Alex's Autographs

Getting the mail just got a lot more fun...

Welcome


Welcome to Alex's Autographs!

Thank you for visiting. This site is dedicated to the great hobby of autograph collecting. I personally enjoy collecting autographed rookie cards of players current and retired. On this site, you will find my updates, some hints and tips, pictures of my autographs, awesome links and so much more. 

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New Today

7/1/20:

Brent Hoard - signed 1/1 in 9 days c/o his home address.
Rudy Law - signed 2/2 in 17 days c/o his home address.
Frank Tanana - signed 3/2 in 14 days c/o his home address.
T.J. Tucker - signed 3/1 in 533 days c/o his home address.

In recent updates, I said Jason Halper and Phil Devey signed 2/1, but posted images of just the cards they signed. They also sent signed notes. Here are the signatures from those: Halper, Devey.

Also a couple failures to report: Darnell McDonald, c/o home (RTS) and Chris Jones (former Giants prospect), c/o home (RTS).

Random past success of the day:


Nate Schierholtz - sent 6/20/09, received 7/10/09, c/o the Giants. Sometimes you look up a player and ask yourself, "has it really been that long since he played in the majors?" Schierholtz, who left the scene after the 2014 campaign, is one such case. Beginning his professional career with minor league averages of .331, .296 and .319 his first three campaigns, respectively, he reached Triple A for the first time in 2007 (hitting .333) and debuted in the majors that year. The right fielder hit .304 in 112 at-bats for the Giants that season and .320 in 75 at-bats the next. An adequate reserve who helped the Giants win the 2010 World Series (he contributed a RBI and a run), he remained with San Francisco until partway through the 2012 campaign. Traded to Philadelphia with first baseman Tommy Joseph and pitcher Seth Rosin for outfielder Hunter Pence in a deal the Giants got the best of, Schierholtz spent half a season with the Phillies before moving to the Cubs for 2013. In his only campaign with significant starting time, he hit 21 home runs with 68 RBI in 137 games for Chicago, before falling to .195 between two clubs in 2014. Though out of the majors by age 30, he played in Japan in 2015 and in the Tigers system in 2016. Worth noting: He rarely walked or struck out. In 5,692 professional plate appearances, he walked 317 times and whiffed 1,015 times -- that's once every 18.0 and 5.6 PAs, respectively.

6/30/20:

Jeff Frye - signed 5/5 in 657 days c/o his home address.
Matt Cepicky - signed 1/1 in 20 days c/o his home address. It's tough to see.
Chris Speier - signed 1/1 in 14 days c/o his home address.
Marc Sullivan - signed 1/1 in 9 days c/o Sullivan Florida Group. 

Random past success of the day:


Bobby Keppel - received in-person on June 21, 2009 at Frontier Field in Rochester, N.Y. He was a first round pick, taken 36th overall by the Mets in 2000 as compensation for the loss of John Olerud, and he showed promise. But playing just three seasons of a 14-year career in the majors is likely not what Keppel envisioned when he inked his first professional contract. The pitcher had a 3.11 ERA in 124.1 innings his second campaign and in 2003, his fourth year, he was 9-4 with a 2.97 ERA in 109 innings. But it wasn't enough for New York, who released him in May 2005. He remained without a team until early '06, when the Royals signed him in February. He spent most of the season at Triple A, posting a 5.67 ERA in 98.1 innings, but also tossed 34.1 frames with Kansas City. He was 0-4 with a 5.50 ERA in eight games (six starts) with the Royals. That was how Keppel's career in affiliated ball played out, by and large -- lackluster campaigns in the minors, mediocre stints in the big leagues. He appeared in the majors again in 2007 and 2009, posting a 5.36 mark for his career. On the farm, he was 57-60 with a 4.52 ERA. In 996.2 innings, he struck out just 571 batters, or 5.2 per nine innings; but he also didn't walk many, allowing just 2.7 per nine frames and no more than 60 in a season. He pitched in Japan from 2010 to 2013. He started off with a bang, going 12-8, 3.44 in 159.2 innings for the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters the first year, then 14-7, 3.18 the next. After a stunted campaign in 2012, he had a 6.18 ERA in 2013 to wrap up his career.

6/29/20:

Yowza! Look at all those updates!

Rod Henderson - signed 1/1 in 14 days c/o his home address.
Derek Lee - signed 1/1 in 156 days c/o his home address.
Tony McKnight - signed 1/1 in 152 days c/o his home address.

Also a couple failures to report: Joel Skinner c/o home (RTS, probably refused) and Michael Coleman, c/o home (wrong Michael Coleman).

Random past success of the day:


Stan Cliburn - received in-person on June 21, 2009 at Frontier Field in Rochester, N.Y. Cliburn was a 23-year-old backup catcher for the Angels in 1980, batting all of .179 in 54 games as one of five backstops that earned playing time for that middling 65-95 team. And that's where his legacy could have ended, as a footnote in major league baseball history, an easily forgotten name in a game of easily forgotten names. But he also spent 15 years in the minor leagues, including part or all of eight at Triple A. He worked in the California, Pittsburgh and Braves systems from 1974 to 1980, beginning his career at 17 years old. He slugged as many as 15 homers in a season, and never struck out more than 55 times. Though he batted just .256, he hit as high as .311 one year -- for Single A Salinas in 1977 -- and .305 another. In 1989 and 1990, he played in the short-lived Senior Professional Baseball Association. In 1998, at 41 years old and 11 years after his final minor league game, he returned to the pro ranks. Suiting up for a single game for the independent Alexandria Aces of the Texas-Louisiana League, he had one at-bat; he went hitless. But his story was still in its infancy. In 1988, he joined the Pirates system as a minor league manager; in just his second season at the helm, his team won a league championship. He remained in Pittsburgh's system until 1991. In 1993 and 1994, he managed in the Rangers organization. From 1995 to 1999, he was with the aforementioned Aces, leading them to four league finals appearances and two victories. From 2000 to 2009, he managed in the Twins system, heading the New Britain Rock Cats (2001-2005) and the Rochester Red Wings (2006-2009) for most of the time. He led the Rock Cats to a league co-championship in 2001. Back in the indy ranks, he managed in the American Association and Atlantic League from 2011 to 2019, save for 2014 and 2018. As of this writing, he has 1,734 victories to his name. When he wasn't managing, he was coaching in 1992, 2014 and 2018. You might be familiar with his twin brother Stew, who spent three seasons in the majors; he later became a longtime minor league pitching coach who worked alongside Stan with the Red Wings from 2006 to 2008.

6/28/20:

Donnie Bridges - signed 1/1 in 15 days c/o his home address.
Rene Lachemann - signed 1/1 in 25 days c/o his home address. 

Random past success of the day:


Joe Zdeb - sent 11/23/16, received 12/1916, c/o his home address. Zdeb was a spot player for the Royals in the late '70s, playing for them from 1977 to 1979. Though a solid minor league batsmen -- he slashed .319/.389/.521 in 69 games in 1972, then hit .355 with Single A Waterloo in 1973, then batted .298 in his first full year in Triple A in 1976 -- he experienced middling success in the bigs. His first campaign was his best, as he hit .297 in 195 at-bats over 105 games, contributing the only two homers of his career. On July 1, he had his best game, going 5-for-5 with two doubles, a dinger and four RBI against the the Indians; he had just five hits over the rest of the month. He fell to .252 in 127 at-bats in 1978 (though he had a .311 average through mid-June), then .174 in 23 ABs in 1979. Though he hit .304 with Triple A Omaha in '78, he couldn't redeem himself in the minors, batting just .224 in 1979 and .194 in 1980, a season split between the White Sox and Mets farm systems. He has a rare surname -- he's the only player in professional history whose surname begins with "Zde," per records available.

6/27/20:

Jason Halper - signed 2/1 in 17 days c/o his home address.
Brian Koelling - signed 1/1 in 15 days c/o his home address.

Random past success of the day:


Tommy Watkins - received in-person on June 21, 2009 at Frontier Field in Rochester, N.Y. Watkins wasn't a great hitter in the minor leagues -- evidenced by his .248 career average -- but you wouldn't know that based on his brief big league stay. The multi-positional talent never seemed the sort to ascend to the majors. Drafted by the Twins in the 38th round in 1998, he didn't make his debut until August 10, 2007, when he was 27 years old. He went hitless in four at-bats over his first two appearances, but began a seven-game hitting streak on August 15 that carried to the end of his brief career. Over that week of games, Watkins hit .417 with four walks and a couple runs scored. Defensively, he was limited to third base and shortstop, though in the minors he played all over the diamond. After his brief run, he was back in Triple A, where he remained for two more seasons, largely in a reserve role. He coached in the minors from 2010 to 2018 and was promoted to the majors as the Twins first base coach in 2019.

6/26/20:

Vida Blue - signed 1/1 in 28 days c/o his home address.
Andre Robertson - signed 1/1 in 168 days c/o his home address.

Random past success of the day:


Gar Finnvold - sent 1/12/11, received 2/7/11, c/o his home address. The Red Sox threw Finnvold at the wall in 1994 hoping he'd stick -- but he didn't. Taken by the Red Sox in the 6th round of the 1990 amateur draft, ahead of future star closer Troy Percival, he had some success in the early going. In his debut campaign, he won five games with a 3.13 ERA in 15 starts for the Low-A Elmira Pioneers. Despite posting a 20-35 record over the next three seasons, the Red Sox promoted him to the majors in 1994, with the hurler making his debut on May 10. It was a solid effort -- just two runs allowed in five innings against Milwaukee -- but he did not earn a decision. His next two starts were excellent -- he tossed seven innings each, allowing just three earned runs between them -- but he lost the first and had a no-decision in the second, anyway. It was downhill from there. He was 0-3 with a 9.87 ERA over his last five starts, allowing 29 hits in 17.1 innings. Opponents batted .367 against him. In his final appearance on August 7, he allowed eight hits and five earned runs in 1.2 frames against Cleveland. And that was it. He made nine starts for Triple A Pawtucket over the next two campaigns to wrap up his pro career. He spent seven years in the minors; part or all of five were with Pawtucket. At last check, he was selling real estate in Florida.

6/25/20:

Jay Gehrke - signed 1/1 in 12 days c/o his home address.
Pat Lennon - signed 2/2 in 32 days c/o his home address.

Random past success of the day:


Justin Huber - received in-person on June 21, 2009 at Frontier Field in Rochester, N.Y. Huber was once traded straight-up for a future six-time All-Star. Beginning his career in the Mets system in 2000, the Australia native broke out in 2001 with a .399 on-base percentage, 14 home runs and 93 RBI in 123 games between two Single A clubs. He toiled between Single and Double A over the next two campaigns, earning playing time in the Arizona Fall League in 2003, before finally reaching Triple A briefly in 2004. In five games there, he batted .313. On July 30 of that year, he was traded to the Royals for Jose Bautista, who would make the All-Star team each year from 2010 to 2015 for the Blue Jays. Between Double A and Triple A in 2005, Huber slashed .326/.417/.560 with 23 home runs, 97 RBI and 10 stolen bases; making his big league debut that year, he hit .218 with no dingers in 78 at-bats. He bounced between the minors and majors over the next four seasons, spending most of his time at Triple A. He slugged 15, 20 and 22 home runs on the farm in 2006, 2007 and 2009, respectively, but had just 10, 10 and 2 at-bats in the bigs those seasons. In 2008, he hit .246 in 61 at-bats for San Diego. He slugged the only two homers of his big league career, with both coming off excellent pitchers: Randy Johnson on April 20 and Cliff Lee on June 14. He played in Japan in 2010, hitting 10 home runs, then indy ball in 2011, batting .259. From 2010 to 2014, he played for the Melbourne Monarchs of the Australian Baseball League, with varying degrees of success.

6/24/20:

Jay Langston - signed 1/1 in 25 days c/o his home address.
Aaron Ledesma - signed 1/1 in 58 days c/o his home address.

Random past success of the day:


Dustin Martin - received in-person on June 21, 2009 at Frontier Field in Rochester, N.Y. Martin just would not quit. Taken by the Mets in the 26th round of the 2006 draft, he began his career with a bang, posting a .315/.399/.454 slash line in 72 games for the Low A Brooklyn Cyclones in 2006. He started 2007 in New York's system, but was traded with another prospect to the Twins for second baseman Luis Castillo partway through the year. After a solid season at Double A in 2009, when he hit .290 with 22 stolen bases and 34 doubles, he was promoted to Triple A Rochester where he would remain for the next three years. Never ascending to the big leagues, he stole as many as 26 bases and knocked as many as 15 home runs in a season for the Red Wings, before being let go. Latching on with the Mets again in 2012, he split the season between Double A and Triple A. He joined the Diamondbacks organization for the 2013 season, playing at Double A. That was his last taste of affiliated ball. He then spent time in the indy leagues, the Mexican League and the Mexican Pacific Winter League, slashing .325/.424/.541 with 19 home runs, 88 RBI and 32 swipes in 110 games for the LMB's  Toros de Tijuana in 2016. Martin last played for the Winter League's Yaquis de Obregon in 2018-19, at age 34. 

6/23/20:

Phil Devey - signed 2/1 in 11 days c/o his home address.

Random past success of the day:


Alejandro Machado - received in-person in June 21, 2009 at Frontier Field in Rochester, N.Y. Machado began his professional career at 17 years old in the Braves system in 1999. He toiled in the Royals, Brewers, Expos and Red Sox organizations before finally reaching the majors briefly -- for 10 games -- in 2005. Then he went to the Twins system, then the Marlins', then the Braves' again to wrap up his career. Despite his limited major league exposure, he was a great ballplayer -- his .288 batting average, .370 on-base percentage and 218 stolen bases over 11 minor league seasons speak to that. He stole 19 bases in just 56 games his first professional campaign, then 30 (with a .341 average and .477 OBP) in 61 games in 2000. Over the next seven seasons in which he appeared -- he did not play in 2007 -- Machado stole 25, 20, 30, 30, 21, 21 and 12 bases, respectively. In 2002, he added a .314 batting average; in 2004, he hit .306. 2005: .300. 2008: .338. And he wasn't just successful in the low- and mid-minors. At Triple A, where he spent part or all of five seasons, he hit .285 with a .355 on-base percentage, numbers only slightly lower than his career totals. He last played in 2010.

6/22/20:

Chuck Knoblauch - signed 1/1 in 24 days c/o his home address.
Mike Kusiewicz - signed 1/1 in 24 days c/o his home address.

Random past success of the day:


Random past success of the day:

Alexi Casilla - received in-person on June 21, 2009 at Frontier Field in Rochester, N.Y. Casilla was a decent weapon for the Twins for nearly a decade. Originally signed by the Angels, he was traded to Minnesota in December 2005 for relief pitcher J.C. Romero. By the next season, he was in the majors. Though he played over 100 games and had over 100 hits just once each, in separate seasons, he did the little things right when on the field. He led the league in sacrifice hits in 2008 with 13 and stole as many as 21 bases in a season; Baseball Reference ranks him first all-time in stolen base percentage at 87.91. Defensively, he was a wiz, manning second base and shortstop with elan. The highlight of his career came in the 2009 AL Central tie-breaker game. Facing Fernando Rodney of the Detroit Tigers in the bottom of the 12th inning, he hit a game-winning single, driving Carlos Gomez home and sending the Twins to the playoffs. After seven years with Minnesota, he joined the Orioles for a single game in 2014. He bounced around Triple A, winter ball and the indy leagues since then, playing for the York Revolution of the Atlantic League as recently as 2019.

6/21/20:

Dennis Lamp - signed 1/1 in 9 days c/o his home address. 
Scott May - signed 1/1 in 87 days c/o his home address.

Random past success of the day:


Kevin Mulvey - received in-person on June 21, 2009 at Frontier Field in Rochester, N.Y. Mulvey's major league career was anything but outstanding, but his minor league tenure had some highlights. In his first campaign, 2006, he made four starts, including three at Double A, posting a 1.17 ERA in 15.1 innings. The next year, he was already in Triple A, albeit for a single appearance, tossing six scoreless innings for the New Orleans Zephyrs; he spent most of the campaign at Double A and went 12-10 with a 3.20 ERA in 27 starts overall. He began to slip after that. In 2008, with Triple A Rochester, he was 7-9 with a 3.77 ERA. In 2009, he fell to 5-8, 3.93, and in 2010, he was 7-8, 4.65. By 2011, he was 4-10 with a 6.59 mark. In one final try, back in the Mets system in 2012, Mulvey posted a 5.59 ERA in 13 relief appearances. His career minor league line was 35-47, 4.27 in 143 games (130 starts). 

6/20/20:

Jeremy Blevins - signed 1/1 in 18 days c/o his home address.
Braden Looper - signed 1/1 in 66 days c/o his home address.

Random past success of the day:


Juan Morillo - received in-person on June 21, 2009 at Frontier Field in Rochester, N.Y. Talk about the ultimate "cup of coffee" pitcher. Morillo appeared in the major leagues each season from 2006 to 2009, first with the Rockies, then with the Twins in his final campaign. He went without a decision and tossed only 10.2 innings for his career. Twice he made only a single appearance, and he had no more than four in any given season -- and, unfortunately for him, most of his trials finished poorly. In 2006, the then-22-year-old made a late-season start, allowing seven runs on eight hits, three home runs and three walks over four innings against Atlanta. It was rough from the onset -- he walked the first three batters he faced, then hit the fourth with a pitch, driving a run in. Number five, Brian McCann, hit a grand slam, making it 5-0 before a single out was recorded. Skip ahead to the fourth inning, and he surrendered two more dingers, solo shots to Chipper Jones and McCann. On the bright side, Morillo struck out the last batter he faced, Jeff Francoeur. Miraculously, Colorado won that game, 9-8. He made four relief appearances in 2007, posting a 9.82 ERA. In 2008, he tossed a single scoreless inning, and in 2009, he had a 22.50 ERA in three games. Morillo's final big league line: 9 games, 10.2 innings, 15 hits, 16 earned runs, 5 home runs, 7 walks, 8 strikeouts, 13.50 ERA.

6/19/20:

I've gone back and added a bunch of "Random Past Successes of the Day." I'm still catching up, but a bunch are done.

Brett Caradonna - signed 1/1 in 32 days c/o his home address.
Peyton Lewis - signed 1/1 in 10 days c/o his home address. Sent an awesome typewritten note as well.
Jon Tucker - signed 1/1 in 10 days c/o his home address.

Also a couple failures to report: Lary Sorensen, c/o home (RTS) and Ed Fitzgerald, c/o home (RTS).

Random past success of the day:


Matt Macri - received in-person on June 21, 2009 at Frontier Field in Rochester, N.Y. Macri was initially drafted by the Twins, but did not sign. The winding path of baseball led him to the Twins organization, anyway, and it is with Minnesota that he made his major league debut -- and spent his whole big league career. May 24, 2008 marked the start of his tenure with the Twins, and it was a quality introduction. In three at-bats, he collected two hits and stole a base against the Tigers; the Twins scored three runs that day -- Macri drove one in and crossed the plate as one himself. On June 12, he slugged his first and only home run, a solo shot off the Indians' Aaron Laffey in a losing effort. By the end of June, he was batting .367, but was sent to the minors for a couple months, nevertheless. Returning to Minnesota for September, he went hitless in four appearances to round out his cup of coffee. In 18 games and 34 at-bats, he batted .324. Following the campaign, he returned to Triple A, never to resurface in the majors again.

6/18/20:

Dan Ford - signed 1/1 in 61 days c/o his home address.
Joel Skinner - signed 2/2 in 7 days c/o the Rochester Red Wings (received last season).

Also a failure to report: Eric Gillespie, c/o home (RTS).

Random past success of the day:


Warner Madrigal - purchased. He last played in the major leagues in 2009, but Madrigal is technically still "active." Initially an outfielder who hit .369 his first minor league campaign, but who struggled mightily in succeeding seasons, Madrigal converted to pitching in 2006. By 2007, he was a closer, albeit in the minors, saving 20 games with a 2.07 ERA and a 11.1 strikeouts-per-nine-innings ratio for the Cedar Rapids Kernels. In 2008, his minor league K/9 IP mark was 10.8. The newly minted pitcher spent only 17 games at Triple A that year, working 31 more for the big club, Texas. It wasn't a terrible performance -- his ERA was 4.75 and he averaged just a hit allowed per inning -- but he wasn't long for the major leagues. After posting a 9.95 ERA in 13 games in 2009, he became a sojourner. In the decade-plus since, he has pitched in affiliated ball only four times -- in the Rangers system in 2010, the Yankees system in 2011, the Diamondbacks system in 2013 and the Nationals system in 2014. He's spent many years in the Dominican Winter League, pitching for teams like the Estrellas de Oriente and the Tigres del Licey. He spent some time in Japan and Taiwan, and in 2016, he pitched briefly in the Mexican League. For the 2019-2020 winter season, he was back in the Dominican. 

6/17/20:

Nomar Mazara - "signed" 1/1 in 19 days c/o the Rangers. It's stamped. Received last season.
Scott McGregor - signed 2/2 in 64 days c/o his home address.

Random past success of the day:


Frederick Torres - sent 6/26/09, received 7/6/09, c/o the Camden Riversharks. Port Charlotte Rangers fans got to know him well, at least. Torres joined the Rangers system in 1997 at 17 years old, coming stateside in 1998. In 1999, the catcher hit .304 in 60 games for the Pulaski Rangers, in what was the best season of his career. From 2000 to 2002, he played for Port Charlotte, batting under .250 with an on-base percentage under .300 each season. After nearly a decade away from pro ball, he resurfaced with the Camden Riversharks in 2009, hitting .236 in 42 games.

6/16/20:

Franklin Gutierrez - signed 2/3 in 409 days c/o his home address.
Jake Westbrook - signed 1/1 in 285 days c/o his home address.

Random past success of the day:


J.R. Towles - sent 4/4/09, received 7/6/09, c/o the Round Rock Express. Towles spent five years in the majors, and due to the wonder of small sample sizes, his first stint made him look like a future superstar. He had great success moving up through the minors, slashing .346/.436/.549 his second professional season, 2005, and .317/.382/.525 his third. Though a catcher, he showed decent speed, stealing 11 and 13 bases those years, respectively. He hit .324/.425/.551 in 61 Double A games in 2007, and spent 13 games at Triple A that year, as well. Earning a late-season promotion to Houston, he did not disappoint, slashing .375/.432/.575 in 40 at-bats; on September 20, he was 4-for-4 with two doubles, a homer, three runs scored and eight RBI. That was the start of a seven-game hitting streak in which he batted .478 with five doubles, seven runs and 11 RBI. But, reality came crashing down soon enough. Ranked Baseball America's #53 top prospect going into 2008, much was expected of him, and he did not deliver. In 54 games, he hit just .137. Then he batted .188 in 2009, .191 in 2010 and .184 in 2011. His 2008 and 2011 campaigns were oddly symmetrical. He played 54 games each year, with 146 at-bats the former and 147 the latter. He scored 10 runs the first and 11 runs the second, and had five doubles, four home runs and 16 walks the former campaign and seven doubles, three home runs and 13 walks the latter. Two-thousand-and-eleven was the end of his major league road, but he toiled in Triple A until 2014. He also played indy ball that last season.

