Topps Baseball Card Of The Day, April 2019
A = Alternate Card F = Factory Team Set G = Giveaway Set T = Traded Set U = Update Set
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4/30/19 Topps Baseball Card Of The Day: 2018 Topps #567 Felix Hernandez, Mariners
More Felix Hernandez Cards: 2004T 2005U 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
For a few weeks now I've been internally clamoring for more contemporary Card Of The Day selections to balance out the high number of 90's cards we've been pulling—I obviously love focusing on my childhood heroes but there's plenty to be said about today's dudes as well.
Three days ago, my wish was granted with the selection of Angels OF Kole Calhoun. Today, the Randomizer actually chose a 2018 Topps card (yay!)...of Felix Hernandez, whose 2012 Topps Card we featured just four months ago (BOO).
Nothing personal against the King, but I strive for variety. And with some 3,000 dudes minimum to choose from, no reason to select Hernandez twice in four months.
But that's what happened, so let's get started.
Here, Hernandez is coming off of what was his toughest season to that point; shoulder bursitis cost the veteran half of the 2017 season (in two DL stints) and he was not quite his usual self when he did pitch.
THIS CARD: Where was this image shot, inside Oracle Arena (home of the Golden State Warriors)? Honestly, help me out: I don't know what major league facility would host a gold-out like this.
IF any Mariner wears #34 again, it shouldn't be for a long while (although, it only took Seattle 2.5 years to give Randy Johnson's #51 to Ichiro Suzuki). Between Felix and Freddy Garcia, #34 has been well-repped since 1999...and poorly-repped previously, although Johnson did wear it for one special start in 1993.
On horizontal-front 2018 Topps cards, the name bar stops far too prematurely, IMHO.
(flip) Wow, never noticed how nearly identical the front and back name bars are...
The uniform # wasn't enough; Hernandez just had to take something ELSE from Garcia, didn't he?
In that defeat of Houston, Joe Musgrove allowed nine ER as Seattle cruised to a 13-3 home win. Hernandez threw six innings with Yovani Gallardo earning a nine-out save.
Hernandez last tweeted on 4/22/19.
AFTER THIS CARD: By and large, it's been tough going for the onetime ace righty, who was actually removed from the Seattle rotation temporarily in mid-2018, and relegated to 5th-starter duty in 2019 rather than his customary Opening Day stature. The 33-year-old has been so-so in 2019 to date, but that past velo isn't coming back.
King Felix Hernandez debuted in 2004 Topps Traded, returned in 2005 Updates and Highlights, and has appeared annually in the base set since.
CATEGORIES: 2018 Topps, Seattle Mariners
More April 2019 Topps Cards Of The Day
4/1/19 Topps Baseball Card Of The Day: 2009 Topps Update #7 Brayan Pena, Royals
More Brayan Pena Topps Cards: 2004 2006 2011U 2012 2013U 2014 2014U 2015
Brayan Pena may not have been a star, but he once embarrassed the hell out of a star simply by hustling.
The year was 2013—Pena, in his first and only season with the Detroit Tigers, watched as Cleveland's Nick Swisher produced a swinging bunt down the 3B line.
The dribbler initially skirted foul, before trickling back into fair ground. Pena pounced on the baseball, ran down Swisher—who'd failed to run—and executed the tag. Props to Pena, shame to Swisher.
Here, Pena is finally receiving some run from Kansas City, who acquired him in May 2008 but stashed him in AAA for all but three weeks of the next calendar year. Then John Buck got hurt, creating an opening for Pena at long last.
THIS CARD: Switch-hitting Pena takes a lefty AB at Kauffman Stadium. I couldn't easily find Pena's lefty splits from Kauffman, but I can tell you he hit .303 in his first three months as a Royal (although only .253 overall at home).
Lest there be any confusion, Pena's first name is pronounced "Bryan", not "Bray-an".
(flip) Pena and Escobar would be teammates on the 2007-08 Braves.
As a 19-year-old first year pro, Pena did hit .370 for Rk-Danville, albeit with only a .468 SLG.
