Posts Tagged ‘Topps 52 Rookies’

topps 52s… dodgers blues

October 20, 2010

The focus of this blog post is simply to feature a few autographed Topps 52 Rookies baseball cards of former Los Angeles Dodgers players. I had originally planned a rant on the terrible trade that sent Tony Abreu to the Arizona Diamondbacks at the end of the 2009 season, then decided that probably the only people who even care about that deal wouldn’t want to think about it anyway. Besides, the Dodgers are not the only Major League team making bad trades. Thus, you are spared that discussion and rewarded with a few images of nice blue Sharpie signatures on baseball cards that are ideal for autographing.

Tony Abreu. (2007 Topps 52 – no. 9)

The chrome variant of these cards also takes a nice Sharpie signature after having the surface quickly treated with baby powder. Chrome cards signed without surface preparation have a tendency to bubble and smear, and generally look rather crappy, so do not skip that important step in your graphing routine.

Tony Abreu. (2007 Topps 52 Chrome – no. TCRC 10)

Eric Hull did spend a few days on the Dodgers bench during the 2007 season, but did not actually appear in a major league game until later in the season with the Houston Astros. I believe Hull is currently retired.

Eric Hull (2007 Topps 52 – no. 128)

One of the kool things about baseball cards is that they rarely fail to teach you something new, assuming you are willing to look for that information. For instance, did you know that Eric Stults was born exactly six days after Eric Hull?

Eric Stults (2007 Topps 52 – no. 106)

Eric Stults spent the 2010 season playing for the Hiroshima Toyo Carp. I’ve tried following American ballplayers as they continue their careers overseas, but never successfully. Somehow those stats seem to get lost in translation.

– Kris

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the fifth dementia

December 27, 2009

When the fifty-two is signed in blue
It rises above all other cards
As Alberto takes the mound
six-four-three’s fill scorecards

This is the blogging of the card of A. Arias
The card of A. Arias
A. Arias!
A. Arias!

Alberto Arias (2007 Topps 52 Rookies – no. 82)

– Kris

what the morrow will bring

December 23, 2009

As the shortened days of this decade wind down, I am reminded that one of my goals of 2009 was to work at least one quote by Horace into this humble but lovable baseball card blog. With unofficial rumors swirling about a potential trade of two Brandons between the Seattle Mariners and the Toronto Blue Jays that would send Morrow to the Great White North in exchange for League, I thought this would be the best day to seize.

“Cease to ask what the morrow will bring forth, and set down as gain each day that fortune grants.” – Quentis Horatius Flaccus (translated, of course)

Brandon Morrow (2007 Topps 52 Rookies – no. 59)

I was fortunate to have gotten Morrow’s 2007 Topps 52 Rookie card gotten autographed in person this past season while the Tacoma Rainiers were in the Duke City for a three-game series with the Isotopes. A huge fan of the Topps 52 product line, I particularly enjoy the cards that feature images captured during Spring Training. In this case, Morrow’s photo appears to have been taken at the Mariner’s Spring Training complex in Peoria, Arizona.

– Kris

paul’s random trade

November 29, 2008

I recently completed a seemingly random trade of a fistful of autographed baseball cards with a Mets fan from New Jersey. As proof that “things” happen much more quickly back east than they do here in the dusty southwest, I offer that the cards Paul shipped were waiting in my mailbox upon my return from the post office the very afternoon I sent his. Heck, he even managed to blog about the completed trade before I got around to it.

I have no intention on posting images of each of the cards I added to my collection, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t appreciate the following: Wayne Krenchicki – 1982 Topps, 1985 Topps and 1987 Topps; Webster Garrison – 1995 Signature Rookies Preview; Shane Heams – 2000 Upper Deck Victory Team USA; and Kevin Nicholson – 2002 Arizona Fall League. The truth of the matter is that Paul is such a well-organized trader he even took care of scanning and posting all of the cards he sent!

