Topps Baseball Card Of The Day, August 2021
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A = Alternate Card F = Factory Team Set G = Giveaway Set T = Traded Set U = Update Set
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8/31/21 Topps Baseball Card Of The Day: 2006 Topps Update #117 Scott Proctor, Yankees
More Scott Proctor Topps Cards: 2004T 2007 2007U 2008B
From 2006-07, Scott Proctor was the busiest reliever around, getting in exactly 83 games in each of those two seasons (and another three in the 2006 postseason). A #5 pick of the Dodgers in 1998, Proctor had grown into a decent starting pitching prospect when he was switched to relief in 2003. That July, he was one of two youngsters acquired by the Yankees in a trade for 3B Robin Ventura.
Proctor made his MLB debut in 2004, but needed more minor league seasoning. Here, the 29-year-old is well into his first full major league season after winning a spot on the 2006 Yankees roster in Spring Training. Not until his 18th appearance did Proctor allow multiple runs in a game, and his ERA was below 2 as late as 5/20.
THIS CARD: We see Proctor about to deliver his then-100-MPH fastball, or his slider, curve or changeup. Proctor later added a sinker, and much later, a splitter, as he lost some heat.
I was surprised to find Proctor only appeared in one Topps set, though he did pop up in three Traded/Update sets. His big league splendor was far shorter than I remembered.
More from Proctor's early-mid 2006 season: in April, he threw a lot of long relief and piled up several 40+-pitch outings. In time, manager Joe Torre began to trust him later in games, but leading up to the All-Star break Proctor's effectiveness waned (9.00 in the final 10 games of the first half). Still, he struck out five of the final nine batters he faced.
(flip) Since there's no blurb, we'll tell you that Proctor won a job in New York's 2006 bullpen with a 1.06 ERA in Spring Training, with seven hits allowed in 17 innings.
Instead of that bloated career ERA, Topps could have used the Stat Box to highlight Proctor's career 9.7 H/9. Which, obviously, isn't good, but the truth is, none of Proctor's early stats were bragworthy.
Check out Proctor's decent numbers as a starter for 2001 Vero Beach and 2002 Jacksonville. I'm not sure precisely why he was sent to middle relief in 2003, but the move seemed to accelerate his promotion to MLB.
AFTER THIS CARD: Proctor's early 2007 season was certainly eventful—he was suspended four games for throwing behind a hitter, later burned his equipment in the Yankee dugout following a rough outing, and was traded back to the Dodgers in July. Battling a bad elbow that eventually required surgery, he did not fare well for the 2008 Dodgers and signed with Florida for 2009.
Proctor's elbow continued to act up, however, and he underwent UCL surgery in May. But in 2010 Spring Training, there Proctor was, already firing away for the Braves 10 months after surgery! He was not quite crisp yet, and the team held him over at AAA Gwinnett until September.
The 34-year-old returned to Atlanta for 2011, but posted a 6.44 ERA in 31 games before being let go in August. Proctor returned to the Yankees for what would be his final 11 major league innings...over which he allowed a staggering six home runs. Proctor spent 2012 pitching in Korea and attempted comebacks with the 2013 Giants and Orioles, but neither club promoted him.
In 2013, Proctor admitted drinking likely curtailed his career.
Scott Proctor appeared in 2004 Topps Traded, 2006 Topps Update, 2007 Topps, 2007 Topps Update and a Factory Bonus 2008 Topps set.
CATEGORIES: 2006 Topps Update, New York Yankees
More August 2021 Topps Cards Of The Day
8/1/21 Topps Baseball Card Of The Day: 2018 Topps #334 Eddie Rosario, Twins
More Eddie Rosario Topps Cards: 2015U 2016 2017 2019 2020 2021
It took at least 2-3 years before I could differentiate Twins OF Eddie Rosario from Twins IF Eduardo Escobar. Every few years, a pair of dudes reach MLB with names and games so similar until I have trouble remembering which one is which, especially if they're on teams I don't regularly see.
It happened to me in the mid-2000's with Jeremy Reed and Jeremy Hermida—and they weren't even on the same team! It's happening to me now with the Tigers' Willi and Harold Castro.
Around the time this card was released, I binge-watched Rosario and Escobar highlights until I could definitively identify one from the other. It was a blessed day, because both have since become very, VERY good—albeit different—players, and I'd look like a fool if I ever mistook one for the other.
Here, Rosario is fresh off his third major league season, all with Minnesota. In 2017 he set career highs in just about everything except triples, and more than doubled his power output while dramatically reducing his K rate somehow...that's rarely done at the major league level, folks.
THIS CARD: We see LF Rosario charging in for the catch as SS Jorge Polanco wisely stays out of his way. According to Getty Images, this pic was shot 5/18/2017, in Game 1 of a doubleheader with Colorado. Wasn't able to get any other deets such as inning or batter. but we CAN tell you Minnesota lost 5-1.
Rosario started 126 games in LF, five games in CF and 11 games in RF for the 2017 Twins. He's never been regarded as a plus defender, but he's made some plays over the years.
It is a bit weird profiling an active player, since the Randomizer has been spitting out so few of them in recent weeks. In fact, the last active player profiled in COTD was Brandon Woodruff on May 19.
(flip) That is still Rosario's Twitter handle today. I'm not sure what the 09 represented, since he only wore #20 with the Twins, but it must mean something to him because he took #9 upon joining the Indians for 2021.
