Topps Baseball Card Of The Day, November 2018

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11/2/18 Topps Baseball Card Of The Day: 2010 Topps #300 Chase Utley, Phillies

More Chase Utley Topps Cards: 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018

 

Once upon a time, in the Bud Selig era, Chase Utley was among my least-liked players. And it wasn't even really his own fault.

The animosity stemmed from Giants P Jon Sanchez firing a ball over Utley's head in 2009, and Utley responding with a homer to RF (after calling a late time-out.) That presaged a minor fracas in the 2010 NLCS when Sanchez actually did plunk Utley this time (in the side), and Utley casually flipped the ball back to Sanchez...which INCENSED him.

 

Since Sanchy was a member of my long-supported Giants, and Utley was on his list, he had to go on mine, too. We've all had that relative who illogically feuds with a person or a business, forcing us to show blind solidarity lest we be finks.

 

Probably around 2013, with Sanchez long gone from the Giants, I eased up on Utley. Not even spending his final three-plus seasons with the Dodgers restored the hard feelings. It's good to let go, isn't it? 

 

Letting go allows me to present the longtime Phillie's 2010 Topps card without taking cheap shots throughout as I did with J.D. Drew a while back. (Letting go is a process, people.)

 

 

THIS CARD: Reed Johnson leads the league in appearances on other people's cards. He also leads the world in pinch-hitting/running for injured or ejected stars. I'll detail when I pull his card.

 

Maybe we can pinpoint when this pic was shot—let's see, Reed Johnson sliding into 2B at Citizens Bank Park (leaves to research):

 

Johnson played at Philadelphia July 21-22; Utley played 2B both days. Johnson had two opportunities to slide into 2B—a 1st-inning 5-4 putout, and a 3rd-inning CS on the 22nd. From the angle Utley's received the throw, I believe this pic is from the latter game.

 

We specially chose this card because I wanted to throw November baseball a shout-out; who knows why. New York Yankee Johnny Damon was my first choice, for stealing two bases at once in a November 2009 World Series game.

But Damon's a Tiger on his 2010 Topps card and we just did a 2009 Topps pull. So Utley—who jacked five bombs in the '09 World Series, including three in November—got the nod instead. 

 

(flip) Utley is giving someone a strategic signal, likely involving positioning or base-covering. Or he talks into his mitt. Maybe both.

 

Utley still holds that record; he broke the NL mark held by Kevin McReynolds, of all people. Alcides Escobar went 22-for-22 in 2013 for the Royals; that's the AL record. Carlos Beltran went 28-for-28 split between the 2004 Royals and Astros—remember, the Astros were a NL team back then.

 

Check out the stats—if injuries hadn't slowed Utley in the '10s, we're talking Hall-of-Fame second baseman. He'll probably still nab 25% of the vote in 2024.

 

 

AFTER THIS CARD: As mentioned, injuries kept Utley from matching his expected production once the new decade commenced—he never topped 18 HR or 75 RBI again, and only once in five more Phillie seasons did he top 131 games (155 in an All-Star 2014 season).

 

With the Philly rebuild finally underway, Utley and other veterans from the 2008-09 World Series clubs were dispatched. The Pasadena native landed with the Dodgers in mid-2015, and to my surprise, lasted there through 2018 in a part-time role. He received very warm send-offs from Philadelphia and LA fans during his final at-bats in both cities. Shoot, I even clapped a little. How about THAT?

 

Chase Utley appeared annually in Topps 2003-18; unknown if he'll pop up one last time in 2019.

 

 

CATEGORIES: 2010 Topps, Philadelphia Phillies

Topps Chase Utley
Topps Chase Utley
 
Topps Marty Barrett
Topps Marty Barrett

11/4/18 Topps Baseball Card Of The Day: 1991 Topps #496 Marty Barrett, Red Sox

More Marty Barrett Topps Cards: 1987 1988 1989 1990

 

Let's see...

Played a 33-inning game and got two hits. Made the last out in Game 7 of a World Series. Robbed of a rare homer by one of the greatest catches ever. Tore up a knee tripping over a base. Later found out said knee was missing the ACL. Thrown out of a playoff game he wasn't even in (though he deserved it). Bunted a ball off his own nose. Had that same knee wrecked again later on.

 

If nothing else, Marty Barrett must have done a lot of swearing during his career.

