Topps Baseball Card Of The Day, March 2022
COTD Archive 2014: May June July August September October November December
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COTD Archive 2021: January February March April May June July August September October November December
COTD Archive 2022: January February March Current Month
A = Alternate Card B= Bonus Factory Set Card F = Factory Team Set G = Giveaway Set T = Traded Set U = Update Set
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3/31/22 Topps Baseball Card Of The Day: 2014 Topps #45 Jake Marisnick, Marlins
More Jake Marisnick Topps Cards: 2014U 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2020U
On 7/7/2019, Marisnick—in the blink of an eye—went from quality major league veteran outfielder to "that guy that ran over that catcher".
Marisnick, still with Houston at the time, probably didn't set out to level Angels C Jonathan Lucroy at home plate that day. But that's exactly what happened—Marisnick, attempting to break a 10-10 tie in the B8th, charged home from third base and crashed into Lucroy when a crash was indeed avoidable.
Ten years ago, that's what would have been expected of Marisnick. But today, the Buster Posey Rule forbids such physicality; Marisnick took quite a beating on the airwaves, online, in print, everywhere for his hit on Lucroy—who was left concussed, broken-nosed and hospitalized.
Neither player has had solid major league footing since.
Here, however, Marisnick is just a Marlins rookie; he and future NL MVP Christian Yelich were both summoned from AA Jacksonville for their first major league foray on 7/23/2013. Facing the Rockies in Denver, Marisnick started in CF and went hitless in four trips; in fact, it took him 15 trips to record that elusive first MLB hit, a single off Pittsburgh's Jeff Locke 7/26.
THIS CARD: That's #23 on Marisnick's back, a number worn earlier in 2013 by P Wade LeBlanc (who was waived a few weeks before Marisnick's callup). Of course, the most notable #23 in Marlins history was Gold Glove C Charles Johnson, but among Miami Marlins, there's been former All-Star Corey Dickerson for 18 months and little else.
According to Getty Images, this pic was shot 8/2/2013 as Miami hosted Cleveland. That day, Marisnick went 3-for-5 with a double, an RBI and a steal in a 10-0 Marlins victory.
More from Marisnick's 2013 season: aside from that aforementioned 3-for-5 effort which left his average at .231, at no point during his two-plus months in the majors was Marisnick's average above .214. On 8/13, Marisnick was grazed by a pitch to lead off the T10th; he stole second and came around to score on Yelich's single—the only scoring in a 1-0 Marlins win over the Royals.
(flip) I won't lie: I'd completely forgotten about that trade, or at least the particulars of it. It saddens me that Josh Johnson is largely forgotten now because that was one talented SOB.
Marisnick's grand slams for AA Jacksonville (vs. Pensacola, a Reds affiliate) were both hit off Josh Ravin. Those nine RBI were the most in a Southern League game since Butch Garcia of Charlotte (Cubs) drove in a league-record nine runs 8/4/1989.
About that Rookie Fact: Marisnick cracked that solo homer in the B2nd off the Mets' Jenrry Mejia (then a starter). That helped the Marlins to a 3-2 win, salvaging the finale of a three-game series.
AFTER THIS CARD: Off to an 8-for-48 start for the 2014 Marlins, Marisnick was shipped to the Astros in a six-player deal at the Deadline. He'd remain with Houston in a fourth-outfielder role through 2019, and his .243 average with 16 homers for the World Champion 2017 Astros set career-highs despite a September thumb fracture. Marisnick averaged .227, 10, 31 in 272 at-bats for the 2015-19 Astros, but averaged a strikeout every three times up.
Traded to the Mets in December 2019, Marisnick missed the first month of 2020 with a hamstring injury but went 11-for-33 in the 16 games he did end up playing (and survived this). He split 2021 between the Cubs and Padres, batting .216 in a reserve role, and is attempting to win a job with the 2022 Rangers as of this writing.
Jake Marisnick has appeared in 2014-20 Topps, as well as 2014 and 2020 Topps Update.
CATEGORIES: 2014 Topps, Miami Marlins
More March 2022 Topps Cards Of The Day
3/1/22 Topps Baseball Card Of The Day: 2017 Topps #31 Carlos Carrasco, Indians
More Carlos Carrasco Topps Cards: 2010 2011 2013 2014 2015 2016 2018 2019 2020 2021
Though 2021 was not kind to him, Carlos Carrasco was quietly one of the American League's better, and at times best, starting pitchers throughout the second half of the 2010's and into 2020. The Indians acquired the then-unknown prospect in the 2009 Cliff Lee trade with Philadelphia, gave him a few years to develop, and watched him win 60 games for them 2015-18.
