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Topps Baseball Card Of The Day, January 2022

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A = Alternate Card  F = Factory Team Set  G = Giveaway Set  T = Traded Set  U = Update Set


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Topps Dan Gladden
Topps Danny Gladden

1/31/22 Topps Baseball Card Of The Day: 1994 Topps #342 Dan Gladden, Tigers

More Dan/Danny Gladden Topps Cards: 1987 1987T 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1992T 1993

Gladden may be best remembered for scoring the winning run for Minnesota in Game 7 of the 1991 World Series. He'd reached in the B10th via a hustle bloop double, advanced to third on Chuck Knoblauch's bunt, stood around through two IBB's, then raced home on Gene Larkin's walk-off single. For Gladden, it was his second title in five years—he was one of few to play for the 1991 AND 1987 World Champion Twins.

Originally, Gladden was a Giant, in the major leagues four years after going undrafted out of Cal State Fresno. Lacking much pop early on, Gladden made his name with speed and hustle and started almost 300 games in San Francisco's outfield 1984-86. He and a prospect were dealt to the Twins for three prospects in Spring Training 1987 (only one of the four prospects in the deal ever reached MLB: Bryan Hickerson, who went from Minnesota to S.F.)

The move paid off for Minnesota; Gladden held down LF for them 1987-91, usually in a platoon role. Here, he's just wrapped his second season with the Detroit Tigers, who signed Gladden for 2Y/$2.2M in December 1991 after Minnesota angered him with a reduced contract offer.

THIS CARD: Did the printer run out of ink? Gladden had been referred to as "Danny" from 1987 Topps on until this card; he'd been "Dan" on his 1985-86 Topps cards. Further mucking up things: as you can see, he's "Danny" on the reverse—his only Topps card with varying first names.

We see Gladden doing what he did best: motoring around the bases. It's a welcome image, because during his Minnesota days Gladden's front images were all pregame shots—nothing wrong with that, just not for five straight years, please.

Other notable Tigers to wear #32 over the years: Jamie Walker and Don Kelly count as notable? They at least held the number for several seasons each; SP/RP Michael Fulmer has worn #32 for Detroit since 2016.

(flip) Gladden only played 91 games in 1993 because of a torn quad suffered in early April; he was out just under two months.

It's strange Gladden, who spent so much of his career bereft of reliable power, joined that club of successive-day slammers. He victimized Oriole righties Ben McDonald and Anthony Telford as part of a 47-run explosion by Detroit over the final three games of their August 9-12 series—after the Tigers scored exactly once in the opener!

Gladden may have only hit .267 overall in 1993, but he was hotter than that in stretches. From 6/8 to 7/10 he hit .300 and slugged .480 with four homers in 100 AB. Then from 8/8 to 8/17 Gladden batted .367 and slugged .633!

AFTER THIS CARD: 36-year-old Gladden took his bat and glove to Japan for 1994; he hit .267, 15, 37 with just two steals for Yomiuri in what was his final professional season.

Dan/Danny Gladden appeared in 1985-94 Topps, as well as 1987 and 1992 Topps Traded.

CATEGORIES: 1994 Topps, Detroit Tigers


More January 2022 Topps Cards Of The Day

Topps Mike Hargrove
Topps Mike Hargrove

1/1/22 Topps Baseball Card Of The Day: 2004 Topps #270 Mike Hargrove, Orioles

More Mike Hargrove Topps Cards: 1991T 1992 1993 2001 2002 2003 2005T 2006 2007

I would have loathed Mike Hargrove the player had I been old enough to witness his prime; the former Rangers/Indians 1B/DH was known as "The Human Rain Delay" for painfully dragging out the practice of entering the batters box to hit. I'm NO fan of prolonged hitting preparations (see this blog) and Hargrove's would have absolutely incensed me.

Luckily for all involved, I was only personal witness to Hargrove the manager—or should I say, Hargrove the perennial division champion manager. He was hired by Cleveland to succeed John McNamara in July 1991—coinciding with the Indians' new practice of locking up its young talent long-term.

By 1994, the team was a title contender, and Hargrove was extended through 1997. After guiding the Tribe to Game 7 of that year's World Series, he received another extension, this one through 2000.

