Recent Royals: 2002 Bowman Chrome Nate Field

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!

I've seen so many images from this auto set. I had never seen this one until I bought it.

Why, is that Joe Mauer up there?! How about David Wright? Okay, it’s at least Khalil Greene, right?

Nope, it’s perennial minor leaguer Nate Field. Not that there’s anything wrong with Nate Field. But when I was dipping my tow back into the hobby in the early ’00s, the 2002 Bowman Chrome design was everywhere. Everything with that teal/Max Headroom border was sure to “put you through college” as the show dealers used to claim. Of course, we know now that even Gavin Floyd and Jeff Francis RC Autos from this release are in the sub-tuition level. But at the time, it all seemed so possible.

Funny thing about Nate Field’s chrome RC auto here, though, is that they hardly ever come up for sale. Surely almost every case of this product has been busted in the Mauer-hunt. Surely no one’s sitting on a stockpile of boxes waiting for their moment. So where did all the Nate Fields go? He was never highly touted as far as I can tell. He was signed as an amateur free agent out of some state school in Denver and I don’t even know how that happens anymore with the huge business of talent scouting and development. What I do know is that he was originally drafted by the Expos in 1997. For a couple years he played the role of not-too-head-turning low level minor leaguer until a breakout season (do relievers have breakout seasons?) in 2001 where he dominated AA batters, earning him a promotion to AAA Omaha. From that point until his last known stats in 2009, his career ebbed like a calm ocean. Sometimes low, hitting the high 4s in ERA at AAA, sometimes the a small wave touching the rarified air of Kauffman Stadium for a cup of coffee. And for two years, a right surfable crest coasting in to around 60 appearances in two seasons from 2003-2004 before dipping down to a lull, washing up on the beach of out-of-baseball former pros after the 2009 season. This ocean was not meant for Nate Field but he, like a grain of sand on said beach, is not alone.

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