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Topps Baseball Card Of The Day, October 2020

"We are all born ignorant, but one must work hard to remain stupid.'" -- Ben Franklin

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Topps Bill Wegman
Topps Bill Wegman

10/31/20 Topps Baseball Card Of The Day: 1994 Topps #464 Bill Wegman, Brewers

More Bill Wegman Topps Cards: 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1995 

The great Tim Kurkjian of ESPN is fascinated by sacrifice flies—shoot, it's the title of one of his books.

What fascinates me? High innings-pitched totals by middling pitchers.

Shut up. This is a judgment-free zone.

When Bill Wegman was allowed to throw 261.2 innings for the 1992 Brewers, I paid close attention. It blew my mind that a guy like Wegman, not far removed from two serious arm injuries and not equipped with great stuff, was out there approaching eight innings per start with the likes of Roger Clemens and Dave Stewart and Jack McDowell. 

Of course, at the time I was 12, and still unfamiliar with adult reading material. I had to get fascinated by something, I suppose.

Here, Wegman has struggled through a very challenging 1993 season. A hernia and ulcer put him on the DL in early July, and he was relegated to two mop-up relief appearances down the stretch.

THIS CARD: Wegman fires away at the late County Stadium, and it seems pretty clear he's coming with the breaking ball (most likely the slider; Wegman had a good one). Topps varied Wegman's front images well through the Shawn Chacon treatment here.

Wegman wore #46 throughout his career; current Brewer Corey Knebel—a 2017 All-Star closer who's hit hard times since—has claimed the number since 2015.

More from Wegman's 1993 season: he opened the year by completing three of his first seven starts...and losing all three. Despite the hard luck, Wegman still owned a 3.17 ERA through 6/4, but collapsed (7.71 ERA) over his final six starts leading up to his DL stint.

(flip) Those 14 losses in 1993 led the AL at the time of Wegman's hiatus; he still finished 4th.

Wegman won that Hutch Award after a fine comeback (15 wins in '91) from labrum surgery in 1989 and major elbow surgery in 1990. 

Wait a minute; Wegman reached those 261.2 innings in 1992 with only seven complete games? That kind of makes it more impressive in a way that I cannot properly articulate. Thank you for your patience with my fascination.

Ah, back when Topps was still allowed to mention Pete Rose on its cards. He was already banned from baseball at this point, so I wonder what specifically changed between 1994 and 2014 Topps (when his name was repeatedly omitted as the all-time hit king).


AFTER THIS CARD: Wegman began 1994 6-0, a streak that sandwiched a month-long DL stint (abdominal strain); he'd finish 8-4 in 19 starts for Milwaukee. In '95 he did a 180, opening the year 0-3 and being banished to long relief after the Tigers KO'd him in the first inning of his 5/11 start.

Wegman never started another game for the Brewers, or anybody else; his career ended at 32 following the '95 season.

Bill Wegman debuted in 1986 Topps Traded, then appeared annually in the base set 1987-95.

CATEGORIES: 1994 Topps, Milwaukee Brewers


More October 2020 Topps Cards Of The Day

Topps League Leaders
Topps League Leaders

10/1/20 Topps Baseball Card Of The Day: 2003 Topps #340 League Leaders, AL RBI

More 2003 Topps League Leaders: n/a

In 2003, Alex Rodriguez was on his way to winning the AL MVP award after being runner-up in 2002. Magglio Ordonez was a three-time All-Star and possibly the most underrated hitter in the league. Miguel Tejada was the reigning AL MVP and the fulcrum of the Giambi-less Oakland Athletics offense.

These were 2002's three biggest American League run producers. All talented righty hitters who'd had yet to turn 30, all annually ranked high on AL RBI leaderboards. Basically, you had three of the game's top players period, and pitching to them proved hazardous to your ERA.

THIS CARD: The trio looks so...damn...young. Rodriguez slightly less so, since we saw him balling in MLB at age 19.

Tejada: "Can I hold a bat, too?" Topps: "No."

Rodriguez's 142 RBI in 2002 would be the second-highest of his career (156 in 2007). He was still well short of the Rangers record of 157 set by Juan Gonzalez in 1998.

Ordonez drove home over 110 runs for the fourth straight season in 2002. He had 12 RBI in his final seven games of the year, and enjoyed 18 games with 3+ RBI, six games with 4+ RBI, and four games with 5+ RBI!

Tejada opened 2002 batting 5th/6th before being moved up to 3rd in mid-May. From that point on he plated 108 runners in just 120 games (after driving home "just" 23 in his first 42 games).

(flip) Anderson annually finished Top 10 in AL RBI 2001-03; he tops the Angels' all-time RBI leaderboard.

Delgado enjoyed nine 100-RBI seasons, leading the AL in 2003. Look atop Toronto's all-time RBI list and you'll find Delgado's name.

Garciaparra finished Top-10 in AL RBI one other time, in 1998 (122, good for 7th).

For all the home runs he hit (320), Glaus was not really a prime RBI man. Though Glaus did register four 100-RBI campaigns, this was his only season in the AL (or NL) Top 10.

AFTER THIS CARD: Rodriguez went on to drive in 100+ runs annually through 2010. We mentioned his 2007 effort; that led the league and helped secure his league MVP award. Rodriguez's career ended in 2016.

Ordonez was slowed by injuries for a time but resurged with 100+ RBI seasons 2006-08, leading Detroit in 2006-07 (by 2008, Miguel Cabrera had arrived). His 139 ribbies in 2007 were second in the AL to Rodriguez, as were his 258 MVP points. Ordonez's career ended in 2011.

