Score Baseball Card Of The Day, February 2022
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2/28/22 Score Baseball Card Of The Day: 1988 Score #246 Jimmy Jones, Padres
Me and my late pal ShaVonce used to refer to it as "The Jimmy Jones Era", that period in the late 1980's into 1990 that San Diego ran out about 142 young pitchers in hopes of extracting a legitimate pitching staff. A lot of these dudes were similar. Few of them stood out. Jimmy Jones was their prototype. (I wanted to use the term "ringleader", but you must be careful when referencing someone named Jim/Jimmy Jones for obvious reasons.)
Jones was an okay pitcher for a time, however—no chance for All-Star consideration or even a notable arbitration raise, but a decent guy to fill out a rotation. If Jones' tombstone reads "You Could Do Worse", I'll be the least surprised.
Here, Jones has completed a solid debut major league season, finishing second on the 1987 Padres in wins despite making only 22 starts (none before May).
THIS CARD: In this image, Jones appears to be everything he wasn't: large, overpowering and with a difficult motion. In truth, he was of regular size, couldn't overpower a high schooler, and threw with an easy motion.
We see Jones preparing to fire either his 90ish fastball, his curve, his changeup or his cutter. Jones threw mid-90's in high school, but some believe this ruined his velocity.
More from Jones' 1987 season: he returned to the big leagues in early May, initially as a reliever. Jones then ping-ponged between the rotation and bullpen until joining the rotation permanently in early July. On 8/10 Jones shut out the Braves, his first of two complete games for the Padres in '87.
(flip) Jones didn't stick to one number during his MLB voyage. He wore that #45 with the Padres, #26 with the Yankees, #37 with the Astros and #38 with the Expos.
I'd be amazed if "Wala Wala" (actually spelled Walla Walla) and Beaumont still have MiLB teams. Not going to check, though. Too behind.
More on that big league debut: Houston SP Bob Knepper recorded the only hit, and Tony Gwynn Sr. felt he or outfield mate Kevin McReynolds would have caught the ball had they not shifted for the weak-hitting Knepper.
Jones went third overall in that 1982 Draft. Future Cubs star Shawon Dunston went first. Second-overall pick Augie Schmidt (Blue Jays) never reached MLB, but his nephew Gavin Lux is a current Dodger (yuck).
AFTER THIS CARD: Jones, despite a 9-14 record, pitched well across 29 starts for the 1988 Padres, but they dealt him to the Yankees in a five-player deal that sent Jack Clark to San Diego that October. Jones went 3-3, 5.79 in 28 games (13 starts) in New York, and was back in the NL for 1991 with the Astros.
Assorted aches (including elbow surgery) limited Jones to 51 games (45 starts) with the 1991-92 Astros, but he turned in a 10-6 season at age 28 in 1992. Still, Houston let Jones walk that winter, and he wound up pitching his final 12 major league games for the 1993 Expos.
Jones eventually returned to baseball and has coached in the Padres organization since 2007. It was he who succeeded late Padres bullpen coach Darrel Akerfelds on an interim basis in 2012.
Jimmy Jones appeared in 1988-93 Score, except 1990.
More February 2022 Score Cards Of The Day
2/4/22 Score Baseball Card Of The Day: 1989 Score #632 Geronimo Berroa, Blue Jays
Berroa was a promising prospect whose stock had fallen a bit when this card was released; his name had been at or near the top of minor league leaderboards more than once as he made the climb from Rookie ball to AA. But then he was promoted to AAA...
THIS CARD: Most people swing the bat; Berroa whipped the bat. During his Oakland days in the mid-1990's, he had some of the quickest hands around and his bat speed was rivaled by precious few; you get a glimpse of it on this card.
Berroa had no MLB experience when this card was released, so this is either a Spring Training shot or airbrushing at work.
More from Berroa's 1988 season: his home run rate fell dramatically upon leaving AA Knoxville for AAA Syracuse, but he still led that team in RBI while tying for the International League lead in doubles. Thank you, MLB.com.