Here, the 29-year-old has just finished a 2016 season that saw him shake off a hamstring injury in April/May to win 11 times for the AL Champion Indians. Carrasco's 3.32 ERA would have tied for eighth in the AL if he had enough innings to qualify; his season ended on 9/17 when his hand was broken by a liner from Detroit's Ian Kinsler—the game's first batter.
THIS CARD: Each of Carrasco's nine Topps cards as an Indian depict him mid-motion, but the angles and uniforms are varied so redundancy isn't really an issue in his case.
This particular pic was shot in the B1st of Cleveland's 8/22 matchup with Oakland. That day, Carrasco scattered four hits across eight innings of work, striking out nine in a 1-0 victory!
In Cleveland history, #59 doesn't have much stature, although it was Hall-of-Famer Jim Thome's first number upon reaching MLB in 1991. Carrasco has never worn another number in the majors.
(flip) While I am accepting and understanding of Cleveland's recent nickname change, TSR is not going to pretend the Indians never existed, as 2022 Topps is doing. Try as some might, history cannot be erased. You will continue to see that nickname used on this site where applicable, just as you see the Expos, Senators, Pilots and Devil Rays where applicable—and we won't be pressured into otherwise.
One of these days, I have to find out where the nickname "Cookie" originated. It's obviously significant if Carrasco used it for (at least) two social media handles.
That 6/30 effort came against host Toronto in a 4-1 Cleveland victory. The Jays whiffed 17 total times that day, with all 10 of their hitters (including PH Russell Martin) going down on strikes at least once.
AFTER THIS CARD: Fully healthy in 2017-18, "Cookie" ran up a combined 35-16 record for Cleveland, placing fourth in AL Cy Young Award voting in '17 and earning a somewhat complicated four-year contract extension/restructuring in December 2018. But Carrasco's 2019 campaign was thrown off course in late May by leukemia; he returned as a reliever in September and became one of few to earn (AL) Comeback Player of the Year honors for an in-season comeback.
In the shortened 2020 season, Carrasco returned to the rotation and went 3-4, 2.91, improving as the year wore on. That winter, however, the Indians included Carrasco in the blockbuster Francisco Lindor trade, and his first year with the Mets was one to forget (1-5, 6.04 in 12 starts; sidelined until July by a torn hamstring). He underwent elbow surgery (bone fragment) after that 2021 season.
Carlos Carrasco has appeared annually in Topps 2010-21, except 2012.
CATEGORIES: 2017 Topps, Cleveland Indians
3/2/22 Topps Baseball Card Of The Day: 1994 Topps #393 All-Star LHP: Tom Glavine, Jimmy Key
More 1994 Topps All-Star Cards: n/a
In my formative years as a Topps collector, All-Star cards—while not always depicting actual All-Star players—were always present in some capacity. From 1985 through 1992, All-Star cards featured individual players on the front and League Leaders (which said player was usually among) on the reverse.
In 1993 Topps, All-Stars were featured in pairs—AL and NL catchers, for example—with their key first-half stats from the previous season on the reverse. That format has continued almost unchanged in 1994 Topps.
THIS CARD: Glavine and Key both made the 1993 All-Star team, though only Key actually pitched in the game (he was credited with a hold despite allowing a double, single and sac fly to the NL in the T6th).
Despite the new card format/layout, Topps has continued its strange practice of including "All-Stars" who were not actual 1993 All-Stars, such as Atlanta's Fred McGriff and the Yankees' Mike Stanley. Both McGriff and Stanley had great 1993 seasons, but they were left off the Midsummer Classic roster. Topps finally rebranded this subset as the better-fitting "Star Power" in 1996 before junking it entirely until 2003 Topps.
Unlike previous All-Star subsets, this one uses the same player name font as standard commons.
(flip) Key's emergence as a star was one of 1993's big talking points. He'd always been steady, but broke through in a big way in his first year with the Yankees.
This may be the only time hits allowed is displayed on a pre-2006 Topps card. Why the company waited so long to print them on standard commons remains a mystery to us collectors.
Based on the stats you see, it may seem Key lost some effectiveness in the second half of 1993. But his stats were skewed by two clunkers that ran up his ERA; overall, 13 of Key's 15 second-half starts met or very nearly met "quality" requirements.
AFTER THIS CARD: Glavine, who started the 1991 and 1992 All-Star Games, made seven more All-Star teams in his career (1996-98, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2006—all in relief) giving him 10 selections lifetime. Meanwhile, Key was named to the 1994 and 1997 Classics (starting in 1994), finishing his career with five total selections.
Tom Glavine received All-Star cards in 1992-94 Topps. Jimmy Key received All-Star cards in 1988, 1994 and 1995 Topps.
