Score Baseball Card Of The Day, April 2022
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4/30/22 Score Baseball Card Of The Day: 1996 Score #271 Checklist
Score didn't fool around with Checklists in its early days, but by 1994 the company followed practically everyone else's lead and began to feature them. 1996 Score's Checklists also featured images of the game's hottest stars, obviously increasing their desirability over the typical Checklist.
Here, Rockies slugger and 1995 NL MVP runner-up Dante Bichette introduces us to card numbers 172-267 from 1996 Score.
THIS CARD: NL Checklists occupied card numbers 269-271, while AL Checklists occupied card numbers 272-274 and the "Chase" (insert) Checklist occupied card number 275.
It seems like unnecessary work dividing the cards by league, since absolutely no one sorts them that way. Not even Dr. Bobby Brown and Bill White themselves.
Bichette appears to be posing at the late, great Candlestick Park—former home of my Giants.
(flip) Never thought I'd see #173 Mark Parent on a baseball card again after 1992.
#190 Pete Schourek of the Reds had one of the outstanding pitching seasons of the decade in 1995, and did next to nothing before or afterward. It wouldn't shock me if this was his only Score card.
As you can see, I actually USED the Checklists for their intended purpose. If memory serves, #212 Shane Reynolds was one of the last cards I needed to complete the set. #220 and above are Rookies.
More April 2022 Score Cards Of The Day
4/5/22 Score Baseball Card Of The Day: 1988 Score #408 Jeff Reed, Expos
The 12th overall pick in the 1980 Draft by Minnesota, Jeff Reed was never anything close to a star in MLB. But he played parts of 17 seasons in the bigs, earned a World Series ring, caught a perfect game, and was a member of the 1993 Giants—my favorite Giants team ever until the 2021 squad emerged.
Here, Reed has just completed his first season in the National League (1987) after a few brief stints with the Twins 1984-86. Minnesota packaged him to Montreal in a deal for star closer Jeff Reardon in February 1987—then promptly won the 1987 World Series. Meanwhile, Reed shared time behind the plate with Mike Fitzgerald for the '87 Expos.
THIS CARD: Not a bad front image by any stretch; such clear fan imagery was rare on cards of the 1980's. But Reed's 1992 Score front image goes down as one of the coolest ever; playing pro sports isn't rosy all the time and young collectors surely got that message upon pulling 1992 Score #311.
Other notable Expos to wear Reed's #24: Hall-of-Fame 1B Tony Perez in the late 1970's and C Darrin Fletcher in the 1990's. Reed had worn #21 and #10 in Minnesota.
More from Reed's 1987 season: he didn't hit much, he committed 12 errors (including three in one inning 7/28), and he threw out 23% of attempted basestealers. But it wasn't all bad—he enjoyed a pair of four-RBI games (4/14 and 7/26), ripping a three-run homer off Cincinnati's Bill Gullickson in the latter. That represented his lone blast of the major league season.
(flip) That .329 average for 1982 Class A Visalia (Twins) ranked 5th in the California League; Reed walked 78 times versus 32 strikeouts that season!
The full trade involved six players, but Heaton—a full-time SP with the Indians and Twins since '84—was the second-biggest piece next to Reardon. Heaton lacked consistency with the 1987 Expos, though he did work 193 innings across 32 starts.
I was unable to pinpoint how/when Reed dislocated his shoulder. He played all nine innings 4/19/1987, but the next day he was placed on the DL. (UER Alert: somebody forgot to hit the space bar when typing April 20!)
AFTER THIS CARD: Reed was dealt to the Reds in mid-1988 and remained there in a part-time role through 1992, helping them win the 1990 World Series along the way. Reed then spent three seasons platooning with my Giants before taking his talents to Coors Field in December 1995 (1Y/$425K*).
Reed set numerous career highs in 1996—most importantly his 116 games played—and had his $550K* option for 1997 exercised. That year he exploded for 17 homers (more than twice his previous career high) and batted .297, earning a new 2Y/$2.6M deal from Colorado that winter.
In 1998, Reed's power numbers dipped but he still hit .290 in 113 games. However, the Rockies released him in July 1999; he'd become expendable when Leyland scrapped his three-man catching platoon.
The Cubs quickly pounced and Reed remained in Chicago through 2000. To no one's shock, his offensive numbers returned to their previously-suspect levels once away from Denver.
Reed went to camp with the 2001 Astros, but didn't win a job. His final 31 pro games came with AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (Phillies) later that year.
* special shout-outs to Deseret.com and Greensboro.com for Reed's salary figures, which were not available through my usual sources.
Jeff Reed appeared in 1988-92 Score, except 1991.
