Who is this? former Detroit Tigers slugger Cecil Fielder What is this? An autographed 8x10 photo Where'd I get it? I got it signed at an autograph show in Secaucus on Saturday How much did it cost? $35
Why is this so special? Cecil Fielder was one of my favorite players in the early 1990s. He played a little bit for the Toronto Blue Jays in the late 1980s, but I don't think anybody other than die-hard Blue Jay fans noticed.
He went to Japan and played one season for the Hanshin Tigers, becoming a slugging superstar. Then he came back to America and joined the Detroit Tigers. He was a 3-time All-Star and two-time American League home run champion, hitting a career-high 51 in 1990.
Later in his career, Fielder was traded to the New York Yankees and won a World Series ring with them in 1996. He retired with 319 major league home runs during a 13 year career. He and his son Prince are the only father-son duo in Major League Baseball history to have 50 home run seasons.
Fielder has a neat autograph - he signed the big, looping "C" first, then filled in the rest of his first name. Next was the big, stylized looping "F," and finally the rest of his last name.
Who is this? former New York Yankees pitcher Brian Boehringer What is this? An autographed card from the 1995 Fleer Rookie Exchange Set Where'd I get it? Boehringer signed it for me at the MAB Celebrity Services Pinstripe Passion show in Secaucus yesterday. How much did it cost? $10
This card is one of nine in a rookie mail-away set produced by Fleer in 1995. It included Edgardo Alfonzo and 1996 NL Rookie of the Year Todd Hollandsworth, but Fleer did not choose a bunch of future stars. I bought my set for a quarter at a baseball card show in 2008, mainly for the Alfonzo card.
When I looked through the cards, I realized that I'd seen 5 of the 9 players in the Atlantic League after their major league careers ended. I was able to get Alfonzo and Frank Rodriguez to sign their cards before or after Newark Bears games, but Boehringer, Darren Bragg and Brad Clontz were long out of the league.
After getting Boehringer's autograph, I now have a third of the set signed.
Who is this? Former Houston Astros outfielder Bob Watson What is this? An autographed card from the 2003 Topps Fan Favorites set Where'd I get it? I wrote to Watson at the Major League Baseball office in New York in December and asked him to sign it; I got it back on Friday. How much did it cost? The unsigned card cost a dime.
Why is this so special? I'm not positive, but I think this is the first Topps Fan Favorites card that I've ever gotten signed.
Last month, Bob Watson marked the end of a 45-year career in baseball when he retired as Major League Baseball's Vice President of Rules and On-Field Operations. He had also been the general manager of the New York Yankees, helping to assemble the 1996 World Series winning team. The Houston Astros made Watson the first African-American general manager in Major League Baseball in 1993.
As a player, Watson is most famous for scoring the one millionth run in baseball history. (However, later examinations of baseball's records indicate that Watson's run really wasn't the millionth and it's impossible to tell who did score the milestone run -- see this interesting article by Joe Posnanski about the One Millionth Run)
A two-time All-Star, Watson is the first player in Major League Baseball history to hit for the cycle in both leagues.
Watson had been a great through-the-mail autograph signer when he worked out of the Commissioner's Office. Hopefully he will continue to sign for collectors now that he's retired.
Who is this? former Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Jimmy Key What is this? An autographed card from the 1991 Leaf set Where'd I get it? I wrote to Key late last year and asked him to sign it How much did it cost? Not much... I bought a wax box of 1991 Leaf cards for less than $10 a few years ago.
Why is this so special? Key won 186 games in his 15-year big league career. He spent 9 seasons in Toronto, but around here people remember him as a Yankee. Key has two World Series rings - one with each team - and four All-Star appearances.
Who is this? former New York Mets bullpen coach Dave LaRoche What is this? An autographed card from the 1974 Topps set Where'd I get it? I wrote to LaRoche and asked him to sign it How much did it cost? I don't remember.
Why is this so special? Once upon a time, I kept a small binder with a baseball card for each player, coach and the manager of the New York Mets' active roster -- back in the days before the widespread availability of the internet, it was a way to keep stats handy and remember some trivia.
