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.

Daniel Gossett Drafted by Athletics in 2nd Round

In the 2nd Round of the 2014 First-Year Player Draft the Oakland Athletics draft RHP Daniel Gossett out of Clemson University. With the 65th overall pick the Athletics opted to stick with a collegiate player in Gossett.

For the Tigers, Gossett went 7-2 with a 1.93 ERA in 15 starts. He stuck out 107 batters in 107.1 innings holding his opponents to a .202 AVG. In addition, Gossett threw 2 complete game shutout.

Daniel Gossett was the 87th ranked prospect coming into the draft. Gossett was originally drafted by the Boston Red Sox in the 16th round of the 2011 June Draft. He did not sign and went to pitch for Clemson University.

Box Break: 2013 Elite Extra Edition

One of my favorite products over the past few years is the Panini Elite Extra Edition. This set features over 100 of the top draft picks from the previous draft. Each blaster  box contains packs each containing 5 cards. In addition each blaster box promises 2 autographed cards. This interests me as one of my focuses in my collection is autographed cards.

2013 Elite Extra Edition Blaster Box

2013 Elite Extra Edition Blaster Box

Here are the hits I pulled from this box.

Inserts

Insert Hits: Jonathan Denney, Scouting 101; Keaton McKinney, Game Jersey; Chris Anderson, Aspirations Die Cut #108/200; Tim Atherton, Status Die Cut #042/100

Insert Hits

There are several subsets, or inserts, in this year’s set including: Scouting 101, USA Game Jerseys (15U & 18U), Elite Series, Aspirations Die Cut, Status Die Cut and Historic Picks. I pulled 4 inserts from this box. The first was Jonathan Denney (Boston Red Sox), Scouting 101. I also pulled an 18U Game Jerseys of Keaton McKinney (Akeney High School, Iowa). The other 2 inserts were die cuts.  One is of Chris Anderson (Los Angeles Dodgers), Aspirations #108/200 and Tim Atherton (Minnesota Twins, now Oakland Athletics), Blue Status #042/100. I’m sure Jesse from Section 117 @ BIB would like the Chris Anderson card.

Photo Variant

The first 10 cards of the base set also has short printed photo variations. I pulled the variant for Marco Gonzales (St. Louis Cardinals).

Photo Variant: Marco Gonzales, Card #6

Photo Variant: Marco Gonzales, Card #6

Here is the base along side the variant. I had the base card from the previous box I purchased.

Photo Variant and Base Card: Marco Gonzales, Card #6

Photo Variant and Base Card: Marco Gonzales, Card #6

Autographs

The outside of the box promised 2 autographed cards inside. It did not disappoint. I actually pulled 3 autographed cards from the box.

Autograph Hits: Carlos Salazar #607/625, Andy Burns #273/399

Autograph Hits: Carlos Salazar #607/625, Andy Burns #273/399

The first is of pitcher Carlos Salazar (Atlanta Braves) serial numbered #607/625. The next autograph I pulled was of third baseman Andy Burns (Toronto Blue Jays) serial numbered #273/399. The third was an absolute bonus…

Autograph Hits: D. J. Baxendale, Green Status Die Cut #04/25

Autograph Hits: D. J. Baxendale, Green Status Die Cut #04/25

I pulled the Green Status Die Cut Autograph of pitcher D. J. Baxendale (Minnesota Twins) numbered only #04/25.

All in all a very successful box. It was worth the $29.99 price point to me. So far I hae purchased 2 of these blaster boxes and each time I have pulled 3 autographs in each box. The one slightly disappointing thing this that I have not pulled an Oakland Athletics card. The closest is the Tim Atherton Blue Status Die Cut. He was drafted by the Minnesota Twins, but was a Rule 5 pick (AAA round) in December 2013 by the Athletics and is currently on the Stockton Ports pitching staff. So, of course, I will be getting this card signed soon!

 

Showoff Sunday: California League Coaches – North Division

In this edition of Showoff Sunday I will be displaying autographed cards of former Major League Players turned California League Coaches. At this time there are 15 coaches in the California League who have had Major League experience. The range of experience is anywhere from 1 or 2 seasons to more than 10 years.

