Now, it's a nice easy Sunday afternoon and I have a scanner (as I mentioned yesterday). I haven't had any trades come in recently but I think I'm in the middle of working a few, so I should have some new PC stuff to post about soon. Until then, I'll clutter your Sunday afternoon with a couple cards with scribbles on them, in addition to some hastily done research on their subjects.
Card: 2009 Topps #591
Player: Elvis Andrus (Baseball)
Team: Texas Rangers
Notes: Elvis Andrus is the starting shortstop for the Texas Rangers, and although he is probably best known for affectionately messing with teammate Adrian Beltre's head, I'll always remember him as "The-Guy-Who-Has-A-Really-Loopy-Signature." Admittedly, it did turn out beautifully. I picked this one up through the mail a long time ago, as Andrus was just coming up through the Rangers organization.
Andrus hails from Venezuela, and may or may not be named after Elvis Presley. It is not uncommon for Venezuelan parents to name their children after non-Venezuelan celebrities. Andrus' mother never told him, and his dad passed away when Elvis was 7, so even he is unsure. After being signed by the Atlanta Braves at the age of 16, Andrus worked his way through their minor league system before heading over to Texas in 2007 with Jarrod Saltalamacchia and three minor league pitchers in exchange for Mark Teixeira and Ron Mahay. Andrus made the Opening Day roster in 2009 and at the age of 20 started at shortstop. Elvis made the American League All-Star team in 2010 and 2012, before signing an 8 year extension with Texas in 2013. While he is the Rangers franchise leader in stolen bases, he also holds the distinction of committing two of the team's three errors against the Blue Jays in game five of the 2015 ALDS, which was capped by Jose Bautista's dramatic bat-flipping home run.
Andrus is very Christian and has voiced many concerns for his two younger brothers still in Venezuela, citing the political unrest there as his biggest worry. Andrus' older brother, Erold, played independent ball in 2009 and 2010, and in 2011, despite being in minor league camp, was granted the opportunity to play in a major league spring training game with Elvis, marking the first time the brothers had played together in the United States.
Card: 2012 Topps Allen & Ginter #150
Player: Norichika Aoki (Baseball)
Team: Milwaukee Brewers
Notes: I picked this TTM up during spring training last year, and man was I disappointed with how it turned out. I'm guessing all Aoki had on himself was a pen, and it wasn't a great card to sign with the dark jersey, but normally I look forward to A&G autographs because they look great. Not so much here, but a nice addition to the collection anyway.
Aoki is Japanese and came to the United States following a storied career in Japan, which I could spend multiple paragraphs talking about. Instead, I'll limit our talk to his American career. After being posted to the MLB after the 2011 season, Aoki landed with the Brewers. He would play with the Brewers through 2013, eventually taking over the starting right field position and hitting leadoff. His speed combined with outstanding contact abilities made him a natural threat, and his power increased as his career went along. In the winter of 2013/2014, Aoki was traded to the Kansas City Royals. He would hit one home run for the Royals in 2014 (a grand slam) before signing with the San Francisco Giants in the off season. Two separate pitches hit Aoki that season, causing him to miss significant time, and the first one likely derailed his chances for making the NL All-Star team. In time for the 2016 season, Aoki signed with the Seattle Mariners and hit .288 before being claimed by Houston off of waivers in November. His roller coaster ride through the majors continued as he was recently traded to the Toronto Blue Jays at the trade deadline this year for Francisco Liriano. Time will tell where he ends up next, but Aoki still has the tools to help a team when needed.
Card: 1994 Signature Rookies Gold Standard - Hall of Fame #HOF1
Player: Nate "Tiny" Archibald (Basketball)
Team: Boston Celtics
Notes: Despite there being an autographed version of this set, I received this one TTM a few years back, and it was an absolute thrill getting that SASE in the mailbox. Archibald was an NBA legend that I only grew up hearing stories about, having never gotten to see him play personally. Because of that, he took on almost a mythological role in my eyes.
After growing up playing hard-nosed basketball in the Bronx, Archibald was cut from his high school team midway through his sophomore year. He was reinstated to the squad the next year, and although he didn't play much, he exploded his senior year. Archibald would spend a year playing and studying at Arizona Western College before transferring to UTEP to play for coach Don Haskins (of Glory Road fame). Tiny was drafted by the Kansas City Kings (actually the Cincinnati Royals at the time) and would play for them from 1970-1976 before being traded to the Nets for two draft picks and two players. Due to injuries the Nets traded him to the Buffalo Braves, for whom he didn't play at all again thanks to injuries.
After being traded to the Celtics, Archibald teamed up with a young Larry Bird to win his only NBA title in 1980-81. He would play with Boston until 1983, then finish his career in 1984 with the Bucks. Archibald scored over 16,000 points in his career and was a 7-time all-star, being elected to the Hall of Fame in 1991. Archibald finished his undergraduate degree at UTEP near the end of his career, and subsequently earned a master's degree from Fordham. He is toying with the idea of continuing his long-distance doctorate program, but that remains to be seen. Archibald also spent a few years coaching some lower-level minor league basketball teams, but is currently not involved with basketball.
Phew, that can get wordy quick. But hey, maybe we all learned something this fine Sunday! Who out there knew that Nate Archibald had a doctorate degree from Fordham? Regardless, thanks for reading as always, make sure you check out Colbey's box break at Cardboard Collections, and have a great evening!