Score Baseball Card Of The Day, January 2023
SCORE Archive 2020: November/December
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1/30/23 Score Baseball Card Of The Day: 1990 Score #523 Steve Rosenberg, White Sox
Lefty pitcher Steve Rosenberg got extended looks with the 1988-89 White Sox; the New York native had been a fine closer in the Yankees organization before being dealt to Chicago in November 1987.
Here, Rosenberg has concluded a 1989 campaign during which he won a relief job with the Sox out of Spring Training. He shifted to the rotation in early June and remained there until early September, finishing with a 3-11, 5.45 line across his 21 starts.
THIS CARD: Rosenberg is about to fire what HAS to be a circle changeup. He also featured a decent fastball and a slider described by the LA Times as "sharp".
Score lists Rosenberg as a relief pitcher, even though he made more starts (21) than reliefs (17) in 1989.
More from Rosenberg's 1989 season: despite coughing up runs in eight of 13 outings to open the season, Rosenberg's ERA stood at 3.60 when he joined the rotation 5/22. His best outing of the year was probably 7/29; that day he went all eight innings at California, allowing seven hits and two runs. Rosenberg still took the tough-luck loss, however.
(flip) The Yankees dealt Rosenberg, along with OF Dan Pasqua and C Mark Salas, to the White Sox in exchange for SP Richard Dotson and P Scott Nielsen. It was approximately the 38th trade between the two clubs since 1985.
17 consecutive starts does not describe a "spot starter", Score.
Rosenberg—and I say this respectfully—kind of looks like a guy who you would call if you wanted someone "whacked". Well, he did have easy access to bats for a long time.
AFTER THIS CARD: Rosenberg, much to the surprise of many, did not make the 1990 Sox roster out of Spring Training—they went with rookie Wayne Edwards instead. Rosenberg ended up at AAA Vancouver almost the entire season, making just six appearances for Chicago.
Near the end of Spring Training 1991, Rosenberg was traded to the Padres, who called him up in May. He opened with seven strong apperances before three not-so-strong appearances, and spent the remainder of '91 back with AAA Las Vegas. That December, San Diego dealt Rosenberg to the Mets.
Sadly, the 27-year-old never threw a big league pitch for the Mets or anyone else; a torn labrum wiped out his entire 1992 season. Rosenberg got in six games for High-A Riverside (Mariners) in 1993 to end his pro career.
Steve Rosenberg appeared in 1990 Score.
More January 2023 Score Cards Of The Day
1/5/23 Score Baseball Card Of The Day: 1998 Score #148 Darryl Kile, Astros
There weren't too many MLB pitchers at Darryl Kile's level in 1997; people usually credit the "Killer B's" when recalling the '97 Astros' return to postseason play after 11 years on the outside looking in. But Kile's ascencion to staff ace and Cy Young contender played NO small role in Houston's rise.
Kile had teased the Astros with his vast potential for years. I mean, remember his 1993 season when he threw a no-hitter, won seven straight starts at one point, and made the NL All-Star team? Two years after that, Kile was 4-12, 4.96 and demoted to AAA Tucson—it was anybody's guess whether or not he'd find lasting big league success at that point.
Well, here, Kile is fresh off a 1997 season that we can assuredly call "successful". The 28-year-old finished second in the NL in wins, third in ERA, fifth in K and second in innings. He even shined in his lone postseason start, although he still took the loss. Detractors questioned Kile emerging just in time to hit the free agent market, however.
THIS CARD: It appears we're seeing Kile reacting to perhaps a gopher ball surrendered? If so, there weren't many such opportunities for such a reaction in '97, as Kile only allowed eight road homers all season (in 17 starts).
I LOVED and miss those 1994-99 Astros uniforms. If I'm not mistaken, they're still paraded out as a throwback from time to time. If I AM mistaken...it wouldn't be the first time.
More from Kile's 1997 season: he opened the year with four consecutive eight-inning outings—although he was only 1-1 in those four outings—and went at least seven frames in 28 of his first 29 starts (and 31 of 34 overall). On 7/20, Kile shut out host Montreal on four hits, helping his cause with two hits—including a double—and a run scored.
(flip) Dierker was more than just "a former pitcher". He was a top starter for the Astros 1965-76, and he had to have had a positive effect on Kile in 1997. Dierker definitely figured in those 255.2 innings Kile threw, second in the NL to the 256 thrown by Atlanta's John Smoltz.
Kile ultimately finished (a distant) fifth in NL Cy Young Award voting, behind (from fourth to first) Philadelphia's Curt Schilling, Atlanta's Denny Neagle, Atlanta's Greg Maddux and Montreal's Pedro Martinez.