Tejada drove home 100+ RBI in six of seven years between 2000-06; his 150 as a new Oriole in 2004 led the league by 11 over David Ortiz. Tejada, who also finished 10th in the AL with 106 RBI in 2003, ended his career in 2013.

CATEGORIES: 2003 Topps, League Leaders

Topps Rey Sanchez
Topps Rey Sanchez

10/3/20 Topps Baseball Card Of The Day: 1992 Topps Traded #98 Rey Sanchez, Cubs

More Rey Sanchez Topps Cards: 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1999 2001 2002T 2003T

During Sanchez's prime, he was considered one of the best defensive shortstops in the game (if not the best). He was not acrobatic and showy like an Omar Vizquel or an Ozzie Smith, but he was fundamentally sound, didn't usually miss routine grounders, and made plays on enough non-routine balls to earn such high praise.

What hurt Sanchez most was a virtual lack of any power at all (in 15 seasons he hit 15 total home runs, one of them inside-the-park). He could make contact and contribute "small-ball", but his offense would never be considered an asset. For that reason a load of teams wanted Sanchez...until they didn't; he'd end up wearing nine major league uniforms.

Here, however, Sanchez is just starting out as a young Chicago Cub. After gaining his first MLB experience as a 1991 September call-up, Sanchez has hopped on the shuttle between AAA Iowa and the Cubs in early 1992. Several times, in fact.

THIS CARD: Sanchez does NOT look like a rookie in this pic; I would guess him to be at least a five-year veteran. I might also guess him to be former Cub Luis Salazar...with the 'stache there's a slight resemblance IMHO.

What does the kid appear to be thinking? "Hmm...Mark Grace SAID he wouldn't take a nap on top of my car. But there he is, taking a nap on top of my car...oh, well, at least I'm in the majors."

More from Sanchez's early 1992 season: it took him a while to get the bat going (4-for-32 thru his first 12 games, spread out across three calendar months). But he closed June by hitting in eight of nine games, including 6/21 when he stroked three hits and drove home three runs at the Phillies.

(flip) Sanchez, according to the Chicago Tribune, was DL'd in 1990 with an elbow injury.

Of those six hits as a 1991 Cub, two came in two at-bats on 9/28 at St. Louis.

Check out those BB/K ratios as a minor leaguer; Sanchez never came close to those ratios in the majors. His career high in walks was 28 in 143 games (2000).

That is possibly THE worst available angle for a Wrigley Field photo. It almost looks like a prison.

AFTER THIS CARD: In 1993, with SS Shawon Dunston on the shelf almost all year and 2B Ryne Sandberg missing the first several weeks, Sanchez received extended run at both positions for the Cubs and cemented a roster spot going forward. After Sandberg retired (temporarily) in mid-1994, Sanchez took over as the Cubs 2B through 1995. Then Sandberg returned, ending Sanchez's days of playing full-time in Chicago. 

After finishing 1997 with the Yankees, Sanchez signed with the Giants as a FA (1Y/$500K), serving in a part-time role. Kansas City saw enough to make Sanchez their starting SS for 1999, then re-upped him for 2Y/$4.6M. Atlanta acquired Sanchez at the 2001 deadline to take over at SS for injured Rafael Furcal.

Then Sanchez's traveling really began—over the next four years, Sanchez suited up for the Red Sox (who started him at 2B for most of '02) Mets, Mariners, Devil Rays and Yankees again; his career ended with bulging discs in his neck in 2005, age 37.

Here's that ITPHR Sanchez roped as a 2004 Devil Ray (which was more a result of crappy Colorado defense than good hitting. But hey, it's Rey Sanchez. Let him have this one.)

Rey Sanchez appeared in Topps 1993-97, 1999 and 2001 (the guy was excluded from 2000 Topps despite having his best year in 1999). He's also got 1992, 2002 and 2003 Traded cards.

CATEGORIES: 1992 Topps Traded, Chicago Cubs

Topps Desi Relaford
Topps Desi Relaford

10/4/20 Topps Baseball Card Of The Day: 2000 Topps #258 Desi Relaford, Phillies

More Desi Relaford Topps Cards: 1995 1996 1999 2001 2003 2004 2006

Drafted by Seattle in 1991, Desi Relaford spent the first half of the 1990's as a shortstop prospect for the Mariners. Which wouldn't have been a bad thing, except Seattle also drafted shortstop Alex Rodriguez in 1993 and auditioned him in the bigs one year later.

Relaford continued to toil in the Seattle system despite having no longer having a real future there. Finally, at the 1996 Trade Deadline, he was swapped to the Phillies for SP Terry Mulholland. Following brief looks in 1996-97, Philly installed Relaford as their SS for 1998. Despite brutal 2-for-51 and 0-for-36 stretches that year, Relaford kept his job into 1999. That is where we catch up with him.

THIS CARD: Overall, Relaford wasn't much with the bat during his career, but here, he seems to have put a solid swing on the ball. In 1999 he started hot, batting .325 on 5/9, and avoided the exaggerated slumps that plagued him in '98.

Relaford wears #8, which later gained "fame" in Philadelphia as Shane Victorino's number. Back in the day Bob Boone and Juan Samuel also sported #8.

More from Relaford's 1999 season: wrist surgery sidelined him from mid-June to mid-September. He only managed seven hits in 42 at-bats after returning.

(flip) Relaford did have speed and range, but the offensive potential was never fully tapped into for long (unless you count his .302 effort for the 2001 Mets).

Is it just me, or are those last three stolen base percentages not really bragworthy?

This is why I'm supposed to fully read the blurbs before doing a write-up; we've already covered the first couple lines above.

