Thursday, May 8, 2008

2008 Finest Josh Anderson

Special sneak preview to force me to write this post tomorrow!

Who is this? Astros Braves outfielder Josh Anderson.

What is this? An autograph card from 2008 Topps Finest, card #159.

Where'd I get it? The Bay of E.

How much did it cost? $2.25. Or $2.50. Something like that. Too lazy to look it up right now.

Why is this so special? Last offseason when Andruw Jones was dumped like a sack of old rubbish, the Braves started looking around for potential replacements. The consensus for Andruw's ultimate replacement was Jordan Schaefer, who was supposed to be Grady Sizemore with gold glove defense. Jordan hadn't had too much seasoning in the minors though so other options were considered to help bridge the few months it would take for Jordan to roar through the minors and jump into center field at the Ted like Dale Murphy in his prime. The first move they made was to swap reliever Oscar Villareal to the 'Stros for Josh. Oscar came over in the Johnny Estrada deal from Arizona and earned the nickname "The Vulture" for his propensity to end up with cheap wins in middle relief that should have gone to more deserving starting pitchers.

Josh became one of a small herd of "Great glove, great speed. weak bat" minor league outfielders competing for what was now a backup outfield job since they picked up Mark Kotsay and his tweaky back. Braves farmhand Gregor Blanco eventually won the job and has played well enough to steal some at bats away from Matt Diaz. Josh is playing very well at Richmond, but Kotsay will probably have to end up in traction before he gets a call-up. Of course Jordan Schaefer was supposed to be banging down the clubhouse door by now. Unfortunately he got sent down to the minors and got caught trying to put a folded dollar bill into the HGH machine. If only he had exact change he might not have gotten suspended. Frank Wren has done a good job with the team so far, but he hasn't learned an important lesson from his mentor. When you try to pull a pump and dump scheme on a "hot prospect" you have to make sure you pull off the dump after the pump.

I got this card in a righteous snit trying to prove that I could get the approximate contents of a Finest mini box for way less than the local hobby shops were charging. I succeeded, mostly, although I'm still a couple common cards short of a box. That is true in all areas of my life so no big deal. The Braves basically have three "rookies" with autographs sprinkled liberally though out the early sets and I already had sigs of Brandon Jones and Clint Sammons. Interestingly enough, all three Braves official MLB rookies didn't make the team out of spring training and have not played a single inning in the majors this year. This is a decent enough card though, Josh's signature is a little squiggly but distinctive, the auto is on the card (increasingly a rarity) and it's a refractor so I can actually scan the thing. The thing that bugs me about it is it still has Josh not only in an Astros uni, but still has Astros as the team! Did Topps not get the memo about the trade? It could be worse though, just ask Brandon Jones.

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