But after the Indians fell in the 1999 ALDS, Hargrove was fired—though he quickly resurfaced as Baltimore's new skipper on a 3Y/$3M deal in November 1999. Despite Hargrove's addition, the 2000-02 Orioles tacked on three more fourth-place finishes to its existing streak of two.

Here, Hargrove has returned for a fourth year with Baltimore, having had his deal extended after the 2000 season. Roster-wise, there weren't many notable changes from the 2002 squad, but Hargrove managed to coax four more wins from the club while steering it through a very tough Spring.

THIS CARD: Hargrove was not quite as massive as this photo, and the silhouette, make him appear.

#30 has a respected place in Orioles history. SP Denny Martinez wore it for a decade, CL Gregg Olson took it over in the 90's, OF/DH Luke Scott had some good years with #30 in the post-Tejada era, and more recently SP Chris Tillman was Baltimore's ace with #30 on his back. More recently, the number was worn by ex-hitting coach Don Long.

More from Hargrove's 2003 season: one wonders how his 71-win Orioles might have fared had B.J. Surhoff (93 games) David Segui (67 games) and Melvin Mora (96 games) had been available more often. Jeff Conine was Hargrove's cleanup man for most of the first five months, and with all due respect to Conine, a lineup with him batting fourth wasn't about to compete with the 2003 Yankees, Red Sox or even Blue Jays.

No one believed the O's 16-13 start to be anything other than a mirage. And it was.

(flip) "Grover". Get it? Do you? HAHAHAHA. No, it is not because he wears a cape and fights injustice on Sesame Street.

Hargrove played for Texas 1974-78, twice leading the league in walks. He was traded to San Diego in a trade for the Afroed One, Oscar Gamble, but quickly swapped to Cleveland a few weeks into the 1979 season. As an Indian, Hargrove continued to display a keen eye and high average, but his already-limited power all but dried up. His playing career ended in 1985 at 36.

It took a while, but Hargrove finally upped those 996 wins to 1K on 4/13/2005. NO, he did not go 0-162 in 2004; read on below.

AFTER THIS CARD: Hargrove and Baltimore parted ways after the 2003 campaign, and he sat out 2004 before joining woeful Seattle on a 3Y/$??? deal through 2007. With the team increasing its win total in both 2005 and 2006, and having won seven straight games as of the end of June 2007, Hargrove's footing appeared to be fairly solid.

Which is why his resignation 7/1/2007 is among the most stunning of my pro sports fandom. Simply citing a loss of passion for the game, Hargrove walked away and never managed in MLB again, though he did return to the Indians as an advisor and part-time commentator a few years later.

Mike Hargrove appeared in Topps as a player 1975-86. Mike Hargrove appeared in Topps as a manager in 1991 Traded, 1992-93 Topps, 2001-04 Topps, 2005 Traded and 2006-07 Topps.

CATEGORIES: 2004 Topps, Baltimore Orioles

Topps Joe Crede
Topps Joe Crede

1/2/22 Topps Baseball Card Of The Day: 2005 Topps #235 Joe Crede, White Sox

More Joe Crede Topps Cards: 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2006 2007 2008 2009 2009U

Crede's arrival in Chicago was more highly anticipated than the 2016 election, the COVID vaccine, Ross and Rachel's reunion and Prince George's birth put together. And with good reason—after Robin Ventura left as a free agent after the 1998 season, Greg Norton and Herb Perry received the bulk of playing time at 3B for the next three years. 

Greg Norton and Herb Perry were solid MLB role players, but not guys you'd want to watch play every day.

Crede, a 1996 #5 pick out of high school, finally got an extended look with the Sox in 2002. One year later, he got the keys to 3B and did not drop them down a grate. Here, however, Crede has endured a bit of a down 2004 campaign—his average dropped 22 points from 2003 as his K rate noticeably rose. Crede continued to supply a good glove, however.

THIS CARD: Crede with a good, balanced swing. Though 2004 was a bit of a disappointing year for the youngster, he still supplied 21 bombs—one of six White Sox to crack 20 in 2004. Crede batted 7th or 8th for most of April-July, but found himself batting 9th for much of August-September.

