Category Archives: Autographs

Casey at the Pen

A rain delay anecdote

Due to the nature of the New York Penn League schedule, I only get one chance to see the Brooklyn Cyclones each year (technically three if you count individual games). When rain threatens to cancel one of those games, I have no choice but to tough it out and hope things clear up. In 2013, that didn’t work out so well. 2014′s second Cyclones game in Lowell was shaping up much the same way.

The nice thing about the rain is that it keeps the binder people at bay. You know the ones, lining the railings before games with binders filled with cards to be signed by the dozen. Do people actually buy those things? I don’t understand it, but they must make enough to justify being there. Except in the rain. On this day, there were only two or three people waiting by the dugout, so I slipped in on the off chance that someone might show up on the other side of the railing. That person ended up being Casey Meisner.

Read more »

2016 Mets Debut Autographs

The more things change…

When the dust settled after the 2015 NL Champion Mets’ offseason, not much had changed. Daniel Murphy became Neil Walker, Ruben Tejada became Asdrubal Cabrera, Kirk Nieuwenhuis became Alejandro De Aza, and Carlos Torres became Antonio Bastardo. Throw in Jim Henderson as typical bullpen churn (who somehow does not have any autographs despite being fairly prominent a few years ago) and you have your 2016 New York Mets. Just to reinforce the fact that little had changed since the (Royals’) celebration at Citi Field, all but Bastardo made their debuts in Kansas City on a trip that the Mets were three outs away from taking five months earlier. When Travis d’Arnaud hit the DL again, journeyman catcher Rene Rivera was brought up to back up Kevin Plawecki (Rivera has no autographs but an unsigned proof for an autograph card exists). Meanwhile, Matt Reynolds is on the outside looking in, racking up Rookie Cards while waiting for a chance to get back on the roster and maybe even into a game.

Neil Walker Asdrubal Cabrera Alejandro De Aza Jim Henderson
3 April 2016 3 April 2016 3 April 2016 5 April 2016
Antonio Bastardo Rene Rivera
8 April 2016 30 April 2016

Product Spotlight: 2015 Topps Archives Signature Series

Buybacks are back, alright!

It was a dismal year for Topps Archives, so the announcement of another Archives product at the end of the year was a bit confusing. Would this be a second helping? A non-card product like those Tristar autographed 8x10s? Or something completely different? As it turned out, 2015 Topps Archives Signature Series was the second coming of 2004 Topps Originals and brought with it everything good and bad about that release.

2004 was the height of the retired player autograph boom. In addition to the usual retired player products that were all the rage back then, buyback autographs took center stage with 2004 Topps Originals and 2004 Donruss Timelines. All four (yes, four, such a foreign concept today…) licensed manufacturers had done buybacks previously (though Fleer didn’t get the autograph part and just slapped handwritten serial numbers on some old cards and stuck them into packs), but these products merged the concept with the one-hit-per-pack insertion method. The end result was a pack that, for about $50, would yield a $5 autograph from a minor ’80s star on a card that was far from pack fresh.

Archives Signature Series takes that model and, um, does the exact same thing. There are some notable changes though. First, cards are packed in magnetic holders instead of cheap snapdowns. Second, players who were active in 2004 and have since retired are now included. And third, the choice of cards is more like Donruss Timelines with all sorts of oddballs in the mix, many as 1/1s. And that’s really all that’s changed in 11 years.

Read more »

2015 Mets Debut Autographs

Well, that’s a relief…

With Cespedes on board, the Mets cruised to their first NL East title since 2006. But not without getting some extra relief help first. Eric O’Flaherty got the first shot, but that didn’t work out so well. Next came Addison Reed, who has earned a spot on the postseason roster. Barring an emergency postseason call-up, the 2015 list wraps up with Tim Stauffer, who was picked up to bolster the AAA staff. As usual, the “throw a bunch of relievers against the wall and see who sticks” method of bullpen construction doesn’t yield the best results, but at least the Mets had some time to experiment in games that didn’t really matter.

Michael Cuddyer John Mayberry Jr. Jerry Blevins Alex Torres
6 April 2015 6 April 2015 6 April 2015 9 April 2015
Sean Gilmartin* Daniel Muno* Kevin Plawecki* Hansel Robles*
10 April 2015 17 April 2015 21 April 2015 24 April 2015
Jack Leathersich* Johnny Monell Noah Syndergaard* Darrell Ceciliani*
29 April 2015 9 May 2015 12 May 2015 19 May 2015
Akeel Morris* Logan Verrett Steven Matz* Michael Conforto*
17 June 2015 18 June 2015 28 June 2015 24 July 2015
Kelly Johnson Juan Uribe Tyler Clippard Yoenis Cespedes
25 July 2015 25 July 2015 28 July 2015 1 August 2015
Eric O’Flaherty Addison Reed Tim Stauffer
5 August 2015 1 September 2015 13 September 2015

*MLB Debut

Read more »

2015 Mets Draft Class Autographs

No first round pick? No problem.