That three-homer game went down 6/13 vs. Seattle's Christian Bergman, Casey Lawrence, and Carlos Ruiz (yes, that one); Rosario's five RBI powered a 20-7 victory. Rosario would also blast three homers in a mid-2018 game.
As you see in the stats, the three-base hit once so prominent in Rosario's game has given way to the four-base hit. He's only hit eight triples from 2016-present after those league-leading 15 in 2015.
AFTER THIS CARD: Rosario's 2018 was very similar statistically to his 2017, but the Twins failed to return to postseason play. In '19, Rosario homered 32 times with a team-high 109 RBI, helping Minnesota to 101 wins and an ALDS berth. But the Yankees dispatched them from the playoffs for the second time in three years.
Now making $7.5M—pre-virus, anyway—Rosario's average fell to .257 in 2020 and he went hitless in the Twins' Wild Card Series loss to Houston. Likely due for an arbitration raise, the Twins opted to non-tender their longtime LF that winter.
Cleveland signed Rosario for 2021 (1Y/$8M), but after a half-season featuring poor luck and amazing luck, he was swapped to the Braves at the Deadline for 3B/PH Pablo Sandoval. At present, the 29-year-old Rosario is recovering from an oblique injury and won't debut with Atlanta for a while.
Eddie Rosario debuted in 2015 Topps Update before appearing in 2016-2021 Topps. Each of his past four commons are of the horizontal variety; his 2019 Topps card is one of my favorites.
CATEGORIES: 2018 Topps, Minnesota Twins
8/3/21 Topps Baseball Card Of The Day: 1987 Topps #340 Roger Clemens, Red Sox
More Roger Clemens Topps Cards: 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 1999A 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2007U 2008
I gotta tell the truth: teen me all but worshipped Roger Clemens for a time.
In those days and even today, I've always been a fan of big, durable pitchers who pile up a lot of innings. And during my youth, nobody fit that description better than the "Rocket". He was good for 18+ wins, 240+ innings and 200+ K every year until his mysterious dropoff in 1993. But before long he was back to his ridiculous standard—after Red Sox GM Dan Duquette essentially called him washed up and let him walk to Toronto.
Of course, those post-Boston years are now shrouded in mystery. Clemens has never admitted to using PEDs, but a former trainer—with much to lose and nothing to gain by lying—testified under oath that Clemens did indeed 'roid up for a long time. It's why, despite seven Cy Young Awards, 354 career wins, an MVP award and the third-most strikeouts in history, Clemens has never come close to Cooperstown enshrinement.
Now all I feel toward the guy is indifference. Not that he gives a flying f--- about my approval, but still.
Here, however, Clemens is the untainted, unquestioned best pitcher in the land, the driving force behind the Red Sox' 1986 AL pennant. That year he posted a ridiculous 0.97 WHIP, won 24 of 28 decisions, claimed that MVP award, and for good measure, Clemens also struck out a record-setting 20 Mariners on 4/29!
THIS CARD: For whatever reason, each of Clemens' first three Topps front images are just him slightly turned, staring into the distance. The uniforms and locales differ, but there was definitely no true redundancy check done back in the mid-1980's. (The company made up for it with his 1991 Topps front image, one of its best ever.)
Clemens also has a Record Breaker card in 1987 Topps (Card #1), shouting out his 20-K masterpiece.
More from Clemens' 1986 season: he began the year 14-0 after 15 starts, with a no-decision at Oakland 5/9 the only interruption. In those 15 starts, he threw at least eight innings 13 times, which would get a manager tarred and feathered today.
(flip) I will never get used to "O" as an abbreviation for "Ohio". Or the thought that an adult Clemens ever weighed 205 lbs. And no, we didn't pick this card to acknowledge Clemens' 59th birthday tomorrow; its selection was a total coincidence.
Now, 241 K in 275 IP certainly isn't shabby, but I'd have expected at least 50 more from a pitcher of Clemens' caliber. Of course, things were different in the 1980's—there was shame associated with striking out.
Reuss was a very good pitcher, but nowhere near Clemens' level. Still, he achieved something The Rocket never quite could...that's baseball for ya.
AFTER THIS CARD: We mentioned the seven Cy Youngs and the MVP. There was also that second 20-K game (in 1996), five more 20-win seasons, the mega-contract with Toronto, the trade from Toronto to the Yankees of all teams, the bizarre conflict with Mike Piazza, the will-he-or-won't-he-pitch saga throughout his Astros tenure, and of course, the introduction of the word "misremember" into the lexicon.
It was never dull with Roger Clemens, who appeared annually in Topps 1985-2008, including twice in 1999. (BTW, even though I've owned it for over a decade, I was surprised to confirm Clemens received a 2008 Topps sunset card. I'd long thought he'd gotten the Barry Bonds treatment.)
CATEGORIES: 1987 Topps, Boston Red Sox
8/4/21 Topps Baseball Card Of The Day: 2010 Topps #526 Carlos Guillen, Tigers
More Carlos Guillen Topps Cards: 1999 2002 2003 2004 2004T 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2011
Carlos Guillen was a three-time All-Star infielder for the Mariners and Tigers over a 14-year career, and as good as a player as he was, he never received a whole lot of national pub. In fact, if you randomly asked ME, an over-obsessed baseball sponge, to name all of the All-Star shortstops of the 2000's, I can't guarantee Guillen would quickly come to mind.
But for several years, he was right there in that second tier of American League shortstops. He hit for some power, showed some speed, and displayed versatility without complaint. The only real knock on Guillen was his penchant for injuries—he averaged 152 games in 2006-07 but was otherwise a regular visitor to the disabled list.
