Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Collection: Beltre Bowman Auto

If I'm not mistaken, I think this is a rookie card for Adrian Beltre. This is a 1998 Bowman autographed card of Beltre in my collection.

Adrian Beltre came to us in a fairly unexpected way. He was signed by the Dodgers as a 130 pound 15 year old out of Campo Las Palmas at the Dodgers Santo Domingo Baseball academy in 1994. As you probably realize, that is too young to sign a MLB contract. In fact, when MLB found out about our indiscretion they immediately suspended our Dominican operations for one year. Nevertheless, Beltre stayed with the franchise and would soon become our everyday third baseman.

In 1998 Adrian entering his first year in Dodger Blue, and if I remember correctly he wowed the fans with his glove and showed some promise with his bat. He had belted 7 home runs in under 200 at-bats. As time would tell, he was better than good on defense, but always fell a little short of our offensive expectations.

Then, 2004 came and the all important contract year was at hand. Could he finally break out and become the superstar we all had envisioned?

Well, the short answer is yes, but that year would prove to be a career year for Beltre. He slammed a league leading 48 home runs with 121 RBI's and a .334 batting average. His efforts would lead us to a NL West title and a second place showing for himself in the MVP awards race. Then, he would spend the following winter chasing dollar signs. The Seattle Mariners came calling, and our dreams of having an All-Star caliber mainstay at third base was over.

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