MLB Pitcher Tommy Hanson Passes Away

On Monday, November 9, 2015 Major League pitcher, Tommy Hanson passed away. He was 29. On Sunday Tommy was rushed to the hospital because he was having trouble breathing. He passed away from catastrophic organ failure. The exact reason that led to the failure is unknown at this time.

Tommy pitched for 5 years in the majors. From 2009-12 with the Atlanta Braves and with the LA Angels of Anaheim in 2013. In 121 starts he posted a 49-35 record with a 3.80 ERA.

After being granted free agency by the Angels, Tommy tried to latch on with the Texas Rangers and the Chicago White Sox in 2014, but did not make either club. In May 2015 Tommy signed with the San Francisco Giants. In 15 starts with the San Jose Giants and the Sacramento River Cats, Tommy went 4-6 with a 4.76 ERA.

I was fortunate enough to see Tommy pitch for the San Jose Giants in Stockton back on June 30, 2015. That night he pitched well, striking out 5 in 5 innings. The only blemish was giving up a solo home run to Branden Cogswell.

After he was done pitching Tommy was nice enough to stop on the ramp leading to the clubhouse and sign some autographs for a couple fans. That night he signed the 2 cards I brought with me. Thank you Tommy.

2011 and 2014 Topps cards autographed by Tommy Hanson

2011 and 2014 Topps cards autographed by Tommy Hanson



Stockton Ports Slug Their Way to Victory

The Stockton Ports out hit the High Desert Mavericks en route to a 9-7 victory at Banner Island Ballpark on Monday night. At first it seemed like it would be a night of follow the leader. Stockton scored 3 in the bottom of the 3rd, and the Mavericks came right back and scored 3 in the top of the 4th. The Ports would add 1 on a solo home run by Bobby Crocker in the bottom of the 5th. Then in the top of the 6th Travis Witherspoon would hit his first of 2 home runs.

Then in the bottom of the 6th inning Bruce Maxwell would put the Ports up for good with a 3-run blast into the visitor’s bullpen. In the 7th inning the Mavericks could only respond with 1 run. Stockton would add 2 more in the 8th on Ryon Healy’s 2 run double. High Desert would add 2 more in the 9th, but Nolan Sanburn would get D.J. Peterson looking, as he came to bat as the potential tying run.

Hunter Adkins gets the victory improving his record to 2-3 with a 5.57 ERA. He struck out 4 batters in 6 innings. The losing pitcher was Scott DeCecco. His record falls to 2-6 with a 6.90 ERA.

After a day off on Tuesday, the Ports will travel to San Jose to begin a 4 game set with the Giants that will wrap up the first half. The California/Carolina League All-Star game will take place on June 17th. The Ports will start the second half at home after the All-Star Break on June 19th against the Bakersfield Blaze.

Zach Neal Named California League Pitcher of the Week

On Monday, May 26, 2014 new Stockton Ports starting pitcher Zach Neal was named California League Pitcher of the Week for May 19-25. This is Zach’s first award of this type at any level. Prior to his stint with the Ports, this year Zach has pitched with AA Midland RockHounds and AAA Sacramento River Cats. He was recently sent from AAA Sacramento to A Advanced Stockton so that he could stay on rotation and make some quality starts. During the week Zach pitched in 1 game against the San Jose Giants. He threw 8.2 innings of shutout, 3 hit ball while striking out 11 batters and giving up no walks.

Side note:
Zach continued his dominant ways as he pitched on Tuesday (May 27th) in Stockton against the same San Jose Giants. He threw seven innings giving up only 1 run allowing 5 hits. He stuck out 8 batters and still did not walk any along the way. The Ports eventually lost in 10 innings 2-1.

Billy McKinney Rainbow Project – 2014 Bowman Chrome Green Refractor (IPA)

On Tuesday night (May 27th) I was able to get 3 more Billy McKinney cards autographed. Two of these cards are for the In-Person Autographed Rainbow Project. The first was the 2014 Bowman Chrome Green Refractor card. This card is serial numbered 69/75. Oddly enough these autographs were obtained prior to a game in Stockton against the San Jose Giants. This is the same team the Stockton Ports played when I got the first 2 cards in this project signed.

