umpires. One argument even led to the forfeit of a game in 1977.
Earl Weaver has a great autograph - you can make out every letter.
Thursday, February 24, 2011
Who is this? Seattle Mariners pitcher Doug Fister
What is this? An autographed card from the 2009 Tacoma Rainiers team set
Where'd I get it? I wrote to Fister this spring and asked him to sign it. I got it back a week & a half later.
How much did it cost? Just postage.
Why is this so special? After a 3-4 rookie season, Fister spent most of the 2010 season in Seattle's starting rotation. He finished the year with a 6-14 record, but he didn't really pitch that badly - he had an ERA of 4.11 and walked just 32 in 171 innings. He should be part of Seattle's rotation again in 2011.
Fister has a unique signature - I've never seen a capital "F" quite like that.
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Who is this? Mets manager Terry Collins
What is this? An autographed card from the 1988 TCMA Dukes team set
Where'd I get it? I wrote to Collins and asked him to sign it
How much did it cost? The unsigned card was a couple of bucks. Collins does not have many cards available at the moment.
Why is this so special? Terry Collins was the first person I wrote to for an autograph at spring training this year. The new Mets manager signed and returned my card in just over two weeks, and he's got a legible autograph.
Collins does not have any nationally-issued cards at this point - just minor league sets, team issues and other regional stuff like Mother's Cookies cards. Hopefully Topps will correct that soon, but it doesn't seem like this is a year that they want to make manager cards.
Tuesday, February 22, 2011
Who is this? Houston Astros prospect Delino Diaab DeShields
What is this? An autographed card from the 2010 Bowman Sterling set
Where'd I get it? A card show dealer
How much did it cost? $5
Why is this so special? Any time you can get an autographed card that you're interested in for a fraction of the cost of the pack that it came out of, it's a good deal.
DeShields is the son of 1990s Expos & Dodgers second baseman Delino Lamont DeShields. The younger DeShields was the 8th overall pick in the draft last year. He spent his first pro season in the Appalachian League with the Greenville Astros. In 16 games, he went 21-for-67 with a triple, six doubles and five stolen bases.
Last month, DeShields was arrested on a DUI charge. Hopefully he will exercise better judgment in the future.
It's interesting to see how different DeShields' autograph is from his father's.
Monday, February 21, 2011
Who is this? Chicago White Sox broadcaster Darrin Jackson
What is this? An autographed card from the 1994 Flair set
Where'd I get it? I purchased it from a dealer at an autograph show earlier this month.
How much did it cost? $4
Why is this so special? Jackson was a major league outfielder for 12 seasons, playing for seven different teams including the Chicago Cubs, San Diego Padres, Chicago White Sox and New York Mets. He was known as a good defensive outfielder, but offense wasn't his strong suit. Jackson's best season was 1991 when he hit .262 with 21 home runs and 49 RBI for the Padres.
In addition to his time in major league baseball, Jackson played for the Seibu Lions in Japan in 1995 and 1996. After he retired, Jackson became a television broadcaster for the White Sox. Since 2009, he's worked on the radio side.
Jackson's autograph is very legible for a recent player.
Sunday, February 20, 2011
Who is this? former Baltimore Orioles first baseman Boog Powell
What is this? An autographed card from the 2004 Fleer Greats of the Game set
Where'd I get it? Ryan of the Great Orioles Autograph Project got it signed for me at this year's Orioles fanfest
How much did it cost? The unsigned card was a dime.
Why is this so special? Powell was the first baseman for five pennant-winning Orioles teams in the 1960s and 70s. He earned 2 World Series rings, was a 4-time All-Star and was the American League MVP in 1970.
You could make a case that 1970 was not Powell's best season. During his MVP year, Powell hit .297 / .412 / .549 with 35 home runs and 114 RBI. In 1964, Powell finished 11th in MVP voting. He hit .290 / .399 / .606 with 39 home runs and 99 RBI. His .606 slugging percentage led the American League, the only time in his 17 year career that he was a league leader in a major offensive category.
Powell retired with over 300 career homers and more than 1000 RBIs. He now owns Boog's Barbecue, which has two Maryland locations including one at Camden Yards.
Thanks for getting my card signed, Ryan.