6/15/20:

Dan Schatzeder - signed 1/1 in 26 days c/o his home address.
Pete Stanicek - signed 1/1 in 41 days c/o his home address.

Random past success of the day:


T.J. Steele - sent 6/24/09, received 7/6/09, c/o the Lancaster JetHawks. Steele was a 4th round draft pick, so he had promise -- and for a couple years, at least, it looked like he'd live up to it. Taken by the Astros, he began his professional career in 2008, batting .283 in 159 at-bats for the Low-A Tri-City ValleyCats. In 2009, he slashed .345/.385/.562 in 194 at-bats for the High A Lancaster JetHawks. But it all went downhill once he reached the mid-minors. With the Double A Corpus Christi Hooks in 2010, Steele slashed just .228/.259/.315 in 67 games; back with Corpus Christi in 2011, he fell to .214/.249/.354 in 118 games, despite hitting 11 home runs with 20 stolen bases. After batting .141 in 26 games for the Hooks in 2012, he was let go and signed by the Padres, hitting .250 for their Double A club. He was a .317 career hitter at Single A, but batted just .216 in Double A. At no level could he draw a walk, however. His BB totals, by year: 6, 9, 10, 16 and 9. That's one every 25 plate appearances, on average.

6/14/20:

Darrell Jackson - signed 2/1 in 8 days c/o his home address.
Bryn Smith - signed 1/1 in 11 days c/o his home address.

Random past success of the day:


Jordan Smith - sent 6/24/09, received 7/6/09, c/o the Carolina Mudcats. Smith's professional career can be described with one word: "solid." The Reds' 6th round pick in 2006, Smith had a 3.01 ERA his first professional campaign, then won 10 games with a 3.84 mark his second. Though he struggled to a 7.20 ERA in his second big league trial, his first, in 2010, was ... well ... solid, as he posted a 3.86 ERA with just 11 walks allowed in 42 innings of work. And even 2011 wasn't all bad, since he had a 2.78 ERA in 32.1 minor league frames. He made 51 Triple A appearances in 2012, saving 13 games and averaging just 2.5 walks per nine innings, before wrapping up his career in the Marlins system in 2013. In 29 appearances for their Triple A club, his ERA was a middling 5.28, but his 3-1 record was -- well,  you know.

6/13/20:

Duane Kuiper - signed 1/1 in 9 days c/o his home address.
Bill Swift - signed 2/2 in 8 days c/o his home address.

 Random past success of the day:


Dennis Leonard - purchased in a lot (?). Leonard was arguably the best pitcher never selected to an All-Star team. He played only 12 seasons in the majors, all with the Royals, and he wasn't a strikeout machine, save for one season, but he won and completed a lot of games, while chewing through innings and allowing few walks. From 1975 to 1980, he averaged 18 wins, 14 complete games and 263 innings pitched per season, with no less than 14, 8 and 212.1, respectively, in a single campaign. By his second year, 1975, he was a 15 game winner, going 15-7 in 32 appearances. The next season, he had 17 wins, and in 1977, he led the loop with 20 victories, en route to a fourth-place finish in Cy Young Award voting. Though he averaged just 5.4 strikeouts per nine innings overall, his mark that season was 7.5 -- he had 244 in 292.2 frames. He won 21 games in 1976, leading the league in starts with 40 and again earning Cy Young support. After falling to 14 wins in '79, he rebounded to 20 in 1980. In 1981, he had 13 victories and a 2.99 ERA in a league-leading 26 starts and 201.2 innings in that strike-shortened season. By-and-large, that's all she wrote for Leonard. He made just 10 appearances in 1983 and did not pitch in 1984. He tossed two innings in 1985 and, in one last valiant effort, pitched 192.2 frames in 1986 ... but won just eight games and had a 4.44 ERA to wrap up his career. He was 144-106 with 103 complete games and 23 shutouts in his decade-plus run. His 162-game average was 16 wins, 11 complete games and 242 innings. In 1989, he resurfaced with the Fort Myers Sun Sox of the Senior Professional Baseball Association. He earned scant support for the Hall of Fame in 1992, falling off the ballot. 

6/12/20:

John Stuper - signed 1/1 in 22 days c/o his home address.
Kip Wells - signed 1/1 in 314 days c/o his home address.

Random past success of the day:


Donovan Solano - sent 6/26/09, received 7/9/09, c/o the Memphis Redbirds. Solano is a feel-good story. Signed by the Cardinals at 17 years old for the 2005 campaign, he toiled in their system for seven full seasons before finally making his major league debut. Offensively, he was mediocre at best during that stretch, never hitting more than four home runs or stealing in excess of five bases in a single campaign. Nor did his batting average exceed .282, and his on-base percentage was never better than .343. But he could field, and field well, and field well all over the diamond -- in those first few seasons, he spent time at second base, third base and shortstop; as the years progressed, he also earned time in the outfield and at first base. He earned his first shot at Triple A in 2009, hitting .317 in 52 games there. But that wasn't enough to convince the Cardinals to promote him to the majors. His 2010 campaign, spent entirely at the minors' highest level, wasn't either. Nor was his 2011 season, when he hit .284 at Triple A. In fact, the Cardinals didn't see enough in Solano to keep him around at all. He was granted free agency in November 2011; less than a month later, the Marlins scooped him up. The ever-disappointing Marlins, looking for talent to fill the many holes on their team, had Solano on their active roster by late-May 2012. He played 95 games for them, starting 72. In 285 at-bats, he hit .295 with seven stolen bases and only 58 strikeouts -- not bad for a guy who'd been let go less than a year before. But his offensive struggles bubbled up soon enough. He earned semi-regular time in 2013 and 2014, netting 300-plus at-bats each year, but hit just .249 and .252, respectively. Reduced to a reserve role in 2015, he hit .189. And in 2016, in a brief stint with the Yankees, he hit .227. That was it for Solano, who was shuffled off to the minor league hinterland, again. He played with the Yankees Triple A team in 2017, hitting .282 in 99 games, and in the Dodgers system in 2018, posting a .327 mark in 89 games between two clubs. Joining the San Francisco organization for 2019, Solano experienced more than a career resurgence, he had a total breakout in his age-31 season. At Triple A, he hit .322 -- not surprising, he'd developed into a solid minor league batsmen. On the big stage is where it matters -- and it's where he delivered the most. In 81 games and 215 at-bats with the Giants, Solano slashed .330/.360/.456 with 13 doubles and four home runs. He led the team in batting average and OBP, minimum 50 at-bats. Was he lightning in a bottle or just a late-bloomer? Perhaps the latter -- in 21 spring training at-bats the next year, he was hitting .381 before everything was shut down. 

6/11/20:

Casey Burns - signed 1/1 in 8 days c/o his home address.
Nick Theodorou - signed 1/1 in 14 days c/o his home address.

Random past success of the day:


Jamey Wright - sent 5/29/09, received 6/26/09, c/o the Royals. Sometimes you wonder how a player managed to stick around so long in the major leagues. In Wright's case, it was 19 mostly mediocre, if not awful, seasons. Look at his numbers: He did not post a season ERA under 4 until 2007, his 12th campaign; to that point, his career mark was 5.14. In the first part of his career, when he was a starting pitcher, he had a 67-98 record, while averaging nearly 10 hits and five walks allowed -- and less than five strikeouts -- per nine innings. He walked nearly as many batters as he struck out, led the league in hit batsmen twice, and his WHIP was close to 1.600. That span ran from 1996 to 2006. Then there was the second half of his career, from 2007 to 2014, when he was a reliever. Oftentimes, pitchers who struggle mightily starting games do much better when shifted to a bullpen role. Wright improved, but in the way a .200 batter upping himself to .220 is technically an improvement. In that eight-year span, he was 30-32 with a 3.98 ERA. He dropped his WHIP to 1.416, but still averaged four walks per nine innings. He upped his K rate to six per nine frames and dropped his hits allowed to less than one per inning, on average. But still, four of those seasons had ERAs over 4, and none of them were under 3 -- the hallmark of a good relief pitcher. He rattled off a solid three year run from 2011 to 2013, posting a 3.32 ERA in 192 appearances, but in the three years before that, his mark was 4.59 in 186 games. He played for 10 teams in 19 seasons, so no club saw enough in him to keep him around too long, save for Colorado, who gave him six years in two separate stints. Wright's career numbers: 719 games, 248 starts, 97 wins, 130 losses, 4.81 ERA, 2,036.2 innings, 2,168 hits, 978 walks, 1,189 strikeouts, 1.545 WHIP, 4.3 BB/9 IP, 5.3 K/9 IP, 9.6 H/9 IP. In the postseason: 2 games, 2 innings, 18.00 ERA. 

6/10/20:

Mike Glendenning - signed 1/1 in 59 days c/o Crespi Carmelite. 
Ryan Lavarnway - signed 2/2 in 14 days c/o the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders. Received last season.

Also a couple failures to report: Dwight Evans, c/o home (RTS) and Dave Ford, c/o home (accidentally addressed it to Dan Ford). 

Random past success of the day:


Jason Perry - sent 10/20/17, received 11/4/17, c/o his home address. Perry was a stud, in the minors at least. Beginning his professional career in 2002, he slashed .384/.472/.689 with 11 home runs and 41 RBI in 43 games that year, and followed it with a .305 average and .378 on-base mark in 89 games in '03. In 111 games in 2004, he hit .310/.401/.613 with 25 home runs, 91 RBI, 44 doubles and 92 runs scored between two clubs; his parent team, the Athletics, thought him such a good prospect that they sent him to the Arizona Fall League for more conditioning. And it made sense -- with numbers like those, he'd be destroying big league pitching any year now. But he would have to wait until 2007 for that, and even then, his time in the majors was just a cup of coffee. Until then, however, he continued to mash. His average fell to .257 in 2005, but he hit 22 home runs and had 77 RBI. In 2006, he hit .289 with a .352 OBP; at Double A that year, he hit .402/.476/.626 in 28 games. Two-thousand-and-seven was another big year for Perry, as he hit .255/.365/.506 with 25 homers and 78 RBI. Two-thousand-and-eight, however, was his biggest year of all, at least from his perspective. He hit 23 homers in the minors -- another typical Perry season --  but more importantly, he finally earned a big league call up, brief though it was. On July 4, he made his debuted with the Braves, who had acquired him as a free agent after the A's traded him to Detroit and Detroit let him go. He played in four straight games, starting three of them; in the other one, he played 16 innings of a 17 inning match against Houston on July 6 (which the Braves won). He hit a triple in his first at-bat, off of Astros pitcher Brian Moehler, becoming the first Braves player to accomplish such a feat. But that was the highlight of his career. He was just 1-for-16 the rest of the way, including 1-for-7 in that 17 inning affair. He returned to the minors for 2009, hitting just .211 in 35 games in the Rays system. Joining the independent Lancaster Barnstormers later in the season, he put on a show, hitting .361/.439/.889; six of his 13 hits were homers. He finished with Lancaster in 2010, hitting .295/.402/.543 with 22 homers, 72 RBI and even 13 stolen bases. 

6/9/20:

Adam Piatt - signed 1/1 in 11 days c/o his home address.

Also a couple failures to report: Mike Glendenning, c/o home (RTS) and Mark Harriger, c/o home (RTS).

Random past success of the day:


Ubaldo Jimenez - sent 4/25/08, received 6/26/09, c/o the Rockies. For a few years, it looked like Jimenez was going to be a star. A top prospect in the mid-2000s -- he made Baseball America's 100 best prospects list twice -- the hurler showed flashes of brilliance by his first full season, 2008. Pitching for a Rockies team that went just 74-88 overall, Jimenez managed a 12-12 record and a 3.99 ERA that year, allowing just 11 home runs in nearly 200 innings, while striking out 172 batters. The then-24-year-old led the league in games started with 34 and was second in fewest homers allowed per nine innings. He was wild, allowing 103 walks, 16 wild pitches and 10 hit batsmen, but those numbers generally improved in the coming years. In 2009, he was 15-12 with a 3.47 ERA. In 218 innings, he allowed 183 hits and 13 dingers; his walks dropped to 85 and his strikeouts rose to 198. Any other year and he might have been an All-Star. He was an All-Star in 2010, the year that made Ubaldo Jimenez a household name. In 33 starts and 221.2 innings, he was 19-8 with a league-leading .704 winning percentage. His ERA and ERA+ were 2.88 and 161, respectively. He allowed just 164 hits and 10 home runs, while striking out 214 batters. Finishing third in Cy Young Award voting, behind Roy Halladay and Adam Wainwright, Jimenez, still entering his prime, was poised to rank with such names for years. But like many of his contemporaries -- Barry Zito, Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain -- Jimenez just ... fell off. He was 10-13 with a  4.68 ERA in 2011, despite averaging less than a hit allowed and nearly a strikeout per inning, despite his walk rate remaining stable and his home runs allowed rate staying solid, despite him still managing multiple complete games and a shutout. The Indians, who traded for him mid-season, saw enough in the hurler to deal away former first round pick Drew Pomeranz for his services. What a regrettable trade that was. He led the league with 17 losses and 16 wild pitches in 2012, posting a 5.40 ERA with a diminished strikeout rate, and elevated walk, hits allowed and home runs allowed rates. After a resurgence in 2013, when he went 13-9 with a 3.30 ERA, Jimenez was lost to the pits of mediocrity for good, going a combined 26-31 with a 4.72 ERA in 86 games (79 starts) for Baltimore fom 2014 to 2016. But the shadows of greatness remained. In that run, he averaged over 8 Ks per nine innings. He averaged less than a hit allowed per frame. He allowed only 50 home runs, or one every nine innings or so. His final big league campaign, 2017, was an unsavory conclusion to what could have been. In the worst year of his career, he went 6-11 with a 6.81 ERA in 31 games (25 starts). Though the strikeouts were still there, the success wasn't -- he led the league in earned runs allowed and surrendered 33 home runs in just 142.2 innings. After not pitching in 2018, he returned to baseball the next year, playing in the Dominican Winter League and posting a 3.03 ERA in eight starts. The Rockies gave him another shot, signing him as a free agent for the 2020 season. He had a 8.44 ERA in spring training, putting any future major league appearances in doubt.

6/8/20:

Brian Cooper - signed 1/1 in 42 days c/o his home address.

Random past success of the day:


Pedro Powell - sent 12/27/10, received 1/6/11, c/o his home address. Powell spent seven years in the minor leagues and stole as many as 67 bases in a season, but never played above Double A. Drafted by the Pirates in 2003, he was setting the base paths on fire by his second campaign, swiping 30 bags in just 54 games in 2004. Bereft of power, he had just seven doubles and a single home run -- the lone dinger of his career -- in 120 games and 479 at-bats in 2005, but swiped 46 bags and scored 84 runs. Lynchburg Hillcats fans came to know him well, as he spent all of 2006 and 2007 with the club. He put on a show for them each year, with 63 and 67 steals, respectively, leading the Carolina League in swipes both seasons. Though the next two campaigns were middling, he still stole 57 bases between them. He wrapped up his career in the Rays chain in 2009. Following his playing career, he started P2 Baseball, a coaching clinic in Georgia.

6/7/20:

Gene Locklear - signed 1/1 in 70 days c/o his home address.

Random past success of the day:


Scott May - sent 2/19/20, received 2/26/20, c/o his home address. May spent 13 years in professional baseball, but had just two short stints in the major leagues. He was taken by the Dodgers in the sixth round of the 1983 draft and by 1985, he was 10-6 with a 3.47 ERA in 26 starts at Double A. He didn't surrender too many home runs or allow too many hits, but his 99 walks in 191.2 innings were cause for alarm. So was his 6.47 ERA in 89 innings in 1986, and his 5.98 mark in 111.1 frames in 1987. By 1988, however, he had rebounded to a 2.97 ERA in 151.2 frames at Triple A, earning his first shot at the majors. Now with the Rangers, he made three appearances, including a start, posting a 8.59 ERA in 7.1 innings. From 1989 to 1991, he was a common face in Triple A, but only made two more appearances on the big stage -- with the Cubs in 1991. He allowed four earned runs in two innings, an unsavory bookend to his big league tenure. He remained in the Cubs system for 1992, before heading to Taiwan for a couple years. He returned to the Cubs organization in 1995, a 33-year-old pitching at Single A. In eight appearances (three starts), he had a 1.71 ERA. 

6/6/20:

Jack Taschner - signed 1/1 in 24 days c/o his home address.

Random past success of the day:


Billy Wagner - sent 4/27/09, received 6/25/09, c/o the Mets. In an era dominated by Mariano Rivera and Trevor Hoffman, Wagner was always Number 3 among the game's closers. But what a great Number 3 he was. His 422 saves still rank sixth all time, and no one is particularly close to catching up with him. He never led the league in saves, but he averaged 33 per year from 1998 to 2007 -- that's a ten-year run which included a stunted, 28-game campaign in 2000. Only once did his ERA exceed 3 -- only once did it exceed 2.85, in fact -- and he had four full campaigns with a mark under 2. In his final season, 2010, his ERA was 1.43, the best full-season ERA of his career. From 2003 to 2006, a span of four years and 268 games, his ERA was 1.93; his career number was 2.31. He averaged just six hits allowed per nine innings, while striking out nearly 12 batters per nine frames. He was an All-Star at 27 years old and at 38, and five more times in-between. In 1999, after saving 39 games with 124 strikeouts in 74.2 innings for the Astros, he was named the National League Rolaids Relief Man Award winner. His 703 games finished are also sixth all time, and he led the league twice in that category. Wagner's career is a laundry list of accomplishments. Though he struggled in the postseason -- his ERA was 10.03 in 14 career appearances -- his performance there pales relative to his consistent, 16-year run of dominance in the bigs. And the Hall of Fame voters are beginning to appreciate his contribution to the game. He struggled to 10.5% of the vote his first year on the ballot, 2016, then fell to 10.2% the next year. But he's been inching up since -- to 11.1% in 2017, then 16.7% in 2018. Helped by a weak cast of options around him, he leapt to 31.7% in 2019, giving him enough momentum going forward. With the election of Lee Smith, there is really no excuse, at this point, to omit Wagner from the Hall of Fame. And by the way the electorate has been voting, they seem to realize that, as well.

6/5/20:

Kelly Dransfeldt - signed 1/1 in 7 days c/o his home address.

Random past success of the day:


Chris Wakeland - sent 5/29/09, received 6/20/09, c/o his home address. Rightfielder Wakeland played 10 games in his big league career. He hit .250 and had a .250 on-base percentage ... but he had two doubles and two home runs, both of which were hit off of All-Star pitchers. Before he got to that point, that brief cup of coffee in 2001, Wakeland was a stud on the farm, hitting for average and power and stealing his share of bases. He began with a .309/.426/.555 slash line with 10 home runs in Low-A ball in 1996; the next year, he hit .285 with 20 stolen bases. Putting power and speed together in 1998, Wakeland batted .302/.387/.487 with 18 home runs, 89 RBI and 19 swipes at High-A. In a shortened 1999, he batted .313/.405/.568 with 13 homers in 63 games. Shedding his speed at Triple A in 2000, stealing just four bases, and focusing on the long ball, he hit .270 with 28 home runs and 76 RBI in 141 games for Toledo. Back with the Mud Hens in 2001, he hit .283 with 23 homers and 84 RBI, prompting the Tigers to give him a late-season look. He debuted on September 4, going hitless his first game. But then he collected hits in each of his next eight appearances, including his first home run on September 18 off of the Twins' Brad Radke. A few days later, on September 23, he hit his second dinger, off of Red Sox hurler Hideo Nomo. He played his final game on October 6, finishing like he started -- by going 0-for-3 in three plate appearances. He stuck around in Triple A in 2002 and 2003, but had diminished power. From 2004 to 2007, he played in the independent ranks, rattling off a .294/.375/.513 line for the Long Beach Armada in his final campaign.

6/4/20:

Howie Clark - signed 1/1 in 12 days c/o the Orioles. Received last baseball season.

Random past success of the day:


Jason Conti - sent 6/24/05, received 4/27/06, c/o the Oklahoma City RedHawks. Conti's major league totals look like a single season: 420 at-bats, seven home runs, 47 RBI, 124 strikeouts, .238 average. Not a great line, but serviceable for a mediocre team looking to rebuild. And that's what Conti was, for one year at least -- serviceable. The former 32nd-round pick out of Pittsburgh was a cup of coffee guy his first two big league stints, 2000 and 2001, playing just 52 games for the Diamondbacks between them. After a bland trade involving bland names (granted pitcher Nick Bierbrodt, who was involved in the deal, wasn't a bland name at the time) to the Devil Rays in July '01, he soon had his chance at near-regular major league play. Suiting up for Tampa Bay in 2002, Conti appeared in 78 games, spending near-equal time at all three outfield spots. He hit .257 with three dingers and 21 RBI in what was his longest stay in the bigs, contributing what he could to a team that went 55-106 overall. But that was it. In March 2003, he was shifted to the Brewers for catcher Javier Valentin, then to the Rangers as a free agent that December. After two more middling years, his major league career was over. He stuck around in Triple A for 2005 and 2006, then joined the independent ranks in 2007, before going overseas to spend 2008 in Italy. Also worth noting: Though his big league career was lackluster, his tenure in the minors was excellent. He stole 30, 31, 19 and 22 bases his first four seasons, respectively, while hitting .367, .315, .315 and .290 those years.

6/3/20:

Jamie Brown - signed 1/1 in 25 days c/o his home address.
Dave LaRoche - signed 1/1 in 15 days c/o his home address.
Sean Lowe - signed 1/1 in 62 days c/o his home address.
Tim Unroe - signed 1/2 in 206 days c/o his home address.

Also a couple failures to report: Tike Redman, c/o home (RTS) and Paul Lo Duca, c/o home (RTS).

Random past success of the day:


Gregg Zaun - sent 4/4/09, received 6/19/09, c/o the Orioles. Zaun is proof you don't need to be a superstar to play forever -- you just need to don the tools of ignorance, catchers' gear, year-in and year-out. Beginning with the Orioles in 1995, Zaun's major league run was typical of a backup catcher -- he didn't play much, or stick with one team for long. He didn't hit for high average or have a lot of power, but teams kept calling on him every year for 16 years, until he was 39 years old. He stuck with the Orioles until partway through 1996, when he was sent to Florida. The Marlins held onto him through 1998, when he was dealt to Texas, who sent him to the Tigers in November 1999. That was a big trade -- it's primary piece was former MVP outfielder Juan Gonzalez; other notable names included future All-Star closer Francisco Cordero, future manager Gabe Kapler, former All-Star pitcher Justin Thompson and fellow journeyman backup catcher Bill Haselman. Zaun never played for Detroit, rather he was sent to the Royals as part of a conditional deal; K.C. kept him for two seasons. He then joined Houston for a year-and-a-half, then Colorado for a handful of games. Toronto signed him and kept him around for five campaigns, the last in 2008. Returning to Baltimore to begin the 2009 season, he joined Tampa Bay for the latter part of the year, before wrapping up his career with the Brewers in 2010. Though he spent much of his career in a reserve role, he was technically the Blue Jays primary catcher in three of his five seasons with the club, per Baseball Reference. It isn't obvious, of course -- he only had one season of 400-plus at-bats with Toronto (and for his career, for that matter), and he peaked at 133 games played. In fact, Zaun managed 100 or more games only four times in his career, and 300-plus at-bats thrice. Offense wasn't his primary calling card, however -- his defensive acumen was. He ranks 78h all-time in catcher putouts and once led the league in double plays turned. In 2005, his 2.2 defensive Wins Above Replacement ranked 4th among all players and he ranks among the top 100 in Range Factors at catcher ... not bad for a guy who rarely even played 100 games. He later became a broadcaster for the Blue Jays, serving in that capacity for over a decade.