Here, the 34-year-old has just wrapped his sixth season in Detroit. Guillen was asked to switch positions for the second straight year (to LF from 3B), but in the end almost half of his run came as a DH anyway. He missed nearly three months (5/5 through 7/23) with right shoulder inflammation and a sore Achilles tendon.
THIS CARD: I'm not sure Guillen got the bat head around on this one. If so, he probably got it around too fast and yanked it foul. Oh, well, nobody's perfect.
Uniform #9 has been pretty good for the Tigers during my fandom. Before Guillen, 2B Damion Easley had some good years for Detroit wearing #9, and more recently, 3B/OF Nick Castellanos enjoyed even better years with #9 on his back. Today, IF Willi Castro wears it after switching from #49.
More from Guillen's 2009 season: he opened the year 6-for-38 (.158) before warming up towards the end of April. Then he was injured in early May, but promptly hit in seven straight games after returning in late July. On 8/31 Guillen went 4-for-5 with two homers, four RBI and three runs, followed by a 3-for-4, two-homer, four-RBI effort on 9/23.
(flip) It's not accurate to list Guillen as solely a DH. He played more LF in 2009 (42 games to 36 at DH) and was playing almost exclusively LF down the stretch for the Tigers (though he DH'd in the classic Game #163).
That Trade With Mariners sent IF Ramon Santiago and a prospect to Seattle, who wasn't interested in giving Guillen an arbitration raise and signed FA SS Rich Aurilia that same day.
No blurb, so I'll supply one: Carlos boasts a .301/.373/.486 slashline in 721 games with the Tigers. On 9/23/09 he homered from both sides of the plate for the fourth time in his career.
AFTER THIS CARD: Guillen opened 2010 as a LF/DH once more, but by May he was back at 2B. Hamstring, calf and knee injuries limited him to 68 games, however, and microfracture surgery on said knee kept him out until July 2011. After more aches (wrist, calf) and an omission from Detroit's postseason roster, the Tigers moved on from the 34-year-old.
Seattle signed Guillen to a MiLB deal in February 2012, but he retired a month later.
Carlos Guillen debuted in 1999 Topps as a brand-new Mariner, then appeared annually from 2002-11. He's also got a 2004 Traded card.
CATEGORIES: 2010 Topps, Detroit Tigers
8/5/21 Topps Baseball Card Of The Day: 1995 Topps Traded #86 Tom Goodwin, Royals
More Tom Goodwin Topps Cards: 1993 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003T 2004
My main "memory of" Tom Goodwin is stubbornly insisting upon platooning him in CF for the Giants in my old EA Sports Triple Play Baseball Playstation game. It was either that or play Tsuyoshi Shinjo against lefties and righties—I didn't want to deal with the complications involving trading for Kenny Lofton as the real life Giants did that year.
If memory serves, Goodwin batted somewhere around .230 with absolutely no pop at all.
There's a reason why I haven't won a video game World Series since 1994.
Here, Goodwin has just earned his first regular MLB playing time with the 1995 Royals. Claimed off waivers from the outfield-rich Dodgers in January 1994, Goodwin spent virtually all of that year in AAA before taking over for the traded Brian McRae as the Royals CF.
THIS CARD: With the mitt, Goodwin was good, but not great. He could run down most anything, but his arm wasn't anything to brag about.
This is either a 1994 photo or a Spring Training 1995 photo, because Goodwin switched to #42 for the 1995 regular season; I'm not sure why. (He'd also worn #47 with the Dodgers.) In Royals history, #47 has been worn by mostly no-names and journeymen, although 2015 trade acquisition Johnny Cueto helped the Royals win the World Series wearing those digits.
More from Goodwin's early 1995 season: he recorded a hit and a walk in three of his first four games of '95. On 5/28 he went 3-for-4 at Milwaukee, then on 5/30 he went 3-for-4 again, this time against Texas. Those performances raised his average 52 points!
(flip) Those two 1994 Royals games? Goodwin, who opened the year on KC's roster, pinch-ran against Baltimore 4/6, then played the final three innings of a 22-11 loss to Boston 4/12. He was then optioned to AAA Omaha for the season's duration.
Goodwin played for Team USA in 1988, but does not have a card in 1988 Topps Traded like most of the rest of the team.
Goodwin was not a #2 pick in June 1989, he was a #1 pick, 22nd overall in fact. That error also appears on his 1993 Topps card, but is corrected on his 1996 Topps card.
AFTER THIS CARD: Goodwin remained a Royals regular in CF/LF through mid-1997, when he was traded to Texas for 3B Dean Palmer. He stole 166 bases 1995-97, an average of 55.3 per year!
Goodwin enjoyed a solid 1998 for the Rangers but slipped in 1999 and was not re-signed. The Rockies inked Goodwin for 3Y/$10.75M in December 1999, but traded him to the Dodgers in July 2000 (for OF Todd Hollandsworth and two failed prospects). Slowed by a bad hamstring pull in 2001, the 33-year-old batted just .231 with 22 steals and was waived in April 2002.
That's when my Giants swooped in. Goodwin wasn't terrible as a Giant, but his lasting memory there might be his insertion as a PH for Reggie Sanders—a cold, but monumentally superior hitter—in Game 7 of the 2002 World Series. As he'd done in five of his seven postseason at-bats to that point, Goodwin struck out.
