Part of the fun of going to Arizona for Spring Training is to acquire as many player autographs as possible. Spring Training is a rather relaxed time where players are more willing to mingle with the fans and sign autographs. When I was in Surprise two years ago, I grabbed a foul ball hit by Aaron Guiel. After the game, he and Ken Harvey both signed it for me (and now they are both in the minors... hmmm...)
I took that same ball back to Arizona last month to see if I could add some signatures to it. I did pretty well. Some of the good names on my ball are Frank White, Kyle Snyder, Mike MacDougal, Denny Hocking and Byron Embry. None of those are particularly big names, (except of course Mr. White). I was especially pleased when Jose Lima agreed to sign my ball. Lima has a big, swooping signature that includes his number (#33). Later that day, minor league catcher Paul Phillips was signing some autographs, so in the spirit of getting as many as I could, I handed my ball over to him. He proceeded to sign his name... OVER JOSE LIMA!!!
Okay, let's review. Lima is a former Cy Young award winner. He won an important playoff game just last fall, pitching a shutout against the heavy-hitting St. Louis cardinals. He will be the opening day starter for the Kansas City Royals.
Phillips is a career minor league catcher. He has a whopping 5 major league at bats on his resume. His arm has been so badly injured, he's only played a few games over the last 3 years.
It's not just me. He also signed over the top of Byron Embry on my son's ball. I hope he breaks a leg.