Who is this? Boston Red Sox pitcher Rich Hill. What is this? An autograph mini card from 2007 Topps Allen and Ginter's. Where'd I get it? I got this card signed by Rich earlier this season when he was a member of the Triple-A Pawtucket Red Sox. How much did it cost? Not much. I found this card in a nickel or dime box at my local card show in Mansfield, MA.
Why is this so special? Rich Hill is one of the nicest players that I have had the pleasure to meet since I began collecting baseball autographs three years ago. Born in Boston, MA, Hill attended Milton High School before attending the University of Michigan. He was drafted by the Chicago Cubs in the second round of the 2002 draft and made his Major League debut with the Cubs in 2005.
Now 31 years old, Hill has played parts of seven seasons in the Major Leagues with the Cubs, Orioles, and Red Sox. His best seasons came in 2007 as a member of the Cubs when he finished eighth in the NL with 8.446 strikeouts per 9 innings and a WHIP of 1.195. Unfortunately, Hill struggled in 2009, forcing his return to the Minors.
Hill appeared to have turned things around with the Red Sox out of the bullpen in 2010 and 2011, not allowing a single run in 12 innings pitched while striking out 15 batters. However, just as things appeared to be getting better, Hill was found to have an elbow injury that required season-ending Tommy John Surgery early in the 2011season.
Hopefully Hill will recover quickly and be back to the Boston bullpen in 2012.
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.