Two seasons (2003-04) as a Cubs reserve OF/PH/PR followed, but when Tampa Bay cut Goodwin in Spring 2005, his MLB career ended at 36. He went on to manage in the minors briefly before resurfacing as a coach, first with the 2013-17 Mets, and since 2018 with the Red Sox.
Tom Goodwin debuted in 1993 Topps, then appeared annually 1996-2004 (except 2003). He's also got 1995 and 2003 Traded cards, but NOBODY produced a card of Goodwin as a Giant—leading me to believe I'm wrong and he was actually so awful in SF no one would preserve the memory...
CATEGORIES: 1995 Topps Traded, Kansas City Royals
8/7/21 Topps Baseball Card Of The Day: 2019 Topps #214 Colin Moran, Pirates
More Colin Moran Topps Cards: 2016U 2018U 2020 2021
(No known relation to Erin.)
My top memory of Pirates IF Colin Moran is one he undoubtedly would extract from his own memory if he could.
Back in 2017, when still feeling his way as a new Astro, Moran joined the dubious list of major leaguers to foul a ball off of his own face. This was no glancing blow, either—the unsteady infielder was carted off the field and hospitalized, never to play for Houston again.
Here, however, things have improved greatly for Moran—he's just completed his first season with the Pirates, who acquired him in the Gerrit Cole trade of January 2018. Moran, who would not have gotten much run behind Alex Bregman in Houston, served as Pittsburgh's primary 3B during the first half of 2018 before essentially platooning the final two months.
THIS CARD: I promise you, you would not recognize "RedBeard" from his clean-shaven Houston days.
No, your eyes do not deceive you: the Randomizer has chosen a 2019 Topps card, only the 5th in the 20 months I've owned the set. A welcome selection, as 2019 Topps is one of my favorite sets.
Moran appears to be tracking a ball just hit in the air. His reputation as a third baseman was not a particularly good one, and these days he mans first base.
(flip) FYI, Corey Dickerson was Moran's Pirates teammate 2018-19. Dickerson is a very good player, but not to the point he needs no introduction.
Only two Pirates (Starling Marte and Josh Bell) played more games than Moran's 144 in 2018.
That is still Moran's Twitter handle, though his last visible original post is from September 2019. Just a bunch of retweets since.
AFTER THIS CARD: In 2019, Moran started 106 games at 3B for the Bucs but also found time at 1B, 2B and even LF! Still, he struck out too much and didn't show enough power (13 HR in 466 AB) to fully compensate. Pittsburgh shifted Moran to 1B/DH for 2020, and he was their lone player to reach double-digit home runs.
At present, Moran has recently returned to the lineup after an errant pitch from Colorado's Kyle Freeland broke his left wrist 6/28/2021. He's at .273, 4, 23 in 51 games this season.
Colin Moran debuted in 2016 Topps Update, returned in 2018 Topps Update, and then appeared in the 2019-21 base sets.
CATEGORIES: 2019 Topps, Pittsburgh Pirates
8/8/21 Topps Baseball Card Of The Day: 2014 Topps #28 Brayan Pena, Tigers
More Brayan Pena Topps Cards: 2004 2006 2009U 2011U 2012 2013U 2014U 2015
Hardly anybody remembers he ever even played, but for several years Brayan Pena was one of the better backup catchers in the game. He eventually became a regular catcher, which he was IMHO not quite suited for. But Pena could be pretty effective if used twice a week or so. He was a switch-hitter with a little pop and a good arm, and he could put the bat on the ball.
After four years on the minor league shuttle with Atlanta, Pena secured Kansas City's #2 catcher position, backing up the likes of Miguel Olivo, Jason Kendall and a very young Salvador Perez 2009-12. Here, however, Pena's wrapped up his lone season with the Detroit Tigers, who brought him in to back up Alex Avila. Pena started 52 games for the Tigers in 2013—11 of which went to extra innings!
THIS CARD: Pena graces our COTD presence for the second time; we profiled his 2009 Topps Update card back in April 2019.
The website identifies the ballpark for us in this case, Kansas City's Kauffman Stadium. In 2013 Pena batted 3-for-10 with three RBI in three games at Kauffman, his home park of the previous four seasons.
Catchers are taught to haul in popups with their back to the mound, as Pena demonstrates perfectly here. In my amateur league, I once failed to follow this protocol and sure enough, an easy popup fell to the ground. True story.
(flip) For his career, Pena hit 32 points better off RHP than LHP, so his 2013 performance against them wasn't totally uncharacteristic.
Pena was signed to a 1Y/$875K deal by Detroit after the Royals attempted to outright him to AAA Omaha after the 2012 season. In hindsight, it was a very sound decision for both Pena and the Tigers.
Expanding on the Rookie Fact, Pena's hit was a 2nd-inning infield single off Kaz Ishii of the Mets (good LORD that's going way back) that was thrown away, sending Pena to 2B. He soon scored on a three-run triple by Rafael Furcal, helping Atlanta to an 8-6 win!
AFTER THIS CARD: The Reds signed Pena for 2Y/$2.275M in November 2013, initially to back up Devin Mesoraco. But Pena wound up topping 100 games played both years, as he subbed at 1B for the injured Joey Votto in 2014, then subbed for the injured Mesoraco behind the plate in 2015.
