Crowd Teaser

Former Cub makes good-ish.

A couple of days ago, I finally got around to updating my (sloppy/not well-organized/all over the place/in need of help) want list with all the 2011 Tier One autos I’m looking to grab. As I typed name after name after name, I started to realize what I’ve gotten myself into. I need tons of these things.

Thankfully, I’ve got at least one Crowd Pleaser auto to check off the list. The Crowd Pleasers set includes the guys who aren’t rookies, 2nd year players, legends, or legends-in-the-making. And let me tell you they run the gamut. From the “Seriously?!” (Angel Pagan) to the “He’s Not Top Tier?!” (Chipper Jones). And in the middle are the guys they got right. No, not former Cub Ricky Nolasco up there, who may have had a bit of trouble pleasing crowds with his league-leading 244 hits allowed. More like the Paul O’Neill types that are in this set. Solid players who are kind of like the fan favorites. Obviously Paul Molitor and Ryne Sandberg (who are also somehow in this set rather than the Top Tier one) got that too, but they’re also Hall of Famers. Point is: weird set. But getting autos of players like Ozzie Smith and Don Mattingly in my collection is part of what collecting the Tier One autos is about.

His great grandfather invented the Cobb salad.

The On the Rise autos are much easier to come by. Probably because like 90% of them are numbered to 999 or 699 which is way more than the number of people who actually want an auto of most of these guys. Alex Cobb had a decent run in the Rays’ rotation last year but started this year in Durham AAA for some reason. I imagine he’ll get the call eventually, though the Rays are notoriously stacked with quality minor leaguers.

There are lots of cool Alexes in the world, but I'd have to say my favorite is Alex Winter.

Alex White had a successful run with the Indians and then a less successful run with the Rockies after going over there in the Ubaldo Jimenez trade last year. It looks like he’s putting it back together so far in AAA for Colorado this year- he may be On the Rise after all! I have two of this card! Let me know if you want it!

Who's that badass shortstop walking the streets of San Fransisco? It's Bran! (don).

I gotta tell ya… I get this guy confused with about a hundred guys with “B” names that came up around the same time. Brandon Beachy, Brett Pill, Brett Wallace, Brent Morel… as far as I know, they’re all the same guy. Crawford is currently giving pitchers fits for the Giants. By which I mean Giants pitchers are probably freaking out because dude can’t seem to hit. He’s just above the Mendoza line, just as he was on average last year. And just average at SS as well. Is there an official chant for a AAAA player? Should we coin one?

Do I even have to say it? Sigh. Aloha, Mr. Hand!

Great. Another white guy with a “B” name. Miami must’ve been a bit hard up for pitching before Big Z came over to get paid lots of money by the Cubs to suck for the Marlins. Because Brad Hand threw to a 1-8 record while posting a WHIP near 1.5. Yipes. He’s back in AAA this year pitching at about the same level as he did in the Majors last year. But I’ll be damned if that’s not a pretty sweet signature.

I’ve got a long way to go in this quest but, as it is with my Royals on-card auto collection, my favorite part is learning about players I wouldn’t otherwise get to know since I only follow two teams very closely. Who knows- maybe there’s a diamond int he rough I’ll pick up from this set one of these days!

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