Score Baseball Card Of The Day
"I have opinions of my own -- strong opinions -- but I don't always agree with them." -- President George W. Bush
SCORE Archive 2020: November/December
I own every Score card ever made (1988-98) and still lament their parent company, Pinnacle, going bankrupt during my senior year of high school.
Time has not diminished the detailed blurbs and awesome photography that was Score baseball, however. I've long done a Topps Card Of The Day feature on this site and have now decided to add Score to the mix on days a Topps card is not profiled. This company, defunct or not, deserves appreciation from collectors past and present—shoot, maybe a new generation of card enthusiasts will become enamored with Score as I did.
(We will not be presenting any Score Rookies & Traded cards; I never collected them because they were too different from the base sets.)
Click on images for larger views.
7/29/21 Score Baseball Card Of The Day: 1989 Score #74 Albert Hall, Braves
Outfielder Albert "Al" Hall appeared in 16 games for the Braves from 1981-83, finally receiving a real look in 1984 (87 games, 26 starts) and batting a decent .261. In 1985, new manager Eddie Haas used Hall primarily as a PH; he went 5-for-32 and spent a couple of months back in the minors.
Mostly off the radar in '86, Hall re-established himself in 1987, batting .284 with 33 steals in 92 games...plus hitting for the cycle in September! Hall saved the triple for last; his arrival at 3B was not exactly graceful.
Here, 30-year-old Hall is fresh off a disappointing 1988 season. Used as a part-timer, his average plummeted 37 points from '87, his steals decreased, and he missed chunks of the second half with physical issues, including a groin injury.
THIS CARD: Hall was a switch-hitter who, in 1988, batted .278 from the right side and .188 lefty. Odd, since his career right/left averages were near identical (.252/.249).
Guys like Hall who have almost no power ESPECIALLY shouldn't be chasing a pitch at the letters. Hall homered once in 1988 and I'd bet my tongue it wasn't on this pitch.
More from Hall's 1988 season: beginning in early July, he spent 59 days on the DL and only accrued 19 second-half plate appearances. But on 4/16 he went 3-for-5 with three runs scored at the Dodgers, and in late May he swiped a base in four consecutive starts.
(flip) Hall resembles an older, meaner, clean-shaven Bip Roberts.
After cycling through #31 and #2 in previous years, Hall slapped on #1 for the Braves from 1986-88. Some pretty notable Braves have since claimed the number, including Otis Nixon in the 1990's, Rafael Furcal in the 2000's and Ozzie Albies at present. Albies just might have it retired in his honor someday.
Great speed is a mild understatement. Hall finished his MiLB career with 455 steals in just 946 games!
Score forgot how to math—Hall was actually the first Brave in 77 years to hit for the cycle; it had last been done in 1910 by William Collins of the Boston Braves. Only two other Atlanta Braves (Mark Kotsay in 2008 and Freddie Freeman in 2016) have accomplished the feat since!
AFTER THIS CARD: Precious little, on the field anyway. Hall admitted to alcoholism and voluntarily entered a treatment center during Spring Training 1989. Atlanta soon released him, allegedly due to performance; Hall filed a grievance but lost. After spending most of 1989 batting over .300 for AAA Buffalo (Pirates), Hall was called up to MLB, where he took the final 33 AB of his pro career.
Albert Hall appeared in 1988-89 Score.
More July 2021 Score Cards Of The Day
7/2/21 Score Baseball Card Of The Day: 1991 Score #695 Cory Snyder, Rifleman
In addition to being a dangerous power hitter, Indians RF Cory Snyder boasted perhaps THE best outfield arm in the American League, if not all of baseball. By 1990, his fifth year in MLB, only the inexperienced or foolish tested him on the bases and most of them regretted it.
THIS CARD: 1991 Score featured what must have been a dozen quality, original subsets; "Rifleman" was 10 cards deep and showcased the likes of Sandy Alomar Jr. and Eric Davis as well. I knew the company was unlikely to ever produce anything like it again; it'd just be the same few guys with slightly re-worded blurbs.