I really should include a scan of the Kevin Nicholson Arizona Fall League card, but that is a can of worms that is going to have to remain sealed this evening. Not only are those cards seldom discussed (possibly because the AFL quit producing sets for some bizarre reason)- but also because the Arizona Fall League is one of the main reasons for my return to collecting baseball cards. The Fall League also served as a springboard that launched me into the world of in person autograph collecting as well as the hazards of self-inflicted Sharpie tattoos all over my hands, arms, clothing, etc. Yes, the AFL is a digression best saved for a snowy day at some point this winter.

Here then are my two favorite autographed cards that I received from the innkeeper at Paul’s Random Stuff:

petrick_billy_07_topps_52s_124

This 2007 Topps 52 Rookies Billy Petrick card (no. 124) is already getting along famously with the other 96+ cards I have gotten autographed from the 2006 and 2007 sets. Again, I urge any readers who may have an extra autographed card from these sets to contact me in order to open a potential trade dialogue. Or if you see any of these cards listed on someone’s trade bait list, please either shoot me an email, or send them a link to my list of autographed Topps 52 Rookies available for trade.

such_dick_1971_topps_283

While reading down Paul’s list of cards available for trade, this 1971 Topps Dick Such card (no. 283) stuck out like a sore thumb, and I knew it had to be mine. I’m glad I had enough Mets, ex-Mets or future ex-Mets cards to offer in trade. That may not have been the case if there had been a Rusty Staub auto on the list.

If you haven’t already checked out Paul’s ever-shrinking Mets autograph want list, I recommend that you do so… PRONTO.

– Kris

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

October 27, 2008

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

topps 52s autos: alfonzo to vandenhurk

August 5, 2008

I believe I will sit and write a spell while the most recent baker’s dozen autographs I’ve gotten on Topps 52s cards cool on the windowsill. Only time will tell whether these will represent the final harvest of the summer since the Albuquerque Isotopes season wraps up at home this month. The Isotopes will be facing teams that have already visited the Duke City this year, so if nothing else, I will be able to target players with cards in this series to use as potential trade material.

Eliezer Alfonzo (2006 – no. 59)

After slugging a game winning two-run bomb off Orlando Hernandez (New York Mets) in his first major league at bat, Eliezer Alfonzo finished the 2006 season as the San Francisco Giants primary catcher. Alfonzo is currently one of the catchers employed by the Fresno Grizzlies. A proven clutch hitter, Eliezer is prepared to join and contribute to the parent club at the drop of a hat. Alfonzo will happily sign two autographs per fan prior to the first pitch, so please… no shoving!

Travis Buck (2007 – no. 11)

Travis Buck seldom signs autographs for fans before a baseball game. He doesn’t sign that frequently after games either, but when he does, it is one autograph per person. It is worth noting that Buck employs a sort of Mike Scioscia strategy to his autographing. That means that if you want his signature, be prepared to walk alongside Travis as he makes his way to the team van, and hope the distance is great enough that he gets to you before he reaches the van. Do not expect him to smile like he is on his card! Buck is presently an outfielder with the Sacramento RiverCats (Oakland A’s) who lead the Pacific Coast League Pacific South division by 5 games.

Chris Denorfia (2006 – no. 9)

No longer in the Cincinnati Reds organization, Denorfia has packed his bats and his knack for stringing together interesting hitting streaks and moved to Sacramento where he helps patrol the RiverCats outfield. Denorfia is a nice guy, but I don’t think this will be the last you hear of him.

Travis Ishikawa (2006 – no. 141)

Ishikawa doesn’t appear to be immune from the streak either; hitting seven homers in his past eight games. I realize that it is early in August, but this dude is hitting .615 with nine RBI for the month! Honestly, I’m surprised Travis even had the time to sign for me given all the base running he’s been doing.

Justin Knoedler (2006 – no. 181)

Originally drafted as a pitcher, Knoedler was converted to catcher by the San Francisco Giants. Now with the Sacramento RiverCats, it doesn’t appear that the Oakland As have any intention of converting him back to pitcher in spite of the fact that he still hits like one. Justin is a very friendly player, and would be a welcome addition to my Razzball fantasy team.

Jay Marshall (2007 – no. 112)

If you are looking to get a Jay Marshall autograph these days, don’t strain your eyes looking for the dude depicted on the front of his card at Sacramento RiverCats’ games. Instead, be on the watch for Serpico. He’s your man! Catch Jay at the right time after a game, and he’ll sign anything you hand him.

