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Topps Baseball Card Of The Day, May 2022

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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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Topps Kosuke Fukudome
Topps Kosuke Fukudome

5/31/22 Topps Baseball Card Of The Day: 2012 Topps #342 Kosuke Fukudome, White Sox

More Kosuke Fukudome Topps Cards: 2009 2010 2011 2011U


Few, if any, dudes during my MLB fandom have made such a debut splash as Kosuke Fukudome, signed out of the Japan League by the Chicago Cubs in December 2007. Back on 3/31/2008, the new Cub went 3-for-3 with a double, walk and a game-tying three-run homer in the bottom of the 9th!!! And though Milwaukee eventually won the game, all anyone wanted to discuss was the great Fukudome.

Chicago's newest hero remained scorching hot into May (.348 through 5/3), and was a no-brainer selection to the 2008 All-Star team. But here, Fukudome is with his third team in a year—the White Sox signed the free agent to a 1Y/$1M deal in January 2012 (with a team option for 2013).

THIS CARD: Fukudome wore #1 throughout his five-year MLB career. Other notable White Sox to wear #1 include 2B Scott Fletcher in the mid-1980's and OF Lance Johnson in the 1990's. Most recently, hot-hitting 2B Nick Madrigal wore it prior to his 2021 trade to the Cubs.

According to Getty Images, this pic was shot 3/6/2012 in a Spring Training game against the Angels. From what I can gather, Fukudome was not competing for a starting job that Spring (Chicago seemed set with Dayan Viciedo, Alejandro De Aza and Alex Rios in the outfield) and if he was, he did not win one.

More from Fukudome's early 2012 season: he did not play a ton, earning about half his run as a PH/DR. On 4/22, Fukudome's RBI single in the T8th provided insurance in a win over Seattle. But on 4/25, after doubling home a run against Oakland, Fukudome was caught too far off third base on a blown suicide squeeze by Brent Morel—if he scores, perhaps the game doesn't drag on for 14 innings and Paul Konerko's 400th career homer doesn't go to waste.

(flip) Fukudome was the Central League (Japan) batting champ in 2002 and 2006 (.343 and .351, respectively).

On 4/25/2011 or 4/26/2011, depending on your locale, Fukudome singled in all five of his at-bats and scored once—upping his season average to .478—but the Cubs still lost to the Rockies 5-3.

I probably waited too long to inform you it is pronounced Ko-SU-kay Foo-koo-DOUGH-may. But then again, you're probably smarter than Matthew Brock of NewsRadio.

AFTER THIS CARD: Fukudome went 7-for-41 in 24 games with the White Sox before being released in June. He eventually returned to the Japan League where—get this—he still plays in 2022 at age 45 (though not regularly)! At present, Fukudome has 1,952 hits across 19 seasons in Japan.

Kosuke Fukudome appeared in 2009-12 Topps, as well as 2011 Topps Update.

CATEGORIES: 2012 Topps, Chicago White Sox


More May 2022 Topps Cards Of The Day

Topps Josh Hamilton
Topps Josh Hamilton

5/1/22 Topps Baseball Card Of The Day: 2011 Topps #29 Josh Hamilton, AL MVP

More Topps AL MVP Cards: 2008

From 2008-12, there might not have been a better player in MLB than healthy Josh Hamilton, unless it was a crucial postseason game. He made all five All-Star teams in that stretch (putting on an incredible Derby show in 2008) and was Top 7 in MVP voting thrice, including 2010 when he finished first after leading the AL with a .359 average.


The 29-year-old Hamilton joined Jeff Burroughs (1974) Juan Gonzalez (1996, 1998) Ivan Rodriguez (1999) and Alex Rodriguez (2003) as Texas Rangers to win the award.

THIS CARD: According to Getty Images, this image is Hamilton going yard against my Giants in Game 3 of the 2010 World Series. That solo shot, hit off Jonathan Sanchez 10/30/2010, helped Texas to its lone win of the Series.

I scanned this card three times and this is the BEST that Hamilton's name appeared. It doesn't appear so blurry on the card and no other 2011 Topps card we've scanned has looked like this. It's one of those mysteries a smart man could solve.

Playing for an eventual pennant winner no doubt helped Hamilton win the MVP, award, but (in spite of my earlier dig) he was the primary reason they held off the Yankees for said pennant. Hamilton went 7-for-20 with four jacks and seven RBI in the 2010 ALCS, taking that MVP award as well!

