Card-ography #2 – Rich Hill

I meant to make this a more regular feature on the blog, but it kind of slipped away from me a little bit.

Anyway, let’s delve into the world of Autographed cards with this episode of Card-ography, the second in a series.

Now that I’m back into collecting, one of the biggest surprises greeting me at the door was that signatures on cardboard (or on stickers placed on cardboard) are now a regular part of the hobby.  In fact, it’s basically expected at this point.  I know there are plenty of people who feel that if their box doesn’t have an auto – or even the RIGHT auto – then it’s a waste of money.  Hell, I’m still not completely jaded by relics, so I can’t understand this theory.
I know that most of the autos aren’t all that valuable, but seeing that blue, red, and sometimes black ink on a card in your hands still holds significance to me.  It still makes for some of the most enjoyable moments in collecting.
That’s why I’m starting a series that will analyze the signatures we see.  It’s common to see people lump them into “good” and “bad” categories, but I want to take it farther than that.  This player took the time to sign your card (although some of them don’t take tons of time).  I’m going to take the time to inspect it.
He looks tired

Our second subject is the other autograph I found in my 2009 introduction to all things A&G.  I bought a few blasters and came away with our first subject, Jay Bruce, and Mr. Hill.  While I appreciate the Bruce for being the second autograph I ever found in a pack (and the first in 17 or so years – a card that will probably be the third in this series), I probably stared at this one more.

Trust me, it’s not the player that made me gawk.  Rich Hill used to be a Cub once upon a time.  He was one of those promising sorts that just “needed to figure things out in the minors for a bit longer.”  He would dominate in AAA, and I mean Dominate.  But every time he was brought up to face the big boys, the ERA would skyrocket like you wouldn’t believe.  He couldn’t buy an out.  Then there was a point when things started to go his way.  I’m not going to say that they clicked for him, because I knew it wasn’t going to last.  Anyway, he had one very good season and then a very quick descent.  He was demoted to AAA and then down allll the way down to Rookie ball.  This card shows him with the Orioles.  He was traded to them for APTBNL (not the blog).  He last appeared as a called-up reliever for the Red Sox.  I don’t know what happened to this guy. It’s just one of those stories that shows how difficult baseball can really be, I guess.  The other thing I remember was that he almost gave up some massively significant HR to Barry Bonds during his chase, but the center fielder at the time (Felix Pie, perhaps?) robbed him at the wall.

If you didn’t know his name, what would you think this said?  “R backwards-lower-case-e joo”

Style points:
There’s all kinds of style up in this piece.  It’s a veritable roller coaster on cardboard, although people would die if they rode this.  It reminds me of some crazy levels I designed as a 6 year old for an Amusement Park based NES game.  It’s swoopy and loopy and whooshy and curly and larry with little flairs of dots and tiny lines to accent it.  I’m sure there’s a schooner hidden in this somewhere.

Space Usage:
The mini has to be restricting this signature. It’s too elaborate for this small space.  Patrick Swayze needs to intervene in this cornering.  While control problems contributed to Rich’s professional downfall, they’re a different kind of problem here.  He stayed within the lines (or “strike zone” if you will), but I think he’d best be served going horizontal and throwing caution to the wind.

Absolutely none.  This man goes all out on his signature.  Sure, it may not be legible, but it sure is purdy and looks quite time consuming.

Player selection such as this is what we’ve come to expect out of our autographs.  With that said, I was still really new to collecting when I got this.  So, even though I knew the player and was intimately familiar with his history, I was freakin’ thrilled.  Has that worn off some?  Sure, but I still think it’s a great looking signature.  And to get it out of a retail pack, no less.  Oh yeah, and it’s on-card.

How can you not like this autograph?  It’s just fun.  The loops are big enough that Rich could pitch through them (or at least try).  Most people, I believe, prefer legibility above all qualities.  Me, I’m a style guy and this is pure, unadulterated craziness.  You can tell thought went into his signature and it is by no means half-assed.  Easily my favorite of the two I’ve featured.  How long will it last?  Wait until the next installment to find out if it can hold on.

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>