Interesting how Snyder is depicted making a casual (maybe even a warm-up) throw rather than unleashing a missile from the outfield. Score must have not wanted to risk traumatizing any of Snyder's victims who happened to collect cards.
(flip) Snyder was presumably 27 when this image was taken. As you can see, he—like many dudes of his era—looked closer to 47.
In 1990, Snyder "only" generated 11 outfield assists, but that was because by then, as we alluded to above, only the unwise seriously challenged him. Plus he only played 120 games (111 starts) in the outfield.
AFTER THIS CARD: After 1990, Snyder's days as a regular major league outfielder pretty much ended, though he did get extensive RF run with the 1993 Dodgers and gunned 12 runners. If he'd hit enough to spend his whole career in the outfield, he probably would have erased 120-150 runners over the years.
7/5/21 Score Baseball Card Of The Day: 1994 Score #86 Don Slaught, Pirates
I best remember Don Slaught as half of the early 1990's Pirates catching platoon, and I remember young me being a little stunned to learn he'd had a whole entire career long before landing in Pittsburgh. (Kids seem to think the world began when they did.)
Slaught received extensive run for the early 1980's Royals, mid-1980's Rangers (replacing the popular Jim Sundberg) and late 1980's Yankees, most often as the #1 catcher. For whatever reason, New York dealt Slaught to the Pirates prior to the 1989 season—maybe George Steinbrenner wanted some Tyler Chicken.
Here, after several years splitting time with lefty-hitting Mike LaValliere (who was released in early 1993), 34-year-old Slaught has become the main receiver in Pittsburgh. In 1993 he topped 100 games for just the second time since 1985, and set career highs in hits and RBI.
THIS CARD: I'm guessing we're seeing Slaught after unsuccessfully pursuing a foul pop behind the plate.
The left side of Slaught's face looks normal here, but seven years prior it was caved in by a fastball from Boston's Oil Can Boyd. The ensuing surgery cost Slaught six weeks on the DL.
More from Slaught's 1993 season: he hit .383 in April and hit in 14 of 17 games that month. After 4/11, his average was never lower than .296, and three of his home runs gave Pittsburgh a tie or a lead in the 8th inning or later.
(flip) In that seven-RBI game on 7/2 at Cincinnati, Slaught smoked a pair of three-run homers and added a sac fly. Despite that, Pittsburgh had to squeeze out the 10-9 win.
Just once, I'd like to hear an athlete described as weak and soft-nosed, in those words.
I'm not accusing Score of lying; I just don't remember Slaught ever bunting. But evidently, he logged 14 bunt hits during his Pirates career...interesting.
AFTER THIS CARD: Slaught slowed a bit in 1994—though he still hit .288—then missed two huge chunks of 1995 with hamstring injuries and wasn't re-signed. He opened Spring Training 1996 with the Reds but wound up with the Angels and hit a surprising .324 in 62 games before being dealt to the White Sox at the August Deadline.
Twenty hitless AB with the 1997 Padres ended Slaught's career at 38. He briefly served as Tigers' hitting coach in the mid-2000's but has otherwise been uninvolved in MLB to our knowledge.
Don Slaught appeared annually in Score 1988-95.
7/8/21 Score Baseball Card Of The Day: 1990 Score #474 Curtis Wilkerson, Cubs
Curtis AKA "Curt" Wilkerson was a #4 pick by Texas in 1980 who served as their primary SS in 1984-85. He opened 1986 in that role as well, but eventually settled into part-time duty at SS and 2B for the rest of his Rangers career. In December 1988, Wilkerson joined the Cubs as part of a nine-player trade that also sent talented RP Mitch Williams to Chicago (young 1B/OF Rafael Palmeiro became a Ranger in the deal.)
Here, Wilkerson has wrapped Year One as a Cub. He did not play much during the regular season (25 starts and a ton of pinch-hitting), but in Game 5 of the NLCS Wilkerson delivered a two-strike oppo flare off San Francisco CL Steve Bedrosian, later scoring as part of a late rally that ultimately fell short.
