Score Baseball Card Of The Day, August 2022
SCORE Archive 2020: November/December
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8/30/22 Score Baseball Card Of The Day: 1993 Score #569 Butch Henry, Astros
Of all the major league youngsters of the 1990's, Butch Henry ranks high on my personal list of "guys who surprised me with their mediocre MLB careers". I really thought this guy would do some things in the majors. He had good stuff, good presence; he even had a major league name, I felt. But in the end, Henry only had a couple of good years and he finished with a 33-33 record across seven active MLB seasons.
Here, Henry has wrapped up his rookie season, which was almost entirely spent in the Astros' starting rotation. Henry finished second on the staff in several key categories (to ace Pete Harnisch) despite not pitching after 9/6 due to tendinitis.
THIS CARD: Henry gears up to fire either his sinker, curve , changeup or slider. He was more Tom Glavine than Randy Johnson on the mound—not a guy who'd strike out a ton of batters, but rather one who needed to locate and change speeds.
Henry is depicted as an Astro here, but by the time this card hit shelves, he'd already moved on to the expansion Colorado Rockies. But Score didn't begin depicting players in new uniforms/graphics until 1996.
More from Henry's 1992 season: his most replayed highlight is the inside-the-park homer he hit past Gold Glove Pirates LF Barry Bonds on 5/8, but he also shined on the mound. On 4/19 Henry threw nine shutout innings at the Padres...but the scoreless game went 11 innings before Houston won on OF Pete Incaviglia's walk-off single.
On 8/15, however, Henry did get credit for the shutout—a 122-pitch, 5-0 effort at the Cubs. He also went the distance 8/31 in a 9-2 win over the Phillies, tossing 107 pitches.
(flip) More on that shutout: Henry scattered eight hits and struck out a season-high eight Cubs—including future Hall-of-Fame 2B Ryne Sandberg twice! He walked none and was aided by two double plays.
Henry went to Colorado as pick #36 of the 1992 Expansion Draft; most major card companies featured him as a Rockie in their 1993 sets.
As you see in the stats, Henry—other than his brilliant 1988 campaign for Class A Cedar Rapids (Reds)—had not exactly been setting MiLB on fire leading up to his 1992 Spring Training audition. But he indeed forced Houston to keep him on the roster with that brilliant exhibition performance. Henry opened the year as the Astros' #3 starter!
AFTER THIS CARD: Henry, "psyched out" by Mile High Stadium according to one reliable publication, was traded out of Colorado in July 1993 with a 2-8, 6.59 record. He landed with Montreal, for whom he turned in an 8-3, 2.43 performance as a swingman for the juggernaut 1994 squad. In 1995 Henry was a full-time starter for the Expos, going 7-9, 2.84 in 21 starts before undergoing major elbow surgery in August.
Henry resurfaced with the 1997 Red Sox, and enjoyed a solid partial season as a starter, long reliever and even closer (six saves)! But the good times didn't last; Henry was limited to two games with the 1998 Red Sox (hamstring, left knee surgery) and seven games for the 1999 Mariners (torn labrum in his left shoulder). He attempted a comeback in 2001, pitching 18 combined games for the Toronto, Milwaukee, and Yankees' AAA squads, but he never made it back to MLB.
In 2004-05, Henry coached in the Reds system, then managed five years in the Independent League. No clue what he's currently up to.
Butch Henry appeared in 1993 and 1995 Score.
More August 2022 Score Cards Of The Day
8/5/22 Score Baseball Card Of The Day: 1993 Score #244 Henry Rodriguez, Dodgers
Pedro Martinez wasn't the only excellent young player the 1990's Dodgers let escape to Montreal without receiving equal value in return.
Outfielder Henry Rodriguez, at best a platooner with the Dodgers, was mercifully traded to the Expos in a 1995 deal for OF Roberto Kelly. By 1996, Rodriguez was starting for Montreal, hitting homers at a superstar rate, and the recipient of "Oh, Henry!" chants by the Montreal faithful. (All 376 of them.) Granted, the fervor didn't last all that long. But for a while, it was a lot of fun being Henry Rodriguez.
Here, however, Rodriguez is just a rookie coming off his first major league go-round. The 1992 Dodgers needed outfield help after veteran stars Darryl Strawberry and Eric Davis suffered significant injuries; in July they turned to Rodriguez—who'd made some noise on the farms—and played him semi-regularly from August on.
