I should do a "Where Are They" post about players I wrote about five years ago. I am going to file that idea away for later. Back to Hellickson. I collected his stuff.
This is a ticket from his first win.
At some point Hellickson's shoulder fell off, he ended up back in Durham for awhile on injury rehab, and eventually the Rays traded him to the Diamondbacks for a couple of young players. When the trade first happened, I ventured out and found a token autograph of outfielder Justin Williams, one of the players the Rays got back in the trade.
Pretty nice autograph from Bowman Sterling. There are some horrendous sticker autographs in this set, but this Williams autograph has a nice on card signature. Very nice card, but that was three and half years ago. What has happened since then? Jeremy Hellickson has been on the Diamondbacks, Phillies, Orioles, and Nationals, while Justin Williams has gone from A Ball all the way up to Triple A. I have not really written anything about him, nor have I done much with his cards.
I had the chance to get a good look at Williams a few weeks ago. Pretty impressive outfielder.
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He's still only 22, and this is his first experience in Triple A, so I would guess he's with the Bulls the entire 2018 season. Given how the Rays run things, I would guess he's in Durham for some time in 2019 too. Which gives me a little bit of time to work on some Justin Williams baseball cards.
Surprisingly, he does not have a lot of cards. Topps made a few of him when he was first drafted by the Diamondbacks in 2013 and 2014, and his first full season with the Rays in 2015. After a two year lull, Topps did put him in 2018 Bowman, but I am a sane person and have not touched that craziness.
Low quantity of cards, so I started all the way back with his first Bowman card from 2013.....
his Bowman Draft Chrome autograph. Yes, I have been really hard on the Bowman Draft sets in the past, especially the 2013 set. I believe that I did a post, it's somewhere around here, about how this is one of the worst airbrushed sets ever. The airbrushing on this Williams card is not great by any means, the D-Backs script on his jersey is pretty suspect. So small and really straight. The batting helmet is the same style worn by the high school kids in the Perfect Game All-American program and the stripe on his pants clearly does not match with the Diamondbacks uniform.
So, now that all of that is out of the way, I really think this is likely the toughest autograph of Williams to find, and I love that it has an on-card signature. Interestingly, the Sterling and Draft cards were put out roughly within the same time period, late 2013, and Williams signature seems to have changed during that time. Not markedly different, but outside of the letter "J" there are a lot of little changes.
Back of the card.
Always some interesting facts on the backs of the Bowman Draft cards. Some are standard fare, like his choice of college if he had gone that route, while others are always a little bit more interesting. Really thought it was cool that he used a wood bat during his senior year of school.