(flip) Those 36 homers in 523 AB for 1987 Knoxville translate to a robust .568 SLG, a stat which in 1989 could not yet be found on Score cards.
Berroa may have been the best of Toronto's fine young outfield prospects, but he was no "candidate" to do anything with the Blue Jays. Not while George Bell, Lloyd Moseby and Jesse Barfield all had pulses, anyway. Maybe if Bell had been willing to move to DH as manager Jimy Williams unsuccessfully tried to arrange...
There's gotta be a better way to word "Geronimo was the...hitter with the best power". I really hope that was not the name of an award or something.
AFTER THIS CARD: Despite Berroa's obvious talent, there were two issues holding him back from the big leagues: the production drop-off upon reaching AAA, and his being firmly blocked by that trio of All-Star Toronto outfielders in their prime. Mercifully, the Braves rescued him in the December 1988 Rule V Draft.
Berroa spent 1989 with Atlanta in a reserve role and made little noise with the bat. He then went on a four-year voyage around pro baseball, garnering just 53 MLB at-bats in that time (with the Braves, Reds and Marlins). Finally, he hit his way onto the 1994 Athletics' roster and before long, was one of the AL's better sluggers, averaging .284, 28, 95 from 1995-97 with the A's and Orioles.
But as quickly as he ascended, Berroa descended into career freefall, only getting in 118 MLB games from 1998-2000 (with the Tigers, Indians, Blue Jays and Dodgers) as one injury after another hit. He batted .222 with two bombs and 24 RBI in that period, and after a stint with AAA Ottawa (Expos) in 2001, Berroa's career ended at 36. (Well, in the States, anyway; he played a season apiece in Korea and Mexico before sitting down for good.)
Geronimo Berroa appeared in 1989-90 Score, went on hiatus, then returned for the 1995-98 sets.
2/8/22 Score Baseball Card Of The Day: 1991 Score #599 Bob Walk, Pirates
Next to Doug Drabek, Bob Walk was possibly the Pirates' most dependable starter for a time. Originally a #3 pick of the Phillies way back when, Walk made 27 starts and won 11 times for the World Champion 1980 team. His reward? Being sent to the Braves the following Spring in exchange for OF Gary Matthews Sr. Walk spent three seasons in Atlanta, the best of which was 1982 when he went 11-9 for the division champions.
By 1984, however, Walk had signed with the Pirates after Atlanta cut ties. He spent 1984-87 moving up and down from the minors, and in and out of the Pirates rotation, but in 1988 Walk emerged as a NL All-Star and finished the year 12-10, 2.71 in 32 starts.
Here, Walk has completed a 1990 season that marked his seventh with the Pirates. He lost some time to the disabled list in June and August—each time, groin injuries suffered in Philadelphia—but chipped in seven victories to the division-winning Pirates' cause. Walk did not live up to his name in 1990, issuing a career-low 2.5 BB/9.
THIS CARD: Since Walk, #17 in Pittsburgh has been issued to no one of significance, at least not for long (it was Pedro Alvarez's first number and the returning Aramis Ramirez's number on the way out of MLB). Lee Lacy, however, enjoyed four .300 seasons out of six wearing #17 before Walk.
Walk, as you see, was not small. But he didn't throw with great velocity (usually high-80's) and had to mix and spot his curve, slider and changeup to get outs. Here, I think we are seeing the slider in action.
More from Walk's 1990 season: he lost his first three starts, won his next four, then posted no-decisions in 12 of his next 15 starts before winning his final two. Walk ended the year with a four-hit shutout at St. Louis!
(flip) There is no one rocking the 'do or the 'stache as Walk did in 1990. Unlike many dudes I've profiled for COTD from the 1990's, Walk looked his age rather than 10-15 years older.
On the Trading Card Database website, Walk's description as a 33-year-old in the blurb is labeled as an "error". While he was 33 throughout the 1990 season, he'd turned 34 by the time this card was released. So it could go either way, depending on how technical one's view is.
I'm not sure how, on a staff with Steve Carlton and 17-game winner Dick Ruthven, Walk wound up starting Game 1 of the World Series. Had to be a scheduling issue coming off the NLCS. While Walk did beat the Royals, he was charged with six earned runs in seven innings.