THIS CARD: We see Rodriguez taking one of his mighty cuts. Some guys take out a little swing when behind in the count, even more with two strikes. I don't recall Rodriguez ever doing such crazy things. In fact, I'm not sure the guy could take swing out if he tried. But looking back, with his all-or-nothing approach, he still had a better career than many schmucks, so I'm not sure he'd change anything.
Rodriguez wore #26 with the 1992-93 Dodgers before switching to #40 in 1994-95. Before Rodriguez, P Alejandro Pena mostly shined as a starter and closer wearing #26 during the 1980's. Since Rodriguez, #26 has been passed around the Dodger clubhouse like a lot lizard, but notables such as 2B Chase Utley (2015-18) and SP Tony Gonsolin (currently) have slapped it on in recent years.
More from Rodriguez's 1992 season: he ended up making 40 starts for L.A. between left and right fields, racking up seven assists—obviously, people felt comfortable testing the rook. He served as PH/DR in his 7/5 MLB debut, then was quickly returned to AAA Albuquerque.
But by late July Rodriguez was back, though it took him until 8/1 to record his first major league hit (a bloop single off Padres SP Andy Benes). His first homer came 8/13 off Cincinnati ace Jose Rijo.
(flip) Maybe Rodriguez didn't strike out often in the early 1990's, but by 1996 he was the NL leader in punchouts.
Rodriguez may have hung in well against lefties, but of those 146 AB with the '92 Dodgers, only 15 were versus southpaws. Manager Tommy Lasorda obviously didn't trust the kid to do more than platoon, even though he produced six hits in those 15 at-bats!
Check out Rodriguez's MVP numbers for 1990 San Antonio (AA), as well as 1992 Albuquerque; he was a legit prospect who might have gotten earlier opportunity had Los Angeles not gone all-in with the acquisitions of Strawberry in November 1990—ironically, on Rodriguez's 23rd birthday—and Davis in November 1991.
AFTER THIS CARD: By 1994, Rodriguez had stuck with the Dodgers; that year he hit .268 with eight bombs in 104 games. Then came the swap with Montreal in 1995; Rodriguez ascended to full-time duty between LF and 1B for the '96 Expos and was hitting .311 with 20 homers in the first two months! Though he dropped off significantly after that, a .276, 36, 103 season isn't shabby at all.
After a 26-homer 1997 campaign, the Expos traded Rodriguez to the Cubs for P Miguel Batista. In Chicago, Rodriguez hit a combined .278 with 57 homers from 1998-99 before being traded to the Marlins at the 2000 deadline. The 20 combined jacks he produced that year—in spite of ongoing migraines—would be his last in MLB.
In 2001, 33-year-old Rodriguez received eight at-bats with the Yankees, going hitless and whiffing six times before being dispatched. In 2002, 34-year-old Rodriguez won a pinch-hitting job with the Expos, but was cut in May after going 1-for-20. Just like that, his MLB career was over, though he went on to play (and play well) in the Independent League 2004-06.
Henry Rodriguez appeared in 1993, 1995 and 1997 Score.
8/10/22 Score Baseball Card Of The Day: 1989 Score #332 Mickey Hatcher, Dodgers
Hatcher was the longtime sidekick of manager Mike Scioscia in the Angels dugout; he served as hitting coach from 2000 until his firing in May 2012. But well before that, Hatcher had been a solid role player for the 1980's Twins and Dodgers, one who batted .302 in his lone season as a full-timer for the 1984 Twins.
Fun-loving and popular with the fans, Hatcher's skillz were not great (save for making contact). He was limited defensively and didn't have much power. But in 772 games between 1983 and 1989, Hatcher hit .294, which isn't anything to take lightly at the major league level.
Here, Hatcher has just completed his second season back with Los Angeles—his original club—after six years in Minnesota. If not for the superhuman effort of SP Orel Hershiser, the consensus feeling is that Hatcher would have taken home the 1988 World Series MVP award! After doing so just once in 202 regular-season at-bats, Hatcher homered twice in the Series—and was unofficially clocked at 50 MPH rounding the bases on the first one.
THIS CARD: It's too bad neither of the two companies whose baseball cards I profile ever produced cards of Hatcher with his infamous gigantic glove—what a waste of some excellent material. Their loss was 1986 Fleer and 1991 Upper Deck's gain.
Hatcher, who originally wore #44 as a young Dodger, switched to #9 early in his Twins tenure and never swapped digits again. Other notable Dodgers to wear #9 include Gold Glove OF Wally Moon in the 1960's, coach Reggie Smith in the 1990's, plus 2B Dee Gordon and C Yasmani Grandal in the 2010's. Today, young IF Gavin Lux claims #9 and has a chance to do so for a very long time.
