Angels catcher Jeff Mathis got the game-winning hit in a 5-4, 12 inning win - against the Boston Red Sox Thursday afternoon. It is nice when you can post something relevant to what is going on.
He made an appearance to sign autographs at a telephone store in Tustin California last Saturday - I was able to get him sign two of the four cards I showed him.
When I was in line, there was another collector infront of me - I don't know if he was making fun of me or my cards, but he had this smirk because the ones I had were prospect cards and/or MLBPA rookie card logo. It wasn't a big deal at all, just funny to see another true-to-life person make the distinction.
Often times, people don't realize or care someone's first-year [non-minor league] card may have come out four or five years before - especially before the MLBPA rookie card rules came out.
Even though the collector got an 8x10 photo signed - he had his box of Angels cards in-hand and had the 'real deal' xrc/rookie cards of Mathis [2001 Upper Prospects Premiere and 2001 Topps Traded].
Mathis was probably the No. 1 catching prospect in the Angels' system for the last four or five years in this decade - he is an athletic, competent receiver. While his bat has stagnated at times, he can probably produce offensively when given the at-bats to do so.
I see Mathis as the type of hitter who keeps things going at the bottom of the lineup - stringing along hits here and there, with the ability to hit a home run once in a while.
By virtue of them being catchers and playing in the Angels system through the 2000s - his best friend on the Angels is probably Mike Napoli.
With how Napoli has developed in the minors and through the last few years in the Major Leagues - he probably Mathis' No. 1 competition at this point to be the Angels' starting catcher. Napoli's power and patience has translated to the point where Angels' Manager Mike Scioscia needs to get his bat in the starting lineup [as a catcher or designated hitter].