Score Baseball Card Of The Day, January 2021

"I have opinions of my own -- strong opinions -- but I don't always agree with them." -- President George W. Bush

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Score Cecil Fielder
Score Cecil Fielder

1/30/21 Score Baseball Card Of The Day: 1988 Score #399 Cecil Fielder, Blue Jays

Here, after presenting Fielder's 1994 Score card on 12/1/20, we present Fielder before he was a superstar. In 1987 he was still just a project of sorts, albeit a well-regarded one with limitless power potential. After giving the big fella brief looks in 1985 and 1986, Toronto manager Jimy Williams kept Fielder around all year in '87, using him as a part-time DH and regular PH for the 96-win Blue Jays.

THIS CARD: Even back in 1987, Fielder was imposing at-bat. I doubt I'd be able to recognize him without his customary facial hair.

Nothing speaks Toronto Blue Jays like the color green, eh? Score did eventually get over its fixation with multi-colored sets, mercifully.

Fielder bats in his home whites; at Exhibition Stadium in 1987, the youngster hit .286 with nine homers, as opposed to .243 with five homers on the road.

More from Fielder's 1987 season: he's listed as a DH-1B, but he barely played the field at all before September when scuffling regular Willie Upshaw began to lose some playing time. On both 9/2 and 9/4, Fielder batted once...and went yard!

(flip) Score's kind way of putting down Fielder's defensive ability. They weren't wrong, but was it necessary?

Not positive it was 1987 Venezuelan ball referenced in ex-Blue Jay David Wells' 2003 book, but even if it isn't, Wells' book is worth reading just for his and Fielder's South American adventures. (More than once in said book, Wells—who is nobody's wuss—references Fielder's intimidation factor.)

Fielder is a DH-1B on the front, but just a DH on the reverse? Well, Score was brand-new in 1988.

I never knew until pulling this card that Fielder was a Royals draft pick. He went to Toronto in a trade for well-traveled OF Leon Roberts (not to be confused with Leon "Bip" Roberts, who came along later).

AFTER THIS CARD: After filling a similar role for the '88 Jays—and watching slugging prospect Fred McGriff continue to develop—Fielder took his big stick to Japan for 1989. He returned to the US in 1990 and went on a three-year tear for the Tigers, becoming the first major leaguer in 13 years to clear 50 home runs (1990) and annually leading the AL in RBI 1990-92. 

Fielder, who signed a 5Y/$36M extension in early 1993, remained one of baseball's most dangerous sluggers into the mid-1990's. Traded to the Yankees in mid-1996, he helped them to a World Series victory, but the big fella still wasn't entirely happy in New York. He requested another trade (which didn't happen) and moved on to the Angels for 1998.

Despite being the team's RBI co-leader, Fielder was pushed out of playing time by rookie Troy Glaus, then let go in August. Cleveland then signed and quickly cut the almost-35-year-old, and a 1999 MiLB deal with Toronto ended in Spring Training with the acquisition of Dave Hollins. Just like that, Fielder was finished in MLB.

Later on, Fielder briefly managed in something called the South Coast League, an independent league that existed for one season. Son Prince matched his dad's career total of 319 major league home runs (for the Brewers, Tigers and Rangers) and the once-estranged Fielder men are now on better terms.

Cecil Fielder appeared in Score 1988-98, except 1990.

More January 2021 Score Cards Of The Day

Score Kenny Lofton
Score Kenny Lofton

1/3/21 Score Baseball Card Of The Day: 1996 Score #325 Kenny Lofton, Indians

For the first half of his career, Kenny Lofton was the ignitor for the juggernaut 1990's Cleveland Indians. He hit, he defended, and boy, did he run—for a while, Lofton seemed to be building a Hall-of-Fame resume. He hit .300+ every year, led the league in steals every year, was an annual All-Star, and made one of the great defensive plays of the decade.

But once the 2000's arrived, Lofton—now in his 30's—just didn't wreak the same havoc he once did, and he went from superstar to rental (playing for a whopping nine teams from 2002-07).

