Topps Baseball Card Of The Day, September 2018
A = Alternate Card F = Factory Team Set G = Giveaway Set T = Traded Set U = Update Set
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9/4/18 Topps Baseball Card Of The Day: 2006 Topps Update #48 Odalis Perez, Royals
That was my initial response to pulling my second Odalis Perez card in three months?! I dislike pulling the same guy twice in a short period, but obviously it's even worse when it's somebody I can't stand.
I know, I know...it's my site and I have executive power to veto any random selection. But rules are rules...if a card is pulled, it must be showcased unless it's been pulled before, or is from a set on the temporary hiatus list (visit our Cards page for details on that.)
Here, we catch up with Perez, who—according to ex-Dodgers GM Ned Colletti's book—lazed himself out of postseason-bound Los Angeles and into 100-loss Kansas City. It was mostly a tough transition for the 24-year-old, who didn't string together consecutive quality starts for KC until his 10th and 11th.
THIS CARD: I hate to give the guy credit for anything, but Perez did have a nice, smooth delivery that left him in good fielding position. He made one error in 13 chances with the '06 Royals.
Can't tell for sure what pitch Perez is firing, but it looks like a breaking ball of some sort.
Figured by the wall that Perez is at Yankee Stadium—until realizing he did not pitch there in 2006. Further research identifies the park as Skydome; Perez pitched and lost there on 8/30, allowing six runs in four IP.
(flip) Detailing the blurb, Perez finished 4th in 2002 NL ERA, and 10th in 2004 NL ERA. And no, the Royals did not catch lightning in a bottle by acquiring him. More like urine in a bottle.
As stated on Perez's 6/4/18 COTD profile, the "Trade With Dodgers" sent journeyman RP Elmer Dessens back to LA (where he'd played in 2004-05); two minor leaguers and cash accompanied Perez to KC.
Yes, that Ken Harrelson is the same one who is about to retire from calling White Sox games for the past 28 years. "Hawk" played from 1963-71, making the '68 All-Star team. He broke his leg in Spring Training '70 and faded away the next year.
AFTER THIS CARD: Perez improved upon joining the Nationals for 2008, but it was basically a case of upgrading from AIDS to rabies. Still, he deemed himself beneath a MiLB contract with Washington for '09—that he already signed—and wound up letting pride end his career.
Odalis Perez debuted in 2000 Topps as a Brave. Following his comeback from 2000 shoulder surgery, he appeared annually in Topps 2003-09 (except 2007) and in 2006 and 2008 Updates & Highlights.
CATEGORIES: 2006 Topps Update, Kansas City Royals
9/6/18 Topps Baseball Card Of The Day: 2016 Topps #151 Jon Lester, Cubs
More Jon Lester Topps Cards: 2006U 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2014U 2015 2017
It has been well-documented throughout several of my past writings just how much I grew to dislike the Boston Red Sox after their 2004 World Series win. Now, I rooted as hard as any non-Boston fan for them to end their "curse"—mainly so people would finally shut up about it.
When that happened, Boston fans—half of them bandwagon—began to pollute every ballpark they played in. It was awful, and I quickly grew to detest the team. So deep was my scorn that just one play of the 2013 World Series passed my eyes—and that was accidental.
Many individual Red Sox earned my ire as well.
But despite being one of the key stars of both the '07 and '13 title teams, and always appearing to be brooding...I never really disliked Jon Lester. He was okay in my eyes, which I'm sure will give him sleeptime peace for the rest of his life, right?
Lester won 116 games, including postseason, for the Red Sox before being dealt to the A's for Yoenis Cespedes in mid-2014. That winter, he signed a 6Y/$155M deal with the Cubs and his old Boston GM Theo Epstein, now calling the shots in Chicago.
Here, he's just closed Year One of said deal. Though he looked even stranger in Cubs blue than he did in A's green, Lester pitched very well overall for the Cubs—though much of it was in hard luck. Despite giving Chicago 21 quality (and many extremely quality) starts, the team managed an unimpressive 17-15 record in Lester's starts—only 11 of those wins credited to Lester.
