Alright, so it's been about a month since Chris Denorfia was traded to the Mariners for outfielder Abraham Almonte and pitcher Stephen Kolscheen, so this post is a long time coming. I already had Chase Headley and Huston Street's farewells queued up, and to be honest, I really wasn't too broken up about either of them leaving.
But Denorfia is one of my all time favorite Padres. Kinda weird to say about a guy who has only been with the team for a few years, but it's true. Gritty guy who always busted his tail, gave 110%. Wasn't a great player, but a guy who was fun to watch, and had some great moments.
So, without further ado, here is my official farewell to Chris Denorfia's days as a Padre, in (mostly) baseball card form.
While compiling a list of my top five favorite Denorfia cards, these were the "honorable mentions". Top left is the "Hope Diamond" parallel of his 2011 Topps card, which has probably been the hardest card I've ever tracked down. While the sparkly card on the bottom is technically a "team" card, Deno's right in there, celebrating with his buddies. Taken from the same game as his other card. The one with him as an Oakland A is notable since the name on the bottom is Carlos Carrasco, but, um… that's not Carrasco.
Alright, Top Five Denorfia cards:
#5 - 2006 Upper Deck #125
Deno's gotten plenty of horizontal cards, and this is one of the best. Over the summer, I played a few games of wiffle ball against my little brother Ammon, and mimicking Denorfia's pre-pitch bat hold reminded me of copying Gary Sheffield's stance as a kid. Anyways, yeah: Focused Norf = Killer Norf.
#4 - 2007 Upper Deck #296
Another horizontal card, but this looks like a pre game signing session during spring training. Especially cool, since the first Denorfia autograph I got was on a ball during my first Spring Training visit. Deno is a fan favorite, and being a nice guy is one of the reasons why.
#3 - 2009 Topps World Baseball Classic Box Set #40
More than just a hero to a sleepy southern California town, Denorfia is a hero to an entire country.
Alright, so maybe there's a few the overwhelming majority of Italia doesn't know him, but he did represent them in the World Baseball Classic in 2009 and 2013. Not sure how much Italian he knows, though, being from Connecticut.
#2 - 2012 Sega CardGen #361
Alright, so I already said that he's a nice guy, but on the field,
HE IS A BEAST!!!
Seriously, look at that picture. Pretty sure that the Buster Posey-can't-run-into-the-catcher-rule was instituted to prevent the inevitable blowing up of a backstop by a bloodthirsty Christopher Anthony Denorfia.
#1 - 2011 Topps #US243 (Magenta Printing Plate)
The 2011 Topps card for Chris Denorfia is probably my favorite card that has been released since I got back into collecting (also 2011). From the throwback uniform to the cool backswing, it's great. To have the printing plate that helped make it? Pretty rad, in my opinion. This was my first printing plate (have since added a Kyle Blanks from 2013 Topps and a Andrew Cashner from 2010 Topps Chrome). Printing plates are pretty awesome, seeing as how they were used in the making of all of the rest of them. It's like the father of all the little baby cards out there.
Speaking of the 2011 Topps card, here are all the parallels that I have of it. I guess if the printing plate is the father of the cards, this is kind of like a family tree. I like that it fits solidly on a whole page.
Here's all the parallels I have for Denorfia's 2012 card. Here, we get to see how manly he is, sporting a rugged beard and high fiving teammate Cameron Maybin. I'm sure it was followed by a solid butt slap.
Alright, last rainbow here. Similar to the first one, it fits on a whole page, and similar to the second one, it's a horizontal shot of him being congratulated by a teammate. None of the players on this card are on the Padres anymore. Chase Headley is now on the Yankees, Logan Forsythe is on the Rays, and Denorfia is in Seattle.
Here are the two cards of Deno that I have autographed. The one in the A's uniform is from a kid on twitter who does a ton of autographing at Petco Park. Dude is seriously insanely connected with tons of people, I think his dad is a realtor for a lot of athletes. The second one is of the "certified" variety and is also nice.
Probably one of the more unique items in my Denorfia collection is this unopened repack from Dollar Tree. For only a buck, I'll occasionally check out the little card section, and when I saw this one, I pounced on it. Can't remember the card that's visible on the back, but I think it's Ian Kinsler.
This game program was sent to me by none other than my buddy Joe at From an Unlikely Source, or Friars on Cardboard on Gaslampball.com. He got it from somebody else, and passed it along to me. Pretty serendipitous, since (before this summer), the last game I went to was between July 16th and the 22nd, so this would've been the program passed out that day. Pretty cool.
This is what a baseball looks like when you scan it. I guess I could've just taken a picture, but, whatever.
While the printing plate is pretty rad, these are probably the crown jewel of my Denorfia collection. I don't really branch out into much memorabilia besides baseball cards - I need to have some boundaries, and cards are easy to store and look at. These are game used batting gloves, also acquired from that kid on twitter. For some reason, he's not much of a Denorfia fan (he actually is a big fan of Will Venable, who I can't stand, but I'm sure he's a nice guy), so I picked these up for twenty bucks or so. I've worn 'em a couple of times, there's a little rip on one of the fingers, but in otherwise decent condition. No blood, but I'm sure that plenty of sweat and tears (of opposing pitchers) in these babies.
Did you make it down to the end? Lots of stuff. Congratulations. Anyways, yeah, I'm still a Chris Denorfia fan, so none of this stuff is going anywhere. I now have the Mariners as my second "favorite" team on the MLB At Bat App, so I can check how he/the team is doing. Looks like, against all odds, Seattle actually has a pretty decent chance at the playoffs in the tough AL West. I was among those mocking them for breaking the back to get Robinson Cano in the offseason, but right now, they're a game up on the Detroit Tigers for the last wildcard spot.
I guess I'm a Mariners fan now.
At least until the offseason, when Denorfia, now a free agent, re-signs with San Diego.
Hey, it could happen. Right?
If it does, that press conference will replace this one as my all time favorite Denorfia moment.