Wait...he defected and then went back?
Four walks and 17 K in 127 AB? Stay alert, defenses.
AFTER THIS CARD: Pena remained a KC Royal through 2012, mostly as a part-timer (he did get some regular run as 2010 wound down, replacing injured starter Jason Kendall). After his 2013 stint with Detroit, Pena hooked up with Cincinnati for two years, receiving his most run by far as a Red (combined 223 games, many as a first baseman subbing for Joey Votto).
Signed to a 2Y/$5M deal by St. Louis in the 2015-16 winter, Pena's career torpedoed so abruptly, I'd bet many people don't even know he's finished. Knee cartilage surgery delayed Pena's 2016 debut by three months; he soon endured inflammation in said knee and was shut down until September. Having received 14 PA for their investment, he Cardinals cut him that off-season, and Pena never made it back to MLB (he officially retired to become a MiLB manager in 2018).
Brayan Pena debuted in 2004 Topps as a First-Year Player, then returned in 2006, 2012, 2014 and 2015 Topps. He also shows up in 2009, 2011, 2013 and 2014 Topps Update.
CATEGORIES: 2009 Topps Update, Kansas City Royals
4/4/19 Topps Baseball Card Of The Day: 2008 Topps #375 Fausto Carmona, Indians
More Fausto Carmona Topps Cards: 2004T 2006 2006U 2007 2009 2010 2011
Carmona makes his second COTD appearance; we chose his 2009 Topps card back on July 7, 2018.
Here, the young righty is coming off his signature season. While finishing 4th in Cy Young voting, Carmona finished second on the Indians (to CC Sabathia) in just about every category. His surprising effort—Carmona was 1-10, 5.42 the year before—helped propel Cleveland to the ALCS after a six-year playoff "drought".
THIS CARD: That right leg looks painful.
Carmona's signature is one of the more legible ones we've uncovered from 2007-08 Topps...far too many dudes sign like doctors.
Carmona reaches back for either his trademark sinker, slider or changeup.
(flip) Note Carmona's zero saves in 2006. This is despite being used as closer following Bob Wickman's trade. Let's just say he was not built to close at that time.
That lone 2007 shutout? A four-hit, 121-pitch gem vs. Minnesota on May 17.
AFTER THIS CARD: Carmona would never again be an elite pitcher. Though he remained in the Indians rotation through 2012—when healthy and available—only 2010 could be considered quality (and even then he absorbed a six-start losing streak).
Carmona's legal/visa issues—remember, he was found to actually be Roberto Hernandez—and a sprained ankle cost him most of 2012 (three starts). He made 24 starts for the '13 Rays, 29 more for the 2014 Phillies and Dodgers, and though he won a starting job with the '15 Astros out of camp, he was eventually demoted and cut. Two unimpressive starts with the '16 Braves ended his career; he finished 71-99.
Fausto Carmona debuted in Topps as a prospect in 2004 Traded. He returned in the 2006 base set (also receiving an Update card despite remaining with Cleveland) and appeared there annually through 2011. His identity ordeal ended his association with Topps, even though he was a full-time starter for most of 2013-14.
CATEGORIES: 2008 Topps, Cleveland Indians
4/6/19 Topps Baseball Card Of The Day: 1993 Topps #580 Walt Weiss, Athletics
More Walt Weiss Topps Cards: 1988T 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993T 1994 1994T 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2001
Weiss played and played well for a long time, but I'll always remember him not playing—it was 1991, not long after Weiss suffered a serious ankle injury running to first base. During an A's game, footage of Weiss in his cast was shown; it was the largest cast 11-year-old me had ever seen.
Not to mention the first major injury I'd seen one of my local teams (Giants/Athletics) endure.
Here, the former American League Rookie Of The Year has just wrapped his final season with the Athletics. It was a tough one; he battled a ribcage injury early and extensively rode the pine upon healing (behind Mike Bordick).