Saturday, February 19, 2011
Who is this? San Diego Padres prospect Casey Kelly
What is this? An autographed card from the 2009 Greenville Drive team set
Where'd I get it? I wrote to Kelly at the Padres' spring training camp and asked him to sign it.
How much did it cost? Postage.
Why is this so special? Out of about 45 spring training autograph requests I've sent out so far this year, Kelly is one of the first players to send my cards back. (I also got autographs from Jason Vargas and Doug Fister of the Seattle Mariners today.)
Baseball America ranked Kelly as the Red Sox top prospect in November before Boston traded him to San Diego as part of the package for Adrian Gonzalez. He also ranked at the top of the San Diego prospect list last month.
Kelly struggled for the AA Portland Sea Dogs in 2010 - in 21 starts, he was 3-5 with a 5.31 ERA. Hopefully the 21-year-old right-hander will fare better in the Padres farm system this year.
Kelly also signed his 2010 Topps Pro Debut Series 1 card for me. I'm glad I don't have to decipher his signature.
Friday, February 18, 2011
Who is this? Former major leaguer Chris Stynes
What is this? An autographed card from 1995 Signature Rookies
Where'd I get it? A dealer at a local card show
How much did it cost? This is one of 7 autographed cards I got for $5.
Why is this so special? I wrote about Stynes in December. It's interesting to see how little his signature changed during the 15 years between signing this card and the ones I got back before Christmas.
I like the idea of the rectangle of color on an otherwise black & white card, but the results seem a bit awkward.
Thursday, February 17, 2011
Who is this? former Atlanta Braves reliever Brad Clontz
What is this? An autograph card from a 1995 Signature Rookies set
Where'd I get it? a dealer at the local baseball card show
How much did it cost? This is another of my 7-for-$5 autographed cards
Why is this so special? Clontz appeared in 272 major league games over six seasons. He spent most of his career with the Braves, where he appeared in two World Series and won a ring in 1995. Clontz also pitched briefly for the Dodgers and Mets before moving on to Pittsburgh to finish his major league career.
Clontz retired from baseball after the 2006 season, when he played for Albuquerque in the Pacific Coast League (AAA). In 2005, he pitched for the Somerset Patriots, where he won an Atlantic League championship.
Clontz' autograph isn't too bad - I probably would have simplified it further if I had to sign 1,500 cards.
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
Who is this? former Baltimore Orioles reliever B.J. Ryan
What is this? An autographed card from the 2000 Team Best set
Where'd I get it? Card show purchase
How much did it cost? This is one of 7 autographed cards I bought for $5 over the weekend.
Why is this so special? B.J. Ryan appeared in 560 major league games over 11 seasons and he was a two-time All-Star. Ryan's best season was 2006, when he saved 38 games for the Blue Jays and finished the year with a 1.37 ERA.
Ryan had a really tiny autograph when he signed this card. I like how he has the tail on the "y" in his last name underline the rest of his signature.
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
Who is this? former minor league first baseman Aaron McNeal
What is this? An autographed card from 2000 Skybox Autographics
Where'd I get it? I traded dayf a handful of shiny 2011 Topps cards and he sent me some obscure minor league autographs
How much did it cost? I'm not sure how to evaluate that, but if you want your own copy several dealers in the Beckett Marketplace are selling them between $5-$10. (I can only imagine what shiny Topps cards will list for once they start going into the Marketplace shops.)
Why is this so special? McNeal was the 753rd pick in the 1995 amateur draft and had a few unexciting seasons in the low minors. In 1999, McNeal made everybody take notice when he hit 38 home runs and drove in 131 with a .946 OPS for the Michigan Battle Cats in the Class A Midwest League.
That season is probably what landed him on the SkyBox checklist. Unfortunately, he never achieved that level of success again. I don't know anything about the Midwest League, but I'm wondering if the Battle Cats played in an extremely hitter-friendly ballpark.
McNeal later spent parts of two seasons in the Mets' farm system, making this a keeper card for me even though I don't think I ever saw him play. It appears that he retired from baseball after the 2005 season.
McNeal's not going to win any points for penmanship, but I've seen worse autographs. I can read his first name as "Aaron" with a little imagination, but I can't make out anything but the "l" at the end of his last name.
