Coming Back

For a while I wasn’t really sure if I wanted to continue this blog. It’s been almost a year since my last post. In that time I have met a lot of great people, mostly online through Twitter and Instagram, I’ve seen A LOT of baseball and I’ve had many amazing experiences.

I have decided that instead of using this blog for posting A’s and A’s related news, I am going to use it as a forum for my baseball experience, along with some life experiences thrown in.

I don’t know how often I’ll post. It will likely be inconsistent at best. I will try to write something at least once a week. A lot depends on my mood and if I have something to write about… who am I kidding, I have a lot to write about. It really depends on my mood, do I really feel like typing.

Here are a couple of pics from recent events and TTM returns that will serve as a prelude for some of my future posts. I hope you will enjoy!

Oakland A’s FanFest and a Curt Young game worn jersey I picked up at FanFest.

A couple of my favorite recent TTM successes. Storm Davis and Juan Gonzalez!

Card of the Week: Dennis Eckersley 2015 Topps Five Star

The Card of the Week for January 10-16, 2016 is the 2015 Topps Five Star Autograph of Dennis Eckersley. Eckersley was one of my 2 favorite pitchers to watch as a kid. The other being Dave Stewart. I began watching baseball in the mid-1980s, this was after Eckersley came to the Oakland Athletics and converted into one of the most dominant closers in the game.

Dennis Eckersley 2015 Topps Five Star Autograph

Dennis Eckersley 2015 Topps Five Star Autograph

Eckersley was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2004. He is one of two pitchers with 20-win (1978) and 50-save (1992) seasons. Eckersely was selected to the All-Star game 6 times, 2 as a starter and 4 as a closer. He was also named MVP of the 1988 American League Championship Series, saving all 4 of Oakland’s victories against the Boston Red Sox.

His best season came in 1992 when he posted a 7-1 record, struck out 93 batters in 80 innings and saved a major league leading 51 games. That year Eckersley won the American League MVP and Cy Young Awards.

Fun Fact: In his 24 year career, Eckersley only pitched in the National League for 5 years, 3 as a starter and 2 as a reliever. As a starter for the Chicago Cubs (1984-86), Eckersley hit 3 home runs. 1 in 1985 and 2 in 1986. Not bad for a guy with only 181 career at bats.

Eckersley was clearly one of the most dominant pitchers in the game during the 1980s and 1990s. He was instrumental in the success of the Oakland Athletics in the late-1980s and early-1990s. Eckersley will always be one of my favorite pitchers.

Card(s) of the Week: Kendall Graveman 2015 Panini Immaculate Jumbo Patch

The Card(s) of the Week for December 6-12th is the 2015 Panini Immaculate Jumbo Patch of Kendall Graveman. Panini’s Immaculate Baseball set is quickly becoming one of my favorite high-end sets. Will I ever purchase a box of these cards? No. The $200 price tag for 6 total cards makes it unrealistic for me to purchase. However, I will purchase the cards I want off eBay.

Kendall Graveman Panini Immaculate Jumbo Patch #24, 27 /49

Kendall Graveman Panini Immaculate Jumbo Patch #24, 27 /49

The jumbo patch is beautifully done, taking up over two-thirds of the card’s surface. Both of these cards are number out of 49.

Graveman1207b

2015 Panini Immaculate Jumbo Patch #24/49

Graveman1207c

2015 Panini Immaculate Jumbo Patch #27/49

In his first season with the Athletics, Graveman was 6-9 with a 4.05 ERA over 21 starts. He is a young pitcher that shows flashes of promise. During the month of June, Graveman went 3-2 with a 1.93 ERA in 6 starts.  With an improved bullpen in 2016 many of Oakland’s starters should see improved stats over 2015.

This is the second card featured in the Card of the Week from Panini Immaculate. The first was the Shadowbox Signature of Kendall Graveman. Click here to see that post.

Ryan Madson Set to Sign With A’s on 3 Year Deal

Veteran reliever Ryan Madson and the Oakland Athletics have agreed to a 3 year deal worth $22 million. The deal is not yet official as it is pending a physical.

This move will make long strides in shoring up a miserable 2015 bullpen. Madson was 1-2 with a 2.13 in 68 games for the World-Series Champ Kansas City Royals. The true question mark is his health. Prior to 2015 Madson missed the 3 previous seasons with a variety of arm issues. Signing him to a 3 year deal could be a risk, but it can also be high reward as the Athletics lost 53 games in 2015 by 2 runs or less.

