An Auto A Day … #6

Posted in An Auto A Day with tags , , , , , , , on August 24, 2014 by Cardboard Icons

I’ve got a thing for former players who turn manager/coach. This is not a new trend, but it’s interesting for me to see this these days as I clearly remember some of the players-turned managers/coaches when they first came into Major League Baseball.

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Such is the case with Torey Lovullo. He was somewhat of a prospect with the Tigers. The thing I remember most about him was having rookie cards in 1989 products … I pulled a ton of them while hunting for Griffey rookies of course. He spent part of eight seasons in the Majors with seven different teams before ending his MLB career in 1999.

Lovullo’s baseball career, however, didn’t stop as a player. Two years after retirement he got into managing and coaching and worked his way through the Cleveland Indians minor league system. He then followed current Boston Red Sox manager John Farrell to the Toronto Blue Jays and then from Toronto to Boston, where he is a bench coach. Lovullo was a top candidate for the Chicago Cubs managerial gig in 2010 and it’s probably only a matter of time before he gets a manager gig in the majors.

As noted, Lovullo has rookies in 1989, including in the high series of Upper Deck. He has a single certified autograph: 1996 Leaf Signature Extended.

An Auto A Day … #5

Posted in An Auto A Day with tags , , , , , on August 23, 2014 by Cardboard Icons

Here’s another solid Major Leaguer who used his skill set on the field to help him get a job in the dugout.

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Brad Ausmus, a three-time Gold Glove winner and an all-star, spent 18 seasons as a Big League catcher. His career started in 1993 with the San Diego Padres and ran through 2010 with the Los Angeles Dodgers. And just three years after retirement, he found himself as the skipper of one of the best teams in Major League Baseball, the Detroit Tigers.

Often regarded as one of the game’s nicest guys, Ausmus proved to be the same to fans as he frequently signed Through The Mail (TTM). That said, how does a guy spent nearly two decades in the majors — a time frame that coincides with a book in certified autographed in the hobby — yet he only has one signed card (1996 Leaf Signature Autographs), with two parallels of the same. Ausmus only has one true rookie card as well, a 1992 Topps card that he shares with three other guys.

An Auto A Day … #4

Posted in An Auto A Day with tags , , , , , on August 22, 2014 by Cardboard Icons

If you were a baseball fan after the strike of 1994, you surely remember that the Montreal Expos (which later became the Washington Nationals) were one of the better teams in baseball at the time, and in 1995 they had a hell of a left handed phenom on their hands by the name of Carlos Perez.

IMG_2984The brother of two Major Leaguers — both of whom were right handed — Carlos Perez was a flamboyant pitcher during his rookie season in 1995 — he made the all-star team that season –and after each strikeout, he’d do this funky twitch movement on the mound to celebrate his punch outs. Some people liked it; others hated it. Go figure.  At the time SportsCenter was really the only sports cable show available nationwide, so he was a constant on. He wasn’t really a strikeout machine but seemed that way given the rate at which is highlights were shown.

But due to injuries and off-the-field nonsense, Perez’s career never blossomed to the levels that many figured he could reach. He would miss all of 1996 due to injury and played parts of two more seasons with Les Expos before being traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers, where his MLB career ended in 2000.

Perez made it into nearly all of the 1995 products and has an astounding 15 rookie cards — his Bowman’s Best or Topps Finest are best in my opinion — but only really has one certified autograph. If you guessed 1996 Leaf Signature Series, you’re right. The base autograph is shown here and then there are two parallels of the same card.

An Auto A Day … #3

Posted in An Auto A Day with tags , , , , , on August 21, 2014 by Cardboard Icons

They always say that catchers make the best managerial candidates.

Mike Matheny, a four-time Gold Glove catcher who spent 13 years as a Major Leaguer, essentially went straight from behind the plate to being on the top step of the dug out calling the shots.  His career was cut short as a member of the San Francisco Giants after suffering a series of concussions.  Now he’s the leader of St. Louis Cardinals, an organization that always to seems to find itself in the mix of things at the end of the season.

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Matheny has a handful of rookie cards from 1994, including Bowman, Select, Sporftlics Rookie/Traded and Ultra.  And like many other major leaguers from his time, he has really one certified autograph according to Beckett.com. He has a base 1996 Leaf Signature (shown here)  along with two parallels of the same card.  Beckett also shows him as being part of a 2014 Topps Triple Threads auto with Travis D’Arnaud and Ivan Rodriguez, although I haven’t seen any evidence of the card actually existing. If you’ve seen it, let me know.

 

An Auto A Day … #2

Posted in An Auto A Day with tags , , , , , on August 20, 2014 by Cardboard Icons

Tom Candiotti never was overpowering, but no matter how you look at it, it takes a special skill set to spend more than 15 years in the Major Leagues. A career that long doesn’t happen by accident.  Candiotti dazzled batters at times with his knuckleball during the 1980s and the 1990s as he spent time with six teams during his 16-year career.   He twice led the league is games lost and ended his career in 1999 with a career record of 151-164, but a respectable ERA of 3.73.