Monday, February 14, 2011
Who is this? Actor Jonathan M. Woodward
What is this? An autographed card from the Inkworks Firefly set
Where'd I get it? eBay
How much did it cost? $2.25
Why is this so special? Woodward is one of a handful of actors to appear in Joss Whedon's three most popular television series: Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel and Firefly.
I met him at New York Comic Con a few years ago, and he seemed like a very funny guy. His autograph looks like it could just as easily be a scribble or his name.
I got this card back in June, but I'm just getting to post it now. I believe it is the last non-sports autograph I have in my scans folder, so we should be sticking with baseball for the foreseeable future.
Sunday, February 13, 2011
Who is this? minor league catcher Jonathan Jaspe
What is this? An autographed card from the 2010 New Hampshire Fisher Cards set
Where'd I get it? Jaspe signed it for me before a Trenton Thunder game last year.
How much did it cost? I believe the team set cost around $10
Why is this so special? Jaspe, a Venezuelan native, has played in the Blue Jays system since 2005. Last season, at the age of 25, he hit .238 /.285 / .354 with 1 home run in 61 games for the AA Fisher Cats. It would be a surprise if Jaspe improved enough to get a shot in the major leagues, but he's already accomplished more as a pro baseball player than 99.9 percent of the population.
I got the card signed with a silver Sharpie that was on its way out, but it came out better than it probably would have if Jaspe had signed in blue.
Saturday, February 12, 2011
Who is this? former Cleveland Indians outfielder Cory Snyder
What is this? An autographed card from the 1988 Donruss set
Where'd I get it? I wrote to Snyder after Thanksgiving and asked him to sign it. I got it back in Friday's mail.
How much did it cost? Postage, basically.
Why is this so special? Cory Snyder played in over 1,000 major league games during a nine-season career. He had a powerful throwing arm - in 1987, he had 16 assists in right field and made 9 errors.
Snyder also struck out a lot. He led the National League in Ks in 1993, and would have led the American League in 1987 except for a couple of guys named Rob Deer and Pete Incaviglia. But that made Snyder fun to watch - you never knew quite what was going to happen, but there was a decent chance that it would be exciting.
Before he turned pro, Snyder played for the U.S. Olympic team in 1984.
Here's the other card Snyder signed for me - it's a little easier to make out his autograph on this 1993 Leaf card.
Friday, February 11, 2011
Who is this? Toronto Blue Jays minor league infielder Jonathan Diaz
What is this? An autographed card from the 2010 New Hampshire Fisher Cats team set
Where'd I get it? Diaz signed it for me at a Trenton Thunder game last year
How much did it cost? The team set cost around $10, if I remember correctly.
Why is this so special? Diaz is wearing a pink jersey, which was undoubtedly from a Mother's Day/breast cancer awareness game. He's probably not thrilled at the choice of photos used for his baseball card, but at least it's a cool action shot.
Diaz was selected in the 12th round of the 2006 draft. He split last season between AA New Hampshire and AAA Las Vegas, hitting a combined .239 / .348 / .315 with two home runs and five stolen bases in seven attempts. Diaz turns 26 this April, so time is running out for him to show that he deserves a chance in the majors.
Diaz has an interesting signature, though I'm glad I don't have to decipher it.
Thursday, February 10, 2011
Who is this? Kansas City Royals prospect Johnny Giavotella
What is this? An autographed card from one of the 2009 Bowman sets
Where'd I get it? Zach of Autographed Cards fame sent it to me last year.
Why is this so special? Gavotella was a second round draft pick in 2008. The 22-year-old Louisiana native played for the Northwest Arkansas Naturals in the AA Texas League last year, where he hit .322 / .395 /.460. He had nine home runs and 13 stolen bases in 20 attempts.
I'm not quite sure where Giavotella ranks in the Royals' long-term plans. He didn't make Baseball America's Top 10 Royals' prospects list, but he is the second baseman in their projected 2014 lineup.
After I got this card from Zach, I pulled another Giavotella autograph from my box of Topps Pro Debut Series II.
There's quite a bit of difference between what I presume is Giavotella's ballpark signature vs. his paid "sit down" one, but I'm glad I don't have to read either one.