Patrick Misch (2007 – no. 156)

A pitcher for the Fresno Grizzlies, Misch will sign before any game that he isn’t starting. Of course I’m talking about Triple A baseball here, and not at major league ballparks. Still, I’d bet that Pat remains as fan-friendly whenever he gets his call back up with the Giants.

Dan Ortmeier (2006 – no. 188)

Back to the fascinating topic of Razzball… I think Dan was drafted pretty early in our fantasy league- not long after I picked up Rich Aurilia. Battling back from a broken finger at the beginning of the season, Ortmeier has amassed a .128 batting average in 86 plate appearances in the minor leagues, scoring six times and driving in four runs (including himself twice via the long ball). I’d say he’s ready for the call up! Even Dan’s autograph is Razztastic!

Eric Patterson (2007 – no. 155)

I didn’t get this card autographed when the Iowa Cubs were in town the first time because Eric had just been called up to Chicago. I also was not able to get it signed the second time the Cubs passed through as they had just traded Eric to Oakland. Luckily, the A’s don’t seem to have a better idea of how to handle Patterson than did the Cubs, so they shipped him off to Sacramento in time for their trip to Albuquerque. Eric made no attempt to disguise the fact that he didn’t care much for the Cubs while signing his cards. He even went as far to suggest that we might as well throw them away.

Eric Patterson and Felix Pie (2007 – no. DD8)

Similar to the case of Eric Patterson, I missed the chance to get Pie the first time the Cubs visited Isotopes Park this summer because he hurt his hand swinging during the first game. Felix was shipped off to Arizona where they iced it down for several days, but he was back with the Cubs in time for their last visit.

Multiple player cards are frustrating to keep organized in a meaningful way that allows you to avoid missing guys when they come to town. However, the feeling you get as you complete these cards makes it worth the while. Luckily I was able to complete this card when I got Patterson’s signature one week after Pie’s- so I really didn’t have time to misplace the card.

Danny Putnam (2007 – no. 42)

This is one of numerous reasons I’m not a professional baseball manager. Putnam is a great kid, and I would be tempted to have the Sacramento RiverCats lineup cards preprinted with his name on them. What I don’t understand is how the left-handed hitting Putnam’s .324 batting average against lefties is a full 80 points higher than his average against righties. Clearly I’m missing something.

Guillermo Rodriguez (2007 – no. 77)

Rodriguez is a solid catcher for the Fresno Grizzlies. He tends to hit better in California than on the road, and even the thin air of Albuquerque failed to awaken his bat as he went 2 for 12 with no runs, zero RBI, and handsful of cards signed. Guillermo is definitely no slouch with the Sharpie!

Rick Vandenhurk (2007 – no. 123)

Rick was recently sent to Albuquerque from Florida after Marlins officials realized I needed to get his Topps 52 rookie card autographed for my collection. I didn’t get a chance to speak directly to Rick though as he was busy talking on his phone while he signed a couple of cards for me after a game. I don’t speak Dutch, so I can’t tell you what he was talking about. Possibly he was ordering tulip bulbs to plant across the warning track at Isotopes Park. Another fantastic signer- Rick will autograph cards until your Sharpie runs dry!

Perhaps you are a new reader to this blog and are just discovering that there is another person who is trying to pull together as nearly complete of an autographed set of these Topps 52s rookie cards as possible… and are finding it difficult to believe that this person also enjoys trading? Well, it is absolutely true! You should not hesitate to check out my trade list posted on the Aardvark Trading Co. website. As they say in certain reruns on the Game Channel, “Let’s Make a Deal!”

– Kris

topps 52s autographs

July 9, 2008

A full month has passed since I last included an update of the Topps 52s cards I’ve gotten autographed in person this season. I had planned on either listing these alphabetically or by player height, but since Mario has been patiently waiting to see what Mike Rabelo’s “in-person” signature looks like, I will begin with this his card.

