Another what could have been for the Dodgers. Unlike Torii though, Rafael actually did sign with the team but left years later in what could be best described as glass half full and half empty in his time with the Dodgers.
Rafael joined the Dodgers back in 2005 after spending his first 6 years with the Atlanta Braves while earning Rookie of Year in 2006. This was consider a major coup for the Dodgers and it looked like we finally found out solution to the hole in our lineup known as the shortstop position. For the six years he was on the team it seemed like every other year he had a good/great one and then the next it would be poor or more likely an injury plagued one. Finally in 2011 with the writing on the wall that he would not be resign with the Dodgers he was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals. That year they won the World Series so it was nice to see this hard working albeit oft-injured player win the ring. Too bad it couldn't have been with the team in blue. Like with the Dodgers he ended up resigning with the Cardinals and in this year's spring training it was announced he would go under season ending Tommy John surgery. Another blow for Rafael. If he comes back and plays just a year or so he should reach 2000 hits for his career which makes it even more depressing in thinking of what could have been if he stayed healthy. 3000 would have been an obtainable goal.
Back when he played with the Dodgers I really wasn't trying to acquire autographs at the stadium so I never bumped into Rafael there. I only saw him do a couple of paid events and it always seemed a bit pricey for me so I always passed. Public appearances were more rare. So off to eBay I went.
This actually is my second signed ball by Furcal. The first I bought back in 2010 and a year later I noticed that the signature was turning a shade of purple. What the hell?? So once he was traded to St. Louis I sold it as the demand was higher and just figured I would acquire another copy somewhere down the road. Earlier this year I finally found an auction that had the starting bid at $.99 which is always a good thing. The ball was authenticated by MLB which obviously I trust and it also included a 2000 ROY Inscription. Most sellers, and there weren't many Furcal signed balls out there, had them sky high in price. I found this auction after his injury was announced so I figured it might be go for lower than normal. I was right. With some time left in the auction I put a bid in for a little of $20 which I thought was reasonable. Winning bid came in at $10.50. Now that is a bargain. So I got re-add Rafael's autograph to my collection and this one is nice and blue with no hint of purple.