If you’ve been reading this blog over the last couple months, you’ll have seen a number of posts talking about different highlights from the 2011 season. The 2012 is now underway, and soon, I’ll have road trip plans to share.
Today, though, I want to share a few multi-signed balls that I got signed during my travels in 2010. It turns out that while I mentioned them on the blog way back when, I didn’t show any images.
My road trips for my website, TheBallparkGuide.com, began in July 2010. That summer, I went to a number of ballparks, including Auburn’s Falcon Park, Rochester’s Frontier Field and Mahoning Valley’s Eastwood Field.
At each of those games, I was lucky (and persistent) enough to get a ball signed by several guys on each team. Part of the appeal of looking back at Minor League autographs is you never know whose signatures you’ll get. I keep a list of the guys I get to sign for me so that I can follow their careers.
Without further delay, here’s the Rochester Red Wings ball:
The sweet spot belongs to manager Tom Nieto:
Nieto was let go by the Red Wings at the end of a rough 2011 season.
On the panel below, you’ll see the autographs of Brian Dinkelman, Trevor Plouffe and Anthony Swarzak:
All three guys have spent time with Minnesota, Rochester’s parent club, in 2011. Dinkelman even hit .301 in 23 games with the Twins.
On the next panel, it’s Jose Lugo, Glen Perkins and Pat Neshek:
Lugo currently plays in the Minors in Atlanta’s system, Perkins appeared in 65 games for the Twins last season and Neshek had 25 appearances with San Diego last year.
When I was in Auburn to watch the Doubledays, I managed to get 16 players on a single team ball.
Below the Doubledays logo are Dayton Marze and Matt Johnson:
Marze rose through Toronto’s ranks to Class-A Lansing last season, while Johnson is still in Short-Season A ball.
On this panel, you can see the sigs of Lance Durham, Yudelmis Hernandez, Sam Strickland and Jack Murphy:
Durham spent 50 games with Lansing last season before being released, Hernandez has struggled at the plate and spent all of 2011 in rookie ball, Strickland went 3-1 largely as a relief pitcher in Lansing and Murphy rose through Toronto’s farm system all the way to a short stint with AA New Hampshire in 2011.
I can’t recall the second signature on this panel, but the other names are Tyler Powell, Steve McQuail, Matt Nuzzo, coach C.J. Ebarb and Marcus Knecht:
In 2011, Powell moved up to Class-A, McQuail stayed in Short-Season A, Nuzzo was in Class-A and Knecht was a star in Lansing. He’ll start the 2012 season in High-A Dunedin.
On the last panel, the players who signed are Daniel Webb, Shawn Griffith, John Roberts and Gustavo Pierre:
Three of these four guys have moved up in the Toronto system. In 2011, Webb was with Lansing, Griffith was in Lansing and Dunedin and Pierre spent part of the season in Lansing. Roberts did not play in 2011.
Finally, I got 14 autographs on a Mahoning Valley Scrappers ball before I watched the team play. Since then, it’s been neat to occasionally follow these players’ progress, too.
Takafumi Nakamura signed under the team’s logo:
He reached as high as Class-A Lake County in 2010 but did not pitch in 2011.
On the sweet spot, you’ll see the signature of Indians pitcher Mitch Talbot, who I saw during a rehab start:
He split 2011 between AAA Columbus and the Indians.
The next panel belongs to Dan DeGeorge, Brian Heere, Jordan Cooper and Casey Gaynor:
DeGeorge made it up to AA in 2010 and last year, began the season in High-A before being released and ending up in the independent Atlantic League. Heere and Cooper spent 2011 with the Class-A Lake County Captains, while Gaynor played with indy-league Newark.
On the next panel, you can see the sigs of Aaron Fields, Tyler Cannon and J.D. Reichenbach:
Fields spent 2011 in Class-A, but Cannon and Reichenbach both had pretty sharp climbs up the organizational ladder in 2011. Cannon went from Class-A to High-A to AA, while Reichenbach rose from Class-A to High-A to AAA.
I’m not certain about the second-lowest autograph on this final panel, but the other names are Chase Burnette, Kyle Smith, Kevin Fontanez and Jordan Casas:
In 2011, Burnette split time between Class-A and High-A, Smith went from Class-A to High-A to AAA, Fontanez began 2011 in Short-Season A but soon went to Class-A and AA and like many of his teammates from the 2010 Scrappers, Casas made it to Class-A in 2011 and even spent some time in High-A.
As you might have noticed, by Rochester ball had a lot of guys who’ve at least spent some time in the bigs. Since the other two balls were from Short-Season A teams, those guys are still a ways off. But it’ll be interesting to follow their progress and see who gets there first. I’d say that overall, the guys whose autographs I got climbed the ladder well in 2011.