Topps Baseball Card Of The Day, August 2017
Click on images for larger views.
8/2/17 Topps Baseball Card Of The Day: 1987 Topps #569 Wade Rowdon, Reds
More Wade Rowdon Topps Cards: n/a
(Apologies for the lengthy gap between selections; on 7/25 my daughter returned from three months out of the country with her mom. As you might understand, we've been making up for a lot of lost time since.)
The way our TSR Random Selection process works, every so often a Topps football card can come up in the search results. When that happens, we simply start the process anew.
I figured we had such an instance when Wade Rowdon's name popped up. I've owned his card for years now and, off-hand, could not identify him. Needless to say, this COTD entry will not be very long.
Rowdon was a strong-armed 3B by trade, but versatile enough to find extended time at 2B and SS during his MiLB career; Pete Rose even started him in LF a few times in the bigs! Here, Rowdon has completed his sort-of rookie season—he started 18 times at four positions in '86 while shaking off a 1-for-18 slump by going 5-for-5 at Shea Stadium July 9!
THIS CARD: Rowdon's name rhymes with "Loud-in", at least according to the 1980's sportscast I turned to for answers.
Even in Spring Training with a warmup jacket on, Rowdon dons the helmet. This guy's ready for action!
This is one of just three total Rowdon cards produced by the major companies. 1985 Donruss has him following through on a swing, while 1988 Fleer depicts him as a Cub staring off into space.
(flip) Stetson obviously isn't well-known, but it produced two of today's big-time arms—Corey Kluber and Jacob DeGrom. Another contemporary alum is the former Astros and Braves 3B Chris Johnson.
We've discussed the Cape Cod League on previous COTD; it's a collegiate summer league sponsored in part by MLB.
That 1982 trade actually went down in August; Rowdon and OF Leo Garcia were the two players to be named later sent from the White Sox to Cincy in exchange for three-time All-Star RP Jim Kern. Garcia got in 54 games for the 1987-88 Reds; Kern was decent for Chicago down the stretch if you toss out his abysmal debut.
Riverhead is located on the eastern end of Long Island, a bit east of the I-495 terminus.
AFTER THIS CARD: Rowdon was swapped to the Cubs for lefty swingman Guy Hoffman—the more valuable player before and after the swap—in February 1987. He hit his first and only MLB homer that year, far from enough to keep Chicago from dealing him to Baltimore (for two prospects who never made it to MLB).
After going 3-for-30 with the dreadful '88 Orioles, Rowdon was cut and never again played in the majors. He did subsequently put up one good (.300, 22 homers) and one not-so-good year for Hiroshima in the Japan League before retiring from pro baseball altogether at 29.
This is Wade Rowdon's only Topps card.
CATEGORIES: 1987 Topps, Cincinnati Reds
8/6/17 Topps Baseball Card Of The Day: 2006 Topps Update #137 John Rheinecker, Rangers
More John Rheinecker Topps Cards: 2008
For a while, I was faced with a Card Of The Day dilemma: how to recognize John Rheinecker's July 18 passing when the lone Topps set he appeared in was on full 10-card hiatus (2008). After some internal debate, I ultimately decided to wait for the hiatus to expire before presenting Rheinecker's card.
Unfortunately, retired stars Darren Daulton and Don Baylor passed away within 24 hours of each other this week—and it just wouldn't be right to recognize those two ahead of Rheinecker based on the timing of the latter's death. True, he was a major league scrub compared to those two. But on this site, "scrubs" and stars get equal recognition...especially in passing.
Then I learned Rheinecker had a 2006 card, rendering all that contemplation moot.
Rheinecker was a beefy lefty who made 44 appearances (20 starts) for the 2006-07 Rangers. Originally a hardish-throwing Oakland prospect who went #37 overall in the '01 draft, Rheinecker reached AAA by 2003, and had finally broken out in 2005 when a torn finger tendon ended his year after seven starts. (Thanks, Scout.com)
Here, the 25-year-old is now a Texas Ranger, acquired by the team in a deal detailed below. Summoned to the bigs to replace the demoted Rob Tejeda in early '06, Rheinecker went 3-1, 3.57 in his first six starts for Texas (which included two outings of 8+ innings!) despite a fastball that was no longer very fast. But an 8.90 ERA in his next seven starts got him demoted back to AAA.
