Score Baseball Card Of The Day, April 2021

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Score David Cone
Score David Cone

4/30/21 Score Baseball Card Of The Day: 1996 Score #364 David Cone, Star Struck

"Star Struck" was a 30-card subset from 1996 Score. Who did it consist of? Well, stars. Aside from a few dazzling graphics, the cards weren't all that different from the standard commons in terms of content. But if there's even ONE thing we collectors knew about Score—even post-strike Score—the company was devoted to the subset. And "Star Struck" wasn't a bad one at all.

THIS CARD: David Cone was among the most highly-coveted (and highly-paid) stars of the mid-1990's. The Blue Jays traded for him in late 1992, the Royals signed him for big bucks that winter, the Blue Jays traded for him again in early 1995, and finally the Yankees nabbed him in mid-1995 for their playoff push. 

In 1996 Topps' "Star Power" subset, they went with the traditional five-point stars. 1996 Score busted out the nauticals. If there's any other such sports card out there, I haven't seen it.

More on Cone's stardom: from 1988-99, Cone was usually right there among the top righties in whatever league he was in. He won 20 games twice (10 years apart, in fact) and made five All-Star teams in that period. Cone wasn't a Hall-of-Famer, but I was stunned when he only received 3.9% of the vote.

(flip) Cone edged out former and future teammate Jimmy Key for that 1994 Cy Young Award, 108 points to 96. He was 16-5, 2.94 for KC during the strike-shortened season.

Cone pitched 229.1 combined innings in 1995 and won 18 times; only Greg Maddux of Atlanta and Mike Mussina of Baltimore won more in MLB (19 each). Cone beat Seattle in the ALDS opener and threw the first 7.2 innings of the infamous, fateful Game 5.

I'm not sure I agree with the choice of an exasperated Cone for the reverse photo, even if whatever he's exasperated at doesn't seem to be related to baseball. (Or maybe he's fittingly gazing at the stars?)

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More April 2021 Score Cards Of The Day

Score Craig Wilson
Score Craig Wilson

4/3/21 Score Baseball Card Of The Day: 1993 Score #476 Craig Wilson, Cardinals

NOT to be confused with the slugging Craig Wilson of the 2000's Pirates.

This Craig Wilson was never a top prospect, but he survived parts of five major league seasons because of his willingness to play wherever asked. A third baseman by trade, the Cardinals had first Terry Pendleton and then Todd Zeile capably filling that position, so Wilson found time at all three base positions and the corner outfield spots.

Here, Wilson is coming off his best statistical season to date. Though still denied extensive major league run in 1992, Wilson hit .311—140 points better than in 1991—and stole his first career base in his first game of the year 4/8.

THIS CARD: Wilson looks sturdy, but the man showed no real pop at the major league level. He never tripled or homered as a Cardinal in 345 plate appearances.

Wilson wears #12, a number with an unusual Cardinals history. A number of notable Cardinals either switched to or from #12 outside of their prime, such as Ray Lankford, David Freese, Luis Alicea and even Joe Medwick. That includes the most recent wearer, the talented young SS Paul DeJong, who gave up #12 for #11.

More from Wilson's 1992 season: on 6/3, he went 4-for-4 at Cincinnati, and batted .429 (12-for-28) for the month.

(flip) In addition to his infield work, Wilson also got in three games in RF in 1992.

As you can see, Wilson showed at least a little power in the minors. He did finally hit a major league home run 9/24/93 against California, a two-run shot off former St. Louis teammate Joe Magrane. 

I am somewhat intrigued by this "Anne Arundel County" where Wilson was born...but not enough to actually research it. And I KNEW that birthdate was familiar—ex-Giants ace John Burkett was born the same exact day!

AFTER THIS CARD: Wilson was traded to the Royals with OF Felix Jose for IF Gregg Jefferies after the 1992 season; he batted .265 in 21 games as a Royal and as mentioned, notched that first and only MLB homer (Wilson never got that triple, however.)
From there, the veteran suited up for AAA Oklahoma City (Rangers) and AAA Toledo (Tigers) in 1994 and 1995, respectively, but never got a return call to the bigs. So ended the career of one of the most stat-challenged players of the '90's.

Craig Wilson appeared in 1992-93 Score.

Score Gregg Jefferies
Score Gregg Jefferies

4/6/21 Score Baseball Card Of The Day: 1995 Score #354 Gregg Jefferies, Phillies

It would be an interesting story if current A's prospect Daulton Jefferies was indeed Gregg's son and named for Gregg's former teammate Darren Daulton. But it would not be a true story, try as my mind might to convince me otherwise.

