Category Archives: Autographs
It’s been about a week and a half since I announced my intention to stop updating this blog… and the reasons for doing that really haven’t changed. But I got something in the mail this weekend that I did want to share and acknowledge.
Back in 2013, I attended Zack Wheeler‘s first start at Citi Field along with 33 thousand other Mets fans who were there to see his home debut and/or try to get the David Wright bobblehead giveaway.
Mission accomplished on the bobblehead front, I might have had a better afternoon if I’d made an early exit from Citi Field. Wheeler got rocked, and Brandon Lyon (remember him?) threw gasoline on the fire. Heading to the ninth inning, the Mets trailed 11-0.
But I’m glad I stuck it out for the whole game. Instead of summoning another reliever, Terry Collins called on backup catcher Anthony Recker to face the Washington Nationals in the game’s final inning.
There were far less than 33 thousand people still in the ballpark at that point, and I was one of the few Mets fans on hand who bothered to take any photos of Recker’s pitching debut. I posted them online after I got home, because it really was the only highlight of a disappointing game.
Mets fan and autograph collector Lee Harmon contacted me to obtain my original image files so he could use one of them for a custom baseball card to get signed. At the end of the season, Lee sent me an autographed copy for my own collection. Since Recker never appeared as a Met on an official widely-released baseball card, Lee’s creation has a permanent spot in my binder.
Earlier this month, Lee got to see Recker when the Columbus Clippers played the Indianapolis Indians. According to the note he sent me, Recker liked the photo and was thrilled to keep a copy.
The one Recker signed for me instantly became one of my favorite pieces in my collection.
Thank you, Lee, and thank you Anthony Recker.
Signing off one more time,
We’re three weeks away from baseball games that count, so I thought I’d check in with an update on how my spring training autograph requests are faring.
I ended up sending out only 10 letters from the 20 that I’d originally planned. I couldn’t find suitable cards to send to the three coaches and one player, remembered that the Braves don’t get USPS mail during spring training, and decided to save the players who reported directly to minor league camp for the regular season rather than trying to figure out the logistics of writing to them now.
So far, I’ve gotten four of the 10 back. My biggest success to date is new Mets’ second baseman Neil Walker, who sent back a card signed (with his new uniform number) in just over two weeks.
Tim Stauffer appeared in five games for the Mets last September, after injuries and innings limits left the team’s relief corps short-handed. The 33-year-old right-hander was not especially effective and was designated for assignment to clear a 40-man roster spot for infielder Matt Reynolds following Ruben Tejada‘s injury in the NLDS.
This spring, Stauffer will be pitching for a spot in the Arizona Diamondbacks’ bullpen – he signed a minor league contract in December.
Once upon a time, Stauffer was an elite prospect – the San Diego Padres selected him out of the University of Richmond with the fourth overall pick in the 2003 amateur draft. He was chosen ahead of Nick Markakis, John Danks, Aaron Hill and Adam Jones, among others. Stauffer had shoulder issues from the time he signed with San Diego and never quite lived up to the promise the team saw in him.
Prior to joining the Mets organization last summer, Stauffer appeared in three games for the Atlantic League’s Suger Land Skeeters.
With Stauffer unlikely to ever appear on a baseball card as a New York Met, he will be represented in my collection by this 2004 Bowman’s Best card from his prospect days. It cost $1.38.