James Shields 2005-2006 Durham Bulls
Shields first arrvied in Durham at the end of the 2005 season, making one start for the Bulls, after spending the entire season with the Montgomery Biscuits in Double A. He returned to Durham for the beginning of the 2006 season pitching in 10 games, all starts, for the Bulls before he was called up to the Rays at the end of May. In his 10 games as a member of the Durham Bulls Shields went 3-2 with a 2.64 ERA and 64 strikeouts in 61 innings. James Shields was never ranked by Baseball America, or any other sort of publication that follows the Minors, as a highly regarded prospect. While in recent years baseball fans have seen him as sort of a dud after signing a large contract with the Padres in 2015, he was a really good pitcher for most of the first nine seasons of his career spent with the Rays (7 years) and Royals (2 games). Most notably Shields pitched a lot of lot of innings and earned the nickname "Big Game James" for a few clutch wins along the way. Looking at his Postseason record I never really understood where people got the idea for this nickname....
I have been sitting on this one for awhile, but it is good to finally get around to putting it into a post. This summer I came up with the idea of doing some sort of Durham Bulls posts like this and picked up a few cards. A few of them have lingered around, I will get around to all of them. Mostly players from the early 2000s and 1990s. Shields has a couple of Rays autographs, I even own a few, but I really like the Triple Threads cards. Can't say no to these, well most of the time. The Padres version of Shields is not going to be a good memory for most, but I like the brown pinstripe on this card's jersey swatch.