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, and every Score baseball card ever made. 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 2-3 per week.
I initially planned to include Score cards here, but decided they would over-saturate the 1990's and make it tougher to pull modern players—we don't want to be TOO nostalgic. So please enjoy randomly-selected Topps cards from 1987-present.
A = Alternate Card F = Factory Team Set G = Giveaway Set T = Traded Set U = Update Set
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12/5/19 Topps Baseball Card Of The Day: 1991 Topps #182 Junior Noboa, Expos
More Junior Noboa Topps Cards: 1988 1990T
Junior Noboa the player is best known for his time with the Montreal Expos, for whom he appeared 169 times 1989-91, but he got his start in MLB as a 19-year-old Indian in 1984—either Cleveland was desperate for an infielder or it really liked Noboa's glove, since he was not exactly tearing it up offensively in the minors.
Noboa got extensive run as a defensive replacement that year before returning to the minors thru 1986. He got some first-half run for the '87 Tribe, then was traded to the Angels, who used him largely as a pinch-runner (Noboa used to swipe 40+ bases per year in the minors).
Here, after winning the 1989 American Association batting title, Noboa has stuck with the Expos for all of 1990. The 26-year-old played six positions and eclipsed his career totals in every category.
THIS CARD: "Yeah, pal...I heard what you said about me...I'm gonna sign this program then you and I gonna have a little conversation."
Noboa returns to Topps base after a two-set absence, although he does appear in 1990 Traded in the wake of landing a job with Montreal. Off-topic: that's too many prominent colors for a cap.
For the record, Noboa's actual name is Milciades Arturo Noboa.
(flip) Tim Raines had singled, stolen second, taken third on a WP, and scored on Noboa's single. Montreal led much of the game 3-0 before allowing the Mets to tie in the 8th.
As for the zeroes in the HR column, Noboa did eventually hit one: a pinch-hit shot off Cubs lefty Paul Assenmacher on 5/24/91.
Those 14 July hits came in just 46 AB, a .326 average.
Noboa is listed as a 2B, his natural position, but he also played SS, 3B, LF, RF and even P for the Expos in '90! (At Houston, he walked Alex Trevino before inducing a GIDP from Jim Clancy.)
AFTER THIS CARD: Noboa got in 67 games for the '91 Expos, but did not receive a 1992 Topps card. The Mets claimed him on waivers immediately after the season, and though he made their 1992 Opening Day roster, he hit .149 in 47 games for them.
The 28-year-old split 1993 into two AAA stints for the Reds, but made the 1994 A's roster. they let him go in time, and Noboa's MLB career wrapped with a pair of AB for the '94 Pirates.
Noboa remained in baseball and has forged a fine second career as the Vice-President of Latin Operations for the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Junior Noboa appeared in 1988 and 1991 Topps, as well as 1990 Topps Traded.
CATEGORIES: 1991 Topps, Montreal Expos
More December 2019 Topps Cards Of The Day
12/1/19 Topps Baseball Card Of The Day: 1994 Topps #155 Todd Stottlemyre, Blue Jays
More Todd Stottlemyre Topps Cards: 1988T 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001
Bulldog. Feisty. Tough. I've read my share of material on Todd Stottlemyre in preparation for this write-up, and those descriptions seemed to appear in all of it. Which is accurate—I watched most of Stottlemyre's career; that guy competed as hard as anybody in the game.
For the first seven seasons of his career, Stottlemyre answered the bell for the Toronto Blue Jays, mostly as a starting pitcher. Though his accompanying numbers weren't always brag-worthy and he had some shaky October starts as a Jay, the man did manage to win between 11-15 games annually for Toronto 1990-93—though many felt he should have accomplished more given his talent.
Here, Stottlemyre has just completed what would be his final season as a full-time Jays starter. Though it was a trying year at times, the veteran gave up just 11 home runs in 176.2 IP and threw a shutout vs. Boston in his third-to-last game of the year, an important win as Toronto clung to the AL's best record (and ALCS home-field advantage).
THIS CARD: That could be Stottlemyre's splitter/changeup he added during his career, or it could simply be a guy fooling around before a game. You be the judge. Wherever he's warming up obviously isn't Skydome.
Stottlemyre appears in COTD for the second time; we profiled his 1989 Topps card back in October 2014.
More from Stottlemyre's 1993 season: he opened the year with three 8-IP efforts in his first four starts and won them all. But he also allowed six runs or more seven different times during the year and lost three weeks to the DL (arm/back muscle pull) in late May.