Here, Lofton has enjoyed his second straight All-Star campaign for the AL Champion Indians. The 28-year-old led the league in steals for the 4th straight year, won his third straight Gold Glove, and led the majors in triples—all despite missing 26 games (hamstring).

THIS CARD: Lofton, possibly in the act of his latest base theft. If he was stealing, the only reason he'd have to look back at the plate is if the catcher never got a throw off—that happened a lot in Lofton's day.

Also seen is an unidentifiable Toronto Blue Jay. In 1995, Lofton played seven home games against the Jays, going 15-for-32 with two steals.

More from Lofton's 1995 season: the hamstring injury first struck in late June, sidelining him for a few games. Though Lofton came back for a bit, he eventually had to visit the DL in mid-July. He was activated August 1 and went 3-for-5 in his return!

(flip) Check out Lofton's 1994 stats: dude hit .349 but only finished 4th in the AL in that category.

In 1995 ALCS Game One alone, Lofton was 3-for-3 with a triple and two walks (though in a losing effort).

Lofton was nothing if not exciting. He took some of the longest strides in baseball and could get to first base in what felt like three seconds. Plus, the former Arizona hoop star had hops, which he didn't get to demonstrate regularly in baseball except on plays like the one linked to above.

AFTER THIS CARD: We referenced the many, many times Lofton changed addresses later in his career. The majority of those teams—including my Giants in 2002—made the playoffs, though Lofton never did get a World Series ring. He played for the famed (and doomed) 2003 Cubs who blew a 3-1 NLCS lead to Florida, the 2004 Yankees who blew a 3-0 ALCS lead to Boston, and the 2007 Indians who blew a 3-1 ALCS lead to Boston.

When all was complete, Lofton authored 2,428 hits, 622 steals (15th all-time) and a .299 average to go with four Gold Gloves. He lasted to age 40 and never officially retired, but received no satisfactory offers after the 2007 season (despite posting terrific numbers) and never played again.

Kenny Lofton appeared in 1992-98 Score.

Score Sterling Hitchcock
Score Sterling Hitchcock

1/6/21 Score Baseball Card Of The Day: 1993 Score #311 Sterling Hitchcock, Yankees

In his early days, TV/radio announcers took great care to announce Sterling Hitchcock's name slowly and deliberately, as if trying to assure viewers/listeners that yes, you heard clearly. That aside, it wasn't long before Hitchcock's uncommon name was linked with quality major league pitching. 
However, in 1992—the year represented on this card—the rookie was just that, and he took his lumps from American League hitters.

THIS CARD: As you see, Hitchcock's name wasn't just different; so was his pitching motion. He would take the ball from his glove very early, kind of hide it behind his body, then fire. Deceptiveness was a big part of his game.

Score continued to give "Rookie Prospects" the same graphics as other commons through the 1994 set, then unwisely gave them their own look in the 1995-96 sets. Then, somebody smacked sense back into the decision-makers and things returned to normal in 1997-98.

More from Hitchcock's 1992 season: he enjoyed a promising MLB debut against the Royals (six innings, one run), but then was knocked around by the White Sox and Tigers (11 total runs in seven total innings). All three starts took place at Yankee Stadium.

(flip) Regardless of the level, it is criminal to post a 2.58 ERA and only win six of 24 starts unless you're pitching pre-1915. Hitchcock didn't get much help from his friends, it seems.

Hitchcock was not a regular starter before turning 22 in April, 1993—all six of his MLB starts that year occurred in August/September.

I'm going to guess the last Yankee hurler to jump from AA to the bigs before Hitchcock was Jose Rijo. (After researching, the answer is: Jose Rijo!! He made the '84 Yankees out of Spring Training with no AAA experience. Pat me on the back, y'all!)

AFTER THIS CARD: Hitchcock started regularly for the 1995 Yankees, then went to Seattle in the Jeff Nelson trade of December 1995. After a year in Seattle (13-9, 5.35), the North Carolina native was moved again, this time to the Padres for Scott Sanders in December 1996.

