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Topps Baseball Card Of The Day, January 2023

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A = Alternate Card  •  B = Bonus Factory Set Card  •  F = Factory Team Set  •  G = Giveaway Set  •  I = Insert Card  •  T = Traded Set  •  U = Update Set


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Topps Jeff Juden
Topps Jeff Juden

1/31/23 Topps Baseball Card Of The Day: 1994 Topps #541 Jeff Juden, Astros

More Jeff Juden Topps Cards: 1990 1992 1993 1998

It's no secret that performance on a baseball field does NOT always equal popularity in the clubhouse—good stats don't necessarily mean good personality. There's a reason why SP Mark Redman, for example, had a new team every year. (I was supposed to link you to a clip of former 95.7 The Game host and Oakland A's beat writer Mychael Urban testifying to that, but at the moment I can't find it. When I do, this page will be updated.)

I have never quite had the "inside" access that Urban did, so my knowledge of MLB popularity contest losers is limited to what I've learned from other (reliable) sources. And of those many, MANY sources, I'm not sure anybody was as publicly unpopular among his peers than 1990's journeyman P Jeff Juden—especially earlier in his career.

Juden was a massive former #1 pick of the Astros in 1989; he reached MLB briefly as a 20-year-old in 1991 but was kept in MiLB for almost the entire 1992-93 seasons. Juden was given two "garbage time" outings for Houston toward the end of the '93 season.

THIS CARD: We're likely seeing Juden during a 1993 Spring Training outing. He performed well during the exhibition season but was still returned to AAA Tucson when camp broke...which he didn't take too well.

Juden has just unleashed either his mid-90's heat, his curve, his slider or his changeup. However, none of those secondary pitches stood out like his fastball, which he eventually learned to cut and sink. Juden was the rare 6'7" pitcher who attacked from a three-quarters angle.

SP Roy Oswalt was the best #44 for the first 60 years of the Houston Astros franchise, but DH—and 2022 World Series hero—Yordan Alvarez has a GREAT chance to have it retired in his honor someday. Juden had eight different uniform numbers during his eight major league seasons.

(flip) Juden wasn't just a #1 pick—he went 12th overall. While he didn't work out for Houston, or anybody else really, the Astros did nab RP Todd Jones at #27 overall (though most of Jones' success came after he left Houston).

I was not able to find out what AAA Colorado Springs (Indians) batter pegged Juden, but I CAN tell you that 1992 Sky Sox team had a knack for three-baggers—they had 74 as a team, including three players with 10-plus!

Those two 1993 Astros appearances consisted of: two scoreless innings against the visiting Giants 9/20, and three innings at Cincinnati (three earnies on three hits, including a Hal Morris solo homer) in the season finale 10/3.

AFTER THIS CARD: Juden went to the Phillies (with CL Doug Jones) in the famous December 1993 trade sending embattled CL Mitch Williams to Houston. Juden's 1994 stint with Philly was very rough, and though he improved in a 13-game showing in 1995—even cracking an oppo grand slam off the Dodgers' John Cummings for his ONLY big league hit—he was dealt to my Giants in October 1995.

Juden made few friends in San Francisco and was shipped out (to Monteal) in July 1996.  As a 1996 Expo, this happened. As a 1997 Expo, Juden enjoyed his best MLB success, going 11-5, 4.22 in 22 starts before being dealt to the AL Champion Indians at the Deadline.


The now-27-year-old split 1998 between the Brewers and Angels (8-14, 5.80 in 32/30 games/starts), starting at least one more dustup in April against OF Marvin Benard and the Giants (probably the seventh or eighth of his career; he was well known for throwing at hitters). Juden spent almost all of 1999 in the AAA Columbus rotation before the Yankees called him up for a pair of outings—his last in the majors. Juden's last pro action came with AAA Charlotte (White Sox) in 2001.

Jeff Juden appeared in 1990, 1992-94, and 1998 Topps.

CATEGORIES: 1994 Topps, Houston Astros


More January 2023 Topps Cards Of The Day

Topps Bengie Molina
Topps Bengie Molina

1/1/23 Topps Baseball Card Of The Day: 2003 Topps #407 Bengie Molina, Angels

More Bengie Molina Topps Cards: 2001 2002 2004 2005 2006 2006U 2007 2008 2009 2010 2010U

Molina, who went from helping the Angels defeat my Giants in the 2002 World Series to serving as the Giants' default cleanup hitter six years later, was fresh off that championship when this card was released.