THIS CARD: Proof this is a 1992 photo: Weiss wore #7 for most of his A's tenure until switching to #22 for 1992. I wasn't able to uncover a motive. Notable Athletics who've since worn those digits include Eric Byrnes and current user/missile launcher Ramon Laureano.
From 1992-94, Topps released parallel "Gold" sets, including them at random in wax packs. As you can see, I've got a few in my collection.
Focusing on the support beams in the background...Tiger Stadium?
(flip) Topps' first few Walt Weiss cards featured action shots like this on the front, so it was probably time for a change of pace.
Tuxedo, New York is located about 47 miles north of NYC.
Walt Weiss hit two homers in one game? Mariners pitchers Scott Bankhead and Tom Niedenfuer can attest to it; they served up one each. Oakland won 11-1.
Despite being a Bay Area native, I couldn't find any details about Weiss's guest DJ spot.
AFTER THIS CARD: Weiss was traded to the expansion Marlins after the '92 season; he then hooked up with the Rockies for 1994-95, re-upping with the team for 1996-97 setting most of his offensive career highs in 1996.
Atlanta signed the 34-year-old FA to a 3Y/$9M deal on the 1997 Expansion Draft day—the second time he'd changed teams on an Expansion Draft day without actually being drafted. In the '99 playoffs, Weiss executed the defining defensive play of his career, a diving stop on the Astrodome Turf followed by a ballsy throw home to force out Houston's Ken Caminiti and protect the 10th-inning tie in a game Atlanta later won!
In 2000, however, Weiss separately strained his hamstring, thumb and knee, limiting him to 80 games and allowing Rafael Furcal to emerge as NL Rookie Of The Year. Unsurprisingly, the Braves did not re-sign the 36-year-old Weiss, nor did any other club.
Weiss worked extensively for the Rockies post-retirement, serving as an advisor 2002-08 (did he suggest the Humidor?) and as manager 2013-16; we'll delve into that on a later Weiss Topps card. At present he is bench coach for the resurgent Atlanta Braves.
Walt Weiss debuted in 1988 Topps Traded, then appeared annually in the base set 1989-2001, except 2000 (despite his 1999 highlight). He also appears in 1993-94 Traded.
CATEGORIES: 1993 Topps, Oakland Athletics
4/9/19 Topps Baseball Card Of The Day: 1989 Topps #319 Greg Booker, Padres
More Greg Booker Topps Cards: 1987T 1988
The story keeps circulating, even though it is only partially true: "Mike Piazza was only drafted by the Dodgers because he was Tommy Lasorda's godson."
Greg Booker could relate.
Because he happened to be involved with (and later married to) GM Jack McKeon's daughter, and because he was only an ordinary overall talent by MLB standards, there HAD to be nepotism at play, right?
Nevermind the fact McKeon didn't directly handle any of Booker's contracts, or that Booker spent chunks of his career in AAA even after marrying McKeon's daughter—he was only a Padre because of his connections, said the uninformed.
Kind of insulting, since Booker did provide some quality pitching over his six-season Padre tenure. All-Star? No. Serviceable swingman? Most definitely.
Here, Booker is coming off a mostly strong 1988 season spent primarily as a long reliever. His effort helped San Diego improve by 18 wins over 1987,
THIS CARD: All five of Booker's Topps cards depict non-action headshots. On the first four, he seems happy. On this one, he seems like he smells smoke.
This is not a randomly selected card. Booker passed away from melanoma on 3/30/19; this card was specially selected in his memory.
(flip) Greg's wife is named Kristi; they ultimately had four children (none of whose names I could dig up).
Not sure why Booker only pitched twice in August; he wasn't demoted to the minors so let's assume he strained something and move on (the appearances were on 8/10 and 8/27, just long enough for a DL stint.)
AFTER THIS CARD: In early 1989, Booker was swapped to Minnesota for P Fred Toliver. He'd make just six MLB appearances post-trade—six for the Twins, and two for the 1990 Giants. Booker rejoined the Padres as bullpen coach in '97, then was elevated to pitching coach in 2002 working for old batterymate Bruce Bochy (Booker only lasted in the latter role until 2003, however.)
