Thursday, May 28, 2015

Completely Arbitrary

Reeling a bit from being on the road for two weeks and having tons of things to blog about, I'm now staring in the face of a blank screen. No worries! Now, we innovate! No Blogger's Block for me!

Here are 3 Completely Arbitrary cards pulled from various piles and boxes and albums:

Card #1 : Mickey Morandini, #494 1995 Score.
I must have gotten this card in a recent re-pack, the box it was in had mostly cards from the last two years. I remember watching Morandini's unassisted triple play on This Week in Baseball, but you can watch it right here on

Morandini played in the 1993 World Series, splitting time with Mariano Duncan at second base. Morandini made the NL All-Star team in 1995 (so you're getting a picture of Morandini reaching his peak) and even received a vote on the 1998 MVP ballot while playing for the Cubs. That's a little misleading, he finished in 24th place in the voting, for getting a single "point" in the voting (one 10th place vote).

Morandini is currently a coach for the AA Reading Fightin Phils (as you might have guessed, it's a Phillies affiliate).

I like this one - you've got Morandini ready to receive a throw and pivot for a potential double play, something he was known for throughout his career, and 1995 Score continued a tradition of lots of great copy on the card back.

Card #2: Brian McCann, #297  2014 Allen & Ginter's 
I'll admit it - I have a bit of an East Coast bias. It works in the opposite way that most people see it. I don't really follow the Yankees that much, because it takes very little effort to hear all about them. When the Yankees signed McCann, I thought it was going to be a big win for New York.

McCann had been a perennial All-Star in Atlanta, winning the Silver Slugger award as the National League's best hitting catcher for 5 years. His time in New York has been a disappointment, though his production was good for his position, it was down noticeably from his career average. Over the first 40 games of 2015, he's been able to maintain his production from 2014. At $17 Million dollars a year, the Yankees are hoping for more.

This card is kind of boring. I do like that he's got his catcher's gear on, but in general this set feels too similar to past versions of Allen & Ginter's.

Card #3 : Hector Cruz, #206 1981 Fleer
Did you know? Hector Cruz is the brother of Jose Cruz and Tommy Cruz, and the Uncle of Jose Cruz, Jr,.? All three brothers appeared on the Cardinals active roster in 1973, only the second time three brothers played on the same MLB roster in the 20th Century. (You know the other three brothers, yes?)

1975 was a breakout year for Hector, he was the MVP of the American Association and named Minor League player of the year. The Cardinals acted quickly, trading away their regular third baseman to make room for Hector with the big club.

Cruz finished 3rd in the N.L. Rookie of the Year voting in 1976, Hitting 13 homers and knocking in 71 runs as the St. Louis Cardinals 3rd Baseman. Topps snubbed Cruz, handing the Rookie Cup to rival hot corner minder Jerry Royster of the Braves. Hector's rookie year turned out to be his best in the majors;  in addition to his 13 homers, he also had 26 errors at 3rd. Moving to the outfield, Cruz was never able to recapture the production at the plate. He stuck around the league for parts of ten seasons, retiring in 1984 after a season in Japan.

Cruz was inducted into the Caribbean Baseball Hall of Fame in 2007.

I think this card does a nice job of capturing the whole story of Hector Cruz. As a back up outfielder in 1981, there probably wasn't much game action for Fleer to get on film. Hey, though, Fleer, you guys! 1981! I appreciate that his 1975 minor league season stats made it on to cardboard.

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