THIS CARD: As I've said on previous 2016 Topps COTD selections, the All-Star Game stamp appeared on every base card of the set I own...it's not some special insert/subset card.
I can't recall Lester ever holding his glove like a violin during his Boston days. Because of his growing "yips", foes were running wild on Lester by 2015; this could be one attempt to counter that. If you can shed some light, please contact me.
Redundancy experts? Lester's 2018 Topps front image is almost a duplicate of this one, except he's in Chicago's road greys. The company did a fair job varying Lester's images during his Boston days, to be fair.
(flip) Nice of Lester to let bygones be, golfing with Longoria even though he's slugged .493 with four bombs against him, including playoffs. (By the way, video or that hole-in-one didn't happen, Topps.)
Jon Lester does not seem 6'4", 240 lbs. Somebody has to have fudged the team program.
Puyallup is located just 10 miles SE of Tacoma.
AFTER THIS CARD: Lester followed up his hard-luck 2015 by going 19-5, 2.44 and making the 2016 All-Star team, though he continued to battle yips. He went on to win a game in all three of the Cubs' postseason series that year, claiming the NLCS MVP award and eventually helping Chicago win the '16 World Series...it had been a while for them.
After an up-and-down 2017 during which he battled a lat injury, Lester has excelled (in limited innings, like virtually every SP in today's game) in '18, with 16 wins as of mid-September—behind only Max Scherzer among NLers.
Jon Lester debuted in 2006 Topps Update, and has since appeared annually in the base set. He's got a 2014 Update card with Oakland as well.
CATEGORIES: 2016 Topps, Chicago Cubs
9/10/18 Topps Baseball Card Of The Day: 2013 Topps Update #115 Drew Stubbs, Indians
More Drew Stubbs Topps Cards: 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016U
When I think of Drew Stubbs, I think of that time he helped expose to the world how horribly unhip I've become.
Stubbs, after playing for five teams in two years, had landed in AAA Sacramento, and his name was tossed around as a potential callup to my Giants.
Our own Co-Advisor D-Rock shot me a text seeking my thoughts on Stubbs.
My response? A spoof of the old TLC song "No Scrubs" that went like this:
"I don't want Drew Stubbs, Drew Stubbs is somebody can't get no love from me."
D-Rock had no idea what the hell I was talking about.
Stubbs is (was?) a guy who, despite not being a slugger, struck out like one. In fact, before Stubbs came along, Mark Reynolds was the only man to strike out 200 times in a season (done thrice; a few others have since done so.) And you thought Juan Samuel was bad.
But Stubbs stayed in the major leagues because of that moderate power, and the facts that he could steal 30 bags a year and track the ball down in CF. By 2012's close, however, Cincinnati was ready for an upgrade, and gave Stubbs up in a three-team deal that made Shin-Soo Choo a Red...and young righties Trevor Bauer and Bryan Shaw Indians.
THIS CARD: Seems like whenever a player's new team features the same colors as his old one, I accidentally sort his card with the previous team. ALMOST happened with Stubbs the Indian, but I removed him from the Reds pile just in time.
Stubbs does his thing in the outfield; he was exclusively a CF in Cincy but played a LOT in RF for the Tribe, starting 86 times there in '13 before losing playing time. Stubbs 2014 base front image is identical in pose to this one; only the uniforms differ.
Speaking of uniforms, this was the Indians' regular weekend/holiday alternate jersey 2008-16. The hats are still used, however.
(flip) Clearly, the blurb is trying to tell us Joey Votto holds the Reds back, and is the reason Stubbs' lifetime average is so low.
I'll elaborate on the steals: Stubbs ranked 9th among 2012 NLers, after 7th and 2nd place finishes in 2010-11, respectively.
Stubbs was more than a #1 pick—he was an 8th-overall pick out of Texas, just behind Clayton Kershaw...and a couple spots ahead of Tim Lincecum and Max Scherzer...what a draft round. (Houston drafted him third in 2003 but he opted for college.)
