Recent Royals: 1996 Leaf Signature Extended Hipolito Pichardo

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!

What, no bronze/silver/gold in the Extended?!

1996 Leaf Signature is a monster set. Good thing they did an extended addition as well. At least they didn’t go parallel crazy with it and I don’t have to worry about the bronze and gold Hipolito Pichardos (all the stamps I’ve seen have been silver). Of all the players I’ve tackled in my Royals on-card auto series, Hipolito has had one of the longest careers. That’s surprising to me because I had literally never heard of the guy until he popped up in my saved search for Royals auto eBay auctions. Signed as an 18 year old amateur international free agent out of the DR, he spent 5 years in the minors before making it to the bigs.

And, unlike several other guys I’ve covered here, he stuck. First as a starter, then as a reliever and, for the 1998 season, as a starter again. Not a particularly effective starter.Or a particularly effective reliever, actually. But he did stick. When he was released by the Royals after the 1999 season, he and his $2M/yr contract were picked up by the Red Sox where he had a career year in 2000, setting career low marks in ERA and WHIP. Boston resigned him the next year and he didn’t quite recapture the magic as he dipped back towards his baseline levels. He gave it one last go in Houston and got absolutely hammered in his one appearance there in 2002. One year of dominance in the Mexican league followed before he hung up the spikes. I like to think he went out on top with that 1.05ERA and 13SV year pitching for Saltillo, so I say hats off to Hipolito- an unsung kinda sorta okay pitcher.

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>