(flip) I do not own 1983 Topps, but as I've said before, perusing this set makes me want to sift through Topps cards of yesteryear. If you put a pack of '83 Topps in front of me right now, by next week I'd own at least a third of the complete set. (BTW, Randy Jones was a top pitcher for the Padres 1973-80 who finished second and first, respectively, in NL Cy Young voting 1975-76. He finished with the Mets 1981-82, so 1983 was Jones' Topps swan song.)

Even for the old Ballpark At Arlington, .390 is a divine home batting average. Furthermore, 22 of Hamilton's 32 homers were hit at home, even though he only had 10 more at-bats there than away.

Looking back, I'd long forgotten that the Rangers who opposed my Giants in the 2010 World Series won just 90 regular season games. They were nine games up on the second-place A's and never challenged for first place after late July. The Giants won just 92, so there was no clear WS favorite.

AFTER THIS CARD: After his dream 2010, Hamilton had just one more great season—he finished fifth in AL MVP voting after hitting .285, 43, 128 in 2012. The Angels gambled $125M that Hamilton could continue challenging for MVP awards, but he only gave them 31 HR and 123 RBI from 2013-14 before being dumped back on Texas. Plagued by knee and personal problems, the nine-year veteran simply faded out of MLB, unable to even challenge for the MVP among players named Hamilton by the end. 

CATEGORIES: 2011 Topps, Award Winners

Topps Juan Encarnacion
Topps Juan Encarnacion

5/2/22 Topps Baseball Card Of The Day: 1999 Topps #397 Juan Encarnacion, Tigers

More Juan Encarnacion Topps Cards: 2004T

It's difficult for the casual fan who didn't see Juan Encarnacion on a regular basis to not first recall the horrifying way his career ended ahead of anything else he did on the diamond. It's the Joe Theismann syndrome—whenever that former NFL quarterback's name is mentioned, does anyone initially think of his 1982-83 Super Bowl win, or his 1983 MVP award, or his 25K passing yards...or do they think of his final, grotesque play on the gridiron?

Encarnacion wasn't just a bullet point on a "Top 10 Injuries" list. He was a solid player for over a decade in MLB, one who did a number of things well, and we'll try to focus on that here. In 1998, Encarnacion was just 22 and still held official rookie status; he spent the final six weeks with Detroit and the AL had quite a time getting the kid out.

THIS CARD: Encarnacion doesn't seem to have a whole lot behind this particular swing, but he was strong enough to make good contact even without his lower half fully into it.

If I had to guess, I'd say Detroit was at the Oakland Coliseum here. On the road in 1998, Encarnacion slashed .359/.381/.576—impressive for anybody but especially for a noob.

More from Encarnacion's 1998 season: he was with AAA Toledo until being summoned to Detroit 8/18. He promptly ran off an 11-game hit streak that included five multi-hit games, and when the streak ended in Game 1 of a doubleheader, Encarnacion promptly went 2-for-4 with a three-run jack in the nightcap!

(flip) Encarnacion's Tigers did not win that game, according to But it was indeed wild—the teams combined for 41 hits in the 12-inning affair! But here's the crazy stat: the Tigers and White Sox combined to strike out just 18 times. Today's clubs would double that total.


It has to be beyond frustrating to get the hardest two "legs" of the cycle without completing it. A fair comparison is correctly guessing Z and Q in a Wheel Of Fortune puzzle—only to find there isn't a single S.

Geez, Encarnacion could snag a volleyball in that massive mitt.

Check out Encarnacion's line for AA Jacksonville in 1997: he was 15th in the Southern League in average, fourth in homers and ninth in RBI, earning him a promotion straight past AAA to Tiger Stadium.

AFTER THIS CARD: Encarnacion received regular run as the Tigers LF, then CF, then CF/RF through the 2001 season, but did not approach the stardom predicted for him as a prospect. He was traded to the Reds in December 2001, then swapped to the Marlins (for SP Ryan Dempster) in mid-2002. As a 2003 Marlin, Encarnacion started 155 times in RF without a single error, hit .270, 19, 94, and helped the Fish to their second World Championship.

Though Florida dealt Encarnacion to the Dodgers (for a failed prospect) that December, they brought him right back in July and he remained there through the '05 season. After batting .287, 16, 76 in 2005, St. Louis inked Encarnacion for 3Y/$15M that December and watched him put up very similar numbers in '06.