4/10/22 Score Baseball Card Of The Day: 1997 Score #318 Makoto Suzuki, Mariners
Makoto "Mac" Suzuki was much-hyped in the mid-late 1990's as baseball hoped to find its next Hideo Nomo (even though Suzuki signed in America first). And even though he did not achieve even a fraction of the success as Nomo did, at least Mac Suzuki has one half-decent major league season to his credit.
Here, the 21-year-old Japan native has just gotten his first taste of MLB, even though he battled injury and didn't particularly stand out in three preceding MiLB showcases. At one time the Mariners #2 prospect behind only Alex Rodriguez, Suzuki had slipped to #5 by 1996, but still found himself facing the high-powered Texas Rangers 7/7/1996.
It didn't go so smoothly.
THIS CARD: Suzuki gears to throw his mid-90's fastball, or his slider, or his splitter. He never really developed a consistently effective off-speed pitch, though he did add a curveball later in his career.
1997 Score, after two seasons giving Rookie cards a separate design from standard commons, wisely returned to their previous practice. 1998 Score Rookies, however, strayed from the standard common design a bit—but nothing like 1995-1996 Score did.
More from Suzuki's 1996 season: it lasted eight batters, at least the MLB portion did. Suzuki relieved starter Bob Wells in the B6th, and got through that inning with a harmless single allowed. But in the B7th, he loaded the bases, and his replacement Blas Minor let all the runners score. DH Mickey Tettleton's two-run single was the big blow.
(flip) Nomo and 1960's pitcher Masanori Murakami were the Japanese stars who beat Suzuki to MLB.
This is the ONLY source that credited 1996 Suzuki with a straight change-up and curve; every other source I referenced—all of them reliable—credits 1996 Suzuki with a splitter and slider.
As you can see in the stats, Suzuki had command issues throughout...and they never went away; he finished his MLB career with 265 BB in 465 innings. But I should tell you that one of the two walks Suzuki issued with the 1996 Mariners was intentional.
AFTER THIS CARD: Suzuki did not return to MLB until 1998, and as he continued to find his footing, the M's dealt him to the Mets in June 1999 (for P Allen Watson). The Mets waived Suzuki four days later, and he was claimed by the Royals. That set up his one quality major league campaign—in 32 games (29 starts) for the 2000 Royals, Suzuki threw 188.1 innings and went 8-10, 4.34. He even threw a shutout!
The good times did not last; by mid-2001 a struggling Suzuki was traded to Colorado—who allowed Milwaukee to claim him off waivers three weeks later. Through 2010, Suzuki voyaged through pro baseball in three continents (pitching 2003-04 in Japan and 2007-10 in Mexico), but only made seven more MLB appearances (for the 2002 Royals).
Suzuki's final MLB line: 16-31, 5.72 in 117 games over parts of six seasons.
This was Makoto "Mac" Suzuki's lone Score card.
4/15/22 Score Baseball Card Of The Day: 1988 Score #573 Jamie Moyer, Cubs
Here, Moyer, the future Mariners ace, is still just a "kid" finding his way in MLB. The 25-year-old opened 1987 in relief before quickly joining the rotation; he was decent enough in the first half of (3.99 ERA in his first 16 starts plus one long relief outing), but ran into serious struggles during the second half (6.47 ERA in his final 17 starts).
THIS CARD: In this image, Moyer kind of looks like he can really bring it, if you can imagine that ever being true. As a youngster he did reach 87 at times, but generally was a few MPH below that.
We see Moyer at Wrigley Field, where he went 5-7, 4.82 in 1987. He was 7-8, 5.44 elsewhere.
More from Moyer's 1987 season: he K'd 12 Phillies in eight no-hit innings in his first start of the year 4/13 (nevermind that he walked six); see the blurb for the game's conclusion. And on 6/22, he beat the Pirates in his only CG of the season.
(flip) That's Geneva, New York that Moyer pitched at in 1984, not Switzerland (the Class A franchise became the Williamsport Crosscutters after the 1993 season).
Those 147 K in 1987 ranked 10th in the NL. His changeup must have really danced that year.
In that MLB debut 6/16/1986, Moyer squared off against Carlton at Wrigley Field. The Cubs won 7-5, as Moyer worked 6.1 wobbly innings. But Carlton was near the end at that point and only lasted 3.2 ineffective frames himself.
AFTER THIS CARD: Moyer opened 1988 as the Cubs #3 starter. Their faith in the young lefty—if that's indeed what landed him the job—paid off, as Moyer allowed more than four ER in a start just once all season and trimmed his season ERA by 1.62 from 1987. By 1992, however, Moyer—following forgettable stints with the Rangers and Cardinals—was outside the majors looking in.
He re-emerged with a fine bounceback 1993 season for Baltimore (12-9, 3.43) 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). 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.