I'd put the manager first, then the coaches, the pitchers, catchers, infielders, outfielders and finally the guys on the disabled list and in the minor leagues. I lost interest in keeping up this project sometime in 1992 or 1993 when LaRoche was the Mets' bullpen coach - this was his card in the binder. When I re-discovered it recently, I decided I'd mail it to him and see if he'd sign it.
Before he entered the coaching ranks, LaRoche was a relief pitcher for the Angels, Twins, Cubs, Indians, and Yankees during the 1970s and early 80s. He was a two-time All-Star and frequently finished among the league leaders in games finished.
LaRoche was best known for throwing a big, slow blooper pitch he called "La Lob" which would arc up to 20 feet in the air before dropping back in the strike zone. LaRoche's sons, Adam and Andy, are current professional ballplayers. Adam will play for the Nationals this season, while Andy just signed a minor league deal with the Oakland organization.
Dave LaRoche has the handwriting everyone expects of a left-hander, but you can make out a few letters in his autograph. Here's another card he signed for me.
Who is this? former Baltimore Orioles outfielder Jim Dwyer What is this? An autographed card from the1988 Fleer set Where'd I get it? I purchased it from a SportsGraphing.com forum member late last year. How much did it cost? $1-$2
Why is this so special? Dwyer spent 18 seasons in the major leagues as a part time outfielder, defensive replacement and pinch hitter. In 1976, he played 11 games for the New York Mets, so I needed his autograph for my collection. (This card will probably be a permanent resident of my binder unless I manage to track down another copy of his 1991 Wiz Mets card and get it signed.)
However, Dwyer spent most of his career in Baltimore. He won a World Series ring with the 1983 Orioles. In the series, he went 3-for-8 with a home run.
Dwyer also played in the short-lived Senior Professional Baseball League after his major league career was over. He is currently a hitting coach in the Minnesota Twins farm system.
Dwyer's autograph is a bit tiny, and seems to be missing some letters from his last name.
Who is this? former Philadelphia Phillies catcher Darrin Fletcher What is this? An autographed card from the 1991 Donruss set Where'd I get it? Earlier this month, I wrote to Fletcher and asked him to sign it. I got it back about two weeks later. How much did it cost? I got the unsigned card for a dime.
Why is this so special? It's funny how memory works. Fletcher played for four teams during the course of a 14-year major league career. I remember him almost exclusively as a Philadelphia Phillie - a team he played 55 games for between 1990 and 1991.
To be fair, Fletcher did have the best single day of his baseball career as a Phillie - he caught Tommy Greene's no-hitter in 1991.
Fletcher was an All-Star for the 1994 Montreal Expos - and he wasn't chosen just because the National League needed an Expo - three other Montreal players went to the All-Star Game that year. (There's every reason to believe that the Expos would have won the NL East pennant if the season hadn't been ended in August.)
He hit 20 home runs for the 2000 Toronto Blue Jays in somewhat limited playing time. But for whatever reason, I just remember Fletcher as a Phillie.
He's got a pretty nice autograph that's easy to read.
Who is this? Hall of Famer Bobby Doerr What is this? An autographed card from the 2004 Fleer Greats of the Game set Where'd I get it? I wrote to Doerr earlier this month and asked him to sign it; I got it back about a week and a half later. How much did it cost? I got the unsigned card for a dime.
Why is this so special? I believe that Bobby Doerr is the last Hall of Fame player who regularly signs through the mail without requiring a donation or fee. He is currently the oldest living Hall of Fame player.
Doerr was a 9-time All-Star and was a star defensive player at second base. He had over 2000 hits, over 1000 RBI and over 200 home runs in a 14-year career. Doerr ranks 187th in baseball history among position players for career Wins Above Replacement, as calculated by Baseball Reference. Doerr also served in the military in 1945.
For a 92-year-old, Doerr still has nice handwriting. He included his Hall of Fame induction year without being asked.