Now 31, Encarnacion was enjoying another solid year in '07 when, on 8/30, teammate Aaron Miles fouled a pitch directly off Encarnacion's face as he stood in the on-deck circle. I'll spare you the unsettling details and just tell you that although doctors saved his sight, he never played in MLB again.

Juan Encarnacion appeared in 1998-2008 Topps, as well as 2002 and 2004 Topps Traded plus 2006 Topps Update.


CATEGORIES: 1999 Topps, Detroit Tigers

Topps Jason Phillips
Topps Jason Phillips

5/3/22 Topps Baseball Card Of The Day: 2005 Topps #190 Jason L. Phillips, Mets

More Jason L. Phillips Topps Cards: 2004 2005U 2006 2007U

You might not have known his name, but if you watched MLB during the 2000's, you noticed Jason Phillips. With his beefy build and trademark goggles, the man kind of stood out. And for a short time, he was a productive offensive player with a bit of a cult status.

Originally a Mets catching prospect out of San Diego State, Phillips rose to MLB fairly quickly and by 2003, he was starting 108 games between 1B and C in New York. Phillips was over .300 most of that summer before finishing at .298, and he entered 2004 with a job to lose. 

THIS CARD: One of my favorite front images in the set. 2005 Topps didn't have a load of horizontal front images, but the ones it DID have were usually clear enough to do fan identification.

This image was shot at Dodger Stadium, where Phillips played 8/22-24. He went 3-for-12 with an RBI.

There's been a long list of notable Mets utility/backup players who wore #23, but no real stars unless you count Javier Baez's 2021 stint. Today, SP David Peterson wears #23 for the Mets.

(flip) Kyle Phillips—also a catcher—did eventually reach MLB, getting in five games for the 2009 Blue Jays and 36 games for the 2011 Padres. He hit .191 with two bombs in 94 at-bats. (This Jason Phillips is no connection to Jason C. Phillips, who made 17 pitching appearances for the Pirates and Indians 1999-2003.)

As you see, Phillips was a #24 pick who beat the odds to even reach MLB, let alone shine for a while. From that draft round, only RP Jose Rodriguez joined Phillips in MLB, appearing 12 times for the 2000-02 Cardinals and '02 Twins.

As you see in the stats, Phillips' 2004 numbers took a dive from 2003. As New York tried to transition Mike Piazza from C to 1B, Phillips found the majority of his time behind the plate in '04 after playing far more first base in '03. For whatever reason—perhaps the added defensive responsibilities—Phillips never got hot, struggling just to stay above .200 most of the year. 

AFTER THIS CARD: During Spring Training 2005, Phillips was traded to the Dodgers in exchange for SP Kaz Ishii; in Los Angeles, Phillips started 106 times, most of that at catcher, and hit .238 with 10 bombs. That wasn't enough to earn a new deal for '06, and Phillips joined Toronto over the winter on a MiLB deal.  

The Jays outrighted Phillips twice during the year; he only got in 25 MLB games in 2006. Toronto brought him back in '07 on a 1Y/$500K deal, but he did not play well on either side of the ball (.208, 4-for-47 CS) and was released in July. Despite MiLB deals with the 2007 Marlins, 2008 Braves and 2009 Mariners, Phillips never returned to the majors.

Jason L. Phillips appeared in 2004-06 Topps, as well as 2005 and 2007 Topps Updates & Highlights.

CATEGORIES: 2005 Topps, New York Mets

Topps Jack Morris
Topps Jack Morris

5/4/22 Topps Baseball Card Of The Day: 1991 Topps Traded #82 Jack Morris, Twins

More Jack Morris Topps Cards: 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1992T 1993 1994T


For Morris, the winningest pitcher of the 1980's as the ace of the Detroit Tigers, the news of his defection to the Twins as a free agent should have been bigger news than it was. But because A) Morris was coming off an 18-loss 1990 season, B) his deal with Minny was only for 1Y/$3M, and C) Detroit and Minnesota were not yet division rivals at the time, the transaction was almost an afterthought in the (many) publications 10-year-old me browsed.

But the signing wound up setting the stage for one of the greatest World Series games ever.

THIS CARD: This selection proves I spend too much time with baseball cards. I did not know who 1991 Topps Traded #82 was from memory, obviously. But I DID know the set was numbered alphabetically by last name. So I took a wild guess that Morris was card #82 of the 132-card set...and I was RIGHT. You can believe it or not, but I swear on everything it is truth.

Pre-Morris, the #47 was practically banned. Post-Morris, it's been worn by the likes of Corey Koskie and Francisco Liriano, two solid Minnesota Twins. Pitching coach Wes Johnson has worn #47 since 2019.