6/2/20:

Kevin Gibbs - signed 1/1 in 19 days c/o his home address.
Roberto Hernandez - signed 1/1 in 7 days c/o his home address.
Josh Holliday - signed 1/1 in 29 days c/o Oklahoma State University.
Kevin Maas - signed 1/1 in 89 days c/o his home address.

Also a couple failures to report: Darrell Evans, c/o home (RTS) and Greg Blosser, c/o home (RTS).

Random past success of the day:


Jeremy Sowers - sent 5/28/09, received 6/19/09, c/o the Indians. He finished with an 18-30 record and a 5.18 ERA for his career, but there was a lot of hope for Sowers early on. Twice a first round draft pick, he initially opted not to sign after being taken by the Reds 20th overall in 2001 out of high school, rather accepting a scholarship to Vanderbilt University. When the Indians selected him 6th overall in 2004, he did ink a contract, with his $2.475 million bonus one of the highest in club history. He began his professional career the next year. Ranked #90 on Baseball America's 100 Top Prospects list going into 2005, he did not disappoint, posting a 14-4 record and a 2.37 ERA in 27 starts, including one at Triple A. By 2006, his second pro campaign, he was in the majors. Ranked #53 by Baseball America going into the season, he was 9-1 with a 1.85 mark for Triple A Buffalo and 7-4 with a 3.57 ERA in 14 starts with Cleveland; his two shutouts, thrown in back-to-back games, led the league. That was about it for Sowers' success on the big league stage. Over the next three seasons, he went 11-26 with a 5.63 ERA in 58 games (57 starts), though at Triple A, he had a bit more luck. He posted marks of 4.10 in 15 starts in 2007, 2.37 in 10 starts in 2008 and 2.89 in six starts in 2009. After going 2-6 with a 5.85 ERA in 27 Triple A games (4 starts) in 2010, his tenure in the Indians system was over. He returned briefly with the independent Southern Maryland Blue Crabs in 2013, going 1-3 with a 4.30 ERA in eight starts. Though he showed flashes of success at the game's highest level, Sowers' was at his best on the farm, going 35-21 with a 2.88 ERA in 100 minor league games (77 starts) overall, excluding his time in indy ball. He later worked for the Baltimore Orioles and is currently in the Tampa Bay Rays front office. His twin brother, Josh, pitched in the minor leagues in 2005 and 2006.

6/1/20:

Nolan Fontana - signed 1/1 in 426 days c/o the Salt Lake Bees.
George Foster - signed 1/1 in 14 days c/o his home address.
Scott Proctor - signed 1/1 in 9 days c/o his home address. No scan for this one -- it was later sent out to Andy Phillips, who was also featured on the pocket schedule, but Phillips has yet to respond. 
Jim Tracy - signed 1/1 in 27 days c/o his home address.

Also a couple failures to report: Bob Molinaro, c/o home (returned card unsigned) and Juan Agosto, c/o home (RTS).

Random past success of the day:


Fredbird - sent 5/29/09, received 6/19/09, c/o the Cardinals. Fredbird, the St. Louis Cardinals mascot, debuted on April 6, 1979. He was one of multiple mascots to arrive on the scene at around the same time, all in the wake of the San Diego Chicken's success. Nineteen-seventy-nine also saw the debuts of the Pirate Parrot (Pittsburgh Pirates), BJ Birdy (Toronto Blue Jays), the Oriole Bird (Baltimore Orioles) and Youppi! (Montreal Expos). The prior year, the Phillie Phanatic (Philadelphia Phillies) joined the stage.

5/31/20:

Neil Jenkins - signed 1/1 in 27 days c/o his home address.
Steve Rodriguez - signed 1/1 in 205 days c/o his home address.
Rich Scheid - signed 1/1 in 15 days c/o his home address.

Random past success of the day:


Chris Valaika - sent 5/29/09, received 6/19/09, c/o the Louisville Bats. Valaika was a 3rd round draft pick in 2006, and though he contributed briefly in four big league campaigns, he never lived up to his billing. For his career, the infielder posted a .231/.282/.351 slash line, though in his two-season stint with Cincinnati, he batted .270 in 33 games. But what he could not provide offensively he managed defensively -- pretty versatile, he spent 32 games at second base, 18 at first base, 17 at third base and 11 at shortstop in his short major league stay. Though success was limited on the big stage, Valaika forged a decade-long professional career, spending part or all of seven seasons at Triple A. Not a speedster -- he stole 26 bases at all levels, or one every 45 games -- he displayed solid pop, hitting as many as 18 dingers in a campaign. That was in 2008, perhaps the best year of his career, when he slashed .317/.363/.481 in 129 games spent mostly at Double A; he also had 163 hits, 28 doubles, 81 RBI and a career-high nine swipes. In that year's Arizona Fall League, he hit .311 in 32 games. From 2009 onward, he played only 14 games below the Triple A or major league levels, wrapping up his career in the Cubs system in 2015. He later became a coach in the Cubs system. His brother, Pat, began his major league career in 2016.

5/30/20:

I've gone back and added a bunch of "random past successes of the day" that I neglected to do previously.

Ed Ott - signed 1/1 in 8 days c/o his home address.
Dave Sax - signed 1/1 in 8 days c/o his home address.
Bob Scanlan - signed 1/1 in 8 days c/o his home address. He didn't sign the card I sent, rather he sent a different signed card and a note instead.

Also a couple failures to report: Jay Gehrke, c/o home (RTS, vacant) and Garett Gentry, c/o home (RTS). 

Random past success of the day:


Frank Jacobs - sent 8/25/10, received 9/9/10, c/o his home address. Jacobs was drafted twice out of the University of Notre Dame, the second time by the Mets in the 7th round in 1991. In typical Mets fashion, they selected a clunker two picks ahead of a future All-Star who stole 363 bases in his career, Tony Womack. After hitting just .233 and .249 in his first two professional seasons, respectively, Jacobs showed potential by hitting .285 with nine home runs and 46 RBI in 109 games for Double A Binghamton in 1994. By then, however, he was 26 years old. Thus, despite slashing .302/.412/.482 with 14 home runs, 70 RBI, 69 walks and just 63 strikeouts between four clubs and two organizations in 1995 (he joined the Expos system partway through the campaign), the now too-old Jacobs was let go following the season, never to play pro ball again.

5/29/20:

Bill Campbell - signed 1/1 in 10 days c/o his home address.
Mike Glendenning - signed 1/1 in 10 days c/o his home address.
Don Slaught - signed 1/1 in 12 days c/o his home address.

Also a couple failures to report: Tony Mitchell, c/o home (RTS, no such street) and Ruben Sierra, c/o home (RTS, ANK, UTF).

Random past success of the day:


John Santor - sent 7/28/10, received 9/10/10, c/o Illinois Central College. Santor spent five seasons in the Cardinals chain, but never played above High A. Taken by St. Louis out of high school in the 35th round of the 2000 amateur draft, the first baseman struggled mightily in the early going. In his first campaign, the then-18-year-old hit just .174 in 14 games; he followed that with a .227 mark in 54 games in 2001. Breaking out with a .288/.375/.556 slash line, Santor belted 13 home runs with 62 RBI in 69 games between two clubs in 2002. Such success was elusive in the coming years. Though he hit 17 home runs with 74 RBI in 2004, his batting mark was just .246 and his OBP was .309. After another subpar campaign in 2005, he joined the independent Frontier League in 2006 to try and resuscitate his career. He batted just .231. 

5/28/20:

Jack O'Connor - signed 2/2 in 12 days c/o his home address.
Jason Romano - signed 1/1 in 35 days c/o his home address.

Also a couple failures to report: Scott Lydy, c/o home (RTS) and Armando Benitez, c/o home (RTS).

Random past success of the day:


Matt Stairs - sent 5/280/09, received 6/17/09, c/o the Phillies. He didn't play 100 games or hit 20 home runs in a season until he was 29, but Matt Stairs finished with 265 dingers for his career, nevertheless. The prototypical late-bloomer, the Canadian outfielder they called "Wonder Hamster" debuted at 24 years old in 1992, but was used on-and-off in a reserve role until 1996. By the time he earned significant starting time, he was pushing 30, but it couldn't have happened in a better era -- he came of age during the offensive boom of the late 1990s and early 2000s, and he did his part to contribute to it. He averaged 28 home runs and 91 RBI per year from 1997 to 2000, peaking at 38 (in 1999) and 106 (in 1998), respectively. Despite hitting in the low .260s for his career, he posted decent averages early in his run, managing a .296/.377/.539 slash line between 1997 and 1998. From 2001 on, his totals were less impressive -- he hit 20-plus dingers just twice more -- but he still chugged away until he was 43 years old. Settling back into a reserve role, he averaged 122 games, 16 home runs and 57 RBI per year from 2001 to 2008. He stuck around three more years, until 2011, but hit just .199 off the bench in that span. He was the oldest player in the majors in his final campaign. Though largely a non-factor in the postseason (he hit .125 in 24 career at-bats), he earned a ring with the Phillies in 2008. He struck out in his lone Fall Classic at-bat, but hit a two-run dinger in his single plate appearance in that year's National League Championship Series. All told, Stairs spent 23 years in professional ball, including a short stint in Japan. He had 2,154 hits, 340 home runs and even 108 stolen bases at all levels, per records available. He was also active in international tournaments, representing Canada in the 1987 Intercontinental Cup, the 1988 Baseball World Cup and the 2006 and 2009 World Baseball Classics. He later became a broadcaster, then a big league coach. He was inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in 2015.  

5/27/20:

It seems I have a few days of catching up to do.

Steve Fireovid - signed 3/1 in 10 days c/o his home address.

Random past success of the day:


Jeff Urban - sent 5/29/09, received 6/11/09, c/o his home address. Urban spent three full seasons at Triple A and was called up to the majors twice, but never played in a big league game. He was taken 41st overall by the Giants in 1998 and began his professional career that year. A strikeout artist early on, Urban averaged 9.1 whiffs per nine innings his first campaign and 8.5 K/9 IP his second. He kept his walk rate down -- his marks were 2.6 and 2.2 per nine frames, respectively -- and didn't allow many home runs, either, at less than one per nine innings, on average. Despite elevated ERAs -- he was in the 4s both years -- Urban showed potential. After injuring his shoulder in the winter of 1999 and missing all of 2000 because of it, the pitcher returned to the mound in 2001, hardly missing a beat. In 27 Double A starts, he had a 3.91 ERA with just 1.8 BB/9 IP, though his K rate was down below 7. Elevated to Triple A Fresno in 2002, he posted a 3.41 ERA in 103 innings, then had a 5.24 mark in 127 frames for them in 2003. He was promoted to the majors twice that year, first in late April, while pitcher Jason Schmidt was on bereavement leave. After a few days with the big club, he was sent back down without making an appearance. He was again called up in early August after pitcher Kirk Reuter was sidelined with a bum shoulder, but again, he stayed on the bench the whole time. He spent all of 2004 with Fresno. After not pitching in 2005, he returned in the independent ranks in 2006 and 2007, posting a 3.23 ERA the first year ... and a 10.57 mark the latter.

5/26/20:

Tom Lawless - signed 1/1 in 6 days c/o his home address.
Jose Vizcaino - signed 1/1 in 492 days c/o his home address.

Random past success of the day:


Chris Jones - sent 2/20/07, received 3/3/07, c/o his home address. Taken 38th overall by the Giants in the 1998 draft, Jones spent six seasons in the minors, never playing above Double A. Spending time as a starting pitcher and a reliever, he found little success in either role, going 23-33 with a 5.74 ERA, overall. His career stats are marred by two particularly egregious campaigns: 2000 and 2002. With the Single A San Jose Giants the former year, Jones made 36 appearances (7 starts), going just 3-6 with a 10.71 ERA. In 61.1 innings, he allowed 74 hits and 85 walks, which works out to 10.9 and 12.5 per nine innings, respectively. He also threw 20 wild pitches. In 2002, he was 1-7 with a 6.40 mark in 36 games (8 starts) with the Double A Shreveport Swamp Dragons. Though control issues hampered his career, he did show potential elsewhere, averaging a solid 7.6 strikeouts and less than one home run allowed per nine innings of work. He wrapped up his career in the Rockies system in 2003.

5/25/20:

Terry Byron - signed 2/2 in 23 days c/o his home address.
Enemencio Pacheco - signed 1/1 in 69 days c/o his home address.

Random past success of the day:


Andy Brown - sent 5/29/09, received 6/10/09, c/o his home address. Judging by his career statistics, you never would have guessed Brown was a first round draft pick. But he was, having been taken by the Yankees out of high school 24th overall in 1998. Struggling from the get-go, he hit .229 his first pro campaign, 1998, then .201 in 1999. In 2000, he had arguably his best year in affiliated ball, batting .257 with 19 home runs, 63 RBI and 31 doubles at Single A. Decent power was his strong point, but it was countered by two negative factors: He rarely walked and struck out far too much. Over the course of his eight year professional career, he never drew more than 52 bases on balls in a season, but he whiffed as many as 182 times (2000). He averaged 85 games played, with 109 strikeouts, per year. After a brief stay in the Cardinals system in 2005, he joined the independent Worcester Tornadoes to wrap up his career, hitting .285 with 21 home runs in one last hurrah.

5/24/20:

Ryan Glynn - signed 1/1 in 115 days c/o his home address.
Jeff Winchester - signed 1/1 in 14 days c/o his home address.

Random past success of the day:


Choo Freeman - sent 5/3/04, received 7/29/04, c/o the Colorado Springs Sky Sox. Freeman, a cousin of Torii Hunter who's given name is Raphael, was a Rockies supplemental first round draft pick in 1998, granted to Colorado due to the loss of free agent Andres Galarraga. Quickly becoming one of the game's top prospects, Freeman was named the 75th-best minor leaguer by Baseball America heading into the 1999 season and #42 going into 2000. And for good measure. Still a teenager in 1998, he tore up rookie ball by batting .320, then hit 14 home runs with 66 RBI and 16 stolen bases at A ball in 1999. After a few more years of conditioning, he was in the majors, making his debut on June 4, 2004. His time on the big stage was a rough one, as he slashed just .189/.298/.300 in 90 at-bats that first year. He spent most of 2005 in Triple A, where he hit .280, but he also contributed a .273 average in 22 big league at-bats. Spending all of 2006 with Colorado, Freeman batted just .237 in a reserve role. Signing with the Dodgers for 2007, he spent the whole year with their Triple A club and though he found some success (.270 AVG, 9 HR, 48 RBI), his professional career was over after that. Prior to his baseball career, he was a star wide receiver in high school, holding at one point (perhaps he still holds it) the record for most receiving touchdowns in Texas high school history. 

5/23/20:

John Barnes - signed 1/1 in 8 days c/o his home address.
Brent Butler - signed 1/1 in 13 days c/o his home address.

Random past success of the day:


Rich Thompson - sent 5/28/09, received 6/18/09, c/o the Salt Lake Bees. For a couple years, at least, Thompson was a nice weapon out of the Angels bullpen. The Australia native debuted with Los Angeles in 2007, but only pitched briefly that year, and in 2008, and 2009. It was a rough stretch -- he had a 7.71 ERA -- but his 10.0 K/9 IP ratio presaged things to come. In 2010, his first great, albeit stunted, campaign, he had a 1.37 ERA in 13 appearances, though his strikeout rate was just 6.9 per nine frames. (He also had a 0.61 ERA in 19 appearances at Triple A that year). The next season, he had mark of 3.00, while averaging more than a K per inning, in 44 appearances. As with so many relievers, however, his success was fleeting. In 2012, he made three appearances, had a 12.00 ERA ... and his big league run was over. The Blue Jays signed him to a minor league contract following the campaign, but he never played in their system. In addition to his brief big league stint, he spent a decade in the minors, beginning in 2002. The highlight of his career was perhaps his second campaign, when, at just 18 years of age, he had 17 saves, a 2.28 ERA and a 11.7 K/9 IP ratio in 55 appearances. Also of note: He represented the Australian national team in the 2007 Baseball World Cup and the 2009 World Baseball Classic. 

5/22/20:

Pete Filson - signed 1/1 in 8 days c/o his home address.
Victor Valencia - signed 1/1 in 10 days c/o his home address.

Random past success of the day:


Michael Rogers - received in a 50/50 (?). I'm not 100% sure how I received these autographs, but a 50/50 sounds about right. Rogers was the Athletics second round pick in 2004, and they drew the short straw in that round. It produced a slew of future major leaguers who experienced success ranging from some to a lot, and most were selected after Rogers: Dustin Pedroia, Hunter Pence, Kurt Suzuki, Jason Vargas and Seth Smith all followed the pitcher, while Yovani Gallardo was taken a few slots before him. Professionally, the ball never got rolling for the right-hander. He spent four seasons in the Athletics system, pitching until 2007, going just 22-24 with a 5.93 ERA in 411.1 innings. In a testament to how deceiving won-loss records can be, he was 11-8 in 2006 -- but with a 5.63 mark. After his time in Oakland's system, he tried to revive his career in the independent leagues, but fared even worse there. Between the Sussex Skyhawks of the Canadian-American Association in 2008 and the Rockford RiverHawks of the Frontier League in 2009, he was just 1-9 with an 8.49 ERA in 71 innings. Control issues plagued the latter part of his career: Over his final three campaigns, he averaged 8.0, 7.9 and 6.8 walks per nine innings, respectively.

5/21/20:

George Bell - signed 1/2 in 11 days c/o his home address.
Francis Finnerty - signed 1/1 in 8 days c/o his home address.

Random past success of the day:


Joey Votto - sent 4/4/09, received 7/22/09, c/o the Reds. Votto has led the league in one major category seven times, and another five times. He's paced the loop twice in another, twice in one more and once elsewhere a few times, as well. With credentials like that, how could anyone argue against his Hall of Fame case? Well, easy. Sure, he's led the league in on-base percentage seven times and walks five times, but let's be honest -- OBP and walks are not very glamorous. And he's led the league in games played and on-base plus slugging percentage twice each, as well. Likewise, those are not headline grabbing achievements. What's more, he lacks the numbers that usually make the case for first basemen. He does not yet have 2,000 career hits, or 300 home runs, or 1,000 RBI. Sure, he has 1,000 runs scored, but just barely (1,009). He hits for doubles, but not a lot of them (404 over 13 seasons) and his slugging percentage is good at .519, but not otherworldly. And though he walks a lot, he strikes out his share, too, with as many as 138 whiffs in a season. But then again, he does have a .307 career average and his accolades speak to his ability: He has six All-Star selections, a Most Valuable Player award and a Gold Glove. And those highfalutin modern stats like Wins Above Replacement and OPS+ suggest his greatness, as well. He has marks of 62.0 and 150, respectively. Those are really good. Truly, Votto's Hall of Fame case is controversial, not in the modern use of the word, which often has purely negative subtext, but in that it is sure to cause much disagreement between the for and against camps. There are factors strongly pulling toward and away from both -- you can parry almost any for argument with one against, and vice versa. Few modern players' cases are filled with such dichotomies. 

5/20/20:

Ryan Jamison - signed 1/1 in 14 days c/o his home address.

Random past success of the day:


Jason Isringhausen - sent 5/27/09, received 6/18/09, c/o the Rays. The story of Isringhausen is usually clumped in with those of Paul Wilson and Bill Pulsipher: Three young, very talented pitchers -- potential Cy Young candidates, all of them -- who were going to lead the Mets to years of success. But, as is typical in Mets lore, disappointment soon set in as all three suffered from injury, inconsistency or both. Though neither Wilson or Pulsipher did much in their careers after leaving New York, Isringhausen was a story of redemption, becoming one of the game's better closers. He eventually saved his 300th game where it all began ... with the New York Mets. Initially, the pitcher was not a huge prospect. The Mets drafted him out of community college in the 44th round in 1991 and it was only after he had a 2.61 ERA in the minors in 1994 that he made it to the Baseball America Top 100 Prospects list. In 1995, the high hopes Isringhausen established seemed to be coming to fruition as he went 11-2 with a 1.97 ERA in 18 starts on the farm and, more importantly, 9-2 with a 2.81 mark in 14 big league starts with New York. He finished fourth in Rookie of the Year voting despite spending less than half-a-season in the Big Apple. The next year was a consummate sophomore slump as he fell to 6-14 with a 4.77 ERA in 27 starts. He pitched just 29.2 mostly mediocre innings in 1997, then missed all of 1998 to injury. He returned to the Mets in 1999, still just 26 years old, but struggled before being sent to the Athletics in a deadline deal that netted New York reliever Billy Taylor. In retrospect, it was one of the worst trades the Mets made in the 1990s. While Taylor pitched to a 8.10 ERA in the 18 games of his Mets career, Isringhausen -- almost immediately inserted as the Athletics new closer -- began racking up saves. From 2000 to 2007, during tenures with Oakland and the Cardinals, he averaged 34 saves and a 2.81 ERA per year. He led the National League with 47 in 2004 and made two All-Star Games, in 2000 and 2005. In that same stretch, he made 23 postseason appearances, saving 11 games and posting a 2.36 ERA. Two-thousand-and-eight and 2009 were down years for him, and he did not pitch at all in 2010, having undergone Tommy John surgery the year before. But he returned to the major league stage in 2011, making 53 appearances for the hapless Mets. He had seven saves, the last of which -- earned on August 15 against the Padres -- was his 300th. After spending 2012 with the Angels, his big league career was over. From being a top prospect to a top disappoint to a top closer, Isringhausen forged a quality career that culminated in him earning a spot on the 2018 Hall of Fame ballot. He didn't receive any votes. 

5/19/20:

Giuseppe Chiaramonte - signed 1/1 in 238 days c/o his home address.

Random past success of the day:


Anibal Sanchez - sent 5/29/09, received 7/23/09, c/o the Marlins. For nearly 15 years now, Sanchez has, quietly, been on the game's most effective hurlers. Beginning his major league career with the Marlins in 2006, the then-22-year-old went 10-3 with a 2.83 ERA his first campaign. It was good enough to earn him some Rookie of the Year votes, despite Sanchez pitching just 114.1 innings. After an underwhelming three year run in which he was just 8-14, 4.56 in 32 starts overall, Sanchez really hit his stride. From 2010 to 2014, he averaged 10 wins, 179 innings pitched and 166 strikeouts per year, striking out 200-plus batters twice and walking no more than 70 in a season. In 2013, he finished fourth in Cy Young Award voting, leading the American League -- he was then with the Tigers -- with a 2.57 ERA. Entering another subpar spell, his 2015 to 2017 numbers were abysmal -- 20 wins, 30 losses and a 5.67 ERA -- but he rebounded to post a 2.83 ERA in 136.2 frames with the Braves in 2018. With the Nationals in 2019, he won 11 games and made 30 starts for the first time since 2012. From 2010 on, Sanchez pitched no less than 105.1 innings, nor did he average less than 7.2 strikeouts per nine innings, in a campaign. An effective strikeout pitcher, he's averaged nearly 8 Ks per 9 innings for his career, and more than a strikeout per inning in a season twice. And because starters don't earn the "win" stat as often as they use to, he ranks 20th among active pitchers in that category ... despite having just 108 career victories.