 

The longtime Red Sox second baseman and 1986 ALCS hero, Barrett wasn't an exceptionally talented offensive player (though he was certainly capable at the plate.) But he could field like mad and he could bunt like mad—once topping the AL in sacrifices three straight years, in fact. 

Barrett was also known for the ol' hidden-ball trick; he successfully executed it three times until more-or-less dissuaded to by AL umpires.

 

Here, the end is near for the 32-year-old—the first (1989) knee injury left second base wide open for incumbent SS Jody Reed to show his skillz at Barrett's position. Though Barrett was the regular 2B to open 1990, he finished the year playing only occasionally.

 

 

THIS CARD: It took a little work to determine the date of this pic, because two Brewers wore #22 in 1990. The second one, George Canale, played once at Boston—but Barrett sat that game. Which means that must be Charlie O'Brien, who played at Boston April 14-15, mixing it up with Barrett. O'Brien only reached base on the 14th, so there you go.

 

I can't confirm the image is O'Brien's 2nd-inning attempt at wrecking a double play—could he slide on his butt and end up on his knees like that? It's possible, but not too likely. Later in the game, O'Brien charged into 2B on a Gary Sheffield infield hit...still inconclusive. But we've got the date, at least.

 

All-in-all, it's a pretty good action shot for the times.

 

(flip) Barrett didn't have a major injury in 1990; Boston just went with Luis Rivera at SS and slid Reed over to 2B around June...hence the low 1990 games total. Barrett did start all but one of Boston's first 24 games, then sat three weeks (had to be an ouch of some kind—you have no idea the lengths I went trying to find out). From then on, he played sporadically.

 

206 K in 929 games to that point??? Barrett finished with 209 in 941 games; in 2018 alone Yoan Moncada and Giancarlo Stanton exceed that, with Joey Gallo just missing. (217, 211 and 207 K, respectively)

 

You have to imagine Barrett, despite everything he did in the '86 playoffs, probably spent the winter replaying his World Series-ending K vs. Jesse Orosco in his mind. Baseball...and life...is just plain unfair. (In case you were just born, the Mets beat the Red Sox in arguably the most famed Series of modern times.)

 

 

AFTER THIS CARD: Barrett, who was also kicked out of 1990 ALCS Game 4 along with Roger Clemens (for heaving coolers, etc. on the field), asked for his release after 1990. He made the Padres roster in Spring 1991 but twelve games in—and only days after bunting a ball off his own mug—Philadelphia's John Kruk took Barrett out on a double play attempt.

Barrett's right knee was again wrecked, and this time he didn't make it back.

 

Click here to learn why Barrett wound up suing the Red Sox in 1995; a hint is in this profile's first paragraph.

 

Marty Barrett appeared annually in Topps 1984-1991.

 

 

CATEGORIES1991 Topps, Boston Red Sox

 
Topps Ken Hill
Topps Ken Hill

11/6/18 Topps Baseball Card Of The Day: 1998 Topps #446 Ken Hill, Angels

More Ken Hill Topps Cards: 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1999 2000

 

Just like Masato Yoshii the Expo and Ryan Dempster the Red Sock, it's unlikely even a bucket of Benjamins could trigger any personal memory of Ken Hill having played for Anaheim...were it not for COTD. That's 33% of why I do it; I'm aging and must restore/preserve my hardball knowledge—I don't have much else to brag about!

 

Today, Hill is possibly the least-discussed standout pitcher of the 1990's. The dude won 16 games three times 1992-96, ate 180+ innings seven times, enjoyed some confined October success, and would have snagged the 1994 Cy Young Award if not for Greg Maddux's customary invincibility.

 

Yet, I can't remember the last time I heard a word about him. It doesn't seem he stayed in baseball in any capacity, he has no iconic moments to be replayed on MLB Network, and to my knowledge he never landed on any blooper reels. Ken Hill is like the black Andrew Shue—his existence seemingly ended with the 1990's!

 

Here, Hill is along for the first season of the Anaheim Angels, who traded C Jim Leyritz for him in July 1997—the Angels were AL West contenders, and Texas needed a catcher to replace Pudge Rodriguez, whose days in Texas seemed numbered at the time.