Gregg Jefferies, likely to his chagrin, is known for failing to live up to mega-prospect status with the New York Mets. He wasn't terrible, per se, but so unsatisfied with his production was the tough Mets fanbase that Jefferies, at one point, went public with a request for civility. (It didn't work.)

The four-year veteran was eventually packaged to the Royals (for Bret Saberhagen after the 1991 season), who moved him on to St. Louis after one season. Jefferies, usually a 2B/3B, moved over to 1B for the Cardinals and finally blossomed with the bat (an aggregate .335 average in 1993-94). Here, the 27-year-old has just signed a 4Y/$20M deal with the Phillies.

THIS CARD: Jefferies is wearing a Phillies jersey and also posing against a Phillies jersey. If you unfocus your eyes, it'll look like Jefferies' face and neck wrapped in one giant Phillies jersey.

Jefferies is listed as a 1B; he only played three innings anywhere else with St. Louis. The Phillies tried him in LF to open 1995, but by season's end he was playing 1B again.

More from Jefferies' 1994 season: he enjoyed a pair of two-homer games (4/15 vs. the Rockies and 7/1 vs. the Padres), hit in 17 straight games in April/May, and was on a six-game hit streak when the strike hit.

(flip) This pic seems different than the front pic to me, even though I know it isn't. I spent way too much time confirming that fact to myself.

Those All-Star berths with St. Louis would be the only two of Jefferies' 13-year career.

If the city of Burlingame, CA (just south of San Francisco) is familiar to you for some reason, almost 20 years ago the infamous BALCO raid took place there.

AFTER THIS CARD: Jefferies, despite not matching his Cardinals level of production in Philly, nearly completed his four-year deal there, but was traded to the Angels in late 1998 (batting .347 in 19 games). He joined the Tigers on a 2Y/$5M deal for 1999, but never got it going with the bat, was benched and twice hit the DL. A torn hamstring ended his career at 33 in 2000.

Gregg Jefferies appeared in 1988-98 Score.

Score Jamie Moyer
Score Jamie Moyer

4/9/21 Score Baseball Card Of The Day: 1991 Score #437 Jamie Moyer, Rangers

Jamie Moyer walked away from MLB in 2012, winner of 269 major league games over 25 seasons. But in the year 1990, he was about as close to stardom as you or I was.

Okay, maybe he was a tad closer, given that he was at least IN the major leagues at the time. My point is that at the time of this card's release, Moyer was a two-time 15-game loser who couldn't maintain a spot in the mediocre Texas Rangers starting rotation. He was nearing 28 without much upside.

And yet he was still winning big league games 22 years later.

The moral of the story: never trade or release anyone, EVER. (Unless they're a royal suckbag like Mat Latos.)

Here, Moyer has just wrapped a (customarily) difficult 1990 season. He opened the year in the Rangers' rotation, but from May on Moyer found himself working long relief with some August starts mixed in. He only pitched twice in September and was let go in November.

THIS CARD: When you think Jamie Moyer, you think changeup. Even back in 1990 he was highly reliant on that pitch, and I'm willing to bet that's what we're seeing here.

This road ballpark is most likely Cleveland Stadium, where Moyer started and lost 8/8/90. 

Not clearly visible is the #39 on Moyer's back; he became more closely tied to the #50 he wore from 1996 on.

(flip) Even at 27, Moyer looked about 40—not knocking the guy, just saying. That wasn't uncommon for players of that era.

The blurb opens with a fib; Moyer made three starts to open the 1990 season.

Moyer joined the Rangers, along with 1B Rafael Palmeiro and a prospect, in a December 1988 trade for RP Mitch Williams (and others). Short-term, Chicago won the trade by reaching the 1989 NLCS, but long-term, Texas watched Palmeiro develop into a superstar.

AFTER THIS CARD: As many know, Moyer was out of the majors in 1992 and his career looked dead. But he resurfaced with a 12-9 season for the '93 Orioles, and after a short stop in Boston, Moyer joined the Mariners in 1996. He won 17 games in '97 and succeeded Randy Johnson as the ace of the Seattle staff the next year.

From 1997-2005, Moyer won 133 games for the Mariners, including 20 in their record-setting 2001 season. He finished Top 6 in AL Cy Young voting thrice and made the All-Star team in 2003 (a year he won 21 games). HOW did Moyer improve so dramatically? Seeing a sports psychologist, and leaning even more on his vicious changeup (as told here).