More from Hatcher's 1988 season: that aforementioned first HR of the '88 WS was hit in Game 1 off Oakland's Dave Stewart, of all people. It put the Dodgers up 2-0 in the B1st, and as is well known, they'd win on a walk-off homer by limping OF Kirk Gibson. Hatcher went yard again vs. SP Storm Davis in the decisive Game 5—another B1st, two-run shot.
During the season, Hatcher was over .400 as late as 6/11 and entered September at .336 before cooling down dramatically that month (.206, one XBH in 63 at-bats).
(flip) In that five-hit game 6/3, Hatcher scored twice and drove in two other runs in a 13-5 win over the Reds. His first career five-hit game took place 4/27/1985 in a Twins win over Oakland.
Score was the first card company I knew of that would use the designation "INF-OF". That's what Hatcher was, the rare commodity who could handle all three outfield spots as well as both corner infield spots (though after 1982 he was not used as a center fielder). In 1988, Hatcher started 21 times in the outfield, 18 times at first base, and twice at third base.
Hitting 123 points better on turf than grass isn't necessarily a positive, not when said player only hit .249 on grass, his home ballpark features grass, and he batted nearly three times as often on grass. But at least Score was thinking outside the box with this particular Hatcher stat.
AFTER THIS CARD: Not a whole heckuva lot. Hatcher returned to the Dodgers in 1989 and hit his customary .295 in 94 games; most of his run came in left field and at third base. But the graying 35-year-old fell to .212 in 1990, and his 132 at-bats were his fewest since 1980. The writing was on the wall, and Hatcher indeed sat down after a few games with AAA Albuquerque (Dodgers) in 1991.
We mentioned Hatcher's long coaching stint under former Dodgers teammate Scioscia; he briefly served as a Dodgers special assistant after his firing from the Angels, but as far as I can tell he's been involuntarily out of pro baseball since 2013. Which is too bad—not only is Hatcher a fun guy, but he's also a two-time World Champion (1988 Dodgers, 2002 Angels) who obviously knows a thing or two about winning.
Mickey Hatcher appeared in 1988-91 Score.
8/15/22 Score Baseball Card Of The Day: 1995 Score #29 Bob Welch, Athletics
Here, Welch is at the end of the line after 17 mostly-fantastic major league seasons. The veteran righty got off to a poor start in 1994 and was moved to the bullpen in mid-May. Welch improved significantly as a reliever, and remained in that role through season's end.
THIS CARD: Welch appears in Score COTD for the second time; we presented his 1994 Score card back in April 2021.
We see Welch reaching back for what looks like a slider (but don't bet your house on my pitch grip identification). By 1994, Welch's once-smoking fastball was down to the low-to-mid 80's; he also featured a changeup and forkball.
More from Welch's 1994 season: he opened the year with two quality starts, but then posted a 13.50 ERA in his next six starts, including 5/16 when he allowed six earned runs in 0.2 innings versus the Rangers. That keyed his bullpen demotion, after which Welch posted a 4.67 ERA in 17 games—hardly anything bragworthy, but a HUGE step forward from where he was.
(flip) The Oakland Oaks were a (mostly) Independent Pacific Coast League team from 1903-55. At different points they carried Single-A, Double-A and Triple-A classifications. The A's borrowed their look in early April 1994 in an exhibition at the San Francisco Giants/Seals; we see Welch showing off the look at old Candlestick Park.
Bob Welch, "Relief Pitcher" looks rather strange. There would be no dramatic strikeouts of Reggie Jackson this time around.
Wow. I knew the A's had lost confidence in Welch, but ONE hold in 17 relief appearances in 1994? That means he was almost exclusively used in games Oakland already trailed. I guess I can't blame them given the aforementioned numbers; it's just crazy how far Welch fell after his amazing Cy Young 1990 season.
AFTER THIS CARD: Welch's career ended after the '94 campaign; his most notable post-retirement gig was that of pitching coach for the Arizona Diamondbacks. In his lone season in that role (2001), they went on to the championship, but Welch never again held any other official coaching role in MLB—though he did serve as a Spring Training guest instructor of sorts for Oakland. He passed away 6/9/2014 of a heart attack, days after the passing of Don Zimmer and days before the passing of Tony Gwynn Sr.
Bob Welch appeared in 1988-95 Score.