Signed to a 2Y/$5M deal by St. Louis in November 2015, Pena's career came to an abrupt end. 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: 2014 Topps, Detroit Tigers
8/9/21 Topps Baseball Card Of The Day: 2000 Topps #267 Carl Everett, Red Sox
More Carl Everett Topps Cards: 1991 1993T 1994 1996 1998 1999 2001 2002 2002T 2003 2003T 2004 2004T 2005 2006
Carl Everett and the Boston Red Sox may be the most mismatched player/team marriage in sports history—I can't recall any other pairing quite like it. I also can't imagine any circumstance in which the franchise would ever invite Everett back to Fenway Park other than maybe an actual dinosaur buying the team from John Henry.
As best as I can remember—I was a teen with very limited Internet/cable access—Everett hadn't been a distraction during his earlier days with the Mets and Astros. But those are, with all due respect, a couple of expansion franchises. Playing in Boston is a whole different animal, and Everett was not suited for it, plain and simple.
Here, the Sox have just acquired Everett from the Astros in a trade sending the unrelated SS prospect Adam Everett and career minor leaguer Greg Miller back to Houston.
THIS CARD: Who knew when this photo was shot, presumably early in Spring Training 2000, the two-year s---storm that would follow. Everett seems so calm and, well, normal here. Just a guy ready to play ball. There's even sunshine and blue skies in the background...
Yes, the Red Sox hosted the 1999 All-Star Game (with 79-year-old Ted Williams memorably present). Not sure at all why a patch commemorating that would belong on a 2000 uniform.
More from Everett's 1999 season: the 28-year-old enjoyed arguably the best year of his career batting mostly 4th/5th and playing CF for Houston. Unfortunately, he endured a second straight stinky October; Everett finished his Astros career 4-for-28 across the 1998-1999 postseasons.
(flip) Everett would go left-on-left a handful of times most seasons. According to BaseballReference.com, he batted left-on-left 62 times in his career, with 13 hits (.210).
In the Avery game at Cincinnati, Everett ripped a two-run bomb in the T3rd, which proved the difference in Houston's 5-3 win. (It was a fun series for Everett, who produced an inside-the-park homer at Cincinnati two days prior.)
That Trade was executed because in those days, the Astros operated within a budget and weren't willing to double Everett's pay in arbitration—especially with young Richard Hidalgo waiting in the wings.
Everett's .325 AVG in 1999 led the Astros, and that .571 SLG and 108 RBI ranked second to Jeff Bagwell. All despite missing 39 games, mostly due to hamstring and groin injuries in the second half.
AFTER THIS CARD: In Spring Training 2000, Everett signed a deal worth up to 4Y/$30.15M with Boston (including 2003 option). Despite some, well, tumult, he made the All-Star team in 2000, but except for busting up Mike Mussina's near-perfect game in September, little went right for Everett on or off the field in 2001 and Boston couldn't dump him fast enough that winter.
Except for 2003, a year split with the Rangers and White Sox, Everett was never a consistent impact player again, though he did hit .251, 23, 87 for the World Champion 2005 White Sox. Seattle inked Everett for 1Y/$4M for 2006, but in July—three weeks after mixing it up with manager Mike Hargrove—he and his .227 average were let go.
Following two seasons in the Independent League, Everett's pro career ended (but his troubles didn't).
Carl Everett debuted in 1991 Topps as a Yankees draft pick. He returned in 1993 Traded as a new Marlin, then appeared in the 1994, 1996 and 1998-2006 sets. Everett can also be found in 2002-04 Traded.
CATEGORIES: 2000 Topps, Detroit Tigers
8/11/21 Topps Baseball Card Of The Day: 2007 Topps #647 Juan Morillo, Rockies
More Juan Morillo Topps Cards: n/a
Morillo was a VERY hard-throwing prospect for the late-2000's Rockies who, despite his powerful right arm, only made nine major league appearances across four seasons largely due to—wait for it—trouble finding the strike zone. Originally a starter as a Rox minor leaguer 2003-06, Morillo did enjoy some success before being called up to Colorado in September 2006.
THIS CARD: Morillo made one appearance for the Rockies in 2006 and I strongly doubt this image is from that game. (It wasn't; Morillo wore #52 in that game so this must be a Spring Training pic.)
That is one clean, easily discernable signature. Unlike many previous 2007-08 Topps Cards Of The Day subjects, Morillo seemed to actually sign with his hands rather than his feet.
More from Morillo's 2006 season: he was given the ball against Atlanta 9/24, walked or hit the first four batters he faced, then gave up a grand slam to Brian McCann. Ultimately, Morillo lasted four innings and allowed 12 baserunners—including a second home run to McCann—and seven runs. He never started another pro game.
(flip) As you can see, Morillo had a decent-ish 2006 campaign for AA Tulsa. Along with the high walk total, his eight HBP and 12 WP contributed to the unimpressive ERA.
2007 Topps marked baseball's second year with the new Rookie Card format and rules. In Series 2 of this set, rookie cards (including Morillo's) were clumped together as cards #621-649, rather than distributed across the set as they are today.
According to an April 2009 piece from the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Morillo eventually broke 100 MPH thrice in 2008. No word on if those pitches were anywhere near the strike zone, however.
AFTER THIS CARD: Morillo made four September relief appearances for the 2007 Rockies, going unscored upon in the first three before being battered in the fourth (including another grand slam). He then threw one scoreless inning for the 2008 Rockies before being let go in April 2009.
Minnesota brought Morillo in soon after, watched him post a 22.50 ERA in three April appearances, and banished him to AAA Rochester for the season's duration. Though Morillo played a year in Japan and returned to the States for stints with the Philadelphia and Baltimore organizations, he never returned to MLB.
