I am using my weekend posts to catch up a little bit on my favorite Durham Bulls pick-ups (non-cards) during the current season. Collecting a minor league team and players offers many challenges with the most obvious being frequent turn over. A player might stay with a Major League team for years and develop a rapport and relationship with the fans, but Minor Leaguers rarely seem to have that chance.
The Durham Bulls fans have been lucky in recent years to see several players stick around the team for multiple years allowing the fans to follow the player a little bit closer than a player who's only in town for a few months. Justin Ruggiano spent four years in Durham before leaving the Rays organization briefly for the Astros and then a gig playing for the Marlins at the Big League level. Same could be said for current Durham Bulls player Leslie Anderson who is in his third season with the club.
One of the players in his second season with the Durham Bulls is infielder Tim Beckham. He's certainly not the most popular player on the club, and many Rays fans view him as a dud given that he was the top draft pick in the amateur draft during the 2008 season, but projects to be a utility player at the Major League level. Beckham also was suspended for failing drug tests last season. Despite all of that, I really enjoy watching Beckham play.
Here's my run down Beckham's game:
1. He's a really good athlete.
2. He's got good pop for a middle infielder
3. He's got a nice glove
In all honesty, if Beckham had not been the first pick in the draft and had just been a high school kid from Georgia working his way up to the Majors and happened to land a job as a utility guy nobody would say a bad word about the guy. Nothing.
So, I am pretty sure that I am one of the few people in the world who collect Tim Beckham and was happy to find a game used/autographed bat of the Rays future middle infielder. Heard he might get called up this week. The bat is a MaxBat and shows heavy game use.
The bat obviously has a crack in it and is being held together by medical tape at the moment. I have not taken the tape off since I acquired the bat, but I would guess it's either two pieces or close to two pieces. The bat is made of maple wood and is really top heavy, so it's not really surprising that it's snapped around the handle.
Two things I love about this bat:
First, Beckham took time to sign the bat. You would be surprised at how many players will not sign bats. This is a pretty good signature from Beckham and he even signed with a silver Sharpie. A black sharpie and a dark wood bat would not look cool. Silver Sharpie on a dark bat. Very nice.
Second, the bat has been used for a really long time. There is a seriously large amount of pine tar on this bat and there are a lot of little pings and dents from game use. You can see from the picture above the pine tar covering the bottom half of the MaxBat logo. Below you can see all of the scratches and scuffs on the bottom knob.
The barrel also has a lot of wear and tear around the nameplate.
It's not the best game used bat in my collection by any means, but I am really happy to add it to my collection and will gladly display it in a corner of my man cave. Remember Rays fans, Tim Beckham did not draft himself first overall and everyone needs an infielder on the bench. Be classy, show Tim some love.