At first glance, Molina's 2002 campaign was nothing to brag about; he suffered a drop in all his "slash" categories and it took him almost 240 at-bats to hit his first homer. But Molina expertly handled the Angels' diverse pitching staff and walked away with his first of two consecutive Gold Gloves after the season.

THIS CARD: As this pic indicates, Molina's swing could get a tad long. But as his career progressed and that long swing began to regularly produce power, it wasn't the issue it probably was back in 2002.

I always got a chuckle out of Molina, the slowest man not just in baseball but possibly in all of pro sports, wearing #1 like some kind of swift center fielder. Before sticking with the Angels, Molina cycled through #38, #63 and #5 as well; he wore #11 with the 2010 Rangers because some Andrus kid already claimed #1 there.

More from Molina's 2002 season: his first three home runs either tied the game or put the Angels ahead, including his T8th, game-tying three-run shot off Texas reliever John Rocker 6/26 that set up an eventual win! For the second straight year, little bro Jose served as one of Bengie's backups behind the plate.

(flip) Molina would have played more than 122 games in 2002 if not for a partial left hamstring tear that sidelined him for the second half of July. (Don't ask ME why it wasn't longer.)

Wait...42.7%? According to, Molina actually gunned 45% of basestealers in 2002, and I'd be inclined to trust them over the sometimes-inaccurate Topps blurbs. Lifetime, Molina erased 31% of potential thieves, including 37% as an Angel.

More on Molina's defensive impact: in 2001, when he only played some of the time due to injury, the Angels averaged 4.57 runs allowed per game, allowed 109 steals, and won 75 games. In 2002, with Molina playing 75% of the time, those totals improved to 3.99, 78 and 99 (plus a championship) respectively!

AFTER THIS CARD: In 2003-05, after a pair of disappointing offensive years, Molina's bat returned to its 2000 form; he averaged .285, 13, 65 during that span and took home another Gold Glove in '03! A free agent after the '05 season, Molina settled for a 1Y/$5M deal from Toronto in February 2006—after a screwjob by the Mets—and batted .284 with 19 homers that year.

The 32-year-old landed with the Giants for 3Y/$16M in December '06; as mentioned, he became San Francisco's default cleanup hitter in 2008 and easily led the team in homers ( sad was that) and RBI (95). 


Thought to be gone after the 2009 season with megaprospect Buster Posey looming, the Giants surprised all by bringing Molina back on a 1Y/$4.5M deal in January 2010—not long after publicly dismissing that notion.

By that June, however, Posey was ready, and Molina was a Texas Ranger. The slowest man in the game managed to hit for the cycle with Texas—his last of six career triples—but couldn't push Texas past his old Giants teammates in the 2010 World Series.


Molina officially retired at 37 in early 2012, and went on to coach for the 2013 Cardinals and 2014 Rangers. (He also was a Spring "Special Instructor" with the 2016 Angels.) Molina is very active on Twitter, and much to my enjoyment, he's an occasional guest on San Francisco's 95.7 The Game—the man is as insightful and genial as they come, people.


Bengie Molina appeared annually in Topps 2001-10 and in 2006 Updates & Highlights; for you Rangers fans, he's also got a 2010 Topps Update card with Texas.

CATEGORIES: 2003 Topps, Anaheim Angels

Topps Garrett Stubbs
Topps Garrett Stubbs

1/2/23 Topps Baseball Card Of The Day: 2022 Topps Update #315 Garrett Stubbs, Phillies

More Garrett Stubbs Topps Cards: 2020 2021U 

Here, the former USC star has just joined the Phillies via November 2021 trade with Houston, where he was described by one respected publication as "the backup (catcher)'s backup". Stubbs won a roster spot with Philly out of 2022 Spring Training and while he was not about to reduce #1 catcher J.T. Realmuto to a platoon player, he posed a far greater offensive threat than his predecessor Andrew Knapp. 

THIS CARD: Stubbs indeed has bunting skillz; he did so for base hits five times during the 2022 season.

Stubbs is listed as a C, which he did almost exclusively in the minors. But in the majors, Stubbs has been used sporadically in LF, once in RF, and even four times on the mound! (All of those pitching appearances came in 2022, though none of them were exactly inspiring.)

According to Getty Images, this pic was shot 4/10/2022 against the visiting A's; in the B3rd, Stubbs executed a bunt single off Daulton Jefferies in his first at-bat of the year! But he was stranded, and Philadelphia eventually lost 4-1.