THIS CARD: 2006 Topps never scans well. Neither does 1998 Topps.
Technically, though this is Rheinecker's rookie card, he has appeared in a Topps set previously—2003 Chrome showcases him as an Oakland prospect.
Rheinecker's got sleeves on, proving he's not in Texas.
The big southpaw only wore #48 as a Ranger. No one of any significance wore it prior to he (although Bobby Witt did as a rookie), although longtime Ranger Colby Lewis had it throughout his Rangers tenure.
(flip) The Missouri State alum was acquired by Texas in a three-way deal that sent P John Koronka from the Cubs to Texas, P Juan Dominguez from Texas to Oakland, and UT Freddie Bynum from Oakland to the Cubs. Got all that?
Rheinecker was a supplemental #1 pick (#37 overall) for the A's loss of free agent P Kevin Appier to the Mets.
Since this card doesn't, we will tell you that Rheinecker won 36 games across three levels in the A's system. We will not research where exactly that ranked.
Rick Bauer wrapped up that birthday win, although Seattle got revenge of sorts by hanging a 13-inning walk-off loss on Rheinecker in September.
Belleville is in the southern third of Illinois, not far from the Missouri border. In fact, it's a 17.5-mile drive from St. Louis.
To be fair, I knew a guy, Joel, who stood about 6'1" in 7th grade. He reached 6'4".
AFTER THIS CARD: Rheinecker returned to the Rangers in September 2006, making eight RA and going unscored upon in six of them. He was in competition for a 2007 rotation spot, but back woes kept him out until June. He made one start, went back to AAA, returned for six more starts, then was transitioned to full-time relief.
Virtually all of Rheinecker's numbers improved after the switch, mainly due to avoiding the gopher ball (he'd allowed eight in 39 innings pre-switch, but only one in 11 innings post-switch.)
So how'd it all end for the now-28-year-old? Thoratic outlet syndrome—long story short, the condition causes shoulder pain and finger numbness, the last things any pitcher needs.
This condition has affected (and ended) other baseball careers; in fact, in one of MLB's great ironies, Rheinecker was drilled by San Francisco's Noah Lowry in his only MLB at-bat—the same Noah Lowry whose career also ended following a thoratic outlet syndrome procedure. (Thank you, FanGraphs.)
Texas outrighted Rheinecker off their roster after the '08 season, and he never came close to coming back. He died 7/18/17, aged 38, with no official cause of death given. (Yes, I know what that one supposed news site says, but it's not credible enough for me to regurgitate here.)
John Rheinecker appeared in 2006 and 2008 Topps Update.
8/8/17 Topps Baseball Card Of The Day: 1993 Topps #180 Darren Daulton, Phillies
More Darren Daulton Topps Cards: 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1994 1995 1996 1998
TSR breaks from the standard selection process in memory of "Dutch", who died of cancer on 8/6/17. Daulton spent all but three months of his 14-year career with the Philadelphia Phillies, initially as an injury-plagued Mendoza line skirter. A #25 pick who made good, Daulton recovered from shoulder injuries (first tendinitis, then sprain) that hampered him in 1984-85 to become Philly's primary catcher in '86.
Unfortunately, a couple of months in, he collided with St. Louis catcher Mike Heath at home plate (Daulton was the runner) and blew out his left knee. In his absence, the Phillies brought in slugging Lance Parrish, relegating Daulton to backup duty once he healed.
Now 27, Daulton finally got the #1 job back in '89—though he struggled offensively that year, he obliterated all of his career-highs in 1990 and earned a 3Y/$6.75M deal. Not bad considering one year earlier, the Phillies—not convinced Daulton's health would last—were trying to acquire Tony Pena and Sandy Alomar Jr. to be their catcher.
Here, having fully recovered from injuries suffered in a 1991 auto accident, Daulton has completed a breakthrough 1992 season (.270, 27 HR, NL-best 109 RBI). Remember those career-highs he set just two years past? Daulton reset them all in the summer of '92. In doing so, he made his first of three All-Star teams, earned MVP votes and, at last, quashed all thoughts of being replaced in Philly anytime soon.