AFTER THIS CARD: Despite a solid .363 OBP for the 2000 Phillies, Relaford's .221 average and 24 errors in 81 games got him traded to the Padres that August. He enjoyed a (positively) surprising year for the 2001 Mets, as we referenced, but was still traded to the Giants that winter—and quickly flipped to the Mariners for IF David Bell. Relaford became an important reserve for the defending AL West champions, even playing the outfield for the first time.

Relaford signed with the upstart Royals for 2003 (2Y/$900K), and accrued 500 at-bats playing six different positions that year. He opened '04 as the KC second baseman, but pulled a hammy and returned to his utility role upon healing.

The 32-year-old hooked up with the Rockies for 2005, batting .224 in 73 games before being cut that August. Out of MLB in '06, an unimpressive 14-game stint with the 2007 Rangers ended Relaford's pro career at 34. 

Here are Desi Relaford's Topps appearances: 1995-96, 1999-2001, 2003-04 and 2006 (I don't know how he ended up in the '06 set, especially as a Rockie.) He never appeared in any Traded or Update sets.

CATEGORIES: 2000 Topps, Philadelphia Phillies

Topps Armando Benitez
Topps Armando Benitez

10/6/20 Topps Baseball Card Of The Day: 1995 Topps #346 Armando Benitez, Star Track

More Armando Benitez Topps Cards: 1997 1998 1999 1999T 2000 2001 2002 2003 2003T 2004 2005 2006 2007 2007U

There weren't many (if any) hotter relief pitching prospects in 1993-94 than Armando Benitez of the Baltimore Orioles system. Often compared to no less than Lee Smith, Benitez blew through two levels of the minors—more on that later—before joining Smith in Baltimore's bullpen as a 21-year-old in 1994.

THIS CARD: "Star Track" was another of those one-and-done subsets that permeated mid-1990's Topps. Here's how it went down: 1995 Topps featured 14 "Star Track" prospects and 14 "Future Star" prospects—one for each of the 28 teams. The former consisted of prospects with MLB experience; the latter consisted of prospects with no MLB experience. (All 28 did eventually reach the majors.)

As you can see, Benitez was more than a little intimidating, especially in his youth.

Benitez wears #49; no other Orioles of note claimed that number (unless you deem Todd Frohwirth notable). Today, it is worn in Baltimore by forgettable reliever Clay Carroll.

(flip) I've asked this aloud on previous COTD: why even include the 1990 row if Benitez wasn't pitching for an Orioles affiliate that year, Topps?

No, that's not a misprint: Benitez did whiff 112 batters in 67 innings in 1993, and was on a similar pace for AA Bowie in 1994 until being summoned to Camden Yards.

Belle and Murray were Cleveland Indians in 1994; Benitez entered in relief of Mike Mussina, who was touched up a bit that day. With runners on 1B and 2B and one out in the 7th, the rookie struck out Belle and got Murray to fly out. Benitez threw two more scoreless innings, but Baltimore still lost 7-2.

AFTER THIS CARD: Let's see: the Jeffrey Maier home run in 1996, elevation to closer in 1998, starting the ultimate brawl against the Yankees in 1998, 2000 NLDS Game 2-tying homer to J.T. Snow of my Giants, 2003 trade to the Yankees, monster 2004 season for Florida, $21M deal from the Giants, torn hamstring in 2005, "I did my job" in 2006, booed out of town in 2007, MLB career end in 2008, parts of three more seasons in the Independent League.

Armando Benitez appeared annually in Topps 1995-2007, except 1996. You can also find him in 1999 and 2003 Topps Traded as well as 2007 Topps Updates & Highlights.

CATEGORIES: 1995 Topps, Baltimore Orioles

Topps Eddie Guardado
Topps Eddie Guardado

10/7/20 Topps Baseball Card Of The Day: 2001 Topps #313 Eddie Guardado, Twins

More Eddie Guardado Topps Cards: 1994 1998 2003 2004 2004T 2005 2006 2006U 2008UA

"Everyday" Eddie Guardado averaged 68 games a year for the Twins 1995-2003, hence the nickname. Originally a starting pitcher, Guardado didn't blossom until being switched full-time to the bullpen in 1996 (a year he co-led the league in appearances).  

By and large, Twins skipper Tom Kelly deployed Guardado as a lefty specialist from 1996-99, but in 2000—the year represented on this card—the team went all year without a permanent closer. The popular Guardado was in the 9th-inning mix and posted nine saves, equaling his career total to that point.

THIS CARD: Guardado didn't look like this when his career ended; mid-30's Guardado was considerably stouter and looked more like a plumber than an athlete. Which I say respectfully.

The veteran reaches back to fire either his low-90's fastball, curve (my guess), or slider. He later added a split-finger pitch (that he blames for blowing out his arm).

No other Twins of note have worn Guardado's #18 for any length of time. Kenta Maeda did almost throw a no-hitter wearing it in 2020, however.

(flip) Last week Guardado turned 50. I should have been aware of this and selected a special COTD for him.

We mentioned Guardado co-leading the AL in 1996 appearances; Mike Myers of the Tigers also pitched 83 times.

Today, Guardado ranks first among Twins in games pitched, with 648. No one else is within 150 of him.

I briefly lived in Stockton, CA. It is a hole, and I'd like to ask Guardado why he kept living there after becoming a major league success.

AFTER THIS CARD: During the 2001 season, Minnesota elevated Guardado to closer. How did he respond? With 86 saves over the 2002-03 seasons, including a league-best 45 in '02, and successive All-Star berths. Though Minnesota tried to retain the free agent after '03, Seattle offered more cash, so off Guardado went.

2004 was a bit shaky; Guardado was only 18-for-25 in save ops and missed time with shoulder soreness. But he rebounded in '05, saving 27 straight at one point, before an '06 slump, demotion and trade to the Reds (for whom he closed out 8-of-10 before undergoing UCL surgery).