This image does not appear to have been shot anytime during the early 1991 season. I suspect some serious airbrushing at work—Morris even appears to be pasted onto the background.

(flip) Miscut alert!!!

Note the 1990 GS and CG aren't bold or italicized, though they do have the diamond indicating a tie for the league lead. Same with Morris's 1991 Topps base card. (They were both corrected in 1992 Topps.)

Geez, I look at those innings and CG totals and just salivate. I LOVE the complete game and I LOVE the workhorse starter; Morris was the best of his era. See those double-digit complete games every year? We'll be lucky if MLB gets 10 TOTAL this year (so far, as of 5/4, there's been a pair. One each by Walker Buehler of the Dodgers and Patrick Corbin of the Nationals).

No blurb, so I'll create one: After three losses, Morris earned his first Twins victory 4/24/1991 against the Oakland Athletics, throwing 124 pitches across 7.2 innings. He walked four and K'd six.

AFTER THIS CARD: You may have heard about Morris's epic 10-inning shutout in Game 7 of the 1991 World Series against Atlanta. The 36-year-old then declined his $2M player options to sign with Toronto, where he won an AL-best 21 games for the 1992 World Champs. The 1993 Jays made it three straight rings for Morris, and four overall, even though he himself had a terrible season (7-12, 6.19)

The 17-year vet moved on to Cleveland in 1994 and went 10-6 despite a 5.60 ERA; the Indians controversially released him just prior to the strike before contract incentives could kick in. Though he was through in MLB, Morris did gain election to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2018 (through the Veterans Committee); Detroit FINALLY retired his #47 that same year after keeping it out of circulation for 28 years. Morris has worked as a Tigers broadcaster since 2019.

Jack Morris appeared in Topps 1978-1993, with Traded appearances in 1991, 1992 and 1994.

CATEGORIES: 1991 Topps Traded, Minnesota Twins

Topps Rafael Furcal
Topps Rafael Furcal

5/6/22 Topps Baseball Card Of The Day: 2012 Topps Update #75 Rafael Furcal, All-Star

More Rafael Furcal All-Star Topps Cards: 2010U


For 15 seasons, Rafael Furcal tore up NL basepaths and—errors aside—showed high athleticism and a STRONG arm defensively. He was never a superstar, but for periods Furcal was one of the top leadoff men in the NL and certainly among the top two-way shortstops. I wasn't crazy about his multiple DUI's, but I gotta say I enjoyed watching him during his Braves...and Dodgers (GAG) days especially.

In 2003, Furcal was recognized as an All-Star for the first time, an honor he'd receive again in 2010. Here, Furcal has made his third NL All-Star team—and first as a starter—despite overall first-half numbers that do not jump off the page. But so hot in April and May (.333 with a .391 OBP) was the veteran shortstop that it didn't matter to voters in the end.

THIS CARD: This image is indeed from the 2012 All-Star Game. If that's fellow Cardinal Matt Holliday on deck behind Furcal as I suspect, the pic was shot in the 4th inning, the only inning where Holliday batted.

And assuming all that is true, we're watching Furcal rip an oppo triple off Texas SP Matt Harrison (Raffy only swung at one of three pitches he saw during the at-bat). PH Holliday would single Furcal home to give the NL a 6-0 lead—which increased to 8-0 by inning's end and stood up as the final.

Often, the ASG logos give away the location, but I got nothing from this one. Turns out the 2012 Midsummer Classic was held in Kansas City's Kauffman Stadium.

(flip) DAVID ECKSTEIN led shortstops in All-Star voting during his Cardinals days?! What the hell was Furcal doing that year?

Also tripling for the NL was San Francisco's Pablo Sandoval and Milwaukee's Ryan Braun.

In June 2012, Furcal dropped to .177 with two XBH and one steal, dropping his overall first-half average to .275 with five homers and nine steals. That's still not BAD for a shortstop, but he was on pace for some special things before that mysterious slump.

AFTER THIS CARD: UCL surgery in September 2012 essentially ended Furcal's career; Cal Ripken might have been popular enough to earn All-Star consideration while on the season-long disabled list, but not Rafael Furcal, who played nine games with the '14 Marlins before retiring at 36.

Rafael Furcal received All-Star cards in 2010 and 2012 Topps Update.