 

Hitchcock never became a big league star, though he certainly had his moments, such as winning the 1998 NLCS MVP award for San Diego (2-0, 0.90 against Atlanta). Hard to say what his best overall statistical year was, but we're going to say 1999 (12-14, 4.11, 205.2 IP for the Padres).

Hitchcock underwent UCL surgery in 2000 and moved around a bit afterward, going from SD back to the Yankees in '01, from the Yankees to the Cardinals (for whom he shined down the stretch) in '03, and back to SD to end his career in 2004 at age 33. Hitchcock finished up 74-76, 4.80 in 281 games (200 starts).

Sterling Hitchcock appeared in 1993-97 Score (twice in 1997 Score).

Russell_Jeff_94ScoreFront.jpg
Russell_Jeff_94ScoreBack.jpg

1/9/21 Score Baseball Card Of The Day: 1994 Score #428 Jeff Russell, Red Sox

My best Jeff Russell story/memory comes from a radio show I used to listen to. The topic was Hall-of-Fame closer Dennis Eckersley, but while one of the hosts, a die-hard Rangers fan, offered praise to Eck, he was quick to add "He's no Jeff Russell!" only partially kidding.

Russell was a darn good closer, one of the best of the early 1990's. Originally a Reds starter who led the NL with 18 losses in 1984, Russell joined the Rangers in the Buddy Bell trade of 1985. Texas alternated him between starting and (middle) relieving through the '88 season, after which he assumed the role of stopper.

Russell led the AL with 38 saves in '89, making his second straight All-Star team...more on that later. Injury wrecked his '90, but he bounced back with 30 saves in '91 and was enjoying a sparkling '92 campaign when he was bundled in a trade for superstar OF/DH Jose Canseco of Oakland. Of course, with Eckersley still in town, Russell shifted to a setup role for 1992's duration.

Here, the 31-year-old has joined Boston as a free agent (1Y/$500K with incentives worth up to $2M). Russell proved to be quite the bargain, placing 7th in the AL with 33 saves (in 37 chances).

THIS CARD: Russell looks like a guy who throws hard...and he was, describing himself as a "power pitcher" in one interview. He threw mid-90's, up to 98, with a biting curve. Russell also had a slider and change left over from his starting days.

For years, I forgot all about Russell's Boston days. In fact, I forgot about him entirely after he left Oakland and wouldn't have been able to tell you with $1M at stake. That shames me.

More from Russell's 1993 season: elbow concerns made him available to Boston on the cheap, but according to The Scouting Report: 1994, he wasn't happy all year about his incentive-laden deal and late in the year, accused Boston's GM of ordering him held out of action so said incentives wouldn't be reached. Oh, and one point he claimed to be sick of baseball and near retirement.

(flip) We've discussed Russell's bargain deal, but I was unable to unearth, after 28 years, exactly what those incentives were. I imagine a lot of saves was one of them, since Boston said from the very beginning he'd be their closer.

Russell was an All-Star starter in 1988 most likely because Texas had no other viable candidates, not even Ruben Sierra. Russell had began that year in the 'pen, then ran off victories in seven of eight starts—including three CG in a row, one of them 10 innings—just in time for ASG voting. He didn't do much after the break, however, in fact becoming the first Rangers P to allow three slams in a season.

As you see, Russell was born in Cincinnati; the Reds drafted him #5 in 1979 out of high school and he opened his major league career with his hometown team. The 21-year-old looked good in 1983, but by early 1985 was all the way back to AA. 

AFTER THIS CARD: In mid-1994, an unhappy and underperforming Russell was sounding off and eventually traded to Cleveland. He returned to Texas for his final two seasons (1995-96), working in middle/setup relief and being a member of the first-ever Rangers playoff team in '96.

After a long layoff, Russell began a coaching career in the Independent League in the 2010's. Jeff's son James Russell pitched in MLB 2010-16, mostly for the Cubs.

Jeff Russell appeared in 1988-94 Score.