AFTER THIS CARD: Stubbs lasted one year in Cleveland, then was dealt to Colorado for journeyman lefty Josh Outman. Coors Field helped the veteran hit a career-best .289 (.356 at home, .211 away) but he slumped in 2015 and was released in July.
Since then he's bounced through Texas, Atlanta, Texas again, Baltimore and San Francisco, not lasting more than 27 games with any of them. He's currently unsigned and, at 34, likely through in MLB.
Drew Stubbs appeared annually in Topps 2010-15, with this 2013 Update card and a 2016 Update card with Texas.
CATEGORIES: 2013 Topps Update, Cleveland Indians
9/12/18 Topps Baseball Card Of The Day: 1991 Topps Traded #9 Rafael Belliard, Braves
More Rafael Belliard Topps Cards: 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995
In baseball we have what are known as five-tool players, meaning said player can hit for average, hit for power, run, field and throw at a high level.
Most players lack five tools, but carry around at least three or four above-average skillz. They have to to even be drafted/signed.
Very rarely, you have a guy that, at best, carries about 1.5, maybe two tools. Chris Davis of Baltimore is one such guy—he homers, and that's about it. Others, like Terrance Gore, bring speed and not much else...at least, judging by the way he's used.
Then there's Rafael Belliard. He hit worse than many pitchers, had absolutely no power, and despite his small body, later in his career he was no real threat on the bases.
But Belliard could field very well, and it kept him in MLB for 13 years.
Here, he's just followed ex-Pirates teammate Sid Bream to Atlanta as a free agent. Young Jeff Blauser couldn't claim the starting SS gig just yet, and Belliard wound up starting 110 times as well as all 14 postseason games for the eventual NL Champion Braves—all for the tidy sum of $400K!
THIS CARD: Belliard bats at an unknown location—perhaps Dodger Stadium.
Back in the 1990's, Topps alphabetized the Traded set checklist. Today, the Update set is all over the place, even the subsets. If I ever run the company, there's my first change.
Since Belliard was ONLY in MLB for his defense, I found it odd that of Belliard's 10 Topps cards (including this one), his front image depicted him fielding just twice.
(flip) Yes, Belliard was/is 5'6", bigger than Jose Altuve and maybe a few 6th-graders.
Get it? "Pac-Man" because he gobbles up small round objects. Pizza is not really a type of food.
Upon delving further into Belliard's fielding numbers, I was surprised to find he made 18 errors in 1991. Rafael Belliard making an error is like Dennis Rodman missing a rebound.
Santa Cruz is about an hour south of San Jose. If you ever visit their famed Boardwalk, keep an eye out for Raffy and if you find him, stall him and let me know!
AFTER THIS CARD: Belliard lasted eight seasons in all with Atlanta, though he never cracked 100 games after 1992—Blauser finally emerged as the regular SS. My favorite Belliard fact: against the Cardinals, he totaled eight RBI over a two-game span in 1991, more than his '90 total and equal to his '89 total...thank you for that info, 1992 Score.
As the years went on, Belliard played less and less, with his career finally ending in 1998 following a torn left quad; he was disabled in April and never made it back. But before he went, he ended his 10-year, 1,869-AB homerless streak—victimizing Brian Bohanon of the Mets in 1997 and passing Duane Kuiper on the all-time homer list! (Belliard took Eric Show deep in 1987.)
Shortly after Raffy's injury, his cousin Ron Belliard embarked on a solid MLB career, most notably with the Brewers, Indians and Nats. Similarities? Their last name and first initial.
Rafael Belliard appeared annually in Topps 1987-1995. He was included in 1996 Fleer and Collector's Choice before disappearing from major releases.
CATEGORIES: 1991 Topps Traded, Atlanta Braves
9/18/18 Topps Baseball Card Of The Day: 1999 Topps #430 Prospects Ruben Mateo, Scott Morgan, Mike Zywica
More 1999 Topps Prospects Cards: n/a
Under normal circumstances, I'd be peeved at pulling a Prospects card right now—we just featured a Draft Picks card not long ago, and I'm not really in the mood to profile THREE dudes.
But after being hospitalized for the past four days...I'm just happy to be alive to discuss any Topps card at all.