Guardado returned to the Reds in August 2007, then moved between Texas, Minnesota and Texas again over the 2008-09 seasons before calling it a career just shy of 39. He was elected to the Twins Hall of Fame in 2013, and returned to the franchise as bullpen coach 2014-18.

Eddie Guardado appeared in 1994, 1998, 2001, and 2003-06 Topps. He's also got a 2004 Traded card with Seattle and Update cards for 2006 (Reds) and 2008 (Rangers).

CATEGORIES: 2001 Topps, Minnesota Twins

Topps Zach Walters
Topps Zach Walters

10/9/20 Topps Baseball Card Of The Day: 2014 Topps #337 Zach Walters, Nationals

More Zach Walters Topps Cards: n/a

Zach Walters was originally a Diamondbacks farmhand; they swapped him to Washington for SP Jason Marquis in mid-2011. Marquis was utterly hopeless as a Diamondback even before a liner broke his leg in August 2011, while the Nationals were at least able to squeeze a little value out of Walters.

The kid was not known for his slugging in the minors until 2013, a year he upped his slugging percentage 99 points from 2012. Washington made Walters a September call-up that year.

THIS CARD: You could have pinned me under a cold shower in the middle of December for three hours, ordering me to tell you who Zach Walters was, and you would have gotten nothing but tortured screams. It amazes me how I can collect these cards and wholly erase at least five dudes per set from my mind.

Walters chugs down the line, which is not enough for me to confirm the ballpark. But in 2013 Walters only played at Marlins Park, Citi Field and Chase Field. Mystery kind of solved.

Walters wears #4; the closest thing to a notable National wearing #4 is Howie Kendrick, who wore it in 2017 but became a Nats postseason hero while wearing #47.

Walters is listed as a 3B, but for the Nationals, he mostly pinch-hit/ran.

(flip) I'm curious: did Johnson say that line to Walters and then just walk away? If so, what a gift he has. I've got to get him in touch with Mauricio Dubon.

Walters' 9/29/13 triple was a game-tying RBI shot in the 6th inning, given up by Arizona's Wade Miley. Walters soon scored himself, but the Nats eventually lost 3-2.

Here's a bonus rookie fact: on 9/6/13 Walters broke up a Jose Fernandez no-hitter with one out in the 6th. Fernandez's slider exploded in on Walters mid-swing; the resulting jam shot rolled about 70 feet down the third-base side and died. It was Fernandez's only hit allowed in seven innings that day...(sigh) baseball.

AFTER THIS CARD: Walters spent much of April/May 2014 with Washington, helping fill in for injured 3B Ryan Zimmerman. At the deadline, Walters was dealt to Cleveland in exchange for INF Asdrubal Cabrera. Sent to AAA, Walters was back in MLB by early August, and his walk-off home run against Arizona 8/13/14 highlighted his career.

Playing through a torn intercostal (ribcage muscle) in late 2014, Walters still enjoyed a streak of six home runs—including that walk-off—in 12 games for the Indians, but still spent 2015 on the AAA/majors shuttle until labrum surgery that October. The Dodgers acquired him in April 2016 and released him in August 2016; Walters signed MiLB deals with Cincy and KC for 2017 but neither led him back to the bigs.

At last check (2018), the 29-year-old was an Independent Leaguer.

Zach Walters appeared in 2014 Topps. He's in 2014 Topps Heritage as an Indian, if you're interested at all.

CATEGORIES: 2014 Topps, Washington Nationals

Topps Craig Gentry
Topps Craig Gentry

10/10/20 Topps Baseball Card Of The Day: 2015 Topps #183 Craig Gentry, Athletics

More Craig Gentry Topps Cards: 2011U 2012 2013 2014

Used to be, guys like Craig Gentry were everywhere, guys who could bunt, change a game with their speed/baserunning prowess, played defense and always hustled. But by the time Gentry came along he was a baseball unicorn. Which, of course, made him very fun to watch when he was on his game—you didn't see dudes doing the things Gentry did anymore.

The Arkansas alum debuted in MLB back in 2008 with the Rangers, but he didn't get an extended look until 2011—the Rangers' second straight year as AL champions. From 2012-13, Gentry started 135 times for Ron Washington in a platoon/part-time role, stealing 37 bases in 47 attempts before being traded to Oakland after the '13 season.

Here, Gentry is coming off an injury-marred first year in Oakland; it started with back problems in the spring, continued with a midseason broken hand, and ended with a concussion.

THIS CARD: Hopefully, this is not the play that resulted in Gentry's broken hand 7/28/14. Adding insult to injury: he was ruled to have offered at the pitch that hit him, and was charged with a strike. (Note: Gentry didn't realize the extent of his injury and thus finished the game with the broken hand.)

Personally, I wish Oakland had kept the gold alternates popular in 2012, but these aren't so bad, either. This look was unveiled in 2014.

More from Gentry's 2014 season: he started 58 times across all three outfield spots, throwing out eight runners and committing one error. Gentry stole one more base than Coco Crisp to lead the A's. 

(flip) No, you don't have to embrace that crappy nickname, Craig. What if they put "Dog-Doo Head" on t-shirts?

Of Gentry's 246 career hits to this point, I'd bet 12-15 were bunts. He was always laying one down and racing at warp speed down the line.

Gentry is a Fort Smith, Arkansas legend. He attended the University of Arkansas Fort Smith as a freshman/sophomore and was elected to the school's Hall of Fame.

AFTER THIS CARD: In 2015, Gentry opened the year cold and wound up spending two-thirds of the season back in AAA (Nashville). The 32-year-old made the Angels' 2016 roster, but strained his back in May and was cut upon healing in July.