THIS CARD: We chose Daulton's 1993 Topps card because it represented his best personal offensive year. We could have also gone with 1994, since his '93 numbers were similar and Philly won the NL pennant. But since Daulton's surprising '92 "put him on the map", 1993 Topps won out.
I could probably figure out what ballpark Daulton's in if I really wanted to, but not up for mystery-solving right now.
This was Year One of that Phillies' uniform/logo scheme, which replaced the infamous powder blue/maroon road unis of the previous eight years. With only slight tweaks, it's still in use today.
On Daulton's first four Topps cards, he was shown facing off to his right in various poses. This is his third straight batting image.
(flip) This could be the most intense reverse photo in the set.
Daulton entered the blurbed game tied with 1956 All-Star C Stan Lopata at 95 RBI; he homered off Bob Walk in the 6th to break the record, then doubled home a run off then-reliever Denny Neagle in the 7th. (Philly's other run: a Ruben Amaro, Jr. leadoff homer.)
It should be noted Lopata started almost 40 games at 1B that year, however.
Impressive when any catcher steals 11 bases (in 13 attempts); extra-special when said catcher has Daulton's knee history. He moved pretty well before the surgeries, though.
Daulton did play in 1984, batting .298 in 80 games for AAA-Portland when healthy.
Arkansas City is about an hour south of Wichita, near the Kansas/Oklahoma border along the Arkansas River.
AFTER THIS CARD: As mentioned, Daulton continued his excellence through 1993, earning a 4Y/$18M extension through 1997 as reward. But he'd be felled by substantial injuries from that point on—in fact, after tearing his right ACL in '95, he was left unable to catch and converted to LF. Five games into the '96 season, Daulton took himself off the roster, his knees too shot to contribute offensively or defensively. Retirement seemed imminent.
But by '97, he was back, now as a full-time RF and occasional 1B/DH. In fact, he'd started 79 of 95 games before being acquired by eventual World Champion Florida in a trade for prospect Billy McMillon. 35-year-old Dutch shared time at 1B with Jeff Conine, and finished the year slugging a combined .463 with 63 RBI in 136 games! Topping the dessert nicely, Daulton batted .500 with six runs scored in the three middle World Series games at Cleveland.
Daulton called it quits shortly after becoming a champion. His post-career life was, to euphemize, bumpy at times—he'd done time in jail for domestic violence prior to developing multiple brain tumors. Thought healed in 2015, brain cancer returned and eventually killed him. We'll leave you with this quote from late Phillies coach John Vukovich, taken from an archived Philly.com article:
“I played with better players and I’ve coached better players, but in 32 years (in pro baseball), I never saw a bigger leader. For me, (Daulton) set the standard of being a man.”
Darren Daulton appeared annually in Topps 1986-1998, except 1997, which I was not aware of until presenting this write-up.
8/10/17 Topps Baseball Card Of The Day: 1989 Topps #673 Don Baylor, Athletics
More Don Baylor Topps Cards: 1987 1988 1993 2001 2002
All I can say is...did pitchers of the 70's-80's want to get knocked out?
You can understand somebody like Craig Biggio being the all-time HBP leader. He was a player who'd do anything to get on base, and among the many descriptive terms that one could apply to him, "intimidating" could only be applied by a rabbit.
But before Bigs held the record, Don Baylor did. Three words into any discussion about Baylor from those who knew him, and the word "tough" comes up—in his autobiography, Yankees teammate Graig Nettles described Baylor as being able to "body-slam any pitcher in the league." And yet, Baylor wore the baseball 267 times from hurlers too wild (stupid?) to keep out of his kitchen.
How tough was Baylor? The only two times he charged the mound were after beanings. One came at the hands of John Denny, not a guy most dudes would challenge. Most.
Sadly, Baylor—a star slugger 1970-88 just a notch below Hall-of-Fame standing—was not tougher than the cancer that killed him 8/6/17, though I'd bet he fought it harder than it expected (Baylor was first diagnosed in 2003.)
"Groove", who went on to coach and manage for many years in MLB after retiring as a player, is remembered here with his final Topps player card (though he'd appear thrice more as a manager.)
THIS CARD: Certain angles, and Baylor resembles Joe Morgan a little.
1989 marked the first time since 1978 Baylor didn't get a card number ending in five or zero, the ones reserved for the stars.
