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Sandberg headlines annual Lakewood Blue Claws’ Winter Banquet

Ryne Sandberg signs autographs during a Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs promotion in 2012 (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)
Ryne Sandberg signs autographs during a Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs promotion in 2012 (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)

New Philadelphia Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg will highlight the Lakewood Blue Claws’ annual Winter Banquet on Wednesday, January 22nd at Woodlake Country Club in Lakewood.

The baseball Hall of Famer will be joined by current Phillies players and Blue Claws alumni Darin Ruf and Jonathan Pettibone. Tickets for the event are $40 and all proceeds will benefit BlueClaws Charities and their Community Partners Program.

To purchase tickets, call JoAnne Bell at 732-901-7000 extension 100.

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Minor League Monday: 2012 Reading Phillies (1st) team set

Autographed Darin Ruf 2012 Reading Phillies card from my collection
Autographed Darin Ruf 2012 Reading Phillies card from my collection

The Reading Phillies put together a 76-66 record under manager Dusty Wathan in 2012. They made the playoffs, but lost to the Trenton Thunder in the first round. They are the Double-A affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies, a relationship that has existed since 1967. (They will play as the Reading Fightin Phils starting in 2013 for reasons known only to the team’s ownership and executives.)

The Reading Phillies are one of the few teams in recent memory that produced two full team sets to sell in the same year. The later set is still available from the team. I suppose I should try to pick one up, but at this point I may just wait and see if they mark them down next year.

The first set, made by MultiAd Sports, includes 31 cards and I was able to get 16 of them signed before or after games between the R-Phils and Thunder in Trenton this season. Continue reading “Minor League Monday: 2012 Reading Phillies (1st) team set”

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Philadelphia rookie Ruf hits his 1st – or 40th – of the season

Darin Ruf hits his 39th home run of 2012 in the Eastern League playoffs against the Trenton Thunder (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)

Philadelphia Phillies rookie first baseman/outfielder Darin Ruf hit his first major league home run in his first start.

His teammates gave him the traditional silent treatment for nearly two innings, according to Philadelphia Inquirer reporter Matt Gelb:

“That,” Ryan Howard said, “has to be some sort of record.”

“That,” Ruf said, “was very loving of them.”

While it was Ruf’s first home run in the big leagues, it was his 40th of 2012. The first 38 came during the Eastern League season, when he set a franchise record for the Double-A Reading Phillies. The 39th came during the Eastern League playoffs, which I got to see in person at Mercer County Waterfront Park in Trenton.

I’m not a Phillies fan, nor am I likely to become one. But it’s hard not to root for Ruf, a 26-year-old – never considered a prize prospect – who’s doing everything he can to open people’s eyes.

Posted in Autographs, Baseball, Site News, Uncategorized

Checking in & offering congratulations

A 2012 Eastern League All-Star baseball card signed by league MVP Darin Ruf, likely my final baseball park autograph of the season.

I really haven’t been posting regularly for the past two months. Partly it’s because of the mix of apathy and frustration that the New York Mets have inspired, but mostly it’s been because of personal issues. I don’t think I’m going to be back to writing every day anytime soon, but I will try to do better than I have been. I’ve been a bit more active on Twitter (@PaulsRandomStuf) and Instagram (@pauleybaseball), since they are easier to access via my phone when I have a few free minutes.

Congratulations to the Akron Aeros, who defeated the Trenton Thunder last night to win the 2012 Eastern League championship title. I didn’t get to see any of the series, but I did watch the Thunder beat the Reading Phillies to advance past the first round. The Reading Phillies were very gracious after their defeat, hanging out to sign autographs and handing out cleats and caps to their south Jersey fans after the game. Darin Ruf, who gave me what will probably be my final baseball park autograph of the season, had reason to want to celebrate – he was headed up to the big leagues. The rest of the guys could have been forgiven if they just wanted to get home.

As for the other leagues I followed to some degree this season, congratulations to the Quebec Capitales, who won their fourth straight Can-Am League championship title, and the Hudson Valley Renegades, who won the New York-Penn League crown. The Brooklyn Cyclones reached the NY-Penn League playoffs, but were knocked out in the first round.

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Reading’s Ruf breaks record, wins awards

Autographed Darin Ruf 2012 Reading Phillies card

Reading Phillies slugger Darin Ruf was named the Eastern League MVP and the Philadelphia Phillies minor league player of the year this week. Through August 31st, he is hitting .321 with a .632 slugging percentage, 38 home runs and 103 RBI.

Ruf’s 38 home runs are a franchise record for the Reading Phillies, surpassing a mark set by Ryan Howard in 2004. His 20 home runs in the month of August tied a record for the most home runs in a single month at any level of organized baseball.

Ruf turned 26 in July, making him a bit older than most players in Double-A, and he has never really been considered a top prospect. But his 2012 season has certainly given Reading Phillies fans something to be excited about and may earn him a September callup once the Eastern League playoffs conclude.

I’m rooting for him, because he’s a great story – and because he was a lot nicer than most of his more highly-regarded teammates when Reading visited Trenton earlier this season. (I just hope that he doesn’t have too much success against the Mets.)