First of all, I'm just now realizing that this scan is atrocious. It's not my scanners fault, so don't blame his delicate lightbulbs... these cards are stuck in inch thick plastic and "sealed" shut with a sticker. I'm sure it wouldn't be too hard to free the cards from the plastic and they could probably even be resealed with the same sticker if need be, but I'm not going to bother unless I decide to display them somewhere at some point. All the scans aren't that great, but this is definitely the worst of them so I won't mention them from here on.
I remember when I opened this box (probably around 2008/09 or so) that this was by far the card I was most excited to get. D-Train had one of the strangest careers of pretty much any player I remember watching. He entered the MLB with a bang, being extremely recognizable with his unique leg kick, winning the 2003 NL rookie of the year, and leading the Marlins to their 2nd World Series. He had another excellent year in 2005 winning 22 games, but it was all downhill from there. Willis would never have a year with under a 4.00 ERA after 2006.
Willis's career has always made me sad. I loved watching him pitch as a teenager and he was easily my favorite non-Braves player in the NL East. I remember emulating his leg kick in my back yard while practicing pitching. Heck... who am I kidding, I still emulate his leg kick today when playing pickup wiffle ball or stick ball.
We still have 5 more cards to go though, so onward!
How about another pitcher? This time a Bravo which made me happy, but I feel embarrassed to say that, outside of having this card, I don't think I would've ever been able to tell you that Mr. Marquis ever played for Atlanta. I looked up his stat line with the Braves and it made me feel a lot better. He started 40 games over 4 years in ATL, so definitely more of a spot starter.
Marquis has never really been more than a #3 starter for any of his clubs, but that hasn't stopped him from being around for 15+ years. He's currently tossin the ball for Cincy and... not doing so hot, but neither are the Reds as a whole...
Keeping with the pitching theme, we have our first low numbered card (2/10) of Scott Kazmir. This is 2006 Bowman Chrome so it isn't a rookie buyback, but I still love this card. To me, Kazmir has always been a pitcher that quietly goes about his business and dominates batters with little to no flair. As much as I like pitchers with quirky mechanics, I also love those that stay simple. It's why Smoltz is, and has remained my favorite player for so long. He knew he could throw the ball past anyone, but never got in anyone's face or overreacted.
I also like this card because of Kazmir's signature. The 2006 Bowman Chrome design featured a facsimile signature (as did many sets around these years), and his actual signature matches the fake one almost exactly.
Here's one for you Sox fans, and this one is a true first Bowman card. I will always think of the Red Sox when Lowrie is mentioned and I'm really not even sure why that is. To me, he's the definition of "scrappy player" and that's how I think of the Red Sox; David Ortiz + scrappy bunch.
Onto the last two cards of the box and they are by far the best two. I don't really even know which one is better. Unfortunately, neither of them are rookie buybacks, but I'm not really going to complain past that. How about we look then talk.
A Miggy auto numbered to 69! A Ervin Santana auto numbered to 4!!! I'm probably more happy now than I was back when I broke this box. Both players have done outstanding in their careers so far (aside from this year's Santana suspension).
I really don't think I need to say much more about either of these players, so I'm going to talk about the cards themselves. I really like the Cabrera card even before the signature. It's a simple (arguably boring) design, yes, but I like the photo. His actual signature, however, leaves something to be desired. It looks as if he was in a rush to get in and out of the signing day. :(
The Santana is first and foremost Chrome. This is important. I feel like a racoon... shiny things are my bane. Second, I'm not sure if this was on purpose, because I looked and his 2005 rookie card is the same, but the facsimile signature is actually that of Johan Santana instead of Ervin. Take a gander.
Obviously I stole this image because I don't believe I own this card, but that is clearly Johan, not Ervin. Not to mention that although Johan's signature is neat and legible, Ervin's is flat out awesome. I know the scan doesn't really do it justice, but trust me, that's one sweet sig.
So I'm not sure which card I like better. Obviously Miggy is the better and more famous player... probably a clear cut hall of famer, but Ervin Santana is not a player to sneeze at and dismiss. He's been a great pitcher and his card is numbered 3/4! Which one would you rather have for your collection? Or maybe it's one of the other cards??? Hope you enjoyed the break from the past!