See that .233 BAA by lefties? That marked a MASSIVE improvement over their .316 average vs. Kile in 1996, and obviously a factor in his 1.62 ERA reduction in 1997.
AFTER THIS CARD: In December 1997, Kile signed with the Rockies (3Y/$24M), but as has been well-documented, his vaunted curveball just wasn't as effective in Denver's high altitude as it had been in Houston; Kile ran up a 21-30, 5.68 aggregate line across the 1998-99 seasons before (mercifully) being dealt to the Cardinals in November 1999.
Kile immediately bounced back with 20 wins and his third All-Star nod in 2000; that October, he was re-signed by St. Louis for 3Y/$23M.
The big righty enjoyed a strong 2001 campaign and seemed poised to lead the St. Louis staff for several more years. Tragically, a heart attack claimed his life in June 2002, age 33. That day's Cardinals/Cubs game was cancelled, and many of his former Astros teammates sat out their game.
Despite the huge loss, St. Louis still managed to reach the playoffs; Kile was not forgotten during their NLDS victory celebration. To date, none of his teams have reissued his uniform #57. (Click here for a cool-yet-eerie fact about that #57.)
Darryl Kile appeared in 1992-98 Score, except 1996.
1/10/23 Score Baseball Card Of The Day: 1997 Score #510 Mo Vaughn, Goin' Yard
Goin' Yard was a subset exclusive to 1997 Score; I'll give you one guess as to what it celebrated.
That is incorrect.
1996 represented quite the prolific year for most of the game's premier sluggers, some of whom were poised to break—or at least seriously challenge—home run records two years prior before that infamous, horrific labor dispute which damn near put the sport on ice for good. But with MLB's first full, 162-game season since said labor dispute, and numerous other factors, those sluggers were bound to set some records.
And they did.
Recognizing early that the home run was the key to winning back fans disillusioned by baseball's labor issues, Score—for the first time since 1991's "Master Blasters"—produced a subset celebrating MLB's top power hitters.
THIS CARD: The Goin' Yard subset occupies Card #493-517 and in addition to Vaughn, features the likes of Jim Thome, Mark McGwire, Barry Bonds, Mike Piazza, etc. Pretty much all the guys you'd expect with the glaring exception of Darin Erstad, who homered four times in 208 at-bats for the 1996 Angels.
Vaughn, in case you weren't old enough to remember was among the most feared mashers of the mid-to-late 1990's—and he sure looks the part here, does he not? In 1996, the reigning AL MVP cleared the fences 44 times, ordinarily a monster total but in '96, good for just seventh in MLB.
For some reference, in 2022 only one player in each league reached that total (Aaron Judge, Yankees, 62 and Kyle Schwarber, Phillies, 46), although the Angels' Mike Trout (40) gets there without the five-week IL stint.
(flip) There's bald, and then there's Mo Vaughn-level bald. I can't really articulate the difference other than to say Vaughn was born to rock a clean-shaven head.
As you see in the column, Vaughn's homer total escalated almost every year, with the 44 in 1996 representing his peak. That total included 27 bombs at Fenway Park, eight three-run shots, and one grand slam—the sixth of his career (he'd finish with 10 slams). Vaughn's final three homers of 1996 were all hit off Baltimore's David Wells 9/24!
Vaughn's 39 jacks in 1995 ranked fourth in the AL, while his 26 in strike-shortened 1994 ranked seventh.
AFTER THIS CARD: Vaughn went on to average 36 blasts for the Red Sox and Angels from 1997-2000 before sitting out 2001 (biceps surgery). He only "went yard" 29 more times after that, all for the Mets, and he finished up with 328 lifetime in MLB.
In Red Sox history, Vaughn's 230 home runs rank seventh, and that '96 output tied him with Carl Yastrzemski (1967) for the team's sixth-best season total. David Ortiz is the only lefty Red Sox batter to "go yard" more in a single season (54 in 2006, 47 in 2005).
1/15/23 Score Baseball Card Of The Day: 1996 Score #319 Lee Tinsley, Red Sox
Lee Tinsley was a big league journeyman who, for three months, shed that label as a regular for the postseason-bound 1995 Red Sox.
Originally a #1 pick by the 1987 Athletics, then-prospect Tinsley whiffed his way out of Oakland's plans and into the Cleveland system in mid-1991. The Indians waived Tinsley in late September 1992, the Mariners snatched him up, and Tinsley made his big league debut for Seattle in 1993. He was just 3-for-19 across two stints with the team (April and July, totaling 11 games), and the M's dealt him to Boston during Spring Training 1994.