 

 

THIS CARD: Hill was a big guy but not a power pitcher; he threw to contact yet kept the ball in the ballpark (lifetime 0.7 HR/9; for comparison, Roger Clemens boasted that exact rate). Hill threw a low-90's fastball along with a tough forkball, plus a slider and changeup.

 

Surely, you've noticed that the modern-day Angels dust off all their throwback uniforms except this one. I may be one of about six non-Disney staffers who actually liked it.

 

Hill mostly wore #43 during his first Cardinals stint, then claimed #44 for the rest of his career. Notable Angels who've since worn it include Mike Napoli and Mark Trumbo.

 

(flip) The patch on Hill's arm? The Angels' alternate logo, which simply reads "ANAHEIM" over a blue, haloed A.

 

Who better to two-hit Texas than a recent Texas castoff? In that game—won by Anaheim 7-1—Jim Edmonds homered and ripped four of Anaheim's 16 hits. Despite the late date, out-of-contention Texas played most of their A lineup that day (no Will Clark).

 

I'd long forgotten Hill was undrafted.

 

Lynn, Massachusetts is located about 11 miles NE of Boston.

 

 

AFTER THIS CARD: Liking what they saw in '97, Anaheim re-upped Hill for 3Y/$16.05M that November. But he began 1998 pitching hurt and eventually underwent surgery to remove elbow bone chips. Arthritis set in said elbow, however, and Hill would never be consistently effective again—the Angels demoted him to relief in late 1999 and released him in August 2000.

 

Subsequent MiLB deals with the White Sox, Devil Rays, Reds and Red Sox elicited 10.1 unimpressive MLB innings, the last in 2001.

 

Ken Hill appeared annually in Topps 1989-2000.

 

 

CATEGORIES: 1998 Topps, Anaheim Angels, Undrafted

 
Topps Sean Burroughs
Topps Sean Burroughs

11/8/18 Topps Baseball Card Of The Day: 2001 Topps Traded #208 Sean Burroughs, Padres Prospect

More Sean Burroughs Topps Cards: 1999T 2000 2003 2004 2005 2006 2011U

 

After the 1994-95 baseball strike, Topps base sets greatly decreased in size, and Topps Traded disappeared completely for three years. When it returned in 1999, it was re-branded Topps Traded And Rookies—emphasis on that last part.

 

Except the rookies weren't really rookies; they were minor league prospects who, in many cases, would never be major league rookies. I admit that years later, it's cool having early cards of those who did succeed in MLB (for some reason, I'm especially fond of my 2001 Traded of future Giant Brad Hennessey...when I figure out why, I'll tell you.)

 

But at the time, I wasn't down with pulling cards such as this one. "Sean Burroughs? Who the hell is Sean Burroughs?! WHERE'S FELIX RODRIGUEZ?!" Well, younger Skillz, Sean Burroughs is the future starting third baseman for the San Diego Padres. He'll enjoy a couple solid years before losing his MLB footing, and this card will ultimately be worth nothing. 

 

(Also, while I have your attention, younger Skillz: stop bringing Taco Bell home every night! Trust me, you'll regret it someday!)

 

 

THIS CARD: Burroughs was a 2000 Olympian, helping Team USA take the gold. (I was not able to unearth any of his stats, however.) In years past Topps Traded has issued Team USA subsets—1985 Topps, as well as 1988 and 1992 Traded come to mind—but not this time.

 

As you can see, Burroughs was not tiny, yet he barely displayed any power at all in MLB. Even Bill Mueller-levels would've sufficed.

 

This is Burroughs' second COTD appearance; we featured his 2000 Topps shared Prospects card back in June.

 

(flip) Gwynn never actually played a regular-season game with Burroughs, retiring the year before he debuted. 

 

Despite Burroughs' sharp eye, he only drew 119 BB in 1,823 major league PA. But he only K'd 223 times—2018 MLB leader Yoan Moncada K'd 217 times in 650 PA, for contrast.

 

There's a Long Beach in Georgia? No—that obviously should read "CA". Burroughs was 1998's 9th overall pick out of Woodrow Wilson High in Long Beach, CA. (It was corrected in 2003 Topps.)

 

 

AFTER THIS CARD: Burroughs started at third for San Diego for most of 2003-04; a right meniscus tear ended his 2004 campaign early. In July 2005, after already losing playing time, he was demoted to AAA and eventually traded to the Devil Rays that December (for P Dewon Brazelton).

