Aaron Nola was the Philadelphia Phillies’ first round pick in this year’s amateur draft. The seventh overall selection in the draft, Nola received a $3.3 million signing bonus when he agreed to a contract in June and was assigned to the Phillies’ Single-A team in Clearwater, Florida.
Nola made 11 starts in the Florida State League before being promoted to Double-A Reading to finish the season. When the Fightin Phils visited Trenton to end the season on Labor Day weekend, Nola signed the Autograph Card pictured above for me.
While many younger players don’t like to sign the blank cards, Nola had no problem with it (perhaps because he has yet to appear on a baseball card since turning pro.)
Nola finished his first season with a combined record of 4-3 with a 2.93 ERA, 45 strikeouts and just 10 walks in 55.1 innings. If he continues to progress at this rate, an appearance in Philadelphia before the end of 2015 might not out of the question.
Satoru Komiyama had been a seven-time All-Star in Japan when the Mets signed him to a one-year deal in December 2001, but the 36-year-old right-hander was unable to bring that success to Major League Baseball.
A control pitcher, Komiyama had the misfortune of being billed as “the Japanese Greg Maddux” when Mets GM Steve Phillips introduced him to the New York media.
Komiyama was never comfortable with that label. “It’s a very honorable thing,” he told New York Post reporter Tom Keeganduring spring training. “I really respect Greg Maddux, but I don’t want to be called the Greg Maddux of Japan because I respect him too much.”
Komiyama also never seemed comfortable with his role in the Mets’ bullpen. Almost exclusively a starter in Japan, Komiyama struggled with the irregular workload he received as a Met. He ended up splitting the year between the major leagues and Triple-A Norfolk, and put together an 0-3 record with a 5.61 ERA in 25 major league relief appearances.
After leaving the Mets, Komiyama returned to Japan and pitched for the Chiba Lotte Marines until 2009. According to Wikipedia, Komiyama has also found work as a baseball commentator.
I bought this certified autographed baseball card in 2012 for $30, making it one of the more expensive additions to my collection.
The two-time Cy Young Award-winner has a reputation for signing baseball cards that makes him a favorite of autograph collectors with patience. Send a baseball card and a self-addressed, stamped envelope to Kershaw c/o the Dodgers’ spring training camp in Arizona, and next winter you may just find a signed card waiting in your mailbox.
I wrote to Kershaw last year, mailing my card on February 11th, 2013. Last month, I got it back – coincidentally on February 11th, 2014.
Included in the envelope was a slip of paper promoting Kershaw’s charity foundation, Kerhaw’s Challenge, a Christian organization that “encourage[s] people to use whatever God-given passion, purpose or talent they have been given to make a difference and give back to others in need.”
“And whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord, and not for men,” – Colossians 3:23 (WEB)
I haven’t managed to add any 2013 baseball cards to my collection yet, though just about every baseball card blogger has been busy showing off their finds over the past couple of days. (Yes, I’m just a little bit jealous 🙂 )
Fortunately, Zach of Autographed Cards sent me a few cards this week. Let’s take a look at one of them.
Edgar Martinez was one of approximately seven dozen players to suit up for the Newark Bears in 2009, their final year in the Atlantic League. Between the constant roster churn and the difficulty of finding cards that might belong to this Edgar Martinez among all of those featuring the more famous Seattle Mariners designated hitter, I never tracked down a baseball card to get signed that year.
Since leaving the Bears, Martinez pitched for the Rio Grande Valley WhiteWings in the North American League, the Wichita Wingnuts in the American Association and the Petroleros de Minatitlan in the Mexican League. I assume Zach got the card signed last year when Martinez was playing for Wichita.
Once upon a time, Martinez was viewed as a prospect: he pitched in the 2006 All-Star Futures Game for the World Team and was protected on the Boston Red Sox 40-man roster from 2005-07. In 2005, he averaged better than a strikeout per inning as a reliever for the Single-A Wilmington Blue Rocks and Double-A Portland Sea Dogs. But at the higher levels of the minor leagues, Martinez was less able to dominate hitters.
In 2009, Martinez found himself entering the world of independent baseball with the Newark Bears. He made 12 starts, tied for fifth most on a team that had 27 different pitchers start at least one game. He finished with a 1-3 record, a 6.09 ERA and had more walks (30) than strikeouts (20) for the first time in his career in his only season as a full-time starter. He also appeared in two games at second base and one at shortstop, and had two hits in seven at-bats.
Do you have any memories of Edgar Martinez or the 2009 Newark Bears’ strange season?
Last weekend, I invited blog readers to help me clear off my desk by trading me (almost) anything for some trading cards that really don’t fit my collection.
Sam asked for these two cards, non-baseball relics from a recent Allen & Ginter set:
He sent this card, a Josh Thole autograph/relic from 2012 Triple Threads. It’s a cool card and it still has a spot in my collection even though Thole will be calling Toronto or Buffalo home this baseball season. Thanks Sam!