CATEGORIES: 2012 Topps Update, All-Stars

Topps Jon Gray
Topps Jon Gray

5/7/22 Topps Baseball Card Of The Day: 2018 Topps #9 Jon Gray, Rockies

More Jon Gray Topps Cards: 2016 2017 2019 2020 2021 2022


One of my favorite teams ever is the 2018 Rockies, because for one of the rare times (maybe the ONLY time) in their history, they had four starters healthy and effective to send to the hill 30+ times. Jon Gray was one of those starters, winning 12 times with 183 K for that team.

But here, we catch up with Gray on the heels of an encouraging 2017 campaign. After some early inconsistency and an injury, Gray came on strong down the stretch for Colorado—more on that below. Forget that he was knocked out in the second inning of the NL Wild Card Game against the D'Backs; the future was still bright for the 26-year-old.

THIS CARD: Gray's mane was not nearly that wild all season; this pic was shot 4/8/2017 against the Dodgers, a game Colorado won 4-2. But by the All-Star break, said mane didn't even reach Gray's shoulders. Thank you yet again, Getty Images.

Gray wore #55 his entire seven-year Rockies career; he's switched to #22 with the Rangers. (What, 10-game MLB "veteran" Sam Huff couldn't be bought?)

More from Gray's 2017 season: Gray was sidelined from mid-April until the end of June with a foot stress fracture suffered while fielding a grounder from San Francisco's Eduardo Nunez. But once he returned, he went at minimum five innings—and often six-plus—in 16 of 17 starts to close the year. On 9/12, Gray walked ZERO and whiffed a season-high 10 in a win over Arizona, part of an 11-start  August/September stretch during which Gray went 7-2, 2.44.

(flip) Oh...that's where his hair went. Am I EVER going to read the blurbs first?

Injuries? Pjural? I only uncovered the aforementioned foot injury. 

That massive homer Gray clubbed was a two-run shot off Cincy's Scott Feldman at—where else—Coors Field. It helped the Rox to a 5-3 win and represents the lone homer of Gray's career to date (and thanks to the universal DH, likely the last).

Gray does have a Twitter account and it's been open since 2011; not sure why it didn't get shared here. @MrGrayWolf22 for anyone interested; he's semi-active.

AFTER THIS CARD: Gray followed up that 2018 season with an 11-8, 3.84 line in an abbreviated (August foot fracture) 2019 campaign. Gray's 2020 was rough (8.39 home ERA and shoulder inflammation) but he bounced back somewhat in 2021 (8-12, 4.59). Texas signed the 30-year-old to a 4Y/$56M deal that December, but so far in 2022 he's battled a knee injury and appeared just three times with a 7.50 ERA.


Jon Gray has appeared in 2016-22 Topps.

CATEGORIES: 2018 Topps, Colorado Rockies

Topps Joel Piniero
Topps Joel Piniero

5/8/22 Topps Baseball Card Of The Day: 2011 Topps #263 Joel Pineiro, Angels

More Joel Pineiro Topps Cards: 2001T 2003 2004 2005 2006 2009 2010 2012


The 2022 Angels are off to a strong start, and it's largely because for the first time in quite a while, they have at least four quality starting pitchers performing up to their capabilities. And that's not including young Reid Detmers, who's still hitting some bumps, or former capable starter Jaime Barria, who's transitioned to relief for the moment.

The 2010 Angels also had four guys capable of a quality start every time out. Jered Weaver, Ervin Santana, Joel Pineiro and Dan Haren combined for 45 victories (Haren was only there for half that season), though it wasn't enough to secure their fourth straight AL West title.

Pineiro, a former big winner for the early 00's Mariners, joined the Angels on a 2Y/$16M deal in January 2010 after winning 15 times for the '09 Cardinals. He slid into the #4 starter role and—the occasional beatdown notwithstanding—gave Los Angeles a quality starter when healthy.

THIS CARD: Have I ever seen #35 on another Angel? Well, no one of note. The great Tommy John wore it in 1982-83 before I followed the game, and underachieving 1B Casey Kotchman had it from 2004-08. Today, C Chad Wallach wears #35.

Pineiro makes his second Topps COTD appearance; we presented his 2001 Traded card back in  back in November 2017. Which is a month I'd like to forget, considering I totaled my car on the 17th.

Per Getty Images, we are seeing Pineiro during his 4/14/2010 start at Yankee Stadium. He was the winner that day, scattering five hits in seven innings and whiffing seven. 