CATEGORIES: 1994 Topps, All-Stars
3/3/22 Topps Baseball Card Of The Day: 1998 Topps #379 Mark Langston, Angels
More Mark Langston Topps Cards: 1987 1988 1989 1989T 1990 1990T 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997
I hate that Mark Langston doesn't instantly come to anyone's mind when discussing the top lefty starters of his time. He was no superstar, but for most of the 12-year period between 1984 and 1995, Langston was rarely unavailable and averaged around 14 wins per year.
What did him in, by and large, was pitching for crap teams. He didn't reach the postseason until past his prime with the 1998 Padres, and we all know how that went (damn you, Richie Garcia).
Here, Langston has completed his eighth season with the Angels, the final year of a 3Y/$14M extension he signed in early 1994. It didn't go so well, as the veteran ace was disabled thrice with a bum elbow—he underwent surgery in May 1997.
THIS CARD: We select Langston for the second time in COTD, having presented his 1987 Topps card back in July 2021. The two cards depict the same person, but two radically different pitchers.
With stick-um use by pitchers banned last season, don't be shocked if umps are told to inspect baseballs after pitchers (such as Langston here) blow on their hands. ESPECIALLY if batting averages stay low and strikeouts stay high.
Langston only made three road starts in 1997, and since one of them was at Cleveland's Jacobs Field, I'm virtually positive this pic was shot there. Why? Because I've seen that decoration (?) between Langston's shins in known photos of "The Jake". (Langston won there on 4/13, BTW.)
(flip) 3B Carney Lansford wore #12 for a time with the Angels, and rookie 3B Troy Glaus was one of four Angels to wear it in 1998, but Langston is far and away the most notable Angels #12 ever. In 2021, the number was worn by C Anthony Bemboom. (Short rant: Langston spends eight mostly-good years with the Halos and they give his number to FOUR dudes as soon as he's gone?! Was he a tad stingy with the clubbies or something?)
Langston was acquired as a free agent for the then-hefty sum of 5Y/$16M. These days, that might buy you a backup catcher in his late-30's.
Of those nine starts Langston made in 1997, only one came after 5/19. The former ace came off the DL to start 8/20, but only lasted one catastrophic inning (six hits, five earned runs) against the Yankees before being pulled and eventually shut down for the year. Langston—ever the workhorse—had completed between five and seven innings in every other start that season despite his troublesome elbow and (possibly connected) command issues.
AFTER THIS CARD: In January 1998, the soon-to-be-38-year-old signed a MiLB deal with his hometown Padres; though he made the team, his 16 starts were mostly unimpressive and he ended the year in relief. 25 games with the 1999 Indians ended Langston's MLB career; he finished up with 179 wins and seven Gold Gloves.
Mark Langston appeared annually in Topps 1985-98. He's also got 1984, 1989 and 1990 Topps Traded cards. (1998 Ultra depicts Langston with San Diego, if you're interested.)
CATEGORIES: 1998 Topps, Anaheim Angels
3/5/22 Topps Baseball Card Of The Day: 2015 Topps #402 Jeurys Familia, Mets
More Jeurys Familia Topps Cards: 2013 2014 2016 2017 2018 2018U 2019 2019U
Jeurys Familia wasn't supposed to be the closer for the 2015 NL Champion Mets. But when incumbent Jenrry Mejia was injured in April 2015, suspended for PED use, reinstated, then suspended AGAIN for PED use, Familia stepped in as if born for the role. Mejia was quickly forgotten (which as just as well, since he was temporarily kicked out of MLB after a third PED suspension in 2016).
Familia was a starter in the minors, but his performance ebbed and flowed through the years; when he debuted with the 2012 Mets, it was as a reliever. Familia missed much of 2013 after surgery to remove bone spurs in his elbow in May; it was originally thought to be season-ending but the youngster returned to the mound in mid-September!
Here, the almost-25-year-old has just completed his first full season in the majors (2014). Working as a setup man for Jose Valverde, Kyle Farnsworth and finally Mejia, Familia finished 5th in the NL in appearances and exactly zero righty hitters (in 149 official AB) took him deep.
THIS CARD: Familia throws as hard as you'd expect from someone his size. Here, he's about to fire his 96-99 MPH sinker or his effective slider. In 2015 he added a splitter that reached an unheard-of 95 MPH!
Per GettyImages.com, this image was shot 8/31/2014 against the Phillies, who fell to the Mets 6-5. Familia was not his sharpest, allowing a walk and a two-run HR to Domonic Brown in the T8th.
More from Familia's 2014 season: he saved five games of his own, including three in August when Mejia's calf/hernia issues cropped up. On 8/20 he earned a five-out save against Oakland, escaping a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the 8th with just one run scoring (via walk, but still). And on 7/30 against the Phillies, Familia's second MLB hit was a hard RBI single off Justin DeFratus!
(flip) Of those 110 MiLB appearances 2008-12, 109 were starts. Familia, as you can see in the stats, experienced plenty success despite evidently featuring just two pitches at the time.
