Topps Baseball Card Of The Day
"We are all born ignorant, but one must work hard to remain stupid.'" -- Ben Franklin
I own every Topps baseball set since 1987. For years I thought long and hard how I could put these cards "to use" aside from sitting in their binders until the end of time. The Card Of The Day was born.
I'd hoped to introduce a new card every single day but that quickly proved impossible under the weight of a regular job and fatherhood—now I'm aiming for 4-5 per week.
For years we only profiled Topps cards, but in November 2020 I decided to finally profile Score cards as well; click here to revisit that late, great company. Otherwise, please enjoy randomly-selected Topps cards from 1987-present.
A = Alternate Card B= Bonus Factory Set Card F = Factory Team Set G = Giveaway Set T = Traded Set U = Update Set
Click on images for larger views.
3/3/21 Topps Baseball Card Of The Day: 2006 Topps #524 Ben Sheets, Brewers
More Ben Sheets Topps Cards: 2000 2000T 2001 2001T 2002 2003 2004 2005 2007 2008 2010U 2012U
Ben Sheets, at one point, might have been the most famous minor leaguer in the land. The second-year pro represented Team USA in the 2000 Olympics (Sydney, Australia), shutting out Cuba in the Gold Medal game. At that time, Sheets could have run for office against George Washington himself and won.
But any presidential aspirations Sheets might have had were tabled as he rose through the Milwaukee Brewers' system...which didn't take long. Sheets opened 2001 as Milwaukee's 4th starter, and though there were stumbles, he wound up a National League All-Star that summer!
By 2003 Sheets was the Brewers Opening Day starter and de facto ace; he followed that up in '04 by earning a Cy Young vote (and not in Ryan Tepera fashion), another All-Star berth and a 4Y/$38.5M extension.
Here, the 27-year-old has just completed a 2005 season interrupted by an inner ear infection that cost him most of May and a torn back muscle that cost him September. When healthy, Sheets excelled, averaging over seven innings per start and going 4-1 in the month of July.
THIS CARD: At least to me, Sheets looks more black than white in this image.
Sheets prepares to fire off either his mid-90's gas (it was upper-90's early on), his nasty curve, or his fine changeup.
Other Brewers of note to wear #15: the great Cecil Cooper back in the 80's, and a variety of undistinguished characters post-Sheets. OF Tyrone Taylor had #15 in 2020.
(flip) Effective? At times in 2004-05, Sheets was plain dominant. See this video for evidence.
In both 2004 and 2005, Sheets received less than four runs of support per nine innings, hence his less-than-impressive 22-23 combined record.
Instead of that redundant 2005 ERA in the stat box, Topps could have told you about Sheets 5.64 K/BB ratio, which would have easily led the league had he enough innings to qualify.
AFTER THIS CARD: Going forward, good health often escaped Sheets, who was limited to 41 starts in 2006-07 (shoulder tendinitis, hamstring strain), though he performed well when available. In 2008 the 30-year-old enjoyed his best all-round statistical season (13-9, 3.09, three shutouts, a second straight All-Star nod) and, along with new teammate CC Sabathia, boosted Milwaukee back to the playoffs after a 26-year drought!
Sadly, Sheets was battling a torn elbow muscle when he squared off against the Cubs in Game 161, gutting through 2.1 innings in what would be his final Brewers start. Surgery kept him off the field in 2009, but he returned with the A's on a 1Y/$10M deal for 2010. Another serious elbow injury ended his season in late July, and Sheets was off the diamond until resurfacing with Atlanta two years later.
Sheets made eight starts for the 2012 Braves, injured his shoulder, then announced he would retire after his 9th start. And that's exactly what happened.
Ben Sheets appeared annually in Topps 2000-08. He's also got 2000-01 Traded cards, plus 2010 and 2012 Update cards with the A's and Braves, respectively.
CATEGORIES: 2006 Topps, Milwaukee Brewers
More March 2021 Topps Cards Of The Day
3/2/21 Topps Baseball Card Of The Day: 1990 Topps #502 Mitch Webster, Cubs
More Mitch Webster Topps Cards: 1987 1988 1989 1990T 1991 1992 1994
Outfielder Mitch Webster was up and down with the mid-80s Blue Jays before finding an opportunity with the other Canadian team, Montreal. Webster played regularly in CF for the '86 Expo squad, shifted over to RF in '87, then returned to CF in '88. But the Expos felt they needed more range in CF, so Webster was traded to the Cubs for fellow CF Dave Martinez in July 1988.
Here, Webster is coming off a mixed-bag of a 1989 season. On the one hand, his Cubs returned to the postseason after four straight losing seasons. On the other hand, his job as Chicago's starting LF was lost when he injured his thigh in May and his replacement, Dwight Smith, caught fire at the plate.
THIS CARD: Webster was allegedly 30 in 1989, but he looks well past that here. And you can't even blame it on years of stress playing for the Cubs.
"Hey, Mitch, just one more thing before we take the picture: can you throw your hat in the air and try to catch it on your head? When you do, we'll take the picture. Thanks."
More from Webster's 1989 season: he wound up starting just 59 games across three outfield spots when all was said and done. In the NLCS vs. San Francisco, Webster was used as a PH/DR, singling in three at-bats.
(flip) Montreal won four of the five games during Webster's hot streak, including the finale in which he homered and drove in five runs.
The Kansas native is in that state's Sports Hall of Fame as of 2018.
Webster was indeed a #23 pick who eventually made good. Two years after choosing him in the amateur draft, Los Angeles lost Webster to Toronto in what's more commonly known as the Rule V Draft.
AFTER THIS CARD: Webster joined the Indians in 1990, initially as their starting CF before speedster Alex Cole burst onto the scene. Webster then split 1991 between the Indians, Pirates and Dodgers; he remained with said Dodgers through the 1995 season. Initially a part-time outfielder for Tommy Lasorda, Webster underwent knee surgery in September 1993 and spent his final two seasons doing little more than pinch-hitting.
After retiring as a player, Webster began a long scouting career with the Dodgers and Royals, though I could not confirm if he's presently doing so.
Mitch Webster appeared in 1986-94 Topps, except for a mysterious 1993 exclusion (Webster did appear in 1993 Stadium Club). He's also got a 1990 Traded card as a new Indian.
CATEGORIES: 1990 Topps, Chicago Cubs