(flip) Chicago's Dan Pasqua, hitting under .210 at the time, busted up Stottlemyre's no-no. Pasqua's 1994 Topps card makes mention of his busting up a Danny Darwin (Boston) no-hit bid in 1993, a year he hit .205. Dan Pasqua: Who Pitchers Want Up In Every Inning But One.
Those two 1993 RA came after Stottlemyre's DL stint; I'm not sure if it was due to a full rotation or just to ease him back into things. He was not pitching particularly well before the injury.
Sunnyside is located in south-central Washington, nowhere near Tacoma, Seattle or Spokane but not too far from the Oregon border.
AFTER THIS CARD: Stottlemyre opened 1994 as the Toronto closer before returning to the rotation in late April. He joined Oakland for 1995 via free agency and, as their clear #1 starter, enjoyed perhaps his best season to date. But the A's were rebuilding—off to St. Louis went Stottlemyre in exchange for four prospects (only Jay Witasick came close to doing anything in MLB) after the '95 season.
The veteran enjoyed a solid two-plus seasons as a Cardinal before being traded to Texas in July 1998, helping their playoff push (he went eight strong in his lone playoff start but still lost). The Arizona Diamondbacks would employ Stottlemyre for his final four seasons, although he was injured throughout his tenure (40 total games pitched) and missed the entire 2001 season after elbow surgery and subsequent nerve issues. (Remember that torn rotator cuff he pitched through?)
Starting with his '88 Traded card, Todd Stottlemyre appeared continuously in Topps thru the 2001 set.
CATEGORIES: 1994 Topps, Toronto Blue Jays
12/3/19 Topps Baseball Card Of The Day: 2004 Topps #47 Trot Nixon, Red Sox
More Trot Nixon Topps Cards: 2000 2001 2002 2003 2005 2006 2007 2007U 2008U
You want to know what type of player Trot Nixon was, check out this (paraphrased) quote from his ex-manager Terry Francona: "...He played hard. he got down and dirty...he's a throwback."
Christopher Trotman Nixon was the #7 overall pick in 1993 out of high school (turning down a football scholarship to N.C. state), and reached the majors as a 22-year-old in '96. He stuck in '99, making the Red Sox out of Spring Training and swatting three home runs at Tiger Stadium in one July game.
Though Nixon never became a true star, partially due to career-long difficulties mastering lefty pitchers, 2001 kicked off a nice three-year run of production for the Sox right fielder. In '01, he was second on the team (to Manny Ramirez) in HR and RBI, and in '02 he plated 94 more runners.
Here (2003), Nixon may have been at his all-round best; the 29-year-old slashed .306/.396/.578 in 134 games (.330/.423/.635 vs. RHP), homered in three straight games thrice, and ripped a pivotal 9th-inning grand slam at Philadelphia to open September.
THIS CARD: Just not enough of the catcher for me to identify the opposing team.
Nixon rips one to the right side at Fenway Park. In 2003, he hit .318 with five of his six triples at Fenway, contributing to a home SLG of .545.
Yet another reason I dislike J.D. Drew: when he took over in RF for Nixon in 2007, he took Nixon's long-familiar uniform #7 as well. Boston shouldn't have allowed it, true, but Drew should have been aware enough to refuse it.
(flip) It was Baseball America who named Nixon High School Player of the Year (for his play at New Hanover High School in N.C.; Nixon hit .519 with 12 bombs in 81 AB as a senior.)
Nixon spread his 28 homers around in 2003; of the 16 parks he batted six or more times in, he went yard in 13 of them.
Nixon only played 134 games in '03, but not due to injury; manager Grady Little often went with Darren Lewis in RF when facing lefties, whom Nixon could never truly solve.
AFTER THIS CARD: Sadly, '03 proved to be Nixon's peak. Injuries wrecked his 2004 season (Boston still won the title) and hindered him in '05 and '06. (He was also famously ejected for going off on an ump while on the disabled list in August 2005.) After missing the playoffs in '06, Boston made changes, one of them being replacing Nixon in RF with Drew.
So Nixon joined the Indians on a 1Y/$3M deal. He managed to avoid the DL at long last, but good health couldn't cue good production (.336 SLG in 99 games, 82 starts) and the veteran was not re-signed. Settling for a MiLB deal with Arizona for '08, Nixon showed enough in AAA to trigger a trade with the depleted Mets. Post-trade, however, he hit just .171 in 11 games and sat the final months on the DL (groin).
A MiLB deal with Milwaukee for '09 led nowhere, and Nixon was through at 35.
Trot Nixon appeared in Topps 2000-2007, with Update cards in 2007-08.
CATEGORIES: 2004 Topps, Boston Red Sox