Category Archives: Autographs

Product Spotlight: 2017 Topps Clearly Authentic

A clear winner?

After being threatened with multiple iterations of Topps Archives Signature Series in 2017, it was a surprise to see the first $50/card autograph product turn out to be Clearly Authentic. Topps borrowed the Archives Signature Series format for what amounts to a Tek-style acetate autograph parallel of base 2017 Topps with reprint autographs like those previously seen in Tier One released under a name used in 2015 and 2016 for authenticated memorabilia cards in Strata. It’s a mishmash of elements from other products, but the end result is surprisingly coherent and straightforward. But is it enough to carry an entire product?

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2017 Mets Debut Autographs

The kids are all that’s left

So this is how the 2017 season ends, not with a playoff appearance, but with Travis Taijeron in the starting lineup… With the Mets effectively (if not mathematically) eliminated by the All-Star Game, a selloff was inevitable. After a slow July, August saw the departure of just about every healthy veteran on a seven figure contract without a no-trade clause. Except for Asdrubal “Trade Me” Cabrera. Irony is alive and well in the Mets’ clubhouse, if nothing else. Meanwhile, the remaining veterans saw their numbers thinned out by a rash of improbable injuries worthy of Homer at the Bat. Michael Conforto swung his arm out of its socket (shoulder surgery, 6 month recovery minimum), Wilmer Flores fouled a ball off his face (broken nose, out for the rest of the season), and Yoenis Cespedes, oh who the hell can keep track of it all? Let’s just go with the Springfield mystery spot.

On the plus side, the departures cleared room for top prospects Amed Rosario and Dominic Smith. And basically the rest of the 40-man roster or anyone due to be a minor league free agent. And Norichika Aoki? Eh, sure, why not? At least we can take comfort in the fact that the front office will make the necessary moves to bring the team back into contention in 2018. You can stop laughing now. Seriously, it wasn’t that funny. Watch out, you’re going to… Well, enjoy your time on the DL. You’ll have plenty of company.

Paul Sewald* Adam Wilk Tommy Milone Neil Ramirez
8 April 2017 7 May 2017 10 May 2017 20 May 2017
Tyler Pill* Chasen Bradford* Chris Flexen* AJ Ramos
27 May 2017 25 June 2017 27 July 2017 30 July 2017
Amed Rosario* Dominic Smith* Kevin McGowan* Travis Taijeron*
1 August 2017 11 August 2017 22 August 2017 26 August 2017
Jacob Rhame* Jamie Callahan* Norichika Aoki Phillip Evans*
2 September 2017 2 September 2017 2 September 2017 8 September 2017
Tomas Nido*
13 September 2017

*MLB Debut
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2017 Mets Draft Class Autographs

Easy as 1-2-3

Full list of 2017 Mets draft picks

When you don’t pick until late in the first round, most of the intriguing names will be off the board by the time it’s your turn. Despite several forfeited picks ahead of them, the Mets had to wait to the 20th pick to start their 2017 draft due to a strong 2016. That probably won’t be a problem next year… And so I know nothing about first round pick David Peterson other than his assortment of autographs and memorabilia in various Panini products. Mark Vientos followed in round 2 with autographs and memorabilia from Panini and Leaf and then Quinn Brodey went in round 3 with autographs from Leaf (from 4 years ago). And that’s about it for this draft class. The Mets would go on to sign all three plus 29 of their other 37 picks, but that didn’t include the only other two picks with autographs at the time of the draft, CJ Van Eyk and Jake Eder.

1 David Peterson 2 Mark Vientos 3 Quinn Brodey 4 Tony DiBrell
5 Matt Winaker 6 Marcel Renteria 19 CJ Van Eyk (DNS) 34 Jake Eder (DNS)

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2016 Biggest Pulls

End of the Line?

2016 will go down as they year when I just couldn’t take it anymore. Ever-diminishing returns (even with the annual Kris Bryant autograph) already had me cutting back on hobby boxes. The proliferation of the same things in every product and the lack of anything new (Michael Conforto, Noah Syndergaard, Jacob deGrom, and Steven Matz autographs in everything and no new prospect autographs until December) certainly gave me plenty of reasons to pass even on old favorites. And with the focus on the high end more than ever ($22,000 for one box?), nothing new was drawing my interest. And that’s just on the input side of the equation.

On the output side, rising postage rates and eBay fees (and new requirements pushing Top Rated Seller status beyond the reach of most mere mortals) made the prospect of selling unwanted cards something to dread. Why pay for a box that guarantees a hit when the hit will either be worthless or require dealing with eBay? I listed 12 items in 2016. 6 sold. And one of those got sent back, despite my listings clearly stating that returns are not accepted. That was the last straw.