THIS CARD: Any other notable #19's in Cubs history? All-Star infielder Manny Trillo...and that's pretty much it. Today, coach Andy Green wears the number.
Every scouting report I read on switch-hitting Wilkerson described him as a high-ball righty hitter and a low-ball lefty hitter. Here, it looks like he got something up and still handled it well. Or drove it 150 feet foul. Who knows.
More from Wilkerson's 1989 season: his solo bomb off San Diego CL Mark Davis—that year's eventual NL Cy Young Award winner—on 4/29 was his first since 7/8/1987! And he was a gnat to Bedrosian even before the playoffs, ripping a 9th-inning, game-tying, two-run single off him 7/20 and later scoring the winning run in extras.
(flip) Wilkerson is listed as an infielder; much of his first half run came at 3B, but he racked up seven errors in just 26 games there. (Eventually, Wilkerson's 3B run went to newly-acquired Luis Salazar.) The 28-year-old played 15 games at 2B, seven at SS and even started in LF once—the only OF start of his career.
As a PH, Wilkerson batted a robust .414 (12-for-29) in 1989, which might have cost him starts.
1988 Score featured "Curt Wilkerson", but from then on he was known as "Curtis" by the company. In comparison, Topps always called him "Curt", Fleer called him "Curtis" every year except 1990, and Donruss alternated between the two.
AFTER THIS CARD: D--After a 1990 season nearly identical to '89, Chicago let Wilkerson walk. He spent 1991 as a reserve for the NL East champion Pirates, then received extensive run for the 1992 Royals (starting 80 games at three positions plus one at DH). Five weeks into the 1993 season, Wilkerson broke his ankle falling over OF Brian McRae in pursuit of a popup and was done for the year.
Despite auditions for the 1994 Royals, 1994 Expos and 1995 Mariners, the injury proved to be Wilkerson's final act as a major leaguer.
Curt/Curtis Wilkerson appeared annually in Score 1988-92.
7/11/21 Score Baseball Card Of The Day: 1996 Score #421 Matt Mieske, Brewers
Matt Mieske's claims to major league fame:
A) Being part of the return to Milwaukee when it traded disgruntled SS Gary Sheffield to the Padres, and
B) absorbing a batting cage punch with mouthy Astros teammate Mitch Meluskey.
As far as Mieske the player...for a while he wasn't half-bad. After receiving the lion's share of RF run for the 1994 Brewers from early June until just before the strike, Mieske opened 1995 as the Brewers' part-time RF.
Here, we catch up with the 27-year-old after that abbreviated 1995 campaign. In all, Mieske started 67 games in right for Milwaukee, throwing out seven runners and initiating two double plays!
THIS CARD: For those of you unfamiliar, it's pronounced "MEE-ski". Rhymes with "TEE-PEE".
Mieske wore #30 as a Brewer. Today, it's debatable who's the most notable Brewers #30: longtime SP Moose Haas or longtime IF/MGR Craig Counsell. Both have good cases. I can't choose.
More from Mieske's 1995 season: he slashed .279/.329/.531 with nine of his 12 home runs on the road. Mieske drilled grand slams on 7/9 (in the T1st off Angels ace Chuck Finley) and 9/3 (a T7th game-winner off Minnesota's Scott Watkins).
(flip) I'm gonna go ahead and guess Mieske is smiling because he just threw out a runner or made a great catch. While we all want our ballplayers to be happy, it'd cause worry if Mieske was standing in the outfield smiling at the back of John Jaha's head.
Midland, Michigan is located a hop, skip and jump NW of Saginaw (and a little further NW of Flint).
Good GOD 23 assists?! One man in one season?! Your coaches failed you, runners.
Mieske was MVP of the Northwest League (low A) in 1990, and the California League (high A) in 1991. Check out the numbers on this card and you'll see why.
AFTER THIS CARD: Mieske homered 14 times and slugged .471 in 127 games in 1996, but regressed and battled a bad hamstring in 1997. The Brewers didn't re-sign Mieske for 1998, and he signed with the Cubs. Despite a .299 showing that year, Chicago let him go that December.
