Recent Royals: 1996 Leaf Signature Mike MacFarlane Bronze

I have very few card collections given my limited resources and space, but I did decide some time ago to begin collecting on-card Royals autographs. It’s been a blast so far trying to track these things down and this is the latest addition to my collection. To view the cards currently in the collection, take a look at the Gallery. If you have any on-card Royals autos- especially one you don’t see in that gallery there- chances are I need them so don’t hesitate to drop me a line!

That right there is a catcher.

Mike MacFarlane isn’t one of those guys you ever really heard about. Sure, it didn’t help that he played on the Royals in the 90s, when no one not named Brett got heard about. He basically came up at the same time as Kevin Seitzer but, unlike Seitz (with whom Mac co-owns a baseball training company), Mike didn’t get the call. No, not the call up to the majors. The call to be on the RBI Baseball roster as an American League All Star. That is, of course, because Mac only played 8 games in 1987, from where many of (but not all of) the stats for RBI came.

Mac’s story is one that Hollywood should just plain copyright the script to already. The parabola of his career (and of many catchers before and after him) is an obvious one. He peaked in 1993 with an excellent year offensively for a catcher at .275 with 20 home runs. He touched that level again in 1996 after a jaunt over to Boston where he got his only postseason action. His stats tell the story of a mostly-power guy with occasional daliances in the upper .200s BA-wise. But most of all, dude to could a hit. He led the lead in HBP 2 times in his career and is in the top 100 all time in that category. Defensively, he was solid, though never won a Gold Glove or led the league in any defensive categories and he reportedly had a real tough time handling the knuckleball of a young Tim Wakefield.

This is the bronze version of this encyclopedic 1996 autograph set from Leaf. There are silver and bronze versions of this particular card as well and I imagine I’ll be able to pick those up for the same price as this one: $.99 plus shipping (also known as 1 eBay). A shame that we don’t reward players who show up every day and play hard with ridiculous card prices. Especially for catchers. I feel like there are fewer lauded catchers than any other position. Plus no one gives them credit for their brains- calling a game isn’t a matter of flipping a coin when a guy steps to the plate. So here’s to MacFarlane- may the wind be always at his back and may the road rise to meet his aching knees.

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