Of the 13 Mets pitchers to pitch 30+ innings in 2014, only relievers Josh Edgin and Buddy Carlyle posted lower WHIPs than Familia's 1.18.
There were drawbacks, sure, but one of the benefits of the huge MiLB reshuffling of 2021 is east coast teams like the Mets no longer being stuck with places like frikkin' Las Vegas as their AAA affiliate.
AFTER THIS CARD: Familia racked up 43 saves in 2015, helping the Mets to the NL pennant. History will show he blew three saves in the World Series against victorious Kansas City, but Game 4 SO wasn't his fault and Game 5 was flukish (Familia inherited the tying runner, who scored on a pair of groundouts).
In 2016, Familia bounced back with a MLB-high 51 saves (in 56 chances), making his only All-Star team to date. But by mid-2018, the Mets were no longer serious contenders, and once Familia proved to the league that he was recovered from a 2017 season marred by a domestic violence suspension (charges were dismissed) and a clot in his pitching shoulder, he was dealt by the Mets to the Oakland Athletics.
In Oakland, Familia returned to a setup role, posting a 3.45 ERA in 30 games as one of about 19 ex-closers in the A's bullpen. He re-signed with the Mets for 3Y/$30M in December 2018, just over a week after the club traded for breakout star CL Edwin Diaz (formerly of Seattle). Familia completed his deal with the Mets having racked up just one save in 156 appearances; he's 32 and still on the market as of this writing.
Jeurys Familia has appeared in 2013-19 Topps as well as 2018-19 Topps Update (his 2019 Update card was redundant, as his 2019 base card also depicted him with the Mets). Apparently, the company isn't interested in Familia the non-closer.
CATEGORIES: 2015 Topps, New York Mets
3/6/22 Topps Baseball Card Of The Day: 2020 Topps #411 Mark Melancon, Braves
More Mark Melancon Topps Cards: 2009U 2011U 2012 2013U 2014 2015 2016 2016U 2017 2018 2019 2021 2021U
I still remember the night my buddy Juan, who is a casual Giants supporter at best, texted me late in the 2019 season with one question: "What the hell happened to Melancon? He's GOOD now!"
Like so many other Giants followers, Juan had witnessed CL Mark Melancon lay one stink bomb after another during his 2.5-season run in San Francisco 2017-19, then excel immediately after being dealt to Atlanta. I had to fill Juan in on the Giants' negative history with free-agent closers. Dave Righetti had been adequate for one season (1991) before losing his touch. Armando Benitez was a through-and-through disaster from 2005-07.
Then there was Melancon, supposedly the missing piece for a Giants team whose lack of a reliable closer cost them the 2016 NLDS. On paper, the decision to sign him to a 4Y/$62M deal made sense; he'd made three of the past four All-Star teams and saved 98 games for Pittsburgh and Washington from 2015-16.
But Melancon never really got going as a Giant—before or after his health issues—and was eventually displaced as closer by fellow veteran Will Smith. Here, Melancon has just completed his first two-plus months with Atlanta, where he regained his touch practically overnight upon being traded by San Francisco. Figures...
THIS CARD: Before we get too far, I'll clarify that it's pronounced muh-LANCE-un.
Though there's a faint trace of redundancy in 2018-19, overall Topps has mixed up Melancon's 14 Topps/Topps Update front images pretty well. He's shown in mid-motion a few times, of course, but he can also be seen fired up after getting a big out, shaking hands with his catcher and a coach, and pointing at God knows what (among other things).
Since 1979 All-Star Gary Matthews Sr. wore it 1977-80, #36 seems to be passed to a new Brave just about every other year (including RP Steve Karsay, who was wearing it when he served up Mike Piazza's "9/11" homer). Mike Minor has probably had the best run of any Brave wearing #36 since Matthews. Young and talented SP Ian Anderson, who had the number in 2021, has a chance to supplant Minor.
More from Melancon's 2019 season: he took over Atlanta's closer role from the scuffling Luke Jackson pretty much immediately, though he didn't notch a save until 8/13 (opportunities were scarce; the whole Braves team recorded just two saves from 7/16 through 8/11—one apiece by Josh Tomlin and Jackson). Relegated to setup work with the 2019 Giants, Melancon went 11-for-11 in save ops for the Braves, including 9/2 against Toronto when he struck out the side on 11 pitches!
(flip) As you can see, aside from his awful Giants stint, good teams have followed Melancon around. He picked up a World Series ring as a rookie Yankee in 2009, he helped the previously-woeful Pirates to three straight postseasons 2013-15, and the 2019 Braves played in October as well (until that ghastly NLDS Game 5).