You may know Mateo—though he never fulfilled expectations in the majors, he at least received six years of MLB run, mostly with the Rangers and Reds. Fellow outfield prospects Morgan and Zywica never reached MLB, though Morgan especially put up gaudy MiLB numbers.
THIS CARD: Not much to discuss about the card itself, other than it's our first 1999 Prospects card after several from 1998, 2000 and 2001. So I'll run down the players featured:
Mateo, a five-tool guy, reached MLB after batting .339 with 17 bombs for AAA Oklahoma City in '99. He homered in his debut, started 52 times in 2000, then broke his leg with an awkward landing on first base in early June '00. After opening '01 as the Texas RF, weeks later he was demoted to AAA, then traded to the Reds.
As mentioned, Morgan was a big-time power prospect—and at 6'7", also a touted basketball player before choosing baseball. But the late 1990's/early 2000's was the wrong time to be an Indians prospect, and Morgan never got a shot...not sure if other issues played a role.
I couldn't dig up much about Zywica other than his supposed "unorthodox batting style". A 24th-round pick in 1996 by Texas, he enjoyed an impressive 1998 season split between A Port Charlotte and AA Tulsa...but was ordinary otherwise (though not terrible statistically). He was big, but still ran well.
(flip) Rare is the card with one first name on the front and another on the back—other than Zywica, the only other guy with one off the top of my head is 1995 David/Dave West.
Those numbers are a tad deceiving; in '98 Zywica actually batted .381 in A ball, dropping to .280 upon reaching AA. Morgan would reach 25+ HR four times in MiLB, peaking at 34 HR and 101 RBI in '99 (AA and AAA combined).
Mateo's effort led to being named Baseball America's Rangers MiLB Player Of The Year, winning Player Of The Month back-to-back in July and August 1998...the guy was a big deal once upon a time.
AFTER THIS CARD: Following two seasons in Cincinnati—which began back in the minors—Mateo's career petered out; his last MLB action came in 2004 (Pirates, Royals). For a detailed report on post-leg injury Mateo, click here. (I initially typed post-injury Mateo, but that leg injury was just the most serious of many he suffered.)
Morgan was claimed off waivers by Anaheim in 2001 and bashed 28 HR for AAA Salt Lake. But he followed that with two ordinary years in the White Sox system, and the call to MLB never came. At last check he was a law enforcement officer in Lompoc, California.
After The Rangers gave up on him (shortly before they gave up on Mateo), Zywica landed in the Independent League for a year, then wrapped his pro career in the White Sox system as Morgan did—not sure if their paths crossed, however.
Ruben Mateo appeared in Topps 1999-2002, the final card showcasing him as a Red. Scott Morgan appeared in 1997 and 1999 Topps, both times on shared Prospects cards; he also received a 2000 Stadium Club card (I dig his 1999 Bowman card image—his image crop makes him appear to be leaning on an invisible table).
Mike Zywica appeared in 1999 Topps, as well as 1999 Topps Traded and Rookies—multiple Zywica cards mention the batting style, but none actually show it.
CATEGORIES: 1999 Topps, Prospects
9/20/18 Topps Baseball Card Of The Day: 2014 Topps #466 Ryan Dempster, Red Sox
More Ryan Dempster Topps Cards: 2001 2002 2002T 2003 2004 2006 2007 2008 2009F 2010 2011 2012 2012U 2013
Even though there were years in which Ryan Dempster was among the game's most successful starters...and relievers...somehow I have serious memory lapses in his regard.
Whether it's trying to recall young post-Huizenga Marlins starters ("Jesus Sanchez, Livan, Penny, Burnett...uh...um...") or the Cubs rotation from the Bartman era ("Wood, Prior, Zambrano, Clement..." or even Cubs closers of the 2000's ("Marmol, Alfonseca, Borowski...um...uh...") it always takes longer than it should for Dempster's name to reach my temporal lobe.
All the guy did was win 14+ games four times, throw 200+ innings seven times, make two All-Star teams, start 351 games, save 87 others and carry a deserved reputation for pranking rivaled by few.
My stupid brain...
