Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Sweet Ruggiano

Everyday I wake up and spend a few minutes reading the box scores.  I have four teams I check the box scores for everyday: Cardinals, Rays, Tigers, and Durham Bulls.  The order usually depends on how the box scores are arranged on the web, but those four are a daily constant.  I have a few other stops along my way through the box scores.  I still like to check out a few ex-Cardinals: Albert, Kyle Lohse, maybe Colby Rasmus.  There are a few Durham Bulls too.  I still check for Jason Hammel, B.J. Upton, and maybe James Shields.  My Durham Bulls constant though is Justin Ruggiano. 

The Rays picked up Ruggiano in a trade with the Dodgers and ended up spending parts of five seasons with the Bulls, had a cup of coffee of two with the Rays, before he left the team as a minor league free agent.  Ruggiano signed with the Astros, then the Marlins, and finally made it up to the Majors with the Fighting Fish in 2012.  Ruggiano also played last season with the Marlins before he was traded to the Cubs this past off season. 

While the Cubs happen to be one of my least favorite teams in the Majors, I still check out the Ruggiano line everyday (except he's now on the DL).  I'm excited to see what Ruggiano can do this summer in the Friendly Confines of Wrigley.  Last year he posted a team high 18 home runs for the Marlins playing in a pitcher friendly park.  He could jump over 20 this year if he gets the at-bats. 

I am still waiting for Ruggiano's first Cubs card.  All of his 2014 cards, so far, have been Marlins cards.  However, I did manage to stumble across a cool Ruggiano card recently.  During his first summer as a Durham Bull (2007) he appeared for USA Baseball in the World Cup.  The USA Baseball team ended up winning the gold medal during that event with Ruggiano patrolling the outfield.  Upper Deck included him in their USA Baseball set in 2008 with a jersey/autograph.  I recently snagged a copy:

I have a pretty big collection of Ruggiano cards and was happy to pick up this difficult to find piece as my latest addition.  The card is limited to just 50 copies and is signed in red ink.  The card features a small swatch of grey swatch of jersey from his playing time with USA Baseball.  

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