Of course, some notoriously bad teams have employed Melancon as well. The '11 Astros lost 106 games, the '12 Red Sox were abysmal under Bobby Valentine, and the '17 Giants lost 98 times after being projected to WIN that many (one of the 98 losses was an absolutely crushing, three-run walk-off homer off Melancon by Colorado's Nolan Arenado on Mother's Day. I'll never forget it—partially because MLB Network's Quick Pitch used the celebration in their opening for a while, the bastards).
That Trade With Giants sent RP Dan Winkler and pitching prospect Tristan Beck to the Giants. Beck, now 25, remains in the organization. Winkler was cut the next day. We Giants fans didn't really care about the return, though—Melancon was gone, and the Braves were paying his contract's balance.
AFTER THIS CARD: After going 11-for-13 in save ops for the 2020 Braves, followed by a strong postseason, Melancon was signed by San Diego for 1Y/$2M—with a mutual $5M option for 2022 that he eventually declined—in February 2021. Though the 2021 Padres disappointed, 36-year-old Melancon led MLB with 39 saves (in 45 chances).
Prior to the MLB lockout, the Diamondbacks signed Melancon for 2Y/$14M.
Mark Melancon debuted in 2009 Topps Update and has since appeared in 2012 and 2014-21 Topps. He's also got 2011, 2013, 2016 and 2021 Update cards.
CATEGORIES: 2020 Topps, Atlanta Braves
3/7/22 Topps Baseball Card Of The Day: 2016 Topps Update #86 Stephen Vogt, All-Star
More Stephen Vogt All-Star Topps Cards: 2015U
Vogt is without a doubt among THE most improbable MLB All-Stars of the 2010's...if not ever. Vogt, who didn't debut in MLB until he was 27.5 years of age (for the 2012 Rays), became an Oakland regular in mid-2014 and never looked back.
Here, the veteran receiver has been named to his second consecutive AL All-Star team. A player's selection in 2015, this time around Vogt was added by manager Ned Yost (of Kansas City) on the strength of a .277, 7, 27 first half of 2016.
THIS CARD: SP Chris Sale (left) and 2B Robinson Cano (right) flank Vogt in the Petco Park dugout.
I still can't believe the uber-popular Vogt, after legit selections to the 2015-16 All-Star Games, was just discarded by Oakland in June 2017 solely because of a slow offensive start. As you can see here, people liked him, so I doubt it was a personality issue.
A franchise like the A's just doesn't free itself of cheap quality labor. I'll go to my grave believing Vogt did or said something so offensive (IDK, urinated on a Dave Stewart jersey in search of laughs??), management cut ties while mercifully not throwing him under the bus publicly.
After spending the past five-plus years presenting 2016 Topps cards with the "All-Star Game" stamp, we finally pick an actual 2016 All-Star. I was finally motivated to replace my stamped 2016 Topps set this week (I'd gotten the stamped set for a ridiculously low price, but within a year regretted it).
(flip) Vogt watched, but he watched the American League defeat their NL counterparts 4-2. Sal Perez and Matt Wieters handled catching duties for the AL.
I remember being young and not understanding how Steinbach, whose stats were not eye-popping, made it to the Classic. I am proud to say I now understand baseball, and catchers in particular, much better than I did at age 10.
Vogt tailed off to .222, 7, 29 after the break. That slump, which carried all the way through to the following June as we mentioned, left him wide open for an explainable DFA. I already shared my thoughts on that above, though.
AFTER THIS CARD: Vogt has become a journeyman since his A's release, suiting up for Milwaukee, San Francisco, Arizona and Atlanta over the past 4.5 seasons (one of which, 2018, was spent recovering from shoulder surgery). Though the 38-year-old no longer plays frequently or well enough to make any All-Star squads—he's hit just .188 in 104 games with a 26% CS rate across the 2020-21 seasons—Vogt claimed a World Series ring with the 2021 Braves.
CATEGORIES: 2016 Topps Update, All-Stars
3/9/22 Topps Baseball Card Of The Day: 2017 Topps #240 Mike Aviles, Tigers
More Mike Aviles Topps Cards: 2008U 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
Aviles was one of those players who might have hurt himself by being so versatile and capable of doing so many things. He probably could have been a solid full-time player in MLB but for the majority of his career, Aviles was used as a super-utilityman, only eclipsing 500 PA once (for the 2012 Red Sox, for whom he started at SS).
Originally a Royal 2008-11, Aviles placed 4th in 2008 AL Rookie of the Year voting, but lost most of 2009 after UCL surgery in June. He returned to become Kansas City's primary 2B for most of 2010 but was traded to Boston at the 2011 Deadline (for two guys named Volz and Yamaico). As mentioned, he spent 2012 as the Red Sox SS.
