Posted in Autographs, Uncategorized

Newark Bears Autographs: Edgar Martinez

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 ūüôā )

Fortunately, Zach of Autographed Cards¬†sent me a few cards this week. Let’s take a look at one of them.

Signed Edgar Martinez 2006 Bowman baseball card
Signed Edgar Martinez 2006 Bowman baseball card

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.

Edgar Martinez
Edgar Martinez pitches for the Newark Bears in 2009 (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)

Do you have any memories of Edgar Martinez or the 2009 Newark Bears’ strange season?

Posted in Autographs, Uncategorized

Trade me (almost) anything results: Part 1

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:

Duke-front Jack-Lalanne-front

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!

Josh Thole

(I still have a couple more cards left that I’d like to clear off my desk – see if you want to help me out.)

Posted in Autographs, Baseball, Uncategorized

Baseball book signings

Spring is just around the corner, and that means a new crop of baseball books. Among them:

  • Mike Piazza‘s “Long Shot” is probably the one that will get the most buzz, and the former Mets catcher is scheduled to do two book signings in New York next month. One will be at the Barnes & Noble on 5th Avenue in Manhattan on Feb. 11th; the other will be at the Barnes & Noble in Carle Place on Feb. 12th. For more information, visit Mets Hot Corner.
  • Former Red Sox manager Terry Francona is scheduled to hold a book signing for “Francona: The Red Sox Years” on Wednesday, Jan. 23rd, at the Barnes & Noble on East 54th Street in Manhattan. ¬†For details, check Celebrity Book Signings & Events.
  • WFAN Mets broadcaster Howie Rose‘s “Put It In the Book!: A Half-Century of Mets Mania ” is due out March 1st. I’m not sure he rates a book signing, but I’m mentioning it because it’s the one book of this group that I actually want to read.
  • Dwight Gooden‘s “Doc: A Memoir” is scheduled for publication on May 28th, and I would be very surprised if he doesn’t have a few New York-area book signings to support it.

You can ‚ÄúLike‚Ä̬†Paul‚Äôs Random Baseball Stuff on Facebook,¬†and follow me on¬†Twitter¬†and¬†Flickr.

Posted in Autographs, Uncategorized

Signed Kevin Appier Mets postcard

Signed Kevin Appier Mets postcard from 2001
Signed Kevin Appier Mets postcard from 2001

It’s been 12 years since Kevin Appier pitched for the New York Mets. (And barring a bunch of minor miracles, this October will mark 13 years since the Mets’ last World Series appearance.) Where does the time go?

Appier was a relatively respectable 11-10 with a 3.57 ERA for the Mets in his only season with them, but GM Steve Phillips signed him to an ace-level contract after losing Mike Hampton to the Colorado Rockies and the Denver school system. Realizing his mistake, Phillips made it worse by trading Appier to the Anaheim Angels for aging slugger Mo Vaughn, who spent most of his Mets tenure on the disabled list.

Appier or the Mets had these postcards produced to be signed and sent out through the mail when fans sent him autograph requests. In the 1980s and early 1990s, ¬†the Mets made¬†similar, if simpler, postcards for everyone who went to spring training with them. This postcard of Appier is the one of the latest examples of a Mets player postcard I’ve seen.

The back of the Kevin Appier Mets postcard
The back of the Kevin Appier Mets postcard

Do you know about any more modern Mets team-issued postcards that were sent out to fulfill autograph requests?

You can ‚ÄúLike‚Ä̬†Paul‚Äôs Random Baseball Stuff on Facebook,¬†and follow me on¬†Twitter¬†and¬†Flickr.

Posted in Autographs, Uncategorized

Mets Autograph of the Week: Dean Chance

signed Dean Chance 1991 Wiz Mets card from my collection

Dean Chance played in the major leagues for 11 seasons, winning the 1964 Cy Young Award, getting picked to two all-star teams and pitching a no-hitter.

He’s best remembered as a Los Angeles Angel – one Angels blogger ranked him the 25th best player in team history as of 2009.

But I’m a Mets fan, so I’m more concerned with three games at the end of the 1970 season. The Cleveland Indians sold Chance’s contract to the New York Mets on Sept. 18th. New York trailed Pittsburgh by 2.5 games on that date, so I imagine the move was intended to help the team make one last push.

Chance made his Mets’ debut two days later, closing out a 9-5 loss to the Pirates at Shea Stadium. After Tug McGraw gave up a 10th inning homer to Willie Stargell to break the 5-5 tie, he face two more batters before exiting. Chance came in with a runner on second and one out, and intentionally walked Dave Cash to get to Gene Alley. That move backfired when Alley tripled (and later scored) to put the game out of reach.

Chance pitched a scoreless inning to earn a save against the Phillies on Sept. 22nd, but earned the loss in his final Mets appearance on Sept. 25th because he allowed the eventual winning run to reach base in an appearance that lasted just 1/3 of an inning.

The next spring the Mets traded Chance to the Detroit Tigers with pitcher Bill Denehy for pitcher Jerry Robertson, who never appeared in a major league game for New York. Chance retired after the 1971 season.

Despite his brief time in New York, Chance does appear in the 1971 Topps set as a Met. I opted to get his 1991 Wiz Mets card signed instead because the 1971 Topps set already has a¬†facsimile¬†signature printed on the card. I was able to get Chance’s autograph through a private signing conducted by Chris Potter Sports recently.