4/20/22 Score Baseball Card Of The Day: 1991 Score #441 Dream Team: Jose Canseco
I can't understate how COOL early 1990's Score cards were, especially compared to their older contemporaries such as Topps, Donruss and Fleer. The company was doing things no other competitor was even dreaming of doing...such as, well, a Dream Team subset.
In their 1991-93 sets, Score included a subset featuring unconventional black-and-white photographs of the game's finest stars, usually in street clothes—a Dream Team. They didn't have particularly high value, but man, were they cool. It was the only time my family would have accepted 10-year-old me holding a photo of a grown man in spandex.
The Dream Team subsets went away in 1994, well before they'd lost their charm IMHO.
THIS CARD: The only time in my life I can remember swinging a bat even partially shirtless was in around 2008, when I lost a bet in my amateur league and was forced to play in a "frilly" half-shirt. Given my size even then, which had to be around 280 lbs., it was NOT a pretty sight for anyone.
Canseco is listed as a RF here, but remember he slid over to LF to accommodate Darryl Strawberry in the Simpsons version of the Dream Team.
For some reason, Canseco's DT card is numbered #441 when all of the other 12 cards in the subset numbered in the high 800's. It made searching for it in my album more challenging than what was necessary.
(flip) If you're too young to have seen Canseco play, especially during his Oakland years, just know it was fun watching him stand there in the box. He wasn't just an "awesome" presence; he was the ultimate presence, entertaining well before the pitch was even thrown.
Since Canseco, Barry Bonds (1996) Alex Rodriguez (1998) and Alfonso Soriano (2006) have also joined the 40-40 club. And not one of them is in the Hall of Fame.
"Future Hall-of-Famer" Reggie Jackson sounds weird. Reggie, Canseco's teammate in 1987, was still two years away from induction when this card was released. (Also, I'm hoping Mr. October has since determined Bonds to be the most devastating offensive force in baseball history.)
4/25/22 Score Baseball Card Of The Day: 1997 Score #343 Delino DeShields Sr., Cardinals
Delino DeShields Sr. was one of the game's better, and at times best, leadoff men during the 1990's—when he kept his strikeouts manageable. As good as a player as he was, however, he'll always go down as the player the Dodgers got when they foolishly traded away young P Pedro Martinez in late 1993.
DeShields was not at his best during his three years with L.A., but he would have had to hit .350— annually—to make the trade anything close to even.
Here, however, the veteran 2B has wrapped that Dodgers stint and moved on to the Cardinals as a free agent. St. Louis didn't get a ton of offense from its 1996 second basemen and hoped DeShields could again flirt with .300 as he did during his final two years with Montreal.
THIS CARD: Bunting was one of DeShields' top skillz; in 1996 he laid down five bunt hits, followed by 11 more for the 1997 Cardinals! He finished his career with 51 in 13 seasons.
For some reason DeShields sported the double-flap look even though he was a strict lefty batter. I guess you never know when a catcher's throw might ping you. #NoriAoki
With Score Rookies And Traded temporarily out of commission, many players received cards with their 1996 AND 1997 clubs in 1997 Score. DeShields was one such player; he also appeared with the Dodgers in Series 1.
(flip) Checking out the splits, the only time DeShields was a serviceable hitter in 1996 was on turf during the first half—he wasn't fully healthy because the man simply was not that bad of a hitter. (Or that he hated the Dodgers as much as I do and was sabotaging them???)
The Cardinals inked Deshields for 1Y/$2M; he turned out to be quite the bargain.
Robinson actually broke the color barrier in 1947, but who's counting, right?
AFTER THIS CARD: DeShields wound up the NL triples leader (14) in 1997; he hit .295 with a career-high 11 homers to earn a return trip to St. Louis for 1998. That year, he hit .290 but missed a month after arthroscopic knee surgery. In December, DeShields hooked up with Baltimore for 3Y/$12.5M as Robby Alomar's replacement at 2B.
The veteran missed a huge chunk of 1999 with injuries—a busted thumb, strained hamstring and "nerve entrapment" of the thigh each led to DL stints. DeShields returned with a strong 2000, even shifting to LF to accommodate young 2B Jerry Hairston Jr. late in the year. But after a slow open to 2001, the O's cut ties in early July.
Deshields' final season-and-a-half in MLB was spent with the Cubs; he hit .276 and manned four positions for them down the 2001 stretch. The 33-year-old hit .192 in a reserve role for the 2002 squad, then faded into the sunset. In the early 2010's, DeShields emerged as a manager in the Reds system, eventually being elevated to first-base coach with the big league squad.
Delino DeShields Jr. has played in MLB since 2015, mostly with Texas; he's currently in the Braves system.
Delino DeShields Sr. appeared in 1991-98 Score.