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.
2/20/21 Score Baseball Card Of The Day: 1989 Score #563 Brady Anderson, Orioles
In the year 1988, Brady Anderson was nowhere close to becoming "Brady Anderson". In fact, he was just another traded prospect, sent from Boston to Baltimore in a deal for veteran SP Mike Boddicker.
Anderson, a Maryland native who went to HS in California, did get 43 starts in CF for the talent-starved '88 Orioles, but was only able to muster a .198 batting average. He was far from a sure bet going into the '89 season.
THIS CARD: Don't ask me how the Randomizer picked two 1989 Score Baltimore Orioles within three selections, let alone two of the most prominent Orioles of the 1990's. I just click the mouse.
Anderson's relaxed, easy swing in action at an unidentifiable road ballpark. In 1988, Anderson hit far better on the road than at home, for both the Red Sox and Orioles.
More from Anderson's 1988 season: he enjoyed a four-hit game 9/16 at Detroit, and recorded three hits in the season's final game. Baltimore lost both, however.
(flip) I've said it before: Anderson looks like a whole different dude without the 'burns.
Anderson started in CF for the Red Sox on Opening Day, a 10-inning loss to the Tigers. And I hate when my summaries end up matching the blurb almost word-for-word. (BTW, some Curt Schilling guy also went to Baltimore in the Boddicker deal.)
Pawtucket Red Sox, RIP. For those of you unaware, the team moved to nearby Worcester for the 2021 season.
AFTER THIS CARD: Anderson finally established himself as a full-time big leaguer (and heartthrob) in 1992, and was a regular for Baltimore through the 2001 season—first as a left fielder, then back to his original center field spot.
Always good for a dozen or two home runs per year, Anderson turned heads (and aroused heavy PED suspicion) when he exploded for a then-team record 50 jacks in an All-Star 1996 season—including four in a row leading off games!
Anderson returned to the All-Star Game in 1997 and signed a 6Y/$31M extension that December, but by 2001 he was 37 and couldn't hit his weight. Baltimore showed Anderson the door, and his career ended after 80 AB with the 2002 Indians and a fruitless MiLB deal with the 2003 Padres. Anderson, elected to the Orioles Hall of Fame in 2004, worked as an Orioles executive 2010-19.
Brady Anderson appeared annually in Score 1989-98.
More February 2021 Score Cards Of The Day
2/2/21 Score Baseball Card Of The Day: 1998 Score #182 Travis Fryman, Tigers
If you're going to be asked to essentially displace a longtime legend who'd (eventually) end up in the Hall of Fame, you better be up for the task. Travis Fryman was—after swallowing up some of aging Alan Trammell's playing time in 1991, he took over as Tigers SS in 1992 when Trammell broke his ankle early in the season.
Though Fryman started 81 games at SS in 1993 (with his predecessor now a utilityman), by season's end he was Detroit's 3B, and barely missed a game through the end of his Tigers tenure.
Here, Fryman has wrapped up his 8th and final year in Detroit. He committed an incredible 10 errors in over 1,300 innings at 3B in 1997 (just one after 8/10), while leading the Tigers with 11 sacrifice flies (good for 5th in the AL).
THIS CARD: Fryman fires one across the diamond. Or does he? He doesn't seem anywhere near the 3B line; he must be playing a bunt.
After shifting between SS (his natural position) and 3B for his first three years—and again in 1996—Fryman played 3B exclusively for the third time in four years in 1997. As we mentioned, he played it very well, too.
More from Fryman's 1997 season: he homered in both ends of a doubleheader 4/13 against the White Sox. The second game's blast was a three-run walk-off shot off Sox CL Roberto Hernandez!
(flip) 1998 Score introduced limited fielding stats, which I didn't much care about at the time but deeply appreciate now. Fryman's 21 DP turned that year ranked 5th in the AL; his 38 in 1995 ranked 1st!
I'm not looking up all the others who annually drove in 80 runs along with Fryman. I'll guess Barry Bonds, Fred McGriff and Joe Carter were three of them and move on.
Two other Tigers joined the 100-RBI list in 1997, Tony Clark (yes, that one) and Bobby Higginson. Damion Easley joined the club in '98, as did Dean Palmer in '99.
Yes, Fryman's deal would have expired after the '98 season, but his new team (read on) extended him for 5Y/$28M in December 1997.