Juan Morillo appeared in 2007 Topps.
CATEGORIES: 2007 Topps, Colorado Rockies
8/12/21 Topps Baseball Card Of The Day: 1999 Topps #440 Draft Picks Bump, Cornejo
More 1999 Topps Draft Picks: n/a
How ironic that we randomly select this card on the same day I catch up with my longtime pal Nate after many months. Is there anything the Randomizer ISN'T privy to?
Nate Bump was a talented RHP out of Penn State who, though drafted by San Francisco, spent his entire MLB career with the Florida Marlins. He even took the mound for them in the 2003 NLCS!
Like Bump, Nate Cornejo spent his entire MLB career in one uniform (Tigers). He also had an eventful 2003 season, spending the entire year in Detroit's rotation and leading the team in IP and CG.
THIS CARD: In our many years of COTD, we've selected multiple Prospects cards from near the end of the 1999 Topps checklist, but this is our first Draft Pick duo from the set.
See how Rookie Cards used to be designated? There was no official universal symbol prior to 2005 and somehow, some Draft Pick cards were not classified as Rookie Cards. I never quite figured that out and gave up trying around 2000 or so.
This may be the only instance of Bump wearing the San Francisco Giants uniform. He and fellow youngster Jason Grilli were traded to the Marlins for SP Livan Hernandez in mid-1999, barely after the year had passed making him trade-eligible (as per rules of the day).
(flip) In four years, Wellington High School couldn't convince anybody to take three hours of their Friday and record statistics...
Cornejo, the 34th overall pick in the 1998 Draft, was a supplemental pick for Detroit's loss of free agent P Willie Blair.
I'd never heard of Salem-Kelzer before now. Evidently, it was San Francisco's low-A team from 1997-2020—and I call myself a Giants fan—before becoming an Independent League team for 2021.
AFTER THIS CARD: Bump posted a 4.68 ERA across 113 appearances (two starts) for the 2003-05 Marlins before undergoing shoulder surgery. He kicked around in pro ball through 2012 (including a 2008 return to the Giants system) but never returned to the majors.
Cornejo, possibly the worst strikeout pitcher of his time (103 in 313 career MLB innings), made 19 combined starts for Detroit across the 2001-02 seasons before earning a permanent spot in 2003. He went 6-17, but so did just about every starter for the 119-loss Tigers. Cornejo then made five starts in '04 before being sidelined with a bad shoulder that eventually required surgery. The 27-year-old retired in '06 without a return to the majors.
Nate Bump appeared in 1999 and 2006 Topps, as well as 1999 Traded. Nate Cornejo appeared in 1999, 2002 and 2004 Topps as well as 1999 Traded.
CATEGORIES: 1999 Topps, Draft Picks
8/13/21 Topps Baseball Card Of The Day: 2006 Topps Update #71 Rheal Cormier, Reds
More Rheal Cormier Topps Cards: 1992 1993 1994 1995 1995T 1997 2001T 2004 2006
Here, we catch up with Cormier as he arrives to what would be his final major league stop. Cincinnati, battling St. Louis for NL Central supremacy, acquired Cormier from the Phillies (who were 13 games out in the NL East) at the 2006 Trade Deadline. The veteran reliever, who hadn't pitched in almost a week when traded, saw action in four of the next five Reds games.
THIS CARD: Cormier in that pinstriped Reds uniform shouldn't look so strange considering he just spent the past few years in the Phillies pinstripes...but it does. (Cincy retired this look the following season.)
According to BaseballReference.com, which is usually reliable, Cormier only wore #37 as a Red and never wore #36 at any point in his MLB career, but I've found multiple photos and at least one other baseball card of him wearing #36.
In recent Reds history, #36 has been frequently passed around since 1980's star Mario Soto retired, and its most notable wearer since then is probably Edinson Volquez, who made the 2008 All-Star team with #36 on his back. Pitching coach Derek Johnson has worn it since 2019.
More from Cormier's 2006 Reds stint: he wasn't all that effective (.350/.391/.617 against) but somehow he and/or fellow Reds relievers limited the damage to his ERA (4.50). Cormier last pitched 9/18; according to Rotowire.com, he battled a pectoral muscle injury in late September 2006.
(flip) That Trade With Phillies sent then-prospect Justin Germano to the Phillies. Germano, a pitcher with some MLB experience prior to the deal, finished with a 10-30, 5.40 line across 96 major league games—including all of ZERO with the Phillies—2004-14. So the Reds won this trade...but only by default.
Cormier makes his fourth COTD appearance here, tying him with Alfonso Soriano for the all-time TSR lead. We previously presented his 1993 Topps card (June 2017) his 1995 Topps card (March 2020) and his 2004 Topps card (March 2021, recognizing his death).
Whenever I hear the expression "can of corn", I'm taken back to the old EA Sports Triple Play Baseball series in which announcer Buck Martinez made sure to explain the origins of the phrase at least once per ballgame. (I kept waiting for his partner Jim Hughson to strangle him, but he never did.)
AFTER THIS CARD: Very little. 40-year-old Cormier didn't impress in early 2007, and was cut in May. He quickly signed with the Braves but retired three weeks later; though done in MLB, we did see Cormier pitch in the 2008 Olympics for his native Canada. He passed away in March 2021, age 53 (cancer).
Rheal Cormier—by the way, it's pronounced RE-AL COR-ME-AY—appeared annually in Topps 1992-95, dropped by in 1997, and made a comeback in 2001 Traded before two final appearances in 2004 and 2006 Topps.