Here, after spending 1994 as a Red Sox reserve, Tinsley has completed a 1995 season that saw him bat .284 in 100 games (83 starts) as Boston's primary CF. The 26-year-old opened the year with a 14-game hit streak, but the league eventually adjusted and by season's end, rookie Dwayne Hosey—Tinsley's old outfield mate at Class A Madison (Athletics)—was getting the bulk of run in center field.
THIS CARD: This is not a randomly selected card. We specially selected this card in memory of Tinsley, who passed away 1/12/2023 at age 53. No cause of death has been publicly revealed to my knowledge.
Usually, there was never anything to complain about regarding Score's front images. But if I were a (previously marginal) player coming off a breakout year, I wouldn't want the card representing that year to depict me rubbing my neck. I mean, after all that breakout quarterback Brock Purdy just did for the 49ers, could you imagine if his 2023 football card depicts him tying his shoe?
More form Tinsley's 1995 season: he also compiled a 15-game hit streak in June, after which his season average stood at .320! Prior to that streak, Tinsley spent three weeks on the DL with a pulled right quad; he'd return to the DL in late August (strained left rib cage muscle) and miss 13 more games. On 7/21 against the visiting Twins, Tinsley went 4-for-5 with a double and three runs scored, busting out of a 3-for-26 slump.
(flip) Those 13 steals in 1994 came in 13 attempts.
Not shown in the stats: Tinsley's bloated MiLB K totals. He whiffed 177 and 175 times in 1989 and 1990, respectively, and left the A's organization with a career 39% K rate. But as a big leaguer Tinsley's K rate dropped to 24%.
BATS: Both?? I always remembered Tinsley as a lefty and I've got ZERO memories of him from the right side. Of course, I always remembered former Expos 3B Shane Andrews as "hulking" until faced with video evidence proving otherwise.
AFTER THIS CARD: Tinsley was on the move in January 1996, packaged to the Phillies in a deal for CL Heathcliff Slocumb. In early June, however, the Phillies dealt Tinsley back to Boston (for a minor leaguer) after watching him go 7-for-52 with a DL stint (ribcage).
Now 28, Tinsley hit .197 in 49 games for the 1997 Mariners—half of that as their regular LF prior to May elbow surgery. Though his pro career continued into 2000 (in the Angels, Expos and Reds systems as well as Mexico), Tinsley never played in MLB again.
From there, Tinsley kicked off a long, varied coaching run in both the majors and minors; he worked on the big league staffs of the D'Backs (2006-07) Mariners (2008-10) and Reds (2014-15). Tinsley's last pro coaching job was with AA Mobile (Angels) in 2018.
Lee Tinsley appeared in 1996 Score.
1/20/23 Score Baseball Card Of The Day: 1993 Score #114 Rico Brogna, Tigers
Bet'cha didn't know, or had long forgotten, that 1990's defensive whiz Rico Brogna was originally a Tiger!
Yes, indeed—Brogna cut his major league teeth under the guise of the great Sparky Anderson under the dusty lights of old Tiger Stadium. This card covers that MLB initiation, which consisted of Brogna starting nine games at 1B/DH for Detroit in mid-August 1992.
THIS CARD: Brogna (pronounced BROAN-yuh) takes a road hack during his brief '92 major league trial. As a Tiger, the only road parks Brogna batted in were Arlington Stadium (Rangers) and Royals Stadium, as it was then named. I'm guessing this is Arlington.
Brogna was never married to a uniform number; here, we (partially) view his #13, a number that Tigers fans of the day still linked to six-time All Star C Lance Parrish. (Another All-Star Tigers C, Alex Avila, had #13 in the 2010s.) Brogna's glory years with the Mets and Phillies were spent with #26 and #2, respectively, on his back.
As you see, Score credits Brogna as a Rookie Prospect. It was NOT his first time with the RP designation, however—despite having not yet sniffed the bigs, Brogna also appeared in 1991 Score as a Rookie Prospect.
(flip) Brogna's "short stay" with the Tigers kicked off when spare OF Shawn Hare hit the DL with a strained right knee.
Note Brogna's nine games with the Tigers; the fifth of those nine shouldn't really count. On 8/14 at Texas, lefty-hitting Brogna started at DH in the eight-hole against Rangers righty Roger Pavlik—but when the first seven Tigers knocked Pavlik from the game in the T1st, lefty Brian Bohanon replaced him—leading Anderson to pinch-hit righty-hitting Skeeter Barnes for Brogna before the latter had a chance to bat even once! But technically, Brogna "played" that night.
