A Good Year

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 or the other posts in this series. I’m working on getting a legit want list together on my trade page but, in the meantime, if you have any on-card Royals autos that it looks like I don’t have, don’t hesitate to drop me a line!

Would you bring this kid home to your mother?

Well, today is my 31st birthday. I alluded to this in an expository exorcism of a post ostensibly about Kyle Snyder’s 1999 Topps Traded RC auto. I’m not ashamed of it. As I said then and will say again now, 2012 is the year I make stuff I’m proud of and that’s one of those things. So is Hitwomen, which I unabashedly pimped in a post a few days back. Gaudy, you say? Sure. Garish, even? Gauche, you may be thinking if you speak French or Pretentious Art Critic? Oui. But I’m okay with it. I’ve moved on. The few hundred people who read our posts normally don’t mind, do they? Err… do you?

Anyway, in honor of my birthday I decided to do a post about what is arguably the most comprehensive on-card autograph set in history. No, wait. In fact, I’ll say it right now: 1996 Leaf Signature is the most comprehensive on-card autograph set ever created by man or beast. There. It’s in the books. I should add it to BaseballCardPedia. Someone with an account go and do that for me, please, since you’d first have to create a page for the set at all.

Not only is this set super comprehensive, it also happens to have been released in the very year I gave up collecting completely, not buying a single pack. I turned 15 on February 5, 1996 and I can guarantee you I was not thinking about baseball cards on that day. I may have been thinking about Civilization II. But, most likely, I was thinking about girls. Which can be said about any birthday from 1994-2004, probably. Look, I’m just trying to connect this otherwise-generic post to my birthday, okay. What’s with the inquisition!

Ahem. Johnny Damon up there is one of the better cards in the set and certainly the best Royal. I started with him so I didn’t lose interest immediately. Hopefully my intro about why I chose these cards for my birthday post succeeded in doing that. Naturally, a set with something like 300 autographs in it isn’t going to be all Maddux, A-Rod, Mariano Rivera and Manny Ramirez (all of whom are indeed represented in this set). And, in fact, that’s the silver version which, as you may have guessed, is better than the bronze but worse than the gold (make new friends, but keep the old).

He'll huff. And he'll puff! And he'll... get gunned down at second.

Here’s a bronze for you. I’m not being mean to ole’ Sal here. It’s just the bronze medallion there denotes his bronzeness. Falling squarely into the “not Greg Maddux” category, Sal Fasano had a long career as a typical light-hitting journeyman catcher. They can’t all be Michael Barrett. Who I legitimately liked when he was a Cub. From here on out, I will be approving or disapproving the medal on each player’s card.

GO!

Keith Lockhart: Male model.

Another bronze, Keith Lockhart was an infielder for the Braves for quite some time. He even hit a homer in the postseason for them! Bronze that, beyotch!

Good ole' number 22.

Jon Nunnally was a name I had never heard until I came across this set. An outfielder for the Royals, Reds, Red Sox and Mets, he never really found his stride. Maybe because he didn’t get to start often enough. Lord knows how crowded the Royals outfield of the 1990s was! But he finished 8th in the 1995 ROY voting! Take that bronze and shove it!

Depending on how you pronounce his name, it might be hilarious.

Not only do I have the silver version of Jason Jacome, he signature is so much like Frank Thomas’s that it gets extra points. A silver+ if you will. He had a decent partial rookie year with the Mets in 1994, spent a couple years with the Royals, then a couple with Cleveland. But still. That signature! Silverriffic!

That's his groundout to the shortstop trot.

Another name I hadn’t heard, Joe Vitiello was a part-time starter at DH for the Royals for a while. He did okay.

Silver!

Tommy Hustle!

I’ve mentioned this several times, but Tom Goodwin had a 99 Speed in MVP 2004. He gets a silver for that. To my knowledge, no one but me ever called him Tommy Hustle. I get a silver for coming up with a sweet and totally original nickname!

Mikey... Hustle? Catchle?

The second-best Royal in the set and, as far as I know, the only other one besides Damon to have more than one certified on-card in-pack autograph. If you want to see the other Mikey Mac (another made-up nickname! 3 more and I get a free Tootsie Pop for my 2 silvers like when you got 5 star wrappers!) cards I have, click his name in the tags below. I could have linked his name to that same tag page right here. Or I could ahve linked to all of my 1996 Leaf Signature posts, but- oh look!- another tag right down there! I thought this was a good teachable moment on how to use the CG site. For excellence in education, I give myself the Caldecott Medal.

Hey guys, remember when books were fun to read?!

So that’s my birthday. Instead of candles, I get Royals autographs on my cake. And instead of cake, I get my normal desk where I store my cards. But look at all those medals! I’m a hero!

An old, old hero.

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