Monday, March 8, 2021

Before Cutch22 there was Cutch62

Andrew McCutchen was invited to participate in a few Spring Training Games back in 2006, one year after being drafted as a high school outfielder.  Because he wasn't part of the 40 man roster yet, Cutch was given one of those "football jersey" numbers. His spring training career didn't start off in stellar fashion as he went 3 for 17 over 10 games as a recently turned 19 year old.  The following season Cutch made it very difficult for the Pirates front office to send the 20 year old back to the minors after slashing .321/.367/.482 over 56 at bats and 20 games.  On the last day before the regular season started Pirates manager Jim Tracy informed Cutch that he would return to the minors to start the 2007 season despite being the team's best offensive player over a small sample size. He remained off the 40 man roster for the rest of the season and the Pirates played the service clock game with him until June 2009. 

It was against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays on March 12, 2006 that Cutch suited up wearing number 62 and made a SportsCenter top catch that made Pirates fans excited for his defense. 

I was able to purchase a small lot of older signed cards and photos from Spring Training Games and among the lot were these two focal points.
This photo is printed on Costco paper and appears to have been signed by Cutch in his early minor league career.  Prior to his more recognizable ACutch signature, Andrew used to sign items using his full name.  The photo captures the difficult running jumping catch that Cutch made in his very early career to impress Pirates front office and fans.
I also got this card, which shows the jersey number 62 as an inscription on the card.  Many minor leaguers (even top prospects) will sign their jersey number as an inscription to indicate who they are.  Since they haven't appeared in the majors yet, many want fans to recognize them from before they made it to the show.  

I think both of these items are pretty unique additions to the collection as they are a part of Cutch's road to the show. 

Do you have any cards or memorabilia signed by players before they made it to the majors?


  1. Two great items there. I do seem to have a slew of signed cards from players when they were in the minors. Klesko pops into mind.

  2. These are sweet! Nice pick-up. No, no cards or anything like that in my collection. Who wore 22 before McCutchen?

    1. Xavier Nady wore it through 2008 before being traded to the Yankees.

      Bert Blyleven might be the best player to wear it for the black and gold as he is the only Hall of Famer to wear the #22.

  3. That's pretty cool. If I had a signed Bill Freehan card from his days in the Minors, that'd be awesome, for sure.

  4. I can't remember if I've ever gotten any minor league autographs... but I know that the San Jose Giants are always willing to sign for kids before and after the game.