Walk, in fact, spent all but one day of 1983 back in the minors (AAA Richmond, to be exact). He was 11-12, 5.21 in 28 MiLB starts, only appearing for Atlanta to start Game 2 of a 7/12 doubleheader. For a healthy young pitcher with Walk's resume and ability to fall that far that fast, he must have either A) been hated by management, B) been hated by teammates, or C) had diarrhea all over Ted Turner's desk. I sure wish I knew...
AFTER THIS CARD: Another groin injury as well as a hamstring issue slowed Walk a bit in 1991; he finished 9-2 in 25 games (20 starts). He slid between starting and relieving in 1992, finishing 10-6, 3.20 for the Pirates, but the 36-year-old endured a rough 1993 (13-14, 5.68), a year he opened as Pittsburgh's #2 starter. That would prove to be Walk's final MLB action.
Bob Walk appeared in 1988-94 Score.
2/12/22 Score Baseball Card Of The Day: 1994 Score #590 Gerald Williams, Yankees
Best known for his time as a fourth outfielder for the mid-1990's Yankees, some would be surprised to know Gerald Williams actually was a full-timer for two teams later on, and actually wound up playing all or part of 14 big league seasons. I call it Pat Borders Syndrome—exactly 4% of the baseball community is aware Borders played 12 more seasons in MLB after leaving Toronto, and Williams went down a similar road.
Here, however, Williams is still just a youngster fresh off his second go in MLB. After going 8-for-27 in 15 games as a 1992 Yankees September call-up, Williams spent 1993 on the AAA/majors shuttle. New York recalled him four separate times during the season, and while his overall numbers weren't great, he finished one off the team lead in triples in just 67 official at-bats!
THIS CARD: This is not a randomly-selected card; we chose it in memory of Williams, who died of cancer 2/8/2022 at age 55.
Usually, Score reserved "Rookie Prospect" status for those appearing in their first Score set. Williams was one of precious few to receive the designation for two successive sets (1993-94).
More from Williams' 1993 season: he was recalled from AAA Columbus in mid-May, early July, early August and late August to fill various roster holes. On 5/24, he collided with RF Danny Tartabull, sending the latter to the DL for three weeks (bruised kidney). But on a higher note, Williams (barely) executed a straight steal of home five days later! It had been four-and-a-half years since a Yankee had done that...thanks, NY Daily News.
(flip) This image and cropping would suggest Williams was 6'11". (Note: he wasn't.)
Williams was a slap hitter at one point, but that changed by the late 1990's. Details below.
Though Williams did finally stick with New York in September, it was almost strictly as a late-inning replacement, as the Yankees unsuccessfully battled the Blue Jays for division supremacy. He received only three starts and had just one hit (in 17 at-bats) all month.
AFTER THIS CARD: By 1995, Williams was playing a lot more for the Yankees, but was not a serious candidate for a regular job. That changed when he was dealt to the Brewers in August 1996; Williams took over as Milwaukee's CF (and sometimes LF) through the 1997 season.
The 31-year-old was traded to Atlanta in December 1997; he spent the next two seasons in Atlanta, getting in over 270 games but only starting about half of them. He still clubbed 17 homers in 422 AB in 1999, getting the Devil Rays' attention.
Tampa signed Williams for 2Y/$5.75M, installed him in CF, left him there, and watched him bat .274 with 21 homers and 89 RBI! But then the thrifty ballclub cut him in June 2001 to escape a $4M vesting option for 2002; the Yankees brought Williams back as a reserve...then cut him in June 2002 as well.
From there, the aging outfielder would get in just 123 more big league games, split between the 2003 Marlins and the 2004-05 Mets. He finished up with a .255 average, 85 homers and 106 steals in 1,168 major league games. Later on, Williams became the GM of a minor league hoops team; read more about that here if so inclined.
Gerald Williams appeared in 1993-95 and 1997 Score.
