I mentioned in an earlier post that I've been on a bit of a "bargain autograph" kick lately. If it could be bought and shipped for under five bucks (and it was a player that I was interested in), I was watching it. Of course, now that it's the end of the month, my mini-spree has cooled off, so here's the spoils of about a little over a month's worth of budget auto searching.
After seeing a handful of decently priced Gyorko cards last year, the prices skyrocketed once he started mashing in the majors. I became determined to find one, and after about a dozen cards slipped over the $5 threshold, I finally snagged one. From last year's Bowman set, and it's just a sticker auto, but still a sharp looking card of one of the Padres best players.
Gyorko has been steadily becoming one of my favorite Padres, and may have even eclipsed my pre-season #2 favorite Friar, Yonder Alonso (Chris Denorfia is still my #1 guy). Brought over in the Mat Latos trade, Alonso has gotten a decent amount of love from Topps, as I've seen him get plenty of autographs and relics in various sets. Like Gyorko, these have always been just a little out of my $5 ceiling, but this one from 2012 Topps Chrome was a one day auction, and I was the lone bidder. Very nice.
Plus, it's serial numbered 31/100. Fancy, right? Alonso came over in the Mat Latos deal, which seemed great at the time, and is now slipping into the "decent" range, since Edinson Volquez was a bust and Yasmani Grandal is a PED user. Seeing Latos deal as a Red is a little tough to swallow, though not as painful as seeing Adrian Gonzalez in Dodger blue.
Speaking of serial numbers and autographs, here is a card that I am a little in the dark about. The back of this Kyle Blanks auto is dated 2007 from the Just Minors brand. But the auction title says that it's a 2013 Leaf Just Vault card. I can make guesses and assumptions about this set, but if anybody else is in the know, lemme know in the comments. All I know is that I got this Kyle Blanks card for pretty cheap, even though it's a sticker auto and the picture on the front is the same as the one on the back. Plus it's numbered to 25, which is pretty low.
Normally, I'm not big on minor league autographs, regardless of team affiliation. However, I had a chance to watch Yeison Asencio play during my trip down to watch the San Antonio Missions. He won the league batting title last year in A-Ball, and got promoted up to AA this year, where he hit .261 in 74 games for the Texas League champs. Seems like he could be a long shot to make it stick in the majors, but a cool card nonetheless.
Not all the cards were from the past few years. This blast from the past auto of Chris Gomez made me smile. I must've slipped out of my baseball card phase right when autographed cards were hitting the market, as I never remember ripping a pack hoping that I'd get a "hit" (just hoping for Padres). Anyways, this is from 1999, and my dad and I were big Chris Gomez fans, so this is a nice pickup.
Here is the lone "in person" autograph. I can't really imagine that Archi Cianfrocco has a ton of autograph requests, so I could probably try some "through the mail" autograph requests without spending any "real" money, but since this was so cheap, I picked up this one as well. Despite the fact that Cianfrocco is shown here as an Expo, I really like his '93 Topps card, highlighting the outfield wall of Jack Murphy Stadium in the background. The Murph is dead. Long live the Murph.
Last but certainly not least, an autograph that I've been eyeing for so long. Unlike most of the other autos in this post, this one is almost always sold for under $5. I guess I was just looking to see how cheap I could get it. This was mine for $2.99, and as far as I know, it's the only certified autograph card that Archi ever appeared on. The '96 Leaf Signature Series had a bunch of Padres on the autograph list, and I've snagged a few (the indispensable Brian Johnson and Scott Livingstone), and since Archi is an all-time favorite, the Cianfrocco collection seems a lot closer to completion.
Here's the back, which lauds AC as being an "extremely versatile performer" who hit .400 as a pinch hitter and .452 with runners in scoring position. As if the world didn't already know of his greatness.
Can't really say that I'm an autograph hunter by any stretch, since these were accumulated during the span of more than a month, but when there's a deal to be had, I'll check it out.