Wednesday, February 9, 2011
Who is this? former Detroit Tigers pitcher John Doherty
What is this? An autographed card from the 1994 Stadium Club set
Where'd I get it? Nick of Baseball Happenings got it signed for me last year. (Incidentally, Nick's conducting a private signing with legendary Cuban Hall of Fame pitcher and former Pittsburgh Pirate, Gonzalo "Cholly" Naranjo - click over for details)
Why is this so special? If you were looking for an average 1990s major league pitcher, John Doherty fits the bill pretty well. In five seasons as a starter and reliever, he had a 32-31 record with a 4.87 ERA and an adjusted ERA+ of 91.
This is the only signed 1st Day Edition Stadium Club card in my collection - I've never gotten any of the others I own signed. For those who don't remember collecting Stadium Club, the 1st Day Edition cards turned up at a rate of about one per box. Aside from the little rainbow foil stamp, there's no difference between the 1st Day Edition cards and the regular ones. Yet I was fascinated by them in 1993 and 1994, and even now I will buy them when I run across them.
Though some might deduct points for the printed initials, I rather like Doherty's autograph.
Tuesday, February 8, 2011
Who is this? former Houston Astros outfielder John Cangelosi
What is this? An autographed card from the 1997 Leaf Signature set
Where'd I get it? I bought it on CheckOutMyCards.com last year
How much did it cost? I don't remember, but it was probably between $1-$3
Why is this so special? Cangelosi, a Brooklyn native, is one of the shortest players I ever saw in major league baseball at 5'8" When 6'10" future Hall of Famer Randy Johnson made his debut in 1988 with the Montreal Expos, Cangelosi was the first batter he faced -- it must have been quite a sight.
Cangelosi played for 7 different teams during a 13-year major league career. He appeared in the most games for the Pittsburgh Pirates, but I wanted his autograph because he was a New York Met in 1994. Centerfield Maz recaps a mound-charging moment that has to be the most memorable event from Cangelosi's brief time in New York. (Fortunately, my own memories of the 1994 season have grown hazy over time.)
Cangelosi included almost all of the letters of his last name in his autograph, but just went with his first initial. I would have been more tempted to sign "John C"
Monday, February 7, 2011
Who is this? Lancaster Barnstormers outfielder Joe Gaetti
What is this? An autographed card from the 2010 Lancaster Barnstormers team set
Where'd I get it? Gaetti signed it for me at a Newark Bears game last year.
How much did it cost? I got the team set for around $5, if I remember correctly.
Why is this so special? I haven't posted too many cards I got signed myself lately (other than the ones I paid to get signed at an autograph show last month.)
Gaetti is the son of former Minnesota Twins third baseman Gary Gaetti. At this point, it doesn't look like Joe will be anywhere near as successful as his father as a baseball player. Joe was selected in the 12th round of the 2003 draft by the Colorado Rockies. He remained in that organization through 2007 and made it as far as AAA.
Since then, he's played affiliated ball for the Oakland, Minnesota, Tampa Bay and Texas organizations, as well as independent league ball in the Northern and Atlantic Leagues. Last year, Gaetti hit .218 with 14 home runs and 46 RBI in 118 games for the Lancaster Barnstormers. I'm not sure where (or if) Joe will be playing ball in 2011.
Gaetti took his time with his autograph, but his "J" and "G" look remarkably similar to me.
Sunday, February 6, 2011
Who is this? former Minnesota Twins outfielder Jim Nettles
What is this? An autographed card from the 1973 Topps set
Where'd I get it? I wrote to Nettles and asked him to sign it; I got it back yesterday, about 10 days later.
How much did it cost? I got the unsigned card for a dime.
Why is this so special? Jim Nettles is the brother of famed 1970s Yankee third baseman Graig Nettles. Jim didn't enjoy the same degree of success in baseball - he was strictly a part-time player. Jim played for four different teams over six seasons, but never had more than 235 at-bats in a season.
I was interested in adding Jim's autograph to my collection because I watched his nephew, Jeff, play for the Somerset Patriots in the Atlantic League for several seasons. I already had Jeff and Graig's autographs.
Saturday, February 5, 2011
Who is this? former New York Mets outfielder Joe Christopher
What is this? An autographed card from the 1963 Topps set
Where'd I get it? I bought it from a dealer at an autograph show last year.