(flip) Coleman was a new Mariner in 1996 Topps, but he did not last there long enough to see the organization draft Pineiro. (This might be the first "Dark Era" card I've encountered in the 2011 Topps Flashback box.)

That 2010 shutout went down 5/16 against the visiting A's; Pineiro scattered four hits and struck out five.

Pineiro was limited to those 23 starts in 2010 by a strained oblique that sidelined him from late July to mid-September. (I LOVE that he still went the distance three times, although one was an eight-inning loss in which he allowed 10 hits and six runs to the Royals...but threw just 98 pitches.)

AFTER THIS CARD: The second year of Pineiro's Angels deal began well, but serious bumps were hit and he was removed from the rotation for half of August. Despite an improved—but not necessarily strong—performance upon rejoining the rotation, and signing MiLB deals with five organizations through 2015, no other MLB opportunities arose for Pineiro—a badly torn labrum in 2012 and a PED suspension in 2014 may have played roles.


Joel Pineiro debuted in 2001 Topps Update, then appeared in the 2003-06 and 2009-12 base sets. He was one of several glaring omissions from 2002 Topps.

CATEGORIES: 2011 Topps, Los Angeles Angels

Topps Mike Timlin
Topps Mike Timlin

5/9/22 Topps Baseball Card Of The Day: 2003 Topps #402 Mike Timlin, Red Sox

More Mike Timlin Topps Cards: 1991T 1992 1993 1994 1995 1997 1998 2000 2001 2002T 2004 2005 2006


Not to be confused with Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin.

Whether as a starter early in his career, or a middle man, or a setup man, or as a full-time closer for the 1996 Blue Jays, 1999 Orioles and other clubs, Mike Timlin never refused the ball. He wound up appearing in the eighth-most regular season games in MLB history (1,058, plus 46 more across 11 postseasons), and collected four World Series rings for his efforts. 

But perhaps my favorite Mike Timlin fact: after throwing five wild pitches as a 1991 rookie, he threw exactly 13 over his final 17 seasons. True, Timlin threw to the likes of Charlie O'Brien, Dan Wilson, Mike Matheny and Jason Varitek—dudes who could block an errant bowling ball if necessary—for chunks of his career, but here at TSR we give full credit to all parties due. 

Here, Timlin has just signed as a free agent with the Boston Red Sox. Little did Timlin know he'd end his career with Boston six seasons—and two historic championships—later.

THIS CARD: Timlin has what might be a two-seam grip going there. By the time he reached Boston, he featured low-90's gas, a sharp slider and a sinker to get ground balls. Timlin wasn't much for tricking dudes; he usually came right at hitters.

Classic STUN (Spring Training New Uniform) image here. While I'd LIKE to believe Timlin naturally posed like that during Spring Training down time, it's more believable that a photographer asked him to pose.

Timlin joined the Red Sox on a 1Y/$1.85M deal—strangely low considering he'd had a good 2002 season with the Cards/Phillies and salaries for non-closers were on the rise. The Red Sox re-upped Timlin for 2Y/$5.25M in November 2003, then brought him back for 1Y/$3.5M in November 2005, 1Y/$2.8M in October 2006 and 1Y/$3M in December 2007. So in all, Timlin ended up signing with Boston for 6Y/$16.4M.

(flip) No blurb, so we'll tell you that Timlin made five RA of three-plus innings for the 2002 Cardinals before being traded.

That lone start of 2002 was not an "open"; Tony LaRussa would have let Timlin go nine if effective enough. In the place of injured Garrett Stephenson, Timlin started at Milwaukee 4/19, giving up four earnies (all in the 5th inning) in 4.1 innings. He had made 569 relief appearances since his last MLB start in 1991!

Timlin went from St. Louis to Philadelphia in the 7/29/2002 Scott Rolen trade. IF Placido Polanco and no-hit artist Bud Smith also headed east.

AFTER THIS CARD: As we previously informed you, Timlin remained with Boston through 2008 and collected World Series rings in 2004 and 2007. In '05, Timlin led the AL with 81 appearances and saved 13 contests with a 2.24 ERA; he racked up nine more saves in 2006 but missed time in 2007  and 2008 with shoulder and knee tendinitis, respectively.

The 42-year-old was not effective in 2008 (5.66 ERA) and was not re-signed. He ended his career with 141 saves and a 3.63 ERA.

Mike Timlin appeared in Topps 1992-95, 1997-98, 2000-01 and 2003-06. He's also got 1991 and 2002 Traded cards.

