Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Collecting the Durham Bulls: Mike Fontenot

Fontenot is easily the most experienced Durham Bulls since the Rays purchased the contract of Erik Bedard last week.   Mike Fontenot played seven seasons in the Majors spending time with the Chicago Cubs, San Francisco Giants, and Philadelphia Phillies.   This is the veteran infielder's second season in Durham after he spent the 2013 season here too.  In 120 games last summer Fontenot posted a .264/.335/.379 line for the Bulls.  He spent most of his time playing second base last summer, but Bulls manager Charlie Montoyo did play him at third and short as well. 

Every team needs a player like Fontenot around.  He's not a spectacular player, but if the Rays were short an infielder there is no reason why Fonenot could not fill the void for a short time.  In the meantime, he can be a good mentor to young infielders in Durham like Hak Ju Lee and Cole Figueroa.  Fontenot also seems to have a really good relationship with the Bulls coaching staff.  On to the cards....

The first Fontenot cards appeared in 2003 while he was in the Baltimore Orioles organization.  His cards did not have that official rookie card stamp thing in the corner when they were issued that year, so he also appears to have a few rookie cards floating around in 2007.  Do not let the shiny rookie card badge distract you.  If you want a Fontenot rookie he appears in 2003 Topps, Bowman, Topps Total, and Topps Bazooka.  Of course there are nicer Fontenot cards then these....

Fontenot has a whole bunch of autographed cards out on the secondary market.  Most of the cards feature the infielder as a Cub, which makes me a little queasy, but I love the Bulls so I do own one.  Fontenot seems to have a ton of dual or triple autographed cards.  Lots of players have a few, Fontenot seems to have a ton.  I am not completely against dual signature cards, but it is hard to buy a dual autograph when the players on the card have a pretty wide gap in talent, or the players are of equal talent and the price of the card is ridiculous.  Fontenot dual signature cards fit both of these problems. 

Low talent with a high price:

Shockingly as the price seems you have to remember that some of the really cool Fontenot autographs with the Cubs were issued during the 2007 season, which seems a little bit high for Cubs cards.  I guess they won their division that year, but I am not sure why that year (along with 2008) drifts high.  Surely a division title is not the only reason.  What am I missing?

Fontenot also has a bunch of dual signature cards where he kind of drags the card down.  Mike Fontenot and Pablo Sandoval?  So, that the starting third baseman for a two World Series champion and his backup?  I think this would be cool if you had Sandoval and Hunter Pence, Tim Lincecum, someone else besides Fontenot.  Of course, if you really like Mike Fontenot there are some really cool cards out there were he does not share the card with other players. 

Being a part of two World Series winners in San Francisco means that Fontenot has been in two of these sets which Topps puts out every year to commemorate the winning team.  Fontenot was a part of the 2010 team which beat the Rangers and the 2012 team which beat the Tigers.  The cards are usually numbered to less than 100 and are highly sought after.  While the last card of Fontenot's to sell of Ebay does not have it's exact completion price, I would have a hard time believing it went too far below the original asking price.  Pretty steep price to ask for a utility infielder. 


  1. There is a reason why Fontenot is so collectable. He may not be a spectacular player, but he has overcome a physical disability that no other Major Leaguer has ever faced. It is not just his size, which is several inches short of what he is listed. When his biography is published, people will be very surprised. and will understand what makes his memorabilia so in demand.

  2. I cannot find anything about him having a disability

    1. You won't until his bio gets published. He is not upfront about it. He wants to be respected, not pitied.