Monday, April 14, 2014

Collecting the Durham Bulls: Ali Solis

The Bulls have a group of new catchers this seasons which were mainly signed as Minor League free agents including Ali Solis.  The Rays are the catcher's third team in the last three years starting with the Padres, moving on to the Pirates, before settling in with the Rays organization this year.  Solis is basically a career minor league player.  He's shown some pop at times, he had 25 doubles in 87 games in 2012 at Double A San Antonio, but has had a hard time getting on base throughout his career.  His career OBP in over 400 minor league games is just under .300 at .296.  During the first weeks of play in Durham he is following his career line to a t with a .269 batting average and a .296 on base percentage.

Despite being a career minor leaguer with an OPS under .700 Solis has some really cool cards out floating around.  He had several rookie cards in the 2011 card calendar including the Bowman base set and the Topps Heritage set.  

The Bowman card has all the usual variations including a cool flag variation which features Solis in front of a giant Mexican flag.  Pretty popular seller on Ebay.  Solis also appears in both the 2012 and 2013 Bowman Draft picks set as a relic card from the Futures Game.  I was shocked to find that out, but he was in the Future's Game and did get a relic card out of the appearance.  

The Solis relic cards are both inexpensive and can generally be found for less than $5 on Ebay or COMC.  While the cards have limited print runs, it appears at times that all 199 copies of this card cycle through Ebay every two months or so.  

More surprisingly than the fact that Solis has relics cards is the fact that he has really cool relic cards.  Really cool cheap relic cards.  I've seen several different copies of Solis jumbo patches, from both the 2012 and 2013 Futures Games Relic Sets, listed on Ebay.  They almost always sell for less than $10 and are a great find for the price.  I have not really seen enough of Solis to really say I am a fan of the journeyman catcher, but I think I speak for Minor League baseball fans everywhere when I say it would be nice to see a few more career Minor Leaguers (with good followings) to get a few more cool cards.  Solis cards sell, so someone really loves Solis from the past, it's just really cool that Topps made a few sweet cards for his fans to track down. 

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