Score Baseball Card Of The Day, May 2022
5/30/22 Score Baseball Card Of The Day: 1994 Score #250 Steve Frey, Angels
Steve Frey, a more-than-capable lefty reliever for the Expos, Angels and Giants during the mid-1990's, joined the Halos via 1992 Spring Training sale from the Expos. As a 28-year-old southpaw just a year removed from excelling for the Expos, it was an extremely low-risk move for a club now run by Frey's old Expos manager Buck Rodgers.
Here, Frey has completed his second of two seasons in Anaheim. While the first year was good, Year #2 was even better, as Frey ascended to part-time closer for the 1993 Angels and picked up a team-high 13 saves. He allowed just one home run all season! (Milwaukee's John Jaha, 8/20)
THIS CARD: For the record, it's pronounced "Fry".
Frey looks equal parts grizzled and green in this pic; he has the look of a man who'd punch you in the lungs for looking at him sideways, but immediately feel bad about it and buy you a beer afterward. And it's all because of the mustache.
More from Frey's 1993 season: he alternated closing duties with righty Joe Grahe, never earning more than five save ops in any month. His first save (4/21) might have been his toughest, as he entered in the B9th with runners on the corners and the Angels up 7-6 on the Indians (who'd already scored twice in the inning). Frey retired the tough Reggie Jefferson via flyout to end it.
(flip) Does Frey not look as if he just released a bowling ball rather than a baseball?
Why are Frey's MiLB stats included here? He'd been in the majors five seasons. I guess Score didn't have enough blurb material.
Left-handed hitters batted just .231 against Frey in 1993 and .255 lifetime (they went 26-for-90 against Frey in 1995-96 to help up that final average).
AFTER THIS CARD: In January 1994, Frey received 2Y/$1.85M deal from my Giants—solid dollars at the time for a pitcher with his resume (and $150K more than the Angels offered).
Unfortunately, like too many SF pitchers, the now-30-year-old slipped that year.
Frey would split 1995 between the Giants, Mariners and Phillies, compiling 31 total appearances. He matched that workload for the 1996 Phillies and was largely decent except for a six-run outing in July, but Frey's last three professional seasons were spent entirely in AAA (Angels, Red Sox, Rangers systems 1997-99).
Steve Frey appeared in 1991 and 1994 Score.
More May 2022 Score Cards Of The Day
5/5/22 Score Baseball Card Of The Day: 1989 Score #10 Darryl Strawberry, Mets
Two years removed from their 1986 World Series championship, the 1988 Mets had designs on returning to the Fall Classic. Superstar Darryl Strawberry, as always, was right in the middle of things—he led the NL in homers for the first time and was the Mets' top RBI man. If that weren't enough, Straw was just one off Lenny Dystra's team lead for stolen bases!
As in the past, I will do my best to avoid cheap shots at Strawberry in this profile. It's challenging for me, since I am deeply irked by great players who piss their talent away. But I'll give it maximum effort.
THIS CARD: The long, slender but strong body gearing up to do damage...I swear, Straw was built to wear Mets pinstripes. Strawberry might have been the only guy ever who was exciting while STARTING his swing.
Since Strawberry left the Mets for the Dodgers shortly after the 1990 season ended, his #18 has made the rounds, with dudes like Bret Saberhagen and Moises Alou donning it during their Flushing tenures. C Travis d'Arnaud wore it for a while after switching from #7; today #18 belongs to young outfielder Nick Plummer (for now).
More from Strawberry's 1988 season: the 1988 NL home run leader blew away second-place finisher Glenn Davis of the Astros with 39 bombs to Davis's 30. Strawberry went 4-for-4 with two solo homers on Opening Day, then homered twice on Closing Day as well! Strawberry also enjoyed a stretch of eight homers in 17 games from mid-July into August.
(flip) Of those 101 RBI in 1988, five came in one 7/27 game at Philadelphia—without the benefit of a homer!