Here, Dempster has wrapped his final major league season with World Champion Boston, who I'd forgotten he'd ever played for (SEE?). The 36-year-old pitched in early hard luck (2-3, 2.93 in first seven 2013 starts), but after fighting through a slump—and a divorce—enjoyed a fine June and decent July.
After that, times were tough (5.36 ERA), and once Clay Buchholz returned from injury in late September, Dempster mostly mopped up.
THIS CARD: That is the longest I ever remember seeing Dempster's hair.
As mentioned, even if my ACL depended on it, I might not have ever remembered Dempster with the Sox...even though he's in a Boston uni on his 2013 card as well!
Dempster looks to be bringing the heat. In his prime he could reach 95, complementing it with a high-80's slider and a straight changeup. Later, he added a splitter—which, after he later discovered he was tipping, inspired the windup "glove twitch" he used in his final years.
(flip) On June 28, 1998, 21-year-old Dempster allowed a run over seven innings to beat the visiting Sox—much needed after an 0-3, 8.39 start to the year. With the win, Florida improved to 28-53, just 24.5 GB of division-leading Atlanta.
Staying true to character, I'd long forgotten Dempster was a Rangers draft pick before going east in the John Burkett trade of 1996.
Dempster's 2003-04 totals are low due to his revoering from UCL surgery.
AFTER THIS CARD: Pretty much nothing, at least as a major leaguer. Citing personal and health issues, Dempster—despite being halfway through a 2Y/$26M deal with Boston—stayed on the sidelines in '14; Boston placed him on the restricted list. He retired that fall.
After failing in his bid to make Canada's 2013 WBC team, 40-year-old Dempster made the '17 edition and started twice, losing both with a very ugly pitching line. He now analyzes for MLB Network.
Ryan Dempster appeared annually in Topps 2001-14, except 2005 and, inexplicably, 2009—he was a legit All-Star 17-game winner in '08 for a playoff-bound team but got the Mike Witt treatment *. He also belonged in 2000 Topps (25 starts), but 1996-2000 Topps didn't earn the "Dark Era" label for nothing. Dempster also appears in 2002 Traded and 2012 Update.
*Witt was mysteriously excluded from 1986 Topps despite a 15-9, 3.06, 250-inning 1985 season.
CATEGORIES: 2014 Topps, Boston Red Sox
9/23/18 Topps Baseball Card Of The Day: 2000 Topps #309 Rondell White, Expos
More Rondell White Topps Cards: 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007
White makes his second COTD appearance; his 1996 Topps card was selected this past January.
As Montreal's highest paid player by 26%, and also its longest tenured player, White posted (at the time) slashline career-highs, as well as (all-time) career highs in hits and triples in 1999, while playing 138 games...which is a load for him.
THIS CARD: This card almost didn't make it to scan—upon selection, I thought it had been picked before, which would have been a TSR first. Turns out it was White's 1996 card we'd previously picked.
White looks noticeably beefier on this card than on his '96er—but is only listed at five pounds heavier.
With the orange rails and blue dugout, obviously White is at Shea Stadium. In 1999, he was 5-for-12 with two HR in three games at Shea.
(flip) We covered White's 1995 cycle on his previous COTD; you may remember it lasted 13 innings. His seven RBI accounted for all Montreal scoring in a victory over the Dodgers (HOORAY!); White had four total RBI in 26 games to that point and finished with 13 in 40 games, although to be fair, he didn't start half of them.
Since you asked, Millidgeville, Georgia rests about 98 miles SE of Atlanta, nestled near the center of a triangle between Atlanta, Macon and Augusta.
Not shown in the stats: White ranked 8th in the NL with 11 HBP in 1999.
AFTER THIS CARD: White had long wanted out of Montreal, and in 2000 was traded to the Cubs for young starter Scott Downs.
Battling injuries the whole way, White hooked up with the Yankees, Padres, Royals, Tigers and Twins from 2002-07, never playing more than 218 games with any of them (he still represented San Diego in the '03 All-Star Game).
He was also mentioned in the Mitchell Report, but had already played his last MLB game by then.
