Topps Baseball Card Of The Day, October 2018

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Topps Rick Porcello
Topps Rick Porcello

10/1/18 Topps Baseball Card Of The Day: 2012 Topps #82 Rick Porcello, Tigers

More Rick Porcello Topps Cards: 2009 2010 2011 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017

 

Porcello was a pretty big deal as an amateur—in fact, Baseball America felt he was the top high school pitcher in the country prior to the 2007 draft. Aware of his talent/potential, Porcello reportedly commanded a sizable signing bonus, which caused him to fall to 27th overall in the draft...everyone else's loss would be Detroit's gain.

 

A hard thrower (mid-90's, could reach 97 as a youngster) with excellent secondary pitches, Porcello spent exactly one season in the minors (8-6, 2.66 for A Lakeland) before breaking camp with the 2009 Tigers...his Spring was that good. (Shout-out to the Tigers for not pulling that Tim Lincecum service-time crap on Porcello.)

 

The kid wound up winning 14 games, placing third in AL Rookie Of The Year voting, and gaining a fan (me) when he drilled Kevin Youkilis—who I disliked—in retaliation for hit Tiger batters. It triggered a brawl...figures that Youkilis would charge and tackle a 20-year-old rookie who could fit through a closed door.

 

Here, following a tough 2010 that saw him demoted to AAA for a time, Porcello is continuing to work his way back to 2009 levels. He started with two clunkers and struggled in June, but was mostly effective otherwise. In fact, in his final seven starts of 2011 Porcello went 3-1, 3.50 while averaging over 6 IP per. He also started once each in the ALDS and ALCS.

 

 

THIS CARD: This may be the most obvious pitch type ever shown on a Topps card. (Circle change, for those of you not familiar with grips.)

 

Pitching at Comerica, Porcello was surprisingly worse than on the road in '11 (5-5, 5.61 at his spacious home park; 9-4, 4.00 everywhere else.) He went winless in his final five home starts, though he could have won a couple.

 

I touched on Porcello's strong 2011 finish; he also won five straight starts in July!

 

(flip) That May 2009 secured AL Rookie Of The Month honors for Porcello; his ERA was 1.50! It was much needed, as the kid wasn't too impressive in April.

 

When I read Wally Bunker, I pictured Carroll O'Connor (he played Archie Bunker, for those of you under 45.) Wally went 5-0 in May and July 1964 during a 19-5 rookie season for the Orioles...but won only 41 games after that.

 

Rick is short for Frederick, not Richard—a moniker shared with longtime MLB pitcher and coach Rick Honeycutt.

 

Morristown is located off Interstate 287 about 22 miles west of Newark.

 

 

AFTER THIS CARD: Porcello has proven to be a guy who vacillates year-to year, impressing and frustrating fans who wonder why he doesn't reach those levels more frequently.  He actually had to compete for a rotation spot from 2011 on, and eventually became the subject of trade rumors.

 

Those rumors came to fruition after the '14 season, when Boston swapped Yoenis Cespedes for the now-25-year-old righty. Porcello wound up the AL Cy Young winner in 2016 (22-4), only to begin 2017 4-10, 5.06. He won 17 times in '18, however, and is slated to throw for Boston in the '18 ALDS as of this writing.

 

Rick Porcello has appeared annually in Topps since 2009.

 

 

CATEGORIES: 2012 Topps, Detroit Tigers, Jumped From A Ball

 
Topps Rick Cerone
Topps Rick Cerone

10/3/18 Topps Baseball Card Of The Day: 1988 Topps #561 Rick Cerone, Yankees

More Rick Cerone Topps Cards: 1987 1989 1990 1991 1992

 

We've all heard the stories about George Steinbrenner's intimidation and abuse of pretty much anyone who worked for him in whatever capacity. Precious few, by every account I'm aware of, ever stood up to him.

 

Rick Cerone was one of the few.

 

According to Reggie Jackson's autobiography, Cerone—after a tough 1981 playoff game—faced Steinbrenner's postgame verbal wrath along with his teammates. Cerone absorbed it for a while, then dropped "F--- you" on The Boss. Twice.

 

How can you not respect a man with cajones like that?

 

Cerone had been a solid catcher for the fledgling Blue Jays before New York traded for him in November 1979—longtime incumbent Thurman Munson had died three months prior.
Cerone enjoyed his best year in 1980, but was relegated to part-time duty 1981-84. Then came a trade to Atlanta that Cerone welcomed, as he admitted needing a change of scenery.