CATEGORIES: 2003 Topps, Boston Red Sox

Topps Joey Cora
Topps Joey Cora

5/11/22 Topps Baseball Card Of The Day: 1995 Topps Traded #125 Joey Cora, Mariners

More Joey Cora Topps Cards: 1988 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998


Here, the veteran 2B Cora has just joined the Seattle Mariners after two quality seasons as a White Sox regular. Chicago had given Cora his first full-time job in MLB, but with exciting young prospect Ray Durham waiting in the wings, they let Cora walk after the 1994 season.

Little did Cora know he was joining what eventually became one of THE most special major league teams/seasons/pennant races ever.

THIS CARD: With the facial hair, Cora looks considerably larger than 5'8", 155 lbs, at least to me. Clean-shaven, he could pass for 12 sometimes.

Cora looks better in Mariners colors than he ever did in White Sox stripes; his deal with the M's, however, was worth an embarrassing $325K. Of course, the team was having attendance and ballpark issues entering the 1995 season but Holy Christ, NINTENDO owned it!

More from Cora's early 1995 season: after taking an oh-fer Opening Day, Cora went 7-for-his-next-13 with five RBI! The owner of four MLB homers in over 1,600 at-bats entering 1995 went yard 4/28/1995 against Detroit's John Doherty.

(flip) Searching for this card in my album was harder than it should have been, simply because 1995 Topps base card numbers were printed in a hard-to-decipher shadowy black. But as you can see, the company (wisely) changed things for the Traded set.

The Mariners' 1994 second base situation was in flux all season, and the man who played there most frequently, Rich Amaral, was NOT what anyone would call a strong defender. Cora's 22 errors in 1995 were a tad high, but I attribute that to adjusting to turf after years on grass. 

I see we came dangerously close to presenting this card on Cora's 57th birthday!

AFTER THIS CARD: We all remember Cora sobbing on the bench after the Refuse To Lose 1995 Mariners finally fell to the Indians in the ALCS, with then-rookie Alex Rodriguez attempting consolation. One of the iconic images of the decade, IMHO.


Cora's salary more than doubled to $850K for 1996, and he turned in another quality season. The veteran belted 11 HR in 1997 (two fewer than his career total entering that season), setting a team record with a 24-game hit streak, and finally reaching a seven-figure salary after signing a 2Y/$3.3M extension (1998 club option included) in November 1997. Cleveland traded for him in late '98, but he only hit .229 down the stretch followed by a 1-for-17 postseason showing.


Cora went to camp with the 1999 Blue Jays, but retired in March two months shy of 34. He's since gone on to a long coaching career, most notably on former teammate Ozzie Guillen's White Sox and Marlins staffs. Cora spent several years as Pittsburgh's 3B coach before joining the 2022 Mets in the same role; he now works for the same manager he helped oust from the 1995 ALDS, Buck Showalter.


Joey Cora debuted in 1988 Topps as a Padre, then appeared annually in the 1992-98 sets (he was one of many flagrant omissions from the 1999 Topps set) as well as 1995 Traded​

CATEGORIES: 1995 Topps Traded, Seattle Mariners

Topps Terry Leach
Topps Terry Leach

5/12/22 Topps Baseball Card Of The Day: 1988 Topps #457 Terry Leach, Mets

More Terry Leach Topps Cards: 1987T 1989 1989T 1990 1990T 1992 1993


Not long ago, TSR profiled Hall-of-Famer Jack Morris's 1991 Topps Traded card, which was released just months before his legendary World Series Game 7 performance for Minnesota.

Morris's 1991 teammate, Twins middle reliever Terry Leach, cleaned up a huge mess in Game 3 of that same Series. He entered with full bases and quickly dispatched Mark Lemke on strikes before Atlanta could blow the game wide open. The Twins later tied the game, and though they eventually lost, Leach's effort on the big stage deserves props.

Here, however, Leach is still with his original MLB team, the New York Mets. After years up and down from AAA, the submarining righty finally spent a whole season in the majors in 1987. Manager Davey Johnson used him as a starter during the middle months, but Leach eventually settled back into his more familiar relief role.

THIS CARD: Even here, you can tell Leach was a little, uh, funky when throwing the baseball. Limbs went in all directions; I don't know how any RHB ever picked up the ball from his hand. Which was barely off of the dirt when he let pitches go.

This appears to be old Riverfront Stadium, although the Reds logo on the wall may be subliminally affecting my conclusion.