Rondell White appeared annually in Topps 1994-2007.
CATEGORIES: 2000 Topps, Montreal Expos
9/25/18 Topps Baseball Card Of The Day: 2013 Topps Update #108 Ryan Kalish, Red Sox
More Ryan Kalish Topps Cards: 2010U 2011 2012 2014U
For the second card out of three, we pick an early '10's Red Sox player named Ryan (Dempster and Kalish were sort of teammates in 2013...read on.)
Ryan Kalish had talent and makeup, but he just couldn't stay on the field long enough to make an impact. Thought to be a possible replacement in RF after J.D. Drew retired post-2011, Kalish wound up out most of that year following surgery on his neck and, later, his left labrum—originally damaged in high school.
Here, following a decent enough run with the '12 Sox, Kalish is still recovering from right labrum and cervical fusion surgeries that wiped out his entire 2013. That made four operations in just over two years for the young outfielder...two of them being on his neck.
THIS CARD: Normally, Topps Update will use photos from the year of release—makes sense, since most players in the set changed teams since the base set's release. As mentioned, though, Kalish didn't take the field in '13, so Topps used this pic from 6/25/12 vs. Toronto. How do I know the date? This.
It's still a great image, even if Kalish couldn't haul in Ben Francisco's 6th-inning drive. The next batter, J.P. Arencibia (remember HIM?! I didn't!) hit a tiebreaking HR and Toronto went on to a 9-6 win.
Topps usually won't include an injured, unestablished guy in an Update set like this...they obviously saw something in Kalish, who did not make it into that year's base set.
Kalish (pronounced Kay-lish) is also shown taking on the Fenway wall on his 2012 Topps card.
(flip) I'm willing to bet Kalish has little-to-no-clue who Tris Speaker was. Sadly, the Record Chase ended at 18 doubles...Speaker's record is barely safe.
Northridge is a Los Angeles 'hood.
Kalish was chosen one pick ahead of future Red Sox teammate Mark Melancon; David Freese and Will Harris also went #9 in the '06 Draft. Described by NESN and Baseball Prospectus (kind of) as having five-tool potential, many of his low MiLB numbers are due to injuries—Kalish had plenty before even making the majors.
AFTER THIS CARD: After Boston's championship '13 season, Kalish was let go and signed with the Cubs, making the team out of Spring Training '14—but being demoted and recalled twice. A deal with Toronto for '15 fell through, and Kalish closed his MLB career in early 2016 briefly (10 PA) subbing for injured Cub Matt Szczur—making it TWO rings he "earned" just by being alive.
But by 2018, his body had enough, and Kalish stepped away at 30 after one final pro AB.
Ryan Kalish appeared in Topps or Topps Update annually 2010-14, the final card as a Cub.
CATEGORIES: 2013 Topps Update, Boston Red Sox
9/27/18 Topps Baseball Card Of The Day: 2009 Topps Update #232 Tim Lincecum, All-Star
More Tim Lincecum All-Star Topps Cards: 2008 2011
There weren't many dudes gettin' more pub than Tim Lincecum in the late 00's. The tiny kid with the extendo delivery won a Cy Young Award in 2008, racking up 18 wins for a 72-win club. He made his first All-Star squad that year—though the flu kept him home—and repeated in the '09 season represented by this card (10-2, 2.33, 1.05 WHIP in the first half).
THIS CARD: Either fastball or curve from Timmy; if SF had let him open the '07 season with them, Lincecum could have been an All-Star in his home park.
The '09 All-Star Game was held at new Busch Stadium—which the logo surely gave away—and won by the AL 4-3.
That's Rays coach George Hendrick behind Lincecum; Hendrick made four All-Star teams himself 1974-83.
(flip) Topps does not list how Lincecum performed in those two innings because he was touched up for a pair of runs—partly because Albert Pujols made an error, and partly because Lincecum drilled Derek Jeter in the left hand and scared the crap out of an entire state—Jeter almost ran into the dugout in pain.
Lincecum finished 2009 T1st, T1st , and 1st in NL complete games (4), shutouts (2) and K (261) respectively.