The bullpen in 2016 had already received a boost from from the Athletics front office in the off season. In addition to a healthy Sean Doolittle, who spent a lot of time on the disabled list in 2015. Last week the Athletics added another strong arm in Marc Rzepczynski in a deal that also brought Yonder Alonso from the San Diego Padres to the Athletics for Drew Pomeranz and prospect Jose Torres.  In late-November the Athletics acquired Liam Hendricks from the Toronto Blue Jays for Jesse Chavez.

MLB Winter Meetings On Deck

The 114th Annual MLB Winter Meetings are set to take place December 6-10, 2015 in Nashville. This is the time of years we major deals go down and some of the remaining top free agents sign contracts with teams. Executives from all 30 teams will be present, most ready to make deals.

The Oakland Athletics were very active during the meetings in 2014 making a total of 9 deals. This year Oakland will look to shore up it’s league worst bullpen. There are 2 slots they need to fill and there are a couple of good options in Ryan Madson and Joakim Soria of which Oakland could land one of these guys.

The Athletics will likely continue to shop Brett Lawrie and Danny Valencia. One of these players are expendable with the re-acquisition of Jed Lowrie. Lawrie is likely the one to be moved as he can bring a higher return than Valencia.

With the Winter Meetings upon us it is time for GMs to do some Christmas shopping for their teams.

Athletics get Jed Lowrie back

On Wednesday Jed Lowrie was traded by the Houston Astros to the Oakland Athletics in exchange for Oakland’s number 30 prospect Brendan McCurry. Jed returns to the Athletics after signing a 3 year deal with the Astros after the 2014 season. He played in 290 games with Oakland during the 2013 and 2014 seasons and batted .271 with 74 doubles and 125 RBIs. In 2015 Jed was limited to 69 games with Houston.

The arrival of shortstop Carlos Correa and Jose Altuve at 2nd base, made Lowrie expendable in Houston. Barring any subsequent moves. in Oakland he will have the chance to platoon with Marcus Semien at shortstop, Brett Lawrie at second and Danny Valencia at third.

Brendan was drafted in the 22nd round of the June 2014 draft. In 2015 he split time with the Stockton Ports and Midland RockHounds. He posted a 1.86 ERA in 50 games, converting 27 out 28 save opportunities. McCurry was selected to pitch in the Arizona Fall League this year and posted a 4.73 ERA in just over 13 innings. He was selected as the reliever on Oakland’s organizational All-Stars for the 2015 season.

Waiver Wire: Otero Lost, Lambo Picked Up

The Oakland Athletics lost relief pitcher, Dan Otero, on waivers to the Philadelphia Phillies on November 5th.  In 2013 and 2014 Otero was a pivotal piece of the Athletics’s bullpen. In 2014, Otero posted an 8-2 record paired with a 2.28 ERA in 86 innings. In 2015, Otero was a weak link in the bullpen. He amassed a 2-4 record with a 6.75 ERA in 42+ innings. The Phillies are hopeful that Otero will return to his 2014 form next season.

The Athletics claimed Andrew Lambo off waivers from the Pittsburgh Pirates on November 6th. In 741 minor league games, Lambo has launched 100 home runs along with a .280 average. However, he has yet to be able to produce these numbers at the Major League level. Lambo is a career .191 hitter with only 1 home run in 59 games from 2013-15 with the Pirates. Lambo spent most of 2015 on the disabled list with plantar fasciitis in his left foot. Oakland will give Lambo a hard look in the Spring possibly using him as a outfield/first base back up player.

Oakland currently has 39 players on the 40 man roster.

Card of the Week: Kendall Graveman 2015 Panini Immaculate Shadowbox

The card of the week for October 18, 2015 is the 2015 Panini Immaculate Kendall Graveman Shadowbox. This card is numbered 08/49. Kendall was one of the players the Oakland Athletics received in return, along with Brett Lawrie, Franklin Barreto and Sean Nolin, for Josh Donaldson. Kendall is shaping up to be a quality starter in the Athletics rotation.

Panini does a great job in offering interesting designs on their higher end autograph and relic cards. The autograph on this card looks like it is done on a clear acetate with the photo printed on it. The card is thick like a relic card with a white background to make a shadowbox effect.

Kendall Graveman 2015 Panini Immaculate Shadowbox #08/49 - Front

Kendall Graveman 2015 Panini Immaculate Shadowbox #08/49 – Front

The only thing missing from the card is the MLB license. However, with this type of quality and the way the photography is presented I personally don’t miss it too much.