Mieske only lasted two more big league seasons, most of that with the Astros (bookended by short stints with Seattle and Arizona). As if getting decked by a rookie wasn't bad enough, Mieske hit a combined .180 in 2000 and never played professionally again.
Matt Mieske appeared in 1995-97 Score. (To my surprise, nobody produced a card of Mieske the Astro.)
7/14/21 Score Baseball Card Of The Day: 1997 Score #57 Wil Cordero, Red Sox
Let me preface the following by admitting that 12-year-old me was extremely dumb. Even for a 12-year old with "gifts".
For example: when numerous MLB publications talked up Expos SS prospect Wil Cordero as if their red blood cell count depended on it, I quickly bought into the hype. Never even entertained the possibility Cordero may not reach his perceived potential. In my mind, he was going to be the second coming of Cal Ripken Jr. because there's no way the heavy hitters at Baseball Weekly could be wrong about him.
Little did I know that by the time Cordero's career ended, some teams would have preferred Billy Ripken's presence over his.
Here, Cordero has just completed his first of two seasons with the Boston Red Sox, who rescued him from the cash-strapped Expos via trade in January 1996. It was a tough year for the 25-year-old, who endured a position switch (from SS to 2B), broke his leg in May, and had no regular job upon his August return. At least Cordero's salary rose nearly 600%, to $1.85M.
THIS CARD: The young veteran stares pensively into the horizon. He had a lot of time to sit and think after Oakland C George Williams slid into his leg 5/20, setting off unpleasantness between their respective managers.
Cordero is bare-handed here, but during games I never saw him bat without gloves. His cards seem to back that up.
More from Cordero's 1996 season: though he was not having a great time defensively even prior to his injury, Cordero did bang out two hits on Opening Day. Plus, from 4/28 to 5/5, he enjoyed a 14-for-24 stretch that included a streak of six multi-hit games!
(flip) 2B never looks right by Cordero's name. I always think of him as a SS and maybe an OF. Boston had Valentin and, later, some guy named Nomar to handle SS in 1996.
Of Cordero's 59 games in 1996, only one was at 2B post-injury. He usually served as a DH or PH.
The game Cordero won? On 5/17 he walked off Oakland's Todd Van Poppel with that blast to LF (sealing a 5-3 win). It was just three days before his injury, not the five indicated in the blurb.
AFTER THIS CARD: Injuries and off-field problems dogged Cordero for much of the rest of his career, and while still a quality player at different points, often times his performance disappointed. He hit 18 HR as Boston's regular LF in 1997, but this made all the headlines.
1998 brought on another position switch, this time to 1B by the White Sox. Cordero then spent 1999 through early 2002 with the Indians (save for the first half of 2000 when Pittsburgh employed him) but repeated hand injuries limited his availability. Released in April 2002, Cordero returned to Montreal and wound up their regular 1B in a bounce-back 2003 season (.278, 16, 71).
A knee injury and subsequent surgery limited Cordero to 27 games with the 2004 Marlins, who'd signed him for 1Y/$600K plus incentives. After going 6-for-51 for the 2005 Nationals, Cordero was let go, ending his career at 34.
Wil Cordero appeared annually in Score 1993-98.
7/17/21 Score Baseball Card Of The Day: 1992 Score #331 Scott Bailes, Angels
The first time I was "introduced to" Scott Bailes, I half-believed he was Will Clark's twin. While he looked like Clark and was a left-handed major leaguer like Clark, that's where the similarities ended.
Bailes, a 1982 draft pick of the Pirates, joined Cleveland in 1985 as the PTBNL in a deal for SS Johnnie LeMaster. By the next year he was in the big leagues, initially as a reliever before moving into the rotation in mid-August. For the next three seasons, Bailes—mostly a reliever in the minors—shuffled between starting and relieving for the unsettled Indians staff, but never distinguished himself in either role for long.
The Angels gave up two prospects to acquire Bailes in January 1990; after a strong start to the season, Bailes slipped badly and finished the year with AAA Edmondton. He was later discovered to be suffering from hypoglycemia.