(flip) That Trade With Astros sent minor-league OF Logan Cerny south; at present, Cerny is so obscure that no one would have noticed if he never reported to his new team.

I'm still not used to Fresno being an affiliate of any team besides my Giants (1998-2014), but it's since been the AAA affiliate of the Astros—as you see in the stats—and Nationals. Upon learning Fresno would become a Class-A Rockies affiliate in 2022, I had an audible reaction that can't really be described—half-groan, half-burp is the best I can do.

Stubbs is not slow—I don't understand how he had just seven pro triples in seven pro seasons, with six of them coming in one season as you can see in the stats. (Note: Stubbs did triple once for the '22 Phillies, maintaining his annual rate.) Even Bengie Molina—our previous COTD subject who on a good day might be able to outrun a cardboard box—tripled nine times in his first six pro seasons.

AFTER THIS CARD: Stubbs spent all of 2022 with the Phillies, batting .264, 5, 16 in 46 games. (One of the five homers was a walk-off shot against the Marlins' Chasen Shreve; view it here and RIP Stubbs' bat and helmet.) In October, Stubbs found himself on a pennant winner for the second straight year, although he did not actually play in the World Series (which—despite Stubbs' intel—was won in six games by the Astros).

Garrett Stubbs has appeared in 2020 Topps and 2021-22 Topps Update.

CATEGORIES: 2022 Topps Update, Philadelphia Phillies

Topps Carlton Fisk
Topps Carlton Fisk

1/3/23 Topps Baseball Card Of The Day: 1990 Topps #420 Carlton Fisk, White Sox

More Carlton Fisk Topps Cards: 1987 1988 1989 1991 1992 1993

Once, as I watched some sort of MLB compilation show, a clip of ex-Giants C Bob Brenly was shown. When my child's mother saw it, she exclaimed "He's HELLA old! Is he a coach?!" Nope...Brenly was just a dude who—like so many from his era—looked 15 years older than he actually was.

Young Skillz felt the same way upon first laying eyes on longtime catching great Carlton Fisk of the White Sox. When I first immersed myself in MLB action back in 1990, Fisk was already 43 and looked it—catching will do that to ya. 

But Fisk was nobody's coach, at least not in an official capacity. The man was still ballin' at a high level and ranked high among the league's top two-way receivers. He was on his way to the Hall of Fame, even if little worms like myself didn't fully yet appreciate what a player he was.

Here, Fisk is coming off a strong, if truncated, 1989 season, his 20th in MLB. The Sox legend started 85 times behind the plate, a total limited by an early April (re-)broken left hand which kept him out of action for nearly two months. Despite all the downtime, Fisk's 13 homers were only one behind OF Ivan Calderon for the team lead!

THIS CARD: Nothing says "Chicago White Sox" like aqua blue.

Fisk is looking as if he just witnessed teammate Steve Lyons pull his pants down at first base. But nope—that wouldn't happen for another year or so. 

More from Fisk's 1989 season: he entered the year needing 47 hits for 2,000 in his career and reached the milestone 7/17 with a single off Yankees SP Dave LaPoint. On 8/5, Fisk went 4-for-4 with four RBI in a 7-6 win over Detroit, and on 7/24 he threw out all three Mariners attempting to steal against him!

(flip) Good GOD, Fisk turned 75 last week.

That sum of 2,141 games played grew to 2,499, with 2.226 of them as a catcher. That stood as the big league record until another "Pudge", Ivan Rodriguez, broke it 6/17/2009. 

The unlucky battery who allowed 41-year-old Fisk's lone 1989 steal? Minnesota SP Shane Rawley and C Tim Laudner in the nightcap of a 6/3 doubleheader.

AFTER THIS CARD: Fisk remained healthy in 1990 and batted .285, 18, 65. He was a 1991 AL All-Star, his 11th career selection, but in 1992 Fisk missed two months with a foot injury and was not the same player when healthy. Former backup C Ron Karkovice was elevated to #1 status in 1993, but the Sox allowed Fisk to catch the 25 games he needed to pass Bob Boone for first in MLB history.

Days later, the 23-year vet—who was blasted by team owner Jerry Reinsdorf before the '93 season—was unceremoniously released, increasing the acrimony. As you might imagine, interest for a 45-year-old catcher wasn't exactly sky-high, and Fisk's playing career ended.

