Al Martin 1989 Durham Bulls
The Atlanta Braves drafted Al Martin out of high school in 1985, he then spent 5 years playing in Rookie and A Ball. In 1991 he played for the Braves Double A and Triple A teams. After 1991 he spent one more season in the Minors with the Pirates. I looked up his biography on Baseball Reference and half way expected to see him in sort of trade between the Pirates and Braves, but he was actually a six year Minor League free agent. It's not rare to see players who are Minor League free agents reach the Majors, but I am guessing that Martin had one of the better careers of a player who reached that mark. He made his Major League debut in 1992 with the Pirates and went on to play a total of 8 years in Pittsburgh. Al Martin had some nice years playing with the Pirates, but was on some really bad teams. His best season was probably 1993 when he hit .281/.338/.481 with 18 homers, 64 RBIs, and 16 stolen bases. The Pirates traded him to the Padres for John Vander Wal where he spent a year playing, the Padres traded him to the Mariners for John Mabry where he played two years, and he ended his career with the Devil Rays in 2003.
Martin is also in the 1996 Leaf Signature set, but I kind of liked this Donruss Signature card a little bit better. The main thing I was looking for in picking up a Martin card was that he was a Pirate on the card, which was not really a problem since his only two certified autos were in a Pittsburgh uniform. Further, in working on this project of finding Durham Bulls autographs it is a little bit trickier to find cards of players from the years the team was a Braves affiliate. Currently the Bulls are a Triple A team, so percentage of players reaching the Majors is pretty high. During their time as Braves affiliate the team was a high A team. The percentage of players which much smaller, much tougher to find autographs of the players. While it's not a great signature, it's nice to finally add a Braves era player to my Project Durham Bulls posts.