Here, Bailes has just wrapped his second year in Anaheim. A longshot to make the team as Spring Training commenced, Bailes won a spot by allowing one run in 13.1 innings and became the top (and at times, only) lefty in the Angels' bullpen.
THIS CARD: If you're wondering why, after six years of exclusively featuring Topps Cards Of The Day on this website, I decided to feature Score cards...it's because you'll rarely if ever find such a fun front image on a Topps card. Especially today.
What I want to know is: did Bailes see the camera and decide to channel his inner Griffey, or did the camera operator see Bailes and ask for something memorable? Either way, you can tell this reliever is having a blast and probably misses playing other positions.
Nothing says Angels like purple and green, does it? I get what early Score was trying to do with its card number-based color system, but they were wise to finally abandon it.
(flip) Maybe not twins, but you can't deny a resemblance to The Thrill.
Bailes was indeed a finesse pitcher who, in his own words, succeeded "by being a smart pitcher throwing to spots." His fastball HAD to move because it was only 85 MPH.
I'm going to research for about 67 seconds if that rookie relief wins record still stands. BRB...
...as far as I could tell, Bailes is still Cleveland's record holder in that category. Good for him.
AFTER THIS CARD: Bailes endured more struggles in 1992, and was let go by California during the World Series. After getting in 19 games for AAA Syracuse (Blue Jays) in 1993, we didn't see Bailes again on a professional mound until 1997!
The veteran southpaw made 70 combined appearances for the 1997-98 Rangers, experiencing success in '97 but putting up a 1.785 WHIP in '98. This time, his career was over for good, age 36.
Scott Bailes appeared in 1989-92 Score.
7/20/21 Score Baseball Card Of The Day: 1990 Score #172 Mike Heath, Tigers
After a long run in Oakland and brief runs with the Yankees and Cardinals, the versatile Heath completed his third full season with the Tigers in 1989. He caught a career-high 107 games that year, and was one of only three Tigers (Lou Whitaker, Fred Lynn) to reach double-digit home runs.
THIS CARD: That appears to be Kirby Puckett of the Twins making Heath regret even considering going behind the plate...OOOF. By 1989, Puck was a little bigger than he'd once been, but not as big as he would eventually get, so it could have been even worse for Heath.
Heath knew a thing or two about brutal collisions at the plate; in his major league debut, he was bowled over by two consecutive Angel runners, triggering a melee. And in 1991, a crash at home with Cincy's Barry Larkin knocked him out of MLB.
More from Heath's 1989 season: four of his homers and 10 of his RBI came in a 12-game span in early August. And he batted .285 on the road as opposed to .238 at Tiger Stadium.
(flip) Versatile indeed: in 1989 Heath also found time at 3B and the OF. Earlier in his career he played everywhere except the mound.
Heath's strong arm contributed to a 35% CS rate in 1989.
In Heath's five-hit game, 6/12/89, he drove in two runs but Detroit still fell to Toronto 5-4 in 11 innings.
AFTER THIS CARD: Heath received the majority of AB's behind the plate for the 1990 Tigers and enjoyed a solid statistical year. 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.
Later on, Heath managed in the White Sox system 1996-97.
Mike Heath appeared in 1988-92 Score.
7/23/21 Score Baseball Card Of The Day: 1994 Score #444 Joe Oliver, Reds
While Eric Davis, Hal Morris, Jose Rijo and the "Nasty Boys" got most of the press surrounding the World Champion 1990 Reds, guys like catcher Joe Oliver contributed in less sexy ways—how many guys could handle the task of going to the mound and trying to calm down Rob Dibble???
Oliver was never regarded among MLB's best at his position, but he definitely belonged in that second tier for much of the 1990's. A #2 pick out of high school by the Reds in 1983, Oliver finally completed his slow climb to the majors in 1989. By 1990, he was the Reds' primary receiver and throwing out 40% of potential base thieves. He slipped in 1991, but recovered with a solid 1992.
Here, Oliver has wrapped up a 1993 season that saw him produce several career highs, including doubles, home runs and RBI (his 75 ranked third among NL catchers). On 8/5 vs. Colorado, Oliver drove home five runs in just three official at-bats...without the benefit of a homer!