Kendall Graveman 2015 Panini Immaculate Shadowbox #08/49 - Back

Kendall Graveman 2015 Panini Immaculate Shadowbox #08/49 – Back

Card Serial Number

Card Serial Number

 

Card of the Week: Sonny Gray 2014 Stadium Club Rainbow Foil Auto

So I was inspired by Jesse over at the Dodger Dad Blog. He has a feature on his blog for a card of the week. This is something I’ve thought about doing for a while, but I wasn’t sure which card to feature as my first card of the week. A week ago I bought the perfect card. I happened to get this card on eBay for under $10 shipped. I received the card on Friday and so here we are…

My card of  the week for October 4-10, 2015 is the 2014 Topps Stadium Club Sonny Gray Rainbow Foil Autograph. This card is number 04/50. Until this summer, I did not own any Sonny Gray autographed cards. This card is now my 3rd Sonny Gray autographed card.

2014 Topps Stadium Club Sonny Gray Autograph Rainbow Foil #04/50

2014 Topps Stadium Club Sonny Gray Autograph Rainbow Foil #04/50

I have always loved Topps Stadium Club. It is one of a few sets where the photography takes center stage. This particular photo appears to have been taken during the 2013 ALDS. That year Sonny pitched in Games 2 & 5 of the series. Both of those games took place in Oakland.

Here is an up close picture of the gold foil stamped number.

2014 Topps Stadium Club Sonny Gray Autograph Rainbow Foil #04/50

2014 Topps Stadium Club Sonny Gray Autograph Rainbow Foil #04/50

Autographs from Nashville’s West Coast Road Trip

From May 21 through May 28th the Nashville Sounds went on a West Coast road trip that took them through Fresno and Sacramento.  Being in Stockton I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to see the Oakland Athletics AAA club play. My family and I went to 2 games: Sunday, May 24th in Fresno and Tuesday, May 26th in Sacramento. Between the 2 games I took 60 cards of current players (at the time) on the Nashville Sounds roster. In total I was able to get 30 cards, 4 8×10 photos and 1 MLB Baseball autographed. This was a huge success!

Anthony Aliotti was one of the best signers he signed for me a total of 9 cards, 6 on May 24th and 3 on May 26th. Of these cards only 2 were duplicates.

Anthony Aliotti Autographed Cards - May 24 & 26, 2015 (1 of 3)

Anthony Aliotti Autographed Cards – May 24 & 26, 2015 (1 of 3)

Anthony Aliotti Autographed Cards - May 24 & 26, 2015 (2 of 3)

Anthony Aliotti Autographed Cards – May 24 & 26, 2015 (2 of 3)

Anthony Aliotti Autographed Cards - May 24 & 26, 2015 (3 of 3)

Anthony Aliotti Autographed Cards – May 24 & 26, 2015 (3 of 3)

Joe Wendle the Athletics #13 Top Prospect signed 3 cards for me (May 24th) including a 2014 Bowman Chrome Black Refractor.

Joe Wendle Autographed Cards - May 24, 2015

Joe Wendle Autographed Cards – May 24, 2015

Ryan Roberts, an MLB journeyman, signed 4 cards for me on May 26th.

Ryan Roberts Autographed Cards - May 26, 2015

Ryan Roberts Autographed Cards – May 26, 2015

The very tall Nate Freiman was on the disabled list during this road trip, but still traveled with the team. Nate signed 3 cards on May 26th. Kent Matthes, former Colorado Rockies farmhand, stopped to sign 1 card for me on May 24th.

Nate Freiman and Kent Matthes Autographed Cards - May 24 & 26, 2015

Nate Freiman and Kent Matthes Autographed Cards – May 24 & 26, 2015

Catcher, Bryan Anderson, signed a total of 6 cards for me. 3 of them on May 24th and 3 on May 26th.

Bryan Anderson Autographed Cards - May 24 & 26, 2015

Bryan Anderson Autographed Cards – May 24 & 26, 2015

Reliever Ryan Cook was nice enough to autograph 2 cards for me. Former Cleveland Indians pitcher and current Sounds pitching coach Don Schulze signed 2 cards as well.

Ryan Cook and Don Schulze Autographed Cards - May 24, 2015

Ryan Cook and Don Schulze Autographed Cards – May 24, 2015

In a previous post I talked about rehab autographs. May 24th I was able to get Ben Zobrist, who was on rehab or the Athletics to sign a MLB Baseball.

Ben Zobrist autographed baseball from rehab appearance with Nashville Sounds on May 24, 2015.

Ben Zobrist autographed baseball from rehab appearance with Nashville Sounds on May 24, 2015.

All in all the 2 games I attended were a lot of fun. I did get to see switch pitcher Pat Venditte pitch against the Fresno Grizzlies, one of the better highlights for me. I did get Venditte to autograph 2 8×10 photos for me and 1 for a friend. I also got reliever Seth Frankoff’s auto on an 8×10. Both of these player’s autos were acquired on May 24th. I will post photos of these 8x10s at a later date.

Hopefully it will not be too long before Nashville comes back around.