Mike Rabelo (2007 – no. 133)

The conversation amongst graphers is always interesting when a new player gets added to the roster. This is especially true when discussing new players with big league experience. Has anyone gotten him before? Does he sign? Is he nice? What cards do you have for him? Is he actually in town, or is this one of those “paper moves?” There was a considerable level of concern among the Albuquerque Autographing Society that Mike Rabelo may not be a great signer after being sent down to Triple-A from the Florida Marlins. Although I’m sure he’d prefer to be playing for the Marlins, Mike proved to be extremely pleasant to talk to. Mike didn’t even balk when asked to sign a few autographs after a game.


Brayan Pena
(2006 – no. 213)

Brayan Pena is currently a catcher with the Omaha Royals. “The Cuban Ichiro” has 14 at bats with the Kansas City Royals so far in 2008.

Gustavo Molina (2007 – no. 118)

Gustavo Molina is currently catching for the New Orleans Zephyrs. He does have a total of seven at bats in the major leagues this season. Molina was very accommodating. After I thanked him for his autograph, Gustavo thanked me for “coming out to the game.”


Ruddy Lugo
(2006 – no. 62)

A starting pitcher for the New Orleans Zephyrs, Lugo has amassed a record of 6-8 with an ERA of 5.21 over 17 starts so far this season. As pictured on this interesting card, Julio’s brother prepares to deliver his mysterious “fog ball.”

Rich Hill (2006 – no. 71)

As of this posting, Rich Hill is pitching for the Arizona League Cubs. I got this card autographed a couple of weeks ago when he passed through the Duke City with Triple-A Iowa. It’s really more of a rehearsed scribble than a signature, but I understand that Rich has been preoccupied trying to figure out what was happening on the mound.

Eude Brito (2006 – no. 215)

Eude Brito is currently pitching in relief for the Double-A Binghamton Mets. I was able to get Eude’s signature on the Fourth when he came to Albuquerque with the Triple-A New Orleans Zephyrs (New York Mets). Brito didn’t have much to say, but took no offence when asked to sign his card.

Ryan Shealy (2006 – no. 129)

Six-foot-five Ryan Shealy provides an excellent target for Omaha Royals infielders. A single error in 62 games played thus far this season has undoubtedly resulted in his teammates feeling confident that Shealy will scoop up anything they toss over in his general vicinity. Shealy also leads the O-Royals as they head into the Triple-A All-Star break with a dozen homers.


Luis Figueroa
(2006 – no. 237)

Luis Figueroa is currently the everyday shortstop for the Triple-A Iowa Cubs. Figueroa is a swell guy and inks a nice signature. However, it would be nice Luis would take it easier on Isotopes pitching when the Cubs return for a four-game set this weekend.

Anderson Hernandez (2006 – no. 160)

Anderson Hernandez is currently the everyday shortstop for the Triple-A New Orleans Zephyrs. I believe he spent a couple of weeks on “fidrych experience,” my 2006 fantasy baseball team, while up for brunch with the New York Mets. This is a great card, and Anderson stepped to plate and lined a shot up the middle with this signature!


Billy Butler
(2007 – no. 55)

Butler was recalled to the Kansas City Royals soon after I got his autograph while he was playing for Triple-A Omaha. Thanks to Topps for finding an excuse to soil the back of Butler’s card by adding a reference to aRod.

Billy Butler (2007 – no. DD11)

Hmmm… this image of Billy Butler seems oddly familiar. It appears that Topps blew their “creativity budget” looking at aRod’s stats- leaving little for Butler’s Dynamic Duo card with Alex Gordon beyond a quickie cut-and-paste Photoshop job. Thanks again Topps!

Tune in next month for another exciting adventure in the life of some lucky Topps 52 Rookies cards! Really the only new teams I will see during the remainder of this summer are the Sacramento RiverCats (Oakland A’s) and Fresno Grizzlies (San Francisco Giants)- but you never know who will get traded, and where they may end up.

Once again I would like to invite any reader who has duplicate autographed Topps 52s cards to trade to check out my trade list posted on the Aardvark Trading Co. website.

– Kris

topps 52s roundup

June 6, 2008

I will have to keep this latest installment of autographed Topps 52 Rookies cards brief- not because I have fallen out of favor with these cards, but due to the fact that I haven’t had the good fortune to get many more of them signed in person since we last chatted.