From 2017-18, Gentry served as a spare piece for the Orioles; he made the 2018 team out of Spring Training but was cut in September. MiLB deals with San Francisco and Colorado didn't lead anywhere, and Gentry retired from baseball in May 2019.

Craig Gentry debuted in 2011 Topps Update, then appeared annually in 2012-15 Topps. He's got a 2018 Heritage card as an Oriole, fyi.

CATEGORIES: 2015 Topps, Oakland Athletics

Topps Peter Bergeron
Topps Peter Bergeron

10/12/20 Topps Baseball Card Of The Day: 2003 Topps #618 Peter Bergeron, Expos

More Peter Bergeron Topps Cards: 1999 2001 2002

No known relation to Tom.

Peter Bergeron started out in the Dodgers system, until being included in the 1998 Mark Grudzielanek trade with Montreal. That made for a much faster track to the major leagues; Bergeron debuted with the Expos in September 1999.

In Y2K, Bergeron emerged as Montreal's primary CF and sometimes LF, a role he carried into 2001 until being demoted in late April. Still just 23, the youngster returned in late June and batted .230 through season's end, which looks crappy until you realize he was at .121 pre-demotion.

Here, Bergeron has again won Montreal's CF job after a strong Spring 2002. He opened the year with four hits in his first eight at-bats, with a pair of walks as a bonus.

THIS CARD: Bergeron bats at an unidentified road ballpark; even with his limited 2002 MLB run, there's just not enough for me to distinguish the locale. I can tell you the odds of Bergeron getting a hit here were slim, as he only batted .098 in 15 road games in 2002.

Given Bergeron was off the MLB radar by early May '02, good for Topps for not forgetting about him. Even in the "Junk Wax" era, guys like Bergeron could fall by the Topps wayside unless perhaps they were injured.

Uniform #11 has a respectable enough Montreal lineage; SS Spike Owen wore it in the early 1990's and 3B Shane Andrews had it in the late 1990's. (For those of you who count the Nationals as an Expos extension, #11 could well be retired someday for Ryan Zimmerman.)

(flip) Of those 16 assists in 2000, 15 came as a center fielder, one as a left fielder.

Bergeron routinely batted around—or in excess of—.300 in the minors, including a .320 clip at two levels in 1999. So his 2002 performance for Ottawa was no real shock.

Of those 22 walks Topps blurbs about, 17 came in Bergeron's first 14 games! In fact, only once in that period was Bergeron shut out in the walks column.

AFTER THIS CARD: It seemed that Bergeron has used up all his Montreal lives when they kept him at their new AAA affiliate Edmonton for all of 2003, but he resurfaced once again in 2004 as their CF out of Spring Training. But this latest stint lasted 11 games, nine of which Montreal lost. After a DL stint (rib strain), Bergeron was demoted yet again, then traded to the Brewers in June.

However, Milwaukee never called Bergeron up, and neither did the Cubs, Orioles, Phillies or Pirates, each of whom subsequently signed him to MiLB deals. After the 2007 season, Bergeron's phone quit ringing.

Today, Bergeron works in the Los Angeles Dodgers' scouting department.

Peter Bergeron debuted on a shared 1999 Topps Prospects card, then appeared annually in Topps 2001-03.

CATEGORIES: 2003 Topps, Montreal Expos

Topps Kim Batiste
Topps Kim Batiste

10/13/20 Topps Baseball Card Of The Day: 1994 Topps #238 Kim Batiste, Phillies

More Kim Batiste Topps Cards: 1992 1993 1995

If you're watching the in-progress 2020 American League Championship Series, you're aware of the serious throwing problems Astros second baseman Jose Altuve is presently enduring. Clearly, Altuve wants more than anything to atone for his costly errors, as any player would (although with his team down 3-0 to the Tampa Bay Rays, opportunity may be scarce at this point).

Onetime Phillies infielder Kim Batiste could relate to Altuve. In the opening game of the 1993 NLCS vs. Atlanta, Batiste's throwing error in the 9th allowed Atlanta to tie the score at 3. For an inning-plus, Batiste—who was in the game for his defense—had the miscue weighing heavily on him...

...until stroking the game-winning double in the 10th and being carried off the field by his teammates. Atonement successful!

Here, we catch up with Batiste after that memorable 1993 campaign.

THIS CARD: This is a specially selected Topps Card Of The Day in memory of Batiste, who died 10/7/2020 from kidney surgery complications at age 52.

No, this is not a shot of Batiste making his errant NLCS throw. In 1993 he frequently took over at 3B for Dave Hollins in the late innings, and made but three errors in 58 regular-season games at the hot corner.

Batiste is also listed as a SS; he got some run there early in the '93 season until Philly called up Kevin Stocker in early July. Only twice more did Batiste man shortstop that year.

(flip) Today, that uniform #5 looks strange on anyone except Pat Burrell. Catcher Andrew Knapp had it in 2020.

"Mid-last season"? That can't be right.

One of Batiste's five 1993 home runs—which was hit while playing third—was a decisive grand slam at home versus the Mets 8/13.

AFTER THIS CARD: In 1994, Batiste earned a career-high 50 starts between 3B and SS, but batted just .232 in 209 at-bats—including ONE base-on-balls all season and a .127 average vs. lefties. He did not make the 1995 Phillies roster and was released in May.

Batiste spent the duration of '95 with AAA Rochester and AA Bowie (Orioles) before winning a job with the 1996 Giants, splitting the year between AAA Phoenix and San Francisco (I've blocked out almost all memory of the dreadful '96 team, including Batiste, unfortunately.) 