In 2013, Aviles joined the Indians on a 2Y/$6M deal with a $3.5M club option for 2015 (that was exercised); they used him extensively at six positions over the next three seasons. Though nowhere close to the .325 hitter he was as a rookie, Aviles was very valuable to Terry Francona and crew; he was used occasionally-to-frequently at six different positions and DH over the next three years. Here, we catch up with Aviles after his first (and only) season with the Detroit Tigers.
THIS CARD: It is surprising that Aviles was included in 2017 Topps at all, let alone as a Tiger, since he was released by the Tigers in August 2016 with a .210 average. Aviles quickly signed with Atlanta but was released five days later; he didn't sign with anyone else til Miami in May 2017. Typically, dudes like 2016-17 Aviles are excluded from Topps sets.
Aviles is listed strictly as an outfielder; he played 41 times there and 25 times as an infielder for the 2016 Tigers. For all his defensive shuffling, Topps never gave Aviles a hyphenated position designation (such as SS-3B or 2B-OF). FYI, he shuffled all over the infield as a prospect, too; Aviles was the rare "Utilityman By Trade".
Aviles swings away at Comerica Park, where he batted .240 in 32 games in 2016 (compared to .185 in 36 road games). His best offensive performance in '16 was probably 6/2, when he went 2-for-4 with a 2B, R and RBI against the visiting Yankees—far below Aviles' standard for a "best" game.
(flip) Aviles had (and still has) a Twitter account (@Themikeaviles); not sure why it wasn't listed here. However, he hasn't posted publicly since mid-2015—shortly after his daughter's leukemia diagnosis. I WANT to believe Aviles didn't abandon Twitter because he had a bad game or two and lowlifes disparaged his sick daughter...but if he did, I wouldn't be surprised, sadly. (She's now recovered.)
Aviles was limited to 98 games with the 2015 Indians because of two stints away from the team (totaling 15 days) to be with his family. Rumored to be on the trading block at one point, Cleveland graciously kept Aviles in the fold once his daughter was diagnosed. Some things are bigger than baseball, and I'll always respect Francona and the Indians/Guardians hierarchy for that non-move.
See those two seasons with exactly 14 steals? Aviles also stole 14 in 2010 and 2011; the four seasons with exactly 14 swipes has got to be a record.
AFTER THIS CARD: As mentioned, Aviles joined Miami on a MiLB deal in May 2017, quickly getting in three games with the Marlins before being outrighted to AAA New Orleans. There, Aviles hit .292 in 55 games, earning a trip back to Miami in late July. The 36-year-old produced a .233/.298/.291 slashline for the 2017 Marlins and never played professionally again.
Young Mike Aviles debuted in 2008 Topps Update, then appeared annually in the base set 2009-17, except 2016. I suppose his surprise 2017 inclusion makes up for his unjustified 2016 exclusion.
CATEGORIES: 2017 Topps, Detroit Tigers
3/10/22 Topps Baseball Card Of The Day: 2013 Topps Update #236 Shaun Marcum, Mets
More Shaun Marcum Topps Cards: 2005U 2006 2007U 2008 2009 2010U 2011 2012
Shaun Marcum was a solid, if injury-plagued, starter for the late-2000's Blue Jays and early-2010's Brewers. In fact, his performances in both 2010 and 2011 would have elevated him to ace of a lot of major league staffs those years.
Not that he was a slouch before that. Marcum debuted in MLB in '05, spent 2006 on the AAA/MLB shuttle, then opened '07 in relief before entering Toronto's rotation in May. The control artist flirted with no-hitters more than once and posted an 11-4, 3.91 mark as a starter that year. A promising 2008 campaign was thrice interrupted (a sore elbow in June, a brief AAA demotion in August, and finally UCL surgery in September).
Marcum returned to the Blue Jays in 2010; he was especially outstanding in May and ended the year as their second-best starter behind Ricky Romero. The Jays dealt him to Milwaukee that December (for IF Brett Lawrie) and he shined there as well, leading a strong 2011 Brewers rotation in WHIP (1.156) while reaching 200 innings for the first time. Marcum was just as effective in '12, but lost two months to a partially torn UCL.
Here, the 31-year-old has just signed with the Mets for 1Y/$4M. He opened the 2013 season on the DL with biceps tendinitis.
THIS CARD: This image is taken from Marcum's season debut vs. the Phillies 4/27. He took the loss, throwing 71 pitches across four innings and allowing three runs as the Mets fell 9-4.
Uniform #38 has been passed around a LOT in Mets history. Would you believe the most accomplished Met to wear it to date is Rick Aguilera? Today, #38 belongs to SP Tylor Megill.
More from Marcum's early 2013 season: he lost each of his first nine decisions, even each of the two quality starts he produced. On 6/8, Marcum took the loss in a 20-inning heartbreaker against the Marlins; he fired blanks in innings 13-19 but coughed up the losing run in the 20th.