Score Mike Heath
Score Mike Heath

1/12/21 Score Baseball Card Of The Day: 1989 Score #131 Mike Heath, Tigers

Young catcher Mike Heath let it be known very quickly that he was not going to be pushed—or knocked—around. In his second major league game, 6/10/78, two consecutive Angels tried to bowl him over at home plate. The young Yankee was having none of it, and a melee ensued.

(Then, five years later, Heath mixed it up with no less than the mammoth Dave Winfield.)

Though he started with the Yankees, Heath established himself as a semi-regular receiver/outfielder with the A's 1979-83, and a full-time receiver/outfielder 1984-85. Only a so-so hitter, Heath did belt 13 home runs in both 1984 and 1985.

Oakland parted with Heath in a deal for Cardinals SP Joaquin Andujar in December 1985; St. Louis moved Heath to the Tigers in August 1986. Here, the veteran has completed a 1988 season spent primarily as a righty alternative to slugging youngster Matt Nokes. Heath started 62 games behind the plate, and another three in the outfield, for Sparky Anderson.

THIS CARD: Heath in action at Tiger Stadium. He only hit .179 there in 1988, as opposed to .298 on the road. But four of his five homers that year were at home.

More from Heath's 1988 season: he batted 23-for-65 (.354) in limited June/July action.

(flip) Uniform #8 has been passed around quite a bit in Detroit since Heath's usage, with Deivi Cruz (1998-2001) probably the most notable wearer. Jonathan Schoop wore #8 for the Tigers in 2020.

Everything Heath-related item I've read comments on his arm strength. He regularly threw out upwards of 40% of enemy basestealers in his Oakland days, though in 1988 he only nabbed 29%. (Of course, by then he was playing against Rickey Henderson, rather than with him.)

Yes, Heath was drafted as a shortstop, and he didn't catch at all until 1976 at Class A, three years into his pro career. In his long career, Heath played every position except pitcher!

AFTER THIS CARD: Heath received the majority of AB's behind the plate for the 1989-90 Tigers and enjoyed two solid statistical years. Atlanta imported the almost-36-year-old on a 2Y/$2M deal in January 1991, but he only made it through half the '91 season before undergoing elbow surgery. The Braves released Heath the following Spring, ending his career.

Heath managed in the White Sox system 1996-97, but has otherwise moved on from baseball.

Mike Heath appeared in 1988-92 Score.

Score Darryl Strawberry
Score Darryl Strawberry

1/15/21 Score Baseball Card Of The Day: 1994 Score #428 Darryl Strawberry, Dodgers

I will try to be objective here, which will not be easy because A) Darryl Strawberry was a high-profile Dodger for three years, and B) because he wasted so much of his talent. I know the back/knee injuries and the cancer was not his doing, but all the illegal crap was, and I haven't forgiven him for hitting 335 home runs instead of 500.

Strawberry, of course, was the Dodgers' free-agent splash of October 1990, signing with the team about an hour after the season ended (figuratively). He'd been mostly productive in 1991 (28 HR, 99 RBI) for Los Angeles, but back surgery wiped out most of his 1992 season.

Here, Strawberry has endured a nightmare of a 1993 season. In addition to several off-field problems, the big man swung an ice-cold bat. He went on the DL in June (back) and did not return.

THIS CARD: Strawberry in the cage, hopefully working to get out of his season-long funk. He appears to be saying/thinking, "Really? YOU want a turn in this cage? Do you know who I AM?"

Darryl, only catchers are supposed to wear flapless helmets.

Let's all collectively wish bad juju upon whoever ripped the sleeves off Straw's warm-up jacket. That wasn't very nice and Strawberry was having a tough go of it already.

(flip) That is no misprint: Strawberry batted .140 in 1993, and finished the season 6-for-61 (.098).

He did enjoy a stretch of three homers in four games in mid-April.

Strawberry was a free-swinger who still drew many walks, including 16 in his 32 games of 1993.