Out of baseball in 1997, the veteran IF resurfaced in the Independent League in 1998, suiting up for seven teams before his pro baseball career wrapped in 2003.

Kim Batiste appeared in 1992-95 Topps.

CATEGORIES: 1994 Topps, Philadelphia Phillies, Now Deceased

Topps Moises Alou
Topps Moises Alou

10/15/20 Topps Baseball Card Of The Day: 1997 Topps #460 Moises Alou, Expos

More Moises Alou Topps Cards: 1991 1992T 1993 1994 1995 1996 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 

The Randomizer sure does have an affinity for the Montreal Expos (who haven't existed for 16 years), doesn't it?

Moises Alou was easily among the most talented Expos of not just his time, but ever. Problem is, because of injuries and that devastating labor dispute of 1994-95, Alou the Expo never got to showcase his skillz for long without being interrupted. We've previously discussed his 1991 and 1995 shoulder surgeries and 1993 ankle injury—all before the age of 30—on COTD.

But here, it seems Alou's health was finally trending in the right direction. In 1996, he sat out "only" 19 games (from a July hamstring strain and an August suspension for firing his helmet at Astros manager Terry Collins during a brawl) and put together a fine season, especially in the second half.

THIS CARD: Does it not look as though Alou has ripped the cover off the ball here? I'd initially dismissed the  odd shape as a card-scanning error; upon further review no mistakes were made. If I'm right and we're looking at a mangled baseball, great effort by Topps to get it on a card.

Alou was a multi-talented player, but better than anything else, he swung the bat. Topps depicts him swinging on all but two of his 17 common fronts over the years, including this one of course.

I can't identify the road ballpark, but I can tell you that in 1996, Alou hit .243 with seven jacks away from Montreal, as opposed to .320 with 14 bombs IN Montreal. I hope the Expos pointed that out when he hit free agency after the '96 season.

(flip) Note how comparatively young Alou looked in 1996; it seemed he aged 10 years as soon as he left Montreal that winter. At least to me.

Though Alou resided in the Dominican Republic, he was born in Atlanta; his dad Felipe was in Year One with the Braves in 1966.

"Anecdotal oddity" appears on exactly zero other baseball cards anywhere; I would bet my man parts on it.

In that final AFCS at-bat, Alou flied out to RF Dwight Smith Sr., closing the book on a 3-1 Montreal loss. (The Braves did play more games at the ballpark; remember they lost to the Yankees in the World Series that year. And there was no COVID so no neutral sites.)

AFTER THIS CARD: In December 1996, Alou signed a 5Y/$25M deal to join the Marlins; he led the 1997 team in HR and RBI as they edged the Indians in the World Series. Alou was allowed to celebrate with his teammates, but before any of the champagne on his uniform could dry, Florida moved him to Houston via trade.


Now a 32-year-old Astro, Alou's 38 HR, 124 RBI and 159 games in 1998 set career highs—but a freak spring treadmill accident blew out his left ACL and shelved him for all of 1999. Back healthy in 2000, Alou continued to rake for the 'Stros in '01 (highlighted by a 23-game hit streak) and he signed a 3Y/$27M free-agent deal with the Cubs for '02.


It was as a Cub that Alou joined the land of infamy—he was the left fielder on the Steve Bartman play during Game 6 of the '03 NLCS. (Alou has said at different times that he both would have and wouldn't have caught the notorious foul ball.) After '04, the veteran joined a team very closely tied to the Alou family: San Francisco.


Despite moving to RF, Alou—playing for his dad as he had for four seasons in Montreal—continued to rake when healthy during his two-year SF tenure. He closed his career with two seasons as a New York Met, registering a 30-game hit streak in the former (2007) but enduring serious calf and hamstring injuries in the latter, amassing just 54 PA. Alou retired at 42 after repping the D.R. in the '09 WBC.


Moises Alou appeared annually in Topps 1991-2008 (1992 was a Traded card). He's also got a 1991 Topps Major League Debut card as a Pirate.

CATEGORIES: 1997 Topps, Montreal Expos

Topps Tommy Kahnle
Topps Tommy Kahnle

10/16/20 Topps Baseball Card Of The Day: 2016 Topps #245 Tommy Kahnle, Rockies

More Tommy Kahnle Topps Cards: 2015 2018U 2019U

In early 2020, before Tommy Kahnle succumbed to UCL surgery, Sports Illustrated attempted to "build" the perfect Yankees pitcher from their current roster. To paraphrase, this fella would have Gerrit Cole's fastball, Zack Britton's sinker, and Kahnle's changeup.

There is merit to that—if one man could throw 100 like Cole, sink the ball like Britton, then attack with a tailing, 90-MPH changeup like Kahnle, the only way anybody could hit him would be luck and prayer.

Here, Kahnle is still a youngster (and not a universally beloved one, either) with the Rockies. During the 2015 season he opened the year with AAA Albuquerque before making 36 appearances with Colorado; he was even named closer by manager Walt Weiss in early August. That didn't last long, and three weeks later Kahnle was back in AAA.

THIS CARD: Yes, Yankee fans, this is what Kahnle looked like before acquiescing to your team's clean-shaven requirements. From a purely aesthetic standpoint Kahnle is far less imposing without the hair, but as the 2017 Tigers found out, he should still be approached with caution.

Kahnle (pronounced Conley) prepares to fire off either the aforementioned changeup, or his high-90's gas. He also has a little semi-slider that comes out on rare occasion, but Kahnle himself has admitted to never really trusting his breaking pitches. He's usually a fastball/changeup guy.

That's #54 Kahnle wears; it had been passed around very frequently from Colorado's inception until 2014. RP Carlos Estevez has worn it since 2016 (though, given his recent performance, those days may be numbered).