Strawberry passed ex-Met Dave Kingman with his 155th homer 5/3/1988. It's crazy to know he is STILL the Mets' home run leader today with 252! (But if they're able to retain Pete Alonso, Straw is going to be a distant second in 15 years.)
As you see in the stats, Strawberry just missed his second straight 30-30 season. He remains one of just three Mets to accomplish the feat (David Wright in 2007 and Howard Johnson three times).
AFTER THIS CARD: After a sluggish 1989, Strawberry hit .277 with 37 homers and 108 RBI in 1990, making his seventh straight All-Star team in the process. The Dodgers signed the 28-year-old to a 5Y/$20.25M deal that November—about the equivalent of $250M today—and watched his career slowly enter the toilet after an up-and-down 1991 campaign.
Back issues, tax issues, legal issues, drug issues—not much went right for Strawberry on or off the field from 1992-93 and the Dodgers let him go in early 1994 with two years left on his expensive deal. After an encouraging stint with the '94 Giants, Strawberry hooked up with the Yankees in mid-1995 and got in 63 games for them in 1996—his most MLB run since 1991.
The 35-year-old lost almost all of 1997 to knee surgery, but returned in 1998 to wallop 24 homers in 345 AB for the Yankees before surgery for colon cancer prematurely ended his season. A drug suspension limited Strawberry to 24 games in 1999, and during Spring Training 2000, he was removed from a workout by the Commissioner's Office as an investigation into his continued drug use took place.
Straw was ultimately suspended for the 2000 season, and there'd be no comeback this time.
In retirement, Strawberry'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 Score 1988-97.
5/10/22 Score Baseball Card Of The Day: 1992 Score #833 Kim Batiste, Phillies
The late infielder Batiste is probably best remembered for his walk-off double to win Game 1 of the 1993 NLCS, shortly after committing a costly error. Batiste lasted parts of four seasons with the Phillies, mostly off the bench and frequently as a defensive sub for 3B Dave Hollins.
Here, Batiste is just a rookie, called up by Philadelphia in September 1991. He drilled a single off Houston's Ryan Bowen in his first at-bat!
THIS CARD: Batiste takes off running as a Mets infielder (Chris Donnels?) races to cover or back up a base, presumably. He only played once against the Mets in 1991, pinch-running on September 29 in an eventual 4-3 Phillies loss.
According to the 9/29/1991 Phillies/Mets box score, this was a day game, but a windy one with a 67º starting temp. Batiste sat around in these conditions until the 9th, explaining the sleeves in the sunlight.
Nothing says Phillies like purple and green, eh? Score finally did away with the color-tier system after the 1992 set, about the only major issue I have with the early Score sets.
(flip) I see just a little Dennis Haysbert (Pedro Cerrano from Major League I and II) in Batiste. Do you?
In short—no pun intended—Batiste was not the Phillies regular SS in 1992. But he was one of FIVE men to start at least 25 times at the position for Philadelphia. So there's that.
Without looking, I can wager that Spartanburg may still exist as a location, but no longer houses a minor league club. And I'd also wager that was the case even before the 2020-21 restructuring.
AFTER THIS CARD: The 1993 season was Batiste's best, as he batted .282 with five homers in 156 at-bats. But that production slipped in '94, and Batiste was out of the majors in 1995.
The 28-year-old resurfaced with my Giants in 1996 (which I have zero memory of). He batted .208 in 54 games and never played in the majors again (though he was an Independent Leaguer 1998-2003). Batiste finished his career with exactly 14 walks in 684 major league plate appearances, and having watched many of his at-bats, I'm (kind of) surprised he drew that MANY free passes.
Batiste sadly passed away from kidney surgery complications in October 2020, age 52.
Kim Batiste appeared in 1992-95 Score.
5/15/22 Score Baseball Card Of The Day: 1988 Score #347 Andy Hawkins, Padres
The Randomizer knows ALL.
Case in point: on the same day SP Hunter Greene and the Reds lost a game in which they allowed no hits—just the sixth such occurrence in league history—the Randomizer selects the card of a pitcher credited with one of the other five no-hit losses.
