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The Simplistic Beauty of Autographed 3×5 Index Cards

Through the mail (TTM) autographs are a common hobby for collectors. Today, we have many options to send baseball players requesting a signature.

With the advent of the Internet, photos can be found of minor league baseball players, or players that do not yet have a baseball card. It has become fairly cheap to print photos using kiosks at retail stores. You can even find websites and apps to make your own custom baseball card.

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Before the days of cheap printing costs and the World Wide Web, blank pieces of paper were common to send to players for an autograph. The most common option were 3×5 index cards. Since we have so many more options now, you see less and less signed 3×5 index cards.

During one of my random Cubs eBay searches I found a seller who happens to be a large autograph collector. He had listed a lot of (93) signed Cubs minor league 3×5 index cards.

I’m a huge Cubs fan, and collector of just about anything Cubs – even minor league cards, autographs and items. I find minor league baseball fascinating. I placed a bid on this lot and was able to win it for less than a 20-dollar bill.

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None of the autographs were from players that went on to play Major League Baseball. That was disclosed in the auction, and I was excited to find out which former Cubs farmhands would be included.

There was a mix of players that were highly touted in the minor leagues, and there were a few players I had to Google. One signature inside was a former first round draft pick, Mark Pawelek, who didn’t even reach double-A. He was taken with the 20th overall pick in the 2005 MLB Draft.

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Another Cubs first round pitcher was Bobby Brownlie, taken with the 21st overall pick in the 2002 MLB Draft.

Brownlie, at one time before injury at Rutgers, was in the mix to be the first overall pick in that 2002 draft. He did reach triple-A with the Iowa Cubs in 2005, but did not make it to Chicago or the big leagues.

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The next year, 2003, the Cubs has the 6th overall draft pick and used it on a power hitting outfielder named Ryan Harvey.

Once again, a Cubs first round draft pick failed to break into the major leagues. Ryan Harvey topped out at double-A Tennessee in 2008 and was out of organized professional baseball following the 2010 season.

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Matt Creighton’s pro baseball career began in 2002 with the Lansing Lugnuts. By 2004, Creighton had reached triple-A Iowa.

This Paul Hoilman autograph was obtained while he was playing for the Peoria Chiefs in 2012. Hoilman was a postseason All Star for the Boise Hawks in 2011, and even had a Bowman baseball card in 2012. The Chicago Cubs releases the 6-4, 240-pound outfielder prior to the 2013 season. He never played pro baseball again.

Jemel Spearman spent six seasons in the Cubs organization. He moved on to the Washington Nationals organization and peaked in triple-A.

Rebel Ridling had a great name and a great collegiate baseball career at Oklahoma State.

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Ridling was taken in the 25th round of the 2008 MLB Draft by the Cubs and bounced around the organization for five years.

Nothing pops more than a big looping signature in blue sharpie on a white index card. Grant Johnson was the Cubs second round pick in the 2004 MLB Draft out of Notre Dame.

Ferenc Jongejan is from the Netherlands. He appeared in 160 games in the Cubs organization. Jongejan began his pro career in 2001 with the low-A Lansing Lugnuts and moved up to double-A West Tennessee in 2002, and triple-A Iowa in 2003. His final pro season was in high-A Daytona in 2004.

Adam Wynegar was a sixth rounder out of James Madison University in the 2001 MLB Draft. Wynegar never made it above single-A.

One of the players I had to google was Carlos Urrutia. Not surprising the name didn’t ring a bell.

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The pitcher from Venezuela only appeared in 19 games in the Cubs organization split between rookie league in Arizona and just 12 games at short season Boise in 2002.

Matt Hudgins only played 20 games in the Cubs organization. Those appearances occurred during the 2007 season with the Arizona Rookie League squad.

And I’ll end it with a “Z” player, Brad Zapenas. Zapenas was a 42nd round pick out of Boston College in the 2011 MLB Draft. He played with the Cubs organization from 2011 through 2013.

Picking up these signed index cards has given me another thing to search on eBay as there are several rare Cubs autographs from players that appeared 100 years ago.

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