Baylor played with Oakland twice—1976, as the main return from Baltimore in the Reggie Jackson trade, and again here in 1988. Using this for COTD was an easy choice because of the Bay Area tie, although his 1996 manager card might have won out if such a card existed.
It took a couple of viewings to realize Baylor's stick-like right arm is, in fact, a stick (bat) and not his right arm. Cut me slack; I don't typically eye cards closely until after they're scanned and posted.
Even then, guys like 1988 Baylor—unproductive aging guys on the way out—didn't always make it to Topps sets; playing in the WS probably cinched his spot in this set, but if he were a Mariner...it's doubtful. Today, he might have a 20% chance (at best) of inclusion no matter who he played for.
(flip) Check out the games played—for Baylor to be plunked so much but miss so little time says something. (Wrist and toe injuries unrelated to drillings sidelined him in 1980.)
Note the 1979 stats—Baylor was league MVP and carried the Angels to their first postseason! (Also note the 52 steals for the '76 A's; Groove wasn't yet the hulking figure he'd later become.)
MLB only tracked game-winning RBI for a short time; Baylor has to rank pretty high on that list.
Topps gets the position right—though Baylor was a natural outfielder, he was strictly a DH/PH in 1988. And even most of his PH appearances were for the DH. Tony LaRussa obviously didn't even want to risk 39-year-old Baylor grabbing a glove.
AFTER THIS CARD: Not all know this, but former star Andres Galarraga may well owe the second half of his career to Baylor, who worked extensively to revive the former's fast-fading career as a Cardinals hitting coach in 1992. When Baylor joined the newborn Rockies, he pushed the team to acquire Galarraga. As you know, El Gato Grande went on a six-year slugging tear slowed only by...goddamn cancer.
Baylor lasted six seasons with Colorado, including a 1995 season in which the Rox set a record for fastest expansion team to reach postseason—later broken by the two-year-old Diamondbacks in 1999—and earned a Manager Of The Year award for their skipper.
In 2000 Baylor took over the Cubs, causing a minor uproar when he dared challenge superstar Sammy Sosa to be a complete player (rather than the one-dimensional slugger he'd devolved into.) While Chicago made a 23-game leap in '01, their '02 backslide cost Baylor his job halfway in. Though he later coached for several teams—including the Angels, where he snapped his leg catching a ceremonial first pitch from Vlad Guerrero in 2014—his managerial career was over.
Don Baylor appeared in Topps as a player annually 1971-89—the first two on shared Prospects cards—and as a manager in 1993, 2001 and 2002. Not one of those 22 card images are particularly inspiring.
8/17/17 Topps Baseball Card Of The Day: 2002 Topps #464 Donnie Sadler, Royals
More Donnie Sadler Topps Cards: 2001
Now that Jose Altuve has become a legitimate, five-tool MVP candidate down in Houston, the road to the majors for 5'6" guys like him—and Donnie Sadler a decade prior—shouldn't be as bumpy. Oh, it'll surely still be a little bumpy; let's not get naive. But no scout worth anything will write off a guy totally because he still shops in the junior's section.
Sadler, for example, didn't amount to much in the majors, but his size had nothing to do with it—he just couldn't hit major league pitching with any regularity. Surprising, because In the mid-90's the little guy was considered Boston's top prospect! He could field, run and play six positions (as it turned out), however, so despite an unpretty AAA 1997 slash line, he found his way onto Boston's Opening Day roster in 1998—helping keep 2B warm for late signee Mark Lemke.
Though Sadler was soon sent down—management didn't want him rotting on the bench—he returned for the final three months, much of that at Boston's primary 2B (by then, the washed-up Lemke had come and long since gone.) Sadler would shuttle up and down between AAA Pawtucket and the Red Sox for two more years until being traded to the Reds for another versatile fella, Chris Stynes—Cincy was dumping salary.
Here, Sadler has completed a 2001 season that began with those Reds, but ended with the Kansas City Royals. The now-26-year-old had been designated for assignment in June—aside from one 4-for-4 breakout, he hit .181—and traded to KC days later in exchange for possibly the most obscure prospect ever included in an MLB trade.