He also has a 1995 Traded card with Boston and this 2006 Topps Update card with Cincinnati.
CATEGORIES: 2006 Topps Update, Cincinnati Reds, Now Deceased
8/15/21 Topps Baseball Card Of The Day: 2010 Topps Update #216 John Baker, Marlins
More John Baker Topps Cards: 2009 2011F 2014U
I almost feel like I know John Baker, thanks to his regular post-retirement interviews with a local radio host who happens to be his friend. Obviously I do not know him, but if I did, I'd know a pretty smart guy who was the first Cubs position player to ever be credited with a pitching win.
Here, however, Baker is into his third season with the Marlins, and a few months removed from serving as the Marlins' primary catcher. In 2009 he started 99 times for Florida, who got through the entire 162-game season using only two catchers! (Ex-Pirate Ronny Paulino started the other 63 games.)
THIS CARD: Pretty exciting front image for a catcher; Baker is beginning a hot pursuit for somebody's popup at the former Joe Robbie Stadium. Catching gear can make dudes appear bulkier and slower than they actually are, but Baker—while no Jason Kendall—moved pretty decently.
Viewing this card emphasizes that the Marlins should have never retired their teal look. At least today it's been (partially) restored.
Baker was a tougher foe than he should have been in my old MLB 11: The Show game; I had an easier time pitching to "Mike" Stanton and Hanley Ramirez than Baker sometimes.
More from Baker's early 2010 season: he started 20 of Florida's first 34 games but had only managed a .218/.307/.282 slashline when a strained flexor tendon put him on the DL. It turned out to be a season-ending injury, and he underwent UCL surgery that September.
(flip) I tried to find out more about Cesar Gracie, but Wikipedia only links to the training facility named after him. And that's as far as my interest goes.
You can't really tell here, but with longer hair and smiling, Baker strongly resembles the longtime Ranger P Derek Holland.
That Trade With Athletics sent minor leaguer Jason Stokes west. This is after the A's and Marlins played two rounds of waiver tag with Baker over the 2005-06 winter.
AFTER THIS CARD: Baker healed in time for some late run with the 2011 Marlins, but they decided to deal him to San Diego that November (for SP Wade LeBlanc). As a 2012 Padre, Baker backed up Nick Hundley early and shared time with Yasmani Grandal after Hundley got hurt. Baker barely played in early '13 and was eventually DFA'd, finishing that season with AAA Albuquerque (Dodgers).
Baker won a job with the 2014 Cubs and got in 68 games—including the historic game mentioned above. On 7/29 vs. Colorado, using mid-70's "heat", Baker threw a scoreless T16th, then walked and scored the winning run in the B16th!
But when the 34-year-old failed to win a job with the 2015 Mariners, he returned to the Cubs as a special assistant; at last check, he currently holds a kind-of-similar role with the Pirates. Baker ended his career having gone homerless in his final 565 regular-season at-bats.
John Baker appeared in 2009 Topps, 2010 and 2014 Topps Update, and the 2011 Topps Marlins Factory Team Set.
CATEGORIES: 2006 Topps Update, Florida Marlins
8/16/21 Topps Baseball Card Of The Day: 1993 Topps #647 Brian Sackinsky, Draft Pick
More Brian Sackinsky Topps Cards: 1995
This should be brief.
In the 1992 Draft, Baltimore selected Sackinsky #2 out of Stanford, three years after they selected him #39 out of high school. His first stop was High-A Frederick, where he was battered, but he recovered nicely after a demotion to Bluefield (Rookie).
THIS CARD: How ironic—Sackinsky only received two Topps cards, and we wound up profiling them both within two months of each other.
That looks like the changeup grip to me. Sackinsky, once described as "a great big, strong brute" by Orioles roving pitching instructor Tom Brown, still knew how to pitch according to the multiple articles I read about him.
(flip) If 4.13 was the LOWEST ERA among Stanford's starters, then they really made a mistake letting Mike Mussina get away. (For God's sake, people, that was tongue-in-cheek.)
The U.S. Olympic Festival was a multi-sport event held in the U.S. annually from 1978-1995 (during non-Olympic years). It was a big deal in Oklahoma City, its 1989 host city.
AFTER THIS CARD: As a full-time starter across three minor league levels 1993-94, Sacinsky went 20-19, 3.28. The Orioles called him up from AAA Rochester in late April 1996 to sub for injured RP Armando Benitez, and the rookie allowed two earned runs and six hits across 4.2 innings covering three games.
But according to the 4/26/1996 edition of The Baltimore Sun, O's manager Davey Johnson was hesitant to use Sackinsky on consecutive days following his 1995 elbow surgery, so he was sent back down to AAA when roster needs changed.
After being limited to 10 appearances (all in the minors) in 1997-98, Sackinsky's pro career ended at 27, with all signs point to recurring elbow problems as the cause.
Brian Sackinsky appeared in 1993 and 1995 Topps.
CATEGORIES: 1993 Topps, Draft Picks
8/17/21 Topps Baseball Card Of The Day: 2017 Topps Update #139 Luis M. Castillo Reds
More Luis M. Castillo Topps Cards: 2018 2019 2020 2021
Hooray! Another active player!
These days, there aren't many young guys capable of being the 200-inning horse of a major league staff (in part because they aren't allowed to be, but still.) However, Luis Castillo of the Reds didn't take long to become one of those guys. He had a ghastly start to 2021, but I'd bet my card collection that 29 other general managers would trade for him today.