 

Here, Cerone has completed his second of three stints with the Bombers. He played 113 games in 1987, his most since that standout '80 season—and even took the mound in two of them! 

 

 

THIS CARD: Cerone's name is pronounced SIR-OWN-EE. He is not to be confused with oft-publicized Yankee employee Rick Cerrone (though I'm sure many still do.)

 

The veteran catcher sports the 'stache on just about all of his Topps cards, even as a youngster.

 

Cerone takes a rip at Yankee Stadium, where he hit just .189 in 1987 (as opposed to .301 away). 

 

(flip) Hey Topps...which way to the clubhouse??? Proving the hatchet was long buried, Steinbrenner signed Cerone just before 1987 Spring Training; Cerone believed he was a victim of collusion, and he's probably right. Cerone took an almost 66% pay cut to rejoin the Yankees.

 

Our previous COTD selection Rick Porcello was from just outside of Newark. And while Cerone attended Seton Hall U, Porcello attended Seton Hall Prep. Obviously, this means Cerone must have fathered Porcello. 

 

As you see, Cerone didn't wait long to reach MLB; the Indians promoted him to the bigs just two months after drafting him.

 

I scoured Cerone's 1987 game log on BR.com; he didn't directly win any games with an RBI—the powers that be used a crappy formula to calculate this stat, which is why it didn't last long. As Graig Nettles said in his book, it was indeed a farce.

 

 

AFTER THIS CARD: Unable to get along with manager Billy Martin, Cerone was cut by the Yankees at Spring '88's end. He caught two seasons for Boston, one more for the Yankees in '90 (now that Martin was dead) and finished up with the Mets and Expos in '91 and '92, respectively.

 

Rick Cerone appeared annually in Topps 1977-1992.

 

 

CATEGORIES: 1990 Topps, New York Yankees, Debuted In Draft Year

 
Topps Angel Berroa
Topps Alexis Gomez

10/6/18 Topps Baseball Card Of The Day: 2003 Topps #328 Future Stars Angel Berroa And Alexis Gomez

More 2003 Topps Future Star Cards: n/a

 

"Future Stars" used to be emblazoned on regular commons back in the day, but they eventually received their own subset before disappearing from Topps entirely. 2003 Topps marks their return...for a little while, anyway.

 

In this set, two youngsters share each Future Stars card, and many of them did live up to the premonition. In these cases, Angel Berroa did reach stardom very briefly, while Alexis Gomez survived a few partial seasons in a backup role.

 

 

THIS CARD: Berroa makes his second COTD appearance; we featured his 2009 Update card back on  8/30/17. The young SS had been acquired by KC in the three-team Johnny Damon trade of late 2000, and already had MLB experience at this card's release. In '02, he'd somehow been a Pacific Coast League All-Star despite a very poor .215 average, and spent September batting .227 for the Royals.

 

Gomez, meanwhile, slashed .295/.359/.466 for AAA Omaha, earning a June callup when KC infielder Donnie Sadler strained a hamstring. A legit five-tool threat, Gomez was a Texas League postseason All-Star in '02 and seemed to be going places.

 

Both men debuted as 2002 Topps Prospects in the Traded & Rookies set.

 

(flip) No clue why the reverse came out blurry, but I didn't deem either fella worth the effort to re-scan at this time...maybe later.

 

They're both born the same year as I! You know what that means...nothing whatsoever.

 

Gomez stole 36 bases...but was caught 24 times for a ghastly 60% success rate. By '05, he'd improved to 21-for-28 (75%) with AAA Toledo, and was successful on all four of his MLB steal attempts.

 

Berroa hit .304 and slugged .495 in 131 games at two levels in '01...but neither was AAA, and as the stats indicate, he struggled to adjust in '02.

 

 

AFTER THIS CARD: Berroa would be KC's starting shortstop for most of the next four years, winning AL Rookie Of The Year in 2003 and gradually cutting his high error rate. But he couldn't beat out Tony Pena Jr. in '07, got outrighted, and then moved between three other organizations before his career petered out in 2009.

 

Berroa's fellow Future Star fared far worse, tallying a sum of 18 games with the Royals before Detroit claimed him off waivers after the '04 season. Gomez spent much of '06 with the AL Champion Tigers and enjoyed a notable postseason moment—only for his MLB career to almost immediately end afterward. (I'll save his other notable 2006 feat for his '07 Topps card selection.)