(flip) Based upon his 2013 performance, that increased velocity did Marcum no favors. That photo would have gone in the shredder after about three starts.
The usual "Injured - Did Not Play" line is omitted for 2009 because Marcum did make a handful of MiLB starts as he recovered from his UCL surgery.
Career Chase: even at his best, Marcum had no shot at winning a Cy Young Award, let alone catching the actual Cy Young's wins record. Not unless they began crediting pitchers with wins for each individual inning they completed with a lead.
AFTER THIS CARD: Not a whole lot. With a 1-10, 5.29 record, Marcum hit the DL in early July 2013 to undergo surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome; the Mets cut him two weeks later and he didn't resurface in MLB until April 2015 with Cleveland. He...
made one spot start for the Indians,
was outrighted to AAA Columbus,
returned to Cleveland in May,
made six more starts,
allowed the first six runs of a 17-0 loss to the Cubs in the final start,
was outrighted to Columbus once again,
never returned to the majors.
Marcum officially retired in January 2016, age 34. He finished up with 61 wins, 48 losses, and a 3.93 ERA across 195 MLB games (167 starts). He threw one complete game and earned one save.
Shaun Marcum appeared annually in Topps or Topps Update 2005-13.
CATEGORIES: 2013 Topps Update, New York Mets
3/11/22 Topps Baseball Card Of The Day: 2010 Topps #7 Mickey Mantle, Yankees
More Mickey Mantle Topps Cards: 2006 2007 2008 2009 2011 2012
Late Yankees legend Mickey Mantle occupies card #7 in 2006-12 Topps; more on that below.
Given our random selection process, I wondered if we'd EVER get to profile one of Mantle's cards on this website. But here we are presenting our second Mantle card in 19 months! I didn't appreciate or fully understand Mantle's legend when he was alive—he passed when I was 15—but I do now.
And whenever I encounter stories of current players who've never even HEARD OF HIM, I simmer. I mean, imagine a young NBA star 15 years from now not knowing who Michael Jordan was/is. You'd question that young man's NBA suitability.
Here, Mantle has "joined" the 2009-10 Yankees, fresh off their 27th World Series championship.
THIS CARD: As you're probably aware, Mantle died in 1995, and 1996 Topps dedicated a special tribute card #7 to him, as his popularity helped grow the company's popularity in its fledgling days. Mantle's MLB career and Topps' baseball card foray both began in 1951.
Next, Topps retired card #7 in all its base sets from 1997-2005, after which it reserved the number for special Mantle non-reprint commons (such as this one) 2006-12. As I understand it, Topps' agreement with Mantle's estate expired, or they would have continued featuring him. But I can't swear to that under oath.
We see Mantle either warming up along the first base line, or perhaps practicing relay plays at first base? Done in by leg injuries, the former CF played 1B exclusively his final two seasons (1967-68).
(flip) Yes, that's the uniform the Yankees wore in Mantle's day; any changes made since then are barely noticeable. Whenever I view young Mantle, I regret missing out on watching him play—he just LOOKS LIKE a formidable baseball player.
"The Mick" has his own logo, which I NEVER noticed on any of his cards until profiling his 2012 Topps card in August 2020.
Mantle was second in the AL with 37 doubles in 1952, then averaged 18 per year until he retired after the 1968 season. Can't really find fault with that, since most of his XBH sailed well OVER the wall—it's just a statistical oddity.
AFTER THIS CARD: The Topps company re-retired card #7 beginning in 2013 and lasting through 2016. The number returned to circulation (again) beginning with 2017 Topps, but was initially reserved for active Yankee stars like Gary Sanchez, Aaron Judge, etc.
Then, in 2021 Topps, the company used card #7 for a Checklist. 2022 Topps spit on the Yankees altogether by reserving card #7 for BOSTON'S Bobby Dalbec.
Mickey Mantle appeared annually in Topps 1952-69, and again 2006-12.
CATEGORIES: 2010 Topps, New York Yankees
3/12/22 Topps Baseball Card Of The Day: 2003 Topps #24 Odalis Perez, Dodgers
More Odalis Perez Topps Cards: 2000 2003 2004 2005 2006 2006U 2008 2008U 2009
If you're a regular visitor to TSR, and more specifically, to Topps Card Of The Day, you know that I have had little good to say about ex-Dodgers starter Odalis Perez. I didn't like him, plain and simple. But I never wished the man dead.
Still, Perez shockingly met his end on 3/10/2022; all evidence points to a fall off a ladder at his home. As we do for ALL players featured in 1987-present Topps who pass away, we are presenting a Perez card here in COTD, and I will refrain from any critical or disparaging commentary towards him. Now just isn't the time for it.