2/16/22 Score Baseball Card Of The Day: 1989 Score #176 Garry Templeton, Padres
Of all the great switch-hitters MLB has seen, Templeton remains the only player to notch 100 hits from both sides of the plate in the same season.
His obscene on-field reaction to boos and racial remarks from fans on 8/26/1981 also paved the way for Ozzie Smith to become a St. Louis Cardinals icon. However justified Templeton's response might have been—while not condoning it personally, I understand it—if he handles things differently and doesn't end up tussling with manager Whitey Herzog during the aftermath, the trade for Smith probably never happens, and baseball history looks a lot different today.
But it did. Templeton wound up spending nearly a decade with the San Diego Padres, and while he never seriously contended for a spot in Cooperstown like Smith, Templeton still had a very, very good career. Many dudes would trade body parts if it meant accruing 16 MLB seasons and over 2,000 hits like Templeton.
Here, the 32-year-old is fresh off his seventh season with San Diego. After battling a bad knee for years and falling to .222 in 1987, Templeton was platooned with Dickie Thon at SS in 1988. Despite the reduction in playing time, Templeton's seven triples represented his most since 1982.
THIS CARD: Though it really shouldn't, it's still strange to see Templeton batting lefty. During my youth, somehow I got it in my head that he was strictly a righty batter (even though he owned one of the great switch-hitting seasons ever, as we referenced above).
In 1988, Templeton hit .237 with no homers and two walks in 80 PA batting lefty, compared to .252 with three homers in 286 righty at-bats. And he was being platooned with the righty-hitting Thon?
More from Templeton's 1988 season: he started 99 times at SS, with a .968 fielding percentage slightly higher than his career mark. He ended the year one steal shy of 100 as a Padre, and on 7/2 Templeton went 3-for-3 with three RBI, including a key two-run homer in the 7th to help sink his old Cardinals team.
(flip) Those 211 hits in 1979? 111 from the left side, 100 from the right side. And six of those righty hits were against righty pitchers!
Templeton's 1985 batting average is trying to escape!
First, Score describes Templeton as a "wild" swinger, then points out that he "was" one of the league's best-hitting shortstops. True or not, if I'm Templeton, I might be a tad perturbed at being essentially labeled a has-been who'll hack at anything.
Those injuries included seven surgeries on Templeton's left knee alone.
AFTER THIS CARD: With Thon departed, Templeton returned to regular SS duty for the 1989-90 Padres, though he still was not the same player he'd been with the Cards. He finished his career with the 1991 Mets, who traded IF Tim Teufel for him in that May. New York used the 35-year-old at SS, 3B and even 1B more than a few times; Templeton even racked up four innings in RF!
Templeton coached and managed in the minors and Independent Leagues from 1994-2013, including AAA Edmonton and Salt Lake (Angels) in the 1990's. He was elected to the Padres Hall of Fame in 2015; Garry Templeton Jr. played professionally in the 2000's after being a #48 pick by the Angels in 1999.
Garry Templeton appeared in 1988-1992 Score.
2/20/22 Score Baseball Card Of The Day: 1997 Score #338 Chili Davis, Royals
Here, we catch up with the former Giants, Angels and Twins masher as he enters his first and only season with the Kansas City Royals. It had been another strong year for the veteran Davis in 1996, who at age 36 smoked 28 homers with 95 RBI—both second on the team to OF Tim Salmon—and a .292 average for the Angels. The Royals, bereft of legitimate power in 1996, moved to acquire Davis two days after the World Series ended.
THIS CARD: Feeling a bit of deja vu? It's because we presented Davis's 1998 Score card back in June 2021. Which doesn't feel like it was eight months ago.
Davis might be about to enter the cage, as he's complete with gloves and donut. If he is, he better not forget his hardhat. If he isn't, I wouldn't want to be whoever he's glaring at.
More from Davis's early 1997 season: he began the year on the DL (slightly torn thigh muscle) and opened and closed his month of April with 0-for-4 efforts. But in between Davis batted .333 (14-for-42) with two homers and 10 RBI, and in his second game back he went 3-for-3 with an RBI to help down the Blue Jays 4/15.
