Recent Royals: 2002 SPX Miguel Asencio

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!


With that crouch, how did this guy not make it?

The story of Latin players who are signed by major league teams, ground up by the professional baseball system in America and spit out has been told pretty well in a film called Sugar, which comes recommended by me if you’re a fan of the behind the scenes stuff of the baseball world. In it, a Dominican kid who dominates local leagues gets scouted by an American team, signed, and called up to low-level professional ball to show the team what he’s got. I won’t spoil the movie or anything, but I will say that the movie could very well have been about Miguel Asencio.

Signed by the Phillies as an international free agent in 1998, Asencio kicked around the minors for a while and eventually got his shot in The Show as a Rule 5 pick by the pitching-destitute Royals in 2002. He wasn’t as dominant in the Majors but stuck around the full season to remain on the Royals’ roster for 2003, which was injury-shortened and eventually led to a 2004 year spent recovering from Tommy John surgery. 2005 was spent in the Rockies’ minor league system and 2006 allowed for 3 appearances, 2 in relief.

That story is familiar to a lot of ballplayers, American-born and otherwise. But, to me, it seems all the more predatory and disingenuous when it’s players plucked out of their native countries only to be ground up in the indifferent gears of the MLB system. Misplaced guilt, most likely, as Miguel banked about $1M in his few years as a pro ballplayer that would take working class folks about 20 years to earn. And maybe he saved up that money, hung up his spikes and head home to be with his family in the Dominican Republic again. Or maybe he spent the money to move them all to Denver where he’s living off of the interest on the many good investments he made. Of course, the cynic in me worries that this kid was a fish out of water who never got comfortable in his new life, struggled to fill the gaps left by his distant family and friends with cars and fancy clothes and returned to the DR a broken man.

That was fun! Boy, look at the silly photo with his tongue sticking out! And why a picture of a pitcher fielding? Boy, this card is all sorts of hilarious!


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