 

Angel Berroa appeared annually in Topps 2002-2009, with 2002 and 2008 being Traded and Update cards, respectively. Alexis Gomez debuted in 2002 Topps Traded as well, shared this 2003 Topps card, then received one final look in 2007 Topps.

 

 

CATEGORIES: 2003 Topps, Kansas City Royals, Future Stars

 
Topps Derek Jeter
Topps Derek Jeter

10/8/18 Topps Baseball Card Of The Day: 2014 Topps #200 Derek Jeter, Yankees

More Derek Jeter Topps Cards: 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2015

 

For a long time, I held Derek Jeter in high regard. Even when I was sick of the Yankees making the playoffs every year, I respected Jeter's game and his small ego—it was always about the team. He knew how to handle the press (even if some of his answers were obviously rehearsed) and he didn't tie himself down in marriage until his career ended.

 

The only knock on him, for me anyway, was his bitterness towards Jays catcher Ken Huckaby after the latter accidentally—if recklessly—separated Jeter's shoulder in 2003...

 

...that is, until the winter of 2017.

After he became part-owner of the Miami Marlins, the team went on a trading frenzy. Superstar Giancarlo Stanton landed on Jeter's old team, which was already loaded with offensive talent. It reeked of impropriety, especially since the Marlins didn't get great prospects in return.

 

So for the time being, Jeets is (unfairly) on my naughty list. I'm sure he's torn up about that...

Here, the 39-year-old is coming off a lost year; he made four trips to the disabled list in all (ankle surgery, strains to both calves, ankle soreness) and wasn't effective in the 17 games he did play.

 

 

THIS CARD: Jeter hustles down the line after smacking a fly ball somewhere. Of his 20 solo Topps commons, only five depict him batting, and only two between 2003-14. In one stretch, he's shown making a throw on four straight commons. Aside from that, his images vary well enough.

 

No matter how close you look, you will not see any presidents or Baseball Hall-of-Famers.

 

Used to be card numbers ending with "00" were automatically reserved for stars—Topps got away from that this decade, but for at least this card, the old rules applied. (I could have perused the checklist to see what other stars, if any, got the 00 honor...but nope. Maybe next pull.)

 

Much like afroed Shaun Livingston of the NBA or short-haired Triple H of the WWE, I never got used to thick-necked, bald Jeter—every time he doffed his cap in recent years, I expected hair to be there...and it just wasn't. He came to MLB slim and neatly coiffed, and that is how I always picture him.

 

(flip) I didn't know Jeter was THIS durable prior to the 2012 ankle break.

 

For the acronym-challenged, ROY means Rookie Of The Year. Jeter was the last Yankee winner until Aaron Judge in 2017; Miguel Andujar could make it two straight in a few weeks.

 

Not shown: Jeter's career K total. He finished with 1,840, 15th all-time but 12th when he retired.

 

Interesting. I always thought Jeter was born in Michigan. Pequannock is located about 25 miles NW of Newark.

 

 

AFTER THIS CARD: 2014 would be 40-year-old Jeter's last as a major leaguer; he finished up with 3,314 hits (6th all-time) and a whole lot of celebration as he made his final rounds through MLB. Three years later, he (and others) took over the Marlins franchise and prioritized making as many other teams better as they could.

 

Derek Jeter appeared annually in Topps 1993-2015; 1993 is a Draft Pick card, 1994 is a shared Prospects card and 1995 is an individual Future Stars card. 

 

 

CATEGORIES: 2014 Topps, New York Yankees, Players Hit In Head By Pitch

 
Topps Shawn Chacon
Topps Shawn Chacon

10/10/18 Topps Baseball Card Of The Day: 2006 Topps Update #59 Shawn Chacon, Pirates

More Shawn Chacon Topps Cards: 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007

 

Chacon, for a minute, seemed headed to stardom. Following a couple of up-and-down years in Colorado's starting rotation, the kid broke out in '03 with 11 first-half wins! After the break, however, he won zero—elbow tendinitis hampered his effectiveness, and it would be a while before Chacon enjoyed a similar run.

 

Feeling the shorter outings would help his arm, the Rockies converted him to a closer for 2004; he saved 35, but blew nine—some in ghastly fashion—and finished with a 7.11 ERA and 1.94 WHIP. 