The partially-obscured uniform number is #24, also worn by quite a few good-to-very-good White Sox such as SP Floyd Bannister in the 1980's, OF Mike Cameron in the 1990's, and OF Dayan Viciedo in the 2010's. Catcher Yasmani Grandal has had #24 since 2020.

This is the second Crede common we've presented in COTD; his 2004 Topps card was randomly selected in August 2015.

(flip) Warmup jacket AND batting gloves is not a common combination. It does get windy in Chicago, though.

Detroit RP Steve Sparks served up the 5/25 walk-off. 
Detroit SP Jason Johnson served up the 7/24 double.

Detroit RP Ugueth Urbina served up the 7/24 walk-off.

In short, if Crede ever found his car egged after a 2004 game, chances are the Detroit Tigers bullpen was responsible.

As you see, Crede only batted .239 in 2004, but he did get that up to .267 in his final 40 games. Plus, Crede hit .329 in June even as his team struggled to a 12-13 record (after starting 29-20).

AFTER THIS CARD: Crede helped Chicago win the 2005 World Series, then exploded for 30 HR, 94 RBI and a Silver Slugger award in 2006. Crede was also named to the 2008 AL All-Star team.
But his back problems limited him to 144 combined games in 2007-08, after which Chicago decided to cut ties and go with former #1 pick Josh Fields at third base.


Crede hooked up with Minnesota for 2009, but was hampered by several aches and pains. In fact, he started just once after 8/22 due to back issues, and in that start he struck out four times. Crede spent 2010 out of the game, and retired after failing to win a spot with the 2011 Rockies in the Spring.


Joe Crede appeared annually in Topps 2000-09, with 2000-01 being shared Prospects cards. He appears as a Twin in 2009 Topps Updates & Highlights.

CATEGORIES: 2005 Topps, Chicago White Sox

Topps Brad Brach
Topps Brad Brach

1/3/22 Topps Baseball Card Of The Day: 2018 Topps Update #358 Brad Brach, Orioles

More Brad Brach Topps Cards: 2012 2016U 2017

Reliever Brad Brach hasn't had steady grip on an MLB roster spot for a few seasons now, but for a time in the mid-late 10's, he was one of THE finer late-inning guys in the game. Originally a #42 pick by the Padres, after the '13 season San Diego did what it does best—dealt a talented player with a bright future in exchange for, well, nothing (a failed prospect not even worth naming). 

Now with Baltimore, Brach's role grew; he helped the 2014 Orioles win the AL East, then made the All-Star team for a 2016 Orioles squad that lost the Wild-Card game in painful fashion (to Toronto). Here, the 31-year-old has wrapped his fourth season in Baltimore, one in which he was elevated to closer for most of the first four months while incumbent Zack Britton recovered from a forearm injury.

THIS CARD: According to GettyImages, we're seeing Brach following through against the White Sox 5/7/2017. The O's won that day, with Brach getting the final two outs for his seventh save.

For the record, it's pronounced "Brock", not unlike the candy.

Among Orioles, other notable #35's include four-time 20-game winner Mike Cuellar in the 1970's, Hall-of-Famer Mike Mussina in the 1990's, and, uh, 6'7" Daniel Cabrera in the 00's. Between the former two, NOBODY should still be wearing #35 in Baltimore but there P Adam Plutko was with it in 2021...

(flip) To any newer collectors, Topps didn't screw up in the blurb; Zack Britton used to spell it as "Zach".

Brach's Twitter account, if he ever had one, is no longer active. 

Relief wins must always be taken with a grain of salt. How many of them were the result of Brach's own blown saves? I wasn't going to look it up at first, but now I will...

...WOW. Only two of Brach's 26 wins from 2014-17 followed his own blown save. I now discard you, grain of salt. Brach was legit.

AFTER THIS CARD: In 2018, as the blurb indicated, Brach again got save ops in place of the unavailable Britton—but he was FAR less effective this time around. Still, Atlanta traded for him at the Deadline and he turned things around as a setup man.

Since then, Brach has moved through four organizations with limited success, largely due to his abrupt loss of reliable command. From 2019-21 Brach walked 63 in 96 innings, contributing to an unsightly 5.77 combined ERA for the Cubs, Mets and Reds (he went to camp with the 2021 Royals). Now 35, we'll see if Brach gets an opportunity to pitch in 2022.