More from Leach's 1987 season: from June into late August, he was in the Mets rotation, and for the most part pitched very well. He even shut out the Reds on two hits at Cincinnati 7/2; Leach's front image could be from that game.

(flip) Leach spent 1983 and 1984 making 80 appearances in the minors, in case you're wondering why those rows are missing.

In that first major league start, Leach went five innings, allowing just an unearned run and four hits to the Phillies. He received no decision, but New York won 3-1. That first major league save was of the three-inning variety—also against the Phillies—as New York won 8-4.

As for This Way To The Clubhouse, Leach had been traded by the Mets to the Cubs for two failed prospects in September 1983. The Cubs dealt him to the Braves in April 1984, but Atlanta cut him a month later. Re-enter the Mets!

AFTER THIS CARD: After putting up a 2.54 ERA in 52 RA for the '88 Mets, Leach was traded to the Royals in June 1989. He then spent two seasons in the Twins' bullpen, picking up his second World Series ring in 1991, then signed with the Expos for '92. After Montreal cut him in Spring Training, Leach joined the White Sox, and his 1.045 WHIP in 51 games that year was the best of his career!

In 1993, the 39-year-old made 14 first-half appearances for Chicago before elbow trouble shelved him for the season, and ultimately for good, as his comeback attempt with the 1995 Tigers did not pan out.

If I were Leach, this would have upset me greatly.

Terry Leach appeared in 1982-83, 1986, 1988-90 and 1992-93 Topps. He's also got 1987, 1989 and 1990 Traded cards.

CATEGORIES: 1988 Topps, New York Mets

Topps Brandon Barnes
Topps Brandon Barnes

5/13/22 Topps Baseball Card Of The Day: 2016 Topps #376 Brandon Barnes, Rockies

More Brandon Barnes Topps Cards: 2013 2014 2014U 2015


There have been times throughout history that being a regular outfielder for the Houston Astros was something to brag about. 

The year 2013 was not one of those times.

Still, for young Brandon Barnes, having a semi-regular role on a big league team—lousy as it may have been—was definitely a step forward, one that thousands of minor leaguers don't receive the opportunity to take. Barnes started 115 games for the 111-loss Astros of 2013, then was dealt to the Rockies.

Here, Barnes has just wrapped his second season with Colorado. After opening the year in AAA, Barnes rejoined the Rockies in May and wound up starting 67 times across all three outfield positions, most of that in LF during Corey Dickerson's first two trips to the DL.

THIS CARD: Barnes is known as a talented artist off the field; those tats were Barnes original designs and he actually tattooed his other three limbs himself.

Longtime TSR visitors will notice the "All-Star Game" logo present on all of our 2016 Topps base cards to date is absent—I finally got sick of the stamp and replaced the entire set. Sure, replacing the standard set cost almost four times more than the stamped set did...but it was worth it in my eyes. I was really sick of that stamp.

More from Barnes' 2015 season: he batted .360 through his first 17 games back from AAA, including a pair of three-hit games. On 8/26, Barnes broke out of a 4-for-36 slump with a three-hit game, missing the cycle by a triple! The homer was an 8th-inning, two-run insurance shot off Braves RP Edwin Jackson—before now, I never knew (or long forgot) Edwin Jackson relieved for the Braves.

(flip) Sure, Barnes' homers dipped in 2015, but he made a conscious effort to sacrifice power for contact in Spring Training after whiffing 100 times in 292 AB in 2014. It worked in that regard; Barnes' K rate fell from 32% down to 24% in 2015. It didn't help his average, but hey, whatever.

Of those eight homers in 2014, two were inside-the-parkers, and one sank my Giants in walk-off fashion. Grrrrr....

That Trade With Astros sent OF Dexter Fowler to Houston. The Rockies also nabbed versatile P Jordan Lyles in the deal.

AFTER THIS CARD: Barnes hit just .220 in 2016 and was cut by the Rockies in September. He didn't resurface again in MLB except for a couple handfuls of games off the bench for the 2018 Indians—surprising to me, as I'd assumed Barnes was still kicking around somewhere. He officially retired in 2020, as it turned out.

Brandon Barnes appeared in 2013-16 Topps, as well as 2014 Topps Update as a new Rockie.

CATEGORIES: 2016 Topps, Colorado Rockies

Topps Howie Kendrick
Topps Howie Kendrick

5/14/22 Topps Baseball Card Of The Day: 2017 Topps Update #217 Howie Kendrick, Phillies

More Howie Kendrick Topps Cards: 2006U 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2015U 2016U 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021