Who is this? former Florida Marlins manager Jack McKeon What is this? An autographed card from the 2004 Topps Cracker Jack set Where'd I get it? I purchased it from a SportsGraphing.com forum member late last year. How much did it cost? $2-$3
Why is this so special? I don't actively collect them, but when I have a chance I like to pick up autographs of players who are from my home state. McKeon is one of six baseball players to reach the major leagues who went to school at St. Mary's, a Catholic school in the tiny New Jersey city of South Amboy.
McKeon never reached the big leagues as a player. Instead, he made his mark as a manager. A two-time Manager of the Year, McKeon guided the Florida Marlins to a World Series title in 2003.
Though his autograph seems a little cramped, you can read it without much difficulty. I wish more current ballplayers had better signatures.
Who is this? former Montreal Expos pitcher Dennis Martinez What is this? An autographed card from the 1992 Score set Where'd I get it? I purchased it from a Sportsgraphing.com forum member late last year. How much did it cost? around $3
Why is this so special? "El Presidente" was the first player from Nicaragua to reach the major leagues. During his 23-year career, Martinez won 245 games - with more than 100 victories in each league. He struck out over 2,000 batters and he was a 4-time All-Star. This card commemorates Martinez's perfect game against the Dodgers in 1991 -- one of 7 no-hitters thrown in major league baseball that year.
Martinez has worked as a spring training instructor for the Baltimore Orioles and a minor league coach in the Cardinals organization since retiring. He has an interesting autograph - I've never seen another person write the letter "M" like that.
Who is this? Atlanta Braves second baseman Dan Uggla What is this? An autographed card from the 2006 Topps Update Rookie Debut insert set Where'd I get it? I purchased it from a Sportsgraphing.com forum member late last year. How much did it cost? $4 or $5
Why is this so special? Dan Uggla began his career in the Arizona Diamondbacks organization, but he couldn't crack the 40-man roster and was therefore available in the Rule V draft. The Florida Marlins selected him and gave him a chance to start at second base. He rewarded them with an All-Star season in his rookie year.
Uggla gets criticized for his defense, which is mediocre at best, and his high strikeout totals. Nevertheless, he is one of the best offensive second basemen in baseball. For that reason, he reminds me a little of Jeff Kent.
Uggla doesn't have the prettiest signature, but it's easier to decipher than many other active players.
Who is this? former Chicago Cubs pitcher Chuck McElroy What is this? An autographed card from the 1991 Topps Stadium Club set Where'd I get it? It came in a care package from Ryan of the Great Orioles Autograph Project last week.
Why is this so special? I wrote about Chuck McElroy before Christmas, when I posted a Leaf Signature Series card.
I love any cards from the 1991 Stadium Club set, possibly because they were all but impossible to find that year. It was a set with no autographs, no relics (they didn't exist yet), no parallels and no inserts of any particular note. Yet pack prices soared to the $5 mark (or higher) and the cards still sold out on the strength of the design and the photography.
I don't have many personalized baseball card autographs in my collection, and this is the only one made out "For Bill" (Coincidentally, my middle name is William.)
Who is this? Boston Red Sox reliever Andrew Miller What is this? An autographed card from the 2007 Topps 52 set Where'd I get it? I bought it from a SportsGraphing.com forum member How much did it cost? $2
Why is this so special? This is another card from the 2007 Topps 52 set that I am kinda (but not really) working on trying to get signed.
At one point, Miller was a really big prospect. The Tigers made him the 6th overall pick in the 2006 draft. In 2007, Miller went to the Marlins as a key part of the Miguel Cabrera trade. This off-season, the Marlins traded Miller to Boston,
Unfortunately, he's never enjoyed a lot of success in the majors. Last year, in 9 appearances Miller was 1-5 with an 8.54 ERA for Florida. He's running out of chances to prove that he belongs in the major leagues - if he gets a chance with the Red Sox, it will be in the bullpen. And Miller's not really suited to being a situational lefty - for his career, lefty batters hit .267 with a .404 on-base percentage and a .415 slugging average against him.