But by 1997, the White Sox were retiring Fisk's #72. In 2000, he was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in his second year eligible, and Boston retired his #27. Fisk's 351 career homers as a C were the most ever until Mike Piazza's 396 pushed him down to second place.

Carlton Fisk appeared in 1972-1993 Topps, as well as 1981 Topps Traded.

CATEGORIES: 1990 Topps, Chicago White Sox

Topps Ben Revere
Topps Ben Revere

1/4/23 Topps Baseball Card Of The Day: 2015 Topps Update #125 Ben Revere, Blue Jays

More Ben Revere Topps Cards: 2010 2011 2012 2012A 2013 2014 2015 2016 2016U 2017 2017U 2018


Speedy and athletic outfielder Ben Revere debuted in MLB as a September call-up for the 2010 Twins. By May 2011, he was playing every day in either LF or CF for Minnesota. In 2012, Revere batted .294 with 40 steals, but the 96-loss Twins dealt him to the Phillies after that season in exchange for RHP's Trevor May and Vance Worley.

While Revere lost just under half of 2013 due to an early quadriceps injury and a season-ending broken foot in early July, he bounced back in 2014 with 49 steals and 184 hits—tied for the NL's most! Here, the 27-year-old has just been acquired by the Blue Jays at the 2015 Trade Deadline—with expected LF Michael Saunders having experienced freak misfortune during Spring Training, Toronto had trotted out nine different starting left fielders in the first half of '15 and evidently wasn't sold on any of them down the stretch.

THIS CARD: Not much is happening here; we see Revere busting it out of the box. Just about EVERY one of his Topps base front images through the years is an exciting one—Revere is shown diving into bases, diving for balls, leaping at the wall, etc. If you weren't aware, you might think Revere was one of the game's top stars—not quite, though his athleticism wasn't matched by many.

According to Getty Images, this particular image was shot during Revere's first Toronto at-bat, 8/1/2015 against the Royals'Yordano Ventura. The result was a flyout; Revere finished 0-for-5 in the Jays' 7-6 loss to the eventual WS champs.

Revere sports #7, which had belonged to star SS Jose Reyes earlier in 2015 before this happened three days prior to Revere's acquisition.

(flip) Revere was acquired from Philly for two then-minor league pitchers; one of them, righty reliever Jimmy Cordero, worked 83 times for the Nats, Jays and White Sox 2018-20. He was good in 2019.

Revere tied ex-Twins outfield mate Denard Span for the 2014 NL lead in hits. That .306 average in '14 ranked fifth in the NL, while those 601 at-bats ranked 7th.

Perhaps Revere was the only active player with 20 steals in five straight seasons? Because I can name about 138 other dudes who did it in their career.

Contact-oriented is correct—when Revere's career ended, he'd homered seven times in eight MLB seasons. But he also only had 308 strikeouts.

AFTER THIS CARD: Shaking off a slow start with Toronto, Revere wound up at .319 with oft-spectacular defense down the stretch. But the Jays opted to deal him to Washington in January 2016, spelling the beginning of the end for the soon-to-be-28-year-old.

Revere battled a finger injury in '16, finished the year at .217, and was not re-signed. He ended up joining the Angels that December (1Y/$4M) and hit .275 with 21 steals in 2017. But MiLB deals with the Reds, Angels, Rangers and Blue Jays 2018-19 only led to his eventual releases, and Revere never played in MLB again (though he was briefly active in the 2021 Independent League after first serving as hitting coach).

Ben Revere appeared in 2010-18 Topps, as well as 2015-17 Topps Update.

CATEGORIES: 2015 Topps Update, Toronto Blue Jays

Topps Ray Lankford
Topps Ray Lankford

1/6/23 Topps Baseball Card Of The Day: 2001 Topps #588 Ray Lankford, Cardinals

More Ray Lankford Topps Cards: 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2002 


I won't lie to you and say I have GREAT baseball intuition—after all, I'm the guy who once thought Todd Linden was gonna do big things for the 00's Giants. But I do have some intuition after 30+ years following the game closely.

But back when I first started as an MLB fan at age 10, I didn't know ANYTHING. I didn't understand how guys who batted 500 times one year could suddenly find themselves as a backup (not understanding that 500 at-bats with a .225 average is NOT in high demand). I didn't understand the importance of changing speeds as a pitcher. I didn't know that "can't-miss" prospects often missed by a mile.

But one thing I DID know: Cardinals OF prospect Ray Lankford would be a star one day.