AFTER THIS CARD: Fryman and his $6.5M salary were dealt by the Tigers to the expansion Arizona Diamondbacks on the night of the draft (for 3B Joe Randa and two others). Two weeks later, the defending AL Champion Indians acquired Fryman in a trade for superstar 3B Matt Williams (who needed to be closer to his family). As alluded to, Cleveland wasted no time extending their newest star.
Fryman enjoyed a fine first season (28 HR) with the Indians in 1998, but sat half of 1999 with back and knee injuries—his first DL trips ever. Healthy again in Y2K, Fryman drove in a career-high 106 runs, batted .321, made his 5th All-Star team and won his first Gold Glove!
But from there, physical problems resumed (torn elbow ligament, shoulder surgery in 2001) and by 2002, he could only muster a .217 average in 118 games.
33-year-old Fryman retired after that season. From 2008-10 and again in 2015, he managed in the Indians' low minors; he's currently a roving hitting instructor for the franchise.
Travis Fryman appeared in 1991-98 Score.
2/5/21 Score Baseball Card Of The Day: 1994 Score #292 Bob Patterson, Rangers
The lefty reliever Patterson is perhaps best known for his long tenure with Jim Leyland's Pirates, who acquired him from San Diego in an April 1986 trade for OF Marvell Wynne. Though Patterson was Pittsburgh's first rookie Opening Day SP in 33 years, he'd be moved to and from the rotation more than once in 1986-87. He missed most of '88 following shoulder surgery, making only four appearances (all in the minors).
In 1990, a recovered Patterson emerged as a reliable bullpen arm for the NL East champion Pirates, remaining in that role through 1992 (after which he was dumped by the Bucs in a massive salary purge).
But here, the 34-year-old is coming off his first and only season with the Texas Rangers. Though his overall numbers weren't anything to brag about, Patterson did hold lefties to a .257 AVG and .351 SLG.
THIS CARD: Patterson fires one off at soon-to-be-defunct Arlington Stadium. He worked with a so-so fastball, curve, changeup and screwball, at least as a reliever. I don't know if he had the screwball as a starter.
Patterson wears #38, a number seemingly worn by a different Ranger every year. Danny Santana had it in 2019-20.
Bless Score for...existing. 1994 Score included a couple dozen dudes that 1994 Topps did not, and Patterson was one of them. Without this set, I'd have completely forgotten Patterson's Texas stint. (As well as Charlie Leibrandt's.)
(flip) "Plenty of relief...as a middle man...out of the bullpen." One of Score's all-time most redundant lines. To their credit, they didn't have many.
The curve, or anything else Patterson threw, failed to tie up enough righties in 1993 (.296).
Check out Patterson's nine saves in 1992; that year, seven different Pittsburgh relievers earned at least one save. Patterson was one of three with at least eight saves. I'm not sure if that's a record, but it sure ain't common.
AFTER THIS CARD: Patterson worked two mostly-solid seasons out of the Angels bullpen 1994-95. He then signed on with the Cubs (yet another Patterson stop that I once struggled to remember) and put together a 1.10 WHIP over 155 games in 1996-97.
But the wheels came off for 39-year-old Patterson in 1998; hitters began doing to him what his teammate Sammy Sosa was doing to pitchers that summer. Chicago let Patterson go in July, and he never pitched professionally again.
Bob Patterson appeared in 1991, 1992 and 1994 Score.
2/8/21 Score Baseball Card Of The Day: 1991 Score #750 Mo Vaughn, Red Sox
Big Maurice "Mo" Vaughn was about as touted a prospect as anybody in the early 1990's—the term "can't-miss" was coined with dudes like Vaughn in mind.
Here, the big fella has just completed his first season of pro ball, slugging .539 for AAA Pawtucket. The 22-year-old was ranked the sport's #10 overall prospect by Baseball America prior to the '91 season.
THIS CARD: Vaughn gets a card with the Red Sox despite having not played for them yet—not unheard of, but certainly not common for any of the card companies of the day.
What's lefty-hitting Vaughn doing with the dual flaps? Must be a MiLB thing, like allowing random dudes out of uniform in the dugout.
1991 Score Rookie Prospects received white borders, which I believe is the first cosmetic difference between RP's and vets in Score history. I always dug the way the company highlighted the youngsters...until the 1995-96 sets, anyway.