Miller's autograph is unusual, but it's fairly consistent with the facsimile one on the card.
Who is this? former Washington Senators pitcher Jim Hannan What is this? An autographed card from the 1969 Topps set Where'd I get it? Nick from Baseball Happenings got it signed for me last year
Why is this so special? Jim Hannan is a Jersey City, NJ native who pitched in the major leagues for ten seasons between 1962 and 1971. He spent most of his career with the Senators, but also pitched for the Brewers and Tigers before retiring.
In 273 appearances - mostly out of the bullpen - Hannan had a 41-48 record with a 3.88 lifetime ERA.
Though Hannan's handwriting is not especially neat, you can clearly read his name.
Who is this? former Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Jim Eisenreich What is this? An autographed card from the 1994 Leaf set Where'd I get it? Nick from Baseball Happenings got it signed for me last year.
Why is this so special? Eisenreich broke into Major League Baseball in 1982 with the Minnesota Twins. He played a handful of games over three seasons in Minnesota, but retired from baseball for two seasons while undergoing treatment for Tourette Syndrome.
In 1987, Eisenreich returned to baseball with the Kansas City Royals. He became a solid contributor during his six seasons in Kansas City. After the 1992 season, he became a free agent and signed with the Phillies.
He hit .318 with an Adjusted OPS+ of 117 for the National League pennant winners that year.
Eisenreich would later win a World Series ring with the Florida Marlins near the end of his career in 1997. The next year, he was traded to Los Angeles in the deal that brought Mike Piazza to the Florida Marlins for a week. He retired for good at the end of the 1998 season.
I don't exactly blame him due to the length of his name, but Eisenreich leaves out a lot of letters when signing autographs.
Who is this? Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim pitcher Jered Weaver What is this? An autographed card from the 2008 Topps Allen & Ginter set Where'd I get it? I purchased it from Anthony, formerly of Mike Pelfrey Collectibles, when he decided to sell his collection last year.
Why is this so special? Few people realize it, but Jered Weaver signed his first professional contract with the Camden Riversharks of the Atlantic League in 2005. The Angels made Weaver the 12th overall pick in the 2004 draft, but he and his agent Scott Boras decided to hold out until the last possible moment to secure their best deal. Part of their strategy was having Weaver join the independent league team.
Weaver quickly made it to the majors in 2006 after just a couple dozen minor league appearances. He finished his rookie year with an 11-2 record and a 2.56 ERA. He has continued to enjoy success.
Last year, Weaver made the All-Star team for the first time. He had a 13-12 record, but pitched much better than that mark indicates. His had a 3.01 ERA, an Adjusted ERA+ of 135 and led the American League with 233 strikeouts.
Weaver's autograph is little more than a sloppy "J" and some loops.
Who is this? Wichita Wingnuts catcher Jeff Christy What is this? An autographed card from the 2010 Wichita Wingnuts team set Where'd I get it? From Zach of Autographed Cards
Why is this so special? No offense to Mr. Christy, but this is a terrible card. It's a boring photo and you can't even see what he looks like. I don't think I've ever seen another card set using a photo like this, so it does deserve some points for uniqueness. :)
Christy was a 6th round draft pick who played exclusively in the Twins organization until last year. Though he made it as far as AAA, Christy was pretty much a backup player after his second season. It seems odd that a relatively high draft pick would not get a longer look, but he just didn't hit.
Christy batted .289 with 1 home run and 39 RBI in 84 games with the Wingnuts last year. That raised his career average to .215.
He's got a fairly legible autograph, but for some reason he made his last name pretty small.
Who is this? Lancaster Barnstormers pitcher Jason Simontacchi What is this? An autographed card from the 2010 Lancaster Barnstormers team set Where'd I get it? Simontacchi signed it for me at a Newark Bears game last year.
Why is this so special? Jason Simontacchi has had a very interesting career in baseball. He was drafted by the Kansas City Royals in the 21st round in 1996, but he only spent two seasons in their minor league system.