And while he was never "The Man" on the Cardinals, Lankford did put up numbers worthy of the "star" label more than once in his 14-year career. Here, he's coming off a 2000 season that was not among his finest, but he still placed third on the Birds in homers (Jim Edmonds 42, Mark McGwire 32).

THIS CARD: Lankford blasts away at an unidentified road ballpark. Away from Busch Stadium in 2000, Lankford hit just .208 with eight homers in 64 games compared to .300 at home. He'd always been a better home hitter, but it was never quite so pronounced as it was in Y2K. Perhaps all the new parks produced awful glare from the sun.

That's Lankford's familiar #16. He wore it his entire career except his brief second St. Louis stint, during which he deferred to OF Reggie Sanders and took #12. The most notable Cardinal to wear #16 besides Lankford might be 2B Kolten Wong from 2013-20.

More from Lankford's 2000 season: he entered the year needing 19 homers for 200 career, and  he reached the milestone 8/24 against Atlanta RP Stan Belinda. On 9/9, Lankford's solo homer off Milwaukee RP Juan Acevedo in the T9th stood up as the game-winner!

(flip) Of those 26 home runs in 2000, 21 were solo shots and four were two-run shots...odd for a non-leadoff man. Edmonds must have regularly cleared the bases ahead of Lankford. 

McGwire, you may recall, was limited by a knee injury to 89 games in 2000, but he still clobbered 32 homers in 236 at-bats. 

As you see in the stats, Lankford played 128 games in 2000; the low total wasn't due to health reasons. Rather, Lankford's anemic .135 average vs. LHP in '00 led manager Tony LaRussa to give some of his at-bats to righty-hitting UT Craig Paquette as the year wore on. Plus, Lankford struck out 38 more times in 30 fewer at-bats compared to 1999.

AFTER THIS CARD: Near the 2001 Trade Deadline, Lankford—batting .235 with a high K rate and losing playing time—left the Cardinals, prompting them to trade him to the Padres days later (in exchage for SP Woody Williams). He hit .288 in 40 games with San Diego to finish that year, but fell to .224 in a 2002 season interrupted by a June right hamstring injury.

San Diego bought Lankford out of his $7.5M option for 2003 (for $1M), and he wound up sitting out that season to continue healing his hamstring. In 2004, he won a job with the Cardinals out of Spring Training and wound up as their starting LF for the first half—until wrist issues in July impacted him and forced him to the DL.

While sidelined, St. Louis acquired future Hall-of-Fame OF Larry Walker, and Lankford wasn't seen much after that (though in October, he at least got to experience a World Series, which was won by the historic Red Sox).

Ray Lankford appeared in 1991-2002 Topps.

CATEGORIES: 2001 Topps, St. Louis Cardinals


1/7/23 Topps Baseball Card Of The Day: 1989 Topps #103 Tim Birtsas, Reds

More Tim Birtsas Topps Cards: 1988 1990 1991 


Young Skillz, when first becoming a baseball afficianado as a 10-year-old in 1990, had trouble differentiating Tim Birtsas and Dodgers SP Tim Belcher. Of course, that's laughable today, but if ESPN's Booger McFarland can refer to 49ers WR Deebo Samuel as "Deebo Sanders" on the air, I'm allowed a slip or two.

Birtsas was a half-decent SP for the 1985 Athletics before spending practically all of 1986 back in the minors; he later re-emerged as a half-decent RP for the 1988-90 Reds. Here, Birtsas has just wrapped Year One in Cincinnati; called up in May, he strung together six straight scoreless outings that month, later gave the Reds a pair of solid spot starts, and never went back to AAA.

THIS CARD: We see Birtsas about to fire off either his 90-MPH fastball, his sweeping knuckle-curve, or his...well, I haven't found any visual or printed evidence he threw anything else. Birtsas, when pitching from the windup, would sway his hands behind him not unlike Paul Byrd.

I'm guessing this is a Spring Training image, because Birtsas' 1990 Topps front image is also taken from this angle and features him in his home uni—but with Riverfront Stadium clearly behind him. 

More from Birtsas' 1988 season: on three separate occasions, he threw three shutout innings of long relief, including 8/14 when he picked up the win against Atlanta in relief of injured SP Jose Rijo (elbow tendinitis). In a 7/26 spot start at Atlanta, Birtsas allowed one run (via Dale Murphy homer) in five innings, but received no decision.

