On The Ball!

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!

Maybe my favorite current player signature.

Ahh, Sweet Spot. The stuff of… well, baseballs on baseball cards I guess. Combining the love of signed balls with that of things in other things. Not many Royals have been immortalized on these taxidermied ball, thick as hell monstrosities but I have managed to pick up a few for my Royals on-card auto collection. Yes, yes, I know they’re not on-card but really, anything that’s not a sticker is impressive to me anymore. All a manufacturer has to do is show a tiny bit of foresight and planning into an autograph set and I get all giddy.

The 2009 Sweet Spot Zack Greinke above is numbered to 25, which makes it technically not eligible for my collection. But I saw it for a good price and jumped on it. He’s got a killer signature and it looks great on the ball here. There are a dozen different versions of Greinke autos in 2009 Sweet Spot and I honestly don’t know the difference between most of them. Some have gold stitching. Some are on bats or glove leather. Maybe this one is #/25 because he added his number? Who knows. I’ll figure it out eventually as I’ll have to pick up all the ones #/50 and above eventually.

Do they take these from constructed balls? Do they get non-assembled ball material from someone? Or do they just manufacture the part they need?

In 2007, Sweet Spot featured Alex Gordon. Also numbered to 25, this one has gold stitching and gold ink, both of which are uglier than their standard counterparts. Not to mention it calls attention to the fact that these cards are manufactured. Kinda takes some of the magic out of it. I haven’t seen may Gordons from this set, but I assume there are some numbered to 50 and above as well, so eventually I’ll ditch this one and get those. Hopefully they look less lame. Surprisingly, the gold ink hasn’t faded much. Fading ink on these balls is a big problem with some Sweet Spot sets. Does anyone know which years were the worst? Or does how they’re stored have something to do with it? I’m very curious because I’ve got this one taped face-out to a south-facing window. That’s okay, right?

The multicolor makes this look like candy. I will eat it if all our readers pitch in $5.

Speaking of looking lame, this red and blue stitched Steve Stemle is ultra-lame. Uber-lame. Mega-lame. I guess the great red baseball thread shortage of aught six had some casualties after all. But seriously. Stemle was completely unknown to me until I purchased this card for one eBay. Turns out he was drafted by the Cardinals back in 1998 and only pitched in 11 games over 2005 and 2006 with no super positive results. He retired due to disc problems in his back after the 2006 season. An interesting choice for an on-ball signature in a relatively high end set like this. Also interesting is that the ink on this now-6-year-old ball is clear as day (the fuzziness in the scan is because the card is so thick). So what are the factors that go in to the ink fading on the ball? Inquiring minds want to- ooh, something shiny somewhere!

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