In 1998, Simontacchi was 10-2 with a 2.95 ERA for the Springfield Capitals, champions of the independent Frontier League. That got him another shot in affiliated ball, but it didn't work out in the Pittsburgh organization either.
In 2000, Simontacchi pitched in Italy. He also played in the Olympics for the Italian team. In 2001, he returned to America and had a lackluster season in the Minnesota Twins organization.
In 2002, Simontacchi finally had success in affiliated ball. He spent most of the season in the major leagues with the St. Louis Cardinals, winning 11 and losing 5 as a 28-year-old rookie. Simontacchi remained with the Cardinals through 2004, but missed the 2005 season because of a shoulder injury.
In 2006 Simontacchi made his first appearance in the Atlantic League, pitching for the Bridgeport Bluefish. That got him another shot at affiliated ball for 2007. In an injury-plagued season, Simontacchi went 6-7 for the Washington Nationals.
In 2008, Simontacchi returned to the Atlantic League as a member of the Long Island Ducks. I'm not sure if he sat out the 2009 season or if he played in Italy again, but I can't find any stats. Last year, Simontacchi pitched for the Lancaster Barnstormers. He was 5-7 with a 5.78 ERA.
Simontacchi's career 26-17 record may not seem that impressive, but it really is remarkable when you think about his baseball journey.
For a guy with a long name who's signed thousands of autographs over the years, he still has a pretty nice signature too.
Who is this? Long Island Ducks pitcher Jason Norderum What is this? An autographed card from the 2009 Long Island Ducks team set Where'd I get it? Norderum signed it for me at a Newark Bears game last year.
Why is this so special? Jason Norderum began his pro career in the Montreal Expos system in 1999. He advanced as far as AAA in 2006 before being cut loose. Since then, he's played in a variety of independent leagues. I've seen him pitch for both the Lancaster Barnstormers and the Ducks.
Last year, Norderum was 1-1 with a 5.16 ERA in 31 relief appearances for Long Island. His autograph looks a bit like a seismograph reading, don't you think?
Who is this? former Binghamton Mets pitcher Grant Roberts What is this? An autographed card from the 1999 Just Minors set Where'd I get it? From a dealer at the local card show on Sunday How much did it cost? I got it as part of a group of cards for $5
Why is this so special? Grant Roberts was a middle reliever for the New York Mets. From 2000-2004, he appeared in 76 games and posted a 4-4 record with a 4.25 ERA. In the minors, he was a starting pitcher. For the Binghamton Mets in 1999, he was 7-6 with a 4.87 ERA in 23 games.
Roberts' career was plagued by shoulder issues for much of his career. He also had his share of off-field issues.
Who is this? Boston Red Sox hitting coach Dave Magadan What is this? An autographed card from the 1996 Leaf Signature set Where'd I get it? A dealer at the local card show on Sunday How much did it cost? I got it as part of a group of cards for $5
Why is this so special? Here's the second of three autographs I picked up at the card show on Sunday. (I was going to try to keep up as I acquired new ones in 2011, but the mailman brought 13 more Monday - I think I'm just going to get back to posting cards in the order they come up in my scans folder.)
Dave Magadan spent most of his career with the Mets. He was a pretty good player, but he was unlucky in a few respects. He followed Keith Hernandez, one of the most popular players in Mets history. Worse, he was a first baseman who didn't hit home runs.
Magadan did a couple of things very well, though. He got on base and he hit for average. In 701 games for the Mets, Magadan had a .391 on base percentage - that's the second best career mark in team history. His .292 batting average with the Mets is fifth best in the franchise's career lists.
After leaving the Mets, Magadan became a role player, moving around a lot. He spent one season in Chicago, where he hit .254 with a .360 on-base percentage in 78 games.
Magadan batted lefty but threw with his right arm, so I'm not sure if he's right- or left-handed. His autograph looks like it belongs to a stereotypical left-hander, though.