(flip) Though years apart, Birtsas attended the same school as his pal Kirk Gibson, the star Tigers outfielder who Birtsas badly beaned in 1985.

I thought "A's" wasn't spelled out as "Athletics" in the stats because the team wasn't officially known as the Athletics thanks to former owner Charles Finley. But then I realized Oakland players have "Athletics" spelled out on the front of the card, so...Topps was just trying to conserve ink, it seems.

Those four starts for the 1988 Reds? They were spread out; two went decently enough as we mentioned above. Let's just say the other two did not.

AFTER THIS CARD: Birtsas appeared 42 times for the 1989 Reds, posting a 3.75 ERA and hitting a homer against Mets SP Sid Fernandez 7/2! But in 1990, Birtsas racked up a 1.812 WHIP, returned to the minors for a time, and was not used in the postseason. Cincinnati released him in December 1990, and despite being an imposing, fairly young (30), cheap lefty, no one else came calling.

Tim Birtsas appeared in 1988-91 Topps; for some reason, despite being a full-time starter for the 1985 A's, Birtsas did not appear in 1986 Topps or even 1985 Topps Traded.

CATEGORIES: 1989 Topps, Cincinnati Reds

Topps Placido Polanco
Topps Placido Polanco

1/8/23 Topps Baseball Card Of The Day: 2007 Topps #386 Placido Polanco, Tigers

More Placido Polanco Topps Cards: 2001 2002 2002T 2003 2004 2005 2005U 2006 2008 2009 2010 2010U 2011 2012 2013


Placido Polanco was a dude who just hit. A gamer who rarely struck out (or walked, for that matter), Polanco was the rare cat to obliterate the "utility guy" label as he established himself as one of the better—if not best—second basemen in baseball.

Makes me feel kinda bad that my two top Polanco memories are A) the nasty beaning he suffered at the hands of San Francisco's Santiago Casilla in 2013, and B) the time he, while on second base, tried to join a brawl between his Phillies and my Giants—only to be speared by Giants C Eli Whiteside before reaching his target.

Here, we catch up with Polanco on the heels of his first full season (2006) with the Detroit Tigers. For the seventh consecutive season, he batted .289 or better, although a separated left shoulder reduced him to spectator for much of the second half. The Tigers, who won 95 games overall in 2006, went just 14-21 without him.

THIS CARD: Good signature, legible, with no surprises. As I've mentioned on past 2007 Topps COTD, maybe 35-40% of the featured signatures could be described that way.

Polanco holding down the second base position, where he played exclusively during his five seasons in Detroit save for one start at 3B in 2005. Polanco, of course, used to man several positions as a Cardinal and Phillie; the latter even employed him in the outfield a few times!

More from Polanco's 2006 season: he was injured 8/15 when he fell after securing a B7th popup from Boston's Doug Mirabelli—of all people, Pudge Rodriguez was forced to replace him at 2B! Polanco had three hits and two RBI in his first game back 9/23. On 4/19 at Oakland, Polanco singled off Brad Halsey for his fourth hit of the day and 1,000th of his career—and since Detroit was up big, no one cared that he was gunned trying to stretch said single into a double.

(flip) Polanco had a bit of an axe to grind against Oakland after being beaned by SP Esteban Loaiza in the B1st on 7/23. He was back in action 7/25, thankfully.

Polanco enjoyed three multi-hit games in that four-game ALDS, then three more in Detroit's four-game ALCS sweep of Oakland! But baseball can be cruel and mysterious sometimes; Polanco was 0-for-17 in the Tigers' five-game World Series loss to St. Louis.

Usually, guys born in the D.R. are signed, not drafted, but Polanco moved to Miami as a teen, attending high school and college there. 

AFTER THIS CARD: Polanco, as mentioned, remained a Tiger thru 2009. He enjoyed a prolific 2007; the 31-year-old batted .341 with 200 hits, made his first All-Star team and won his first Gold Glove! Two years later, Polanco broke through with his first double-digit homer season and took home another Gold Glove. The Phillies brought him back with a 3Y/$18M deal in December 2009.

Despite his exemplary defense at 2B, Chase Utley was still around, so the Phillies moved Polanco to 3B, where he became only the second player to win Gold Gloves at multiple positions in 2011! (Former Angel Darin Erstad won as a 1B and OF). Polanco also made his second All-Star team that year, but in 2012 he missed most of the second half with back inflammation and hit just .257 in the 90 games he did play.