The Phillies traded for Moyer in mid-2006; he helped them win the 2008 World Series just prior to turning 46. In 2009-10, however, Moyer's effectiveness slipped and he ended both years on the DL (torn groin and elbow strain, respectively). While rehabbing from the latter injury in winter ball, Moyer tore his UCL and missed all of 2011.

Remarkably, the 49-year-old attempted to return to MLB...which he did, briefly, for the 2012 Rockies. Moyer became the oldest pitcher to win a game 4/17, but was released by Colorado in early June, finally ending his career.

Jamie Moyer appeared in Score 1988-91 and 1994-98.

Score Mitch Williams
Score Mitch Williams

4/12/21 Score Baseball Card Of The Day: 1990 Score #262 Mitch Williams, Cubs

The current generation best remembers Williams as a relatively tame studio host on MLB Network, but my generation remembers Williams the fire-breathing reliever—let's just say it's tough believing they're one in the same.

Williams was originally a Texas Ranger who shared late-inning relief duties in 1986-87; nobody could hit the youngster, but they often didn't have to because the "Wild Thing", as he came to be known, wouldn't throw strikes. Still, he began 1988 as Texas's regular closer and racked up nine saves by mid-May, but by season's end the free-falling Rangers were using a committee to handle what few save chances they got.

Here, Williams has just completed an All-Star 1989 campaign for the Cubs, who traded for him in December of 1988. Williams' 36 saves (in 47 save ops) ranked second in the NL to San Diego's Mark Davis (44), and he walked a career-low 5.7 batters per nine innings.

THIS CARD: It is by sheer coincidence that our previous Score COTD subject was SP Jamie Moyer, one of the players Texas received in return for Williams. I've long ago learned to put nothing past the Randomizer, which once selected two straight Lenny Dykstra cards from my 30,000+ Topps card collection.

We see Williams about to deliver his mid/high-90's fastball, or perhaps his effective-when-commanded slider. At one point he was reportedly working on a curve and a forkball, but I'm not sure if that stuck.

More from Williams' 1989 season: he opened the year 11-for-14 in save chances, but was only 25-for-33 afterward. He also allowed a crucial hit to San Francisco's Will Clark in Game 5 of the NLCS.

(flip) In that All-Star Game, Williams issued a leadoff walk to former Rangers teammate Ruben Sierra...but then picked him off! Aside from that, Williams threw a clean B8th for the NL.

In '88, among AL relievers with 30 or more appearances, only Dennis Eckersley and (of all people) Craig McMurtry had better BAA than Williams.

Today, Sean Runyan holds the MLB rookie record with 88 games pitched for the 1998 Tigers. Runyan only made 15 more MLB appearances, as shoulder and elbow surgeries did him in.

AFTER THIS CARD: Williams slumped in 1990, and was dealt to the Phillies after that season. There, he was largely effective, and in 1993 he broke through with 43 saves in 49 chances for the infamous NL Champions. Toronto's Joe Carter negated all of it with one (walk-off home run) swing in Game 6 of that year's World Series, however.

Knowing their tough fans would not forget, Philadelphia traded Williams to the Astros that winter, but he was essentially finished as a big league pitcher. His composite numbers for the 1994 Astros, 1995 Angels and 1997 Royals: 7.96 ERA and 2.598 WHIP over 52 games.

Williams was seen on MLB Network from its inception until 2014; the courts eventually got involved. More recently, Dykstra, his ex-Phillies teammate, was not very nice to him.

Mitch Williams appeared in 1988-94 Score.

Score Barry Bonds
Score Barry Bonds

4/15/21 Score Baseball Card Of The Day: 1993 Score #560 Barry Bonds, Pirates

Barry Bonds became the home run king and won four consecutive MVP's with the San Francisco Giants, but before that, he was a two-time MVP, Gold Glover and 30-30 man for the Pittsburgh Pirates. With Bonds leading the way, Pittsburgh snapped an 11-year postseason drought in 1990 and made return trips in 1991 and 1992. Though they fell short of the World Series in each of those years, it remains the closest the Pirates have been to the Fall Classic in the last four decades-plus.

Here, Bonds has won his second MVP in three years and is widely considered to be the game's best all-round player. Though his final play of 1992 was one to forget, Pittsburgh wouldn't have come close to the postseason at all if not for Bonds's impact on the field. He ranked Top 5 in the NL in SLG, OBP, runs and more.