(flip) Vaughn was a tough, intimidating dude, but he always had a great smile to balance things out.
Do I really have to explain that the burly Vaughn did not steal 44 bases at Pawtucket in 1990? Even the three he actually did steal seems like much.
According to the book Mo Vaughn: Angel On A Mission, Vaughn broke his hand when hit by a pitch from future big leaguer Shawn Barton of AAA Tidewater (Mets). He was out just over a month.
Those Seton Hall home run and RBI records still stand. No one has even come remotely close.
AFTER THIS CARD: A lot of slugging, a lot of misfortune. Vaughn stuck with Boston in 1993, and reigned as one of the AL's most dangerous power hitters through 1998. He was AL MVP in 1995 and a three-time All-Star during that span, but in addition to off-field issues, he and Red Sox management weren't on the same page.
Vaughn ultimately walked to Anaheim as a free agent in December 1998 (6Y/$80M). In his first game as an Angel, Vaughn badly sprained an ankle pursuing a popup into the dugout, and was not right for the rest of 1999. He rebounded with 36 homers and 117 RBI in 2000, but missed all of 2001 with a torn biceps tendon.
Dealt to the Mets for 2002, Vaughn was not the same player he had been in the AL, and his career ended shortly into the 2003 season (knee arthritis). Click here for Vaughn's post-baseball achievements.
Mo Vaughn appeared in 1990-1998 Score.
2/11/21 Score Baseball Card Of The Day: 1997 Score #497 Rafael Palmeiro, Goin' Yard
It wouldn't be a Score set without a few appealing subsets, now would it? 1997 Score supplied collectors with the 25-card "Goin' Yard" package, celebrating the rising home run rate throughout the sport and those who were primarily responsible for it.
As you're probably aware, Rafael Palmeiro was among the game's most prolific home run hitters in the late 1990's (and beyond). As you're probably also aware, a failed PED test in 2005 forever clouded his statistics.
But here, in the year 1996, there was no glaring reason to doubt Palmeiro's legitimacy, no bottle of Andro sitting in his locker. True, all the doubles he cranked out in the 80's were suddenly clearing the fences in the 90's. But young George Brett also lacked power for years, did he not? Raffy got the benefit of the doubt...for a time.
THIS CARD: Others in this subset were names you'd expect, such as Mark McGwire, Juan Gonzalez, Albert Belle and Ken Caminiti. Breakout 1996 seasons led to Goin' Yard cards for the previously average Todd Hundley and Henry Rodriguez as well.
No way this subset isn't sponsored by Statcast if it's released today. There'd be velocities and launch angles displayed with those measurements.
More on Palmeiro goin' yard in 1996: his 39 bombs ranked 9th in the AL. He hit 25 off RHP and 14 off LHP. He homered 21 times at home and 18 times on the road. Palmeiro's most powerful month that year was June, when he cleared the fences nine times!
(flip) On Goin' Yard reverses, I think Score should have presented a detailed 1996 home run breakdown for each subject, rather than the annual home run totals readily available on their commons.
In case you aren't familiar with Palmeiro's early career, know he produced those low homer totals 1988-1990 while playing full-time. In other words, nobody was betting their house that he'd soon become an annual 40-jack threat.
To this day, any Oriole wearing #25 reminds me of Palmeiro.
AFTER THIS CARD: Palmeiro continued to consistently mash for the Orioles and Rangers well into the 2000's. He finished up with 569 four-baggers, good for 13th all-time.
If he'd retired after the 2004 season, he'd have never failed his 2005 PED test shortly after forcefully declaring himself clean to Congress, and we're likely talking about a Hall-of-Famer.
2/14/21 Score Baseball Card Of The Day: 1989 Score #15 Cal Ripken Jr., Orioles
Today, baseball has quite an assortment of shortstops capable of going deep 20+ times a year; some of them even bat cleanup! But recalling such shortstops from back in 1988, there was Cal Ripken, Alan Trammell, and...well, that was pretty much it. Barry Larkin hadn't fully blossomed yet. Gary Sheffield was just getting started. Shawon Dunston wasn't a slugger.
My point: there was a reason why Ripken's managers wanted him in the lineup every day—he was a special player.