I can't identify the road ballpark from the photo, but I can tell you Strawberry slashed just .129/.289/.242 away from Dodger Stadium in 1993, Nothing went right for him that year...

AFTER THIS CARD: Strawberry never played for the Dodgers again; he was released in May 1994 and within weeks was batting fifth for my Giants—who let him go in February 1995. Strawberry would finish the 1995 and 1996 seasons with the Yankees, sandwiching a stint in the Independent League. In '96 Straw belted 11 homers in just 63 games, including a three-homer barrage on 8/6.

Limited by a bad knee to 29 AB for the '97 Yankees, Strawberry came back full-force in 1998, belting 24 HR in under 300 AB before being sidelined by colon cancer. That, and legal issues, kept him off the field until September 1999; Strawberry hit .327 that month and walloped the deciding homer for New York in the deciding game of that year's ALDS.  

However, during Spring Training 2000, Strawberry was removed from a workout by the Commissioner's Office—he was being investigated for a failed drug test, an investigation that eventually led to his suspension for the 2000 season (it was not his first failed drug test). That was it for Strawberry, just shy of 38.

In retirement, Straw's legal troubles did not end, though he seems to be holding things together at present and was elected to the Mets Hall of Fame in 2010. He has written multiple books, at least one of which (Finding My Way) is a good read.

Darryl Strawberry appeared in 1988-97 Score.

Score Wade Boggs
Score Wade Boggs

1/18/21 Score Baseball Card Of The Day: 1989 Score #175 Wade Boggs, Red Sox

Longtime major league 3B Wade Boggs established himself with the Red Sox, and by "established himself", I mean he built the foundation of a Hall-of-Fame career, hitting anything and everything thrown his way for a decade.

Boggs certainly had his detractors, but it can't be denied the man knew what to do with a bat in his hands. For seven straight years, he notched 200 hits or more, winning five batting titles out of six during his peak in the 1980's.

You'd think a guy with that resume would be ultra-popular in his home city, but from most everything I've read and heard, Boggs just wasn't beloved the way Tony Gwynn was in San Diego, for example. (Gwynn was from San Diego, of course, but still.)

I wasn't there and I don't know Boggs, so I can't speculate as to why he didn't totally win over Boston. Yet What I do know is this: I'm glad my Giants didn't have to deal with him in the batter's box.

THIS CARD: Good action shot of Boggs showing off one of his top skillz: his batting eye. The ball's not even in the mitt and Boggs is all over it, like he decided before the pitch that he wasn't swinging. 

Doesn't that seem like a would-be catcher's interference?

More from Boggs' 1988 season: in addition to the batting title, he led the league in PA (719) runs, doubles, walks and OBP (.476). He then went 5-for-13 in the ALCS (swept by Oakland).

(flip) Ichiro has since run that 200-hit record up to 10.

Boggs finished with a career .328 average, good for only 33rd all-time per Baseballreference.com.

Lansford, incidentally, was Boggs' predecessor as Red Sox 3B. In fact, Lansford was traded to allow Boggs to play regularly in 1983.

Unlike Roger Clemens' #21, Boggs did not have his number even taken out of circulation after he left Boston for a very long time, until they finally retired #26 in 2016.

AFTER THIS CARD: Boggs, amid personal off-field drama, continued to rake through the 1991 season, but endured a poor 1992 season and was allowed to walk as a free agent.

Of all teams, he walked to the New York Yankees for 3Y/$11M, and combined to hit .332 over the 1994-95 seasons while continuing to land in the All-Star Game. But in mid-1996, the Yankees brought in 3B Charlie Hayes, leaving Boggs as an unhappy platoon player (though the duo helped the Yankees to a 1996 World Series victory).

After the 1997 season, Boggs joined his hometown Tampa Bay Devil Rays for their inaugural season (1Y/$750K plus incentives and a 1999 option which was exercised). He stroked his 3,000th hit in 1999 (the first to do so with a HR), underwent knee surgery soon after, and retired at 41. Boggs was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame on his first ballot, in 2005.