 

In mid-2005, the Yankees traded for Chacon—all their high-priced starters were laid up, and Chacon had been a little testy with Colorado during an injury rehab. The Alaska native excelled for New York that year, but aside from a three-start stretch around May's turn, was generally awful in '06 and eventually dealt to the Bucs.

 

 

THIS CARD: What, no SBC/AT&T Park? From 2002-05, each of Chacon's base cards feature him there, throwing a pitch, at the same angle (the one shown here, FYI). If it weren't for his varying uniforms, you'd think they were all from the same game.

Here, however, Chacon fires one at PNC Park in the Pirates semi-throwback uniforms used from 2005-10 as alternates.

 

For a few minutes, I thought we'd be featuring our third Yankee card out of four...turns out I got my seasons mixed up; Chacon is a Yankee in the 2006 Topps base set. Not sure what I would have done about such a glut of one team...

 

(flip) While it has nothing to do with anything, it's good to know about Mr. Potato Head, who was 6-9, 4.66 in 70 games from 1955-57 with the Reds and Red Sox. He walked a lot of dudes.

 

A rare useful 2005 stat: Chacon's combined ERA with both the Rockies and Yankees. WHY couldn't they all be useful and informative? 2006 Topps could have been so much better.

 

The Trade With Yankees sent 1B Craig Wilson east.

 

 

AFTER THIS CARD: Chacon continued to struggle with command and the home run ball with Pittsburgh, but remained there in '07 (as a reliever). Houston signed him for '08, and he started strong, though he somehow had no decisions after nine starts.

 

Things turned in June (0-3, 9.35 in four starts), and after Chacon's bullpen demotion, a "conversation" with GM Ed Wade turned violent, which was not a surprise to some. Chacon's contract was terminated, and after 14 appearances with AAA Sacramento (Athletics) in '09, his pro baseball career ended at age 31.

 

Shawn Chacon appeared annually in Topps 2002-06, and received one last Update card in '07.

 

 

CATEGORIES: 2006 Topps Update, Pittsburgh Pirates

 

 

 
Topps Jose Oquendo
Topps Jose Oquendo

10/12/18 Topps Baseball Card Of The Day: 1991 Topps #343 Jose Oquendo, Cardinals

More Jose Oquendo Topps Cards: 1987 1988 1989 1990 1992 1993 1994 1995

 

Much like his frequent double-play partner Ozzie Smith, Jose Oquendo became so prominent as a Cardinal that it's easy to forget he started out somewhere else—specifically, in Flushing, New York as a member of the Mets. The 19/20-year-old started 104 times at SS for the '83 Metropolitans, taking over when incumbent Bob Bailor strained a rib in May.

 

Oquendo entered '84 as the Mets SS, spent part of the year as a Mets minor leaguer, and closed '84 as a former Met—traded to the Cardinals, for whom he's had ties pretty much ever since. Oquendo spent all of '85 in AAA before resurfacing in 1986.

 

With Smith entrenched at SS, Oquendo spent the next four seasons moving between 2B, 3B and even the outfield before settling in as the Cardinals full-time 2B. Here, he's wrapped his second year as a regular—that is, until Joe Torre took over as manager in August. Oquendo would lose playing time to young Geronimo Pena down the stretch.

 

 

THIS CARD: Most of Oquendo's Topps cards depict him either posing or fielding. Oquendo was known for his defensive skillz; in '90 he committed all of three errors in 137 starts at 2B! But Ryne Sandberg took his eighth of nine straight Gold Gloves.

 

Oquendo is listed at two positions, but he started only four times at SS in 1990.

 

No clue what park this might be...Atlanta, perhaps? At least there was no interleague play back then, making it easier to identify parks. Unfortunately...I've forgotten what many of yesteryear's parks looked like.

(flip) I probably should have said this sooner, but Jose's last name is pronounced "Oh-Ken-Dough".

 

Hopefully, Topps didn't go around asking for interesting Oquendo tidbits and end up with this as a blurb.

 

In '89, Jose started all but one of those 163 games (155 at 2B, seven at SS). The Cardinals played to two ties—which were not suspended and resumed back then—but didn't make up a rainout.

 

Each team received a minor leaguer in the trade; SS Angel Salazar also went to the Mets, though he never actually played a regular-season game for the Mets or Cardinals...long story.

