1993 Durham Bulls
Schmidt played for the 1993 Durham Bulls team, which was his third season in professional baseball after the Braves drafted him out of Kelso High School in Washington state. He played the entire season with the Bulls, making 22 starts, in his second season in A Ball. In 1992, he had spent a portion of the season with the Macon Braves in the South Atlantic League. The Braves would would Schmidt up to Double A in 1994, and he made his Major League debut with the team during the first month of the 1995 season. He was eventually traded to the Pirates in exchange for Denny Neagle. Schmidt ended up spending six season on the Pirates in the mid to late 1990s, pitching for some pretty terrible teams. Nothing spectacular in Pittsburgh, just a good solid starter who provided some good innings.
The Giants traded for Schmidt in 2001. Easily the best years of his career were in San Francisco. He had a decent regular season in 2002, his first full season with the Giants, but pitched a great game in the second game of the National League Championship Series against the Cardinals to help the team reach the World Series. The Giants ended up losing that World Series to the Angels, but they won both games that Schmidt started during the Fall Classic. Schmidt lost out on the 2003 Cy Young Award to Dodgers reliever Eric Gagne, but he won 18 games, won the National League ERA title, and also struck out more than 200 batters.
Schmidt would stay with the Giants until the end of the 2006 season when he signed with the Dodgers. He pitched a total of 10 games with the team over the length of the three year contract he signed with them, and managed to make $45 million doing it. That's $4.5 million per start.
The Upper Deck Sweet Spot autographed cards have to be one of my favorite early 2000s baseball card lines. You can spot these cards from a mile away, not really sure that the scans really do these cards enough justice. The thick card stock and depth that the ball piece on the front creates is completely lost with the scan. This Schmidt card is from the 2004 set, which looks a lot like the rest of the Sweet Spot sets from this time frame, minus that one year where all of the autographs faded off of the cards. Pretty sure that 2007.
There are not many Jason Schmidt autographs out there. Outside of this Sweet Spot card there is also a Leaf Signature, a 2007 Topps Trading Places insert card, and one of those oddball mid 1990s Signature rookie sets. Easy decision, especially considering that none of the cards are really breaking the bank in terms of price.