THIS CARD: Bonds unleashing his short-but-powerful swing at an unidentified road ballpark. In 1992 Bonds hit .289 with 19 of his 34 home runs on the road, in spite of being less-than-popular outside of Pittsburgh.

In 1992, Bonds took his swings from the 4th spot (99 starts) or 5th spot (39 starts) in the order. I would have never guessed he batted that much cleanup in 1992.

More from Bonds's 1992 season: he batted an even .311 vs. righties and lefties, he homered in three straight games on three separate occasions, and on 5/16 he homered twice with six RBI in a loss to the Padres.

(flip) The smile...if Bonds had used it to his advantage, there's no telling how ridiculously popular he might have been. But he didn't want it that way, at least not while an active player.

As you see in the blurb, Bonds had left the Pirates by the time of this set's full release, but Score didn't present players with their new clubs until 1995...and even then on a limited basis.

Bonds's September hot streak did not carry over to October (6-for-23, one home run in the playoffs), but it was still easily his best postseason performance to date.

AFTER THIS CARD: Bonds signed with the Giants for 6Y/$43.75M, massive money in 1992, and went on to win the NL MVP in 1993. Though he continued to perform at an elite level, the 103-win 1993 Giants flirted with 100 losses by 1996. But they re-tooled, and with Bonds leading the charge, San Francisco made the playoffs three times between 1997 and 2002, culminating in a World Series march in 2002! Despite Bonds's homer barrage that October, his Giants fell to Anaheim in seven games, and Bonds never made it back to the Fall Classic.

The annual NL MVP 2001-04 and masher of 73 homers in 2001 alone, Bonds continued to climb up the home run charts even as knee surgery and off-field (PED) issues took hold. He did break Hank Aaron's record of 755 in 2007, but outside of San Francisco few recognized his accomplishment as legitimate due to his allegedly accidental PED use. The Giants decided to part ways with 43-year-old Bonds after that '07 season, and no one else extended a contract offer. 

In 2022, Bonds will appear on the Baseball Hall of Fame ballot for the 10th and final time. He stands little chance of being elected—turns out the writers don't like PED's or being regularly mistreated. Fancy that.

Barry Bonds appeared in 1988-98 Score.

Score Lloyd McClendon
Score Lloyd McClendon

4/18/21 Score Baseball Card Of The Day: 1992 Score #566 Lloyd McClendon, Pirates

Young fans know McClendon as the guy who finished out 2020 as manager of the Tigers after Ron Gardenhire retired near season's end. Slightly older fans might recall his managerial tenures in Seattle and, previously, Pittsburgh.

But old geezers such as myself who go back to the early 1990's recall McClendon's playing days. Though never a regular, for nearly a decade he was a valuable piece for teams such as the Reds, Cubs and Pirates supplying pop and defensive versatility off the bench.

Here, we catch up with McClendon after his first full season with the Pirates, who acquired him in a trade (for a failed prospect) in September 1990. The 32-year-old started 32 games across four positions for the 1991 Bucs, while also batting .273 with two homers and eight RBI as a pinch-hitter.

THIS CARD: Looks like the big guy timed the swing well, but got it up the handle a bit. McClendon was plenty strong enough to notch his share of broken-bat hits, however.

McClendon is listed as a part-time 1B; in 1991 he played 22 games there (starting 15). Of course, McClendon was a catcher by trade who wisely expanded his versatility to include the outfield and corner infield spots.

More from McClendon's 1991 season: on 4/13, his late three-run homer prevented Pittsburgh from being shut out by the Cubs. And on 9/2, his PH RBI single in the T9th held up as the game-winner at San Francisco.

(flip) Of McClendon's seven HR in 1991, the only one off a righty was the aforementioned three-run shot vs. the Cubs (Les Lancaster).

In his lone 1991 game caught, McClendon's effort helped Pittsburgh to a 7-4 win over Atlanta 7/24. Nevermind that Otis Nixon stole two bases off of him.

 

See that pic? That's pretty much exactly how McClendon looks today. I'm not sure if he looked older then or looks younger now; all I know is the man didn't let the stress of managing age him.

AFTER THIS CARD: McClendon remained with the Pirates through 1994, notably going 8-for-11 in the 1992 NLCS. He hoped to continue his playing career entering 1995, but after being cut by Cleveland, he took over as Pittsburgh's batting coach. McClendon was promoted to manager for the 2001 season—during which he famously did this—but the Bucs were smack in the middle of 20 losing seasons in a row and McClendon was fired in late 2005.