Who is this? former Kansas City Royals closer Dan Quisenberry What is this? A signed card from the 1983 Topps set Where'd I get it? I picked it up from a card show dealer who buys up collections and re-sells the cards How much did it cost? Not much... I got it and a bunch of other cards for $5
Why is this so special? I have my doubts that this card was actually signed by Quisenberry, but I'm not familiar enough with his autograph to have an informed opinion. A look at the PSA-slabbed cards on eBay didn't do much to clarify the matter - just take a look at the variety of autographs there.
If anybody is familiar with Quisenberry's autograph, I'd welcome your opinion. I'd also be interested in seeing photos/scans of items that were signed in-person.
Quisenberry was a submarine-style closer in the early 1980s. A three-time All-Star, Quisenberry led the American League in saves five times and won five Rolaids Relief Man awards. He died in 1998 at the age of 45.
Who is this? former Detroit Tigers pitcher Tim Belcher What is this? An autographed card from the 1994 Pinnacle set Where'd I get it? In November, I wrote to Belcher and asked him to sign it. How much did it cost? Postage, basically
Why is this so special? This is my second autograph of 2011, and I will always remember that it was signed during 1/11 since Belcher chose to add the month and year when he autographed it. He's got a pretty good signature for a modern player, though he did drop some letters from his last name.
Belcher stamped the back of my envelope with this message "Thanks for being a fan of baseball! All the best, Tim." That's an unusual gesture, but kind of nice.
A major league pitcher for 14 season, Belcher retired with a 146-140 lifetime record. His best seasons came early in his career with the Los Angeles Dodgers. He was a member of the starting rotation for the 1988 World Series champions and he led the National League in shutouts (with 8) in 1989.
Belcher also pitched well for the Royals, racking up double digit win totals in each of his three seasons in Kansas City. He only pitched for the Tigers for one season - 1994 - and it was arguably the worst year of his career. In a strike-shortened season, he led the American League with 15 losses.
Keeping that in mind, I'm surprised he signed the card I sent - I would have picked a different one, but it was the only one I had.
Who is this? Long Island Ducks bullpen catcher Jamie Quinn What is this? An autographed card from the 2008 Long Island Ducks team set Where'd I get it? Quinn signed it for me before a Newark Bears game last year.
Why is this so special? Not many teams produce a baseball card for their bullpen catcher. Not every minor league or independent league team even has a bullpen catcher - in those cases, the duty of warming up relief pitchers falls to the backup catcher or a coach.
Quinn did not spend the whole season in the bullpen last year, though. When the Ducks were short a catcher, they added Quinn to the active roster. He appeared in 5 games where he was hitless in 9 at-bats. He did drive in a run.
For a current player, his signature isn't too bad.
Who is this? former Houston Astros outfielder James Mouton What is this? An autograph insert card from the 1994 Signature Rookies set Where'd I get it? I bought it from a dealer at the local baseball card show last year. How much did it cost? $1
Why is this so special? While there had been some attempts at autographed insert cards before Signature Rookies came onto the scene in 1994, they took it to a new level. Every pack had an autograph of a prospect who you hoped would be the next Ken Griffey Jr.
James Mouton may not be a household name for most baseball fans, but he had a better career than many who signed cards for Signature Rookies. He spent parts of 8 seasons in the big leagues as a part-time outfielder, mostly for the Houston Astros. He stole 109 bases despite having only 386 hits during his major league career.
Mouton had a very legible autograph when he signed this card... though I wonder how it looked by the time he reached card #5,250.
Who is this? former San Diego Padres and New York Mets pitcher Frank Seminara What is this? An autographed card from the 1992 Donruss set Where'd I get it? I wrote to Seminara last month and asked him to sign it. How much did it cost? A quarter for the card.
Why is this so special? This is my first autograph of 2011, arriving in my mailbox on Jan. 5th. Since Seminara only had one Mets "card" (a spring training program insert that I wasn't about to cut out or risk losing), this will be going into my all-time Mets roster autograph collection.
