Hello! Welcome to my baseball/baseball card blog.
I’m fully aware that the internet is oversaturated with baseball bloggers talking about a whole range of things, and I would be aiming way too high if I were to suggest straight off the bat (heh) that I believed that I could contribute something new and exciting to the baseball blogosphere.
However, I have had an idea of a new baseball card personal collection which I thought I’d share because, well, I think it’s a pretty cool idea. Also, this is a nice way of keeping track of my collection.
About a year on from starting my fledgling collection of baseball cards, I’ve bounced around from looking to collect team sets, rookies, prospects, the list goes on for a while. The overriding point is: my interest hasn’t yet been fully piqued by a collecting idea. My internet-generation attention span can’t focus on anything not involving Jackie Chan or Gillian Anderson for more than 2 minutes, it seems.
Well, Rush Hour and The X Files sadly don’t lend themselves well to creating a baseball card collection.
Anyways, I realised a while ago that I found the autographs of players, particularly Tampa Bay Rays players (the team I support) as the cards I was most interested in. Coming from the UK, the idea that autographs of famous sportspeople are so readily available and don’t require hanging around outside stadiums with a parka, notepad and pen really surprised me. Since then I’ve just sort of picked up a few here and there, some prospects, some current players. But no structured collecting criteria.
For fans of older teams, collectors can aim to get autographed cards of all players of their team who have made it to the Hall of Fame. The Rays only have Wade Boggs, and he sure as hell doesn’t count as a Rays HoFer.
Red Sox collectors can aim for Jimmie Foxx, Carlton Fisk, Ted Williams. Yankees fans have Ruth, Gehrig, Dimaggio, etc etc.
There are no Rays legends to collect. Since coming into existence in 1998, they have finished last in the AL East 9 out of 16 times. That’s a 56% absolute futility rating.
But this futility could be of use when it comes to collecting. Why? After considerable dicking about, I will now tell you.
A personal collection of:
Autographed baseball cards of every Tampa Bay Rays player who has appeared on a playoff roster for the team.
I’ve compiled the list of players who made the playoff roster for the team in the seasons 2008, 2010, 2011 and 2013. It is a total of 64 different players, the names of which I will post below:
Catchers (7): Dioner Navarro, Michel Hernandez, John Jaso, Kelly Shoppach, Jose Lobaton, Jose Molina, Chris Gimenez
Infielders (14): Akinori Iwamura, Evan Longoria, Jason Bartlett, Willy Aybar, Carlos Pena, Reid Brignac, Sean Rodriguez, Ben Zobrist, Elliot Johnson, Casey Kotchman, Yunel Escobar, James Loney, Dan Johnson, Kelly Johnson
Outfielders (15): B.J. Upton, Rocco Baldelli, Carl Crawford, Cliff Floyd, Eric Hinske, Fernando Perez, Desmond Jennings, Matt Joyce, Johnny Damon, Sam Fuld, David DeJesus, Wil Myers, Delmon Young, Kevin Kiermaier, Gabe Gross
Starting Pitchers (11): David Price, Scott Kazmir, Andy Sonnanstine, Matt Garza, James Shields, Jeff Niemann, Wade Davis, Matt Moore, Chris Archer, Alex Cobb
Relief Pitchers (17): Dan Wheeler, JP Howell, Grant Balfour, Chad Bradford, Trever Miller, Joaquin Benoit, Randy Choate, Chad Qualls, Rafael Soriano, Juan Cruz, Kyle Farnsworth, Brandon Gomes, Jake McGee, Joel Peralta, Fernando Rodney, Alex Torres, Jamey Wright, Wesley Wright.
(I may have missed some, but hopefully I haven’t) — Edited to include a couple more names!!! (Gimenez and Kiermaier were on the 2013 playoff roster, but only for the one Wild Card game against Cleveland!) — Gabe Gross also added.
Now, I thought this was a pretty cool and unique idea. Very few teams have been to the playoffs as little as the Rays, with the exceptions being the other ’98 expansion team the Arizona Diamondbacks; the ’93 expansion teams (Rockies and Marlins), and, of course, the lowly Mariners.
However, the times when these teams did make the playoffs make it especially hard to get autographed cards. Good luck getting signatures of all of the 1985 Blue Jays, or all of the relief pitchers of the ’95 Rockies. The more recent development of the Rays into a winning team make this collection much more feasible and potentially achievable. And also unique.
Sure, I can’t imagine that there are many Dan Wheeler or Randy Choate autos making the rounds on eBay. But surely there must be some hand-signed cards out there somewhere? I’m sure they exist, and I will hunt them down if they do.
Also, I haven’t even touched on one of the best parts of this collecting idea. It has the potential to develop and grow every single year, depending on if the Rays make the playoffs or not. Unlike other collections which involve hunting down a bent piece of cardboard with a picture of some guy you’ve never heard of from 50 years ago (not that there’s anything particularly wrong with that type of collecting), my collection involves me sitting on my fat ass, watching some baseball and cheering on my team. And if they do well, then that’s another few names to add to the checklist and the collecting continues!
So, if you have any autos of guys in the above list and are willing to help me in my playoff Rays hunt, send me a message and we’ll see if we can do business. I already have a few names ticked off, and I’ve uploaded a basic checklist to my want list. Soon I hope to add up a list of trade bait as well.
Thanks for reading!