From 2006-13, he coached under his old manager Leyland with the Detroit Tigers, including the last seven seasons as batting coach. Seattle gave him a three-year deal to manage in November 2013...and though he led them to a 16-game improvement in '14, he was fired by new management after the 2015 season.

McClendon returned to Detroit as a coach 2017-20 before his elevation to interim manager in September 2020. At present he is not in baseball, but I'd be surprised if that lasted long.

Lloyd McClendon appeared in 1989-90 and 1992-93 Score.

Score Jose Offerman
Score Jose Offerman

4/21/21 Score Baseball Card Of The Day: 1996 Score #172 Jose Offerman, Dodgers

Entering the 1995 season, Dodgers SS Jose Offerman was at a bit of a career crossroads. Never really a favorite of Dodgers manager Tom Lasorda and still erratic on defense, in 1994 Offerman's offense went south, and Los Angeles made the unusual move of sending the 5th-year man back down to AAA. 

Things could have gone one of two ways, but to Offerman's credit, he handled himself like a pro, worked on his game, and was back in the Dodgers lineup on Opening Day 1995 and going 3-for-4 at Florida. Here, the 26-year-old has completed that 1995 season, batting a career-high .287 and landing on the NL All-Star team. 

THIS CARD: Offerman looks to be making a play on a runner diving back into second base; if he catches this ball cleanly the runner is likely out. IF—even the new-and-improved Offerman committed 35 errors in 119 games in '95.

Offerman's partially-obscured uniform number is #30, and it might be retired someday...for current Dodgers manager Dave Roberts.

More from Offerman's 1995 season: he was hitting .330 as late as 6/26, and drove in a season-high four runs on 5/3 at San Francisco and again 7/14 vs. Florida.

(flip) Offerman may be "extremely fast", but he was caught on seven out of nine steal attempts in 1995.

Six years of MLB run and the reverse includes Offerman's MiLB numbers? Is this Score or Fleer? Maybe they're there because of Offerman's 1994 demotion, but that's still no excuse in my opinion.

In that first All-Star Game (of two), Offerman played the final two innings on defense in place of Barry Larkin. He did not get an at-bat.

AFTER THIS CARD: Offerman's play leveled off in the second half of 1995, and he was benched in September. He and the Dodgers finally divorced that December, as LA sent him to the Royals in exchange for RP Billy Brewer. KC turned Offerman into their version of Tony Phillips in 1996, starting him at four positions including CF!  He eventually settled in at 2B, and hit .315 with a league-high 13 triples in 1998. Boston noticed, and imported Offerman for 4Y/$26M that winter.

The 31-year-old was an All-Star during Year One of that deal, but from there his production declined until he was finally dealt to Seattle in mid-2002. Offerman was out of MLB following his Spring release by the 2003 Expos, but resurfaced with several teams over the 2004-05 seasons.

Then things got, uh, interesting for Offerman. As an Independent Leaguer in 2007, he was suspended, arrested and sued for going after two opponents with his bat after being plunked (immediately ending his American playing career). In 2010, while managing in the Dominican League, Offerman physically attacked an umpire, leading to his (temporary) lifetime ban from that league.

Jose Offerman appeared in 1991-94 and 1996-97 Score.

Score Ellis Burks
Score Ellis Burks

4/24/21 Score Baseball Card Of The Day: 1997 Score #74 Ellis Burks, Rockies

Ellis Burks was an excellent player; let's get that out of the way. He could beat you in a variety of ways, and he'd often do so with a smile on his face.

Initially a fine center fielder for the late 80's/early 90's Red Sox, Burks didn't have any glaring weaknesses in his game other than his penchant for injuries. In 1990 Burks remained healthy and was not only Boston's leading HR/RBI man, but he was also an All-Star and Gold Glover.

After ordinary, injury-shortened 1991 and 1992 seasons, the Red Sox let Burks walk...all the way to Chicago, where the White Sox waited with a 1Y/$500K contract worth up to $1.5M more in incentives (which Burks reached). The 29-year-old slid over to RF in Chicago and helped his new club snap a 10-year postseason drought in '93.

Next, Burks hooked up with Colorado for 3Y/$9M. Off the bat, he resembled an early 1994 NL MVP candidate...until a sprained wrist knocked him out for over two months. Burks returned to earth in 1995 but here, the 32-year-old is fresh off a monster campaign for the up-and-coming Rockies. His .639 SLG led the NL, and he was one of four Rockies to drive in over 100 runs.