 

 

AFTER THIS CARD: Oquendo lasted as a Cardinals player thru 1995. Ironically, as he received his first substantial raise as a major leaguer ($2.05M), Oquendo missed all but 14 games in '92 (right shoulder dislocation). Heel surgery shortened his '93, but he recovered and played part-time in '94-'95. Unfortunately, Oquendo couldn't win a job under new manager Tony LaRussa in Spring '96, and that was that for the 32-year-old.

 

Since 1997, Oquendo has worked for the Cardinals organization in some capacity—most notably the 18 seasons he coached on the big league staff. (He recently made news by leaving said staff.) 

 

Jose Oquendo appeared annually in Topps 1984-1995; 1986 was a Traded card.

 

 

CATEGORIES: 1991 Topps, St. Louis Cardinals

 
Topps Chris Carpenter
Topps Chris Carpenter

10/15/18 Topps Baseball Card Of The Day: 1998 Topps #442 Chris Carpenter, Blue Jays

More Chris Carpenter Topps Cards: 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013

 

It still amazes me that the Blue Jays carried both Chris Carpenter and Roy Halladay in their rotation for years and nobody thought much of it, because neither man fulfilled his potential right away.

 

By the time Halladay put it together, Carpenter was winding down his Toronto career and on the verge of missing a whole season to the disabled list—Toronto gave up on him, but St. Louis did not and reached three World Series in Carpenter's six healthy Cardinals seasons (plus a 4th when he was hurt all year.)

 

Here, the 22-year-old has accumulated his first 81 major league innings. There were lows, but numerous highs as well that'll be detailed below.

 

 

THIS CARD: Carpenter makes his second COTD appearance on TSR; his '07 Topps card was one of our early selections back in December 2014.

 

This photo looks like it was taken on some random Iowa farm.

 

Remember that Jays logo of 1997-2002? Some didn't like the prominent red, and I can't blame them, but I liked it OK. To this day, it reminds me of the old Hardball video games from the 1990's; the only one I ever bought coincided with this logo's debut.

 

(flip) Struggles, indeed—the kid was 1-6, 7.36 before his 2-1, 1.87 September. That shutout occured at Skydome 9/9/97; Carpenter walked three and K'd four.

 

The 1986 rookie in question was the late John Cerutti, who put down Milwaukee on 6/24/86.

 

Check out 1995 Dunedin—it's not often a pitcher posts a BB/K ratio nearing 1/1 and a BB/9 ratio nearing 4.5, yet escapes with a 2.17 ERA.

 

The "Rookie Card" designation was so damn confusing back in the day. Even though today's Topps rookie cards have incomplete reverses, I'm still glad there's a consistent model now.

 

 

AFTER THIS CARD: Carpenter did manage three double-digit victory seasons with Toronto, but he was far from the pitcher he'd become following his 2003 labrum operations.

We already summarized Carpenter's 10-season Cardinals career; he won 15+ games five times, placed Top-3 in Cy Young voting thrice (winning in '05) and made three All-Star teams in addition to those two World Series ring. Oh, and he grew a beard.

 

Chris Carpenter appeared in every Topps set from 1998-2013, except for 2004.

 

 

CATEGORIES: 1998 Topps, Toronto Blue Jays

 
Topps Dale Mohorcic
Topps Dale Mohorcic

10/17/18 Topps Baseball Card Of The Day: 1987 Topps #497 Dale Mohorcic, Rangers

More Dale Mohorcic Topps Cards: 1988 1989

 

Sometimes in life, rumors start. Stories are told. A lot of them are entirely bogus, and proven as such. In our society, however, "proof" is often viewed as little more than conjecture, if not outright fabrication—which breathes new life into these tales, leading to regurgitation.

 

Marilyn Manson removing a rib so he could...uh...improve the quality of his alone time? Not true. Ronnie Lott having a finger amputated during a game? Not true. Mama June choking to death on a sandwich? Didn't happen.

 

On that same note, when Dale Mohorcic was hospitalized in August 1987, it was because he swallowed a piece of sandpaper before a suspicious umpire could find it...or so went the rumor. Never mind the proof that he actually was treated for four ulcers—why should facts get in the way of a good story???

 

Here, the 30-year-old rookie has wrapped a quality 1986 campaign. Among the 10 Ranger pitchers with 60+ innings, only Charlie Hough bettered Mohorcic's 1.278 WHIP, and only Mickey Mahler bettered his HR/9 ratio of 0.57.

 

 

THIS CARD: Rare was the identifiable fan on a Topps card during this era, but there you go. Worst part is, she probably never knew of her "fame".

