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)