When I started collecting autographs in the late 1980s, if a baseball player was hired to sign autographs at a card show, you could frequently get a signature for $10… sometimes less. A star or Hall of Famer might cost $20 or $25. Larger shows would often have a free signer with paid admission.
I give JP’s Sports & Rock Solid Promotions credit for keeping the free signer tradition going for most of the shows that they run. At their White Plains show later this month, perfect game pitchers Tom Browning and Len Barker will sign for free on Saturday, Jan. 14th.
I decided to forgo the chance to see if the Mets could put an end to Zack Greinke‘s scoreless innings streak yesterday (they did) so I could catch the last game of the Binghamton Mets’ only visit to Trenton this season.
The Binghamton Mets did not disappoint, defeating the Baby Bombers 8-0. I even got to see one real Mets player – catcher Travis d’Arnaud, who was playing the second game of a rehab assignment. He was super nice, signing autographs for almost 10 minutes inside the ballpark before the game. After the game, it seemed like at least 100 people were waiting to catch him before he got on the team bus back to Binghamton… and he signed autographs and posed for selfies with everyone who asked.
Philadelphia Phillies catching prospect Tommy Joseph included a few extra cards when he signed the stuff that my friend Bart mailed to him, so Bart passed them on to me. For a young guy, Joseph actually had a pretty decent autograph. Both cards were made before Joseph was traded from the San Francisco Giants organization, so the minor league one shows him as a Richmond Flying Squirrel – that’s my favorite Eastern League team nickname.
Because the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and a guy that forges his own swords & sais are cool.
To no one’s surprise, pitcher Zack Wheeler is at the top of the list. The rest of the list includes just three other players who’ve advanced to the Double-A level or above: infielder Wilmer Flores and pitchers Jeurys Familia and Cory Mazzoni.
Seven of the ten players are right-handed pitchers, with Flores, shortstop Gavin Cecchini and outfielder Brandon Nimmo the only position players ranked. Both Nimmo and Cecchini are still teenagers and neither has advanced above short-season ball yet.
As for Flores, Baseball America writes:
A lack of blue-chip position prospects clouds New York’s future lineup possibilities, however. Its best upper-level hitter is infielder Wilmer Flores, but he may not have enough power or defensive chops to profile as a long-term starter at any position.
It’s not pleasant to think about trading away a popular Cy Young Award-winning pitcher. But the holes in the Mets’ major league lineup and the lack of position player prospects in the minors make unpleasant decisions like this necessary.