 

Wade Boggs appeared in 1988-98 Score.

Score Jose Oquendo
Score Jose Oquendo

1/21/21 Score Baseball Card Of The Day: 1990 Score #68 Jose Oquendo, Cardinals

It is easy to forget Oquendo started out with the Mets and was their regular SS over parts of 1983-84 before being demoted back to the minors and then traded to St. Louis. The Cardinals had a pretty good DP combo in Ozzie Smith (SS) and Tom Herr (2B) at the time, so in addition to backing them up, Oquendo spelled 3B Terry Pendleton and even got some run in the outfield from 1985-88. (He even caught and pitched...read on.)

Here, Oquendo has completed his first year as an everyday—and I mean that literally—player for the Cardinals after those years as a utility guy. In 1989, he became St. Louis's main man at 2B after splitting time with Luis Alicea in 1988 (following the trade of incumbent Herr).

THIS CARD: Oquendo was a good bunter, though he was only successful bunting for hits twice in 1989. He did have seven successful sacrifice bunts that year, but here Oquendo doesn't look to be sacrificing.

Oquendo is also shown bunting on his 1996 Score card.

Oquendo and #11 go hand-in-hand with the Cardinals; he wore it during his long stint as a player and his even longer stint as Cardinals coach. (Oquendo left the latter role in 2016 but returned in 2018 wearing #91.) Since 2017, SS Paul DeJong has had #11.

(flip) Those 163 games tied for the MLB lead with Bobby Bonilla of Pittsburgh. And I knew that from memory because I spent way too much time immersed in 1990 baseball cards.

In '87, Oquendo started everywhere but the battery. In '88, he caught one inning 9/24 and famously pitched four innings of a 19-inning game 5/14, walking six but allowing just a pair of runs! But he took a loss he really didn't deserve. (Rocky Colavito of the Yankees had been the last positioner with a decision.)

Score tells us twice how good of a breaking-ball hitter Oquendo was. And 12 sac bunts sounds like a lot for a position player, even one who was ordinary at the plate like Oquendo—yet it only ranked SEVENTH in the league?

AFTER THIS CARD: Oquendo spent most of 1990-91 as the 2B starter, but lost almost all of 1992 with a dislocated shoulder. After heel surgery wiped out much of his '93 season, Oquendo returned in 1994-95 as a part-timer once more. He attempted to continue his career in '96, but new Cardinals manager Tony LaRussa had no spot for him...

...until 1999, when LaRussa brought Oquendo (who'd been working with Cardinals minor leaguers) back as a coach. As we mentioned, he lasted in that role through 2016, briefly took on another role in the organization for 2017, then returned to coach for 2018 and beyond.

 

Jose Oquendo appeared in 1988-96 Score, except 1994.

Score Don Sutton
Score Don Sutton

1/24/21 Score Baseball Card Of The Day: 1988 Score #105 Don Sutton, Angels

Some feel that Sutton​ was not a Hall-of-Famer, using the argument that he was very good for a very long time, but never a great player.

I'd like to ask those people: do you know how hard it is to sustain "very good" status for as long as Sutton did? To stay healthy enough to make the third-most starts in MLB history and win well over 300 games (plus a handful more in October)?

It's like Frank Gore in the NFL: something should be said for consistency and longevity in pro sports, especially when you experience the success that Gore and Sutton did. At the pro level, there is always somebody waiting to take your job, always a risk that your next game might be your last. Sutton fended off all challengers for nearly two dozen years as possibly the most reliable pitcher of his era.

Taking money out of it, there's those who'd rather have Johan Santana's brief-but-often-dominant career over Don Sutton's long-but-never-dominant career. I am not one of them.

THIS CARD: This is not a randomly selected card; we chose it in memory of Sutton, who died 1/19/21 at age 75. He was the ninth Baseball Hall-of-Famer to die since April 2020, and that's not even including Dick Allen, who may wind up in the Hall soon.