Franklin closed for the Cardinals that year (38 saves), making his only All-Star team.
AFTER THIS CARD: Lincecum was selected to the next two All-Star teams, going unused in 2010 (his manager hinted at that ahead of time).
As for 2011, the very popular righty made the team despite a meager record (7-7, with a 3.06 ERA and 132 K) but once again, wasn't used—he'd thrown 114 pitches just three days prior. So this card represents Lincecum's only actual All-Star pitching.
After 2011 he lost superstar status, and didn't come close to reaching another Classic.
Tim Lincecum received All-Star cards in 2008, 2009 and 2011 Topps Update; not sure why he was excluded from the '10 set—though he didn't play, he was present at the game, in uniform.
CATEGORIES: 2009 Topps Update, All-Stars
9/29/18 Topps Baseball Card Of The Day: 1990 Topps #356 Randy Ready, Phillies
More Randy Ready Topps Cards: 1987T 1988 1989 1989T 1991 1992
When I first got into baseball card collecting (and the sport itself), one of my missions was to learn the proper pronunciation of Randy Ready's last name—Reedy or Reddy? In those days, however, there was no MLB Network and besides, we didn't have cable anyway. Internet? What was that?!
So beginning in around 1991 I paid special attention to the Giants TV schedule, hoping KTVU Channel 2 would air a Giants/Phillies clash and Ready would be in the lineup. It took what seemed like a year, but I finally got conclusive proof when his near-unassisted triple play was shown on the local news...Reddy.
Here, Ready has completed his first half-season with Philadelphia, who acquired he and John Kruk from the Padres in a trade for Chris James in June 1989. Ready quickly received extended run at third base, which was vacated when Mike Schmidt suddenly retired three days prior. But then the Phillies got Charlie Hayes to play 3B, and back to part-time duty he went.
THIS CARD: Ready takes a healthy cut at what appears to be Shea Stadium. Ready played three times there as a 1989 Phillie, going 0-for-6 from 9/25-27.
#23 is not a noteworthy number in Phillies lore; only Kevin Jordan wore it for any real length of time. Current wearer Aaron Altherr has a chance to change that.
Fitting Ready is shown at-bat. As a minor leaguer 1980-86, he hit a cumulative .342 and slugged .535! As tends to often be the case, those rates dropped significantly when Ready reached MLB. (He did have his moments, batting .321 and slugging .509 in his first 14 Phillie games (all starts at 3B).
(flip) Batting 2nd and playing LF, Ready singled five times against the Yankees 9/10/85; four came against Ed Whitson. Though he had no RBI, two separate runs scored on subsequent Yankee errors, but Ready's Brewers lost 13-10.
After leading off the game with a BB, Ready stole that first base against the Seattle battery of Mike Morgan and Bob Kearney—but was soon erased via pickle on a crazy, 3-6-1-2-4 triple play that I SHOULD HAVE long known about. THIS is why you always dig deeper, people—there's often more to every story. (Exactly one month later, Ready's world changed.)
BTW, Ready tripled twice at Houston 8/9/87, aiding a 4-3 Padres win.
Ready is listed as a 3B, but played even more LF in 1989 (plus a few games at 2B).
AFTER THIS CARD: Ready remained with the Phillies through the 1991 season, sharing time at 2B with young Mickey Morandini with some outfield mixed in. After a year with the A's, Ready bounced through three organizations in '93 before getting in 40 games with the '93 Expos.
The veteran received brief run with the 1994-95 Phillies, then played part of '96 in Japan. The Padres signed him to a MiLB deal but did not call him up, and so ended Ready's pro playing career at age 36.
He's gone on to a long minor league managing career—with a 2.5-year stint as Padres hitting coach mixed in—and currently helms AA Jacksonville (Marlins).
Randy Ready debuted in 1984 Topps Traded, returned in the '86 base set, then appeared annually 1988-92 (shown batting in each of those). Ready also shows up in '87 and '89 Traded. 1992 Ultra depicts him as an Athletic, while 1994 Fleer features Ready the Expo.
CATEGORIES: 1990 Topps, Philadelphia Phillies