 

Now 25, Burroughs began 2006 on the DL (bad back), didn't do anything when he returned, and was cut in June. An off-field shoulder separation and some serious personal problems, kept him out of the bigs until 2011.

Signed by Arizona—run by his old Padres GM Kevin Towers—Burroughs joined the D'Backs in May and stayed most of the year's duration, mostly in a pinch-hitting role. A brief stint with the 2012 Twins followed, but that would be it.

 

Sean Burroughs appeared in Topps or Topps Traded annually 1999-2006, except 2002. He also received one final card in 2011 Topps Update (that I didn't know existed until 2018).

 

 

CATEGORIES: 2001 Topps Traded, San Diego Padres

 
Topps Ken Howell
Topps Ken Howell

11/12/18 Topps Baseball Card Of The Day: 1989 Topps #93 Ken Howell, Dodgers

More Ken Howell Topps Cards: 1987 1988 1989T 1990 1991

 

I largely remember Ken Howell for his "big" 1989 season with the Phillies; when I began seriously following baseball in '90 Howell's emergence was still on the minds of many. He'd been an unheralded middle reliever for the Dodgers prior to that, and certainly wasn't expected to post a 3.44 ERA over 200+ innings. Or finish 7th in NL K/9. Or be Philadelphia's best SP by far. 

 

As such, Howell received his share of pub entering 1990 and in the mind of young Skillz, he must have been special. However, I don't recall ever seeing him pitch—you'll learn why below.

 

Here, Howell is coming off a transitional season. The Dodgers planned to move Howell to the rotation for '88, but shoulder surgery in '87 hurt his stamina, and he wound up spending most of the year building up strength in the Alberquerque (AAA) rotation.

 

 

THIS CARD: All of Howell's Topps front images are posed, except the last one (1991). Much of the time, guys like Howell—non-stars who fell off the radar—don't make it into a Topps set. He sure didn't make it into Score's 1989 set, and they included everybody back then.

 

This card is not a random selection; Howell passed away on 11/9/18, about three weeks before his 58th birthday. We here at TSR chose this card because A) Howell spent the majority of his career with the Dodgers, and B) we hadn't picked a 1989 Topps card in some time.

 

Ken was no relation to bullpen mate Jay Howell.

 

(flip) As we've mentioned previously, the Cape Cod League allows college players to show off their skillz in summertime. Cotuit won another championship in 2013.

 

Other notable Tuskagee alumni: ex-Blue Jays RP Roy Lee Jackson, and ex-Orioles RP Alan Mills.

 

Those four 1988 games? One June start (that didn't go well) and three September RAs.

 

 

AFTER THIS CARD: Over the 1988-89 winter Howell moved to Baltimore in the Eddie Murray trade, then to Philadelphia in the Phil Bradley trade. Following his breakout 1989, Howell was providing a fine encore in '90 (8-3, 3.31 thru mid-June) when his shoulder betrayed him—Howell made two more starts that year, which would be his final MLB action.

 

Comeback attempts with the '91 Phillies and '93 Rangers bore no fruit, and Howell eventually embarked on a long coaching career in the Dodgers system, including several with the big club. In fact, according to ex-GM Ned Colletti, Howell was pivotal in the conversion of star closer Kenley Jansen from catcher to pitcher.

 

Ken Howell debuted in 1985 Topps Traded, then appeared annually in the base set 1986-91. He's also got a 1989 Traded card.

 

 

CATEGORIES: 1989 Topps, Los Angeles Dodgers

 
Topps Reggie Sanders
Topps Reggie Sanders

11/14/18 Topps Baseball Card Of The Day: 2001 Topps Traded #28 Reggie Sanders, Diamondbacks

More Reggie Sanders Topps Cards: 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999T 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007U

 

Sanders, no relation to his former Reds outfield mate Deion, had a fine (if injury-plagued) career—he finished up with over 300 home runs, over 300 steals, played in three World Series (including an eventful one for my Giants) and for good measure, threw out 103 baserunners. 

 

But as I slog through my (aging) personal database for Sanders memories, what comes up first AND clearest? Reggie charging the mound after Pedro Martinez plunked him...which broke up Pedro's perfect game. For real life perspective, this equals a guy erupting at his girl for accidentally kicking him during nooky—why the hell would she intentionally do that when so much could be lost?

