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?

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Pack Twenty-Two - 50%

Pack 22
469 Kirt Manwaring
38 Kirk McCaskill
416 Doug Drabek
464 Craig Lefferts
248 Ernie Whitt
124 Willie Wilson
233 Monty Fariss
69 Ron Kittle
37 Chuck Finley
11 Juan Bell
127 Hugh Walker
427 Don Heinkel

This pack pushed me over the 50% completion mark. With fourteen packs to go, I don't think my goal of 70% completion is too far off base.

After not being able to feature any of the rookies here for the past several days, I hit the jackpot with three of them in this pack (four counting Don Heinkel, but he saw MLB action in 1988 so I won't count him here).

Kicking things off is the not so good with a bat, but kinda sorta not so bad with a glove younger brother of George Bell.

Early in his career, Juan was involved in a deal that sent Eddie Murray to the Dodgers. It was somewhat of a one sided deal as Eddie had a few pretty good years in LA, and Baltimore didn't get too much out of the three players that came their way.

Juan's best season (statistically) came in 1993 where he batted .228 with five homers and 36 RBIs in 115 games split between the Phillies and Brewers. The only other season he played in at least 100 games was 1991 and he managed a .172/.201/.249. D'oh.

After finishing his Major League career in Boston in 1995, he played at the Triple-A level with Boston in '96 and Toronto in '98. He finished his profession career in 1999 with Elmira of the independant North East league.

I have never seen someone look so unhappy to be on a baseball card in my life. Maybe that's why he never made it past Double-A. In seven minor league seasons, all with KC, he batter .248 with 48HR and 306RBIs.

Monty Fariss was originally drafted by the Mets in 1985 but didn't sign. In 1988 he was the sixth pick of the June draft by the Rangers.

He had a good career at Oklahoma State University between 1986 and '88 and he put up decent numbers in the minors before getting a chance at the Major Leagues in 1991. His second year in Texas didn't go so well and he was chosen in the 1992 expansion draft by the Marlins. He only played in 18 games at the Major League level for Florida in 1993 and spent '94 and '95 at Triple-A (with the Marlins and Cubs) before retiring in 1995 at age 27.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Pack Twenty-One

Pack 21
286 Mike Harkey
288 Damon Berryhill
53 Brian Downing
56 Bill Long
201 Jose Canseco
3 Jose Bautista
90 Oddibe McDowell
483 Checklist
414 Bob Kipper
166 Andy Hawkins
143 Greg Brock
88 Luis Aguayo

Not a lot great here either. But I did manage to complete the reprint insert set with this:

1951 Bowman Mickey Mantle rookie card.

The only other card of interest is this:

Pack Twenty

Pack 20 +12
354 Pascual Perez
291 Mark Grace
474 Kevin Mitchell
19 Lee Smith
262 Zane Smith
190 Dennis Eckersley
429 Todd Worrell
393 Bruce Ruffin
99 Paul Gibson
463 Don Robinson
66 Fred Manrique
299 Jeff Sellers

Not a whole lot to say about this Opening Day pack. One Hall of Famer, and one (Lee Smith) that probably should be in the Hall).

Hopefully there will be more to say tomorrow.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Pack Nineteen

Pack 19 +6
(duplicates are indicated by bold text)
89 Cory Snyder
473 Robby Thompson
450 Dennis Rasmussen
305 Rob Dibble
320 Jim Deshaies
29 Luis Rivera

119 Bob Boone
258 Sandy Alomar
41 Bert Blyleven
338 Ricky Horton
6 Gregg Olson
102 Ricco Brogna

Not the best pack in the world to celebrate Opening Night, that's ok. I'll be happy as long as the Braves put up a good fight against the Phillies.

I'm getting close to 50% of the set and should be there in about three days assuming the next three packs are free of doubles. I think that's pretty good progress and I'll be happy with 70% from this box. There are 432 cards in a box and 484 cards in the set, with no doubles that would be right at 90% of the set, so I don't think my goal of 70% is unrealistic or unreachable.

Moving along...

Here's a fresh faced Rico Brogna in a Tigers uniform. His first name is spelled wrong on the back of the card and I can't find any information on whether or not it was corrected. The only book I have lists it as card number 102 "Rico Brogna (R)," with no mention of the spelling error.

When I think of Brogna, I think of the Mets, but he was drafted by the Tigers in June 1988 as the 26th pick of the first round. He made his Major League debut with the Tigers in 1992, but only played in nine games for Detroit and spent the entire 1993 season at Triple-A Toledo.

On March 31, 1994 he was traded to the Mets for Alan Zinter. The Mets clearly got the better end of that deal as Zinter toiled away in the minors with seven different organizations before making his Major League debut in 2002 for the Astros, at age 34. He hit 276 minor league home runs (plus three ML homers) in 19 seasons.

But I digress.

Brogna played parts of three seasons with the Mets before being traded to the Phillies for Toby Borland and Ricardo Jordan on November 27, 1996.

He was later picked up off the waiver wire by the Red Sox for the last two months of the 2000 season after which he was granted free agency. He signed with Atlanta for his final season in 2001.

Rico Brogna will be remembered by history for hitting the first home run at Coors' Field in Denver.

These days he's a football coach at Wesleyan University.

That's all I've got today. Hopefully I can celebrate a Braves victory tonight.