THIS CARD: Sadler makes his second and final Topps appearance in the 2002 set. He does not appear 5'6" in this photo, which was snapped at Comerica Park, Detroit. That's a 100th American League anniversary patch on Sadler's sleeve.
I'm in favor of including as many guys as possible in a set, including the no-name, backup guys like Sadler. However, how on Earth did a guy like Sadler, with awful numbers in irregular playing time for a bad team, find himself included in this set ahead of so many deserving others?
2002 Topps 'player inclusion—while improved from the late 1990's—wasn't as deep as it had once been or would again be, but somehow Sadler nabbed a spot ahead of teammate Luis Alicea, who played (well) in 113 games, most of them starts?
(flip) You probably figured out Topps erred in Sadler's 2001 at-bat total; he accumulated 185 combined AB that year (84 with the Reds, 101 with the Royals). And that 101 career AB total should actually say 515. All other whole numbers are accurate.
Donnie Sadler did not start, or even play, first base at any point in his career according to BaseballReference.com. Given the other errors on this card...I'm more apt to trust BR.
Topps was both right and wrong to list Sadler as a 2B—he got the most run there in 2001, but was close enough as a SS and OF to share designations.
Dave Dellucci and Bubba Trammell also went in 1994 Round #11.
It is actually spelled "Gholson", Texas. And it's located 15 miles north of Waco. Which is halfway between Dallas/Fort Worth and Austin. End geography lesson.
AFTER THIS CARD: Sadler continued with KC into 2002, but was waived around the All-Star break and claimed by Texas. In '03 he set a career-high with 77 games—exactly one of them at his natural 2B position—before being cut by the Rangers at season's end.
The Arizona Diamondbacks employed Sadler from 2004-07, and though he only played 19 MLB games over that period, he made plenty of news.
First, Sadler suffered a concussion in 2004 when a ball struck him during batting practice. Then, after two years on the farm, he returned to MLB for one AB in '07—after Arizona IF Alberto Callaspo was arrested for domestic violence. Finally, in July 2007, Sadler took a 50-game suspension for PED's and was done professionally. He went on to coach in the Phillies' system; unsure if he's still doing so.
(Additionally, Sadler's cousin Ray played three games with the 2005 Pirates—just long enough to help sink my Giants with a home run off Noah Lowry.)
Donnie Sadler appeared in 2001-02 Topps. Upper Deck and Fleer produced cards of him with the Red Sox, if you're interested in one (I have to admit...they, along with Score, were the better companies in the late 1990's.)
8/21/17 Topps Baseball Card Of The Day: 1995 Topps Traded #82 Chad Fonville, Dodgers
More Chad Fonville Topps Cards: 1996
Surely, those of you over 30 remember Nomo-mania—Japanese pitching star Hideo Nomo came stateside and became an overnight sensation with his long, stretchy delivery and high strikeout totals.
But he wasn't the only rookie sensation on the 1995 Dodgers roster.
Okay, maybe "sensation" is a stretch, but for a couple of bursts, people were certainly buzzing about young Chad Fonville. He'd come out of nowhere and gone 7-for-9 in two blowout wins at Wrigley Field shortly after joining the Dodgers. Then, right around the Trade Deadline, he temporarily took over the leadoff and second base positions, responding with a put up a .338 average/.420 OBP stretch over two weeks!
By September, incumbent SS Jose Offerman—never a favorite of longtime manager Tom Lasorda—was benched in favor of Fonville, who held his own down the stretch as LA broke their seven-year postseason drought (if you can call it that.)
Here, Fonville has just landed on the 1995 Dodgers' roster, acquired off waivers from Montreal at May's close. Because he'd been a Rule V pick of the Expos, the Dodgers had to keep him on their major league roster through season's end or risk losing him to the Giants (whom Montreal drafted Fonville from) or another team via waivers, as the Expos did. For one glorious summer, it paid off.
THIS CARD: You better believe when Brett Butler returned to the Dodgers for the final third of '95, he got his number #22 back. I hear some Clayton guy has it now. Wonder if he's better than Fonville.
Fonville, as mentioned, didn't open '95 with the Dodgers, so this pic is from somewhere between June 3 and August 18, when Butler was re-acquired. He seems to be displeased with a called third strike as he returns to the dugout. But since I don't know offhand what side Dodger Stadium's home dugout is on and don't wish to look it up, I can't confirm.
