Sunday, September 22, 2013

Michael Barrett Autographed Card

Michael Barrett was a great hitter. He set high school records with a .624 batting average, then went on to be named the 7th-best hitter in the Gulf Coast league before coasting through the Montréal Expos' farm system, eventually earning a roster spot in 1999 , at 22 years old.

He could be counted upon for 10-15 home runs, 25-30 doubles, 50-60 RBIs and a batting average over .250 in the majors; he won the Silver Slugger award in 2005 as a member of the Chicago Cubs although it wasn't his best season - he hit .276 that year which was only his fourth-best showing, as he once even batted for .307; he had 61 RBIs compared to 65 the year before; it was one of three straight seasons in which he hit 16 homers; and his 117 hits were only his 4th-best career total.

He wasn't one of the greatest of all time, and he never played in more than 134 games, but he was dependable until injuries started taking their toll. That, and he had a temper, having gotten into fights with opponents as well as teammates.

The following card is from Topps' 1996 Bowman set (card #249), clearly stating on the front of the card it's his first Bowman card (he wouldn't make his MLB debut until the end of the 1998 campaign):


That leads me to believe the signature on it (in blue sharpie) is likely from 2000 or 2001, when I had almost stopped paying attention to baseball but would have taken my little brother to the Olympic Stadium to give him a taste of what my childhood had been like (we have a 12-year difference).

As a matter of fact, he gave me all of his cards last Spring, and this one was in the lot. And since I don't actually remember getting it signed, chances are they're from a batch that he got signed on one of our outings. It matches all the other signatures I've seen, just more tightly squished and less rehearsed; I guess he was still feeling it out.

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