THIS CARD: We chose this card because it represents Perez's breakout 2002 campaign, easily the best one of his entire career. Perez was a 2002 All-Star, finished fourth in the NL in ERA, and led a deep Dodgers staff in innings.
We also chose this card because our other options are running out—today, Perez joins Alfonso Soriano as TSR's only four-time COTD selectees, although all of Soriano's selections have been random.
That's probably #43 partially visible on Perez's jersey; he opened 2002 with that number before switching to #45. SP Rick Sutcliffe won NL Rookie of the Year wearing #43 for the 1979 Dodgers, just as OF Raul Mondesi did for the 1994 squad. SS Kevin Elster wore #43 when he christened SBC/Oracle Park with a three-homer game for the 2000 Dodgers; IF prospect Edwin Rios has worn #43 for Los Angeles since 2019.
(flip) By 2006 Topps, the line "INJURED - DID NOT PLAY" was revised to "Did Not Play - Injured". UCL surgery put Perez on the shelf in 2000.
That bad-hop, infield single was credited to young OF Corey Patterson. Perez fired another one-hit shutout 6/25, against the visiting Rockies (C Bobby Estalella led off the T6th with a single but was soon erased on a double play).
See those four complete games and two shutouts in 2002? Perez was the only 2002 Dodger without a big, fat zero in the CG and SHO columns.
AFTER THIS CARD: Bouncing back from a disappointing 2003, Perez posted a crisp 3.25 ERA in 31 starts for the 2004 NL West champion Dodgers. But by 2006, a struggling Perez had been dumped off in Kansas City, where he went 10-15, 5.60 over 38 starts from 2006-07. He improved in 2008 with Washington, but then refused to honor a signed minor league contract with the franchise for 2009 and never pitched professionally again.
Odalis Perez debuted in 2000 Topps, then appeared annually in the base set 2003-09 (except 2007). He also appears in 2006 and 2008 Topps Updates & Highlights.
CATEGORIES: 2003 Topps, Los Angeles Dodgers, Now Deceased
3/13/22 Topps Baseball Card Of The Day: 2000 Topps #253 Freddy Garcia, Mariners
More Freddy Garcia Topps Cards: 2001 2002 2003 2004 2004T 2005 2006 2007 2010 2011 2011U 2012
Freddy Garcia, the co-ace of the early-00's Mariners and later a key member of the World Champion 2005 White Sox, was just getting his MLB career underway when this card was issued. Acquired from the Astros organization the previous summer, Garcia won a spot in the 1999 Mariners' rotation out of Spring Training; he went on to lead Seattle in starts, wins and K...at the tender age of 22!
THIS CARD: The 1999 MLB rookie class was not a particularly strong one, yet one of the few star newcomers was given the RHP spot on Topps' All-Star Rookie Team ahead of Garcia. In my opinion, the corresponding ASR trophy should be here on Garcia's card, not (Toronto closer) Billy Koch's.
This image doesn't fully give Garcia's big, strong body due justice. If you look up the word "strapping" in the dictionary, not only will you find Garcia's image, but you will find no text—the image will speak 1,000 words.
In Mariners history, #34 has an interesting background. Future M's All-Star Bret Boone originally wore #34 as a 1992 rookie. Randy Johnson, a Hall-of-Famer-to-be himself, wore it for one start in 1993 to honor the retiring legend Nolan Ryan. Garcia had it for six seasons. And of course, King Felix Hernandez dominated for a decade-plus in Seattle with #34 on his back. It has not been reissued since Hernandez departed after the '19 season.
(flip) We see Garcia about to snap off what could be his patented curveball. The big Venezuelan also threw a changeup, a mid-to-high-90's four-seamer, and a slightly slower two-seamer. In 2003, Garcia added a slider to his repertoire and eventually began to heavily rely on a splitter as his velo dipped.
That Trade, of course, was the trade that sent Astros prospects Garcia, SS Carlos Guillen and P John Halama to the M's in exchange for a disgruntled Johnson.
To this day, I have not seen that classic 1975 film, although I've seen several scenes parodied in The Simpsons over the years.
I was also known as "Chief" by a guy who dated my mother during my preteen years. Sometimes I wonder if he just forgot my name.
AFTER THIS CARD: Garcia had a good run in Seattle, 2000 fractured tibia aside. He was an All-Star in 2001-02, the 2001 AL ERA champion (3.05) and the second runner-up for the 2001 AL Cy Young Award. By mid-2004, however, Seattle stunk and Garcia's free agency loomed—off to the White Sox he went via trade. Garcia quickly inked a 3Y/$27M extension and helped Chicago win the 2005 World Series.
In December 2006, the Sox dealt Garcia to Philadelphia, but his 2007 season was ruined (5.90 ERA in 11 starts) by a bad shoulder that eventually required surgery. He was next seen making three late-season starts wi