It does not appear Booker held any professional baseball jobs after that; trust me, I looked.
Greg Booker appeared in Topps 1985-89; 1987 was a Traded card.
4/11/19 Topps Baseball Card Of The Day: 1992 Topps #287 Pete Schourek, Mets
More Pete Schourek Topps Cards: 1991T 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 2001
Before "Generation K" emerged, Schourek (pronounced Shore-eck) was a top Mets pitching prospect who could never solidify a spot/role on New York's staff.
Originally a #2 pick back in 1987 out of Marshall High in Virginia (where he posted an 0.51 ERA and homered 11 times as a senior), Schourek caught New York's attention with a 16-win 1990 season (split across three MiLB levels).
Here, Schourek has completed his rookie season in the majors. He opened 1991 with the Mets, pitching in relief until being demoted to AAA in June. In late August he joined the rotation, and turned in a very promising September performance.
THIS CARD: Schourek is about to fire his upper-80's heat, changeup or vaunted curveball.
Yes, that is Jacob deGrom's #48 that once belonged to Schourek. I'm impressed that I knew that without having to look it up.
(flip) Topps lists Schourek as a #3 pick, but he was actually a #2 pick (56th overall).
Schourek was on the DL with an elbow injury in 1988. Not sure if it was surgically repaired, however.
On 9/10, in front of fewer than 10,000 fans, Schourek shut out the Expos on one hit (a clean single through the 5.5 hole by Ken Williams). It was part of a stretch of four quality starts out of five for the rookie, who'd just been inserted into the rotation.
Old Shea Stadium, where the Mets played 1964-2008.
AFTER THIS CARD: In a disappointing 1992 season, Schourek showed flashes of ability, going 6-8 but with a 3.64 ERA in 21 starts, and throwing eight innings in four of eight starts at one point. But Dallas Green took over as manager for 1993, and he was no fan of Schourek's night life or pitching ability—before Spring Training 1994 ended Schourek was waived, and signed by Cincinnati.
1995 would be Schourek's career year in the majors; he was runner-up for the NL Cy Young Award (18-7, 3.22 in 29 GS) and ace of the resurgent Reds. But elbow surgery ruined his 1996 and limited his availability/effectiveness in 1997; Houston took a chance on him for '98, but after acquiring Randy Johnson, sold the now-expendable veteran to Boston.
An unsuccessful stint with Pittsburgh (1999) followed; Schourek returned to the Red Sox for 2000-01, starting 21 times for the '00 team and relieving 33 times for the '01 squad. Schourek failed to win a job with the 2002 Phillies, ending his career two months shy of 33.
After debuting in 1991 Topps Traded, Pete Schourek appeared in 1992-98 Topps, then returned in 2001. 1998 depicts him as an Astro, if that matters to you.
CATEGORIES: 1992 Topps, New York Mets
4/13/19 Topps Baseball Card Of The Day: 1991 Topps #728 Scott Sanderson, Athletics
More Scott Sanderson Topps Cards: 1987 1988 1989 1990 1992 1993
Scott Sanderson started out as a 1977 #3 pick of the Montreal Expos; within three years he was a fixture in their rotation...until 1983, when he fell at first base and wrecked his thumb, ultimately missing half the season.
Montreal decided life without Sanderson wasn't so bad, apparently, so they shipped him to the Cubs via three-team deal with San Diego that winter.
Sanderson threw well enough in his first two Cubs seasons...but not often enough, making only 43 combined starts 1984-85. From there, consistent success escaped him, and he was yanked from Chicago's rotation in three of the next four years—the one exception being 1988, when he relieved exclusively (Sanderson didn't debut until August that year because of back surgery).
Here, Sanderson has completed his lone year with the Athletics, who signed the free agent after the '89 season. For $750K, Oakland received 17 wins (7th in the AL and Sanderson's career-high), 34 starts and a 134-pitch shutout of the Red Sox on 8/13.