Robert Andino (2006 – no. 133)

After breaking spring training with the Florida Marlins, Robert hit only .182 in 22 plate appearances over 21 games. Robert was recently reassigned to the Albuquerque Isotopes where he not only has been given the opportunity to play every day, but curiously was also named team captain. Over 38 at bats in 10 games, Andino has a batting average of .237 with one homer and 4 runs driven in. Although he has three stolen bases, Robert has also been caught stealing three times. Andino has yet to be charged with an error this season.

Brian Barden (2007 – no. 21)

Barden is a classy player, and a great signer. He was also one of the players featured on an awesome program on the MOJO Channel a couple of years ago when he was a member of the Tucson Sidewinders (Arizona Diamondbacks). Now with the Memphis Redbirds (St. Louis Cardinals), Barden is hitting at a clip of .310 with 4 homers, 22 RBI, and 3 stolen bases over 210 at bats. However, it is difficult to overlook the nine errors Brian has committed at short. But like I said, he’s a great guy!

Ron Flores (2006 – no. 219)

Have I mentioned how much I enjoy cards of Oakland Athletics players that show Papago Butte in the background? Yes, I have. Well, here’s another one. Now a member of the St. Louis Cardinals organization, Flores will sign two cards per person every day. That said, I recommend that you do your best to avoid handing him two of the same card, or trying to get him to sign twice in the same day. With just under 30 innings pitched for the Memphis Redbirds this season, this 5’10” southpaw has a record of 1-2 with a couple of saves and an ERA of 3.34. Flores has racked up 36 strikeouts while allowing only 10 walks.

Tony Gwynn Jr. (2006 – no. 53)

I really appreciate the Milwaukee Brewers brass for sending Tony Jr. back to the Nashville Sounds just before they returned to the Duke City for the second (and final) time this season. Never a guaranteed signer, it was excellent to have Tony autograph this card for my collection. Gwynn is hitting .354 at the Triple A level through 48 at bats.

Ross Wolf (2007 – no. 172)

Fear not… this is not the card that is being offered to the winner of an ongoing contest at Wax Heaven. This one has a permanent home in my personal collection. Wolf began the 2008 season on the Albuquerque Isotopes disabled list. Since recently being activated, Ross has picked up two wins and has been charged with a loss while pitching 5 innings in relief. He has yet to yield an earned run at Isotopes Park through 4 innings this season. Although Wolf has yet to earn a win at the Major League level, it is difficult to imagine that he won’t take care of that at some point this season.

Given that I do not anticipate getting the opportunity to get any “new” cards from these two series autographed in person before the Iowa Cubs roll into town at the end of the month, this would be a swell opportunity for anyone who is working on getting these cards autographed to check out my TRADE list and make me a TRADE OFFER.

is this (wax) heaven?

June 2, 2008

No, but it is a link to a contest that Aardvark Trading Co. is currently sponsoring over at Wax Heaven. Of course, if I need to inform you that Wax Heaven is one of the most popular baseball card blogs in the business, then you obviously have neither been doing your homework nor copying from your neighbor.

Without repeating the terms of the contest here (you will need to hustle over to Wax Heaven to learn how to enter), I will let you know that the prize is a PAIR of autographed Topps 52s baseball cards. One of the cards is Paul Hoover’s from the 2006 set (no. 212), and the other is Ross Wolf’s from the 2007 set (no. 172). Both players are presently on the Albuquerque Isotopes roster, and waiting patiently for THE phone to ring.

In my mind, it makes perfect sense to sponsor a contest with Mario’s readers given his “history,” and one might even wager “future,” with the Florida Marlins organization.

The only thing that is confusing is why you are still here reading when I’ve already told you that your only shot at winning is dependent on your visiting Wax Heaven immediately, if not sooner.

Good luck!

UPDATE

Okay, the Wax Heaven contest is officially closed (but not ended). Be sure to dig the special shout out to the Aardvark Trading Co. in this Wax Heaven video blog.

– Kris

in person autos – topps 52s – 2007 pitchers

May 26, 2008

Those of you dying to see which 2007 Topps 52 Rookies cards I’ve gotten autographed by pitchers are in luck. Those of you wishing I would move on to something else will have to wait a while longer.

