2004 Durham Bulls
For a long time, I was sure that Fred McGriff was on the Durham Bulls all-time roster because he showed up for some rehab assignment once. However, I later learned that was not the case at all. McGriff had been signed by the Rays to a Minor League contract during the end of Spring Training in 2003. They sent the 40 year old first baseman to the Durham Bulls to play his way up to the Majors. McGriff's stint with the Bulls last seven games before the Rays called him up. By July, the Rays ended up moving on from McGriff, releasing him after he hit just .181/.272/.306 in 27 games. It was the end of McGriff's 19 year career.
In all, McGriff hit 493 home runs, drove in 1,550 runs, had 2,490 hits, went to 5 All-Star Games, and won 3 Silver Slugger Awards. He won the 1995 All-Star Game MVP and also helped the 1995 Braves win the World Series. The "Crime Dog" is one of those players who I am sort of indifferent on as far as the Hall of Fame. I get the arguments both ways, but I think he's a player who is eventually going to get put in by the Veteran's Committee.
McGriff was one of the real popular players while the junk wax era was taking place. He was in the American League with the Blue Jays for a long time, so I did not get to see him, but I remember his 1986 Donruss card was expensive and lots of people wanted one. I kind of shrugged my shoulders at his cards, until he got traded to the Padres. McGriff then spent a long time playing in the NL in San Diego and Atlanta. I was much more aware of his cards, but they were sort of on the high end for I player I who was not a Cardinal.
McGriff's earlier autographs are now selling for something a little north of $10. I am positive that they were way more that in the mid to late 1990s. Now that we are out of the 1990s, and McGriff has landed in Hall of Fame limbo, the cost of his cards has come down a bit. He has signed for a bunch of Topps and Panini products in recent years, I even think I picked up one of his Archives autographs with the Blue Jays at one point. However, I thought I would try a Braves card. I have used several of these Leaf Signature cards for my Durham Bulls posts. This one seemed like the best option for a McGriff autograph.