Granted, Hawkins hadn't achieved his "feat" at the time this card was released, but let's not split hairs—out of the 250-300 pitchers featured in 1988 Score, we selected one of only two pitchers in the set (Matt Young) to take a no-hit loss. On the day of a no-hit loss.
Baseball cards. Pretty freaky stuff sometimes...
THIS CARD: Hawkins seems to be hurling at some Spring Training ballpark. Or, more specifically, a Little League ballpark. Not even Olympic Stadium in Montreal ever resorted to billboard-type ads on the walls.
In 1989, #40 was issued to phenom and future Padres ace SP Andy Benes. Since Benes' 1995 departure, the number has passed through approximately 472 Padres, the best of whom might be the current wearer, Ryan Weathers.
More from Hawkins' 1987 season: if 1986 represented a dip from his 18-win 1985 season, 1987 represented a plummet. Hawkins started 0-5, 5.64 and battled shoulder tendinitis in the second half, but on 5/12 the career .113 hitter singled twice against Pittsburgh's Rick Reuschel, a Cy Young contender that year!
(flip) Of those 24 appearances in 1987, four of the final five came in relief. And three of those RA were scoreless.
Even for the times, 69 K in 228 innings (in 1985) was astoundingly low. For Christ sake, Andres Galarraga and Juan Samuel were in the NL that year.
I'd heard of Elroy Face but knew nothing else about him. Turns out he finished that '59 season 18-1...EXCLUSIVELY out of the bullpen. Face pitched 14 seasons with Pittsburgh, made three All-Star teams and helped the Bucs to the 1960 World Championship. At 94, he's still kicking!
AFTER THIS CARD: Hawkins enjoyed a strong 1988 season for SD (14-11, 3.35) and was signed to a 3Y/$3.6M free agent deal by the Yankees that fall. As tough as Hawkins' 1989 was, his 1990 was even worse and after a disastrous June start vs. Boston that cost Bucky Dent his managerial job, Hawkins was thisclose to joining him in the unemployment line—only Mike Witt's sudden injury spared him from Dent's fate.
Hawkins did have high points in '90, which included: a July no-hitter at the White Sox and an 11.2-inning exertion vs. Minnesota—both of which he lost! (The no-no isn't recognized as such today since, as the visitor that day, Hawkins completed just eight innings.) But overall he finished just 5-12, 5.37 and did not pitch the final three weeks.
With his ERA nearing 10, New York let Hawkins go in early 1991; he hooked up with the A's, learned a forkball, and pitched better for a time (4-3, 3.98, 1.26 WHIP in first 11 starts), but was ultimately let go in August. A Spring 1992 comeback with Seattle went nowhere, and that was it for the 10-year veteran.
Hawkins coached in MiLB 2001-08, was the Rangers bullpen coach 2009-15, and then coached for AAA Omaha (Royals) 2016-19. He appeared in 1988, 1989 and 1991 Score.
5/20/22 Score Baseball Card Of The Day: 1992 Score #669 Dave West, Twins
Not to be confused with the intimidating Hornets, Pacers, Spurs and Warriors big man of the 2010's NBA.
This David West was, at one point, best known as part of the Twins' return when they traded star lefty Frank Viola to the Mets in 1989. In 1990, West was given 27 starts for the lowly Twins, and while he was far from dazzling that year, for the most part he held his own and gave Minnesota a fighting chance to win.
Here, West is fresh off a 1991 season marred by muscle injuries and their ensuing rehab. He had a spot to lose in the '91 Twins rotation, but had to wait until July to make his season premiere.
THIS CARD: Sadly, this is not a random selection. We're presenting this card in memory of West, who passed away 5/14/2022 from brain cancer, age 57. According to Wikipedia, he's the sixth former Phillie to die of brain cancer in recent years...what the hell was in that Veterans Stadium turf?!!
Originally, we randomly selected 1992 Score #75 to present today, but I made the executive decision to replace Andre "The Hawk" Dawson with West upon learning of his passing. We've never done that before, usually presenting an extra Topps card in such circumstances. But right now I do not need any extra work.