Brad Brach has appeared in 2012 Topps, 2016 Update, 2017 Topps and 2018 Update.

CATEGORIES: 2018 Topps Update, Baltimore Orioles

Topps Jim Corsi
Topps Jim Corsi

1/4/22 Topps Baseball Card Of The Day: 1990 Topps #623 Jim Corsi, Athletics

More Jim Corsi Topps Cards: 1989 1993

Reliever Jim Corsi arrived in Oakland just as they rose into an American League power—good timing! 


The big fella's journey to MLB began as a #25 pick of the 1982 Yankees and took him through the Boston organization in the mid-1980's as well. Unfortunately, the two storied franchises released Corsi three times in total before he landed in the majors with the 1988 A's.

Here, Corsi has just spent the majority of the '89 season with the A's, though he was used less and less frequently as the season wore on. Working largely in long relief, nearly half of Corsi's appearances stretched across multiple innings, and his 1.88 ERA topped everyone on the staff except for the legendary Dennis Eckersley (1.56).

THIS CARD: TSR presents this specially-selected card in memory of Corsi, who passed away 1/4/2022 from cancer, age 59. Though his career spanned 12 seasons, Corsi only had three Topps cards—since this one represents the year Corsi became a World Champion, it was a simple choice.

I built my 1990 Topps set exclusively through packs, and Corsi was either the last or the next-to-last Athletic I was able to acquire. So I always remembered Corsi well after he left the Bay Area—I didn't exactly root for him, but I was oddly pleased when he re-emerged in MLB with the Red Sox after fading in the early 1990's. You must understand, I was young and weird in the 1990's.

In team history, #41 has only been worn by three even kind-of-notable A's: SP Storm Davis in the late 1980's, RP Alan Embree in the late 2000's, and pitching coach Curt Young in the 2010's. Corsi wore #41 in 323 of his 368 career major league games (with five teams).

(flip) Corsi "Did Not Play" in 1984 due to a serious elbow injury, as reported by I'm not sure I would have unearthed that fact had Corsi not passed away; the only other reliable report I found (after an hour of online digging) merely said his arm "blew out" in 1984.

Corsi is listed at 210 on this card. Which I might believe if he didn't look smaller on his 1998 Pacific card, which listed him at 220.

Those 22 appearances in 1989? They were all made from 5/28 through 10/1. I couldn't confirm whether or not Corsi spent that entire time on the A's 25-man roster, but from a boredom standpoint, I sure HOPE he got demoted a couple of times.

AFTER THIS CARD: Limited to five MiLB appearances in 1990 (triceps...thanks again,, Corsi resurfaced with the 1991 Astros (3.71 in 47 games). He enjoyed another fine year for the 1992 A's (1.43 in 32 games) but was allowed to get away again, this time to the Marlins in the 1992 Expansion Draft. But Corsi missed early 1993 with an inflamed rotator cuff, didn't impress upon recovering, and was out of MLB in 1994.

Corsi rejoined those familiar Athletics for 94 games 1995-96, though he battled minor aches and triggered a brawl that ranked 15th all-time according to The Sporting News. The veteran reliever hooked up with his native area Red Sox for 1997 and was excellent over 111 games 1997-98 before slumping and being released in June 1999. Corsi finished that season with Baltimore before his career ended at 38.

All in all, a 3.25 ERA in 368 games during The Steroid Era is nothing to sneeze at. Corsi was a HIGHLY underrated performer, but now you know the truth. 

Said Eckersley, Corsi's friend and teammate in Oakland and Boston: 

"The big thing that stands out with Jim is he’s not just your friend; he had like 24 other friends on the team, and not too many guys have that. Jim was as friendly as anything to everybody. Everybody had a relationship with him." Rest in peace, big fella.

Jim Corsi appeared in 1989, 1990 and 1993 Topps. If you want him on a Red Sox card, turn to 1998 Pacific.