Full list of 2015 Mets draft picks

Thanks to the Michael Cuddyer signing, the Mets didn’t make their first pick in the 2015 draft until #53.  While you can understand (even if you don’t agree with) the reasoning behind reluctantly giving up a first round pick when the goal is to win now, it certainly makes it hard to get excited about the draft.  The Mets had to be hoping that some signable top talent would fall into the second round.  As a collector, I was just hoping for someone who would make it into the fall’s autograph lineup (though last year’s top Mets pick Michael Conforto is still waiting for his Bowman Chrome autograph, due out this Friday).  September is here and there is reason to hope for some nice prospect autographs from this group in the coming months.

With their top pick, the Mets took Desmond Lindsay, who was left off most amateur top prospect lists due to injury.  The Mets obviously thought he was worth the risk and saw him as clear first-round talent.  So far, he has performed well enough to earn a promotion to Brooklyn and should be the obvious choice for a Mets representative in upcoming draft products.

Once again, this year’s draft class had plenty of autographs available on draft day thanks to Leaf.  After Lindsay, Max Wotell, Thomas Szapuki, Sixto Torres, Brendan Illies, and L.T. Tolbert (who apparently goes by a variety of names) all have Leaf Perfect Game autographs.  Of them, all but the last two signed with the Mets.

2 Desmond Lindsay 3 Max Wotell 4 David Thompson 5 Thomas Szapucki
6 Chase Ingram 7 Corey Taylor 8 Patrick Mazeika 9 Kevin Kaczmarski
10 Wilt Haggard 17 Sixto Torres 33 Brendan Illies (DNS) 34 L.T. Tolbert (DNS)

Previous Entries

Previous Draft Class Autographs:

2014 Mets Draft Class Autographs
2013 Mets Draft Class Autographs
2012 Mets Draft Class Autographs
2011 Mets Draft Class Autographs

2010 Mets Draft Class Autographs

Generation TJ?

Full list of 2010 Mets draft picks

Five years after the bulk of Generation K was drafted, the whole bunch was coming up bust. Whatever excitement had been building was gone as each player would miss significant time due to injury before being dealt away for practically nothing. What does that have to do with 2010? As it turns out, the Mets’ 2010 draft class was loaded with stud pitching. And serious injuries. But that’s where the similarities end.

1 Matt Harvey 3 Blake Forsythe 4 Cory Vaughn 5 Matt den Dekker
6 Greg Peavey 7 Jeff Walters 8 Kenneth McDowall 9 Jacob deGrom
10 Akeel Morris 11 Adam Kolarek 24 Erik Goeddel 30 Josh Edgin

Matt Harvey didn’t exactly excite the fanbase when he was drafted number 7 overall in 2010. A high risk/high upside pick, Harvey was coming off a somewhat problematic stint with UNC after being drafted 118th overall out of high school three years earlier. The talent was there, but could he figure out how to use it? Harvey impressed at every level but somehow never attracted much hype in the minors. That all ended in 2012 when Harvey made his MLB debut and quickly became the Mets’ ace. A month into the 2013 season, Harvey was a hobby hero; his autographs commanded $100 due to their high demand and relative scarcity. When he finally signed his 2011 Bowman Platinum autographs two years late, Matt Harvey was one of the biggest sports figures in New York City. And then he broke.

Harvey wasn’t the first pitcher from this draft class to go through Tommy John surgery and he wouldn’t be the last. Just a few months after the draft, 9th round pick Jacob deGrom, a converted shortstop, went under the knife. After missing a year, deGrom followed Harvey’s path through the minors, quietly impressing with even less hype than the fallen ace. As a 2014 without Harvey loomed, deGrom was almost forgotten among a trio of hot young pitchers starting the season in AAA. Scouts gave deGrom high marks, but most people saw the bullpen in his future. When spots in the rotation opened up in mid-May, Jacob deGrom made it clear that he was not destined for a relief role. Matt Harvey returned to the rotation in 2015 sharing the ace role with the 2014 NL Rookie of the Year.

The bullpen had its share of surgeries in this draft class as well. Minor league closer Jeff Walters had Tommy John surgery in 2014 after setting the AA Binghamton saves record in 2013, and then Josh Edgin, a rare bright spot in some awful Mets bullpens, went down in 2015. This opened the door for Erik Goeddel, a 24th round pick due to signability concerns. Four Tommy John surgeries, two top starters, and two relievers who have contributed at the major league level. Not bad. And that’s not counting Akeel Morris, who is still in the low minors, or Greg Peavey, who was lost in the Rule 5 draft. So what about the bats?

The Mets went with three position players after picking Harvey, catcher Blake Forsythe and outfielders Cory Vaughn and Matt den Dekker. Forsythe was dumped off in the beginning of the 2014 season after ominously being assigned to Binghamton without being issued a number. Vaughn was promoted to AAA after being the most ineffective Binghamton outfielder at the plate and looks like he won’t get any further by the time he becomes a minor league free agent. And Matt den Dekker watched Juan Lagares take over as the Mets’ starting center fielder while recovering from a 2013 spring training injury. While he still got a chance to prove himself in 2014, den Dekker would start the 2015 season with the Nationals after being dealt for bullpen help.

Five years later, Generation TJ has already surpassed Generation K with one more arm still developing. The bats never came around, but with these arms, who needs bats? Right, the 2015 Mets…