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As noted, Candiotti wasn’t an upper echelon pitcher, but one of those hurlers who’ll never be forgotten by those who had the chance to watch him.  And in case you missed him during his playing careers, you can always relieve a bit of Candiotti when you pop in Billy Crystal’s flick “*61″.”  Candiotti was cast to play Hall of Fame knuckleballer Hoyt Wilhelm, who in the flick pitches for the Orioles and is called upon to pitch to Roger Maris even though it’s not a traditional closing situation.  Candiotti’s performance s masterful. (hope you get the sarcasm).

Card wise Candiotti has three true rookie cards, 1984 Topps, Donruss and Fleer.  In terms of autographs, he technically has four: There is the basic 1996 Leaf Signature shown above, and then two parallels of the same card.  And according to Beckett.com, there is a fourth one but it is a 1/1 cut signature from In The Game.  Not really sure why that card exists, but I have a sneaking suspicion that the signature is probably a cut up 1996 Leaf card. Go figure.

 

An auto a day … #1

Posted in An Auto A Day with tags , , , , on August 19, 2014 by Cardboard Icons

So, a few weeks ago I had the pleasure of attending the National Sports Collector’s Convention in Cleveland.  It was my second such event.  During my multiple days in Cleveland I happened upon a dealer who had dozens — literally dozens — of three-row boxes in which every card was priced at $1.  And among these cards was a ton of autographs.

Well, as I alluded to in an earlier post, I bought about 100 signed cards, some duplicates.  And my intent was to show them off in one Thrift Treasures post, but I changed my mind because I love these cards and what they represent.  Instead I’ll show them off individually along with some interesting facts about the player.  The goal is to post one a day.

We’ll start with a 1996 Leaf Signature Extended Autographs Jeff Nelson.

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I’m a sucker for successful relief pitchers, the underdogs of all major league rosters. And I have a fascination with the 1996-1998 Donruss/Leaf Signature series cards as I find that they were important series in our hobby’s history.

When these cards were produced, he Donruss Trading Card Company was doing something that no other company was doing at the time — offering certified autographs of Major League players.  We’d been seeing prospect signatures for nearly half a decade by 1996 thanks to Classic/Score Board, but no sets with established major leaguers in their MLB uniforms. And while by today’s standards the player selection in these large signature series would be considered watered down due to the abundance of middle relievers and mid-level players, I think it’s actually a fascinating as these continue to be some of the only certified card for many of these guys.

Today I showcase Jeff Nelson, the large right-handed reliever who spent much the majority of his career with two teams, the Seattle Mariners and the New York Yankees.

Nelson broke into the majors in 1992 as a member of the Mariners and spent four years in Seattle before heading to New York and becoming an integral part of their multiple titles. In fact, Nelson has four — yeah, FOUR — World Series rings (1996. 1998. 1999, and 2000), all as a member of the Yankees, and had a career strikeout ratio of 9.5 per 9 innings pitched.Like it or not, he was an important part of the Yankees Dynasty and a member of 1998 team, which is considered to b the best — or second best — team in the history of the game.  Nelson ended his career in 2006 after 15 seasons in the Bigs.

Nelson has two rookie cards — 1992 Donruss and 1992 Fleer Update — and just one certified autograph, the one shown above.

I recently paid $8 for a Barry Zito rookie card and it wasn’t autographed …

Posted in Rookie Card Showcase with tags , , , , , , , on August 18, 2014 by Cardboard Icons

I must be crazy, right?  Who pays $8 for a Barry Zito rookie card, especially one that doesn’t bear his signature?

Well, when the serial number on the card matches his jersey number, sometimes collectors do funny things.

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Barry Zito used to be a big deal.  He was a big-time pitcher for the Oakland A’s in the early part of the 2000s — even winning a Cy Young Award in 2002 — and then signed a massive contract with the San Francisco Giants who play just across the San Francisco Bay (or estuary for you science types) from the A’s.  He sucked for the most part, constantly ripped on sports talk radio and even relegated to a spectator in 2010 when the Giants won their first World Series.  And then he came back in 2011 and 2012, even becoming a key contributor for the Giants down the stretch as they won their second title in three years.

Alas Zito played again in 2013 and finished his mammoth contract with the Giants by posting the second-highest ERA of his career.  He hasn’t played in 2014 and it appears that his career may in fact be over.

Zito hasn’t been relevant in the hobby in almost a decade and prices on his cards plummeted over the years.  His key rookie is still the 200o SPX set, a card that features a serial number and autograph. His second best?  Quite possibly this 2000 SP Authentic, which is limited to 1,700 copies.  Believe me, this was a big deal in 2000. I located this one — in it’s glorious PRO graded case — at a local card shop in a bargain graded card bin.  Every card priced $8 each, all of them were graded by either PSA or BGS, except for this one.  This company — which has zero traction in the hobby — graded this card at 9.8 “N-Gem,” which I’ll have to believe means Near Gem Mint.  I’m not aware of any company who uses that lingo.  Go figure. I’ll leave it in here for now, but might send it eventually to BGS for continuity purposes.

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