Today I’m sharing what might be the final baseball card I got signed during the 2014 season: Lou Montanez‘s 2010 Upper Deck card.
Montanez and the rest of his Somerset Patriots teammates opened their first-round Atlantic League playoff series against the Lancaster Barnstormers.
Montanez, 32, had a solid season for the Patriots – in 130 games, he hit .289 with an .821 OPS, 17 home runs and 74 RBI.
A one-time top prospect, Montanez was drafted by the Chicago Cubs with the third overall pick in the 2000 amateur draft. It would be years before he ever played for them. After leaving the Cubs’ organization as a free agent in 2006, Montanez signed with the Baltimore Orioles. He finally made his major league debut in 2008 as a defensive replacement for Luke Scott in a 3-0 Orioles victory over the Angels.
Montanez got his first major league hit off of Angels’ pitcher Ervin Santana – a home run – in his first at bat the next day, Aug. 6th, 2008. But he actually has credit for a one-for-two performance in the Orioles’ April 28th contest against the Chicago White Sox, a suspended game that was completed on Aug. 25th. I’m not sure which officially counts as his first big league hit (or if either baseball has a spot on his mantle.)
Though he never became a regular, Montanez appeared in 93 games with Baltimore between 2008 and 2010. He re-signed with the Chicago Cubs as a free agent in 2011 and finally got to play for the team that drafted him that year. Montanez has not appeared in the major leagues since those 36 games with the Cubs.
In 2012, Montanez spent the year in the minors with the Philadelphia Phillies and St. Louis Cardinals organizations. Last season, Montanez played for Somerset and in the minor leagues for the Angels.
Montanez signed this card for me before a Somerset Patriots in Camden earlier this month. His autograph is a quick scribble that appears to include his initials, but I do appreciate that Montanez took the time to acknowledge us.