For this post I will focus on the North Division of the California League which includes the Stockton Ports, Modesto Nuts, San Jose Giants, Visalia Rawhide and the Bakersfield Blaze. I will begin with the coaching staff of the Stockton Ports. Manager Ryan Christenson played with 4 teams including the Oakland Athletics and the Texas Rangers. I have had 12 cards singed by Ryan so far this season.

Ryan Christenson Autographed Cards Pic #1

Ryan Christenson Autographed Cards Pic #1

Ryan Christenson Autographed Cards Pic #2

Ryan Christenson Autographed Cards Pic #2

Ryan Christenson Autographed Cards Pic #3

Ryan Christenson Autographed Cards Pic #3

The pitching coach for the Stockton Ports is John Wasdin. John has MLB experience with 7 different team, but most notably the Oakland Athletics, Boston Red Sox and Texas Rangers. To date, I have been able to get 6 cards autographed by John this season.

John Wasdin Autographed Cards Pic #1

John Wasdin Autographed Cards Pic #1

John Wasdin Autographed Cards Pic #2

John Wasdin Autographed Cards Pic #2

Next up is the pitching coach for the Visalia Rawhide, Gil Heredia. Gil came up in the San Francisco Giants organization and played with 3 other teams the Texas Rangers, Montreal Expos and Oakland Athletics. I got 3 cards signed by Gil during Visala’s first series in Stockton (April 10-13, 2014).

Gil Heredia Autographed Cards

Gil Heredia Autographed Cards

The last cards I will feature on this post is the current San Jose Giants manager Lenn Sakata. Lenn is best known for his time with the Baltimore Orioles. He also played for the Milwaukee Brewers, New York Yankees and the Oakland Athletics. I got these 3 cards signed during the recent series against the Ports in Stockton (May 13-15, 2014).

Lenn Sakata Autographed Cards

Lenn Sakata Autographed Cards

There are a few other coaches in the Northern Division that I have yet to get autographs from this season. Those former players include Dave Burba (San Francisco Giants, Cleveland Indians), Tom Browning (Cincinnati Reds), Pat Kelly (Toronto Blue Jays) and Robby Hammond (Arizona Diamondbacks).

Next week I will feature the coaches in the California League South Division.

TTM Success 03/07/2014: 3 more from Spring Training

The day after receiving 3 success from Spring Training TTMs, I received a total of 4 more successes. 1 was from former Major League pitcher Rick Reuschel and 3 were from the second batch of Spring Training TTMs. The second batch was sent out on February 28th, so these three were a very quick turnaround.

The first was from Oakland Athletics reliever Evan Scribner. Evan was originally drafted by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 28th round of the 2007 June Draft. One of Evan’s early highlight was in the 2012 regular season finale with the Athletics. He pitched 3 scoreless innings in the Division-Clinching win. Evan signed a 2013 Topps card for me. The autograph is really sharp and I like how the uniform number is inside the “S” of his last name.

TTM Autograph of Evan Scribnet

TTM Autograph of Evan Scribner

The next I received was from current Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim pitcher Hector Santiago. Hector was recently acquired by the Angels as a part of a 3 team trade with the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Chicago White Sox. Hector was nice enough to autograph a 2012 Topps Update card.

TTM Autograph from Hector Santiago

TTM Autograph from Hector Santiago

The 3rd Spring Training TTM I received was from Don Baylor. Don is currently the hitting coach for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. He was a 2 time Oakland Athletics, playing for them in 1976 and once again in 1988. Don is one of 2 players to reach the World Series in 3 consecutive years with 3 different teams. 1986 – Boston Red Sox, 1987 – Minnesota Twins, 1988 – Oakland Athletics. Don autographed 3 cards for me: 1987 Fleer, 1988 Topps and 1988 Topps Traded.

TTM Autographs of Don Baylor

TTM Autographs of Don Baylor

Fun Fact: Eric Hinske was the other player to play in 3 consecutive World Series with 3 different teams. 2007 – Boston Red Sox, 2008 – Tampa Bay Rays, 2009 – New York Yankees. Interestingly enough all 3 teams are in the American League East.