We also presented West's 1994 Score card on December 4, 2021.
Something is off with this image. It appears we're watching West deliver from the first base region. But that appears to be a first baseman playing behind West (where a third baseman would be) and facing the wrong way. SHAME on you, Score, for your deceptive tactics!!
(flip) Note West's birthday; not once in his MLB career did he ever pitch on 9/1. I really, REALLY hope he did not go to management and ask for the day off to go party or something.
Kevin Tapani was the Twins ace starter for a time and Rick Aguilera was their ace closer around the same time. Viola was getting older and pricier; in the end Minnesota won the deal since the Mets never went anywhere with Viola on the roster while the Twins were the '91 World Series champs.
West threw the fastball, the slider, and something that other publications (including this card) only describe as a "breaking ball". He usually attacked with his low-90's heat, however—in his day, that was pretty significant gas.
AFTER THIS CARD: After an erratic 1992 season, West was shipped off to the Phillies, where—after shedding some excess pounds—he developed into a bullpen force for the 1993 NL Champions. West posted a 2.92 ERA in 76 games, racking up 87 K in 86 innings that year!
West returned to the rotation in early 1994 and threw very well, but underwent major shoulder surgery after eight starts in 1995.
Expected to be out until 1997 (if not forever), West returned to the mound in late 1996 and gave the Phils four decent-or-better starts out of six total. He pitched for Daiei of the Japan League in 1997, endured a brief, rough go as a Red Sox reliever in 1998, then faded away from pro baseball at 34. RIP, big fella.
Dave/David West appeared annually in Score 1989-94, except 1993.
5/25/22 Score Baseball Card Of The Day: 1998 Score #229 Jorge Fabregas, White Sox
Some predicted stardom for lefty-hitting receiver Jorge Fabregas during his days as an Angels prospect. And while that didn't come to fruition, Fabregas still enjoyed nearly a decade in MLB and was a part of some notable teams (if only for a while in some cases).
The 1997 White Sox are widely known as the "White Flag" team for trading away star pitchers Wilson Alvarez and Roberto Hernandez at the deadline despite being just three games out in the ALC, but just two weeks prior they were trying to get better, acquiring Fabregas from the Angels in a four-player trade.
THIS CARD: Fabregas reacting to some action in the field. Not all catchers remove their mask once the ball is in play, especially when expecting a play at the plate, but Fabregas does here. He seems to be rushed; perhaps he's just begun to pursue/back up a popup on the infield?
I see a little of Chandler's famous whack-job roommate from Friends in Fabregas. Hopefully Jorge will refrain from stuffing live goldfish in his pocket, though.
More from Fabregas' 1997 season: just click here.
(flip) Having debuted in 1994, Fabregas was still arbitration-eligible in 1997, which is why he's only Signed Through 1998 here.
Eight passed balls in 1997 is kind of a lot. Charlie Hough was long gone from the Sox by 1997.
Fabregas was indeed a 1991 sandwich pick, compensation for the Angels losing free agent Chili Davis to the Twins in January 1991. Fabregas went #34 overall.
"Sharing Time With Ron Karkovice" is a nice way of saying Fabregas, not long after his acquisition, took over Karkovice's job as #1 catcher. This displeased Karko.
AFTER THIS CARD: Except for 2000, when he somehow hit .282 for the Royals, Fabregas struggled to keep his average above the Mendoza for the rest of his career. Despite that, he hung around MLB through 2002 thanks to generally reliable defense.
Fabregas was an original Diamondback in 1998 before being traded to the Mets at the Deadline; he spent almost all of 1999 with the Marlins (Atlanta acquired him for the final month) before his KC stint. The Angels brought Fabregas back for 2001-02 before dealing him to Milwaukee at the '02 Deadline; his career ended after being released from his MiLB contract with Tampa Bay in June 2003.
Jorge Fabregas appeared in 1995, 1996 and 1998 Score.