Brogna's debut double was against Dave Stieb of the visiting Blue Jays 8/8. It was not a frozen rope by any stretch, but it still counted.
AFTER THIS CARD: Back in AAA for 1993 and still firmly blocked at 1B by Cecil Fielder, Detroit dealt Brogna to the Mets late in Spring Training 1994. In New York, Brogna blossomed, batting .289, 22, 76 as the 1995 Mets' starting 1B. Shoulder surgery derailed his 1996 season, but he bounced back with three straight 20+ homer seasons for the Phillies, who traded for him in November 1996.
(Quick trivia: In 1998 Brogna became the first Phillies 1B with 100 RBI since Bill White in 1966, believe it or not!)
An errant pitch broke Brogna's arm in May 2000; when he returned in July, his job belonged to rookie slugger Pat Burrell, much to Brogna's displeasure. He soon landed with the Red Sox via waivers, but only hit .196 in 56 scattered AB and was not retained.
That December, Brogna signed with the Braves for 2001 (1Y/$1.5M plus incentives). But in mid-July, he'd marked '01 as his final season—understandable, as he'd lost playing time to newcomer Ken Caminiti, slumped at the plate and battled an arthritic condition. Within days, Atlanta DFA'd the 31-year-old, ending his MLB career three months early.
Brogna worked in pro baseball off-and-on from 2010 to 2021; he managed the Class A Stockton Ports (Athletics) to a 42-75 record in '21 but currently coaches baseball at his HS alma mater.
Rico Brogna appeared in 1991, 1993, 1996 and 1997 (twice) Score. He was one of the deserving vets who didn't get a chance to appear in 1998 Score Series 2.
1/25/23 Score Baseball Card Of The Day: 1998 Score #147 Jeff Juden, Indians
Juden, a colossal (figuratively and literally) disappointment for most of his major league career, finally enjoyed a run of success on the mound in 1997. Lacking much rotation depth, Montreal—who was able to acquire the big fella for nothing in mid-1996 because of his unpopularity in the Giants clubhouse—was more or less forced to rely on Juden out of Spring Training 1997, especially with ace Pedro Martinez injured.
This time, however, Juden did NOT disappoint, going 11-5, 4.22 in 22 starts before being traded to the postseason-bound Indians. He was not as effective in Cleveland and lost his rotation spot fairly quickly, but reclaimed it a month later when SP John Smiley suffered a career-ending broken arm.
THIS CARD: We're seeing Juden about to deliver either his low-to-mid-90's fastball—which by '97 he could also cut and sink—his curve or his slider. Juden also had a so-so changeup, but I can't remember seeing much of it by 1997.
Juden the Indian looked OFF to teenage me. For the only time in his MLB career, he wore a single digit number (#7) with Cleveland, and watching that massive man with that narrow number on his back just didn't compute. (Remember: in those days, few, if ANY pitchers of any size wore single digits—there was no Marcus Stroman or Blake Snell.)
More from Juden's 1997 season: he entered the year with one career CG but fired three in 1997, including 6/15 against the visiting Tigers. That day, Juden scattered six hits and delivered an RBI hit of his own in a 10-2 Expos victory. His most impressive performance is detailed in the blurb.
(flip) Juden opened as the Expos' #2 starter in part due to his determination, but also in part to few alternatives. How slim were the pickings? Jim Bullinger started on Opening Day and Marc Valdes was the #4 starter. (It got better; eventual Cy Young Award winner Martinez debuted 4/15, #3 man Carlos Perez proved recovered from 1996 shoulder surgery, and Dustin Hermanson emerged as a solid rotation piece after opening the year in relief.)
Cleveland's Deadline trade for Juden sent rookie RP Steve Kline back to the Expos. Kline went on to top the NL in appearances for three straight years (1998-99 Expos, 2000 Cardinals).
I see we're presenting this card six days after Juden's 52nd birthday. I remember being a teen watching the first wave of major leaguers (including Juden) who were born in the 1970's. Now there's a big leaguer who was born after the World Trade Center attacks (Mets C Francisco Alvarez)...geez.
AFTER THIS CARD: The now-27-year-old split 1998 between the Brewers and Angels (8-14, 5.80 in 32/30 games/starts), starting yet another dustup in April against OF Marvin Benard and the Giants (he was well known for throwing at hitters and clearing benches).
Juden spent almost all of 1999 in the AAA Columbus rotation before the Yankees called him up for a pair of outings—his last in the majors. Juden's last pro action came with AAA Charlotte (White Sox) in 2001.
Surprisingly, this was Jeff Juden's first and only Score card.