CATEGORIES: 1990 Topps, Oakland Athletics, Now Deceased

Topps Luis Severino
Topps Luis Severino

1/5/22 Topps Baseball Card Of The Day: 2017 Topps #544 Luis Severino, Yankees

More Luis Severino Topps Cards: 2016 2018 2019 2020 2020U 2021

From 2017-18, there weren't many better hurlers in the AL than Luis Severino of the Yankees. He went 33-14 across 63 starts for Yankee teams that reached the Postseason both years. Then obstacles struck...more on that below.

Here, Severino is fresh off a 2016 season that, after his very impressive rookie year of 2015, disappointed in many ways. He opened the year in New York's rotation but was pulled after seven starts with a 7.46 ERA. Severino only made five MLB appearances from mid-May until September, when he served as a long man for manager Joe Girardi.

THIS CARD: If Severino looks like a high school kid here, it's because he was all of 22 during the 2016 season. These days, the majority of younger players actually look their age—unlike the 1990's, when 22-year-old major leaguers often looked 35. (That worked out well for certain FOX actors, it should be noted.)

According to, we're watching "Sev" in action against the Tigers in a Spring Training outing 3/2/2016. New York outlasted Detroit 10-9.

More from Severino's 2016 season: it wasn't an absolute disaster, as he struck out nine Red Sox in 6.2 innings on 5/8. He picked up his first win of the year 8/3, with 4.1 innings of relief against the Mets. And Severino went 2-0, 2.29 in 10 September outings.

(flip) Both of those social media profiles are still active, though Severino doesn't tweet a whole lot, it appears. Scroll down his IG page far enough and you'll eventually find him wearing a shirt!

"Last season he was more effective in relief" that's one way to put it, Topps. Severino went completely winless as a starter in 2016, but has made up for it since.

Yes, Topps was doing the whole abbreviated statline thing in their 2017-18 sets. But there was room to include Severino's encouraging 2015 Yankee stats, especially in the wake of such a down 2016. And especially if the alternative is three innings at Tampa.

AFTER THIS CARD: We told you about Severino's ascension to the AL's elite in 2017-18, but as for that 2019 season...

Severino, who was extended in February 2019 for 4Y/$40M, hit the IL a month later with rotator cuff inflammation—and stayed there until making three closely-monitored late September starts. In February 2020, Severino underwent UCL surgery and did not return to the mound until late September 2021; the 27-year-old made four scoreless RA and also threw in the AL Wild Card Game.

Severino looked good in his return and is still plenty capable of returning to his 2017-18 levels. He's set for free agency or a $15M team option after 2022, so there's certainly incentive as well.

Luis Severino has appeared in 2016-21 Topps; he's also got a redundant 2020 Update card as well.

CATEGORIES: 2017 Topps, New York Yankees

Topps Ryan Franklin
Topps Ryan Franklin

1/6/22 Topps Baseball Card Of The Day: 2009 Topps Update #187 Ryan Franklin, All-Star

More Ryan Franklin All-Star Topps Cards: n/a

In 2005, if you had to pick any active major league pitcher who'd be named an All-Star closer in 2009, Ryan Franklin probably would have placed 323rd out of 360 pitchers. And he only places that high because you hadn't heard of 32 of the remaining 37 dudes.


Okay, enough hypothetical numbers.


Franklin had been a mediocre starter with the 2005 Mariners, so much so that they didn't bother re-signing him for 2006 despite uncertainty in their rotation behind ancient Jamie Moyer and teenaged Felix Hernandez. Franklin wound up working middle relief for the Phillies and Reds in '06, and not particularly effectively.

Fast-forward to 2008. With CL Jason Isringhausen battling physical problems, the Cardinals called upon Franklin—who'd been effective as a setup man for them in '07—to take over as closer. When Isringhausen departed after '08, Franklin continued nailing down 9th innings better than just about anybody else in the NL!

THIS CARD: Yes, that is the Arch in the ASG logo; Franklin got to hurl in front of his home fans. (No, not the Willie Beamen type of hurl. We meant "throw".)

This was far and away Franklin's only career All-Star berth. He began his MLB career as a so-so middle man, then went 23-44 as a full-time starter, then converted back to so-so middle man. Those type of dudes don't make All-Star rosters. They barely make MLB rosters. But the 2000's Cardinals (specifically pitching coach Dave Duncan) had a long history of doubling the effectiveness of guys like Franklin.

(flip) Tim Lincecum of my Giants pitched the NL's first two innings before giving way to Franklin.