Jack Cassel (2007 – no. 173)

A right-handed starter for the Round Rock Express (Houston Astros), Cassel absolutely schooled Isotopes batters recently- holding them to a pair of earned runs over eight solid innings while improving his season Triple A record to 4-1. Cassel is maintaining a 2.17 ERA, going 45.2 innings over 7 starts against some pretty impressive PCL club lineups. Jack has struck out 24 batters while walking only 10. I guess what I’m trying to say is this… the next time he gets called up to pitch for Houston, fantasy managers should not hesitate to claim him. Jack also has a bother Justin who is a pitcher with the Birmingham Barons (Chicago White Sox) and another brother Matt who plays football for the New England Patriots.

Eulogio De la Cruz (2007 – no. 63)

“Frankie” was called up from Albuquerque for a spot start against the San Francisco Giants this past Sunday afternoon. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that his performance that resulted in two earned runs via four walks and a pair of hits over three innings earned him a flight back to Albuquerque. De la Cruz currently leads the Albuquerque Isotopes pitching staff with a record of 6-2, a 4.35 ERA and a 1.45 WHIP. De la Cruz has logged 49.2 innings over 9 starts, striking out 40 batters while issuing 19 walks, hitting a couple of chaps, and serving up a pair of homers. I’m betting his next start in the majors will be better, but I’m not placing any wagers on when that will be.

Juan Gutierrez (2007 – no. 163)

So far this season, Gutierrez has been hit hard and often during his 10 starts for the Tucson Sidewinders (Arizona Diamondbacks), resulting in a record of 1-8 and an ERA of 5.65 over 51 innings. Though off to a less than stellar start, Gutierrez remains in good spirits and doesn’t seem to mind taking a few minutes before a game to sign cards for fans. Other players (not named here) could certainly learn a little by observing how Juan behaves when not on the mound.

Marcus Gwyn
(2007 – no. 177)

A middle reliever for the Isotopes, Gwyn is maintaining an ERA of 4.85 over 26 innings in 18 appearances this season. Marcus has been averaging a strikeout about every third batter, and issuing walks just under one every other inning. Gwyn’s win-loss record this season remains a blank slate.

Neal Musser (2007 – no. 132)

A relief pitcher with the Omaha Royals (Kansas City Royals), this southpaw currently has a season record of 0-4 with an ERA of 3.55 and a strikeout to walk ratio of just over 2:1. Musser has logged 25.1 innings over 17 appearances so far in 2008.

Jailen Peguero (2007 – no. 66)

Blast! Another smudged auto!!! I really liked the signature of this Tucson Sidewinders (Arizona Diamondbacks) reliever- before it got messed up. Well, if he doesn’t start pitching better than he has to start this season, changes are he’ll be bouncing around in the minor leagues long enough for me to obtain another card and try again the next time he passes thru town.

Connor Robertson (2007 – no. 149)

Yet another relief pitcher for the Tucson Sidewinders (Arizona Diamondbacks), Connor Robertson was extremely pleasant when I asked him for an autograph. I especially like this card, as well as all of the other Oakland Athletics cards that feature photos shot during spring training and the infamous Papago Butte in the background.

Brad Salmon (2007 – no. 116)

I didn’t actually manage to get this card signed myself as the only day I had off to get autographs from Omaha Royals (Kansas City Royals) players, Salmon was in a rush to get warmed up so he could pitch erratically in relief against the Isotopes- somehow yielding only two earned runs in two innings while walking four batters and coughing up four hits. Obviously that was more important than signing cards for a few fans. Instead, I was able to acquire this autographed card in a trade with one of the other graphers.

Daniel Barone (2007 – no. 169)

Before anyone gets upset and emails me claiming that I am fluffing my blog entries by reposting autographs, please read my explanation. Yes, I’ve posted Daniel Barone’s card before, but not this exact one. I’m posting another of his autographed cards in order to remind you that I am happy to make trades with anyone else working on getting as many of the Topps 52s autographed as possible. Please refer to the trade rules and lists posted on the Aardvark Trading Company website, and keep in mind that I am only interested in autographs signed in blue Sharpie.