1968 Raleigh-Durham Mets
I always place Ken Singleton as an Orioles player or as a commentator on the Yankees YES Network. However, Ken Singleton actually started his career with the Mets which took him through Durham in 1968. He actually spent most of the year with the Visalia Mets in the California League, but spent the last part of the season, just 26 games, with the Raleigh-Durham Mets. The Mets renamed the team "Mets" and actually originated the crazy idea to have the team split their home games between Durham Athletic Park in Durham and Devereaux Meadows in Raleigh. Singleton posted a .257/.466/.419 line with just three home runs. A year later Singleton was in Double A and by 1970 he was on the Mets. At the beginning of his career Singleton was involved in two pretty high profile trades. First, he went from the Mets to the Expos in exchange for Rusty Staub, also a former Durham Bulls player. He was then traded with Mike Torrez to the Orioles for Dave McNally and Rich Coggins. Singleton ended up spending the next 10 years with the Orioles playing more than 1,500 games with a .284/.388/.445 line with 182 home runs, 235 doubles, and an OPS+ of 135. He was a key player on the 1983 World Series Championship team and ended his career in the top 20 Orioles players in terms of WAR ranking just behind Frank Robinson.
The 2004 Upper Deck Yankees Signature Series set has a ton of different players who had something to do with the Bronx Bombers. While I would love to have an Orioles Ken Singleton autograph, this card cost me next to nothing. Perhaps this will be a card that I do a little upgrade on in the future. Anyway, it still a nice card with a great on-card signature. It's also cool to add my first Raleigh-Durham Mets card to my Project Durham Bulls cards. There were actually some really good players on the two Bulls...err...Mets....teams that were here in the late 1960s. I believe that might also be my first announcer card too. I have a Jack Buck autograph floating around somewhere in a box in my card collection, but he never had an autographed baseball card.