Yeah, I have a Sutton 1989 Score sunset card. But on it, he's a Dodger. And I can't willingly present a Dodger when there's an alternative. Nothing but respect for Sutton...but there's limits.

More from Sutton's 1987 season: at age 42, he was unable to repeat the success he enjoyed for the 1986 Division Champion Angels. His main nemesis: the home run ball; Sutton allowed two or more long balls in 12 of his 34 starts. But the veteran had his moments, finishing 8-3 after starting the year 3-8. 

(flip) There's Sutton's infamous gray, curly locks he sported for so long. BaseballReference.com uses a photo of a very young Sutton on his page...he is not recognizable with straight, dark hair.

I tell you, I salivate over high innings totals. How the hell did Sutton throw the seventh-most innings all-time (5,282.1) and never once lead the league in any season? I guess the same way you start the third-most games ever and only lead the league once (1974).

Sutton's lone 1987 CG was an eight-inning loss at Toronto 5/29. He allowed 11 hits and three runs that day.

AFTER THIS CARD: One final, partial season with the team he came up with, the Los Angeles Dodgers. Sutton made 16 starts in 1988 and won three of them, but was released in August in favor of Ramon Martinez—not born when Sutton's career began. (Wouldn't it be typical of the Dodgers to not issue Sutton his first World Series ring, either?) He did not pitch again.

Sutton embarked on a long broadcasting career almost immediately afterward, most of it for the Braves. (He was solid in this role, but was made look a bit foolish once.) Sutton was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1998 with 81.6% of the vote, and the Dodgers retired his #20 soon afterward.

Don Sutton appeared in 1988-89 Score.

Score Scott Kamieniecki
Score Scott Kamieniecki

1/27/21 Score Baseball Card Of The Day: 1993 Score #377 Scott Kamieniecki, Yankees

Scott Kamieniecki was an adequate, if at times decent, starting pitcher mostly for the Yankees of Buck Showalter. A Cape Cod League Hall-of-Famer and Michigan standout, Kamieniecki went to New York as a 1986 #14 pick. All he did in the minors was put up W's, doing so in three of four MiLB seasons entering 1991. That year, the Yankees finally brought him to the bigs.

Here, Kamieniecki has spent most of 1992 in New York's starting rotation, his season debut delayed until 5/3 by rehab from off-season cervical disk surgery. His overall statline wasn't impressive, but he chewed up innings, averaging seven per start from 7/23 to 9/24 (12 starts).

THIS CARD: Kamieniecki reaches back to fire either his 90's fastball, or his slider, change or curveball. He was not a strikeout guy and relied largely on location.

Is that you, Rocket? Kamieniecki only wore #22 during the 1992 season; he'd been #40 in 1991 and switched to #28 for 1993-96.

Kamieniecki was, at one point, very tough to beat at Yankee Stadium. According to the Orlando Sun-Sentinel, he was 15-6, 3.52 there in one 33-game stretch 1992-94.

(flip) Though it's not saying all that much, Scott did indeed outdo the other young Yankee arms of that time (Jeff Johnson, Wade Taylor, Sam Militello).

In that five-hitter, the Yankees were held in check by Indians SP Charles Nagy, who threw a five-hitter of his own but allowed no runs.

This may be the only use of the word "debit" on a baseball card. I have never used that word even once except at the checkout.

AFTER THIS CARD: For each of the next two years, Kamieniecki had to battle for a rotation spot. Both battles were eventually successful, though he also contributed out of the bullpen both years. Finally, in 1995, the 31-year-old entered camp with a rotation spot, and helped the Yankees end a long postseason drought (though he was sidelined two months with an elbow sprain).

For multiple reasons, 1996 was a nightmare year for Kamieniecki, but he rebounded with his best season for the 1997 Orioles (10-6, 4.01 in 30 starts), who rewarded him with a 2Y/$6.1M deal. But he underwent another disk surgery in 1998 and spent the final two seasons of his career working almost exclusively in relief for the 1999 Orioles, 2000 Indians and 2000 Braves.

Scott Kamieniecki appeared in 1992-96 Score.