 

In spite of that, and his frequent team-hopping, Sanders carried a good reputation overall and his one year with my Giants left no bad memories. Here, he's just hooked up with the Arizona Diamondbacks after a down-and-up 2000 season spent with the Braves. The "down" allowed Arizona to nab him on the cheap—1Y/$1.5M, an astoundingly low salary for the regular-season production they received.

 

 

THIS CARD: No surprise: Sanders is putting one in the sky; he seemed to hit way more fly balls than most (Baseballreference.com lists his career fly ball rate at 11% above the league average, FYI.)

 

Sanders, true to form, had an Icy-Hot 2001 season—after returning from March injury he hit .344 with eight jacks in April, including consecutive multi-jack games. By July's end he'd fallen all the way to .233, but recovered with a .316/.392/.646 slashline over the final two months—during which he homered 13 times!

 

2001 Topps base set includes Sanders the Atlanta Brave.

 

(flip) That photo looks better suited for an insert card; Topps hazed out backgrounds on 2001 reverse pics. I'm just happy it had reverse pics...those have gone the way of the pay phone in recent years.

 

We talked about the April surge; that walk-off "job" came at the expense of Colorado's Gabe White—after the Rockies tied it in the T9th, Sanders whacked his second homer of the day for the 3-2 victory. He smacked three of Arizona's six hits that day.

 

At least those 2000 struggles ended in late August; Sanders hit .354 and slugged .667 in his final 27 games of the year. He'd battled ankle and hamstring injuries that year, hitting the DL twice.

 

 

AFTER THIS CARD: Arizona made the '01 World Series, but manager Bob Brenly left the slumping Sanders on the bench for Game 7, which had to sting (even though the D'Backs won.)

As mentioned, he landed with the '02 Giants where history sort of repeated—manager Dusty Baker yanked him from Game 5 of the World Series to pinch-hit a dude, Tom Goodwin, who struck out in six of nine '02 WS at-bats (including that one.)

 

The uprooting hardly ended there; Sanders spent 2003 with the lowly Pirates before hooking up with the Cardinals for 2Y/$6M. (In 2004, he played in World Series #3). Then came a 2Y/$10M deal with Kansas City back when fear of any World Series controversy simply didn't exist. The 39-year-old re-upped with the team for '07, but then tore—and re-tore—his left hamstring, and never made it back.

 

Reggie Sanders appeared in Topps 1992-2007; 1999 was a Traded card (he was somehow excluded from the base set, like loads of deserving others) and 2007 was an Update card.

 

CATEGORIES: 2001 Topps Traded, Arizona Diamondbacks

 
Topps Andres Torres
Topps Andres Torres

Special Topps Baseball Card Of The Day: 2009 Topps Emerald Nuts #7 Andres Torres, Giants

More Andres Torres Topps Cards: 2002T 2010G 2011 2012 2013 2014

 

You're reading a TSR first: we're retroactively selecting a random card to fill extra space—page layouts using this web host can be time-consuming, so why do it when I can present a card instead?

So here's Andres Torres—a 100% random pick. Obviously, I could go on about this notable ex-Giant for a while, but our space is limited.

 

Torres was living proof that your career is not over until it's over; the guy played 11 unimpressive MLB games 2004-08, and today his money is no good in San Francisco or its neighboring cities. He'd been a #4 pick of the Tigers way back, washed out of there, and was unable to find solid footing for years.

 

Here, he's about to start his first season with San Francisco after winning a roster spot in Spring Training 2009.  Initially competing for a job with Eugenio Velez, Torres was kept along with Velez and remained in the majors all year (save for a DL/rehab stint).

 

 

THIS CARD: For the second time, we feature a card from a Giants giveaway set—for years, Emerald Nuts and later Chevron distributed Topps Giants sets at the AT&T Park gates; I got my hands on them, kept the ones not available in the base/Update sets, and threw 'em in the Randomizer. 

 

A posed front image...in short supply these days. The fit Torres was GQ material thru-and-thru.

 

(flip) Torres raised that career average to .242, beating out his Short A and Regular A figures.

 

The other three organizations? Chicago AL (2004) Chicago NL (2006) and Minnesota (2008). He also returned to the Detroit system for 2007.