5/18/20:

Julio Cruz - signed 1/1 in 28 days c/o his home address.
Todd Greene - signed 1/1 in 11 days c/o his home address.
Doug Loman - signed 1/1 in 11 days c/o his home address.
Fred Lynn - signed 1/1 in 7 days c/o his home address.
Cory Snyder - signed 1/1 in 22 days c/o his home address.

A couple failures to report: Mike Greenwell c/o home (returned card unsigned) and Sixto Lezcano c/o home (wants $10). 

I also went back and caught up on older random past successes of the day. 

Random past success of the day:


Drew Stubbs - sent 5/29/09, received 6/11/09, c/o the Louisville Bats. Stubbs was a highly touted young player going back to his high school days, when he was taken by the Astros in the third round of the 2003 draft. Opting not to sign, he went to the University of Texas at Austin, where his stock rose even further. After slashing .342/.439/.580 his junior year, he was taken by the Reds eighth overall in the 2006 draft. He was an outlier among a group of, at worst, solid future major leaguers: Drafted just ahead of him were relievers Brandon Morrow and Andrew Miller, then future Hall of Famer Clayton Kershaw. Taken directly after him was Billy Rowell, who never reached the majors, then two-time Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum and another future Hall of Famer, Max Scherzer. Evan Longoria was taken early in the round, too. Then there was Stubbs, the guy who once led the league with 205 strikeouts in a season. The former top prospect who hit .242 in nine mediocre big league campaigns. The guy who led centerfielders in errors in 2014. But it is easy to pick out the negatives, when that is all you're looking for. Sure, he whiffed over 200 times in 2011, but he also stole 40 bases and scored 92 runs that year. And the campaign before, Stubbs had 22 homers, 30 swipes and 91 runs. And he impressed enough for three clubs to keep him on their postseason rosters (Reds in 2010 and 2012; Rangers in 2015). It's hard to look great when you're up against contemporaries like Kershaw, Scherzer and Longoria, but Stubbs finished his career with over 90 home runs and 160 stolen bases. He wrapped up his big league run in 2017 with the Giants, playing for five teams in the final three years of his career.

5/17/20:

Andy Beal - signed 1/1 in 14 days c/o his home address.
Wes Helms - signed 1/1 in 8 days c/o his home address.
Scott Little - signed 1/1 in 23 days c/o his home address.
Jason Sekany - signed 1/1 in 80 days c/o Total Player Center.

Random past success of the day:


Jeff Carter - sent 5/28/09, received 6/13/09, c/o AZL Dodgers. Carter became a familiar face in the Pacific Coast League, spending half of his 12-year career there. Despite playing seven full seasons at Triple A (he also had a campaign in the International League), four times stealing 20-plus bases and twice hitting .320 or better, he never reached the major leagues. A multi-positional talent who spent most of his career at second base, Carter was lightning on the base paths, stealing 28 bags in 54 games his first season, then 60 the next year and 49 the year after that. In that last campaign, he also drew 94 walks, had 11 triples and scored 109 runs. He reached Triple A, where he would stay for the rest of his career, for the first time in 1990, making his mark with 28 swipes. Three years later, in 1993, he batted .325 with a .422 on-base percentage and followed that with a .324 mark and a .438 OBP. For his career, he slashed .279/.379/.364 with 314 stolen bases in 1,301 games. He nearly matched every strikeout with a walk -- he whiffed 728 times; he drew 706 walks. Though he could leg out triples, extra bases were not his strong suit -- he had 20 or more doubles only three times and averaged one home run every 151 at-bats. He later became a minor league coach and spent much of the 2000s managing in the low minors. In 2000, his first year at the helm, he led his club, the Elizabethton Twins, to a league championship victory. His teams never finished better than fourth place after that. 

5/16/20:

Curtis Gay - signed 2/1 in 28 days c/o his home address.
Gary Lavelle - signed 4/4 in 10 days c/o his home address.
Vance Law - signed 2/2 in 10 days c/o his home address.
Josh Rabe - signed 2/2 in 53 days c/o Quincy University. 

Random past success of the day:


Jon Schaeffer - 5/29/09, received 6/15/09, c/o his home address. If Schaeffer, a former Twins and Athletics farmhand, could do anything, it was draw a walk. To go along with 15 doubles, six home runs and 38 RBI his first pro campaign, 1997, he drew 35 BBs in 58 games between two clubs en route to a .314/.426/.485 slash line. The mark fell to .283/.392/.454 for the Fort Wayne Wizards in 1998, but he rebounded to .290/.444/.526 with 33 doubles, 17 home runs, 97 runs and 92 walks in 116 games for the Quad Cities River Bandits in 1999. The wheels fell off in 2000, as he hit .252/.353/.366 -- with a still-impressive 51 walks -- in 94 games between four clubs. That was it for his career. He finished with 233 BBs and a .404 on-base percentage in 390 games. 

5/15/20:

Steve Garvey - signed 1/1 in 10 days c/o his home address.
Willie Horton - signed 1/1 in 27 days c/o his home address. Received last year.
Rob Marconi - signed 1/1 in 18 days c/o Innovative Piering, LLC.
Dustin Molleken - signed 1/1 in 18 days c/o the Capitales de Quebec. Received last season.
Craig Paquette - signed 1/1 in 20 days c/o his home address. This card has made a couple appearances previously, but I would be remiss to not report each success ... even if you've seen the scan three times now. 
Dusty Wathan - signed 1/1 in 15 days c/o the Phillies. Received last season. Unfortunately, there is no scan for this one -- I later sent it out to Ernie Young, who was featured on the pocket schedule as well, but he has yet to respond.

Random past success of the day:


Jason "Jay" Stephens - sent 6/1/09, received 6/13/09, c/o the Tampa Yankees. It's hard to argue with Stephens' career minor league performance. The Yankees' 6th round pick in the 2003 draft, he posted a meager 4.55 ERA in his first pro campaign, '03, at 18 years old, but then rattled off four straight sub-3.00 ERA seasons. His marks, from 2004 to 2007, respectively, were 2.87, 2.82, 1.80 and 1.70 and his record was 17-7. Yet, he never pitched above High A, reaching Double A only in his sixth season, 2008 -- and that was only for a game. He had a 2.98 ERA at Double A in 2009 but was given just 6.2 Triple A innings that year. Despite posting an ERA no higher than 3.88 since 2004, the Yankees allowed him to join the Phillies system for 2010. By then he was 25 and still at Double A (where he had a 0.00 ERA in six games). It seems injuries were his downfall, as he pitched just four games in 2011 ... at High A. Overall, he went 27-23 with a 3.16 ERA in 127 games (71 starts) over nine seasons. He had career marks under three at three levels -- at Double A (2.39 ERA in 20 games, 9 starts); at Single A (2.57 ERA in 25 games, 14 starts) and at Low A: 2.58 ERA in (28 games, 18 starts). 

5/14/20:

Inside baseball: How the devil do I manage to have updates on Sundays when there's no mail on Sundays? Easy, I dip into the archives and post successes received during my hiatus. I generally intersperse past successes with current successes in my updates, actually. Today is another dive into the (relative) past, with a handful of successes received in the past few months. 

Joe Nossek - signed 1/1 in 24 days c/o his home address.
Tike Redman - signed 1/1 in 23 days c/o his home address.
Jason Stumm - signed 1/1 in 16 days c/o his home address.
Beau Torbert - signed 1/1 in 33 days c/o his home address.

Hint of the day: During the Christmas season, send Christmas cards with your requests. I've managed to get a few difficult signers using that trick. 

Random past success of the day:


Bob Montgomery - sent 5/29/09, received 6/5/09, c/o his home address. What's more impressive -- Montgomery, a backup catcher, forging a ten-year career in the major leagues, or the ballplayer spending his whole career with one team, the Red Sox? Though he never got the press or publicity of the men he subbed for -- Jerry Moses, Duane Josephson and, most notably, Carlton Fisk -- he did all right for himself, hitting .300 or better in three (admittedly abbreviated) campaigns.  In 1973, he slashed .320/.353/563 with seven home runs and 25 RBI in just 34 matches. The next year, he was technically the Red Sox "primary" catcher, appearing in 88 games and hitting .252; he beat out Fisk, Tim Blackwell, Tim McCarver and Bob Didier for the most playing time. 1975 was an unimpressive year offensively (.226 average), but he did appear in that year's losing World Series effort. In 1977, he hit .300/.370/.500 in 17 games and in 1979, his final season, he hit .349 in 32 games. His trek to the majors was a long one, as he spent nine seasons in the minors -- and more than four years at Triple A. But once he got to the big leagues, he was there to stay -- if only in the background. Other points of interest: He was the last major leaguer to bat without a helmet. He later became an announcer for the Red Sox and, later, their minor league affiliates.

5/13/20:

Andrew Beinbrink - signed 1/1 in 45 days c/o his home address.
Darren Blakely - signed 1/1 in 18 days c/o his home address.
Bill Long - signed 2/1 in 15 days c/o his home address. Included signed note to "Eric" saying "thanks for keeping us protected." Eric, wherever you are, I got your note.

Also a failure to report: Julio Franco c/o home (RTS).

Random past success of the day:


Jeff Droll - sent 1/7/09, received 5/28/09, c/o his home address. One look at Droll's career line might reveal all one needs to know: In four minor league seasons, all spent in Rookie ball and/or Single A, he was 1-8 with a 5.63 ERA. In 100.2 innings, he allowed 132 hits and 64 walks, while striking out just 70 batters. Lackluster, to be sure, but a closer look suggests a career of two two-season halves, spent with two different organizations. First, there was the Brewers half. Taken by Milwaukee in the 8th round of the 1992 amateur draft, he came onto the scene with a whimper, posting a 14.21 ERA in 9 relief appearances for the Helena Brewers that year. In 12.2 innings, he allowed 20 hits and 18 walks. Then, in 1993, he went 0-5 with a 5.88 mark between two clubs; in 26 frames, he surrendered 41 hits and 10 walks. The script flipped the next year, however. Joining the White Sox system, he lowered his ERA to 3.94 and he averaged less than a hit allowed per inning in 32 relief appearances between two teams; in 1995, his mark was 3.21 in 8 games for the South Bend Silver Hawks. But it was a realllllly lucky 3.21, as he allowed 25 hits in 14 innings. Likewise, he never corralled his control issues, as he surrendered 36 BBs in 62 frames in the White Sox chain. If batters wanted to victimize him with a home run, however, they were usually out of luck: He surrendered just five dingers in his career.


5/12/20:

Bob Gebhard - signed 1/1 in 18 days c/o his home address.
Seth Taylor - signed 1/1 in 48 days c/o his home address.
Jeff Ware - signed 1/1 in 7 days c/o his home address.

Random past success of the day:


Brandon Waring - sent 5/29/09, received 6/4/09, c/o the Frederick Keys. Waring hit 172 home runs, an average of nearly 22 per year, over eight minor league campaigns. Unfortunately, like many pure power hitters before him, the long ball was his only real skill. Indeed, he hit 20 or more home runs in each of his first seven seasons, with a high of 27 in 2009. He even had 96 RBI and 38 doubles that year, with five stolen bases to boot. But, he also struck out 130 times, which, for Waring, was on the low end -- he averaged 139 whiffs per year, with a high of 179 in 129 games in 2010. In his final campaign, 2014, he had 150 Ks in just 106 games. And those five stolen bases, well, they were nearly half of his career total. He swiped 11 bags overall, or one every 82 games, on average. Average, that's also important in baseball -- and also not in Waring's skillset. He hit .250 for his career, with a low of .214 in 2013. Relatively speaking, at least, he feasted at Triple A, hitting .244/.337/.463 in part of two seasons there. In part or all of six years at Double A, he hit just .230/.324/.454. 

5/11/20:

Rick Reuschel - signed 1/1 in 7 days c/o his home address.
Dennis Sarfate - signed 2/2 in 12 days c/o his home address.
David Walling - signed 1/1 in 9 days c/o his home address.

Random past success of the day:


Jeff Winchester - sent 5/29/09, received 6/6/09, c/o his home address. Winchester was a 1st round pick, taken by the Rockies 40th overall in the 1998 amateur draft. It was a dud first round that year, with only one true star, C.C. Sabathia, selected. Winchester was taken between two others who never reached the majors, Mamon Tucker and Jeff Urban, with the next-closest big leaguer being the underwhelming Eric Valent. The catcher spent nine years in the minors and unlike most ballplayers with lengthy careers, he never had a standout season. Not one. Though he hit 18 home runs his second campaign (1999), he batted just .232; the next year, he had 17 dingers and an improved average of .262, but he also struck out 109 times in 110 games. At no point did professional baseball really click for Winchester, even after he'd spent five straight seasons at Single A. He peaked at Double A, spending a bit more than two years there, before wrapping up his career in 2006. One point of note: He did steal nine bases in 2000, a pretty hefty total for a catcher.

5/10/20:

James Williams - signed 1/1 in 21 days c/o his home address.
Paul Wilson - signed 2/2 in 422 days c/o his home address.



Matt Holliday - sent 8/24/07, received 9/29/07, c/o the Rockies. There's a chance these are ghostsigned. To Rockies fans, he was a face of the franchise, if only for a few years. To Cardinals fans, he was a steady presence in the lineup and a postseason stalwart. To Yankees fans ... he was forgettable. To proponents of a more inclusive Hall of Fame, he'd fit in right alongside the likes of Dwight Evans, Fred Lynn and Vada Pinson. Holliday was one heck of a player, no matter how you slice it. Seven times an All-Star, his 2007 campaign was by far his best -- in 158 games, he led the league in batting average (.340), hits (216), doubles (50), RBI (137) and total bases (386), tacking on 36 home runs and 120 runs scored for good measure. He narrowly lost out in the MVP race to Jimmy Rollins. Despite that single season outburst, for most of his career, consistency was his calling card. From 2008 to 2014, he hit no less than 20 -- and no more than 28 -- home runs per year. He had no fewer than 75 -- and no more than 109 -- RBI in any given campaign. He walked no less than 60 -- but no more than 75 -- times per season. Until the very end he was producing. He hit 19 home runs in his second-to-last campaign, 2017, and in an abbreviated final season, he hit .283 with a 116 OPS+. In 15 big league seasons, he hit .299/.379/.510 with a 132 OPS+. Though he wasn't a superstar, he compiled counting stats that turn some heads: 2,096 hits, 316 home runs, 1,220 RBI. He had 20-plus home runs 10 times, 100-plus RBI five times and 100-plus runs scored four times. Extra base hit power is an oft-underappreciated skill, but Holliday was among the best of his era: His 468 career doubles are the 14th-most since 2000. Though his postseason resume pales in comparison to his regular season work (he hit .245 in October/November baseball), highlights do abound. He logged 77 games over 19 series, clobbering 13 home runs with 37 RBI. In the 2007 NLCS, he hit .333 with two home runs to earn MVP honors; he followed that with a .294 mark in a losing World Series effort. In the 2011 NLCS, he hit .435 with 10 hits and five RBI in 6 games; he contributed five runs in that year's World Series, earning a ring. In his third and final World Series appearance, 2013, he contributed two home runs, five RBI and four runs in another losing effort. Upon evaluation, it cannot be said that Holliday would hurt the Hall of Fame if elected. He'd be a solid C or C- selection -- a modern Kiki Cuyler or Heinie Manush. 

5/9/20:

John Lamb - signed 1/1 in 1,187 days c/o the Reds
Kevin McGehee - signed 1/1 in 24 days c/o his home address.

Random past success of the day:


Michael Wlodarczyk - sent 5/29/09, received 6/6/09, c/o the Montgomery Biscuits. Wlodarczyk was drafted twice by two different teams (Expos in 2004; Devil Rays in 2005) who now go by different names, and for two years, it looked like he was a future major leaguer. To begin his career, the hurler had a 2.33 ERA in 15 starts between two low-minors clubs, averaging more than a strikeout per frame, while allowing just three homers in 73.1 innings. The next season, 2006, he had a 3.29 mark in 27 starts, allowing just 5 dingers in 153 innings. Despite it being his first winning season, 2007 saw the edges start to fray: His K/9 IP ratio fell for the second year in a row, while his ERA, home run rate, walk rate and hits allowed rate continued to tick upwards. Baseball often seems like a game of random numbers, but sometimes noticeable trends develop. Adam Dunn hitting 40 home runs four years in a row is one. Wlodarczyk's ERA rising every year until it reached it's high point of 5.24 in 2009 is another. Only in 2010, his final professional season, did it come down -- it fell to 3.25, to go along with a tidy 10-3 mark,  in 19 starts for the independent Brockton Rox.

5/8/20:

Mark Lukasiewicz - signed 1/1 in 7 days c/o his home address.
Scott Spiezio - signed 1/1 in 18 days c/o his home address.

Random past success of the day:


Kennard Bibbs - sent 5/28/09, received 6/8/09, c/o the El Paso Diablos. Bibbs was lightning on the base paths, rarely struck out and could draw a walk -- but unfortunately, he could not find success at the upper levels of the minor leagues. The then-Brewers farmhand stole 22 bases, while drawing 44 walks to just 31 strikeouts, in 64 games his first professional campaign in 2002. Building on the initial success, he swiped 55 bags, while hitting .302, in 124 games in 2003, and in 2004 -- in addition to hitting his first career home run -- added 38 more steals and 10 triples. His performance was rockier in 2005, as he hit .279 with just 23 swipes, and it collapsed entirely in 2006, as he hit .218 in 67 games at Triple A and .228 in 100 games overall. After a year away from baseball, he returned as an independent leaguer with some success in 2008 (.267 average, 17 steals), firmly regaining his footing in 2009 with a .323 batting average, .423 OBP, 32 steal, 63 walk, 92 game campaign. His foothold proved to be a weak one, however, as he fell to .280 with 12 steals in 2010 to wrap up his career. He hit only eight home runs over eight seasons across all levels, averaging one every 93 games and 347 at-bats. 

5/7/20:

Grant Dorn - signed 1/1 in 8 days c/o his home address.
Matt Schneider - signed 1/1 in 10 days c/o his home address.

Random past success of the day:


Sal Sanchez - sent 5/28/09, received 6/8/09, c/o the Winston-Salem Dash. Sanchez had two careers, one as an outfielder and one as a pitcher, and he saw fair success in both roles. Originally an outfielder, he began his career in the White Sox system in 2005. After two mediocre campaigns, he broke out with a .343/.394/.544 slash line, 10 triples and 18 stolen bases in 70 games for the Great Falls White Sox in 2007. He fell to .241/.284/.347 in 2008, but rebounded to hit 16 home runs with 20 steals in 2009 (though with a subpar .256 average). After another down campaign in 2010, he gave up the outfield for good. Converting to a relief pitching role, he made two scoreless appearances in the low minors in 2011, then posted ERAs of 3.26 and 2.74 in 2012 and 2013, respectively. In the '12 Arizona Fall League, he had a mark of 2.31. Unfortunately, despite his impressive numbers, he was relegated to indy ball for 2014, where he had a 2.91 mark in 47 games. Returning to the affiliated ranks for 2015, he had a 3.38 ERA in 13 games for the Marlins Triple A club, but his career was over after that. He never reached the majors.

5/6/20:

Buck Martinez - signed 1/1 in 101 days c/o the Blue Jays.
Ed Whitson - signed 3/3 in 52 days c/o his home address.

Random past success of the day:


Trey Hodges - sent 5/28/09, received 6/8/09, c/o the Lancaster Barnstormers. In 2002, Hodges came up alongside a slew of promising young hurlers: Jung Bong, John Foster, John Ennis, Andy Pratt and Tim Spooneybarger, who actually debuted briefly in 2001. Only one, Spooneybarger, experienced any level of big league success. For Hodges' part, he did work his way into a regular relief role for the Braves in 2003, appearing in 52 games and averaging more than a strikeout per inning. The 31 walks, 7 wild pitches, 69 hits and 11 home runs he surrendered in 65.2 frames did not much impress Atlanta brass, however, so '03 was his last stop in the majors -- but the Braves couldn't say goodbye for long. After letting him go midway through the 2004 campaign, he was picked up by Minnesota, let go again, then re-signed by the Braves in May 2005. Let go in late June, the Braves signed him again in January 2007, just to let him walk that October. And though Atlanta fans didn't see much of the successful Trey Hodges, minor league enthusiasts sure did -- in 2001, he was 15-8 with a 2.76 ERA in 26 starts at Single A, then 15-9, 3.19 at Triple A the next year. He last played for the Barnstormers in 2009. His brother, Kevin Hodges, pitched for the Mariners in 2000. 

5/5/20:

Larry Biittner - signed 1/1 in 124 days c/o his home address.
Mark Kiefer - signed 2/1 in 111 days c/o his home address. He also signed my note
Kirk Saarloos - signed 1/1 in 9 days c/o his home address.
Rich Sauveur - signed 1/1 in 43 days c/o his home address.

I was going through some old documents and found a form letter signed by Glenn Adams. I could never tell if the signature was real or photocopied, however I've seen different versions of the letter and the signatures are different, so I can assume the signature on my letter is authentic. Here it is. It was received June 11, 2016.

Random past success of the day:


Andy Sonnanstine - sent 5/29/09, received 6/8/09, c/o the Rays. Sonnanstine is an easily forgettable name, having only one season of note surrounded by four disappointing campaigns. But, though he didn't win a lot, or post low ERAs, or strike out a lot of guys, or surrender few hits, he did have excellent control, averaging just 2.3 walks allowed per nine innings of work. In his first big league campaign, he surrendered 26 bases on balls in 130.2 innings, the only highlight in a season that saw him go 6-10 with a 5.85 ERA. In 2011, his best year, he was 13-9 with a 4.38 mark; in 193.1 frames, he walked just 37 batters. He struggled on all fronts over the next three seasons, going 9-12, 5.70 in 216.1 innings combined, but he also allowed just 73 walks -- up from his first couple seasons, but not too shabby. His penchant for precision illustrated itself even better in the minors: In 609.2 innings, he allowed 100 walks (1.5 BB/9 IP). In 180.2 Single A innings in 2005, he walked just 18 batters. (He also went 45-27 with a 2.95 ERA in his minor league career). Unfortunately, a pitcher has to do more than avoid BBs to succeed ... and Sonnanstine did little of the other stuff required of a quality pitcher. For his big league career, he averaged 10.3 hits allowed per nine innings, while averaging just 5.7 Ks per nine frames. He had a 5.26 ERA and surrendered 79 home runs in 540.1 innings. On the bright side, he led league pitchers in fielding percentage in 2008 and was a solid hitter, batting .292 in 24 career at-bats. More importantly, he had some postseason success, winning two games in the 2008 playoffs. Unfortunately, he faltered in the World Series, losing his only start. In 2011, he co-authored a book called Tampa Bay Rays IQ: The Ultimate Test of True FandomIn 2016, after being out of the game for a few years, he tried to mount a comeback as a knuckle ball pitcher. It did not succeed.