By the '88 season, Ripken was in the sixth full year of what came to be known as "The Streak". The 1983 AL MVP and World Series champion led the now-dreadful Orioles—who fired his father as manager a week into the season—in runs, walks and OBP.
THIS CARD: This is Ripken's batting stance...on this particular day. If we went through his entire Score gallery, we'd likely find at minimum one other stance; Ripken was known to switch 'em up when things weren't going well.
Obviously, no other Oriole has worn #8 since Ripken. The best Oriole #8 pre-Ripken was two-time All-Star C Andy Etchebarren—he wore it in 1962, and from 1965-75.
More from Ripken's 1988 season: he enjoyed an 11-game hit streak in April, which was soon followed by an 11-for-19 flurry. He closed July by homering in four straight games, and went 4-for-5 with a homer in Baltimore's long-awaited first win of the year (after 21 losses).
(flip) Even back in the 80's, Ripken looked about 10 years older than he was. And young Cal kind of resembles Peyton Manning, which I'd never noticed before.
The first shortstop to hit 20 homers in seven straight seasons? Hall-of-Fame Cub Ernie Banks, 1955-61.
The first five dudes with 1,000 consecutive games played? Gehrig (2,130) Everett Scott (1,307) Steve Garvey (1,207) Billy Williams (1,117) and Joe Sewell (1,103). Miguel Tejada later joined the club, and since his streak of 1,152 straight games ended in 2007, no one's played more than 547 games in a row.
AFTER THIS CARD: Let's see: two Gold Gloves, 13 more All-Star games, 1991 AL MVP, the near-ending of The Streak in 1993, breaking Lou Gehrig's iron man record in 1995, returning to the playoffs in 1996-97, the voluntary ending of The Streak at 2,632 games in 1998, batting .340 in an injury-shortened 1999, returning to SS in 2001 All-Star Game, many home runs right out of a movie script.
A first-ballot Hall of Fame inductee in 2007, Cal Ripken Jr. appeared in 1988-98 Score.
2/17/21 Score Baseball Card Of The Day: 1992 Score #93 Shawn Hillegas, Indians
Hillegas was, in 1987-88, a pretty decent starting prospect for the Dodgers. But, on the verge of postseason play, they sent him to the White Sox in exchange for lefty swingman Ricky Horton in August 1988.
The White Sox immediately slid Hillegas into their rotation, and he went 3-2, 3.15 to close the '88 season. But after he opened 1989 1-6, 5.93, Chicago demoted Hillegas to the bullpen in late May and left him there until late September. He spent most of 1990 in the minors.
Here, Hillegas has completed his first and only season with the Cleveland Indians, who acquired him from the White Sox in the Cory Snyder trade of December 1990. Hillegas led Cleveland with 51 appearances, and saved seven games while CL Steve Olin was injured.
THIS CARD: This has got to be one of the most obvious cropped and pasted card photos I've seen yet. I'm not sure why it was necessary, unless it was the only way to paste Hillegas' right leg over the colored strip.
Speaking of the colored strip...
In 1992 Score, the strip changes colors every 110 numbered commons, just as the borders in every previous Score set changed colors every 110 numbered commons. That made more sense when the sets were only 660 cards deep as opposed to the 893 cards in this set, but whatever.
Eric Plunk and Joe Smith were notable Indians who wore #38 after Hillegas; P Cal Quantrill had it in 2020.
(flip) That first save of 1991 occurred on 5/20 in Cleveland; Hillegas K'd five Yankees, including the side in the 7th, in relief of Eric King.
Hillegas' 1991 ERA didn't climb over two to stay until 7/7, which kicked off a very ugly five-game stretch (32.40 ERA).
I would tell you where Dos Palos, CA was, except it's located in the middle of nowhere, CA. The closest major city is San Jose, and it's not close at all.
AFTER THIS CARD: Hillegas joined the Yankees' bullpen to begin 1992; he was inserted into the rotation eventually but then pitched his way off the roster. Oakland—whom Hillegas had shut out earlier in 1992—signed him, and he made five so-so RA for them in September.
In 1993, Hillegas won a spot in the A's rotation, but was demoted first to the bullpen in June, and then to the minors in July. He struggled there as well, and never pitched professionally again.
Shawn Hillegas appeared in 1988, 1989, 1990 and 1992 Score.