topps 52s in-person autos: 2008 season wrap-up

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It appears that I finally found enough spare time to sort out the rest of the Topps 52s that I got autographed this season and thought I’d post an entry about them in an attempt to generate new and renewed interest in trading for this particular product.

If you are hoping I will list these cards by player height, this is your lucky day. After you are done reading, I suggest you run out to the nearest convenience store and purchase a lottery ticket.

Paul LoDuca (2007 – no. DF12)

LoDuca returned to the Duke City for a short stint near the end of the 2008 Albuquerque Isotopes season. In addition to hitting practically anything and everything that was pitched while he was in the batters’ box, Paul also put on a catching clinic that included a number of dazzling plays while serving as the Isotopes backstop before being called up to the Florida Marlins to finish the year.

LoDuca’s approach to dealing with fans proved that he is a class act, and helped make him appear to actually stand as tall as 5’10”- his height listed on the back of his card. I understand that Paul owns a barn of race horses- something I intend to ask him more about if he ever happens to return to Albuquerque, say as a coach for the Dodgers.

Joselo Diaz (2007 – no. 211)

Jose is currently home in the Dominican Republic playing winter ball and I assume trying not to think too much about his 2008 season. The 6’0” right-handed pitcher was more than happy to sign his 52 Topps baseball card for me during a rain delay between the Oklahoma Redhawks (Texas Rangers) and the Isotopes. Interestingly, I just noticed that Jose’s birthday is April 13th- the day after Paul LoDuca’s. Baseball cards are so kool!

Tim Corcoran (2006 – no. 230)

This 6’2” right-handed hurler broke into the majors with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays during the 2005 season. Following in the footsteps of his younger brother Roy, Tim wanted to experience the challenge of pitching at altitude in the foothills of the Sandia Mountains so he signed a minor league contract with the Florida Marlins. Amazingly, Tim maintained his lowest ERA of the season in the thin air of Albuquerque, where he performed better than either Jupiter or Carolina. For those of you scoring April birthdays, Tim was born on April 15th. It is also worth noting, that I never encountered either of the Corcoran boys after a game when they weren’t sporting a grin that stretched from ear to ear.

Kelvin Jimenez (2007 – no. 122)

Kelvin Jimenez is a 6’2” relief pitcher in the St. Louis Cardinals organization. He is currently home in the Dominican Republic- presumably celebrating his 28th birthday (TODAY) with family and friends. Kelvin signed my 52 Topps card while in Albuquerque with the Memphis Redbirds in the middle of August. I don’t believe there is any correlation between the fact that he signed a couple of cards for me before a game, then went on to cough up five earned runs through three and two-thirds innings over a three-game stretch- elevating his season ERA to 2.92 over 52 innings.

Brendan Ryan (2007 – no. 153)

How could you not like a ballplayer who has the nickname of “Boog” and enjoys playing wiffle ball? Ryan, a 6’2” shortstop, had a rough time stringing together enough quality at bats to justify the St. Louis Cardinals carrying him on their roster all season, but his demotion to Triple-A Memphis was well-timed in that it provided me with an opportunity to get his 52 Topps card autographed in person. Don’t correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t that really what it is all about?

Hanley Ramirez (2006 – no. 77)

I know what you must be thinking- “When exactly did Hanley Ramirez make an appearance in Albuquerque this summer, and why did you wait until the end of October to tell me about it?”

Relax… it isn’t really Hanley Ramirez pictured on the card, but rather 6’3” right-handed reliever Carlos M. Martinez. How’s that again? Best I can figure, Topps screwed up (again). I asked Carlos to autograph the card after a game this past summer, and he was more than happy to oblige.

Technically, Martinez had no business on a baseball card from the Topps 52 series because he didn’t make his major league debut until this season, but what is a collector to do with when Topps hands them lemons? Besides, what are the odds of me ever getting Hanley to ever sign a card- let alone an error card?

At any rate, Carlos Martinez is a great kid with potential to carve out a nice career in the major leagues. If you are planning a vacation to the Dominican Republic to watch some winter ball, be sure to take your Hanley Ramirez ’06 Topps 52 card to get Carlos’ autograph.

As of this posting, I have gotten 96 different cards from the Topps 52 series autographed in person. I have also gotten 2 chrome cards autographed in person and 1.5 of the dynamic duo cards signed. Sure, it will take a Herculean effort to get the majority of these cards signed, but I figure it is a project worthy of the time it will take, and will be vastly more satisfying than busting boxes and packs of new products that I don’t care for as much simply because they are available.

I KNOW there are at least a couple of other collectors working on getting these cards autographed that I have yet to reach out to in an effort to establish long-term trading relationships, so that is one of my projects for this winter. If this sounds like you, PLEASE check out my recently updated autographed Topps 52s trade list posted on the Aardvark Trading Co. website.

– Kris

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