Yes, as soon as the right bargain presents itself, I'll be replacing my 2016 Topps set with a stamp-free version.

(flip) As you can see, Kahnle struggled with his command with the 2015 Rockies, largely why he was returned to the minors in late August and not recalled in September (I'd long forgotten Albuquerque was ever a Rockies affiliate).

Check out 2011 Charleston: 12 unearned runs in just 40 games? Holy Christ, that's deflating.

Kahnle earned those 2015 saves on 8/7 and 8/9. Thereafter, opportunities were scarce; the kid blew one, got lit up in a non-save tune-up, and BOOM was out of the role.

I never knew Kahnle's 2017 acquisition by the Yankees marked his second stint in the organization! THIS is a big part of why COTD exists, people—it teaches me, too.

AFTER THIS CARD: Kahnle was D4A'd by the Rockies in November 2015, then traded to the White Sox. By 2017 he'd greatly improved his command (seven walks in 36 Chicago innings), which got the Yankees' attention. Along with RP David Robertson and 3B Todd Frazier, Kahnle returned to New York in exchange for RP Tyler Clippard and three prospects (none of whom have reached MLB to date.)

We mentioned Kahnle's trouble with the Tigers in August 2017; that aside, he was solid for his new club and even picked up a six-out ALDS save against Cleveland! (CL Aroldis Chapman was essentially unavailable.) 2018 was forgettable; he battled tendonitis and was even demoted to AAA for a time, but Kahnle bounced back with a strong 2019 (88 K vs. just 20 BB in 61 innings).

Kahnle lost all of 2020 to August UCL surgery.


Tommy Kahnle has appeared in 2015-16 and 2020 Topps, along with 2018-19 Topps Update.

CATEGORIES: 2016 Topps, Colorado Rockies

Topps New York Yankees
Topps New York Yankees

10/18/20 Topps Baseball Card Of The Day: 2019 Topps #47 Yankees Team Card

More Topps Yankees Team Cards: n/a

Topps mixed things up a little in 2019...and I liked it. 

In the '00's, team cards featured team photos on the front with a recap of the corresponding season on the back. In the '10's, team cards featured an action highlight from the past season on the front with the season recap on the back.

For 2019 Topps, team cards double as ballpark cards—there are park photos and "birth" years on the front, to go with capacities and team lineups/leaders on the reverse (no season recap). It was time for team cards to receive a little twist, even if it could only last for one set.

Here, we look at Yankee Stadium II and the primary lineups of the 2018 Yankees, who beat Oakland in the Wild Card Game but fell to Boston in a four-game ALDS.

THIS CARD: The question did flash in my mind multiple times: would we ever randomly select another 2019 Topps card again? Wasn't lookin' that way. The set has been in my possession for over a year now and only come up twice in the Randomizer (out of some 260 opportunities) before today.

Which sucked because I wanted to present (show off) my newest set on TSR.

High-up view of Yankee Stadium II, unmistakable whenever the frieze makes it into the shot. New York, of course, played in Yankee Stadium I from 1923 through 1973, left for two years while it was massively renovated, then returned from 1976-2008.

(flip) The stadium graphic is a nice touch, showing the park's full layout not clearly visible in the front photo. But Topps should have put the basic dimensions as well—I view these cards frequently and having the various distances on said cards would've helped me commit them to memory. Make the improvement in 2029 Topps, please!

That is a scary lineup, and as of this writing all but McCutchen, Gray, Gregorius and Sabathia are still with the Yanks (although Sanchez's days are probably numbered, Andujar has barely been on the radar and German was suspended essentially all of 2020). Years from now, will anyone remember McCutchen ever played for the Yankees?

I promise you, if this format is ever re-used for team cards, wins will not be a featured category. The conventional starting pitcher is going bye-bye, and league leaders in wins and innings will fall below 10 and 200 in the next five years. Much to my chagrin.

AFTER THIS CARD: With me rooting against them all the way (I do not like how they acquired Giancarlo Stanton, for starters), the Yankees won 103 games and the AL East in 2019, spanked the Twins in the ALDS, then were eliminated by the Astros in a six-game ALCS.

In 2020, despite an ugly slump during Aaron Judge's injury absence, New York returned to the playoffs, knocked off the Indians in the first round, but were defeated by Tampa Bay in a five-game ALDS. 

Then, just a couple of days ago, this story came out.

CATEGORIES: 2019 Topps, New York Yankees

Topps David Dellucci
Topps David Dellucci

10/19/20 Topps Baseball Card Of The Day: 2006 Topps #402 David Dellucci, Rangers

More Dave/David Dellucci Topps Cards: 1998 1999 2002 2006U 2007 2009

Dellucci is a COTD pick for the second time; we drew his 2009 Topps card almost two years ago to the day.

Here, he's just wrapped his second season with the Texas Rangers, which doubled as the first year of a 2Y/$1.8M deal signed after the 2004 season—got all that? 2005 marked the best power season of Dellucci's career by far; he ranked 9th in the AL in HR/AB ratio and was one of seven Rangers to crack the 20-homer barrier.

THIS CARD: Dellucci, a hustle player who could also beat you with his legs, is on the move. I could have done without the excess of green in the background.

Dellucci wears #22, same as Steve Buechele for the '80's Rangers and Will Clark for the '90's Rangers. We've seen it on bench coach Don Wakamatsu for the past three seasons.

More from Dellucci's 2005 season: his 29 home runs ranked third on the loaded Texas Rangers. Six were lead-off shots, one won a game in the T9th at Baltimore, and one tied a game in the B9th—also against Baltimore—which Texas won in extras. The Orioles originally drafted Dellucci before parting with him in the 1997 Expansion Draft; revenge much?