 

Dale's last name is pronounced "Muh-HORSE-ick" and yes, he was nicknamed Horse.

 

A reliever in the dugout likely means he's already entered (and possibly exited) the game. This is the closest to an action shot Topps ever gave Horse. Among the major companies, Mohorcic had to rank among the league leaders in non-action shots.

 

(flip) Of those 58 appearances in '86, 13 were consecutive from August 6-20, tying Mike Marshall's record. (Texas was off on August 12th and 18th.) During the streak, Mohorcic allowed six earned runs in 14 IP, maxing out at 3.1 IP on the 19th.

 

That K/9 ratio makes me want to cry. Mohorcic was a low-velo, sidearming sinkerballer, described by one publication as "a sort of rummage sale pitcher with a rubber arm."

 

While Topps correctly lists Mohorcic's "Home" as Maple Heights, Ohio here, on his next two Topps cards it's mistakenly listed as Maple Heights, Illinois. Rummage sale pitchers get no respect.

 

After Victoria, you see the affiliates of Toronto (who purchased Mohorcic from unaffiliated Victoria in '78) and Pittsburgh (who signed him in '80 and kept him 'til Spring '86).

 

 

AFTER THIS CARD: Mohorcic remained a Ranger until 1988, when the Yankees acquired him in an August trade for fellow RP Cecilio Guante. While he struggled in '89 and returned to AAA for a time, Mohorcic re-emerged in May 1990 with 53 mostly-quality innings for the Expos—his final professional action.

 

Dale Mohorcic appeared in Topps 1987-89.

 

 

CATEGORIES: 1987 Topps, Texas Rangers

 
Topps Mike Cameron
Topps Mike Cameron

10/19/18 Topps Baseball Card Of The Day: 2003 Topps #332 Season Highlights: Mike Cameron 4-HR Game

More 2003 Topps Highlights Cards: n/a

 

Seattle's Mike Cameron became the fourth ALer, second centerfielder and 13th player overall to smack a quartet of longballs in one game back on 5/2/02. From 2001-05, Topps produced five Highlight cards per set—this definitely qualified.

 

(It's interesting we selected Cameron as I recently re-started my MLB '07: The Show season. Cameron in that game is much like he was IRL—in my six games against him, he homered once and struck out in half his other PA. And K's are tough to get in that game.

 

 

THIS CARD: Cameron's right leg does not look like the right leg of a swinging batter should look. It almost seems artificial. Obviously, the graphic obscures things, but not enough to change my opinion. This photo is from Cameron's big day—note the White Sox jersey in the background—but that swing CANNOT have produced one of the four jacks.

 

Why couldn't the baseball take up the WHOLE circle, instead of leaving what looks like a superfluous moon?

 

(flip)  "...lined out to the warning track..." Just imagine if Mike Freaking Cameron was the only guy with a five-homer game. He was a very good player, don't get me wrong. But should the all-time record for album sales belong to Jon Secada?

 

Boone and Cameron contributed to a 10-run Seattle first inning; they eventually won 15-4. Cameron's first homer victimized Jon Rauch, then Jim Parque served up the final three. All were solos, and all but the last one came with two strikes! 

 

(Following this disaster, Parque—a four-year veteran—would be sent to AAA Charlotte for three months.)

 

AFTER THIS CARD: Cameron finished up in 2011 with 278 roundtrippers, middle-of-the-pack among the 18 players to match his feat. He never hit as many as three in any other game, though he did crack two jacks on 17 occasions.

Most importantly, he fully recovered from that frightening collision with Carlos Beltran in 2005.

 

Scooter Gennett is the most recent player to homer four times in a game, doing so for Cincinnati in 2017.

 

 

CATEGORIES: 2003 Topps, Highlights

 
Topps Wayne Krenchicki
Topps Wayne Krenchicki

10/21/18 Topps Baseball Card Of The Day: 1987 Topps #774 Wayne Krenchicki, Expos

More Wayne Krenchicki Topps Cards: n/a

With all due respect to the late Mr. Krenchicki, it is fortunate I own only one of his Topps cards, because digging up anything about him has proven difficult—even with his recent passing.

 

Once upon a time, the infielder was the #7 overall pick in the Secondary Phase Draft by Baltimore (1976), but then Cal Ripken came along and that was that—off to Cincinnati. Krenchicki held the Reds' regular 3B job for portions of 1982 and 1984, smacking the decisive single in the double-protested Reds/Cubs umpire brawl game that year.