5/4/20:

George Lombard - signed 1/1 in 8 days c/o the Dodgers. Received last baseball season.
Corey Myers - signed 1/1 in 89 days c/o his home address.
Dave Schmidt - signed 1/1 in 669 days c/o his home address.
Ed Yarnall - signed 1/1 in 7 days c/o his home address.

Also a couple failures to report: John Candelaria, c/o home (has a fee) and Mike Zywica c/o home (RTS). 

Random past success of the day:


Yasuhiko Yabuta - sent 5/29/09, received 6/8/09, c/o Omaha Royals. By the time he reached the major leagues with the Royals, Yabuta was 35 and past an age where major league success is easily had. But in Japan, he was one heck of a pitcher. From 1996 to 2003, he was a middling startier for the Chiba Lotte Marines, winning no more than five games in a season with an ERA of no better than 3.62. But in 2004, he had a mid-career resurgence as a relief pitcher, posting ERAs of 2.79, 3.07, 2.62 and 2.73 in the succeeding years, respectively. It was great timing for Yabuta, as that was the era when major league teams really ratcheted up their scouting and signing of Nippon Professional Baseball players after the success of names Ichiro Suzuki and Hideki Matsui. But the Suzukis and Matsuis of Japanese ball would be the exception rather than the rule -- most imports would disappoint or, at least, perform at subpar levels upon reaching the majors*. And such was the case with Yabuta. In 31 appearances with Kansas City in 2005, he was 1-3 with a 5.02 ERA; he averaged more than a hit allowed per inning, with just 6.0 Ks per nine frames. The next year, he had a 13.50 mark in 12 relief appearances -- in 14 innings, he allowed 29 hits! But he didn't forget how to pitch, he just couldn't handle the advanced level of major league play**. Returning the the Marines in 2010, he resumed his old ways, posting a 3.15 ERA in 63 games. He had a stellar 2011, posting a 1.75 mark with 31 saves, while averaging more than a strikeout per inning, before wrapping up his career with a 3.34 ERA and 26 saves in 2012. 

*though that trend was more prevalent with batters than pitchers. Post-2000 pitchers who performed well for extended durations upon reaching the majors include Yu Darvish, Masahiro Tanaka, Hiroki Kuroda, Hisashi Iwakuma, Kenta Maeda, Koji Uehara, Takashi Saito, Kaz Sasaki, Akinori Otsuka and Hideki Okajima. Though even then, many of them were superstars, or at least All-Stars, in Japan, while they were/are merely "very good" at the major league level. The only Japanese player who completely lived up to his billing to date is Ichiro Suzuki. 

**Too many folks like to think there is a competitive equivalence between the NPB and the major leagues, and some even use it as justification for electing Japanese stars into the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. But that is empirically false. Few players find consistent, All-Star quality success upon moving from Japanese ball to the majors, but many find such success upon moving from the majors to Japan. While Japanese superstars Kosuke Fukudome, Kaz Matsui and Daisuke Matsuzaka disappointed in their big league trials, former big league no-names like Tuffy Rhodes, Alex Cabrera and Mark Kroon blossomed in Japan. Japanese ball is more akin to Triple A competition; perhaps it might fit somewhere between Triple A and the majors, but it's not quite major league level. A cynic might say it's as bad as Double A competition, but one isn't convinced.

5/3/20:

Greg Brock - signed 1/1 in 85 days c/o his home address.
Bubba Crosby - signed 1/1 in 16 days c/o his home address.
Quinton McCracken - signed 1/1 in 95 days c/o his home address.
Allen Webster - signed 1/1 in 119 days c/o the Cubs. Received last baseball season. 

Also a couple failures to report: Dee Brown c/o home (RTS, vacant) and Kevin Russo c/o home (RTS). 

Random past success of the day:


Steve Tolleson - sent 5/29/09, received 6/9/09, c/o the New Britain Rock Cats. For a few years in the 2010s, you never knew just where Tolleson was going to show up. Check out his transaction log: He was drafted by the Twins in 2005 and remained in their system until February 2010, when he was selected off waivers by the Athletics. From then until 2016, he was a temporary lodger wherever he went -- in late May 2011, he was purchased by the Padres, then he joined the Orioles system as a free agent in November of that year. In November 2012, he moved to the White Sox system, then to the Blue Jays system in December 2013. In November 2015, he was back in the Orioles chain. Then in May 2016, the Royals signed him. He played in 15 minor or Arizona Fall league cities spread across all levels. In all that shuffling around, he spent four partial seasons in the majors. Initially, he played briefly with the Athletics in 2010, hitting a solid .286 in 49 at-bats. After struggling with the Orioles in 2012, he had a decent run in a backup role with the Blue Jays in 2014 and 2015, hitting .253 in 108 games the former campaign and .268 in 19 games the latter. He didn't hit many major league home runs, but he usually picked tough pitchers to victimize when he did -- four of the six hurlers he homered off of were All-Stars at one point in their careers. Though just a bit player in the majors, he was a regular face at Triple A, spending part or all of eight of his 12 professional seasons there. Just 80 games, his 2010 Triple A performance stands out -- he hit .332/.412/.503 with the Sacramento River Cats that year. That outburst was not without precedence, however. Two years earlier, in the Arizona Fall League, he slashed .383/.449/.543 in 27 games. Tolleson's success is hereditary -- his father, Wayne, played in the major leagues. He is also related, in one way or another, to former minor leaguers Mike and Jim Tolleson and Travis Adair, former big league pitching coach Rick Adair (profiled previously) and former big leaguer Art Fowler.  

5/2/20:

Tim Crabtree - signed 1/1 in 7 days c/o his home address.
Jim Essian - signed 1/1 in 15 days c/o his home address.
Mackey Sasser - signed 2/2 in 245 days c/o his home address.

Also a couple failures to report: Paul Lo Duca, c/o home (RTS) and Glenn Wilson, c/o home (wrong Glenn Wilson).

Random past success of the day:


Jim Gabella - sent 5/29/09, received 6/9/09, c/o the Burlington Bees. One does not need to have been a major leaguer to leave a major league legacy -- such is the case with Gabella. After a middling four-year career as a low-level minor league infielder wherein he hit .216, Gabella joined the coaching, scouting and managing ranks and remained there for decades. In the early-to-mid 1980s, he was a high school and junior college coach, according to the Baseball Reference Bullpen, and in 1984 and 1985, he was head coach at Broward Community College. Shifting gears, he became a scout in the Brewers system in the late '80s (he signed Gary Sheffield), before embarking on a run as minor league manager that stretched from 1989 to 2013, with a couple breaks in-between. He was vital in the early development of future big leaguers like Bartolo Colon, Brian Giles, Eric Hosmer, Salvador Perez and Whit Merrifield*, skippering in the low minors for the entirety of his career. In 17 seasons at the helm, he managed three first place finishes and a league championship with the Burlington Indians in 1993, with two more league finals appearances added in. Unfortunately, he also managed 13 losing seasons, including a 46-90 campaign (.338 winning percentage) with the Burlington Bees in 2010 and a 16-40 (.286 W%) year with the AZL Padres in 2012. He managed in the Indians (1989-1991, 1993-1994), Expos (1995-1996), Royals (2004-2010) and Padres (2011-2013) systems; in 1992, he served as a coach and from 1997 to 2003, he was a scout for the Indians. Since 2014, he has been a scout for the Giants. His son, Cody, followed in dad's footsteps -- he played in the minor leagues before becoming a minor league coach. 

*and Orlando Cabrera, Jarrod Dyson, Kelvin Herrera, Wil Myers, Richie Sexson, Rondell White, Jaret Wright ...

5/1/20:

Bruce Bochte - signed 1/1 in 112 days c/o his home address.
Chris Gomez - signed 1/1 in 12 days c/o his home address.
Joe Randa - signed 1/1 in 19 days c/o his home address.

Also a couple failures to report: Tilson Brito, c/o home (wrong Tilson Brito) and Gookie Dawkins, c/o home (RTS).

Random past success of the day:


Rick Adair - sent 4/27/09, received 5/18/09, c/o the Mariners. Adair's mark in baseball was made mostly as a pitching coach, working at all levels from 1987 to 2013. He started in the Indians system merely as a "coach" for the Waterloo Indians in 1987, then became pitching coach for the Kinston Indians (1988) and Colorado Springs Sky Sox (1989-1991). Graduating to the major leagues, he was the Indians pitching coach in 1992 and 1993, replacing Mark Wiley and being replaced by Phil Regan. Back in the minors in the Padres, then the Tigers, systems, he worked for the Wichita Wranglers (1994) and Toledo Mud Hens (1995), before becoming a Tigers roving minor league pitching coach in 1996. He returned to the majors in 1997, working on the Tigers staff until 1999, replacing Jon Matlack and being replaced by Dan Warthen. From 2000 to 2003, he was the Braves minor league pitching coordinator, and in 2004, he was pitching coach for the New Hampshire Fisher Cats in the Blue Jays system. From 2005 to 2008, he was the Rangers minor league pitching coordinator, serving as interim pitching coach for the Frisco RoughRiders in 2005. Replacing Mel Stottlemyre, he joined the Mariners coaching staff as pitching coach in 2009, to be replaced by Carl Willis after the 2010 season. In 2011, he moved to the Orioles as their bullpen coach, replacing Alan Dunn, only to be replaced after less than a season by Bill Castro; he wasn't done away with, however -- he merely shifted into the pitching coach position, a role he held until 2013. He took a leave of absence before the 2013 campaign ended and that's the last the coaching world has seen of Adair. Before he was a coach, he was a high-round draft pick and a solid pitcher in the Mariners system. Taken by Seattle in the third round of the 1979 amateur draft, he began his pro career with a 2.81 ERA in 80 innings in 1979. His best campaign was 1981, when he went 13-4 with eight complete games and four shutouts in 135 Single A innings. His performance declined in Double A the next year (4.30 ERA), only to bottom out in his only season at Triple A in 1983 (2-6 record, 5.05 ERA in 50, mostly relief, appearances). After two more years at Double A, his playing days were over. Adair's baseball prowess is in his genes, as he comes from a big baseball family. He is the nephew and cousin, respectively, of former big leaguers Art Fowler and Wayne Tolleson; he is the cousin of former minor leaguer Mike Tolleson and first cousin, once removed, of big leaguer Steve Tolleson. He is also related to former minor leaguer Jim Tolleson. His son, Travis Adair, played in the minor leagues. 

4/30/20:

Ron Cook - signed 1/1 in 153 days c/o his home address.
Rod Henderson - signed 2/2 in 19 days c/o his home address.
Kevin Flora - signed 1/1 in 30 days c/o his home address.

Random past success of the day:


Kevin Coughlin - sent 1/7/09, received 6/8/09, c/o his home address. Despite going undrafted and never reaching the major leagues, Coughlin forged a long, productive professional career. Bereft of power (he hit one home run every 263 at-bats, on average), but blessed with good speed early on, a penchant for high averages and a solid eye at the plate, the outfielder began his career in 1989 at 18 years old in the White Sox chain. His first season of note was 1991, when he hit .304 with 19 stolen bases and a .392 on-base percentage in 131 games for the Class A South Bend White Sox. The next year, his fourth, he hit his first career home run. In 1993, between two clubs -- including his first (brief, two game) stint at Triple A -- he hit .313 with a .373 on-base mark. His breakout campaign came in 1995, when -- even including a lackluster 10-game stretch at Triple A where he hit .182 -- he slashed .372/.439/.496 with 130 hits and 30 doubles in 106 games; at Double A, where he spent most of the year, he hit .385/.448/.514 in 376 plate appearances. That .514 slugging percentage is especially impressive, considering he hit just three home runs. Though he never again reached those numbers, he was solid even in his final campaign, 1997, when he hit .290, including a .300 mark at Double A. Overall, he slashed .297/.369/.357 in nine seasons; he shined most at Double A, where he had a .305 average and .375 OBP. 

4/29/20:

John Burke - signed 1/1 in 11 days c/o his home address.
Chris Eddy - signed 1/1 in 16 days c/o his home address.
Mike Paradis - signed 1/1 in 30 days c/o his home address.
Pete Smith - signed 1/1 in 306 days c/o his home address.

A couple failures to report: Aubrey Huff, c/o home (RTS) and Eddy Garabito c/o home (RTS). Garabito is officially in my cannot find pile. I'm pretty sure he is no longer in the USA.

Random past success of the day:


Eugenio Velez - sent 5/29/09, received 6/8/09, c/o the Fresno Grizzlies. Not to be confused with the, to date, considerably more successful Eugenio Suarez, the speedy Velez was -- for a spell -- a quality cog on the Giants roster. Though a middling minor leaguer in the Blue Jays system in the early 2000s, Velez impressed enough for the Giants to gamble and take him in the 2005 Rule V Draft. Hitting .315 with 64 stolen bases, 20 triples, 90 RBI and 90 runs scored for the Double A Augusta Greenjackets in 2006, he did not disappoint, following that with another solid campaign in 2007. With 54 steals in the minors that year, plus 4 more in the majors in 14 more in the Arizona Fall League, he found himself with the Giants for most of 2008, hitting .262 with 15 stolen bases in 98 games. In 2009, he added 11 stolen bases in 84 games, contributing also . After falling to .164 in 2010, his big league career ended on a note so sour, one must look twice to ensure his stat line was read correctly. In 2011, in 34 games with the Dodgers, Velez came to the plate 40 times ... and went hitless each time. That's right, he went 0-for-37 at the dish (he eked two walked and a hit by pitch), which was the worst hitless campaign by any non-pitcher, ever. Clearly undeterred, Velez returned to Triple A the next year, where he remained through 2017. He was playing winter league ball as recently as 2019-20.

4/28/20:

Bobby Hughes - signed 1/1 in 11 days c/o his home address.
Ron Kittle - signed 1/1 in 8 days c/o his home address.
Lyle Mouton - signed 1/1 in 12 days c/o his home address. Finally got him after 4 failures.

Two failures to report: Marlon Byrd, c/o home (RTS) and Bob Sykes, c/o home (RTS).

Random past success of the day:


Dustin Carr - sent: 12/30/09, received 6/8/09, c/o his home address. Carr hit .399 in his senior year at the University of Houston and was rewarded with a 22nd round selection by the Devil Rays in the 1997 amateur draft. The second baseman had fair success in the low- and mid-minors, stealing 11 bases in 138 games for the St. Petersburg Devil Rays in 1998 and hitting .302 with a .396 on-base percentage for the Orlando Rays in 1999. But like many players before him, he could not adjust to the higher level of play at Triple A, slashing just .219/.314/.293 in 111 games there in 2000 and .242/.329/.330 in 73 games in 2001. 

4/27/20:

Sherman Corbett - signed 2/2 in 51 days c/o his home address.
Andrew Lorraine - signed 1/1 in 29 days c/o his home address.
Don Robinson - signed 1/1 in 9 days c/o his home address.

Random past success of the day:


C.C. Sabathia - sent 8/26/06, received 1/22/08, c/o the Indians. Sabathia was a very smart guy, ensuring he reached 250 wins and 3,000 strikeouts, because now he's a lock for the Hall of Fame. Those numbers bookend a stellar career that began all the way back in 2001 with the Indians. From the beginning, the baseball world knew what to expect from Sabathia -- he didn't wait a few years to explode onto the scene. In his rookie campaign, he won 17 games in 180.1 innings, striking out nearly a batter per inning, on average. Over the next 12 seasons, he averaged 16 wins, 216 innings pitched and 185 strikeouts per year. He was winning games as victories were becoming scarcer for starting pitchers. He was tossing innings when the talk of innings limits began catching on. He was making 30-plus starts per year when it seemed like every other pitcher was being shut down due to Tommy John surgery. But what he was, more than anything, was consistent. In that 12 year span, he threw no less than 192.2 innings in a season. He won no less than 11 games; he had no less than 139 strikeouts. Twice he led the league in wins, thrice in complete games, four times in shutouts. He struck out over 200 batters three times, with as many as 251 in a season. By the end of the run, he had a good shot at 300 career victories. But there was a hiccup. In 2014, he was limited to 46 innings and from then on, he was a shadow of his former self. In the succeeding five campaigns, he averaged just nine wins and 151 innings per year. This hurler who averaged three complete games per year for 12 years managed just one in his final six campaigns. But he still reached 250 wins. He still managed 3,000 strikeouts. Though 300 victories is not a dead milestone, it's fair to say the benchmark has shifted and 250 is the new pinnacle. In fact, there are no active players particularly close to 250, with Justin Verlander nearest to it at 225. And 3,000 Ks -- that's rarer than 3,000 hits. So, is Sabathia a future Hall of Famer? That's a fair bet, high career ERA (3.74) notwithstanding. 


4/26/20:

Damon Minor - signed 1/1 in 40 days c/o his home address.
Mackey Sasser - signed 1/1 in 285 days c/o his home address.
Jason Schmidt - signed 1/1 in 170 days c/o his home address.

Random past success of the day:


Andre Dawson - received in-person, early 2000s. Dawson was one of the top stars of the 1980s, earning six All-Star selections, eight Gold Gloves, four Silver Sluggers and a Most Valuable Player award during the decade. But his run towards Hall of Fame immortality began with a bang in the 1970s, and lasted long into the 1990s. The 22-year-old Dawson was the National League Rookie of the Year in 1977, hitting .282 with 19 home runs and 21 stolen bases, before firing off two straight 25-25 campaigns. The five-tool dynamo then rattled off three straight .300 seasons, before reaching 30-plus dingers for the first time in 1983, finishing second in MVP voting that year (having placed second in 1981, as well). As the '80s wore on, the high-speed, high-average Dawson made way for a less statistically exciting, though extremely consistent, ballplayer who averaged 26 home runs and 94 RBI per year from 1984 to 1992. No longer a 20-steal threat, he still hit home runs with the best of 'em, punctuating the point with a 49-blast 1987, in which he led the league in homers, RBI (137) and total bases (353) en route to a MVP selection. He followed that up by hitting over .300 in two of the next three campaigns. By 1991, he was 36 and should've been over the hill -- should've been. Instead, he hit 31 home runs with 104 RBI, following that with 22 dingers and 90 RBI in 1992. He slowed down from 1993 on, becoming a part time player, but averaged 20 home runs and 85 RBI per 162 games from then to the end of his career in 1996, when he was 41. A truly great career, but also something of a what-could-have-been. He was a few bad breaks from being a 500 home run, 3,000 hit player and because he reached neither milestone, he was forced to wait until his ninth year on the ballot to reach the Hall of Fame. From 1981 to 1989, he averaged just 138 games per season, costing him perhaps a couple hundred career hits and a handful of home runs. Likewise, his power output dropped here and there -- see 1980 and 1984, when he hit just 17 home runs each year -- which also depressed his potential career total. Instead of 500 home runs and 3,000 hits, he finished with 438 and 2,774, respectively -- still legendary numbers, nevertheless.

4/25/20:

Larry Bowa - signed 1/1 in 6 days c/o his home address.
Armando Moreno - signed 2/2 in 54 days c/o his home address.
Anthony Ranaudo - signed 1/1 in 2,491 days c/o the Portland Sea Dogs. Sent note apologizing for the long wait.

Random past success of the day:


Phil Hughes - sent 10/30/06, received 11/6/06, c/o his home address. Also sent a $5 donation. Hughes has already had a write-up, but for a player with a 12-year career, there is always more to say. We'll focus on his postseason performance this time around. Hughes made 18 appearances, including five starts, in nine playoff series -- including three World Series relief appearances. His first try at postseason play was a success, as he made two relief appearances for the Yankees in the 2007 ALDS against Cleveland. Replacing a faltering Roger Clemens in the third inning of Game 3, he pitched 3.2 frames, allowing no runs on two hits to earn the win. Earlier in the series, he finished Game 1, which New York won. Though the Yankees were 2009 World Series champions, Hughes was not much of a contributor to that victory. He made three relief appearances in the ALDS against Minnesota, allowing five hits in two innings for a 9.00 ERA; in the ALCS against the Angels, he posted a decent 3.38 ERA in 2.2 innings, but allowed four hits and a walk, losing Game 5 after allowing an inherited runner to score and giving up a run of his own. The wheels really fell off in the Fall Classic, as he allowed three runs in 1.2 frames for a 16.20 ERA. The deeper he pitched in the postseason, the worse Hughes did. In 23.2 ALDS innings, he was 2-0 with a 1.52 ERA, striking out 27 batters and allowing just 18 hits. In 16 ALCS and World Series frames, he was 0-4 with a 9.00 ERA, with just 11 Ks and 23 hits allowed. Two-thousand-and-ten greatly illustrates the dichotomy. In that year's ALDS against Minnesota, he tossed seven innings of shutout ball in his first career postseason start, striking out 6 batters and allowing just four hits and one walk. In the ALCS against Texas: Two starts, two losses and a 11.42 ERA. He allowed seven runs on ten hits and three walks in four innings his first start; he allowed four runs on four hits and four walks in 4.2 frames his second. Though he lost a game in his final ALCS -- in 2012, against the Tigers -- his line after 2010 was solid overall: 12 innings, 9 hits, 13 strikeouts and a 1.50 ERA ... but that's because 9 of those innings were in the ALDS.

4/24/20:

Rawly Eastwick - signed 1/1 in 7 days c/o his home address.
Robbie Erlin - signed 1/1 in 499 days c/o the Padres.
Ryan Jamison - signed 1/1 in 17 days c/o his home address.
Aaron Ledesma - signed 1/1 in 11 days c/o his home address. Also sent a note about his realty business.

A couple failures to report: Lyle Mouton, c/o home (RTS) and Tony Clark c/o home (RTS). This was my 4th try with Mouton. Full disclosure: I finally did track him down and got him successfully, I'll post that autograph in a couple days. Today is a clear up the backlog day. 

Random past success of the day:


Napoleon Calzado - received in a 50/50 (?). Calzado played all over the baseball world, from the minor leagues, to the major leagues, to the indy leagues, to China, to Canada, to Mexico, to the Dominican Republic, to Nicaragua. Blessed with a solid bat and good speed, he forged an average in the .290s, while stealing as many as 42 bags in a campaign. Beginning in the Orioles system in the late 1990s -- 1997, most likely, is when he began play in the Dominican Summer League -- he had some decent years early on, but did not break out until 2004, his age-27 season. In 128 games spent mostly with the Double A Greenville Braves of the Atlanta Braves system, he slashed .350/.386/.491 with 169 hits, 30 doubles and 20 stolen bases. Back in the Orioles system for all of 2005, he hit .306 in 120 games for Triple A Ottawa, prompting the big club to promote him briefly in late May. In 5 plate appearances with the Orioles, he collected one hit -- a single in his first career at-bat -- and nothing more. Returning to the affiliated minors for one more season in 2006, Calzado played in just 69 games before beginning his journey of hither an yon. From 2007 on, he played in the: Dominican Winter League, Mexican League, American Association, Can-Am League, Chinese Professional Baseball League, Golden Baseball League and Nicaraguan Professional Baseball League. He time in the CPBL was an inglorious one, as he was accused of throwing games, blacklisted and banned. 