Seminara is a Brooklyn native and grew up as a Mets fan. He was drafted in the 12th round of the 1988 draft by the New York Yankees, but he never played for them. In 1990, the San Diego Padres selected him in the minor league phase of the Rule V draft.
Two years later, Seminara made his major league debut and finished 7th in the Rookie of the Year balloting after posting a 9-4 record in 18 starts for the Padres. Seminara didn't enjoy as much success in 1993, so he spent most of his time in the majors in the bullpen.
That December, the Mets swapped prospect Marc Kroon for Seminara in a deal that also included four other minor leaguers. (Kroon never had much success in the majors, but he became a star closer in Japan.)
Seminara appeared in 10 games for the 1994 Mets, losing his only 2 decisions. Except for one spot start, all of his appearances came out of the bullpen. He continued pitching in the minor leagues through 1995, but never again reached the majors.
Who is this? Houston Astros outfielder Hunter Pence What is this? An autographed card from the 2007 Topps 52 set Where'd I get it? I purchased it from Anthony of Mike Pelfrey Collectibles when he decided to sell his collection last year.
Why is this so special? In 2008, I decided that I would try to collect a signed baseball card set. I chose the 2007 Topps 52 set because it had a classic design, was relatively small and only included players who were entering their second year of major league service. Even that proved to be too difficult... I haven't worked on the project actively since 2008, but I still pick up cards from it when I get the chance.
Pence made his major league debut in 2007 and finished third in the National League Rookie of the Year balloting to Ryan Braun and Troy Tulowitzki. He's been a regular in the Astros lineup ever since and was named to the All-Star team in 2009.
Pence has a surprisingly legible autograph for a modern player.
Who is this? Bridgeport Bluefish utility player Hiram Bocachica What is this? An autographed card from the 2003 Topps Total set Where'd I get it? Bocachica signed it for me at a Newark Bears game last year. How much did it cost? I got the card out of a pack in 2003
Why is this so special? This was one of the last baseball cards I got signed in person in 2010.
Bocachica has been playing professional baseball since 1994. He spent parts of 8 seasons in the major leagues and two more in Japan. In 2008, Bocachica hit 20 home runs for the Saitama Seibu Lions and helped them to win the Japan Series.
Last year, he split the season between Bridgeport in the Atlantic League and the Broncos de Reynosa in Mexico. For the Bluefish, he batted .282 with 8 home runs and 32 RBI in 69 games.
Who is this? San Diego Padres closer Heath Bell What is this? An autograph insert card from the 2010 Topps T-206 set Where'd I get it? I bought it from a dealer at a local card show last year How much did it cost? $5
Why is this so special? For the past two seasons, Heath Bell has gone to the All-Star Game and won the National League Rolaids Relief Man Award. Before taking over as the Padres' closer, Bell served as Trevor Hoffman's setup man.
From 2004 to 2006, Bell was a member of the New York Mets organization. The team bounced him between AAA and the majors and never gave him much of a chance to establish a role in the bullpen. After the 2006 season, Omar Minaya traded him and Royce Ring for Jon Adkins and Ben Johnson - two players that had no impact in New York.
Bell's autograph has not changed much since his days with the Mets. It's easier to read than most current players'.
Who is this? former Minnesota Twins shortstop Greg Gagne What is this? An autographed card from the 1988 Donruss set Where'd I get it? Last year, I wrote to Gagne and asked him to sign it. How much did it cost? Postage, basically
Why is this so special? Greg Gagne was the shortstop for two World Championship Minnesota Twins teams. He spent 15 seasons in the big leagues - 10 with the Twins, 3 with the Kansas City Royals and 2 with the Los Angeles Dodgers. During that time, he appeared in 1,798 games and had 1,440 hits.
Last year, he was inducted into the Minnesota Twins Hall of Fame.
It's a bit difficult to read Gagne's signature, but his initials seem recognizable enough. It looks like he may have included a Bible verse inscription, but I can't quite make it out.
Here is a 1994 Pinnacle card picturing him with the Royals that he signed for me last year as well:
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.