Fonville is listed as an outfielder. I suppose that's okay; he was getting semi-regular run in the OF when this set was released. But he ended '95 as a regular SS, began his Dodger tenure playing mostly 2B and played little outfield in the minors.
(flip) Pretty much everything in the blurb has been discussed above. I really should read the blurbs first. (The Dodgers won those games 12-5 and 6-0 at Chicago.)
As you can tell from the stats, Fonville had virtually no thump in his bat. He never hit a major league homer, and would only hit one more in the minors.
Where the hell is San Jos?
What are the odds of randomly selecting two 5'6" players in a row??
Jacksonville, North Carolina is about two hours SE of Raleigh, just short of the coast. Use I-40.
AFTER THIS CARD: Not much. Dependable veteran SS Greg Gagne joined the Dodgers for '96, but Fonville stuck around with LA in a supersub role, starting at five positions. But he only slugged .234 and batted .204 that year, and spent most of the next year in AAA before joining the White Sox in September as the PTBNL from an earlier trade for Darren Lewis.
Three AB with the '99 Red Sox and parts of three years in the Independent League 2001-04 closed Fonville's pro career.
Chad Fonville appeared in 1995 Topps Traded, as well as 1996 Topps.
CATEGORIES: 1995 Topps, Los Angeles Dodgers
8/25/17 Topps Baseball Card Of The Day: 2014 Topps #69 Jhoulys Chacin, Rockies
More Jhoulys Chacin Topps Cards: 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2015 2016
We love it here at TSR when COTD overlaps current events, or in this case current games. We randomly picked Chacin back on August 25, but his write-up was not started until August 28—which happened to be the night he started against my Giants (and lost; Jeff Samardzija threw a shutout.)
Chacin illustrates how fatherhood has skewed my sense of time, as it relates to tracking major league careers, anyway. I used to be able to recite most any star's career stops perfectly—I can still do so for the likes of Jose Canseco, Gary Sheffield, David Wells and other well-traveled stars of then. But today's stars?! A resounding NOPE.
In fact, if you'd told me before yesterday that Chacin had been around for nine years, I'd have never believed it. (Same with Tyler Chatwood...he's 30 with seven years in???) Lengthy MLB careers have been unfurling right under my distracted nose, and Chacin is a prime example.
There were periods early in his career that Chacin was the Rockies' best starter. Which is sort of like saying Marge is the prettiest of the Bouvier sisters...but still.
Save for two July weeks spent relieving, Chacin spent most of 2010 in Colorado's rotation and threw well. In 2011, more of the same—with onetime aces Ubaldo Jiminez, Jorge De La Rosa and Aaron Cook traded or hurt, Chacin led Colorado's staff in everything (he also led the NL with 87 BB, however.)
Sadly, his 2012 was marred by shoulder tendinitis in Spring Training—that he didn't fess up to until May; Chacin ultimately lost three months. But here, the burly righty is coming off the best season of his career. He won five consecutive 2013+ starts at one point, allowed a total of four runs in four April starts, and gave up just six home runs in 116 IP at Coors Field!
THIS CARD: Chacin might be snapping off a breaking ball here. He can attack with the slider or a low-90's fastball; he could reach the mid-90's earlier in his career. Chacin also has a changeup and curveball.
Doesn't take much guessing to identify the ballpark—Chacin won his lone start at Dodger Stadium in 2013, beating Ricky Nolasco just before the All-Star break.
Throughout Rockies history, #45 was almost exclusively worn by middle relievers before Chacin came along. Today, Scott Oberg—a middle reliever—wears it.
(flip) That name is pronounced Jool-eeze, FYI.
Who beat Chacin in Rockies' season ERA? Ubaldo Jimenez posted a 2.88 ERA in his breakout 2010 season. (That's among pitchers qualified for the ERA title, meaning at least 162 IP.)
No idea whose record Chacin tied. Researching those type of lengthy, detailed accomplishments take more effort than I'm usually willing to put out.
Shawn Chacon struck out 134 men in 2001. Years from now, people will get Chacon and Chacin confused. (For the record, Carlos Monasterios of the Dodgers was the record-breaker.)