Franklin's 21 first-half saves tied Francisco Cordero (CIN) for fifth in the NL; Heath Bell (SD) Francisco Rodriguez (NYM) and Brian Wilson (SF) all had 23 saves, and Huston Street (COL) had 22.

That 0.79 first-half ERA led the NL (30 IP minimum) by a wide margin. It grew to 3.33 in the second half, as you might expect from a 36-year-old doing his first ever full-season closing.

AFTER THIS CARD: As mentioned, Franklin never returned to the Classic. He converted 27-of-29 saves for the 2010 Cardinals, but fell apart in early 2011 and was cut in June—four months before his ex-teammates defeated Texas in the World Series. 

In early 2012, Franklin was named Special Assistant to GM John Mozeliak; I can't tell you how long he lasted in the role. This is Ryan Franklin's lone All-Star Topps card.

CATEGORIES: 2009 Topps Update, All-Stars

Topps Charles Nagy
Topps Charles Nagy

1/7/22 Topps Baseball Card Of The Day: 2003 Topps #376 Charles Nagy, Padres

More Charles Nagy Topps Cards: 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2001 2002 

No known relation to embattled NFL coach Matt Nagy. And even if there was  a relation, I'm not sure Charles would acknowledge it anywhere in Illinois.

Here, the veteran SP Nagy has departed the Cleveland Indians after parts of 13 seasons, many of them damn good. Having battled numerous injuries from 2000-02, Nagy was not offered a new contract for 2003 by Cleveland, but the San Diego Padres took a flier on the 35-year-old. IF nothing else, the team hoped he could influence the youngsters in their rotation.

THIS CARD: It's been many moons since we had a classic STUN (Spring Training New Uniform) photo, mostly because Topps doesn't utilize them anymore except when circumstances dictated it in 2020. Here's how this photo sesh went down:

PHOTOGRAPHER: Mr. Nagy, we're gonna take two photos of you.

NAGY: Okay.

PHOTOGRAPHER: In the first one, we want you to look like a beautiful gal just called your name.

NAGY: No problem.

PHOTOGRAPHER: And in the second one, we want you to look like WE just called YOU a beautiful gal.
NAGY: I can do that.

Nagy appears in Topps COTD for the third time; we presented his 1997 Topps card as a special 50th birthday selection in May 1997, and we presented his 1991 Topps card back in February 2019.

More from Nagy's 2002 season: he opened the year as a long reliever, was placed on the DL  in June (elbow), then moved into the rotation for about a month after the All-Star break—with mixed results. From 8/11 through the end of the '02 season, Nagy made three RA and one ugly start.

(flip) Who the heck is "Charlie"? I didn't realize Topps was so tight with Mr. Nagy.

Today, Nagy's K total ranks eighth in franchise history. CC Sabathia (7th) Carlos Carrasco (4th) and Corey Kluber (3rd) have passed him since he left Cleveland. And had he not been, well, himself, Trevor Bauer would have, too.

Nagy's lone win of 2002 was the final one of his MLB career. In his defeat of the Devil Rays 8/6, he went seven innings, threw just 76 pitches, and allowed six hits and two runs. Nevermind that his fastball probably maxed out at 62—Nagy got the job done.

AFTER THIS CARD: Nagy​ didn't make the Padres roster out of Spring Training, but was called up in mid-May to make five relief outings. He was sent back down in early June and soon released altogether, ending his playing career at 36.

Not done with the Indians, Nagy coached Cleveland's AAA pitchers in 2009-10 and was a Special Assistant for the club in 2015. He also has been a MLB pitching coach for the 2011-13 Diamondbacks and the 2016-18 Angels; I wasn't able to nail down his current endeavors.


Charles Nagy appeared annually in Topps 1991-2003.

CATEGORIES: 2003 Topps, San Diego Padres

Topps Sid Fernandez
Topps Sid Fernandez

1/9/22 Topps Baseball Card Of The Day: 1994 Topps Traded #28 Sid Fernandez, Orioles

More Sid Fernandez Topps Cards: 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1997

The burly Hawaiian Sid Fernandez was acquired by the Mets in a December 1983 under-the-radar swap with the Dodgers. New York easily won the deal, as Fernandez went on to shine for the Mets for most of the next decade—helping them win the 1986 World Series, in fact.