THIS CARD: We've specially selected this card in memory of Sanderson, who died of unspecified causes 4/11/19. Why this card? It represents arguably his best all-round statistical performance, as well as his lone season in the SF Bay Area.
An interesting coincidence that the last Oakland A we pulled for COTD also wore #22 (Walt Weiss, who switched from #7 to #22 in '92, by which time Sanderson was a Yankee).
Sanderson gears up to throw his fastball, slow curve, change or slider. Young Sanderson threw 93, but by his Giants days (1993) he was in the mid-80s.
(flip) This may be the most prominent Topps 40 Years Of Baseball logo in the whole set!
Dearborn is located just a short drive west of Detroit.
I never knew Sanderson spent SO much time in the bullpen. And yet somehow despite the bullpen demotions and injuries, he lasted six years with the Cubs (who were NOT hamstrung by a Zito-esque contract, either.).
AFTER THIS CARD: In an unusual move, Sanderson accepted salary arbitration after the '90 season, but Oakland wasn't interested and allowed the Yankees to sign him for 2Y/$4.25M plus a $2.5M option for 1993. Nearly matching his 1990 numbers exactly, Sanderson made his only All-Star team in 1991, but slipped in '92 and was bought out of his option.
The 37-year-old split '93 with the Angels and Giants, who needed starting pitching down the stretch. Sanderson, despite going 4-2, 3.59 as a Giant, was bypassed for the crucial, infamous game #162 lost by Salomon Torres—though Sanderson did contribute an inning of shutout relief.
The White Sox signed Sanderson for '94, but after a strong first half, he was battered out of his rotation spot. Still winning a job with the '95 Angels, Sanderson began well once more, only to succumb to additional back surgery in June. When the 39-year-old returned to the '96 Angels, he quickly proved to be finished. (But with 163 career wins.)
Scott Sanderson appeared annually in Topps 1979-1993; Topps omitted him from both the 1994 and 1995 sets despite his extensive use. He also shows up in 1984 and 1990-91 Topps Traded.
4/17/19 Topps Baseball Card Of The Day: 1997 Topps #165 Tony Phillips, White Sox
More Tony Phillips Topps Cards: 1987 1988 1989 1990 1990T 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1995T 1996
Mr. Versatility Tony Phillips appears in COTD for the second time; his 1996 Topps card was specially selected in the wake of his unexpected 2016 death.
Phillips did indeed play for the White Sox 1996-97, signing with them as a FA (2Y/$3.6M) following his first stint with the Angels (1995). It was an eventful period, beginning with Phillips' retirement in February 1996, his un-retirement days later, his May fight with an obnoxious fan in Milwaukee and perhaps most newsworthy—his spending the whole year at one position (LF).
THIS CARD: Phillips started 147 times in LF and only twice anywhere else (both at 2B). It had to be both refreshing and weird to not shift around as had become Phillips' specialty. That looks to be 3B Robin Ventura also in pursuit of what looks like a blooper down the line.
This is Phillips' final Topps card, even though he played and played extensively in 1997 and 1999, he was omitted from the 1998 and 2000 sets...damn Topps dark era.
You can't see Phillips #8 clearly here; he wore it in '96 before famously switching to #73.
(flip) In 1991 Phillips started 33 times at 3B, 35 at 2B, 20 in LF, 17 in RF and 10 at SS. Plus, he DH'd 17 times, which Topps sometimes recognizes as a position but not here.
We're just a few days away from Phillips would-be 60th birthday; I'd have specially selected a Phillips card for the occasion if not for randomly picking this one.
I spent too much time sleuthing the logo, which is that of New Comiskey Park, worn from 1991-2002. (the park was renamed to U.S. Cellular Field for 2003, and Guaranteed Rate Field for 2017.)
AFTER THIS CARD: In mid-1997, the Angels re-acquired Phillips for the stretch run, but Phillips' off-field trouble spoiled the reunion.
By 1999, the Georgia native was 40—but playing regularly for the upstart Athletics again. That is, until wrecking his left fibula breaking up a double play in Toronto in August; Phillips never played in the majors again.