 

 

AFTER THIS CARD: Torres, as all Giants fans fondly recall, took over CF from fading Aaron Rowand during the 2010 season—he got hot and stayed productive pretty much until a late-season appendectomy—he returned for October and helped SF to a stunning, 100% unexpected World Series championship. Unfortunately, the league (and injuries) caught up with him in 2011 and he struck out every third time up, or so it seemed.

 

Torres was traded to the Mets that winter (for Angel Pagan) but returned to the Giants for 2013 in a reserve role. After a go-nowhere minors deal with the '14 Red Sox, his career ended.

 

Andres Torres debuted in 2002 Topps Traded, re-appeared in the 2009-10 Emerald Nuts sets, then showed up annually in the 2011-14 base sets.

 

 

CATEGORIES: 2009 Topps Team Sets, San Francisco Giants

 
Topps Jonathan Papelbon
Topps Jonathan Papelbon

11/19/18 Topps Baseball Card Of The Day: 2012 Topps Update #91 Jonathan Papelbon All-Star

More Jonathan Papelbon All-Star Topps Cards: 2006U 2007U 2008U 2009U 2015U

 

Papelbon was one of my least-liked players, but today's mood will allow me to profile his card (mostly) objectively. Pap, of course, was a standout closer for Boston for several years before scampering off to Philadelphia, where he wouldn't have to answer for blowing Game 162, knocking Boston from a playoff berth. (Hey, I said "mostly".)

 

Of course, Philly fans/media can be just as tough, if not moreso, so it was in Papelbon's best interests to start off strong. He converted his first nine save ops (allowing one ER), and though he blew two of three heading into the All-Star break, the powers that be did not revoke his selection to the Classic.

 

 

THIS CARD: This is Papelbon's fifth of six Topps All-Star cards. Assuming this pic is from the Classic, he unloads that split/changeup at Kansas City's Kauffman Stadium. Photographers had limited time to act; Papelbon threw just three pitches.

 

Papelbon never looked right in Phillies garb. Washington's unis more closely resembled Pap's familiar Boston look.

 

(flip) As I've pontificated on previously, it is not uncommon to find ™ and/or © sprinkled throughout Topps blurbs of recent years; reading "All-Star Game" as just "All-Star Game" without symbols or sponsors is, well, refreshing.

 

That final batter: Baltimore's Matt Wieters, who flew out on a 1-1 pitch. I gotta say...good for Papelbon for being willing to appear in such a game—a lot of dudes with his portfolio might have chosen to bypass a blowout.

 

Those prior ASG appearances: 2006-09 with Boston. No saves, but no earned runs allowed (he wasn't used in '06, his rookie year.)

 

AFTER THIS CARD: Papelbon made one last All-Star roster in '15 on the strength of 14 saves, a 1.60 ERA and 0.89 WHIP for Philadelphia in the first half—but he rode the pine. His career ended after the '16 season; the 12-year vet finished up with five K and two hits allowed over 3.1 All-Star innings (four games).

 

Jonathan Papelbon received All-Star Topps cards in the 2006-09, 2012 and 2015 Update sets.

 

CATEGORIES: 2012 Topps Update, All-Stars

 
Topps Jason Frasor
Topps Jason Frasor

11/21/18 Topps Baseball Card Of The Day: 2015 Topps Update #118 Jason Frasor, Braves

More Jason Frasor Topps Cards: 2004T 2005 2006 2007U 2010 2011M 2012U 2013U 2014

 

When I think Jason Frasor, I think of the Toronto Blue Jays "metallic" logo used from 2004-11—covering Frasor's Toronto tenure almost consummately. So naturally, as I do for the 1993-96 Angels with J.T. Snow, the 1997-2001 Angels with Shigetoshi Hasegawa, and the 2000-11 Astros with Lance Berkman, I refer to that logo's timeframe as "The Jason Frasor Era." 

 

Not that there was much to brag about from that era, but Frasor had his moments. During his Jay years, during which he mostly set up (but also closed out 36 affairs), Frasor appeared 505 times—breaking Duane Ward's franchise record in 2011.

 

Remember Mike Moustakas' insane over-the-rail catch in the 2014 ALDS? Frasor was the pitcher who induced Adam Jones' foul pop. (Not necessarily testimony on Frasor; just a sampling of useless TSR trivia.)

