Spring training autographs, part 1

Obi-Wan and Anakin "help" with this spring's batch of autograph requests.

Obi-Wan and Anakin “help” with this spring’s batch of autograph requests.

Earlier this month, I sent out autograph requests to about 40 major league and minor league players in care of their team’s spring training camps.

Today, I got my first two signed cards back in the mail.

Eddie Butler is one of the top five prospects in the Colorado Rockies’ minor league system. The soon-to-be 24-year-old right-hander made his major league debut last season with mixed results. With luck, he will overcome the difficulty of pitching more than half of his games in hitters’ parks and have a good career.

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Nick Tepesch is a 26-year-old right-handed pitcher for the Texas Rangers. He’s struggled over the past two seasons, but has shown promise at times.

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1980s Mets commercials

I’m a little bit fatigued by all the “news” that’s come out of Mets spring training camp before the exhibition season even starts, so here are a few 1980s commercials I ran across on YouTube. I hope they bring a smile to your face, too.

Blue Jays sign Johan Santana | HardballTalk

Paul:

It would be really nice to see Johan Santana pitch for the Blue Jays this summer.

Originally posted on HardballTalk:

The Blue Jays just announced that they agreed to terms with left-hander Johan Santana on a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.

Santana hasn’t pitched in the majors since August 17, 2012 as a member of the Mets. The 34-year-old missed all of 2013 after his second major shoulder surgery and saw his comeback attempt with the Orioles come to an end last June due to a torn Achilles tendon. He rehabbed the injury in order to showcase himself in the Venezuelan Winter League, but he was eventually shut down due to shoulder discomfort. Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN reported on Sunday that Santana was due to resume his throwing program this week, so he might not be close to game action, but that didn’t stop the Blue Jays from taking a chance on him.

Santana is basically a lottery ticket at this point, but it would…

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This is old, but it still made me smile

Mets baseball card of the moment: Mike Piazza 2002 Topps Record Breakers

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Over on Facebook, I posted photos of a bunch of nifty minor league baseball programs and Mets baseball cards that I got from Jeff yesterday. I haven’t had any baseball card posts in the past few days, so I thought I’d focus on this Mike Piazza Record Breakers insert as our “Mets baseball card of the moment.”

Since it celebrates Piazza setting a new Mets’ single-season RBI record in 1999, I initially thought it was a 2000 Topps baseball card. It’s actually from 2002.

I remember Record Breakers as a way for Topps to include an extra card of players who had some sort of notable accomplishment in the base set in the late 1980s when I’d first started collecting baseball cards. (I’m not sure a player setting a single-season team record would’ve necessarily made the cut then, but Piazza was – and is – a big star, so why not?)

By the early 1990s, Record Breakers had fallen out of fashion but at some point after I’d gotten away from baseball card collecting, they came back as inserts. Only in the revived format, they were a vehicle to feature star players rather than chronicle the previous season.

I like the card front, which features a photo of Piazza in front of a giant Mets logo. I’m not sure what the purple stuff is supposed to symbolize, but it’s definitely got the “broken” look going so it’s appropriate for a “Record Breakers” card. I’m less sold on the minimalist back, but at least the writeup is in big enough text to read and stands out on the yellow background.