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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7/4/20 Topps Baseball Card Of The Day: 2009 Topps #59 Eric Gagne, Brewers
More Eric Gagne Topps Cards: 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007U 2008
The irony: on American Independence Day the Randomizer selects a Canadian for COTD.
Here, Gagne makes his second COTD appearance (in just six weeks). Having signed a 1Y/$10M deal with Milwaukee entering Spring Training 2009, Gagne entered the year as the Brewers' closer.
In short, he did not end the year as the Brewers closer.
THIS CARD: The emotional Gagne is fired up, presumably after recording a final out (or possibly witnessing a great defensive play). Opponents just loved Gagne's animated displays.
After switching to #83 with the 2007 Red Sox, Gagne has his familiar #38 back. Despite only lasting in Milwaukee for one tough season, he's still one of the most notable Brewer #38's in team history.
I can't identify the road ballpark, but I can tell you Gagne was miles better away from Miller Park in 2008, with a .211 BAA compared to .294 at home. Also, his ERA was well over two runs lower on the road.
Strange, as Gagne had previously retired six of six hitters as a visitor to Miller Park, whiffing four of them.
(flip) On our previous Gagne COTD selection, from 2006 Topps, he was 6'2", 235 lbs.—meaning he gained five pounds and lost two inches. Shawn Bradley would have probably tried Gagne's diet back in the day.
As you can see in the stats, just the year before Milwaukee signed him, Gagne had been lights-out as the Rangers' closer, so it was not unreasonable to believe he could at least be adequate for them in the role. It just didn't work out.
C'mon, Topps. Gagne wasn't reinvented as an eighth-inning specialist by anybody's choice. He was reinvented because he blew five of his first 15 save ops in 2008, with an ERA over six.
AFTER THIS CARD: Gagne went to Spring Training with the '09 Brewers, and the '10 Dodgers, but did not make either roster and retired at 34. Still, that 84-consecutive-save streak...let's see that one get broken anytime soon.
Eric Gagne appeared annually in Topps 2001-09; 2007 was an Updates & Highlights card with Boston. There exists a 2007 Topps Factory Team Set card of Gagne the Ranger.
CATEGORIES: 2009 Topps, Milwaukee Brewers
More July 2020 Topps Cards Of The Day
7/2/20 Topps Baseball Card Of The Day: 1990 Topps #474 Rich Thompson, Expos
More Rich Thompson Topps Cards: n/a
I won't have much to say about Rich Thompson's career because there isn't much to say about Rich Thompson's career. He was a #8 pick by the Indians in 1980, picked up some saves as a prospect, then reached the Indians in 1985 at age 26.
Thompson was pretty decent in the first half of the year, but posted a 9.75 ERA from 8/26 on—including an 11-run drubbing by Boston on 8/29 from which his ERA never recovered.
From 1986-88 Thompson fluttered through the KC, Montreal, Yankee and Milwaukee organizations; Montreal brought him back for '89 and watched him excel as a starter for AAA Indianapolis. Here, Thompson has made his long-awaited return to the major leagues.
THIS CARD: I always remember this card because A) it was the last Montreal Expo I needed to complete the '90 Topps set, and B) Richard Thompson was the name of my buddy's now-deceased dad.
Thompson sits, possibly in the bullpen, possibly at Spring Training. He looks like either the happiest mad guy in the ballpark, or the maddest happy guy in the ballpark.
That's #48 Thompson wears, a number shared by no other Expos of note for any real length of time. Unless you count Joey Eischen. We do not count Joey Eischen.
(flip) More from Thompson's 1989 season: he was called up in August and promptly reeled off six straight scoreless appearances, including innings 15-20 of an 8/23 game against the Dodgers.(Great job, Rich!) Montreal eventually dropped that game 1-0 in 22 innings.
In fact, if you throw out the four ER from Thompson's lone start, he registered a sub-2.00 ERA for the Expos!
Check out those numbers for 1989 Indianapolis...told you he excelled.
AFTER THIS CARD: Next-to-nothing. Thompson faced four batters for the Expos on 4/22/90, split 1991 between the Texas and Toronto organizations, then disappeared off the planet. Many years later he resurfaced...as a lawyer.
Rich Thompson debuted in 1985 Topps Traded, then appeared in 1986 and 1990 Topps.
CATEGORIES: 1990 Topps, Montreal Expos