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...
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!