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1967 Mets Draft Class Autographs

If at first you do succeed, the rest really doesn’t matter

Full list of 1967 Mets draft picks

1 Jon Matlack 2 Dan Carey 11 Jesse Hudson 38 Dave Schneck

In the third year of the amateur draft, the Mets had their least eventful group of selections yet. After getting lucky on Nolan Ryan in 1965 and infamously passing on Reggie Jackson with the first overall pick in 1966, the Mets took Jon Matlack with the fourth overall pick in 1967. Matlack would go on to be named Rookie of the Year in 1972 and put together one of the best pitching seasons to not get a single Cy Young vote in 1974. After a trade to the Rangers, he eventually began to break down as players tended to do in those days and opted for an early retirement at age 33. He has no certified autograph cards, so I leave this non-certified autograph here in the hopes of someday being able to replace it with something more official. And because without it, there would be nothing to see here. Because the rest of the draft was a bust.

The Mets actually did a pretty good job picking Matlack, who was one of only four star players to be taken in the first round. After that though, it got ugly; their next four picks failed to make the majors while other teams walked away with Vida Blue, Jerry Reuss, and Don Baylor in the second round and a handful of useful players in rounds 3-5. But that’s really where the 1967 draft ended. The Mets can’t be faulted too much for the rest of the draft, in which they signed only four players who would reach the majors, worth a total of -2.0 bWAR.

After the top 100 picks, the 1967 draft was an exercise in futility. 875 more players would be picked over 72 rounds, but many would fail to sign. Of those who did, only 25 made it to the majors, so the Mets’ four was better than most. And of the 21 others, only Rick Dempsey, Gary Lavelle, and Dusty Baker had any real success, plus Jim Willoughby, Mike Paul, Jack Brohamer, and John Wockenfuss if you lower your standard to a career total of 1 bWAR. That’s one even marginally useful player for every 125 picks. That the Mets failed to land even one with their remaining 55 picks is hardly surprising.

Looking at the Mets side of the 1967 draft alone paints a bleak picture of a franchise struggling at every aspect of the game. But a look at other teams’ results puts a positive spin on an organization that was building for a run at sustained contention. Only six of the 20 teams managed to sign multiple players who would rack up at least 1 bWAR over their career. And of those, only the Cardinals (Ted Simmons in round 1 and Jerry Reuss in round 2), Braves (Ralph Garr and Dusty Baker), Twins (Steve Brye in round 1, Dave Goltz, and Rick Dempsey), and Orioles (Bobby Grich in round 1 and Don Baylor in round 2) signed picks worth more than Matlack alone. The Mets did well in acquiring one of the top five players taken in the draft.

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2016 Mets Draft Class Autographs

A little bit a bit late

Full list of 2016 Mets draft picks

It took nearly the entire year, but 2016 finally brought us some new Mets prospects with autographs. As expected, most of them were from the 2016 draft: Justin Dunn and Peter Alonso in Bowman Draft, Dunn, Alonso, and Anthony Kay in Panini Elite Extra Edition, Dunn and Kay in Leaf Metal Draft, and Dunn again in Bowman’s Best. All of these, however, were overshadowed by the other newcomer, free agent acquisition Tim Tebow in Panini Elite Extra Edition and Leaf Metal Draft. Sadly, that means that nobody went deeper than the second round with autographs, which should come as no surprise when you consider how little emphasis there has been on prospects this year. Good thing we’ve got top prospect Tim Tebow, I guess…

1 Justin Dunn 1s Anthony Kay 2 Peter Alonso 3 Blake Tiberi
4 Michael Paez 5 Colby Woodmansee 6 Chris Viall 14 Christian James

Previous Editions:

From a Dunn deal to the invisible Hand

For the first time in the Alderson era, the Mets took a pitcher with their top pick. Sadly, Justin Dunn has no certified autograph cards, so the top spot will remain empty here until (hopefully) 2016 Bowman Draft. Supplemental pick Anthony Kay will have to stand in for the time being, but there’s nothing after that until Christian James in the 14th round. And after that, the only picks who have signed cards did not sign with the Mets – Carlos Cortes, Rylan Thomas, and, for the second time, Jordan Hand. After two years filled with picks who signed in Leaf Perfect Game, 2016 is a bit of a let-down. All the more reason we need this Mets prospect autograph drought to turn around and get us some ink from these guys.

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