(flip) Instead of the redundant home run stat, Topps could have told you that Dellucci racked up a career-high 223 total bases in 2005. And if it were willing to cut into the green space a little, they could have also relayed Dellucci's 1.056 April OPS. But hey, whatever.

The toon references Dellucci's efforts 6/30 vs. Anaheim's Ervin Santana and 7/1 vs. Aaron Sele of Seattle. Properly sparked, Texas went on to comfortably win both games.

In a brilliant comeback 2005 season for the Yankees, Giambi ripped 32 HR with an AL-high 108 BB in just 417 official at-bats.

I just realized not only this COTD, but Dellucci's previous COTD damn near fell on his birthday.

AFTER THIS CARD: At the end of Spring Training 2006, pitching-starved Texas shipped Dellucci to the Phillies in exchange for P Robinson Tejeda and a prospect (who happened to be the brother of Rangers 3B Hank Blalock). He served as a part-time outfielder for the '06 Phills, then moved on to Cleveland—with the assurance of a regular job—on a 3Y/$11.5M deal after that season.

Things didn't go according to plan. Dellucci lost a huge chunk of 2007 to a torn-off-the-bone hamstring, then slumped for most of 2008.  After sitting the first month of '09 (calf), Dellucci 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.) Dellucci also shows up in 2006 Updates & Highlights.

CATEGORIES: 2006 Topps, Texas Rangers

Topps Dave Clark

10/21/20 Topps Baseball Card Of The Day: 1988 Topps #49 Dave Clark, Indians

More Dave Clark Topps Cards: 1989 1990 1991 1994T 1995

Forget Bryce Florie. Forget Giancarlo Stanton. Forget Carlos Beltran and Mike Cameron. You can even forget Moises Alou. The most painful looking on-field incident I've ever seen was the 1995 outfield collision between RF Dave Clark and CF Jacob Brumfield of the Pirates.

The two Bucs were pursuing a fly ball from Braves SS Jeff Blauser and hit each other going at about 225 MPH. Clark went very awkwardly face-first into the outfield wall and didn't get up for almost 20 minutes. I don't do contortion well, especially with necks, and as much as I'd like to be able to present the video from that awful day on TSR, a percentage of me is grateful it is not currently available online.

Here, however, Clark is just an unproven young Cleveland Indian. He got in eight pre-summer games during the 1987 season, was sent back to the minors, then returned to MLB as a September call-up. Until taking an 0-for-4 in the season finale, Clark had been hot, going 8-for-22 with nine RBI in the preceding seven games.

THIS CARD: 1990 Topps owners: if you're overcome by deja vu at the moment, it is because Clark also is shown on his 1990 Topps card posing with two bats. His attire is identical; there's no way the two pics aren't from the same shoot.

What the knob number represents, I'm not sure—but at least it's clean, right? 

Clark's #12 has since been made infamous in Cleveland by Frankie Lindor; too bad he's got one foot out of town otherwise they'd retire it for him someday. Robby Alomar also had #12 1999-2001.

(flip) Clark, a #11 overall pick out of Jackson State, was signed by Gaskill, who had a 35-year scouting career with the Expos, Mets and Indians. Gaskill passed away in 2010.

Check out those numbers for 1987 Buffalo; Clark was supposed to similarly impact the lowly Indians, but it never happened.

Of those 12 RBI for the '87 Indians, five came in one game (9/26 vs. California)

How did one team end up with two MiLB affiliates beginning with "Water"...

AFTER THIS CARD: Clark received 253 AB over 102 games for the 1989 Indians, but batted just .237; the Indians dealt him to the Cubs in November 1989. Clark was better as a part-time Cub, but was still given his walking papers after the 1990 season. He got in all of 34 MLB games 1991-92 before emerging with the 1993 Pirates.

Over the '93-'94 seasons, Clark batted .282, 21, 92 in 500 total at-bats, and was having a similar season in '95 before his horrific collision (in which his collarbone was broken). The Pirates traded Clark to the Dodgers in August 1996; he finished his career as a fine pinch-hitter for the 1997 Cubs, and a not-so-fine pinch-hitter for the 1998 Astros.

Since his playing days wrapped, Clark has remained in baseball, coaching in the minors for several years before becoming Houston's 3B coach—and soon, interim manager—in 2009. He's been a third/first base coach for the Tigers since the 2014 season.


Dave Clark appeared in Topps annually 1988-91, popping up one final time in the 1995 set. He's also got a 1994 Traded card with Pittsburgh.

CATEGORIES: 1988 Topps, Cleveland Indians

Topps Zack Wheeler

10/22/20 Topps Baseball Card Of The Day: 2017 Topps #631 Zack Wheeler, Mets

More Zack Wheeler Topps Cards: 2013U 2014 2015 2016 2018 2019

I'm a Giants fan based out of San Jose, CA, as you may already know if you frequent this site.

Remember when the Giants won World Series in 2010, 2012 and 2014? Me, too.

Despite the trio of trophies, you may be surprised to learn that a number of sports talk radio callers still make a point of criticizing Brian Sabean for "giving away" prospect Zack Wheeler to the Mets in 2011. 

(Probably the same people who'd sue a first responder for injuries suffered during lifesaving measures, but still.)

Nevermind that Carlos Beltran, the return in the trade, played well. Nevermind that Wheeler had not yet even made his AA debut at the time of the trade. Nevermind that Wheeler took several years and one major surgery to become anything close to a star.

The criticism eased up a bit when Wheeler lost two seasons to said surgery, but once he inked a megadeal with the Phillies in December 2019 as San Francisco's own pitching regressed, there "Giants