Polanco returned home to Miami for 2013 (1Y/$2.75M in December 2012) but he slashed a meager .260/.315/.302 and absorbed the aforementioned beaning that shelved him for two weeks. That challenging season would be Polanco's last in MLB, though he did not officially retire until 2016. Today he works in the Dodgers' front office, but I try not to hold that against him.

You wouldn't guess this, but Polanco finished up with 2,142 career hits; he holds MLB records for consecutive errorless games (186) and chances (911) at second base.

Placido Polanco appeared annually in Topps 2001-13; he also shows up in 2002 Topps Traded plus 2005 and 2010 Topps Update.

CATEGORIES: 2007 Topps, Detroit Tigers

Topps Starlin Castro
Topps Starlin Castro

1/9/23 Topps Baseball Card Of The Day: 2014 Topps #603 Starlin Castro, Cubs

More Starlin Castro Topps Cards: 2010U 2011 2012 2013 2015 2016 2016U 2017 2018 2018U  2019 2020 2020U 2021


Mr. Castro so enjoyed being a COTD subject back on 12/12/2022 that he's back, less than a month later. This time, however, we look back on Castro's time with the Chicago Cubs, with whom he spent his first six MLB seasons and made three NL All-Star teams.

Specifically, this card represents Castro's 2013 season, his fourth in MLB and undoubtedly his worst up to that point. While he continued to play almost every game and led the NL in at-bats for the third straight season, Castro's bat turned frigid in June (.167) and he never completely recovered, finishing at .245—a 52-point drop from his previous career average. Despite that, Castro still led Chicago in hits, 22 more than runner-up Anthony Rizzo.

THIS CARD: We're seeing Castro during his age-23 season, and he looks even younger than that in this pic. I'd bet $5 he's not clean-shaven by choice.

According to Getty Images, this pic was shot 7/9/2013 and depicts Castro cracking a B3rd home run off SP Joe Blanton of the Angels. That was but one of five homers the Cubs hit that day en route to a 7-2 victory.

More from Castro's 2013 season: it obviously wasn't a complete struggle, as evidenced by Castro's 14-game hit streak in April. Additionally, on 8/31, his B6th solo homer off Phillies RP Zach Miner broke a 3-3 tie and held up as the game-winner!

(flip) I'd heard of Glenn Beckert but knew little about him; turns out he spent nine seasons (1965-73) as the Cubs' 2B, won the 1968 Gold Glove, and made four NL All-Star teams! Beckert finished up with 73 games for the 1974-75 Padres; he passed away in April 2020 at 79. NOT a bad career!

Just to clarify, Castro was a first-time All-Star in 2011; he pinch-ran for starting SS Troy Tulowitzki (of Colorado) in the B5th and K'd in his lone at-bat against Seattle RP Brandon League two innings later.

Note Castro's 161 games played in 2013; the lone game he missed was a "mental rest day" given to him 6/25 (his sub, Cody Ransom, went 0-for-4 as the Cubs fell to the Brewers 9-3). Castro was also pulled early from an August game because of this.

AFTER THIS CARD: Castro signed a 7Y/$60M extension in August 2012 that took hold in 2014; he returned to his All-Star form that year, though he missed almost all of September with an ankle sprain. In 2015, however, Castro again slumped with the bat and was shifted to 2B in August to accomodate prospect Addison Russell. That December, Castro was swapped to the Yankees, for whom he belted a career-high 21 homers in 2016!

In 2017, Castro was limited to 112 games by two DL stints in June/July (both for a right hamstring strain) but slashed .300/.338/.454 when healthy and earned his fourth All-Star nod in eight major league seasons. He might have remained in New York for some time, but the Yankees sacrificed Castro in order to land megastar Giancarlo Stanton in a December '17 trade with Miami.​

Despite going from the revered Yankees to a hollowed-out Marlins squad that lost 203 games during Castro's 2018-19 tenure, he appeared to give his very best for Miami, missing only eight total games (all in 2018) while pacing the team in hits both years and homers in 2019. He even drew 48 walks in 2018, a career-high by far! 


In January 2020, Castro joined the Nats for 2Y/$12M, but was limited to 16 games that first year by a broken wrist suffered while diving for a ball in Baltimore. Castro was batting .283, 3, 38 in 87 games for the 2021 Nationals when MLB suspended him in mid-July. Washington cut him that September, and he's yet to resurface in MLB. 


Starlin Castro has appeared in 2011-21 Topps, as well as 2010, 2016, 2018 and 2020 Topps Update.

