Monthly Archives: April 2009

2008 Upper Deck Nats Team Set #5


Justin Maxwell
2008 Upper Deck #326
Nationals Prospect
Position: OF
Bio/Summary: I didn’t know about this guy until 2007, when he just kind of burst into my consciousness. I guess that was a function of being injured for so long. He seems to be a good player, but he’s not quite getting the chances he might deserve. He was up for a little bit this year, so maybe he’ll get a longer look at some point. The Nats outfield is just way too crowded, thanks to Bowden’s obsessions with outfielders.
Rating: 9/10 – What on earth is the story with this picture? I’ve been able to surmise that this is from when they were building the new stadium, but why would they have had a batting situation like this during the construction? Either way, I’m intrigued.


Lastings Milledge
2008 Upper Deck #691
Position: OF
Bio/Summary: The first of his category, enigma, Milledge is just that. I’m a huge fan of the kid, but I wonder if he’s ever going to put it together. I don’t know that it’s his ability, it just might be his mental makeup. He’s currently toiling in AAA and trying to figure out what’s going on. Let’s hope he’s not another one of those cases where the mental issues get in the way of being a superstar.
Rating: 7/10 – Classic spring training shot, just after hitting what looks to be a liner.


Wily Mo Pena
2008 Upper Deck #696
Nationals has-Been
Position: OF
Bio/Summary: Wily Mo Pena could almost be an enigma, too. The guy has a world of talent, but something seems to be holding him back. I don’t know. He’s adrift right now. I guess we’ll see where he lands and where his career goes from here.
Rating: 7/10 – Cool story about this picture. It seems to have been taken on September 4, 2007. Pena was on second, Ryan Langerhans was on 3rd in the bottom of the 9th. Kevin Gregg was on to try to close it out for the Marlins. Jesus Flores knocked a double to left field, and Langerhans and Pena scored to win the game. I give the card high points just for showing us this moment.


Odalis Perez
2008 Upper Deck #695
Nationals Lynchpin
Position: SP
Bio/Summary: What the hell was this guy smoking? He had a pretty good gig with the Nats and didn’t do too bad last season (a 101 ERA+, the best in years), and then he decided to be a big baby and not report this Spring. The Nats cut him eventually, but I don’t get it at all.
Rating: 7/10 – The last of the Nats in Red series. Nice one.


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Nationals Autograph: John Patterson


2006 Bowman #172
Nationals Star
Position: SP
Bio/Summary: Poor John Patterson. All potential and ability, all injuries. Look at his 2005 numbers – he was pitching out of his mind! A 130 ERA+ (w-l doesn’t matter given the quality of the team)! And then he got injured at the beginning of 2006 and was never the same after that. It was a sad day when he was released and picked up by the Rangers, but he never made it back, retiring in January of this year. Godspeed, John.
How Did I Get It?: Bought it from someone’s private collection.
Did You Know?: Patterson is married to the 2005 Miss District of Columbia Shannon Schambeau, who was 4th runner-up in the 2006 Miss America pageant. This is Shannon:
Rating: 6/10 – Man, I thought getting hold of a Patterson auto was awesome back in the day (I actually have another that I’ll post eventually). Unfortunately, that didn’t quite pan out, but I do like the way he signed this card, even if the card itself is only somewhat average.

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Nationals Star: Jose Vidro Pt 4


2003 Bowman #93
How Did I Get It?:
A pack of 2003 Bowman purchased in 2004.
Rating: 4/10 – Eh, I jus tdon’t feel the design. Way too much border and way too little picture.
2005  Fleer Ultra #103
How Did I Get It?:
A pack of 2005 Ultra I bought in early 05.
Rating: 8/10 – I like the design of 04 and 05 Ultra; full-bleed photos and a nice silvery foil for the text. The photography is excellent as well, and I like being able to tell that the Expos were playing the Reds, even if I can’t surmise what date this might have been.


2004 Fleer Platinum #27
How Did I Get It?:
A 2004 platinum pack in a repack box.
Rating: 7/10 – Another set I really like; every Platinum set is pretty cool with its retro designs, and this one is no exception. I dig the picture as well.

2001 Upper Deck Victory #390
How Did I Get It?:
A 2001 Victory pack in a repack box.
Rating: 5/10 – I wasn’t crazy about this set at first, but it’s really grown on me over the years. I like the somewhat old-school design of the cards, and there is some outstanding photography in the set, including this shot.

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Expos Star: Tim Raines


1981 Topps #479
Expos Star/Also Ran/Failed Prospect
Position: OF/C/OF
Bio/Summary: Well, obviously the big star here is Tim Raines, a guy who should definitely be in the Hall of Fame, or at least get in there soon. He had a career .385 OBP and 123 OPS+, for crying out loud, not to mention 808 career steals, with an insane 84.7% steal success rate (highest among anyone with over 300 steals). Put him in! Roberto (Bobby) Ramos never really managed to rise above, ending his career with just 44 hits in 257 PAs over six seasons. Bobby Pate only had two seasons in the majors (80 and 81), and neither really qualified as more than a cup of coffee.
How Did I Get It?: Won it from an eBay auction.
Did You Know?: Raines was the last player in MLB history to wear a helmet that did not have ear flaps.
Rating: 8/10 – The card itself is really only so-so. It is kind of cool to see these “kids” in what is clearly spring training. But for historical value, you can’t beat it.