But he was far from finished professionally, playing in Mexico in 2002 and in the Independent League as recently as 2015 when he was 56! And I don't mean cameos, either.
Tony Phillips appeared in Topps annually 1984-97, and in 1983, 1990 and 1995 Traded.
CATEGORIES: 1997 Topps, Chicago White Sox, Now Deceased
4/20/19 Topps Baseball Card Of The Day: 2002 Topps #529 Corey Patterson, Cubs
More Corey Patterson Topps Cards: 1999T 2000 2001 2003 2004 2005 2006 2006U 2007 2008 2008U 2010U 2011U
Corey Patterson, talented as he may have been, was only an ordinary MLB outfielder. But he was one of the greatest Triple Play 2001 players of all-time. Back then I had Sammy Sosa fever and played my season as the Chicago Cubs; it was Patterson, not Sosa, who proved to be my most reliable and productive hitter.
At century's turn, Patterson ranked at or near the top of Cubs prospect lists and seemed destined to take over their CF job by 2002 or sooner. Here, the kid's fresh off his first extended major league look—called up on June 30, 2001, Patterson finished the year in the majors save for a brief late July demotion back to AAA.
THIS CARD: Patterson puts everything behind this swing, which was a critique of his by the time Chicago traded him. Even when manager Dusty Baker auditioned him at leadoff, Patterson never really cut down on his swing.
During his 2000 cup of coffee with the Cubs, Patterson wore #27 rather than #20. In all, he wore nine different numbers and never the same one at two different stops. No Cub since Patterson has worn #20 for long; RP Brandon Kintzler currently has it.
Looks like a surplus of empty orange seats behind Patterson...Joe Robbie Stadium?
(flip) West Tennessee is from the Southern League (AA).
85 steals over two seasons? Don't high schools play like 15-20 games a year?
Error! Corey Patterson batted left, not right, Topps.
AFTER THIS CARD: Patterson took over in CF for the '02 Cubs, but faded as the season wore on and finished with overall unimpressive numbers. He'd seemingly turned things around in '03—until tearing his ACL beating out an infield hit in early July.
Though he returned with a 24 HR, 72 RBI 2004 season, Patterson whiffed 168 times (not quite the accepted norm as it is today) and heard the boos. After a horrid 2005, he was booed right out of Chicago.
As an Oriole, Patterson cut his K rate and even stole 45 bags in '06, but unbelievably, the former #3 overall pick turned out to be a journeyman, passing through six major league cities 2009-11 before his disappointing MLB career finally wrapped (his pro career ended in 2013).
Corey Patterson debuted on a 1999 Topps Traded card, then appeared annually in the base set 2000-08. He also shows up in 2006, 2008, and 2010-11 Topps Update, meaning Patterson is repped every year 1999-2011 except 2009, when he was a fringe big leaguer.
CATEGORIES: 2002 Topps, Chicago Cubs
4/24/19 Topps Baseball Card Of The Day: 1997 Topps #310 James Baldwin, White Sox
More James Baldwin Topps Cards: 1994 1995 1998 2001 2002 2003
Expectations and disappointment sum up the career of RHP James Baldwin, although he did have his moments and at one time was a legit All-Star.
From 1992-94, prospect Baldwin just won, going 35-22 at multiple MiLB levels and striking out a load of dudes along the way. When Jason Bere fell apart in 1995, young Baldwin got his shot—but was battered to a 2.8 WHIP in six games. Here, after opening the year in AAA, Baldwin was back, and zooming to a 9-1, 3.48 start.
THIS CARD: I've raised this before; every Topps horizontal-front card ever faces to the right—that is, if you want the reverses to line up with their vertical counterparts in an album.
But if one follows that "rule" with 1997 Topps, they'll end up with the front names upside-down. That has officially bugged me for 22 years now and probably always will.
Never thought I say THIS, but 1997 Topps must go on hiatus; this is its second random selection in the past three (both of them White Sox, no less).