Billy McKinney 2014 Bowman Chrome Green Refractor # 69/75 Autographed

Billy McKinney 2014 Bowman Chrome Green Refractor # 69/75 Autographed

I will write a post about the other card in the project I got signed, either later today or tomorrow.

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.

California League Standings: May 21, 2014

Here are the California League Standings entering play on May 21, 2014

Club Affiliation Win Loss Games Behind
Bakersfield Blaze CIN 29 17
Visalia Rawhide ARI 28 18 1.0
Stockton Ports OAK 23 23 6.0
San Jose Giants SF 20 26 9.0
Modesto Nuts COL 13 33 16
Club Affiliation Win Loss Games Behind
Lake Elsinore Storm SD 27 19
Lancaster JetHawks HOU 27 19
High Desert Mavericks SEA 25 21 2.0
Rancho Cucamonga Quakes LAD 21 25 6.0
Inland Empire 66ers LAA 17 29 10.0

Billy McKinney Rainbow Project – 2014 Bowman Chrome (IPA)

Here is my first In-Person Autograph in the Billy McKinney Rainbow Project: 2014 Bowman Chrome Base. I got this card signed on Tuesday, May 13, 2014 before the Stockton Ports played the San Jose Giants at Banner Island Ballpark.

Billy McKinney 2014 Bowman Chrome Autographed

Billy McKinney 2014 Bowman Chrome Autographed

I did get one other card signed that day for this project, but that will be the subject of another post.

Scoreboard: May 15, 2014

On Thursday it took extra inning for the Sacramento River Cats and the Midland RockHounds to earn the victory. The Stockton Ports lost a weekday matinee against the San Jose Giants. In the Midwest League the Beloit Snappers and the Clinton LumberKings were rained out so they will play a double header on Friday. Up next, the RockHounds travel to Corpus Christi to play the Hooks. The Stockton Ports welcome in the Bakersfield Blake in the start of a 4 game set.

Elephant Farm Scoreboard
Tacoma Rainiers 4
Sacramento River Cats 5
11 innings

Frisco RoughRiders 10
Midland RockHounds 11
11 innings

A Advanced
San Jose Giants 6
Stockton Ports 4

A Full
Beloit Snappers
Clinton LumberKings

Scoreboard: May 14 ,2014

On Wednesday the Stockton Ports winning streak came to an end. The Midland RockHounds scored 3 times in the bottom of the 9th for the walk-off win. In the Midwest League the Beloit Snappers out dueled the Kane County Cougars. On Thursday the Ports will wrap up their series with the San Jose Giants. The Snappers will travel to Clinton to face the LumberKings. The RockHounds will continue their battle against the RoughRiders. In Sacramento the River Cats will start a weekend series with the Tacoma Rainiers.

Elephant Farm Scoreboard
Frisco RoughRiders 6
Midland RockHounds 7

A Advanced
San Jose Giants 7
Stockton Ports 5

A Full
Kane County Cougars 1
Beloit Snappers 2

Autograph Update: 05/14/2014

I just wanted to write a quick post and give an update on some recent autographs I have received. On Tuesday I went to the Stockton Ports and San Jose Giant game at Banner Island Ballpark. I was able to get 11 cards signed by various players and coaches.  Here’s a list of the players who signed for me on Tuesday:

Stockton Ports:
Billy McKinney x2
Renato Nunez x1
Daniel Robertson x3

San Jose Giants:
Brian Ragira x2
Lenn Sakata x3

On Friday I will post the first in a series that will showoff (as @cpuJesse calls it) the cards and autographs I have collected this baseball season.

Reminder as similar blog post is on Jesse’s blog Section 117 @ Banner Island Ballpark located here: Showoff Time!