4/23/20:

Blaine Beatty - signed 2/1 in 1,560 days c/o his home address.
Larry Christenson - signed 1/1 in 10 days c/o his home address.
Jeff Juden - signed 1/1 in 61 days c/o his home address. Didn't sign my card, sent back a signed letter wishing me a Happy Thanksgiving. (Received last November). 
Gene Roof - signed 1/1 in 27 days c/o his home address.
Franklin Stubbs - signed 1/1 in 108 days c/o his home address.

A failure to report: Rick Reuschel, c/o home. Got the now-elusive Reuschel 6 months ago. Thought I'd try again ... never get greedy kids, he sent it back unsigned.

Random past success of the day:


Tim Lahey - received in-person at Frontier Field (Rochester Red Wings) on April 25, 2009. Remembered by history as a career minor leaguer, Lahey nearly earned a place on the all-time big league roster -- but not quite. Taken by the Twins in the 20th round of the 2004 amateur draft, the reliever averaged 10.7 strikeouts per nine innings his first professional season, 2005, then went 7-1 the next. By 2007, he was with Triple A Rochester, albeit briefly -- just two games -- winning another 8 games to 4 losses overall. Two-thousand-and-eight was a rough one, as he posted a 5.18 mark in 50 games spent mostly at Triple A, but he redeemed himself a bit with a 3.97 ERA in 13 Arizona Fall League games. Though ostensibly his numbers to that point were middling at best, the Rays took him first overall in that year's Rule 5 Draft, which required he either be kept on their roster or sent back to his original team. Instead, the Rays traded him to the Cubs, with the same stipulations in hand. They waived him, allowing the Phillies to claim him -- and that's where his trip to the majors began. Philadelphia kept him on their roster for their first handful of games, but he made no appearances. Upon the return of closer Brad Lidge, who had been injured, he was designated for assignment and offered back to the Twins. Home, not-so-sweet, home. He rounded out his career with two more mediocre seasons at Rochester, with marks of 5.72 and 5.08, respectively, before calling it quits. His ledger says he played in the Minnesota system his whole career. Not so. Briefly, ever so, he nearly touched the sky with Philadelphia ... only to be called back to the farm, again.

4/22/20:

Another long wait for updates; work is still crazy.

Larry McWilliams - signed 2/2 in 60 days c/o his home address. Kept a card, signed the note he sent me.
Luis Melendez - signed 2/1 in 89 days c/o his home address. He wrote his return address with his name on the envelope ... which matches his signature. So I call that two autos! I accidentally ripped it, but a little tape will fix the problem.
Eric Milton - signed 1/1 in 117 days c/o his home address.
Bubba Trammell - signed 1/1 in 146 days c/o his home address.

A couple failures to report: Josh Girdley, c/o home (RTS) and Travis Anderson, c/o New Jersey Diamond Jacks (wrong Travis Anderson). 

Random past success of the day:


Jered Weaver - sent 4/4/09, received 4/15/09, c/o the Angels. Thrice an All-Star, Weaver forged a solid big league career, twice leading the league in wins and finishing in the top 5 in Cy Young Award voting three times, as well. Taken by the Angels 12th overall in the 2004 amateur draft, he began his professional career in 2005 and quickly shot up the ranks of their minor league system. By 2006, he was a fixture in Anaheim's rotation, going 11-2 with a 2.56 ERA in 19 starts, finishing fifth in AL Rookie of the Year voting (hard to compete with names like Verlander and Papelbon, who finished ahead of him). Though still a solid presence on the mound, his 2007 to 2009 campaigns paled in comparison to his initial showing -- he went 40-25 with a 3.99 ERA in 91 starts, while averaging over 7 strikeouts per 9 innings of work. In 2010, he began a three-year run of dominance that put him on the periphery of Hall of Fame discussion. He went 13-12 with a 3.01 ERA and a league-leading 233 strikeouts in (an also league-leading) 34 starts the first year, earning his first of three consecutive All-Star selections and finishing fifth in Cy Young voting. In 2011, he was 18-8 with a 2.41 ERA and 156 ERA+ to finish second in Cy Young voting. Topping off the run in 2012 with 20 wins that paced the loop and a .800 winning percentage that was also best in the league, he finished third in Cy Young voting and even received MVP votes. While 2013 and 2014 were still very good -- he was 29-17 with a 3.45 ERA in 58 starts between them, even leading the league with 18 victories the latter campaign -- they still represented a slight slip from the years before. And the wheels totally fell off in 2015. From then on, he was just 19-29 with a 5.15 ERA in 66 starts, wrapping up his career with an ignominious 0-5, 7.44 line for the Padres in 2017 at 34 years old. Toward the end of his career, he'd suffered from ever-decreasing velocity, perhaps caused by a 2013 elbow injury. Had he not been bitten by the injury bug, he could have forged a Hall of Fame career -- assume he'd stayed healthy and had a standard decline that allowed him to play until he was 40. Give him an average of 12 wins per year from 2013 on and he would have finished with 234 victories and a reasonable increase in his other counting stats, as well, for his career. Years ago, 234 wins meant little; in this era, for a pitcher to earn that many is a rarity. It makes one wonder. 

4/21/20:

Dustin Hermanson - signed 1/1 in 139 days c/o his home address.
Brent Hoard - signed 1/1 in 43 days c/o his home address.
Shawn Schumacher - signed 1/1 in 24 days c/o his home address.

Random past success of the day:


Lee Tabor - sent 7/15/09, received 7/31/09, c/o Carolina Mudcats. Relief pitcher Tabor spent most of his six-year minor league career in the Reds system, twice reaching Triple A, but never making the jump to the big leagues. He was taken in the 30th round of the 2006 amateur draft and began his pro career that year. Though he had some solid seasons throughout his run, he never had a true, breakout campaign -- in fact, most were mediocre at best, and some were real clunkers. He began with a 4.67 ERA in Rookie and High A ball in '06, before having his best season in 2007, posting a 3.12 ERA and 9.5 K/9 IP ratio in 43 games between two Single A clubs. But the ERAs tell the story best: From 2008 to 2011, they were 4.50, 3.60, 4.76 and 8.39, respectively (though his Triple A mark was a solid 3.55 in 17 career games). Trying to revitalize himself in indy ball in 2011, after the Reds cut ties with him, he struggled to a 6.30 ERA in 14 games between two clubs. 

4/20/20:

Storm Davis - signed 1/1 in 94 days c/o his home address.
Steve Rosenberg - signed 1/1 in 8 days c/o his home address.
Pete Smith - signed 1/1 in 101 days c/o his home address.

Random past success of the day:


Tony La Russa - sent 6/25/09, received 7/27/09, c/o the Cardinals. Folks remember LaRussa most as a manager and for obvious reasons -- he's in the Hall of Fame because of his 2,728 victories, 6 pennants, 3 World Series titles and four Manager of the Year selections. But few people recall that, before he became one of the most successful skippers in major league history, he was a middle infielder -- a highly touted youngster who never quite put it all together. A bonus baby, he was in the major leagues at 18 years old and spent the whole of 1963 with the Kansas City Athletics, where he hit .250 in 44 at-bats. Back in the minors from 1964 to 1968, he had middling success offensively, but still prompted the Athletics to promote him for 5 games in 1968. Then 3 games in 1969. Then 52 games in 1970 and 32 games in 1971. He didn't play in the bigs at all in 1972, but he returned for a single match in 1973, and he didn't even get an at-bat. From 1974 to 1977, he bounced around Triple A, but the majors never came calling again. With a .199/.292/.250 career slash line, La Russa was poised to become one of countless easily forgotten has-beens, remembered only by autograph collectors and baseball history die-hards. That is, until 1978, when he became a minor league manager. And 1979, when White Sox skipper Don Kessinger led the club to a paltry 46-60 record, getting the boot toward the end of the season, with La Russa earning the call to replace him. It was rough going in the early years, as La Russa led the White Sox to just one first place finish and five fifth- or worse-place finishes in a little less than 8 years there (though he still finished with a winning record). Things coalesced in his decade with the Athletics, as he led the club to three straight pennants (1988 to 1990) and a World Series championship (1989), not to mention four first place finishes and two 100-win seasons. By the time he reached the Cardinals, his reputation had been established and after a few years there, each campaign just became one more reason to eventually elect him to the Hall of Fame. In 16 years with the Cardinals, he won 1,408 games, with an average standings finish of about 2nd place. He led the club to seven first place finishes, three pennants and two World Series wins. And, those Manager of the Year awards --- yes, he won four. But he earned votes 18 times, with five second-place finishes and three third place votes. He finished in the top five 16 times. 

4/19/20:

Steve Cox - signed 1/1 in 111 days c/o his home address.
Steve Ontiveros - signed 1/1 in 13 days c/o his home address.
Manny Trillo - signed 1/1 in 14 days c/o his home address.

Random past success of the day: 



Brian Buscher - sent 3/17/09, received 4/16/09, c/o the Twins. Often, players experience a sophomore slump. Not Buscher -- he had a sophomore surge. After being drafted three times, including twice in the 50th round, and working his way up through the minors, the third baseman joined the Twins as a 26-year-old rookie in 2006. His numbers were what most would expect from a first-year player of his age, as he posted a meager slash line of just .244/.323/.329 in 33 games. He had 2 home runs, 10 RBI and the only stolen base of his big league career. But things flipped the next year. About half of his 2008 campaign was spent with Triple A Rochester, but 70 games of it were with the Twins -- and relative to the player he replaced at third base, Mike Lamb (.233 average), he did not disappoint. In June, he hit .360 in 50 at-bats and he maintained a season average over .300 until just a few days before the end of the campaign. All told, he batted .294 with 4 home runs and 47 RBI, adding 9 doubles and 29 runs scored for good measure. But one-year wonders are just that, and in 2009 he fell to just .235 in 136 at-bats. Failing to reclaim his fleeting taste of glory at Triple A, his professional career was over after the 2010 season. But of course, considering his career trajectory, it could have stalled in the minors. Beginning in the Giants system, he was already 22 years old when he made his professional debut. By 2005, at age 25, he had yet to reach Triple A and his offensive statistics were middling at best. Saved largely because the Twins took him in the 2005 Rule 5 Draft, which required the team to keep him on their roster or send him back to his original club, he was able to forge a brief, three-year major league career. Also of note: Neither of the times he was taken in the 50th round was he the only future big leaguer selected in that round. In 1999, he was drafted alongside future Cardinals outfielder John Gall and in 2000, he was taken alongside future Rangers outfielder David Murphy.

4/18/20:

Orel Hershiser - signed 1/1 in 15 days c/o his home address.
Neil Jenkins - signed 1/1 in 53 days c/o his home address.
Doug Jennings - signed 1/1 in 14 days c/o his home address.

Random past success of the day:


Curtis Thigpen - sent 4/4/09, received 4/16/09, c/o the Sacramento River Cats. Thigpen was the Blue Jays second round draft pick in 2004, so for him high expectations were had. Being out of professional baseball before turning 26 was not one of those expectations. Impressing early on, he slashed .301/.390/.518 with 7 home runs and 29 RBI in 45 games his first professional season, following that with a less stupendous, but still solid, .286/.380/.417 line between two clubs in 2005. Despite seeing further diminished results in 2006 (.260 average, but a .307/.392/.500 mark in the Arizona Fall League), he earned a shot at Triple A in 2007, hitting .285 in 50 games there. The Jays gave him a shot at the major leagues, but he failed to impress, batting just .238 with no home runs in 47 games. He struggled at both Triple A and in the majors in 2008, hitting just .176 in 10 games at the latter level. The highlight of his major league career came in its last game -- on September 26, off Orioles pitcher Chris Waters, he hit his only home run. After the 2008 campaign, his skein came to an end; it appears a hip injury did him in. 

4/17/20:

Jay Howell - signed 1/1 in 8 days c/o his home address.
Matt LeCroy - signed 1/1 in 39 days c/o his home address.
Mark Thompson - signed 1/1 in 25 days c/o his home address.

Random past success of the day: 


Ryan Ballard - sent 10/17/08, received 4/23/09, c/o his home address. For Ryan Ballard to even have a card in one of the 'main issue' minor league sets is stunning. Undrafted, he played just 15 games for the rookie level Princeton Devil Rays in 1998, hitting .258 with no home runs and 2 RBI in 37 at-bats. After not playing due to injury in 1999, he returned, this time with the High A St. Petersburg Devil Rays, in 2000 to hit .154 with no home runs and 1 RBI in 14 games and 39 at-bats. His professional career totaled 29 games, 70 at-bats, 14 hits, 7 runs scored, no dingers, 3 RBI and a .200 batting average. 

4/16/20:

Floyd Chiffer - signed 1/1 in 116 days c/o his home address.
Willie Fraser - signed 1/1 in 17 days c/o his home address.

Random past success of the day:


Royce Huffman - sent 4/4/09, received 4/24/09, c/o the Oklahoma City RedHawks. Huffman never reached the majors, though for more than half of his career it seemed inevitable ... at some point ... eventually he would make it. The poor guy spent 11 seasons in the minor leagues, playing 7 complete campaigns at Triple A. He never hit below .259 in a season and finished with a .294 career batting average; he hit .300 or better four times, including three years in a row. Hits came easily to him -- he finished with 1,388 for his career, managing 150 or more three times. He could draw a walk and a hit by pitch, so he finished with a .379 on-base percentage. He could hit a dinger, finishing in double digits four times. He was an extra base machine, in fact, whacking as many as 39 doubles in a season and 322 for his career. With 117 stolen bases and as many as 32 in a season, he could swipe a bag; he was never caught more than 8 times in a season. And he could play all over the diamond, spending time at every position except pitcher. The only thing he could not do, it seems was make the major leagues. His brother, Chad, had a similar career path, though he was rewarded with two brief major league stints ... nearly a decade apart. He appeared in 2010 and 2017, but spent 8 of his 13 years at Triple A..

4/15/20:

Pete Mackanin - signed 1/1 in 34 days c/o his home address.
Mark Thompson - signed 1/1 in 49 days c/o his home address.

A couple failures to report: Joe Rosselli, c/o home (RTS) and Dale Murphy, c/o home (refused).

Random past success of the day:


Kevin Hooper - sent 4/4/09, received 4/13/09, c/o the Wichita Wingnuts. Three of the past four players profiled have something in common: They debuted at advanced ages. Let's make it four of five. Hooper earned a couple cups of coffee with the Tigers in 2005 and 2006, with his first shot at 28 years old. Taken by Florida in the 8th round of the 1999 draft (two picks ahead of future All-Star Chris Capuano), he toiled in their system for five full campaigns as a low-power, decent speed (two 25-plus steal seasons) middle infielder who spent two solid, full seasons with their Triple A club without earning a major league promotion. After bouncing between the Marlins, Royals and Yankees system in 2004, he wound up in the Detroit chain in 2005. Though his time with their Triple A club was lackluster -- he slashed just .240/.291/.304 -- he earned a brief shot with the Tigers nevertheless, playing in six games and collecting one hit in five at-bats. He had an improved Triple A campaign in 2006, but his big league exposure was the same -- in eight games, he had no hits in three at-bats, wrapping up his major league career. He stuck around in the Tigers system for 2007, hitting .301 in 60 games for the Triple A club, before exploding with one last hurrah for the independent Wichita Wingnuts in 2008, slashing .373/.431/.440 with 133 hits and 34 stolen bases in 88 games to finish his tenure in the pros. He later joined the Wingnuts as manager, serving in that capacity for seven seasons. He led the club to the American Association playoffs six years, including the league finals thrice; they were champions twice. Overall, he was 422-270 (.610 winning percentage) as a skipper.

4/14/20:

Jose Garcia - signed 1/1 in 42 days c/o his home address.
Andrew Lorraine - signed 1/1 in 168 days c/o his home address. 

Random past success of the day:


Luke Scott - received in a 50/50. Orioles fans might remember him well, but Scott is one of those players who had a brief run of success before fading into the ether to be largely forgotten. A 27-year-old rookie for the Astros in 2005, he really introduced himself to the game in 2006 with his excellent .336/.426/.621 slash line, 10 home runs and 37 RBI in 65 games. He even earned a Player of the Week honor. Cooling off average-wise to .255 in 2007, he still hit 18 home runs with 64 RBI in semi-regular duty, earning another Player of the Week selection. On December 12, 2007, he was traded with four largely inconsequential players to the Orioles for shortstop Miguel Tejada. Though pitchers Matt Albers and Troy Patton had solid runs with the Orioles, Scott became their best acquisition. In his first three campaigns with the club, he averaged 25 home runs and 71 RBI -- in 2008, he had 23 dingers and 65 RBI, in 2009: 25 and 77, respectively, in 2010: 27 and 72, respectively. Not superstar numbers, but a nice pocket slugger to have around. He struggled mightily in 2011 and beyond, joining the Rays for 2012 and 2013 to wrap up his big league career. In his final three seasons, he hit just .231 with 32 home runs overall. In nine major league seasons, he had 135 home runs and 436 RBI ... but players like Scott don't just retire. Rather, they tend to hang around, plying their trade elsewhere. And that's just what Scott did: He went to Korea for 2014, hitting 6 home runs with 17 RBI in 33 games for SK Wyverns, before moving to the Blue Jays chain in 2015 and Mexico in 2016. Indeed, little touched on was his minor league career, wherein he hit another 135 home runs, including 31 home runs for the Triple A Round Rock Express in 2005 and 27 dingers between two clubs the year before (...and 20 homers the year before that). Including his minor league stats, he walloped 273 home runs.   

4/13/20:

Jack Cressend - signed 2/1 in 59 days c/o his home address.

Random past success of the day:


Jeff Harris - sent 5/28/09, received 7/31/09, c/o AZL Indians. Harris was drafted by the Twins in 1995, but didn't make his debut until a decade later, as a 30-year-old rookie with the Mariners in 2005. Beginning his professional career as a relief pitcher, he had some solid seasons moving up the Twins chain -- including an 8-3 record in 1996, a 2.24 ERA in 52 games in 1997 and a 9-0 mark in 1998 -- but he stalled at Triple A, struggling mightily there. His Triple A campaigns were extreme dichotomies, as he also spent about half of each season as Double A. Check out 1998, for example. In 26 games at Double A, he had a 1.66 ERA, a 5.0 hits per nine innings ratio and a 9.5 Ks per nine innings ratio. At Triple A: 25 games, 5.91 ERA, 10.7 H/9, 6.8 K/9. 1999 was similar. At Double A: 20 games, 1.48 ERA, 7.8 H/9, 4.4 K/9; at Triple A: 36 games, 6.90 ERA, 12.0 H/9, 3.9 K/9. After struggling at Double A in 2000, the Twins let him go. He joined the independent Chico Heat in 2001 and reinvented himself as a starting pitcher. After a little more than three successful seasons in the indy ranks (he went 29-16 with a 3.03 ERA in 61 games), the Mariners signed him in 2004 and assigned him to Triple A, where he had a 4.34 ERA in 74.2 innings. By 2005, he was with the big club and though his 2-5 record was unimpressive, his 4.19 ERA and 101 ERA+ were hardly awful. In fact, his ERA was second-best among team pitchers with more than one start. After a brief return to Seattle in 2006, he began a couple years' journey through the Indians' ranks, before calling it quits. He later became a pitching coach in the Indians system. 

4/12/20:

Calvin Murray - signed 2/1 in 126 days c/o his home address.

Random past success of the day:


Todd Betts - sent 1/6/09, received 4/4/09, c/o the Barrie Baycats of the Intercounty Baseball League. Betts never reached the major leagues, but had a notable, globetrotting career, nevertheless. Born in Canada, he went to college in Oklahoma, whence he was taken by the Indians in the 14th round of the 1993 draft, right after pitcher Keith Foulke and catcher Jose Molina. The corner infielder made his mark early, slashing .326/.460/.555 with 10 home runs, 53 RBI, 54 walks and just 29 strikeouts in 65 games for the Watertown Indians in 1994. High on-base percentages, high walk totals and decent power were his calling card: In seven years in the Indians chain, his OBP never dropped below .355, he walked as many as 88 times, and he hit as many as 20 home runs in a season. In his final professional campaign, 2007, he'd walk 24 times to just 8 Ks in 33 games. Joining the Marlins system for 2000, he batted .320 with a .415 on-base percentage in 120 games. He moved to the Mariners system the next year, and though he'd had cups of coffee at Triple A previously, 2001 was his first full season at that level. In 135 games for the Tacoma Rainiers, he slashed .308/.372/.490 with 14 home runs and 65 RBI. After another solid campaign (.291, 14, 45) at Triple A in 2002, this time with the Pawtucket Red Sox of the Red Sox chain, he finally earned his shot at the big leagues ... Japan's big league's, Nippon Professional Baseball. With the Yakult Swallows in 2003, he hit .287 with 15 home runs and 52 RBI. That enticed the Yankees to sign him for 2004, though he played only 44 games for their Triple A club, the Columbus Clippers. After a year in the indy ranks, he moved to Taiwan for 2006, slashing .343/.371/.471 in 49 games for the La New Bears. He returned to his homeland to wrap up his professional career, playing for the independent Edmonton Cracker-Cats in 2007. All told, he spent 15 years in pro ball, slashing .283/.379/.454 with 160 home runs, 704 RBI and 700 walks in 1,374 games. But he wasn't done playing. He would spend time in Canada's Intercounty Baseball League, a popular independent amateur circuit. What's more: Throughout his career, Betts was active with multiple Canadian national teams, joining them in the 1991 Junior World Championship (winning Gold; later elected to the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame with the rest of the team), the 1999 Pan American Games (winning Bronze), the 2001 Baseball World Cup and the 2004 Olympics.

4/11/20:

Jim Sundberg - signed 1/1 in 267 days c/o his home address.

Random past success of the day:


John Beck - sent 10/17/08, received 3/31/09, c/o the Dolphins. With a quarterback record of 0-7, Beck didn't find much success in the National Football League, but he still managed to forge a fairly long professional career. A second round pick out of Brigham Young University in 2007, he was already 26 years old when he debuted for the Dolphins that year. He threw 559 yards in that awful 1-15 Miami campaign, as the club chucked three QBs against the wall, hoping one would stick. Neither, Beck, or Cleo Lemon or Trent Green, did. Staying on the bench for all of 2008, 2009 and 2010, he returned to the field in 2011 with Washington. He had a little more success that time around, completing 60.6% of his passes and throwing for 858 yards in starter Rex Grossman's stead. He latched on with the Texans for 2012, but did not see any regular season action, and after a spell away from the game, he joined the B.C. Lions of the Canadian Football League for 2014 and 2015. He threw for 785 yards in two seasons with them.

