This weekend, JP Sports and Rock Solid Promotions held their White Plains National sports card show, featuring a selection of autograph guests that included former MLB and NFL stars as well as a few pro wrestlers and actors. There was really someone for just about everyone.
I was talking to my friend Bart on Friday and he mentioned that he was looking forward to the autograph show. Now I hardly ever get to see Bart or do things with him these days, so when he asked if I wanted to go with him, i was quick to agree since it lined up with a rare Saturday day off.
Matt Harvey‘s latest indiscretion paved the way for Adam Wilk to become the 1,028th player in Mets’ history. Unfortunately, while Wilk showed up for work, he didn’t have a very good day: six runs in less than four innings, including two home runs to Giancarlo Stanton probably means a return trip to Las Vegas is in order.
Wilk was kind enough to sign the card I mailed to Mets spring training camp this February.
I’m whittling away the list of current and former Mets players who are not represented in my autographed baseball card collection. Recent additions to my collection have brought it down to 99.
Jerry Blevins – relief pitcher, 2015-present
To play to baseball’s fetish for filling bullpens with left-handed specialists, Mets GM Sandy Alderson traded outfield prospect Matt den Dekker to the Washington Nationals at the end of spring training in 2015 to get Jerry Blevins. He pitched just five innings in the major leagues that year, thanks to suffering a broken bone in his seventh appearance of the the season and then re-fracturing it when he slipped and fell in August. He was effective last season, but seemed miscast – given the opportunity, Blevins was generally effective against right-handed hitters as well as lefties. Time will tell how Terry Collins chooses to use Blevins in 2017. I purchased this rookie signature card for $2.15 from COMC.com.
Once upon a time, I was very into writing to people associated with Major League Baseball in hopes of getting autographs for my collection. I’d guess more than half of the 920+ signed cards in my All-Time Mets collection were acquired that way.
As I got signatures from most of retired Mets players who were still willing and able to sign, and as current players became less willing to respond to fan mail, I wrote fewer letters.
Last year, SportsCollectors.Net tells me that I sent out 14 autograph requests and got back signed cards as a result of eight of them.(In comparison, as recently as 2014, I sent out 83 letters resulting in 58 successes.)
Last month, I wrote to a half dozen short-time former New York Mets players whose autographs I didn’t have. Today, I got three responses.
It’s been about a week and a half since I announced my intention to stop updating this blog… and the reasons for doing that really haven’t changed. But I got something in the mail this weekend that I did want to share and acknowledge.
Back in 2013, I attended Zack Wheeler‘s first start at Citi Field along with 33 thousand other Mets fans who were there to see his home debut and/or try to get the David Wright bobblehead giveaway.
Mission accomplished on the bobblehead front, I might have had a better afternoon if I’d made an early exit from Citi Field. Wheeler got rocked, and Brandon Lyon (remember him?) threw gasoline on the fire. Heading to the ninth inning, the Mets trailed 11-0.
But I’m glad I stuck it out for the whole game. Instead of summoning another reliever, Terry Collins called on backup catcher Anthony Recker to face the Washington Nationals in the game’s final inning.
We’re three weeks away from baseball games that count, so I thought I’d check in with an update on how my spring training autograph requests are faring.
I ended up sending out only 10 letters from the 20 that I’d originally planned. I couldn’t find suitable cards to send to the three coaches and one player, remembered that the Braves don’t get USPS mail during spring training, and decided to save the players who reported directly to minor league camp for the regular season rather than trying to figure out the logistics of writing to them now.
So far, I’ve gotten four of the 10 back. My biggest success to date is new Mets’ second baseman Neil Walker, who sent back a card signed (with his new uniform number) in just over two weeks.
Tim Stauffer appeared in five games for the Mets last September, after injuries and innings limits left the team’s relief corps short-handed. The 33-year-old right-hander was not especially effective and was designated for assignment to clear a 40-man roster spot for infielder Matt Reynolds following Ruben Tejada‘s injury in the NLDS.
This spring, Stauffer will be pitching for a spot in the Arizona Diamondbacks’ bullpen – he signed a minor league contract in December.
Once upon a time, Stauffer was an elite prospect – the San Diego Padres selected him out of the University of Richmond with the fourth overall pick in the 2003 amateur draft. He was chosen ahead of Nick Markakis, John Danks, Aaron Hill and Adam Jones, among others. Stauffer had shoulder issues from the time he signed with San Diego and never quite lived up to the promise the team saw in him.
Prior to joining the Mets organization last summer, Stauffer appeared in three games for the Atlantic League’s Suger Land Skeeters.
With Stauffer unlikely to ever appear on a baseball card as a New York Met, he will be represented in my collection by this 2004 Bowman’s Best card from his prospect days. It cost $1.38.