From 1986-89, Fernandez went 54-27, 3.26 and made two All-Star teams. Still, he faced regular criticism for his conditioning, conditioning which never really improved during his career. In 1990 he fell to 9-14 despite a 3.46 ERA, and his 1991 season was ruined by a broken arm in Spring Training and August knee problems that required surgery.

Fernandez bounced back with a great 1992 season; his 14-11 record reflected hard luck as he continued to be one of the league's toughest pitchers to hit. Here, the 31-year-old has departed Flushing after 10 seasons, signing a 3Y/$9M deal (plus incentives) with the Orioles after injuries negatively impacted his 1993 season.

THIS CARD: Fernandez did sport the 'stache at times during his career, but I never got used to it. Thick facial hair can often make a dude look more intimidating, but it just made Fernandez look more like a coach.

After a disastrous start to his Topps career, from a redundancy standpoint, anyway (his 1985 and 1986 Topps front images were practically identical), the company mixed Fernandez's front images well. He's got action shots, posed shots, shots before, during and after his windup, and one horizontal shot. Fernandez's 1990 front image matched 1985 and 1986, however. But I guess that was bound to happen for someone who lasted as long as he did.

More on Fernandez the new Oriole: he had also been pursued by the Rangers and Indians, but chose Baltimore. His deal, which included a 1997 club option, came on the same day star free agent 1B Will Clark rejected the Orioles' contract offer, setting the stage for (fellow free agent 1B) Rafael Palmeiro's addition. Thank you, Baltimore Sun archives.

(flip) The Florida State League, now defunct, was Class A. Fernandez's no-no's, plus a 21-strikeout performance, got him promoted directly to AAA at mid-season.

As you can see, Fernandez filled his uniform out and then some, but I think this photo adds on about 15-20 pounds.

As you can also see (in the stats), Fernandez missed about half of 1993. He suffered a right knee cartilage tear 4/30, underwent surgery, and didn't return until 7/30. He pitched well, but wins were hard to come by on a troubled 1993 Mets team.

AFTER THIS CARD: Fernandez's Orioles tenure was an absolute disaster. His 1994 season debut was delayed two weeks by shoulder bursitis and he also missed time with a strained ribcage muscle. During the 19 starts he did make, Fernandez allowed 27 homers in 115 innings! 1995 was no better and the Orioles cut ties mid-season.

Still only 32, the Phillies took a flier on their former rival, and he went 9-7, 3.38 across 22 starts for them 1995-96—even starting on Opening Day 1996! Sadly, more injury woes surfaced—this time to his elbow—and Fernandez's '96 season ended in June. He made one start for the 1997 Astros, underwent elbow surgery that May, then retired that August at 34.

Fernandez made one start for AAA Columbus (Yankees) in 2001, but to the surprise of few, injured himself and soon terminated his comeback.

Sid Fernandez appeared annually in Topps 1985-97, except 1996. He's also got this 1994 Traded card.

CATEGORIES: 1994 Topps Traded, Baltimore Orioles

Topps Dustin May
Topps Dustin May

1/10/22 Topps Baseball Card Of The Day: 2021 Topps #355 Dustin May, Dodgers

More Dustin May Topps Cards: 2020

As you know if you've spent more than 30 seconds on this site, I'm a die-hard Giants fan of 30+ years.

When the 2021 Dodgers eliminated my Giants in the NLDS this past October, I was—to put it mildly—rather upset. I had to turn the TV off immediately, because seeing Los Angeles celebrate on the Oracle Park field would have sent me over the edge.

I tell you this because I'm still not entirely over what happened that dark day, and selecting a 2021 Dodger for this feature could have triggered me. But Dustin May, having undergone elbow surgery in May, was not on the NLDS roster and thus played no direct role in eliminating my Giants. 

Of course, if that 1B umpire ends up writing a book, and reveals he called Wilmer Flores out because "Dustin May was screaming for me to ring him up", all bets are off.

THIS CARD: Are we profiling May or NFL superstar George Kittle? During the regular season, #85 has been worn by exactly zero other Dodgers ever, and only 11 other major leaguers ever.

