Sunday, May 17, 2015

Collecting The Durham Bulls: Grant Balfour

I like Grant Balfour.  I first encountered him as a player during the 2008 season when he had a brief stint to start the season with the Durham Bulls.  What's to like about watching Grant Balfour pitch?  He throws hard, he's a max effort guy, and he's extremely fiery.   Fans of Aussie pitcher in Tampa and Oakland dubbed the pitcher Balfour Rage which has caused a few run ins over the years.....

 
Grant Balfour has had his struggles with the Rays since returning to the organization before the 2014 season which ultimately lead to the closer being sent down to the Durham Bulls towards the end of April.  I can't say I am surprised that Balfour ended up in Durham, but I hope he's back somewhere in the Majors before the end of the season.  However, while he's in Durham I am going to take a look back at his baseball cards........




The first Balfour cards appeared in 2001 products.  He actually signed with the Minnesota Twins in 1997, but it took him awhile to get his first piece of cardboard.  He did have a few Minor League issues before 2001 along with an Australian baseball card or two.  I have actually seen more copies of his Australian cards then team issues from his days in For Myers, New Britain, and Edmonton.  His rookie cards in 2001 are not in every product, but some can be tricky finds due to the fact that they are short prints, or the fact that sets from that year have rookies of Pujols and Ichiro and have been locked away.


Once Balfour became a regular with the Rays his cards became frequent parts of most major base sets.  He's been in every Topps base set along with several Panini and Upper Deck products during that time.  My favorite Balfour base card is easily his 2011 Topps Update card.  I think the picture fits Balfour to a tee.


Balfour also has several certified autographs floating around too.  Several of his signatures are really cheap including his 2015 Topps Autographs and his 2012 Panini autographs.  Both are available with some frequency on Ebay and COMC and often cost less than $5.  Let's put it this way, if it costs more than $5, just skip it and wait and it will show up cheap soon.  His best autograph, I do not own it, is his 2013 Tier One autograph.  It's still not an expensive pick up and usually sells for somewhere between $5-$10.  Nice looking card too...

4 comments:

  1. Oak-town definitely misses some Balfour Rage. The adrenaline would immediately start flowing as soon as Metallica started playing and we saw him walking in. Great times.

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    1. Not quite the same thing in Durham, but maybe he needs to be a different pitcher at this point in his career.

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  2. I have a whole bunch of Balfour cards that I need to get his sig on. I am planning to travel down to Durham for the Monday game and again on Friday so I would hope that I can get him on at least a couple of cards. I heard that he is definitely 1 per.

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    1. Balfour is a really serious person. One per, and there are days where that does not happen I hear.

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