8/20/22 Score Baseball Card Of The Day: 1997 Score #273 Tom Pagnozzi, Cardinals
Here, Pagnozzi is fresh off a bounce-back 1996 season that saw him nearly double his previous career-high home run total. After three straight seasons affected by injuries, having Pagnozzi available for 119 games helped the Cardinals return to postseason play after a nine-year absence.
THIS CARD: We see Pagnozzi swinging the bat on a Score card front for the first time since 1989; he'd been shown exclusively on defense 1991-96.
Pagnozzi appears in Score COTD for the second time; we profiled his 1996 Score card in December 2020.
I can't definitively identify this road ballpark, but I can tell you (without looking on the reverse) that Pags hit just .230 with four homers away from Busch Stadium in 1996. He was a .310 hitter with nine longballs at home.
More from Pagnozzi's 1996 season: his previous career high of seven HR was matched by 7/21, when he walked off the Cubs' Turk Wendell. That was his second such blast of '96; he also tagged Houston's Xavier Hernandez 6/1. (Both walk-offs came in the B10th, by the way.) Pagnozzi enjoyed a pair of two-homer games, at Colorado 5/17 and vs. Houston 9/4—the only multi-homer games of his career.
(flip) That 50% CS in 1994 was talked about for days. Lifetime, Pagnozzi erased a hefty 37% of opposing thieves.
As you see in the stats, Pagnozzi swiped four bags in 1996 after stealing just three from 1992-95. I blame new manager Tony LaRussa; the '96 Cardinals stole almost twice as many bases as in 1995 (146 to 79).
As you also see in the (side) stats, Pagnozzi was just a .171 hitter on turf in 1996. Good thing that was Busch's first year with restored grass or this profile might read a lot differently.
AFTER THIS CARD: St. Louis re-upped their longtime receiver for 2Y/$4M in December 1996, but he would play just 76 games over the life of that contract (torn hip flexor, torn rotator cuff). Pagnozzi was let go by the Cards in August 1998.
Out all of 1999 after cuff surgery, Pagnozzi attempted a comeback with the 2000 Yankees (run by his old St. Louis skipper Joe Torre), but didn't make the team. At one point he was an assistant coach at Arkansas, but I couldn't confirm his subsequent endeavors.
Nephew Matt Pagnozzi, also a catcher, played in MLB 2009-14, including 21 games with the Cardinals wearing Tom's old #19.
Tom Pagnozzi appeared annually in 1988-97 Score, except 1990.
8/25/22 Score Baseball Card Of The Day: 1991 Score #666 Barry Larkin, All-Star
Like certain other card companies of the era, Score All-Star cards didn't always actually feature players from the most recent All-Star team. Their lineup basically reflected what the real All-Star lineup would have been had voting been done at year's end.
At least in the case of Reds SS Barry Larkin, however, Score made sure to commemorate the actual 1990 NL All-Star starter at shortstop—there was no other SS you'd rather have repping the NL at the time, not even (the aging) Ozzie Smith. It was Larkin's second such nod (1988), and it came on the strength of a .307, 4, 38, 21-SB first half.
THIS CARD: If I was doing the things Larkin did for the eventual 1990 World Champion Reds, my head would get a little swelled, too.
Kudos to this artist for a very accurate portrait of Larkin. I have no doubt if I attempted the same thing, the end result would more closely resemble Lawrence Taylor or somebody.
It may say "Score All-Star", but their lineup did feature a few actual NL All-Star starters: Larkin, Clark, Sandberg and the injured Santiago.
(flip) Drabek was the NL Cy Young Award winner in 1990...but somehow didn't make the All-Star team.
Bonds, Bonilla and Williams were All-Star reserves. Davis, like Drabek, did not make the team.
It's spelled "coolly", not "cooly".
To piggyback on the blurb, Larkin was a five-tool player who could do everything on the field well...except stay on it. If not for injuries, I have little doubt Larkin would have eclipsed 3,000 hits. The fact that he missed the equivalent of three full seasons to injury and still made it to Cooperstown is a testament to his skillz.
AFTER THIS CARD: Let's see...nine more NL All-Star berths, the 1995 NL MVP Award, 30-30 in 1996, Gold Gloves in 1994-96, from near-trade to the Mets to $27M extension by the Reds in 2000, massive chunks of time missed with various injuries, early 2005 retirement, rumored 2005 un-retirement to join Nationals, Baseball Hall Of Fame in 2011, Baseball Tonight, son Shane in the NBA. That's the speed version, anyway.
Barry Larkin received All-Star cards in 1991-92 Score.