Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Superfractor auto pickup! (Guys From Granite - 2018 recap)

Collecting cards of guys who went to my high school is among the favorite avenues of my collection. It's time again to check in on the active pro ballplayers who graduated from Granite Hills High School in El Cajon, California.

And I've just picked up a new "best card" in this minicollection!:

Boom! I've got a few superfractors in my collection already (three of Gavin LaValley and one of Brian Humphries, another guy from Granite), but this is my first superfractor auto, which are a bit more prestigious. Feels good to have a legit claim to being the top Travis Taijeron collector out there! I know he's not likely to become the next Mike Trout or anything, but as I say, I like collecting dudes from my high school and am stoked with this pickup.

Travis Taijeron made his major league debut in 2017 with a handful of games with the Mets at age 28. He then signed as a free agent with the Dodgers for 2018. He didn't get a chance to play with the NL Champs, unfortunately, as they kept him down in Triple A all season. But he had another solid year: .271 average, 11 HR, 44 RBI in 87 games for the Oklahoma City Dodgers. And he was on fire in the playoffs (.600, 6-10, 2 HR, 3 RBI). Seems to me that LA could have used a clutch guy like that off the bench in the World Series!

Back to baseball cards, I was getting worried that his 2017 Topps Now "call up" card would be the lone remnant from his time in the bigs. He didn't get a card in either 3 of the Topps flagship products in 2018. No Heritage or High Number either. And he got no love from Panini at all. Just when I had pretty much accepted that he wouldn't have any true rookie cards, he popped up in one of my eBay searches with an auto RC in 2018 Topps Chrome Update. He doesn't even have a base card in the set, just the "Rookie Autograph" card (and all the parallels* that come with it). Hey, I'll take it!

*PARALLEL CARDS: Blue Wave Refractor #/150 (1:1,950), Blue Refractor #/150 (1:2,065), Green Refractor #/99 (1:3,157), Gold Wave Refractor #/50 (1:5,963), Gold Refractor #/50 (1:5,994), Orange Refractor #/25 (1:13,416), Red Refractor #/5 (1:59,940), Red Wave Refractor #/5 (1:59,940), SuperFractor 1/1 (1:385,084), Printing Plates 1/1 x 4 (1:53,662).

In addition to the superfractor, I've picked up these so far-- blue wave (/150), blue (also /150), and green (/99)-- and have been keeping an eye out for more at the right price. It'd be nice to go after this master rainbow, but since printing plates are included, the chances are very slim of it ever being completed (I haven't seen any of the 4 plates for sale yet.) Some of his cards have been selling surprisingly well for a guy pushing 30 who didn't even play in the bigs this year. But I'm just happy Travis got a real major league rookie card and that I've been able to pick up new certified autos of another Guy From Granite.

And I get a kick out of the card being numbered RA-TT.

And now for the other active Guys From Granite in the minors...

Trenton had a fine 2018, slapping a .281 batting average with 5 boom-booms and 28 two-baggers in 107 games in A+. He's a good kid and I'm rooting for him to make it up to Cleveland eventually.

There are a ton of "Andrew Browns" in the world today (makes it hard to search for his cards), but this guy, b. 10-24-97, had a nice 2018 season: 72.2 inning pitched with 60 strikeouts and just 17 walks with a 2.11 ERA in the Phillies chain. I'd wager he'll make it up to AA in 2019, and if he keeps this up, he's likely to be the 9th guy from Granite to make the majors before long.

Jayson only pitched 3 innings total in 2018 (no runs allowed, for what it's worth).. Not sure what happened, but I gotta assume he got injured..? Let's hope the Brewers' 2017 8th round pick bounces back strong in 2019.

Jordan was a 23rd round pick of the Tigers in 2018. He got off to a great start in Rookie League (.381 average, 1.130 OPS), but struggled after getting promoted to A ball. But he's still just 21 and will have some time to show what he's got.

Ok, Sean Ross isn't a pro, but I'm including him in this post because he has cards (2016 Leaf Perfect Game). He was a late draft pick by the Jays out of high school in 2017 but chose to attend San Diego State instead. He played in 12 games as a freshman this year, picking up 6 hits in 18 at-bats, good for a .333 batting average. He also pitched in relief once, but it didn't go well. He also played with the St. Cloud Rox, a wood-bat college summer league team, and got 28 hits in 100 at-bats (which my math skills confirm is a .280 average.) He also pitched once with them, with 1.2 scoreless innings. I think I cemented myself as the world's #1 Sean Ross collector earlier this year when I picked up his 1/1 purple parallel auto.

Cardona is the only active NFL Guy From Granite (2nd ever behind Tommy Vardell). He signed a four-year contract extension with the Patriots this past June. Good for him! Cardona, also an officer in the U.S. Naval Reserve, was the snapper for the 2016-17 Patriots in their Super Bowl LI win over the Falcons. Looks like he's played in all of New England's games since 2015, though he's been hampered by a shoulder injury lately and could possibly miss time if it keeps bugging him.

Sure, let's bring up this NASCAR bigshot while we're at it. Heck, he's probably the most successful GHHS grad ever. In 2016, Johnson won his seventh championship, tying Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt for the most Cup Series championships of all time. Pretty impressive! He hasn't had much success since then, unfortunately, and at 43, his prime years might be behind him now, but he's still quite the competitor. The 2019 racing season will be a major transition year for my old classmate, as he's parting ways with both his longtime sponsor (Lowe's) and crew chief (Chad Knaus). I'm hoping Jimmie can get that elusive 8th championship sometime, but even if he doesn't, he's still an all-time great in racing history.

And so there you have the former Granite Hills Eagles who are active in pro sports today. All the best to them as they fly like an Eagle in 2019 and beyond!


  1. Looks like a great year for you and that mini collection! I notice the Jimmie is a Christmas card, too.

  2. Woah, woah, woah, another superfractor lands on (our corner of) the blogosphere. Awesomeness!

  3. I'm hoping to start a "Guys from Dunlap High" mini collection. We finally got someone drafted... he just needs to make it to The Show now!
    Your collection is quite impressive!

  4. I never understood why the Mets felt the need to get Nori Aoki rather than letting Taijeron play last year--the Mets were going nowhere, so what was the harm in giving the kid a shot? Hope he gets another chance. Nice card.

  5. Jimmie Johnson? That's pretty damn impressive. Almost as impressive as that autographed superfractor. Congratulations!

  6. Nice Jimmy Johnson!! But that Super is pretty sweet. I need to add another Super down the road. Only have one.

  7. Nice to see the superfractor auto is on card. Always cringe when its a sticker on a 1/1.

  8. Fantastic card! Congrats on adding it to your collection! Hope Travis gets another shot at an MLB roster in Spring Training.