Greetings and welcome to another TTM post! This is the first Rays TTM that I have received in quite a while and other than Matt Joyce (of the Durham Bulls); this is the first Rays outfielder autograph that I have received this year. I have sent a request to every single person on the Rays 40-man roster and so far, including this one, I have gotten 8 back. That’s 20% which isn’t too bad, plus I am confident that I will get a few more returned before the year is done. This one came from Gabe Kapler. As far as I have seen, this O Pee Chee, card #298, is the only card of Gabe in a Rays uniform. As far as OPC cards go, this one isn’t bad looking at all. Kapler had retired after the 2006 season, but apparently he missed the game, or he realized that he was way too young to retire-as of today he’s only 34. He decided to come back last year after being retired for just one year. He suited up for the Brewers and had a pretty good year; he batted .301 with 8 homers and 39 RBI in 229 at bats. I think at 34 this guy still has a lot of baseball left in him. He was a bargain for the Rays as they signed him for $1,000,018. for the season. Why the extra 18 bucks? Did he wanna buy a pizza? No, there is a good reason actually. Gabe is Jewish and the 18 means Life in Judaism. I think that is pretty cool.
He has been an above average outfielder for the Rays this year playing all 3 outfield positions and helping out with 5 outfield assists. He can still hit, too. His numbers this year aren’t huge, his line is .235/8/31, but he knows how to work a pitcher and have a good and long at-bat even if it doesn’t land him on base. He is a team guy for sure. His best years were with the Rangers in 2000 and 2001, I could be wrong, but I think Gabe owns the longest hitting streak in Rangers history. He also spent a few years with the Bo Sox, winning a ring with them in 2004 when he hit .272 in 136 games, often as a defensive replacement. I was not too impressed when the Rays signed him this year, but he has proven his value with his defense, leadership and his discipline at the plate. He has played all 3 outfield spots well and has hit all over the batting order. He was in the number two spot tonight when the Rays finally let Baltimore win a game, but he has hit in nearly every spot including clean-up. The guy can still swing it. I’ve known Gabe for a while now and I know his great reputation as a signer, he is one of the best signers on the Rays. He signs before and after games for fans and apparently signs through the mail as well. The guy may sign 1,000 autographs a week, but his signature is still an undecipherable scribble, the same as it was when I met him 10 years ago. That’s him, I guess. Thanks for the ‘graph Gabe! I hope to see you with the Rays next year and I hope you and the rest of the team can keep CC Sabbathia from gaining his 20th victory! Go Rays! Troll out.