How much did it cost? $10
Why is this so special? Joe Christopher was an outfielder for the Mets from 1962-1965.
Friday, February 4, 2011
Who is this? Kansas City Royals minor league second baseman Joaquin Arias
What is this? An autographed insert card from the 2007 Upper Deck Elements set
Where'd I get it? eBay
How much did it cost? 99 cents plus shipping.
Why is this so special? This really shows how many cards scans are piled up, waiting to be shared on Auto-Matic for the People. I bought this card shortly after the Mets acquired Arias from the Texas Rangers in exchange for Jeff Francoeur. Before I got around to posting it, both players involved in that trade are now part of the Kansas City Royals organization.
Arias was once a highly-regarded Yankee prospect. When New York sent Alfonso Soriano and a player to be named later to Texas for Alex Rodriguez in 2004, the Rangers had their choice of several Yankee prospects top complete the deal. They picked Arias over future All-Star Robinson Cano.
Arias made his major league debut with the Rangers in 2006, but his big league career has been fairly undistinguished. He played sparingly for the Mets during the final month of 2010, and was claimed on waivers by the Kansas City Royals at the end of the season. The Royals assigned him outright to Omaha to clear a roster spot for one of the prospects acquired in the Zack Greinke trade.
I'm not sure what's going on with Arias' autograph - it looks more like a symbol than any part of his name.
Thursday, February 3, 2011
Who is this? former Pittsburgh Pirates relief pitcher Jim Rooker
What is this? An autographed card from the 1978 Topps set
Where'd I get it? Nick from Baseball Happenings got it signed for me last year.
Why is this so special? Rooker had a solid 13-year major league career with the Tigers, Royals and Pirates, but I never saw him play since he retired after the 1980 season. His lifetime record was 103-109 and he won a World Series ring with the 1979 Pirates.
I remember Jim Rooker because of a comment he made during a broadcast of a Pittsburgh Pirates game in 1989. The Pirates put up 10 runs in the first inning of a game against the Phillies, and Rooker said on air, "If we lose this game, I’ll walk home." Sure enough, the Phillies staged a comeback and won 15-11.
After the season, Rooker followed through on his promise and walked over 300 miles while raising money for charity.
I'm glad I don't have to decipher Rooker's signature.
Wednesday, February 2, 2011
Who is this? Hall of Famer Eddie Murray
What is this? An autographed card from the 1983 Donruss set
Where'd I get it? I bought it from a dealer at the autograph show in Secaucus this past weekend.
How much did it cost? $25
Why is this so special? Eddie Murray was one of the best switch-hitters in baseball history, and the best one I ever saw play. He retired with more than 3,000 hits and more the 500 home runs. He won the Rookie of the Year Award in 1977 and was an 8-time All-Star.
Murray spent most of his career with the Orioles, so it's fitting to have him represented in my collection with an Orioles card. However, he did play for the New York Mets for two seasons in the early 1990s - Murray hit his 400th home run while wearing a Mets uniform. Someday, I'd like to get a Mets card signed - I'm just not eager to pay his $80 signing fee to do it.
It's clear that Murray takes pride in his autograph - you can read every letter in his name.
Tuesday, February 1, 2011
Who is this? Hall of Famer Wade Boggs
What is this? An autographed 8x10 photo from from a set of five 1988 American League Award Winners Where'd I get it? Boggs signed it at an autograph show in Secaucus on Saturday
How much did it cost? $65
Why is this so special? What can you say about Wade Boggs that hasn't already been hundreds of times. He was one of the best hitters in baseball history, and one of the top three I ever saw play. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2005 with 91.9% of the vote.
Boggs was a 12-time All-Star, a 2-time Gold Glove winner and a 5-time American League batting champion. For three years - 1986 to 1988 - Boggs led baseball in Wins Above Replacement as calculated by Baseball Reference. For his career, ranks 27th among all position players with an 89.0 WAR score.
I found this photo among some odds and ends from my junior high school collecting days last month, so I decided to get it signed even though it put me a bit above my planned budget for the autograph show. Boggs has an ok signature, though it could be a little neater. He was adding the Hall of Fame inscription to everything he signed at the show.