Here, the 38-year-old is making his final MLB stop, having signed with the Braves following his surprising release from the Royals in July 2015. 

 

 

THIS CARD: Frasor only wore #51 with Atlanta; he's better acquainted with the #54 he wore throughout his Toronto/KC careers.

 

Frasor was/is a smaller guy, but he could hit 93 with his fastball; his velocity actually increased following the latter of two UCL surgeries received as an amateur. Late in his career he was pretty much a three-pitch guy, also featuring a slider and tough splitter. (Earlier in his career he used a curve and changeup.)

 

If you've seen the old Christopher Walken film McBain, you might share my opinion of Frasor resembling Gill (actor T.G. Waites).

 

(flip) As you see, Frasor's Toronto tenure was interrupted by a short stay with the White Sox; I just learned that Edwin Jackson went from the Sox to the Jays in the original deal. And here I thought I knew all of Jackson's 802 teams.

 

You can see Frasor's quality numbers with the '14 Royals; they weren't bad in '15, either (1.54 ERA in 26 scattered games, albeit with many walks) before he was cut. Did non-baseball factors play in? It sure seems so, but TSR couldn't confirm. Officially, Frasor was D4A'd to make room for OF Paulo Orlando on the roster, FYI.

 

It was surprising to learn three others (Darren Clarke, Shawn Hill, Bo Hart) from Frasor's low draft round reached MLB. He was the best of them by about 2500%.

 

 

AFTER THIS CARD: Basically zero. Frasor made six scoreless appearances for the Braves, strained his shoulder, and was soon let go. That was a wrap for his pro baseball career.

 

Okay, this is the simplest way I can log Jason Frasor's Topps appearances:

 

2004: Traded and Rookies 2005-06: Base 2007: Updates and Highlights 2010: Base 2011: Jays Team  2012-13: Update 2014: Base 2015: Update.

 

 

CATEGORIES: 2015 Topps Update, Atlanta Braves

 
Topps Bradley Zimmer
Topps Bradley Zimmer

11/26/18 Topps Baseball Card Of The Day: 2018 Topps #374 Bradley Zimmer, Indians

More Bradley Zimmer Topps Cards: 2017U

 

For whatever shortcomings he has, Brad Zimmer is a Quick Pitch star, a 2017-18 regular on that show's highlight films for his sensational plays in CF. (My personal favorite: robbing Detroit's Mikie Mahtook twice in one doubleheader; the second catch left Mahtook visibly dumbfounded as he watched Zimmer lay all-out in right-center field to steal at least a double.)

 

6'5", athletic, and armed with a cannon (100+ MPH on at least one throw) for an arm, Zimmer reached MLB in May 2017 when Tribe OF Abraham Almonte hit the DL; he'd kicked off the year slugging .532 in 33 games for AAA Columbus. Though a concussion and stepped-on broken finger tainted things at the end, it was a strong rookie season for the Bay Area native..

 

 

THIS CARD: Hopefully, Zimmer is still a Future Star; his status is uncertain at present after labrum surgery in mid-2018.

 

Zimmer enjoys making a routine play in CF for once, instead of leaping/sprawling/flying through the air to make a grab.

 

Where's the "RC" (Rookie Card) designation? On Zimmer's 2017 Update card.

 

I can live with the Indians junking the Chief Wahoo logo. I just wish it wasn't replaced with a plain "C". Maybe add an arrow somewhere, or spear, or headdress?

 

(flip) This "Machine" is not to be confused with the one ex-Giant Brian Wilson hangs out with.

 

Zimmer may swing the bat well, but he comes up with air a bit too often (not shown: his 143 K in 405 lifetime major league AB.

 

This is not a special selection; it's coincidental that tomorrow is Zimmer's 26th birthday. He was not only born in SF, but he eventually became a USF Don, after which Cleveland drafted him #21 overall.

 

 

AFTER THIS CARD: Save for the aforementioned D, 2018 would be a lost year for young Zimmer, who couldn't get going at the plate, was demoted to AAA in June, then underwent the surgery that'll sideline him until at least Spring Training 2019, but more likely longer. It's unclear if he'll return to the Indians' roster, let alone what his role might be.

 

Bradley Zimmer has appeared in 2017 Topps Update and 2018 Topps.

 

 

CATEGORIES: 2018 Topps, Cleveland Indians