Friday, May 08, 2009

Autograph request through the mail received: Juan Gonzalez

Juan Gonzalez c/o home - I was surprised 'Juan Gone' was responding to autograph requests sent to him. I scurried to find what I assumed was the working address online and sent a small package to him, with a blue Sharpie [it may have been the second time I've ever sent a Sharpie out with an autograph request, though I'm pretty sure I've sent some ballpoint pens out]. It may have taken a week before I actually sent my request out and in another two weeks, before I got my self-addressed stamped envelope back with my cards signed [on Wednesday], including a 2004 Topps Cracker Jack 'set card.'

At his healthiest during the mid to late 1990s, Gonzalez was an RBI machine - all the ribbies he got may have been the result of guys hitting infront of him and getting on-base, but there is no denying the man could rake.

I remember being so excited to get his and Ivan Rodriguez's autograph on cards 10 years ago after getting into a baseball stadium before the gates were scheduled to open - Gonzalez actually was a pretty good signer if you saw him and I think even have a picture with him.

Of course things went sort of downhill for Gonzalez when he turned down something like $140 million over 10 years from the Detroit Tigers in 2000 - he had a great season with the Cleveland Indians in 2001, but various bumps and bruises presumably ended his Major League career a few years later [he tried to make a comeback with the St. Louis Cardinals in the spring of 2008, but pulled up lame].

Gonzalez is probably a borderline Hall of Famer but possible red flags in his prolific Major League Baseball career [during the Steroids Era] - include being associated with noted [or infamous] Dominican Republic trainer Angel Presinal and also with good ole' Jose Canseco who implicates Gonzalez [among other prominent, early 1990s Texas Rangers' players] of PED use in Canseco's first book [Juiced].

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