Saturday, April 11, 2009

Packs Twenty-Three, Four and five

I haven't really felt like writing much in the past several days. So here's three packs to get caught up.

Pack 23 +6
(duplicates are indicated by bold text)
354 Pascual Perez
291 Mark Grace
474 Kevin Mitchell
19 Lee Smith
262 Zane Smith
190 Dennis Eckersley

77 Mike Walker
106 Chris Brown
9 Cal Ripken
151 Shane Rawley
448 Andy Benes
43 Bob McClure

It would be nice if there were a Griffey rookie hiding somewhere in the last twelve packs of this box, and I wouldn't mind pulling the Smoltz rookie either. But having pulled my very favorite player in the history of the game out of this pack made the box a success.

Here's the one game I got to see Cal play in person. He didn't disappoint.

Of all the rookies I've featured thus far, I think it's safe to say that Andy had to best career. Not only did he make his professional debut in 1989, as the card predicts, he made his Major League debut in '89 and stuck there.

He made ten starts in the last two months of the '89 season and went 6-3 with a 3.51 ERA.

Pack 24 +12
365 Andres Galarraga
30 Jody Reed
481 Checklist
159 Wally Backman
187 Rick Honeycutt
272 Andres Thomas
319 Brian Meyer
300 Jose Rijo
380 Keith Miller
351 Kirk Gibson
459 Carmelo Martinez
218 Jeffery Leonard

I've written several times about Galarraga. He's always been a favorite of mine.

With the checklist here, I'm one away from having all the checklists.

Pack 25 +12
353 Bryn Smith
437 Terry Pendleton
47 Wally Joyner
317 Dave Smith
108 Chet Lemon
440 Pedro Guerrero
430 Brad DuVall
54 Devon White
169 Jimmy Jones
266 John Smoltz
111 Bret Saberhagen
135 Bill Wegman

Here's one of the two more sought after rookies (if you can use those words to describe '89 Bowman) of the set, John Smoltz.

I've held my tongue for the most part, aside from a few comments on other blogs here and there, about my feelings for Mr. Smoltz these days, and I don't plan on saying much here either. It's his career and the choices are his to make. But without any guarantee that he's going to be able to pitch in '09, why not stay and finish his career in Atlanta?

I wish him the best of luck in Boston and I hope he does get to pitch a few games. I'll accept him as a Hall of Famer when he goes in wearing a Braves hat, and in a few years if he ends up in the Braves broadcasting booth, I'll listen in. But a lot of the respect I had for John Smoltz is gone, and aside from Steve Avery he was my favorite on that great pitching of the '90s.

Here's a first round flop.

Brad DuVall was drafted 23rd in the first round of the June '88 draft out of Virginia Tech. He made his professional debut at Hamilton in the New York-Penn League in 1988 and went 3-3 with a 3.54 in 13 starts before moving up to A+ Virginia of the Carolina League (2-9/5.90 ERA). In 1989 for the Springfield Cardinals, he went 2-5 with a 3.95 ERA. Back in High A in 1990, he pitched one game for the St. Petersburg Cardinals in the Florida State League. He pitched five innings, gave up five hits, two runs and a walk. That was it for his professional career.

In four seasons he never progressed higher than A+, and pitched a combined 7-17, with a 4.44 ERA in 45 games (43 starts), striking out 148 and walking 110. Hell of a first round pick, eh?