(flip) Jermaine Dye was not that "speedy". Just sayin'.
That Trade From Angels sent longtime KC starter Mark Gubicza and pitching prospect Mike Bovee west. Gubicza quickly got hurt and only gave Anaheim 4.2 innings. Coupled with Bovee's 3.1 innings and that's less than a frikkin' game the Angels got for one of baseball's most dependable sluggers.
Davis was Signed Through 1997 via a 3Y/$11.25M extension given by the Angels in 1995. By the end of the 1996 season, however, they needed arms more than bats while the Royals needed bats more than arms.
As you see, Davis did not field in 1996, nor did he field in 1997. In fact, from the time he left the Twins after the 1992 season until he retired after the 1999 season, Davis used his mitt three times: a 1993 mound outing, and two 1994 dips in left field. It probably didn't even accompany him to Kansas City.
AFTER THIS CARD: Davis finished 1997 at .279, 30, 90 in 140 games; he then joined the Yankees on a 3Y/$9.8M deal in December 1997. Davis missed most of their historic 1998 season following ankle surgery, but rebounded with a decent 1999 season. Still, the Yankees released him in December 1999, and he decided 19 seasons as a big league player was enough.
Since 2012, Davis has worked in MLB as a hitting coach. Oakland, Boston, the Cubs and the Mets (who fired him in May 2021) have employed him.
Chili Davis appeared in 1988-98 Score.
2/24/22 Score Baseball Card Of The Day: 1990 Score #19 Richard Dotson, White Sox
Dotson was a key starter for many years with the Chicago White Sox and the 22-win ace of their 1983 division champion team. He went 94-88, 4.03 with 11 shutouts for Chicago 1979-87, placing 4th in AL Cy Young Award voting and earning a six-year extension worth nearly $6M in early 1984.
Dotson got off to a brilliant start in '84 (11-4, 2.64, nine CG in his first 17 starts) and made his only career All-Star team before leveling off. By June 1985, he was undergoing surgery to correct circulatory issues in his pitching shoulder.
The still-young (27) veteran returned healthy in 1986, but struggled to a 10-17, 5.48 ledger. Despite bouncing back in 1987, Dotson was traded to the Yankees that winter (with P Scott Nielsen in exchange for OF Dan Pasqua, C Mark Salas and pitching prospect Steve Rosenberg). New York needed reliable starters, while Chicago apparently saved a couple of bucks.
Dotson's New York tenure wasn't exactly magical, and by mid-1989 he was on the free-agent market. Soon, he was back "home", since his near $1M salary was now the Yankees' responsibility.
THIS CARD: We see Dotson in action at what appears to be Fenway Park. As a White Sock in 1989, Dotson pitched in Boston once, receiving a 4th-inning KO on 7/22 (seven hits, five earnies).
It's a struggle not referring to him as Richard Dawson. I literally typed "Dawson" in the identifier before correcting myself.
Dotson wore #34 for much, but not all of his MLB career. He started out with #49 on his back until 1983, and he wore #36 for his first season-plus with the Yankees. The '90 Royals gave Dotson #35.
(flip) That is not how I remember Dotson's face. At. All. I'd always remembered him as a bit grizzled, but this guy barely looks of drinking age!
Technically, the Angels were Dotson's original team. They drafted him #7 overall in 1977, then packaged him to the Sox in a six-player deal for OF/C/DH Brian Downing six months later (which was allowed at that time). I'd say both teams won that trade.
Dotson's changeup had serious tailing action away from lefties. He also attacked with a two-seamer that, when on, looked like it was being yanked across the strike zone on a string.
AFTER THIS CARD: Not much. Dotson hooked up with the Royals for 1990, but was regularly battered, not completing three innings in any of his final three starts. Dotson's pro career ended with his July release.
Remaining in the sport, Dotson has served as a coach or coordinator at various stops in the White Sox system since 2002. He was recently in the news commenting favorably on troubled former teammate LaMarr Hoyt after the latter's passing in December 2021.
Richard Dotson appeared in 1988-90 Score.