4/10/20:

Travis Anderson - signed 1/1 in 8 days c/o his home address.
Stan Bahnsen - signed 1/1 in 122 days c/o his home address.
Fletcher Bates - signed 1/1 in 172 days c/o Coastal Athletics.
Blaine Beatty - signed 1/1 in 53 days c/o his home address.
Toby Hall - signed 1/1 in 70 days c/o his home address.
Kevin McGlinchy - signed 1/1 in 131 days c/o his home address.
Bob Sykes - signed 1/1 in 7 days c/o his home address.
Rob Wilfong - signed 1/1 in 9 days c/o his home address.
Julio Zuleta - signed 1/1 in 8 days c/o his home address.

A couple failures to report: Carlos Casimiro, c/o home (RTS, vacant) and Lyle Mouton, c/o home (RTS). I won't give up on Mouton until I find this guy!

Random past success of the day:


Shawn Estes - sent 7/21/08, received 4/4/09, c/o the Padres. Estes was a promising pitcher coming up, having been taken by the Mariners 11th overall in the 1991 draft. He was selected two picks ahead of Manny Ramirez, three picks ahead of Cliff Floyd and five picks ahead of Shawn Green and though Estes showed flashes of brilliance in the early going, his body of work would, of course, not match any of the aforementioned. Heading into the 1992 season, Baseball America ranked him the 44th best prospect in the game. Though control issues and clunker seasons hampered him in the early going -- he had 55 walks in 34 innings his first pro campaign and a 5-9 record with a 7.24 mark his third year -- the Giants saw enough potential to trade a top pitching prospect of their own, Salomon Torres, for him. And Estes did not disappoint. He was 7-2 in the minors his first year in their system, averaging 10.4 strikeouts per nine innings. While it was unimpressive, he even made a brief showing in the majors. Redeeming himself as a prospect, Estes was named the 72nd best prospect in the game by Baseball America going into 1996 -- and he rewarded the Giants by posting a solid 3.60 ERA and 113 ERA+ in 70 big league innings that year. In his first full major league campaign, 1997, he was an All-Star, going 19-5 with a 3.18 ERA in 32 starts. But warning signs were visible. He also led the league in walks and his 1.81 strikeout-to-walk rate left much to be desired. By 1998, he was a has-been. From that point to the end of his Giants tenure, he was 42-37 with a 4.57 ERA; he walked 100-plus batters twice and led the league in wild pitches once. In 2002, he became a journeyman, playing for six clubs over the next seven seasons, posting a .463 winning percentage and a 5.37 ERA in 123 games. During his tenure with the Mets, the first of those six teams, he made a name for himself by throwing behind Roger Clemens, rather than hitting him, in retaliation for Clemens throwing a broken bat shard at Mets catcher Mike Piazza in the 2000 World Series (which was preceded by Clemens hitting Piazza in the head with a pitch during that year's interleague play). Estes redeemed himself later in the game by homering off Clemens. 

4/9/20:

Rich Becker - signed 1/1 in 8 days c/o his home address.
Roosevelt Brown - signed 1/1 in 108 days c/o his home address. Already signed by Eric Byrnes on the other side -- was the smear intentional? One wonders.
Adeiny Hechavarria - signed 3/2 in 145 days c/o the Mets. He also sent back a signed index card with someone else's autograph request written on it. The letter is an embarrassment (I didn't write it!). Also, there are rumors he ghost signs. I'll be the optimist and say these are real, and that Hechavarria has a TTM signature and an IP signature.
Jake Joseph - signed 1/1 in 11 days c/o his home address.
Nick Kingham - signed 1/1 in 154 days c/o the Blue Jays. Received this success in December. 
Luis Salazar - signed 1/1 in 104 days c/o his home address.
Mike Thurman - signed 1/2 in 316 days c/o his home address.
Kelvin Villa - signed 1/1 in 150 days c/o his home address. Or is it 2/1? He signed the pocket schedule twice.

Jonathan Berry, reported earlier, signed the note he sent me.  

A couple failures to report: Shawn Estes, c/o his home address (RTS) and Josh Shaw, the football player, c/o the Cardinals (RTS). 

Random past success of the day:


Mike Adams - sent 2/18/09, received 4/6/09, c/o his home address. Adams was an up-again-and-down-again outfielder, with most of his big league career coming in spurts interrupted by minor league service. He began his professional career in the Tigers system at 18 years old in 1967 and earned his first shot at the big leagues with the Twins at 23 in 1972; he'd been sent to Minnesota in an inconsequential trade. After collecting two hits in six at-bats in his first cup of coffee, he spent all of 1973 in the majors, again with the Twins, batting .212 in 66 at-bats. Frequently used as a pinch runner, he had the rare distinction of having more runs scored than hits that year, with 21 and 14, respectively. That was the only full season he'd spend in the bigs. He spent a couple successful seasons at Triple A, hitting over .300 each time, resurfacing with the Cubs in 1976, with whom he hit .138. Then he spent a couple games with Chicago in 1977, hitting .000. After hitting .200 in 15 games for Oakland in 1978, his run was over. Though his career .195 big league average paints a negative picture, he was a great hitter at Triple A, slashing .309/.433/.507 with 82 home runs and 82 stolen bases in 691 games at that level. He walked nearly 70 more times than he struck out and never batted worse than .293 in a season. But he just couldn't make that successful jump to the majors.

4/8/20:

Playing a few days' catch-up since it's been crazy at work. 

Frank Bolick - signed 1/1 in 9 days c/o his home address.
Tom Evans - signed 1/1 in 44 days c/o his home address.
Wayne Gross - signed 1/1 in 367 days c/o his home address. Same card I sent; my name's not Brent.
Asdrubal Oropeza - signed 1/1 in 17 days c/o his home address.

Random past success of the day:


Kurt Ehmann - sent 2/10/09, received 4/6/09, c/o his home address. Ehmann was drafted three times, last by the Giants in the 4th round of the 1992 amateur draft. He remained in their system through 1997, and though he reached Triple A twice, he never made the major leagues. Defensively versatile, he made appearances at every position except pitcher -- though his primary home was shortstop. He was anemic offensively, slugging .311 overall, though he could surprise on the base paths, stealing as many as 12 bags in a campaign. The trajectory of his career took a sudden and negative turn his final campaign -- he spent all of 1996 at Triple A, only to find himself at high Single A for the whole of 1997. His career was over after that.

4/7/20:

Ben Christensen - signed 1/1 in 23 days c/o his home address.
Dan Ford - signed 1/1 in 1,644 days c/o his home address. Never give up on a request!
George "Doc" Medich - signed 1/1 in 6 days c/o his home address.
Adam Piatt - signed 1/1 in 14 days c/o his home address.

Random past success of the day:


London (Byron) Bradley - sent 12/30/08, received 4/9/09, c/o his home address. He threw in an extra signed card. Taken by the Cubs one pick after pitcher Melvin Bunch and ahead of future Gold Glover Jose Cruz, Jr. in the 1992 draft, Bradley spent all of three seasons and 102 games in their system before his career was over. His 1993 season was solid, as he hit .301 in 49 games for the Single A Peoria Chiefs, but beyond that, accomplishments were sparse. Considerable trouble was had in the field, as the third baseman posted a .847 fielding percentage his first campaign and a .884 mark overall. 

4/6/20:

Jonathan Berry - signed 2/1 in 19 days c/o his home address.
Albenis Machado - signed 1/1 in 25 days c/o his home address.
Ed Romero - signed 2/2 in 17 days c/o his home address.

Random past success of the day:


Zach Duke - like Ohlendorf below, I'm not sure how I received these autographs, but I assume it was via 50/50. Duke's career has been an interesting trek, one that started in his debut 2005 campaign and ran to 2019 (yes, astonishingly, he was still pitching). He gave Pirates fans hope with his stupendous rookie campaign, going 8-2 with a 1.81 ERA in 14 starts; he finished 5th in Rookie of the Year voting, despite his truncated season. Those hopes were dashed by the next year, however, as he lost 15 games and led the league in hits allowed, then went 3-8 and 5-14 the next two campaigns, respectively. In 2009, he made the All-Star team, despite going 11-16, leading the league in losses and allowing 231 hits in 213 innings. In fact, he did not post a winning record from 2006 to 2011, breaking that run with a 1-0, 8 appearance campaign with Washington in 2012. But that brief stint with Washington was a foreboding of things to come -- in it, he had a 1.32 ERA, and from that point to 2016, he posted a 3.12 ERA, a 126 ERA+ and a 9.4 K/9 IP ratio in 260 games as an effective left-handed relief pitcher for five teams. That ERA is deceptively high, too -- it would be lower if not for a clunker campaign (2012, 6.03 ERA) thrown in. The veteran with nine big league teams under his belt might have pitched his last pitch, as he is currently a free agent.

4/5/20:

Kevin Burford - signed 1/1 in 20 days c/o his home address.
Paul Marak - signed 1/1 in 38 days c/o his home address.
Bill Risley - signed 1/1 in 8 days c/o his home address.

Random past success of the day:


Ross Ohlendorf - not sure how I received this autograph. I'm pretty sure it was a 50/50. Ohlendorf was one of those pitchers that never seemed to go away. You'd forget about him, because he was toiling on the farm, then he'd resurface with a big league club, post a few solid -- or disastrous -- appearances, then he'd disappear again. Originally in the Diamondbacks system, he was part of the trade that sent Randy Johnson from the Yankees back to Arizona. His tenure with New York was mostly rocky, but after a trade to the Pirates, he posted a laudable 2010 line of 11 wins, 10 losses and a 3.92 ERA in 29 starts (no superstar names were involved in that deal [though Jose Tabata was a superstar-to-be when it went down]). Two-thousand-and-eleven was a foil campaign, as he went 1-11, but with a still respectable 4.07 ERA. The wheels fell off in 2011 and 2012 (5-7, 7.94 line between Pittsburgh and San Diego), before he had a nice renaissance with Washington in 2013 (4-1, 3.28 in 60.1 innings). He did not appear in the majors in 2014, then like the journeyman he was, found himself with a new club in 2015 -- the Rangers, with whom he had a 3.72 ERA in 21 relief appearances. He finally found a stable role in the Reds bullpen in 2016, making 64 appearances and averaging 9.3 strikeouts per 9 innings, but his ERA of 4.66 enthused no one and his big league career was over after that. He finished in Japan in 2017, posting a 5.50 mark in 4 starts.

4/4/20:

Darin Ruf - signed 1/1 in 15 days c/o his home address.
Ernie Whitt - signed 1/1 in 48 days c/o his home address.

Random past success of the day:


Jason LaRue - sent 5/29/09, received 8/1/09, c/o the Cardinals. LaRue was a Reds fixture for many years, spending eight of his 12 major league seasons with the club; He spent 12 of his 16 professional years in their system. Though blessed with some pop -- he hit as many as 16 home runs in a campaign -- LaRue was a defense-first backstop. Leading the league in caught stealing percentage and runners caught stealing in 2001, with 60.9 and 42, respectively, his .991 career fielding percentage ranks 88th all-time, and he four times finished in the top 10 in catcher assists. Twice he was among the top 10 in double plays turned. But he wasn't without his pitfalls back there -- he paced the loop in passed balls thrice and finished second once and third once in errors committed. He had some defensive versatility, too: He played 8 games at first, 5 in the outfield and 4 at third base; among those 17 non-catcher appearances, 4 were starts. He wrapped up his career with the Cardinals in 2010.

4/3/20:

Mo Bruce - signed 1/1 in 10 days c/o his home address.
Kelly Dransfeldt - signed 1/1 in 9 days c/o his home address.
Mike Milchin - signed 1/1 in 7 days c/o his home address.
Brian Simmons - signed 2/2 in 27 days c/o his home address.

Random past success of the day:


Dom DeSantis - 2/18/09, received 2/26/09, c/o his home address. DeSantis was drafted three times, last by the Phillies in the 20th round of the 1991 draft. At 22, he was a senior citizen in the leagues in which he pitched in 1991, his first year, but his numbers were excellent: 1.98 ERA, 0.960 WHIP in 15 starts between Rookie ball and Single A, with just 17 walks and 79 hits allowed in 100 innings of work. The next season, at A ball, he had a 2.71 mark in 133 innings, allowing just 123 hits and 29 BBs. Over the next two seasons, his ERA jumped to 3.45 then to 4.57 -- an occurrence more excusable when someone is moving up into the higher, more competitive ranks ... but DeSantis was still in (high) A. Though many players experience a career resurgence upon joining the independent leagues after struggling or stagnating in affiliated ball, such was not the case with De Santis: He moved to the Northern League in 1994 to wrap up his career, posting a 5.86 ERA in 43 innings. 

4/2/20:

Storm Davis - signed 1/1 in 301 days c/o his home address.
Kory DeHaan - signed 1/1 in 9 days c/o his home address.
Pat Gomez - signed 2/1 in 87 days c/o his home address.

Also a couple failures to report:

Jay Sitzman c/o home (RTS) and Charlie Kerfeld c/o home (returned card unsigned).

Random past success of the day:


Mike Devaney - sent 2/10/09, received 3/2/09, c/o his home address. Devaney holds a special place in my heart, because he's a former Mets prospect, and I'm a Mets fan. He showed great potential in the early going, posting a 5-0 mark with 1.95 ERA in 14 starts his first professional season, 2004, and going 10-4, 3.88, while averaging just 7 hits allowed per 9 innings, in his second campaign. In 2006, he was 12-5 with a 2.13 mark, an excellent year indeed, before slipping to 6-9, 4.85 in his fourth and final season. It's odd the Mets didn't give him another campaign to redeem himself, with 2007 being his first real struggle. Sure, he was 24 in 2007, but that is far from old. One wonders if injuries did him I'm, of that I'm not sure. Either way, he was 33-18 with a 3.24 ERA overall, a great line for someone who never made the majors. 

4/1/20:

Onan Masaoka - signed 1/1 in 15 days c/o his home address. These shimmery old Bowman cards don't scan well at all. 
Lary Sorensen - signed 1/1 in 63 days c/o Wake Forest IMG Sports Network.

Random past success of the day:


Paul Ellis - sent 2/10/09, received 3/2/09, c/o his home address. Ellis was a St. Louis Cardinals first round pick, taken 30th overall in 1990 between outfielder Midre Cummings and pitcher Brian Williams. Though he never became a recognizable face in the majors ... because he didn't reach them ... he did become well-known at Double A Arkansas, spending three full seasons and two partial years there. While he did not find much success in the affiliated ranks, he exploded in independent baseball: With the Western League's Reno Chukars in 1997, he slashed .337/.464/.570 with 16 home runs and 75 RBI in 84 games. To that point, he had not hit higher than .255 or had more than 6 home runs in a season. That was his only year in indy ball, however, and was also his final professional campaign. Another point of interest: He did not steal a single base in 696 pro games.

3/31/20:

Dan Plesac - signed 1/1 in 57 days c/o his home address.

Random past success of the day:


Kevin Mulvey - received in-person on April 25, 2009 at Frontier Field in Rochester, New York (home of the Red Wings). Mulvey is a former Mets prospect, a 2nd round pick later traded with others for star hurler Johan Santana. Though he posted some decent numbers on the farm, Mulvey never pitched in a big league uniform for the Mets -- and, in the long run, he barely pitched in the big leagues, at all. The Mets shipped him to the Twins in February 2008, and by July 2009, he was on a major league mound. He spent 27.1 unsuccessful innings there, including just 1.1 with Minnesota, going 0-3 with a 7.90 ERA overall. The Twins shipped him to Arizona as the player to be named later in a deal for relief pitcher Jon Rauch in September 2009 and after a few more rocky appearances, he was back in the minors for good. He ended his professional career in 2012 where it all began, in the Mets system. 


3/30/20:

George Frazier - signed 1/1 in 559 days c/o his home address.

Random past success of the day: 


Ryan Carter - sent 2/10/09, received 2/26/09, c/o his home address. I have a hunch these are ghost-signed. Carter was drafted twice, initially out of high school in 1997, then out of the University of California, Los Angeles in 2000. He was taken in the same round as future pitching stars Dontrelle Willis and Brandon Webb, though such success was not in his professional future. He played in the minor leagues from 2000 to 2003 and had modest success in the lower levels, striking out 132 in 138.2 innings in 2001. However, in his Double A debut in 2003, he went 2-7 with a 6.00 ERA in 17 starts in what would be his final season. 

3/29/20:

Gary Lucas - signed 5/1 in 9 days c/o his home address. He threw in four extra signed cards! 

Random past success of the day: 


Phil Hughes - received in-person on April 25, 2009 at Frontier Field in Rochester, New York (home of the Red Wings). Hughes was a Yankees uber-prospect coming up, a former first round draft pick out of California that rocketed up the team's farm system. He was named Baseball America's #39 prospect going into the 2006 season, and #3 going into 2007; Baseball Prospectus ranked him #2. Through his first four minor league seasons, including a five-start stint at Triple A, he was 25-8 with a 2.09 ERA; In 275 innings, he had 311 strikeouts and just 171 hits allowed. But the major leagues is a far cry from the minors, even Triple A. Though his debut campaign, 2007, wasn't terrible, it wasn't what fans were expecting -- in 13 starts, he went 5-3 with a 4.46 ERA. After an awful sophomore campaign, when he went 0-4 with a 6.62 mark in 8 starts, he was relegated to the bullpen for 2009, where he had some success. In 51 appearances (7 starts), he posted a 3.03 ERA with 96 Ks in 86 innings. Back in the rotation for 2010, he went 18-8 in 176.1 innings to earn an All-Star nod, before falling to 5-5, 5.79 in 2011. That pattern would define Hughes' career -- a good year, then a bad year, then a good year. He went 16-13, 4.19 in 2012, then 4-14, 5.19 in 2013. 16-10, 3.52 in 2014, 11-9, 4.40 in 2015. The wheels fell off in 2016, and from then on, he was a combined 5-10, 6.01 in 145.1 innings. While he didn't live up to his billing, his career was solid -- he went 88-79 overall -- and he had some noteworthy highlights. His postseason career, especially, had some excellent games, such as his 2010 ALDS start against the Twins. In 7 innings, he allowed no runs on 4 hits and 1 walk, while striking out 6 batters. He last played in the majors in 2018.

3/28/20:

Don Robinson - signed 3/3 in 26 days c/o his home address. The cards were mangled, but at least he signed them.
Alfonso Soriano - signed 1/1 in 18 days c/o his home address.

Random past success of the day:


Dana Allison - Sent 2/18/09, received 2/26/09, c/o his home address. Allison was drafted by the Oakland Athletics and moved up in their system quickly. The relief pitcher had a 1.52 ERA in his first pro season, spent at Single A, then posted a 2.33 ERA in 47 games between three stops, including Triple A, in his second campaign, 1990. By April 1991, he was in the major leagues, but whatever magic he had was lost -- in 11 big league games that year, he had a 7.36 ERA, then at Triple A, his mark was 4.37. He bounced around the Athletics system until 1994, finding use as a starter and reliever, but never returned to the majors. 

3/27/20:

Anthony Harris - signed 1/1 in 29 days c/o the Vikings. In a kind gesture, he even put it in a toploader. Received during the regular season.
Joe Rosselli - signed 1/1 in 51 days c/o his home address.

Random past success of the day:


Beau Allred - Sent 2/18/09, received 2/27/09, c/o his home address. Allred was a spot player for the Cleveland Indians from 1989 to 1991, earning the majority of his playing time his final campaign, when he appeared in 48 games and started 38 of them. It's not glamorous, but the highlight of that season was his on-base percentage: He worked 25 walks, in addition to 29 hits and a single hit by pitch, for a .359 mark, despite batting just .232. The highlight of his career, however, was his first home run -- he walloped the shot off of superstar hurler Roger Clemens in 1990. And, wouldn't you know, his next homer, hit in 1991, came off future Hall of Famer Dennis Eckersley! He was more productive in the minor leagues, hitting 102 home runs in 8 seasons there.

3/26/20:

Kurt Benkert - signed 1/1 in 34 days c/o the Falcons. Received during the regular season. 
Brady Clark - signed 1/1 in 21 days c/o his home address.
Angel Echevarria - signed 1/1 in 226 days c/o his home address. Received before he passed away.

A couple failures to report: Armando Benitez, c/o home (RTS) and Brad Kaaya, c/o home (RTS).

Random past success of the day:


Macay McBride - received in a fan pack (?). This is the third autograph of this fashion I have featured so far, and now I'm almost 100% sure they all came from a fan pack. Macay McBride -- the only known "Macay" in professional baseball history -- was one of those relievers that had a single solid year in the majors, only to vanish within a couple seasons (Lee Gardner also comes to mind). Taken by the Atlanta Braves in the 1st round of the 2001 draft, the local kid -- he was born in Augusta, Ga. -- was in the majors by 2005. That first year, he posted a 5.79 ERA in 23 relief appearances. By 2007, after posting a 4.96 mark in 38 games, he was out of the bigs. In between, he was a vital cog in the Braves bullpen, going 4-1 with a 3.65 mark in 71 games in 2006; he later pitched a scoreless inning in that year's National League Division Series. He made a single appearance at Triple A in 2008, then one more in the independent ranks in 2010, before finally calling it quits. 

3/25/20:

Ben Davis - signed 1/1 in 12 days c/o his home address.
Todd Greene - signed 1/1 in 15 days c/o his home address.
Don Money - signed 1/1 in 9 days c/o his home address.
Tom Redington - signed 1/1 in 17 days c/o his home address.
Paul Russo - signed 1/1 in 34 days c/o his home address. His signature completes the card above.

A couple failures to report: Eddie "Scooter" Tucker c/o home (RTS) and Ernie Young, c/o home (RTS).

Random past success of the day:


Ryan Basner - received in a fan pack (?). I'm not entirely sure how I acquired this signature, but a fan pack seems like the best bet. It seems if one is a minor league relief pitcher, he needs to strike batters out at a propitious rate, post a superhuman ERA for an extended period, or at the very least, rack up a ton of saves, to earn a big league promotion. Basner did none of the above, so despite spending part or all of four seasons at Triple A, he never reached the majors. His career was not without highlights, however. With the rookie-level Danville Braves in 2003, during his first year of pro ball, he went 4-1 with a 1.83 ERA in 19 appearances, averaging 10.2 strikeouts per nine innings. The next year, he averaged 9.7 whiffs per 9 frames. Those years were the outliers, however, as his career rate was 7.6 K/9 IP. In 2009, his penultimate campaign, he had a 2.88 ERA in 54 games for the independent Somerset Patriots. Unfortunately, his career totals paint a less rosy picture, as he went just 27-32 with a 4.26 ERA and 609 hits allowed in 568 2/3 innings overall. 

3/24/20:

Edgar Bennett - signed 1/1 in 29 days c/o the Raiders.
Chad Fox - signed 1/1 in 9 days c/o his home address.
Rod Henderson - signed 1/1 in 9 days c/o his home address.
Robert Stratton - signed 1/1 in 15 days c/o his home address.
Jon Topolski - signed 1/1 in 28 days c/o his home address. He signed it twice -- once with a marker that was dying, then he re-did it with a working marker in a different spot. Two for the price of one!

A couple failures to report: Mark Rogers c/o home (RTS) and Kris Benson c/o home (RTS).