AFTER THIS CARD: Chacin lasted one more injury-plagued season in Colorado (shoulder), making just 11 starts and winning but one of them. Colorado released the 27-year-old in Spring 2015—he'd struggled to that point and the Rox stood to save 80% of his $5.5M salary with the move.
Near season's end, Chacin found himself in Arizona's rotation, pitching decently in four starts and a mop-up. He won the Braves' 5th-starter spot for '16—only to be dealt to the Angels a month into the season to make room for prospect Williams Perez. Chacin signed with San Diego for 2017, and has pitched mostly well since June after a rocky open.
Jhoulys Chacin has appeared in Topps or Topps Update annually since 2009, shown firing a pitch on every last card (though from different vantage points).
8/30/17 Topps Baseball Card Of The Day: 2009 Topps Update #202 Angel Berroa, Mets
More Angel Berroa Topps Cards: 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009
When you own somewhere upwards of 30,000 baseball cards, it's impossible for every last one of them to be seared into your internal memory (see: 1987 Topps #569 Wade Rowdon, our 8/2/17 selection). This Angel Berroa card falls in that category of "Cards I Had No Idea I Owned"—I'd long forgotten Berroa ever played for the Mets, which I probably never knew until pulling this card eight years ago.
Which isn't to say I'd forgotten Berroa himself—I remember him well, the breakthrough rookie SS of the surprising 2003 Kansas City Royals who just couldn't get back to the same level of play he showed as AL Rookie Of The Year. Despite that, Berroa lasted most of four years as KC's primary SS, playing first for Tony Pena and then Buddy Bell.
Berroa was rewarded for his 2003 effort with a 4Y/$11M extension in May 2004—but by August 2004 had been demoted to AA Wichita for two weeks; he'd slipped on O but was especially disappointing on D. In '05 Berroa started all but three games and greatly improved his error rate, but by the end of '06 KC was clearly drifting from the idea of Berroa manning short going forward.
In Spring '07, the team imported other shortstops—young and old—to "push" Berroa, and one of them, Tony Pena Jr., pushed Berroa right out the door and back to AAA! (Two years too late to blame on nepotism, however.)
After playing only nine MLB games in 2007, Berroa was traded to the Dodgers that winter. Here, he's landed with the Mets after being cut by the crosstown Yankees around the 2009 All-Star break.
THIS CARD: It's pretty rare when we can pinpoint even the date of the play depicted on a card, but to be able to nail down the exact PLAY?! That's unprecedented in the three-plus years I've run TSR, but because Berroa didn't last long as a Met, we can do just that with a little help from good old baseballreference.com.
This shot depicts the final play of Game 1 of a 7/30/09 doubleheader against the Rockies. Facing Mets RP Tim Redding, Rox 3B Garrett Atkins reached via fielder's choice, but the following batter, Ian Stewart, grounded into a game-ending double play; Berroa is shown here turning it. (New York won 7-0 behind Johan Santana, aided by Berroa's two-run double.)
Berroa was one of six men to wear #4 for the Mets 2007-09. Wilmer Flores has worn it since 2013, although he came thisclose to losing it.
(flip) The two American Leaguers ahead of Berroa on the 2003-05 HBP list: Jason Giambi and Reed Johnson (48 each).
Remember that three-team megatrade between the A's, Royals and D-Rays in early '01? You know, the one that sent Ben Grieve to Tampa, (the original) Roberto Hernandez to KC and Johnny Damon to Oakland? That's how the Royals nabbed then-prospect Berroa from the Oakland organization.
Using the 15-AB minimum, Ledezma and Johnson ranked as Berroa's all-time (not just active in '09) best vs. AVG pitchers. Mike Maroth, who was done by 2009 and thus not shown on this card, ranked third at .396.
AFTER THIS CARD: Virtually nothing. Berroa hit .148 in limited Mets action and was gone less than a month after arriving. Minor league deals with the Dodgers, Giants and Diamondbacks went nowhere, forcing Berroa to the Independent League and then Mexico, where he spent his final three pro seasons 2013-15.
Angel Berroa appears in some form in either Topps base, Traded or Update 2002-09; he's also got a 2009 base card as a Dodger. From 2004 on, he's exclusively depicted in the field.
CATEGORIES: 2009 Topps Update, New York Mets