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2008 Upper Deck Nats Team Set #4


Austin Kearns
2008 Upper Deck #169
Nationals Lynchpin
Position: OF
Bio/Summary: What a frustrating player. I felt really positive about him coming over from the Reds in what should have been a winner of a trade, but he’s not really panned out to be much more than serviceable, if that. Oh, he’s still a cornerstone of the team and all that, but his average, his OBP, just everything, have been mediocre. Oh, and he plays some awful walkup music.
Rating: 7/10 – Reminds me of the old school baseball cards where we saw people signing cards. I like it.


John Lannan
2008 Upper Deck #163
Nationals Prospect
Position: SP
Bio/Summary: At least, I think he still qualifies as a prospect. I’m not 100% sure. He’s definitely not a failure, though. I first saw him pitching with Potomac back in…I guess it was 06? And thought he was pretty special. Since then, he’s done nothing but continue to impress, even if the beginning of this year has been a bit rocky.
Rating: 7/10 – Great picture, capturing him mid-delivery.


Paul Lo Duca
2008 Upper Deck #693
Nationals Has-Been
Position: C
Bio/Summary: One of the guys fingered during the whole Mitchell Report debacle, I didn’t like the Lo Duca signing when it happened, and he never really produced for the team either (as expected – Bowden…). I mean, a 54 OPS+? Yeah, there’s a reason they cut the cord on him. A total douche on top of it.
Rating: 6/10 – Another one of those “Nats in front of red shots”. I docked a point from it for being Lo Duca, though.


Nook Logan
2008 Upper Deck #170
Fringe Player
Position: OF
Bio/Summary: I never understood the decision to start this guy everyday. Manny Acta’s a smart guy when it comes to sabermetrics, so surely he had to understand that a .304 OBP wasn’t going to cut it. I mean, yeah, I saw the guy do some exciting things on the basepaths in 07, but if you can’t get on base, you can’t do that stuff. Another one of many head-scratching decisions by the Nats over the last four years.
Rating: 7/10 – Neat picture showing the spring training complex in the background and the dugout. I like these little slice-of-life shots.

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2008 Upper Deck Team Set #3


Jesus Flores
2008 Upper Deck #166
Nationals Lynchpin
Position: C
Bio/Summary: Jesus Flores is one of my favorites of the “new” Nationals. I could tell the guy had potential in 07; everytime I saw him play (which was surprisingly ofetn), he had a great approach at the plate and came through in a big way. Sure, his OBP is only .309 career so far, but look at his improvement in that area just this year…he’s only 24 this year, and has a long way to go. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him transition into an Ivan Rodriguez-style player. Gotta feel a little bad for the Mets for letting him slip away.
Rating: 6/10 – Wow, torn on this one. I like seeing the equipment, especially the road equipment that I don’t see very often, but this is another case where you can’t really see his face. Can’t quite tell who they’re playing in the background…are those the Braves?


Cristian Guzman
2008 Upper Deck #168
Nationals Lynchpin
Position: SS
Bio/Summary: This is another card from the Metrodome, which I suspect is on the same date as the Mike Bacsik and Dmitri Young cards. I think that’s the ballboy in the background. Interesting thing about Guzman…he wanted to be an NBA player, but his father talked him out of it.
Rating: 7/10 – Great photo. He looks to have hit a liner of some sort. It could also be one of his four hits in that game.


Shawn Hill
2008 Upper Deck #161
Nationals Also-Ran
Position: SP
Bio/Summary: Oh it pains me to call him that, but that’s just what he is thanks to injuries. I really thought he had front-of-the-rotation potential, #2 or #3, and he did, but man…just can’t stay healthy.
Rating: 7/10 – Definitely a Spring Training shot. I like the action shot, but I’m a little bummed that it’s not RFK.


Nick Johnson
2008 Upper Deck #700
Nationals Star
Position: 1B
Bio/Summary: Nick Johnson is probably my favorite National. Amazing eye at the plate, capable all-around hitter, good defender…just has the same problem as Shawn Hill when it comes to the injury bug. I hope one of these years he can make it through a whole season.
Rating: 9/10 – Great action shot. Love it.

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Failed Prospect #4: Shane Andrews



1995 Upper Deck Minors #136
Bio/Summary: Man, here’s a tough one to call a failed prospect. Can you really call a guy who hit 25 homers at the major league level a failed prospect? I posit that you can, if his career numbers are 220/298/421. A .298 career OBP! That’s insane…he’s not even a Three True Outcomes guy, more like a Two True Outcomes: whiff or homer. It sucks because I had hope for this caveman-looking dude when I first encountered him in the 1990 Classic Draft pick set (I really need to dig up Rondell White and Andrews from that set). 
How Did I Get It?: Opened a box of 1995 Upper Deck Minors in 2004.
Did You Know?: Shane actually played for a team called the Cavemen in high school; he was their shortstop.
Rating: 7/10 – I’ve talked about my love for the 1995 minors set, and the black borders go so well with the black uniforms here. Wish I could figure out who’s on his left, though. Not enough clues.

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Filed under Expos Failed Prospects, Failed Prospects