THIS CARD: You'd be smiling too, if you were on the verge of signing a new 2Y/$8.8M deal to remain in the hitter's paradise that is Denver, Colorado.

I can only hope that when the game started, Burks didn't leave his glasses on his cap like so many misguided outfielders tend to do. (I'm gonna go ahead and assume he remembered to remove the mitt.)

More from Burks' 1996 season: where do I start? His three straight games with a homer 5/17-19? Or his 18-for-36 streak from 5/28-6/7? Or his four-hit, five-RBI game 9/12? Eh, I'll just list them all.

(flip) Of those 40 HR in 1996, one was an inside-the-parker 6/14 off Philadelphia's Mike Williams. It was Burks' 2nd ITPHR as a Rockie (1994).

In that 1996 All-Star Game, Burks entered in the 6th and smacked a two-out 3B off Roberto Hernandez in the 8th (but was stranded). He played LF.

Does Burks' Colorado single-season runs record of 142 still stand? No; Hall-of-Famer Larry Walker upped it to 143 in 1997. Charlie Blackmon came close to passing them both in 2017 (137).

AFTER THIS CARD: Colorado needed a leadoff man in 1998, and swapped Burks to my Giants in exchange for Darryl Hamilton. Despite missing 40+ games in both 1999 and 2000, Burks was a hit in SF; in each of those years he flirted with becoming the first with 100 RBI in under 400 AB (settling for 96 both years). In the 2000 NLDS, Burks hit one of my favorite home runs ever to help beat the Mets in Game 1.

After that 2000 season, Burks understandably sought more cash than the Giants were willing to provide given his durability issues. Enter Cleveland, who imported the free agent for 3Y/$19.5M; they'd get two years of excellent production before an elbow nerve/hand issue held Burks back for ⅔ of the 2003 season. Now 40, the veteran returned to Boston for 2004, earning a curse-breaking World Series ring in his final MLB season (most of which was lost to knee surgeries).

Burks finished up with a .291 average, 352 HR and 1,206 RBI in his exactly 2,000 major league games over 18 seasons.

Ellis Burks appeared in 1988-97 Score.

Score Bob Welch
Score Bob Welch

4/27/21 Score Baseball Card Of The Day: 1994 Score #547 Bob Welch, Athletics

Welch, a longtime pitching standout for the Dodgers and Athletics, was near the end in 1993, a trying year for Oakland that inspired manager Tony LaRussa to forgo traditional starters for a week (in favor of this). A 27-game winner and Cy Young Award recipient in 1990, Welch had battled health and/or effectiveness issues over the 1991-92 seasons, but still started and won on Opening Day for the 1993 A's (his 200th lifetime victory). 

Welch was 6-6, 4.86 when LaRussa's experiment began, but only 2-5, 6.49 afterward.

THIS CARD: See this image? THIS is why I created Score Card Of The Day. Where else could collectors pull a card of Welch (or anybody) pitching to his very young son? Score deserves to be recognized for its awesome photography, even 23 years after its (baseball) demise.

All of Welch's other Score front images depict him conventionally pitching, albeit from different vantage points. Still, a break from the pattern was due...and welcomed. 

More from Welch's 1993 season: he made one relief appearance during LaRussa's July experiment, and it was a good one (three shutout innings at Cleveland 7/21). I'm not sure why, but Welch also came out of the bullpen 4/24 vs. the Indians; that didn't go so well.

(flip) You probably already know that since 1990, the closest anyone's come to matching Welch's 27 wins was John Smoltz in 1996, Randy Johnson in 2002 and Justin Verlander in 2011 (all of whom won "only" 24).

Welch's rising fastball used to clock in the low-mid 90's, but by 1993 just reaching 90 was often a challenge for the 36-year-old. (Click here to see just how hard Welch once threw.)

Welch wore #35 in every single major league game he played. That, of course, was Rickey Henderson's original Oakland number in the early 1980's; it currently belongs to tough lefty RP Jake Diekman. (Dave Stewart wore #35 during his brief second stint with the A's, and Hall-of-Famer Frank Thomas had a huge 2006 season wearing the number.)

AFTER THIS CARD: Little. Welch returned to the Oakland rotation to open 1994, but soon pitched his way into the bullpen. Though he vastly improved after the switch, that would be his 17th and final big league season.

Welch served one year as Diamondbacks pitching coach (2001, coincidentally their championship year), but other than some unofficial guest roles for Oakland, he never held any other MLB coaching gigs. Welch passed away from a heart attack in 2014, age 57.

 

Bob Welch appeared in 1988-95 Score.