Here, Castillo is just a puppy. Acquired via trade from the Marlins in January 2017, Castillo entered Cincinnati's rotation that June and was at times brilliant over his 15 starts (though the last-place Reds could only reward him with three wins). He especially shined after getting over some early issues with the home-run ball.
THIS CARD: Castillo has an excellent changeup that can act like a two-seam fastball, and it looks like we're seeing it here. He also features an actual two-seamer, a four-seamer that reaches 100, plus a lesser-used mid-80's slider.
Not visible: Castillo's uniform #58. In Reds history, he's easily the best of their 21 players to wear that number, with RP Hector Carrasco coming in second.
More from Castillo's mid-2017 season: he allowed five home runs in his first three starts, but only two more in his next five starts (covering 31.2 innings). On 7/30, he scattered three hits over eight innings and added an RBI on a squeeze for the victory in Miami!
(flip) 2017 Topps Update did not include individual players' social media handles. Castillo does have an Instagram (@luis58castillo), though his most recent post is four months old.
I wouldn't describe Castillo's slider as "powerful", at least in 2021. Perhaps it was when this card was released? In any event, it's better than mine, I'll grant you that.
That Trade With Marlins sent Castillo and two other then-prospects (one of them being RP Austin Brice) to the Reds in exchange for Dan Straily. Yes, it was Straily in exchange for three dudes. Granted, he'd been a 14-game winner in 2016, but that's still a grossly lopsided trade. (Before that, my Giants gave up the 22-year-old Castillo in a deal for 3B Casey McGehee.)
AFTER THIS CARD: Castillo endured a very uneven 2018 season, but still made 31 starts and won 10 of them. Named the Reds' 2019 Opening Day starter, the 26-year-old broke through with a 15-8, 3.40, All-Star campaign and was just as tough in the shortened 2020 season despite going 4-6.
In 2021, Castillo caught fire after a baffling 1-8, 7.22 start; since the start of June he's 6-4, 2.73 and has gone at least six innings in 12 of 15 starts for the 2nd-place Reds.
Luis M. Castillo debuted in 2017 Topps Update, and has since appeared in 2018-21 Topps.
CATEGORIES: 2017 Topps Update, Cincinnati Reds
8/19/21 Topps Baseball Card Of The Day: 1992 Topps #514 Kim Batiste, Phillies
More Kim Batiste Topps Cards: 1993 1994 1995
Here, we meet the future Phillies postseason hero as he takes his first sip of major league coffee. The September call-up wasted no time getting in the hit column, singling off Houston's Ryan Bowen in his first MLB at-bat.
THIS CARD: I see a slight resemblance to former Brewers/Giants outfielder Mike Felder. Which is a compliment.
Since Batiste—and before Batiste—uniform #7 made the rounds in Philadelphia, with former 3B Maikel Franco being the most notable wearer in terms of length and accomplishment. Batiste switched to #5 for the rest of his four-year Phillies tenure.
More from Batiste's 1991 season: he notched three hits in his first eight at-bats, but only three more in his next 19. This is presumably because opponents realized Batiste had almost no plate discipline and would frequently get himself out.
(flip) Good lord, check out Batiste's 1991 Phillies line: one walk in 29 plate appearances would get dudes assassinated today. Or at the very least, benched.
Of those eight strikeouts for Philadelphia, four came in the 10/6/1991 season finale against the Mets. But Batiste wasn't alone that day—David Cone struck out 19 Phillies.
For the record, "Kim" is not short for "Kimberly". His full name was Kimothy Emil Batiste.
AFTER THIS CARD: Batiste lasted with the Phils as a reserve infielder through 1994, with his key moment being his 10th-inning walk-off double vs. Atlanta in Game 1 of the 1993 NLCS (which atoned for a previous critical error). That season was Batiste's best, as he batted .282 with five homers in 156 at-bats.
Out of the majors in 1995, Batiste resurfaced with my Giants in 1996 (which I have zero memory of, even as I perfectly recall the likes of Dax Jones and Desi Wilson). He batted .208 in 54 games and never played in the majors again (though he was an Independent Leaguer 1998-2003).
Batiste finished his career with exactly 14 walks in 684 major league plate appearances...things were different in the 1990's, kids.
Batiste sadly passed away from kidney surgery complications in October 2020, age 52.
Kim Batiste appeared in 1992-95 Topps.
CATEGORIES: 1992 Topps, Philadelphia Phillies
8/20/21 Topps Baseball Card Of The Day: 1991 Topps #359 Chuck Cary, Yankees
More Chuck Cary Topps Cards: 1987 1989T 1990
In 2021, the Yankees have gotten strong contributions from journeyman lefty SP Nestor Cortes after inserting him into their depleted rotation.
In 1989, the Yankees got strong contributions from journeyman lefty SP Chuck Cary after inserting him into their unimpressive rotation.
It's yet to be seen what the future holds for Cortes, but Cary's effort put him in line for a job with the 1990 Yankees. Here, he's just wrapped up his first and only season spent entirely in the majors, and despite some bumps—both figurative and literal—Cary had a decent 1990 campaign, finishing a close second on the team in K and winning four of his first six decisions.
THIS CARD: As this pic indicates, Cary was tall and long; a lot of limbs came flying toward the hitter when he threw. If that weren't enough, he featured a screwball—that combo is how you strike out a lot of guys without blazing stuff.
Cary makes his second appearance in COTD; we reviewed his 1987 Topps card back in March 2020.