Thursday, September 26, 2013

2013 MLB Season Summary

The 2013 season was a great year and I definitely was able to get some great autographs and memories from it all.

Here's a review of the top autographs I was able to get this baseball season:

Albert Pujols autographed 8x10 photograph

David Ortiz autographed baseball

Dustin Pedroia autographed jersey

Justin Masterson autographed jersey

Mariano Rivera autographed baseball

Joe Nathan autographed 2013 All Star baseball

Terry Francona autographed baseball

Jose Bautista autographed baseball

Troy Percival 2002 World Series autographed baseball

Fred Lynn autographed baseball

Essentially I killed it with the all time greatest Red Sox players. Season awesome. Especially since I knocked out these awesome Sox living in Southern California.

A great fun season with something like a dozen baseballs I got throughout the year without really trying to ballhawk much just going for random toss ups besides my awesome game used ball I got from an umpire for my first in game ball.

RBI (184) Albert Pujols, Graphing the season's final home game...

It took two seasons but I finally did it. I got Albert Pujols' autograph on the final day of the 2013 season after two full seasons of trying to hunt him down.

The last home game was scheduled for the early afternoon so I was able to get to the stadium and catch some of the players going in for the game before I had to go into work. I was too late for a few of the players but Albert Pujols rolled in and after loading up his bags he came to the waiting crowd and started signing. It was a magical high pressure moment for me since it had taken so long for me to even be close to Pujols picking up a pen to sign and I was really worried if he would pick me or not. He reached for my clipboard and sharpie so I was super excited and thanked him for signing.
Albert signed this 8x10 photograph that I took of him at the Angels press conference after he signed as a free agent for the 2012 season. I was so excited to finally put the future Hall of Famer into my collection and it's a huge relief to finally knock him off the list after he signed this photograph at Angel Stadium. Talk about a great way to graph my last day of the season.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

RBI (183) Johnny Pesky...

I don't purchase many autographs and all my graphing at Angel Stadium typically makes readers forget I'm a big Red Sox fan. One autograph I was sure to buy was legendary player, coach and manager Johnny Pesky after his unfortunate passing.
I got this Johnny Pesky autographed baseball inscribed Mr. Red Sox and I'm glad to have it along side my other Red Sox legends pieces like my Bobby DoerrFred Lynn, David Ortiz and Dustin Pedroia.
With the season wrapping up I'm sure I'll pick up my pen and paper again to start sending out TTM requests over the off season to stay busy and keep a bit of an autograph fix coming through since graphing dries up for me when baseball season ends. I'll be making sure to look for some vintage cardboard to send to some older players to expand my collection while some of them are still around to answer my questions about the different eras of baseball.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

RBI (182) A Utility All Star...

The past few seasons I've had mixed luck when the Rays come into town. I've gotten David Price before and it's one of my favorite pieces in my autograph collection but the position players have been tough for me. I was finally able to get Ben Zobrist's autograph this past season.

Zobrist was drafted in the 6th round of the 2004 MLB Draft by the Houston Astros but was traded to the Tampa Bay Rays. He's played every position but pitcher and catcher and that versatility has helped Joe Maddon turn the Rays into a contender. He's been an All-Star two times already with his defensive abilities being valued by the AL All Star managers while having a decent average with pop and speed knocking in over 100 career Home Runs and having 90 career stolen bases.
Ben Zobrist autographed this 2013 Topps Heritage card and was nice enough to inscribe "All-Star" when he signed it for me. I got Zobrist to sign when he came into town with the Rays to play the Angels during the 2013 season.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

RBI (181) New York State of Mind...

I've got to give it up to outfielder/first baseman Nick Swisher. Even when he was a New York Yankee he was a reliable autograph signer and he's kept that trend up since crossing over to the Cleveland Indians.

Swisher was drafted by the Oakland Athletics in the first round of the 2002 MLB draft as part of Billy Beane's Moneyball movement. He played for the A's before moving on to the White Sox, Yankees and Indians. While in New York he was a member of the 2009 World Series Championship team and was voted an All Star in 2010. He's crossed the 1000 hits and 200 Home Run marks being a reliable RBI machine despite his fairly pedestrian career batting average.
I had Nick Swisher autograph this 2012 Topps Heritage card for me when the Indians came to Anaheim to play the Angels during the 2013 season. You can find Nick Swisher's twitter @NickSwisher here.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

RBI (180) Adrian Beltre...

One of my favorite players growing up has been Adrian Beltre. He's a slick fielding, power hitting third baseman who I've always enjoyed watching play. His career has primarily been on the West coast besides a year out in Boston so I've always been able to keep track of him and watch his career.

Beltre was signed by the Los Angeles Dodgers as an amateur free agent out of the Dominican Republic. He debuted for the Dodgers at age 19 and hasn't turned back since developing into one of the premier 3rd basemen of his era of play. He's a multiple time All-Star, Gold Glover and Silver Slugger winner. He's rapidly advancing his stats to impressive career plateaus with more than 2300 hits, 370 Home Runs and 1,200 RBI's. All of these statistics have been acquired while maintaing top level defense at third so it's going to be interesting to see when he decides to end his career since he still has years left he could play at first base or as a DH when his defense declines. He may make a very interesting run at the traditional Cooperstown marks in the next few years.
I was able to get Adrian Beltre's autograph on this baseball before a Rangers vs Angels game in Anaheim. The ball is actually my first baseball I've gotten from during a game with umpire Brian Knight being kind enough to toss me the ball at the end of the first inning of the Indians vs Angels game on the 19th of September, 2013. Since it was my first ball given to me actually during a baseball game I held onto it for someone special and one of my favorite players is definitely special enough for me to use on him.

RBI (179) Troy Percival...

I've written in the past before about getting Angels pitcher Troy Percival's autograph in person on a baseball and through the mail. The Angels held a fiesta celebration at the stadium and had current players as well as alumni come to sign autographs for the fans and Percival was among the alumni who came back.
I had Troy Percival autograph this baseball and he was nice enough to inscribe "02 CHAMPS" on the ball under the World Series logo. The autograph and inscription came out nicely so I don't think I'll turn this into a 2002 team ball and will leave it as a Percival solo signed ball. The ball was actually a nice surprise my parents found when going through some old boxes that they picked up back when the team actually won the World Series so it was awesome to find a 11 year old baseball and get it signed by one of my favorite former Angels.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

RBI (178) Josh Beckett....

I was able to continue with my project to assemble the Red Sox 2007 World Series Championship rotation through a trade with my friend Al. He's working on building the 2012 Topps Heritage set so I traded him a giant stack of short prints and a few I had gotten signed myself for this Josh Beckett autographed baseball that he got one of the days I wasn't able to graph the Dodgers.
Beckett is a multi-time All Star, won 2003 and 2007 World Series Championships, crossed the 1700 Strikeout plateau, and has more than 130 Wins. He's a welcome addition to my collection and now is alongside my Jon Lester and Curt Schilling autographed baseballs so now I only need one more to finish the collection that won in 2007.