CATEGORIES: 2014 Topps, Chicago Cubs

Topps Chili Davis
Topps Chili Davis

1/11/23 Topps Baseball Card Of The Day: 1990 Topps #765 Chili Davis, Angels

More Chili Davis Topps Cards: 1987 1988 1988T 1989 1991 1991T 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000


Probably because of his long stint with the 1980's Giants, I'd heard the name Chili Davis long before I knew exactly who he was. For all young Skillz knew, Chili was an actor or a mayor; dude could have even been a relative-by-marriage! But eventually I started finding Davis inside packs of 1990 Topps cards, solving the mystery.

Davis—to this day, the most recent homegrown Giants outfielder to make a National League All-Star team, which he did in frikkin' 1984 and 1986—was a unique player. Then or now, 6'3", switch-hitting center fielders who can wallop a baseball 425 feet at any given time are just not common. (Add in Davis's Jamaican heritage and you TRULY have a unicorn.)

Though he was a two-time All-Star for the Giants, Davis didn't consistently produce at an All-Star level, which he believed was due to windy Candlestick Park. So when the Angels offered the free agent a 1Y/$850K deal in December 1987, Davis just about knocked over all the office furniture scrambling to sign it.

Here, we catch up with Davis after a fine 1989 campaign for the Angels, who re-signed him to a 3Y/$4.1M deal that February and watched him wallop a career-high 22 homers.

THIS CARD: Among Angels, #24 has an interesting history. In addition to Davis's two Anaheim stints, OF Gary Pettis won one of his two Angel Gold Gloves wearing #24 (1986). Hall-of-Fame OF Rickey Henderson wore #24 during his brief Halos stint in 1997, and masher C.J. Cron wore it during most of his tenure as a young Angel. Additionally, free-agent bust Gary Matthews Jr. claimed #24 in the late 00's; now-retired C Kurt Suzuki had it from 2021-22.

From the left side in 1989, Davis hit .286, 14, 62 in 360 AB. He was .245, 8, 28 in 200 righty AB.

More from Davis's 1989 season: he was California's full-time LF after spending 1988 in CF and RF. As expected from someone who'd only played limited LF in his MLB career, Davis didn't exactly shine defensively, but he was not a disaster. On Opening Day 4/5, Davis walloped a three-run jack off Bobby Thigpen to ice a 6-2 win over the White Sox.

(flip) Of those 22 homers in 1989, seven were three-run shots.

Davis's first two-assist-from-CF inning: 8/12/1983, in the B2nd at Houston. The 23-year-old threw out Craig Reynolds at third and John Mizerock at home—but his Giants still lost 5-2. Thanks, baseball-reference!

As you see in the stats, Davis tripled once in 1989, a B9th, one-out oppo drive off Brewers RP Tony Fossas on 9/7. Davis then attempted to score on 2B Johnny Ray's grounder to third and was erased at the plate with the Angels down 7-1. Oh, well.

AFTER THIS CARD: 1990 saw Davis limited to 112 games by back issues; by season's end he was DHing more often than not, and in January 1991 he moved on to Minnesota on a two-year deal with several salary terms. Now a full-time DH, Davis earned MVP votes with a .277, 29, 93 performance that helped Minnesota to the World Series—which they won, aided by two more longballs off Chili's bat.

Davis fell to 12 homers in 138 games in 1992, then rejoined the Angels for 1Y/$1.75M (plus incentives) that December. He responded with 27 homers and 112 RBI in 1993, and not only did California exercise Davis's $2.4M option for 1994, but they extended him for 3Y/$11.4M in April 1995 (albeit after some contention). Davis averaged .306, 25, 88 from 1994-96.

Needing an arm, the Angels dealt Davis to the Royals for SP Mark Gubicza in October 1996; the now-36-year-old spent 1997 in KC, hit .279, 30, 90, then inked a 3Y/$9.8M deal with the Yankees that December. He missed most of the 1998 season following ankle surgery, however, and though he turned in a decent 1999 season, Davis was anemic in October. Once the Yankees released him that December, he decided 19 seasons, 2,380 hits and 350 homers in MLB was enough.

Since 2012, Davis has worked in MLB as a hitting coach. Oakland, Boston, the Cubs and the Mets (who fired him in May 2021) have employed him.

Charles "Chili" Davis appeared annually in Topps 1982-2000, except 1986 for some reason. He can also be found in 1982, 1988 and 1991 Topps Traded.