Random past success of the day:


Tim Burcham - sent 12/30/08, received 2/10/09, c/o his home address. Burcham spent more than a decade playing professional baseball, with part or all of five of those years at affiliated Triple A (he spent seven years at Triple A, if you include his time in the unaffiliated Mexican League). The pitcher won ten-plus games twice, including a 17-6 record for the Class A Palm Springs Angels in 1987. That was his third year in pro ball. Skip to his final season, back in Palm Springs with the independent Suns, and he posted a 2.56 ERA in 102 innings. Because his campaigns in-between weren't stellar, he never earned a promotion to the major leagues -- though he got close. Named a strike replacement player in 1995, he was on the San Francisco Giants Opening Day roster, but was sent down once the strike ended, never to appear in a game. His son, Scotty, is currently in the Colorado Rockies system.

3/23/20:

Justin Martin - signed 1/1 in 17 days c/o his home address.
Joe Rosselli - signed 1/1 in 64 days c/o his home address.

A couple failures to report: Mateo Ozuna, c/o home (RTS) and Charlie Kerfeld, c/o home (RTS). Historically, Kerfeld is a good signer, so that was surprising. 

Random past success of the day:


Gregor Blanco, received in a fan pack (?). I'm not entirely sure how I received this autograph, however I believe it was in a fan pack. Blanco, nicknamed "White Shark," was a two-time World Series champion, having played for the 2012 and 2014 Giants. For a backup outfielder, he racked up an impressive postseason resume, playing in 40 games with 134 at-bats and 21 runs scored, though he hit just .179. His primary calling card was his speed -- in 1,060 regular season games, he had 122 stolen bases, with as many a 26 in a season (2012). A couple years later, he swiped 13 bags, while hitting a career-high .291. He last played in the big leagues in 2018, having spent 2019 in the Mets system. He retired in February 2020.

3/21/20:

Larry Bigbie - signed 1/1 in 17 days c/o his home address.
Kenny "Bubba" Nelson - signed 1/1 in 27 days c/o his home address.
Jason Rakers - signed 1/1 in 17 days c/o his home address.

A couple failures to report: Mike Welch, c/o home (sent to the wrong Mike Welch) and Todd Williams, c/o home (RTS, this guy is impossible to track down). 

Random past success of the day:


Jorge DeLeon - Sent 1/6/09. received 2/13/09, c/o his home address. Bereft of power or speed -- he averaged one home run every 187 at-bats and one stolen base every 20 games -- DeLeon was a multi-positional infield talent who could post a decent average (.296 mark in 2000) and rarely struck out (once every 7 at-bats). He was a solid performer at nearly every level of the minors, save for Triple A. At that level, he hit .152 in 46 at-bats, which lowered his career average from .281 to .276. In part because of his struggles at the highest level of the minors, the Puerto Rico native with the nice signature never reached the major leagues.

3/20/20:

Jeremy Blevins - signed 1/1 in 183 days c/o his home address.
Lynn Jones - signed 1/1 in 17 days c/o his home address. I sent him a postcard I received in a fan pack some years ago. I thought the signature on it was pre-printed, so I asked Jones to sign the postcard "for real." He signed it and included a note: "Both are for real." 
Russ McGinnis - signed 1/1 in 15 days c/o his home address.
Orlando Mercado - signed 1/1 in 12 days c/o his home address.
Steve Olsen - signed 1/1 in 17 days c/o his home address.
Chris Turner - signed 1/1 in 17 days c/o his home address.

A couple failures to report: Eddy Garabito c/o home (RTS, I have a hunch he doesn't live in the USA) and Greg Blosser c/o home (RTS).

Random past success of the day:


John Eierman - Sent 2/10/09, received 2/17/09, c/o Reece & Nichols Golden Key Realty Office. Eierman spent four seasons in the Boston Red Sox chain, hitting .260 with 37 home runs in 414 games. Perhaps his best campaign was 1993, when he slashed .273/.367/.446 with 15 home runs and 62 RBI in 119 games for the Lynchburg Red Sox. He improved to .285 the next year, but by that point was almost two years older than the average player in his league, so the Red Sox let him go. The Eierman name lives on in pro baseball, however. One son, Johnny, was a 3rd round pick by the Rays in 2011. Another, Jeremy, is currently in the Athletics system. He was the club's 2nd round pick in 2018.

3/19/20:

Steve Colyer - signed 1/1 in 8 days c/o his home address.
Christian Covington - signed 1/1 in 56 days c/o the Cowboys. 
Jeff Hartsock - signed 1/1 in 9 days c/o his home address.
Scott Hatteberg - signed 1/1 in 27 days c/o his home address.
Grant Hockin - signed 1/1 in 18 days c/o his home address.
Roger Mason - signed 1/1 in 182 days c/o his home address.
Paul Menhart - signed 1/1 in 9 days c/o his home address.
Tommy Shields - signed 1/1 in 7 days c/o his home address.
Jose Silva - signed 1/1 in 13 days c/o his home address. He even put it in a penny sleeve!

Also a couple failures to report: Tony Mitchell c/o home (RTS) and Eric Chavez c/o home (RTS).

Random past success of the day: 


Kevin Burford - Sent 12/30/08, received 2/9/09, c/o his home address. Burford never played above Double A, but he made the best of his professional career, nevertheless. The eight-year veteran came onto the scene with a bang, slashing .362/.490/.546 with 12 steals and 50 walks (to only 30 strikeouts) in 54 games his rookie season. The next year, he stole 15 bases, before being shipped off to the Rockies in a trade. In his first season in the Rockies system, he slashed .306/.447/.523; he followed that with 16 home runs and 80 RBI. By 2003, however, he'd begun to stagnate at Double A -- that was his third season at that level. After a down year in the Phillies system in 2004, his career was over.

3/18/20:

Kevin Beirne - signed 1/1 in 10 days c/o his home address.
B.R. Cook - signed 1/1 in 19 days c/o his home address.
Bert Heffernan - "signed" 1/1 in 23 days c/o his home address.
Mike Hostetler - signed 1/1 in 12 days c/o his home address.
Rod Lofton - signed 1/1 in 9 days c/o his home address.
Jake McGee - signed 1/1 in 204 days c/o the Rockies.
Jason Stumm - signed 1/1 in 16 days c/o his home address.
Adam Warren - signed 1/1 in 315 days c/o the Padres.
Shane Wright - signed 1/1 in 14 days c/o his home address.

Random past success of the day: 


Amer Abugherir - Sent 1/6/09, received 2/9/09, c/o his home address. He included a signed card and a signed note. Abugherir is not an oft-found name in baseball -- heck, the pitcher is one of only three known professional players with a surname beginning with "Abu." Equally unique as his surname was the trajectory of his playing career: It spanned 1988 to 1999, though he played stateside in only three of those campaigns. He had a 7.30 ERA for the Gulf Coast League Reds of the Cincinnati Reds system in 1988, then resurfaced with the independent Duluth-Superior Dukes in 1993, going 0-2 with a 8.31 ERA. He then disappeared for a spell, only to return in 1999 with the independent Atlantic City Surf in 1999, going 5-0 with a 6.88 ERA. The Colombia native also coached in the minors. 

3/17/20:

Jamie Brown - signed 2/2 in 159 days c/o his home address.
Kurt Miller - signed 1/1 in 39 days c/o his home address.


Jason Arnold - Sent 12/30/08, received 1/30/09, c/o his home address. On paper, Arnold had a very good minor league career. The second round draft pick began with a 7-2 mark and a 1.66 ERA, while averaging more than 10 strikeouts per 9 frames, in his first campaign (2001); he was 13-4, 2.61 with a 8.9 K/9 IP ratio his sophomore year. His record fell to 7-9 in 2003, though his ERA was a solid 3.69, with a similar tale the next year: 2-5, but with a 3.61 mark. Two-thousand-and-five illustrated his downfall: In his first, and only, full season at Triple A, he was 0-4 with a 6.39 ERA in 47 relief appearances. He averaged less than a hit allowed per inning and posted a solid K/9, but too many balls left the yard -- he surrendered 14 dingers in 62 innings (that'd be 45 in a 200-inning campaign). Abbreviated though it was, just 12 games, 2006 was a rebound campaign, as Arnold posted a 1.90 mark with a 11.0 K/9 in 23.2 innings. It wasn't enough to save his career, however, and he was out of the game after that. His record and ERA outside of Triple A: 24-11, 2.29. In Triple A: 5-15, 4.79. He never made the majors.

3/16/20:

Pat Pacillo - signed 2/2 in 13 days c/o his home address.
Jerry Reed - signed 2/2 in 8 days c/o his home address.

Random past success of the day:


Colin Dixon - Sent 1/8/09, received 1/30/09, c/o Berkshire Securities. Dixon was taken in the same round as future notable names Brian Giles and Mark Grudzielanek, but did not achieve similar success. His minor league career was one of few highlights, however one season stands out. Having never before hit more than 4 home runs in a campaign, he walloped 19 dingers with 79 RBI for the unaffiliated San Bernardino Spirit in 1994. That convinced the Rockies to sign him, though he lasted just one season in their system before being let go. He later became a financial planner and baseball coach. 

3/14/20:

Tom Magrann - signed 1/1 in 18 days c/o his home address.

Random past success of the day: 


Brad Cresse - Sent 1/8/09, received 1/21/09, c/o his home address. Cresse had a stunning initial professional campaign, 2005, posting a .312/.398/.600 slash line in 63 games between two teams; His 18 home runs were a career high, and his 66 RBI were his second-highest mark. Though a step down, his sophomore year was anything but a slump -- he walloped 39 doubles with 14 home home runs in 118 games. Not bad for a catcher! But two statistical points truly stand out: He had almost no speed on the base paths and he only rarely drew a walk. In 539 games over seven seasons, he stole just one base; in 2,123 plate appearances, he drew just 172 walks. To put it in perspective, Mark McGwire hit home runs more frequently than Cresse managed a base on balls. 

3/13/20:

J.R. House - signed 1/1 in 9 days c/o his home address.
JaCoby Jones - signed 1/1 in 56 days c/o his home address. 99.5% of the time I refuse to send to current players through their home addresses, however if I were to send to him through the Tigers, I would be asked to pay a fee of $20. Though I love autographs, few are worth spending $20 on, so I went through his home to complete this card.
Randy Martz - signed 1/1 in 15 days c/o his home address.
Marty Neff - signed 2/1 in 31 days c/o his home address. He included the Sioux City Explorers card. 
Ted Power - signed 1/1 in 15 days c/o his home address.
Jeff Reed - signed 1/1 in 14 days c/o his home address.
Bruce Tanner - signed 1/1 in 320 days c/o his home address. 
Richie Zisk - signed 1/1 in 58 days c/o his home address. 

Random past success of the day: 



Brandon Cromer - Sent 1/8/09, received 1/20/09, c/o his home address. You might be more familiar with Cromer's more well-known brothers, Tripp and D.T., both of whom reached the major leagues. However, Brandon had a strong baseball pedigree in his own right, being taken as a supplemental pick by the Blue Jays in the 1st round of the 1992 amateur draft. His 1994 season stands out for a negative reason -- in 80 games and 259 at-bats in Single A, he hit just .135. That's with a '1'. Astonishingly, the Blue Jays moved him up a level the next year anyway, where his averaged improved over 100 points to a still meager .237. Cromer never put it all together, so -- though he hit 24 home runs his first and only full year at Triple A -- he never reached the majors. A fourth brother, Burke, played a couple years in the minors, as well. 

3/12/20:

I've received a handful of successes lately, but let's step into the past and take a look at some successes from the year-plus this site was on hiatus. I'm not sure why the scans are getting shoddy, it might be time for a new scanner.

Troy Cameron - signed 1/1 in 14 days c/o Florida State Seminoles Softball.
Jose Cruz, Sr. - signed 1/1 in 68 days c/o his home address.
Scott Goodman - signed 1/1 in 32 days c/o his home address. He also sent a nice note.
Tino Martinez - signed 1/1 in 15 days c/o his home address. It came returned in a 'body bag,' with the entire top of the envelope ripped off. Astonishingly, the card was still in there and completely intact. 
Tippy Martinez - signed 1/1 in 15 days c/o his home address.
Jon Matlack - signed 2/2 in 12 days c/o his home address.
Trever Miller - signed 1/1 in 76 days c/o his home address.
Stan Royer - signed 1/1 in 438 days c/o his home address.

Random past success of the day:


Ray Aguilar - Sent 1/6/09, received 1/20/09, c/o his home address. Aguilar started off with such incredible promise, moving up the low- and mid-minors with ease. Between his first three professional seasons, he went 16-7 with a 1.99 ERA in 81 games (21 starts). In 248 2/3 innings, he allowed just 191 hits, 61 walks and 11 home runs, while striking out 268 batters. He even won his first Triple A appearance. Granted, he was usually pitching at levels below his age group, however the numbers speak for themselves. During his first extended stay at Triple A, in 2004, things began to go south -- he had a 6.21 ERA in 9 starts, with diminished strikeout totals. Like many studs-turned-duds before him, he couldn't recover, and though he went 12-7 in his final pro season, he never reached the major leagues. 

3/11/20:

A very kind collector sent me these two great autographs recently. Thank you!!


Two failures to report: Eddy Garabito, c/o "home." It was an address listed as his home address, but a reverse search revealed it was actually for a ballpark. I tried it anyway, knowing it would likely fail, and it did. Also Radhames Liz, c/o home. Another shot in the dark, but I think I might have actually found his address -- though it was returned with a note written on the front "don't send this again!"

Random past success of the day:


Brett Caradonna - Sent 12/30/08, received 1/20/09, c/o his home address. Caradonna is one of those guys you forget was drafted in the first round. He was a White Sox compensation pick for losing pitcher Kevin Tapani to free agency ... but he wasn't much compensation. While Tapani went on to win 19 games for his new team, the Cubs, a couple years later, Caradonna played just two games at Triple A. He managed slugging percentages under .300 two seasons in a row, 2000 and 2001. That's very difficult to accomplish, and not in a good way.

3/10/20:

As you might recall, back in the day, I almost exclusively sent rookie cards to players. Though I still do that, I have also started sending cards to players from the 1980s (and soon the early 1990s) ... it's cool getting returns from what is now a "bygone era."

Tom Brunansky - signed 1/1 in 21 days c/o University of St. Katherine.
Adam Kennedy - signed 1/1 in 10 days c/o his home address. Some say he uses a ghost signer; I keep the faith.
Roberto Petagine - signed 1/1 in 40 days c/o his home address.
Chuck Porter - signed 3/3 in 22 days c/o his home address.

Two more from my backlog of failures to report: Jose Malave c/o home (RTS, total shot in the dark) and Miguel Jimenez c/o home (RTS).

Hint of the day: Do something to help make your letters stand out. Things I've tried: Sending in larger, brown-colored birthday card-sized envelopes, sending in vibrantly colored invitation-sized envelopes and including stickers on the front outsides of envelopes. It puts those free stickers charities send you to good use.

Random past success of the day: 



Darrel Deak - Sent 1/8/09, received 1/20/09, c/o his home address. Deak was drafted in the same round as Bobby Higginson, Mike Cameron and Kirk Reuter, but didn't experience nearly the same professional success -- in fact, he never reached the majors. He had decent pop (as many as 18 home runs) and, early on, showed a good eye at the plate (.423 OBP his first pro season), but couldn't ascend to the top level. The poor guy spent three full years at Triple A, but never earned a promotion. 

3/9/20:

Evan Engram - signed 1/1 in 450 days c/o the Giants.
Wallace Johnson - signed 1/1 in 44 days c/o his home address.
Chuck Malone - signed 1/1 in 14 days c/o his home address.
Matt Maysey - signed 2/1 in 26 days c/o his home address. He kindly included a signed index card.

Also two failures to report: Joel Skinner c/o home (RTS) and Lyle Mouton c/o home (RTS). Mouton is proving hard to track down!

Random past success of the day:


Dan Cholowsky - Sent: 12/30/18, received: 1/20/09, c/o his home address. The card I sent got bent, but he sent his own signed card as well. Cholowsky had a relatively long professional career, eight seasons, but most of his success was had in the low minors. In his second season, at Single A, he had 48 steals and a .307 average. Fast forward to his first trial at Triple A three years later, when he hit .218 in 76 games -- quite a difference. The mid-minors didn't do him well either, as he hit just .240 at Double A. He later became a scout.

3/7/20:

BJ Garbe - signed 1/1 in 8 days c/o his home address.
Ted Rose - signed 1/1 in 8 days c/o his home address.
Luis Salazar - signed 1/1 in 20 days c/o his home address.
Ed Whitson - signed 2/2 in 65 days c/o his home address.

A couple failures from the recent past to report: Jay Landreth, c/o home (RTS) and Scott Service c/o home (RTS).

Collecting hint of the day: Always be sure to use "please" and "thank you." I think I have had success with some harder-to-get guys because I make sure to use those terms. 

Random past success of the day:



Dan DeMent - Sent: 1/7/09, received: 1/24/09, c/o his home address. Though he went undrafted, DeMent had a productive professional career. He spent 8 seasons in the minors, reaching as high as Triple A. His best season was 2005, when he hit .324 with 14 home runs and 52 RBI. I think we'll be seeing a Dan DeMent big league debut yet -- as a coach. He's slowly worked his way up the Rays' ranks and spent 2018 and 2019 in Triple A. It's just a matter of time before he makes the jump to the majors.

3/6/20:

Karim Garcia - signed 4/1 in 85 days c/o his home address.

Couple failures to report: Lyle Mouton c/o home (RTS) and Dennis Martinez c/o home. Martinez wants folks to go through Past Pros.

Random past success of the day:


Adrian Burnside - Sent 1/6/09, received 1/24/19, c/o his home address. Kept a card, but sent the Giants 2008 card as a replacement. Australia-native Burnside had a long professional career that spanned the globe. He played in the United States, Japan, Korea, Mexico and Australia, and though he didn't find much success anywhere he pitched, a 15-year career is nothing to sneeze at.

3/5/20:

Bobby Bradley - signed 2/2 in 10 days c/o his home address.
Doug Clark - signed 1/1 in 24 days c/o his home address.
Vance Law - signed 1/1 in 15 days c/o his home address.
Buck Martinez - signed 2/2 in 8 days c/o his home address.
Justin Mashore - signed 1/1 in 34 days c/o his home address.
Mitch Meluskey - signed 1/1 in 29 days c/o his home address.
Mitch Meluskey - signed 1/1 in 212 days c/o his home address.
Jim Morrison - signed 1/1 in 127 days c/o his home address.
Robb Quinlan - signed 1/1 in 16 days c/o his home address.
Scott Ruffcorn - signed 1/1 in 73 days c/o his home address.
Jim Walton - signed 2/1 in 16 days c/o his home address. He included the postcard.

Also two failures to report: Marlon Byrd, c/o home (RTS), and Kevin Gross, c/o home (RTS).

Random past success of the day:

 

Clint Davis - Sent: 1/8/09, received: 2/5/09, c/o his home address. He kindly included the Diablos card on his own. Davis was a stunningly successful reliever early in his pro career, posting ERAs of 2.22 and 1.94 in his second-and-third seasons, respectively. But it looks like injuries and the higher level of play at Triple A did him in, as he missed a couple seasons and saw his ERA balloon in the upper level. He was a strikeout ace before it was cool, though -- with the independent Rio Grande Valley WhiteWings in 1995, he averaged over 13 Ks per 9 frames.

3/4/20:

Let's do an update now, dag-gummit! 

Sal Butera - signed 1/1 in 711 days c/o his home address.
Tyler Cloyd - signed 2/2 in 403 days c/o his home address. 
Ken Phelps - signed 1/2 in 39 days c/o his home address.
Mark Seaver - signed 2/1 in 46 days c/o his home address.
Jeff Tackett - signed 1/1 in 324 days c/o his home address.

Also two failures: Jason Marquis c/o home (RTS) and Brant Ust c/o home (RTS).

I also have 1.5 years worth of autographs to get through, so I'll start churning through those successes soon. 

Random past success of the day:


Matt Drews - Sent: 1/7/09, received: 2/5/09, c/o All-Star Children's Foundation. Included $20 donation. Drews was the Yankees' 1st round pick in 1993. He might be known as the guy taken between Billy Wagner and Derrek Lee, or the guy taken ahead of Torii Hunter, or perhaps the Yankees' first round pick the year after they snagged Derek Jeter. Or perhaps, maybe, the first of many Yankees first round duds in a long line that lasted nearly 15 years. Drews had promise, he was 15-7 with a 2.27 ERA in Single A in 1995, but he contracted Steve Blass Syndrome and went 1-14, 5.56 the year after that, then 9-13, 5.59 after that, then 5-17, 6.57 after that, then 2-14, 8.27 after that. Apparently his big league clubs had faith in his ability through it all, as he spent 5 of his 7 seasons at Triple A. 

3/4/20:

Could Alex's Autographs make a comeback? Stay tuned to find out!

Or, I'll just tell you now. After a few years of ever-declining updates and slowly paring down my activities here, I pulled the plug on Alex's Autographs for good after my host lost my entire Baseball Autographs page. It was an archive of every single baseball autograph I've received through the mail, with dates sent, received, etc. And it was gone. That would take days to restore if I tried to do so (I'd have to rebuild it by hand), and it would be incomplete. I didn't leave in anger, "rage quit," as it were, but I used that as a reasonable excuse to cease updates altogether, because maintaining the website became far too time consuming. 

But there is a reason I could never convince myself to shutter the site entirely. I kept it online as a resource for others, sure, but deep down I wasn't done with it entirely. I knew I'd be back in some form, because this was my passion since 2004 and I couldn't say goodbye just because conditions at the moment did not make frequent updates doable. 

And, realistically, it's only been a year-and-a-half since I last posted -- which I guess isn't terrible, considering I was doing, what? Two or three updates per year by then anyway? 

Optimally, in short order, I'll start updating here again. However, I will not be archiving the stuff I post -- before, I would put it on various pages like "Recent Successes Archive," the aforementioned "Baseball Autographs," "Football Autographs," etc. Those were links for you to dive into past days'/months'/years' successes and take a look at what I'd received previously. And to be frank, it was maintaining those pages that made this site's upkeep so burdensome.

So, pretty much what I'll be doing is daily (or thereabouts) updates here on the home page, and I'll keep them up for a month or two, then I'll delete them and they will drift into the ether where they'll never be seen again. It's not what I'd prefer to do, but it's something. To accommodate that, I've removed all the links to the various pages that needed updating every time I posted. I'd rather not have them stick around -- it doesn't mesh well having pages that haven't been updated in years cluttering up a website that's still active. Plus, if they were there, I'd constantly have the urge to update them -- even though I know I wouldn't be able to maintain the progress, and I'd end up where I was when Alex's Autographs went into its decline. I have, however, left a few static pages up. In addition, I've taken a few remaining vestiges of the old site off the home page.

This site is a desiccated shell of its past self, but the responsibilities of life take precedence. When you're 15 and have all the time in the world, maintaining all the bells and whistles that I once had here was a lot easier. I'm not so youthful and sprightly anymore, but my passion for the hobby hasn't faded one bit. I hope to continue to share it with you, again.