 

Krenchicki gained extensive run as Cincy's semi-regular 3B in June/July 1985, until the team acquired Buddy Bell from Texas. Here, the 32-year-old has just closed his final major league season; Montreal traded for him at the end of Spring Training '86.

 

 

THIS CARD: It seems whenever I choose someone with limited info available, their front image gives me practically nothing to work with. I can tell you Krenchicki's name is pronounced like it's spelled, and he didn't sport the 'stache on his earlier Topps cards.

 

With two selections out of the past three, 1987 Topps must go on hiatus now. It wouldn't have been selected had I any other Krenchicki cards in my collection (1987-present).

 

Krenchicki is shown chillaxing, which means a lefty is probably pitching—out of his 247 PA in 1986, eight came against lefties...that's hard to do. (In parts of eight seasons, Krenchicki took all of 69 PA against southpaws, batting .188)

 

(flip) Krenchicki is card #774 here; he's card #777 in 1986 Topps—this is by far the closest to having duplicate card numbers any COTD selectee has come, consecutively or otherwise.

 

Of those 101 games in '86, Krenchicki started 54 and pinch-hit in 39. He got a load of run at 1B in July/August when regular Andres Galarraga sat with knee surgery and a rib cage strain. He had to turn it on to reach .240, entering June at .175 but then batting .323 that month.

 

Krenchicki was not purchased from Cincinnati; the Expos gave up two prospects, including Norm Charlton, to get him.

 

Tom Krenchicki, Wayne's older bro, went 0-for-11 with four K in 10 games for Ogden. No idea what happened to him.

 

 

AFTER THIS CARD: Nothing in MLB, though he did manage for a time in the Milwaukee system in the 1990's before moving on to the Independent Leagues in the same role. He died on 10/16/18; the cause hasn't been publicly revealed as of yet.

 

Wayne Krenchicki debuted in 1980 Topps on a shared Future Stars card; he then appeared annually in the base set 1982-87.

 

 

CATEGORIES: 1987 Topps, Montreal Expos, Now Deceased

 
Topps John Lackey
Topps John Lackey

10/23/18 Topps Baseball Card Of The Day: 2018 Topps #171 John Lackey, Cubs

More John Lackey Topps Cards: 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017

 

should dislike John Lackey, for the simple fact he beat my Giants in Game 7 of the 2002 World Series. Not to mention, he directly helped the 2013 Red Sox to two of their four World Series victories. And if that's not enough, he just doesn't seem like a particularly likeable fella and always seemed ready to blow his stack. (Just my opinion; I do not know the man.)

 

In spite of all of that, I'm neutral on the guy—he pitched with guts and intensity, and you got the sense he truly gave a damn. Lackey spent eight seasons with the Angels; they made the playoffs during six of them (and only once since he left after the '09 season).

Matter of fact, Lackey's teams made the playoffs in 11 of his 15 active seasons and won three championships...that can't be a coincidence. Unless it is.

 

Here, we acknowledge Lackey's 40th birthday with a special COTD non-random selection. At present, he's just over a year removed from his last MLB action, a two-inning relief appearance in the '17 NLCS. 

 

 

THIS CARD: Lackey fires away at what I think is Busch Stadium III—I spent TOO much time analyzing all road parks he pitched in during his two-year Cubs run (except Fenway and Dodger Stadium, obviously) and that's the nearest to what's seen here. If it is indeed Busch, Lackey is en route to earning one of his two 2017 wins there.

 

What is Lackey firing away? Either the four-seamer or sinker, both of which topped 90 even in his Cub years. That could also be his curve, but is probably not his slider.

 

(flip) Lackey wasn't an active pitcher in '18, so Sabathia stands alone—unless somebody else matched him this season, which I'm not going to research. (Had Sabathia not been infamously tossed against the Rays in September 2018, he likely would have 15 such seasons.)

 

There have been 18 total pitchers to beat all 30 teams; for some reason Bartolo Colon was not listed among active pitchers to do it—he beat #30 (Arizona) in '17.

 

Four seasons of stats...tsk. Maybe one day full stats will return. If Chris Webber can come back to the Warriors and play for Don Nelson, literally anything else is possible.

 

Abilene is about a three-hour drive west of Fort Worth. Use I-20.