THIS CARD: If this is a pitch Oliver is corralling, it is the wildest pitch ever to be caught in major league history. (More likely, he is stopping an errant relay throw home.)
If it were still 1993, that'd be enough for me to identify the road ballpark. But just two NL parks from that time still exist, and I've had a child and copious amounts of alcohol since then. My bad.
More from Oliver's 1993 season: he had the odd distinction of committing four errors in September after only being charged with three April-August. He received occasional run at 1B and on 9/19, Oliver started in RF for the first of two times in his career.
(flip) You could grate cheese on that chin. Even if it were melted.
I'm not sure what Score means by "throwing out 30% of all base runners". That wouldn't even happen in a cartoon. I can't even say they meant base STEALERS because the percentages are wrong. If Pinnacle still existed, an email might be in order.
It is a coincidence we're presenting Oliver's card a day before his 56th birthday. COTD selections are typically random, but sometimes oddities occur such as this.
AFTER THIS CARD: Oliver lost all but six games of the 1994 season to a form of knee/ankle arthritis called synovitis, then moved on to Milwaukee for the 1995 season. Obviously impressed by his strong bounce-back performance, the Reds re-signed Oliver to a 1Y/$500K deal for '96 and a MiLB deal for '97. They received a pair of typical Joe Oliver seasons...which is to say they received quite a bargain.
From there, Oliver's bags remained packed. He moved between Detroit, Seattle, Pittsburgh, Seattle again, the Yankees and Boston 1998-2001, and that doesn't even include his extended 1999 stint with AAA Durham (Devil Rays). Other than his second go with Seattle, Oliver didn't hit a whole lot at any of the big league stops, and his career quietly ended at 36 after the 2001 season.
Joe Oliver appeared in 1990-96 Score.
7/26/21 Score Baseball Card Of The Day: 1995 Score #363 Jerry Browne, Marlins
I was about 13 when Browne landed with the Oakland A's, and for the life of me I could not figure out why he was nicknamed "The Governor". You see, as a stupid kid, I was unaware that California once had (and would have again) a governor named Jerry Brown back in the day. Shoot, I barely knew who the California governor was at that time.
Sorry for anyone who had to deal with me in the mid-1990's...
The uber-versatile Browne, after meaningful runs in Texas, Cleveland and Oakland, landed with the Florida Marlins for 1994. Here, he's just concluded that strike-shortened season, one in which he led the Marlins in walks while capably handling five positions.
THIS CARD: Browne looks rather serious and focused...like a governor might.
Though on the sidelines here, Browne didn't get a whole lot of off-days in '94, playing in 101 of Florida's 115 games. That was probably a few more than the team expected when it signed him to a 1Y/$650K deal prior to the 1994 season, but Browne played his way into the lineup.
More from Browne's 1994 season: he received the majority of his run at 3B and had pretty much become the regular there by the time the strike hit in August—hence the designation on this card. Browne also started 11 times at 2B and 14 times across all three outfield spots, while pinch-hitting 12 times.
(flip) Off-hand, I don't know any other #14's in Marlins history. After researching, turns out a couple of solid veteran Marlins sported the number—OF Josh Willingham and IF Martin Prado. Today, Adam Duvall is having a fine year with #14 on his back.
I have been under the impression that players are eligible to be drafted directly from the Virgin Islands, but Browne's undrafted status is bringing that into question. Only 15 big leaguers ever have come out of the VI, with SP Jharel Cotton being the most recent.
To reach that .295 average in 1994, Browne had to bat .322 in his final 58 games after a .243 start through 5/30. He was carrying an 11-game hit streak when the season ended.
AFTER THIS CARD: Not much. Browne returned to Florida for 1995, but fell to .255 in 77 games and lost six weeks to separate DL stints (thigh, quadriceps). MiLB deals with the 1996 Mets and 1997 Rangers led nowhere, and Browne's pro career ended.
Jerry Browne appeared annually in Score 1988-95, except 1989.