May needs to show up one Spring Training with that poofy red hair dyed Dodger Blue. The notoriety will be worth the Marge Simpson jokes.

More from May's 2020 season: he was in LA's rotation most of the year, though two of his final three appearances came out of the bullpen after he was forced from his 9/10 start by a B1st liner off his foot. On 8/4 at San Diego, May struck out a season-high eight for his first win of 2020.

(flip) May got the Opening Day nod with Dodgers aces Clayton Kershaw (back) and Walker Buehler (babied) unavailable.

Fernando Valenzuela started Game 5 of the 1981 NLDS—which was tied 2-2—against Montreal when he was 13 days short of 21. May was tasked with holding down the Braves in Game 5 of the 2020 NLCS with the Dodgers down in the series 3-1 (though he wasn't likely to be used as a traditional starter).

Do not be fooled by the relatively low K/9 ratio seen in the stats—May reaches the high-90's with little effort, complementing it with a ridiculous two-seam sinker, a hard, tight curve and a mid-90's cutter. He was on his way to a 200-K season in 2021 before getting hurt.

AFTER THIS CARD: May opened 2021 as the Dodgers' fifth starter and was off to a superb start when he blew out his arm on a pitch to Milwaukee's Bily McKinney 5/1. The ensuing UCL surgery will likely keep him out until after the 2022 All-Star break. 

Dustin May and all his glorious hair have appeared in 2020-21 Topps.

CATEGORIES: 2021 Topps, Los Angeles Dodgers

Topps Tyler Skaggs
Topps Tyler Skaggs

1/11/22 Topps Baseball Card Of The Day: 2014 Topps Update #29 Tyler Skaggs, Angels

More Tyler Skaggs Topps Cards: 2013 2014 2015 2016 2018U 2019

Here, Skaggs, the capable-but-health-challenged Angels lefty who passed away in July 2019, has just arrived in Anaheim. The ex-Diamondbacks prospect swapped uniforms after a December 2013 trade that we'll detail below.

THIS CARD: Just when I thought I was (at long last) able to tell 2013 Topps from 2014 Topps instantly, I pull this card and realize it might NEVER happen. Didn't help that in my personal life, the years 2013 and 2014 were pretty similar, too.

Skaggs with the leg cocked, about to deliver his low-to-mid-90's fastball, big-but-tight curve, or effective changeup. He had a steady, easy delivery that probably added a couple MPH to his heat.

More from Skaggs' early 2014 season: he opened in the Angels' rotation and fired eight sparkling innings in his first start. In fact, Skaggs completed seven or more innings in four of his five April starts—and went six innings in the other! Man, why did Mike Scioscia have to step down...

(flip) Perhaps with the sale of Topps to Fanatics, somehow the company will find a way to use "Los Angeles" on Angels cards even though the Angels don't really use it themselves. 

For those of you math-challenged, Skaggs debuted at 21 years, 40 days. Dylan Bundy of Baltimore eventually passed Skaggs up by 16 months, however.

That Trade With Diamondbacks sent slugging OF Mark Trumbo to Arizona, while OF Adam Eaton went from Arizona to the White Sox and SP Hector Santiago went from the White Sox to the Angels. Three days later, a pair of Players To Be Named Later also changed hands; neither did anything in MLB.

AFTER THIS CARD: Skaggs underwent UCL surgery in August 2014 and was out until July 2016; he made 10 hit-or-miss starts to close that season. Still, Skaggs showed enough to open 2017 in the Halos rotation—he went 2-6, 4.55 but was limited to 16 starts by an oblique strain. 

In 2018, Skaggs was 8-6, 2.62 through 7/25 (19 starts), but then he strained his groin, missed six weeks and was nowhere close to the same upon returning. He was 7-7, 4.29 in 2019 (15 starts) before his tragic death. You may know the Angels threw a combined no-hitter against Seattle in their first game without Skaggs.

Here's a terrific Cut 4 piece covering said no-hitter, with plenty of trivia thrown in.

Tyler Skaggs appeared annually in Topps 2013-19, except 2018. He's also got 2014 and 2018 Update cards.

CATEGORIES: 2014 Topps Update, Los Angeles Angels

Topps Mike Minor