A couple of weeks ago, I showed off the first two signed cards that I’d gotten back from spring training camps this year. Since then, I’ve gotten 11 more envelopes back so I’m looking at a 26% response rate with about two and a half weeks to go before teams break camp.
Unfortunately, only 10 of my 13 responses resulted in signed baseball cards that will go into my collection. The folks at the Atlanta Braves’ spring training complex are apparently not accepting mail this year, so both of my letters came back “Return to Sender.” (I had tried Fredi Gonzalez and Eric Young Jr., in case you’re curious.)
I did get a signed card back when I wrote to Minnesota Twins pitcher Tommy Milone, but I have no idea who signed it.
This is what Milone’s autograph looks like on a Topps-certified 2013 Allen & Ginter card (image taken from an eBay listing.)
This is the card I got back today. The two signatures don’t even look similar to me, beyond the letter “T.”
Stephen Vogt is a catcher/utility player for the Oakland Athletics, and he was a very helpful part of my fantasy baseball team last season. I was playing in a league with weird scoring that counted fielding, giving a point for each putout and assist. Vogt played enough outfield that I could put him in one of those slots, but spend more time catching or playing first base (where he could rack up more points.) And he hit well enough (.279, 9 HR, 35 RBI & just 39 strikeouts) that he contributed on offense, too. My 2014 Topps Update card is signed in gold metallic ink that looks much more impressive in person than in this photo.
Buck Showalter is the manager of the Baltimore Orioles. Even after losing key players like Matt Wieters and Manny Machado to injury for extended periods last season, he led his team to a division title and claimed his third American League Manager of the Year award.
Jesse Hahn is a pitcher for the Oakland Athletics, acquired from the San Diego Padres in an off-season trade. He went 7-4 with a 3.04 ERA in his rookie season last year.
Sean Doolittle is the Oakland Athletics closer and a 2014 All-Star. He grew up in New Jersey and went to college at the University of Virginia, where he played as a first baseman and pitcher. He began his pro career as a position player, but went back to pitching in 2011 after suffering a series of injury-related setbacks.
Doug Fister is a starting pitcher for the Washington Nationals. He went 16-6 with a 2.41 ERA last season and finished 8th in the Cy Young voting in his first year in the National League. He began his career with the Seattle Mariners and pitched for the Detroit Tigers for three seasons.
Tomorrow, I’ll finish catching up with the spring training autographs I’ve gotten back so far this year.