 

 

AFTER THIS CARD: As it turns out, 2017 was Lackey's swan song in MLB. His final pitch induced a comebacker from Clayton Kershaw in NLCS Game Five; Lackey completed the 1-3 putout. He appeared thrice that postseason—all as a reliever in the NLCS. (He was on the NLDS roster, which was not a sure thing.)

 

In Lackey's fourth-to-last career start, this happened.

 

The veteran righty wound up tied for #5 in all-time Angels games started and wins, and #6 in innings and K. My unofficial tally puts him at #2 in all-time Anaheim grimaces, grunts and groans, behind only Donald Duck.

 

(I know that was dumb. Just shut up and pretend it was funny.)

 

John Lackey appeared annually in Topps 2003-18. 

 

 

CATEGORIES: 2018 Topps, Chicago Cubs

 
Topps David Dellucci
Topps David Dellucci

10/30/18 Topps Baseball Card Of The Day: 2009 Topps #72 David Dellucci, Indians

More Dave/David Dellucci Topps Cards: 1998 1999 2002 2006 2007 

 

Originally an O's prospect who reached MLB in '97. Dellucci went to Arizona in that year's X-Draft. He would up with an NL-high 12 triples in '98, ripping three in a four-game September span to pass runner-up Barry Larkin. But in '99 he was displaced by Luis Gonzalez in LF and the Bernard Gilkey/Tony Womack tandem in RF, then felled by career-threatening wrist surgery.

 

Dellucci—described by one publication as having "an aggressive, hard-nosed style of play"—re-established himself in '01, starting 40 games and pinch-hitting in 65 others for the eventual champions. He remained in essentially the same role for Arizona until being swapped to the Yankees in '03 (for Raul Mondesi).

 

The veteran FA signed with Texas for '04, reuniting him with old D-Backs manager Buck Showalter. Dellucci showed some previously untapped power in Texas, ripping 46 bombs over two seasons—in fact, his 29 in '05 alone topped the 27 he hit 1997-2003 in over 1400 PA!

Here, Dellucci's completed Year Two of a 3Y/$11.5M deal signed with Cleveland after the '06 season. The Indians granted the 33-year-old's wish to play full-time again—even though he was pretty hapless vs. lefties—but hamstring surgery wrecked his '07 and he stayed cold in '08 (.228 AVG, .291 OBP after May 3).

 

 

THIS CARD: What do this guy, David Justice, Michael Morse and Jonathan Papelbon have in common? (Besides being ex-major leaguers...shut up.)


Their first Topps cards displayed their shortened first names, and I refused to deviate from them for the rest of their careers. Dellucci is "Dave" on his first two Topps cards, both on his third, and David on his final three including this one, obviously. But to me, he's always been Dave, and will continue to be unless I meet him personally and he demands otherwise.

 

As a fan of their 1994 uniforms, I resented this garb when Cleveland trotted it out in the mid-2000's. Now that it's been gone for a decade...naturally, I miss it. (This look is known to me as "The V-Mart Era"; it paralleled Victor Martinez's Tribe career almost perfectly.)

 

You don't have a great view of Dellucci's face, but just picture Joe Mauer and Joey Votto having a kid.

 

(flip) No, Dellucci was not a special selection for his 45th birthday tomorrow.

 

Dellucci finished with a career .893 OPS batting 2nd. In 45 career games batting 3rd, it was a ghastly .515.

 

Semi-interesting note about those 11 homers in '09: Cleveland went 8-3 in games that Dellucci cleared the fence, and in four of those wins, they scored at least 13 runs. In one of the other four, Dellucci smacked a pinch-hit, 8th-inning, 3-run go-ahead jack off Joba Chamberlain to beat the host Yankees on 5/6. (Sorry for all the hyphens.)

 

 

AFTER THIS CARD: Not much at all. Dellucci missed the first month of '09 (calf), returned as the semi-regular DH and started hot (6-for-his-first-9). Then he slipped to .161 with one RBI over the next three weeks—the Tribe finally silenced the booing fans by cutting Dellucci in late May. Toronto pounced, but the nearly-36-year-old went 1-for-25 and was finished as a pro.

 

Dave/David Dellucci debuted in 1998 Topps as one of the original Diamondbacks. He'd then be included in the 1999, 2002, 2006-07 and 2009 sets. (He really belonged in the '05 set as well, but he at least made it to the 2003-05 Topps Total sets.)

 

 

CATEGORIES: 2009 Topps, Cleveland Indians