Random autograph of the day: Dana Allison

Dana Allison was drafted by the Oakland Athletics in 1989 and moved up in their system quickly. The relief pitcher had a 1.52 ERA in his first pro season, spent at Single A, then posted a 2.33 ERA in 47 games between three stops, including Triple A, in his second campaign, 1990.

By April 1991, he was in the major leagues, but whatever magic he had was lost—in 11 big league games that year, he had a 7.36 ERA, then at Triple A, his mark was 4.37. He bounced around the Athletics system until 1994, finding use as a starter and reliever, but never returned to the majors. 

Random autograph of the day: Beau Allred

Beau Allred was a spot player for the Cleveland Indians from 1989 to 1991, earning the majority of his playing time his final campaign, when he appeared in 48 games and started 38 of them. It’s not glamorous, but the highlight of that season was his on-base percentage: He worked 25 walks, in addition to 29 hits and a single hit by pitch, for a .359 mark, despite batting just .232.

The highlight of his career, however, was his first home run—he walloped the shot off of superstar hurler Roger Clemens in 1990. And, wouldn’t you know, his next homer, hit in 1991, came off future Hall of Famer Dennis Eckersley! He was more productive in the minor leagues, hitting 102 dingers in 8 seasons there.

Random autograph of the day: Macay McBride

Macay McBride—the only known “Macay” in professional baseball history— was one of those relievers that had a single solid year in the majors, only to vanish within a couple seasons (Lee Gardner also comes to mind).

Taken by the Atlanta Braves in the 1st round of the 2001 draft, the local kid— he was born in Augusta, Ga.—was in the majors by 2005. That first year, he posted a 5.79 ERA in 23 relief appearances. By 2007, after posting a 4.96 mark in 38 games, he was out of the bigs.

In between, he was a vital cog in the Braves bullpen, going 4-1 with a 3.65 mark in 71 games in 2006; he later pitched a scoreless inning in that year’s National League Division Series. He made a single appearance at Triple A in 2008, then one more in the independent ranks in 2010, before finally calling it quits. 

Random autograph of the day: Ryan Basner

It seems if one is a minor league relief pitcher, he needs to strike batters out at a exceptional rate, post a superhuman ERA for an extended period, or at the very least, rack up a ton of saves, to earn a big league promotion.

Basner did none of the above, so despite spending part or all of four seasons at Triple-A, he never reached the majors. His career was not without highlights, however.

With the rookie-level Danville Braves in 2003, during his first year of pro ball, he went 4-1 with a 1.83 ERA in 19 appearances, averaging 10.2 strikeouts per nine innings. The next year, he averaged 9.7 whiffs per 9 frames. Those years were the outliers, however, as his career rate was 7.6 K/9 IP.

In 2009, his penultimate campaign, he had a 2.88 ERA in 54 games for the independent Somerset Patriots. Unfortunately, his career totals paint a less rosy picture, as he went just 27-32 with a 4.26 ERA and 609 hits allowed in 568 2/3 innings overall. 

Random autograph of the day: Tim Burcham

Tim Burcham spent more than a decade playing professional baseball, with part or all of five of those years at affiliated Triple-A (he spent seven years at that level if you include his time in the Mexican League). The pitcher won ten-plus games twice, including a 17-6 record for the Class-A Palm Springs Angels in 1987. That was his third year in pro ball. Skip to 1996, his final campaign. Back in Palm Springs with the independent Suns, he posted a 2.56 ERA in 102 innings.

Because his campaigns in-between weren’t stellar, he never earned a promotion to the major leagues—though he got close. Named a strike replacement player in 1995, he was on the San Francisco Giants Opening Day roster, but was sent down once the strike ended, never to appear in a game. His son, Scotty, is currently in the Colorado Rockies system.

Random autograph of the day: Gregor Blanco

Gregor Blanco, nicknamed “White Shark,” was a two-time World Series champion, having played for the 2012 and 2014 Giants. For a backup outfielder, he racked up an impressive postseason resume, playing in 40 games with 134 at-bats and 21 runs scored, though he hit just .179.

His primary calling card was his speed — in 1,060 regular season games, he had 122 stolen bases, with as many a 26 in a season (2012). A couple years later, he swiped 13 bags, while hitting a career-high .291. He last played in the big leagues in 2018, having spent 2019 in the Mets system. He retired in February 2020.

Random autograph of the day: Jorge DeLeon

Bereft of power or speed — he averaged one home run every 187 at-bats and one stolen base every 20 games — Jorge DeLeon was a multi-positional infield talent who could post a decent average (.296 mark in 2000) and rarely struck out (once every 7 at-bats). He was a solid performer at nearly every level of the minors, save for Triple-A. At that level, he hit .152 in 46 at-bats, which lowered his career average from .281 to .276. In part because of his struggles at the highest level of the minors, the Puerto Rico native with the nice signature never got the call to the bigs.

Random autograph of the day: John Eierman

John Eierman spent four seasons in the Boston Red Sox chain, hitting .260 with 37 home runs in 414 games. Perhaps his best campaign was 1993, when he slashed .273/.367/.446 with 15 home runs and 62 RBI in 119 games for the Lynchburg Red Sox. He improved to .285 the next year, but by that point was almost two years older than the average player in his league, so the Red Sox let him go. The Eierman name lives on in pro baseball, however. One son, Johnny, was a 3rd round pick by the Rays in 2011. Another, Jeremy, is currently in the Athletics system. He was the club’s 2nd round pick in 2018.

Random autograph of the day: Kevin Burford

Kevin Burford never played above Double A, but he made the best of his professional career, nevertheless. The eight-year veteran came onto the scene with a bang, slashing .362/.490/.546 with 12 steals and 50 walks (to only 30 strikeouts) in 54 games his rookie season.

The next year, he stole 15 bases before being shipped off to Colorado in a trade. In his first season in the Rockies system, he slashed .306/.447/.523; he followed that with 16 home runs and 80 RBI. By 2003, however, he’d begun to stagnate at Double A — that was his third campaign at that level. After a down year in the Phillies system in 2004, his career was over.

Random autograph of the day: Amer Abhugerir

Abugherir is not an oft-found name in baseball — heck, the pitcher is one of only three known professional players with a surname beginning with “Abu.” Equally unique as his surname was the trajectory of his playing career: It spanned 1988 to 1999, though he played stateside in only three of those campaigns. He had a 7.30 ERA for the Gulf Coast League Reds of the Cincinnati Reds system in 1988, then resurfaced with the independent Duluth-Superior Dukes in 1993, going 0-2 with a 8.31 ERA. He then disappeared for a spell, only to return in 1999 with the independent Atlantic City Surf in 1999, going 5-0 with a 6.88 ERA. The Colombia native also coached in the minors.