2001 Bowman Draft #BDP76
Bio/Summary: Ruan never even made the Expos, instead having a few abysmal years with the Dodgers after being dealt for Jorge Nunez and Matt Herges. He never managed a Major League home run, and finished his short career with a 48 OPS+ in 33 games. He’s managed to stick around in the minors, though, playing for Las Vegas in the Pacific Coast League and still managing to be a pretty useless hitter in a hitter’s league.
How Did I Get It?: Bought the 2001 Bowman Draft set.
Did You Know?: Ruan is six steps away from Ty Cobb. Ruan played with Rickey Henderson in 2003. Henderson played with Tony Gwynn in 1996. Gwynn played with Rick Wise in 1982. Wise played with Cal McLish in 1964. McLish played with Ray Hayworth in 1944, and Hayworth played with Ty Cobb in 1926.
Rating: 6/10 – I really like the 2001 Bowman design, and this is at least an interesting shot. I imagine it’s a groundout, one of Ruan’s specialties.
2003 Upper Deck Vintage #301
Bio/Summary: Okay, so I’m not sure Calloway was ever much of a prospect, but he bears mentioning here. I was surprised to find he had a 19-homer minor league season. He managed a .357 OBP during that season, which won’t set the world on fire but would be acceptable enough with an .857 OPS. Unfortunately, that did not translate to ML performance, as he had 80 strikeouts in 369 PAs, dropping to a .656 OPS. That’s not geting the job done.
How Did I Get It?: Pack of 2003 Vintage.
Did You Know?: He is a cousin of NFL wide receiver Chris Calloway.
Rating: 5/10 – I’ve never been into the design of Vintage, and this shot is just okay. Nothing too exciting.
1995 Bowman #203
Bio/Summary: You know, sometimes you can look at a prospect’s history and say, “yeah, no wonder they valued him so much”. Then there are times you look back and are absolutely baffled as to what the team saw in a guy. You can probably guess that Stull is the latter. Okay, he was serviceable at times, but for God’s sake he started his career in short season A with a 1.794 WHIP and a 5.43 ERA. Oh and did I mention 61 walks to 64 strikeous? I don’t see what the deal was. And he didn’t really get much better. 1996 in Harrisburg was probably the short window for when I would have considered him a prospect – 6-3 with a 3.15 (though the K/BB ratio was still bad). Let’s not forget he was a 24-year old in AA at that point! I don’t get it at all, and he didn’t either – he had an absolutely miserable career 67 ERA+ in four short ML seasons.
How Did I Get It?: Bought it off of eBay in 2003.
Did You Know?: Stull was selected in the third round of the 1992 draft – ahead of Craig Counsell, Doug Mirabelli, and Brad Clontz – not exactly elite company.
Rating: 2/10 – The Bowman sweaty shot returns! Only this time shot from the ground. And let’s not mention what a hot mess the 1995 Bowman design was – look at those borders. Yikes.
1997 Bowman #286
Bio/Summary: Scott was a 1997 sandwich pick, one of seven for the Expos that year after their team was decimated by free agents fleeing the team. He was a perennial prospect for the team, coming close to the majors in 2001 and 2003, but his battles with colitis set him back and ultimately prevented him from ever seeing major league time. He’s been retired since 04.
How Did I Get It?: Box of 1997 Bowman bought in 2003.
Did You Know?: The Expos lost Moises Alou, Jeff Fassero, Mel Rojas and Kirk Rueter after the 1996 season.
Rating: 5/10 – Kind of an average shot (seen a lot of these lately), but I give it some ups for getting a different perspective on the palm trees. He appears to be posing in a parking lot, which was kind of common for 1997 Bowman (see Lance Berkman).