Baldwin rears back to fire his fine curveball, or his once-upon-a-time 90+ MPH heat. He also used a slider and changeup, but they weren't really weapons.
(flip) For some reason, Baldwin's entire 1995 season is missing; he was 0-1, 12.89 with Chicago and 5-9, 5.85 for AAA Nashville. (Perhaps Baldwin ASKED that year be omitted?)
Baldwin was the runner-up for the main '96 AL ROTY award, behind only Derek Jeter.
Today, not sure any references to guns would be allowed on a baseball card, except maybe the radar gun.
AFTER THIS CARD: Reversing his '96 outcome, Baldwin would be down-and-up in both 1998 and 1999—that's what he gets for punching Omar Vizquel—going a combined 20-8 in the second (calendar) halves of those seasons after wretched beginnings. In 2000, Baldwin once again began the year hot, making the All-Star team on the strength of 7-0, 10-1 and 11-3 starts to the year. Unfortunately, his one-good-half pattern continued with a subsequent 5.96 ERA and only three victories.
That would be Baldwin's career peak; he split his final five years between seven MLB clubs (one of them twice), working on minors deals after 2002 and only receiving brief run. 34-year-old Baldwin finished up 79-74, 5.01.
James Baldwin appeared in 1994-95, 1997-98 and 2001-03 Topps; he had no Traded cards.
CATEGORIES: 1997 Topps, Chicago White Sox
4/27/19 Topps Baseball Card Of The Day: 2014 Topps #470 Kole Calhoun, Angels
More Kole Calhoun Topps Cards: 2012U 2013U 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
Finally, an active player! Without looking to confirm, I'm guessing our past 10 COTD selections have been retired and/or deceased individuals. But today, we bring you a living, breathing active player in Gold Glove RF Kole Calhoun of the Los Angeles Angels.
Calhoun, a #8 pick in 2010 out of Arizona State, was a 20-20 man with 99 RBI and a .324 average in his first full pro season (2011 A-ball). So when Angels OF Vernon Wells hit the DL in early 2012, it was Calhoun summoned to take over...for a short while.
Here, Calhoun has returned to Anaheim in late July 2013. Starting 49 times over the final two months, Calhoun enjoyed a streak of RBI in 15 of 16 starts, the first such American Leaguer since 1937 to do so (per MLB.com)
THIS CARD: That's a lot of dressing on Calhoun's arm.
Calhoun completes a cut at Angels Stadium; he generates power despite not having much of a batting stride.
More about Calhoun's 2013 season: he drove in a run in all eight games from 8/24-9/2. According to MLB.com again, the only other Angels rookie to do that was Wally Joyner, owner of a 10-game streak in 1986.
(flip) Mild correction: Calhoun drove in runs in 11 straight road STARTS; there was one game mixed in where he entered as a defensive sub and didn't bat. The streak began 8/23 and ended 9/12.
While 32 RBI in two months is impressive especially for a rook, you must remember 2013 is the year Wil Myers won ROTY with 13 homers and 53 RBI for the season. It wasn't a particularly strong offensive rookie crop competing with Calhoun.
Calhoun was born the day St. Louis shut out my Giants in Game 7 of the NLCS...boo.
AFTER THIS CARD: By 2014, the Angels' RF job belonged to Calhoun; he missed but 21 total games 2015-17 and took home a Gold Glove in 2016 (which, not coincidentally I'm sure, was also his finest offensive year as well). Despite fluctuating batting averages and high strikeout totals. Calhoun still looked to be a fixture alongside Mike Trout in the Halo outfield and even signed a 3Y/$26M extension to begin in 2017 (with a $14M option for '20).
Then came 2018, when a ghastly offensive start and oblique injury put Calhoun in a hole he could never fully dig out of. So far in '19, he's slugging .470 despite hitting .210 (thru April 27).
Kole Calhoun first appeared in 2012-13 Topps Update; he's been featured annually in the base set since 2014.
CATEGORIES: 2014 Topps, Los Angeles Angels