1988 O-Pee-Chee #6
Bio/Summary: I remember feeling like I had stumbled upon some baseball secret in 1989 when I bought the 88 OPC set. Here was a set that looked almost perfectly like 1988 Topps but was printed on better quality paper (one of my pet peeves about Topps back then) and included not one but FOUR cards that weren’t available in the general set – AND they were draft picks, two of whom I’d already heard of by that point, Derek Bell and Delino DeShields. I wasn’t as excited about the other cards – Alex Sanchez and this Minchey character I’d never heard of. It turns out I was mostly justified in my disdain; Minchey had a career that might be remembered by some hardcore Red Sox fans, but which, despite a 131 ERA+ for his rookie year (1993), never took off the ground. He ended his career with a 6.75 ERA and 3-7 record in four years.
How Did I Get It?: Bought it on eBay. My original set is lost to the winds of time.
Did You Know?: Minchey led led the Japanese Pacific League in ERA in 2001.
Rating: 5/10 – Hello Mr. Blue Sky. Not much to distinguish the background, and the only reason I give this simple card with a simple shot such a “high” rating is the nostalgia factor.
1992 Upper Deck Minors #302
Bio/Summary: I linked to Murray’s minor league numbers because he only had a cup of coffee in the majors. He looks like he was a high-power, low-BA kind of guy, the kind who might get away with that if he had a decent OBP (and he generally did) these days. Unfortunately, Murray’s time was before that, and so he never really got a shot in the majors before fading away.
How Did I Get It?: Bought a box of 1992 Upper Deck Minors.
Did You Know?: Murray was drafted ahead of such luminaries as Tim Salmon, John Olerud, Eric Wedge, and Denny Neagle.
Rating: 8/10 – I love this photo on this design, even if I’m not a big fan of 92 Upper Deck. The lighting is great and the pic captures my imagination – what was the setting here? Minor league spring training?
1990 Donruss The Rookies #12
Bio/Summary: I remember Bill Sampen showing up as a somewhat unheralded prospect in 1990 and really looking good. My memory serves me well, as he went 12-7 with a 2.99 ERA that year. What I didn’t know at the time (as this was misunderstood) was that that many wins by a reliever is rarely a good sign; it usually means inherited runners scored, which would pad the ERA quite a bit. There was also his painful 1.406 WHIP. Not surprisingly, he came back down to earth after that and got passed around to the Royals and the Angels before washing out of the major leagues in 1994.
How Did I Get It?: Bought a 1990 Rookies set back in 1990.
Did You Know?: Sampen was cut from his American Legion team in high school.
Rating: 5/10 – Pretty cut-and-dried for that set. There was something that I liked about the green and the red combining on these shots. Too bad the photo of him isn’t so great. Don’t look so goofy!
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.
2005 Upper Deck Minors #155
Category: Failed Prospect
Bio/Summary: I guess this is one of those instances where “failed” is debatable. He seems to have really kicked ass in Japan, but I’m going to say someone who actually OPS+ed in the negatives in MLB qualifies as a failure. It sucks because if you look at his minor league stats, he had a chance to become a great hitter, with some speed, even if he didn’t have great power. Ah, well.
How Did I Get it?: I bought a 1995 Upper Deck Minors box back in 2003. Broke him out of a pack.
Did You Know?: Bocachica appeared in the 2009 World Baseball Classic, playing for Puerto Rico.
Card Rating: 7/10 – I really love the design of this set. Full-bleed photos, silver leaf, and great photography. This card is no exception.
1999 Bowman #322
Category: Failed Prospect
Bio/Summary: This was one of the first prospects I encountered when I got back into baseball in 1999. I remember seeing a crisp picture of him from Spring Training and reading an article about how he was expected, along with a kid named Milton Bradley, for a spot in the 2000 outfield. Well, we all know how their careers worked out. Without much power nor a batting eye, Bergeron never managed to turn his impressive speed into much of anything. He spent five years with the Expos, but hung it up in 2006.
How Did I Get it?: I bought a 1999 Bowman box back in 2003. Broke him out of a pack.
Did You Know?: Bergeron played in the 1999 Pan American games as part of an outfield that included Bradley and Dave Roberts.
Card Rating: 4/10 – 1999 Bowman is a little too busy for me, and I don’t like how difficult it is to read player’s names on scans. The photograph here isn’t very great either, with shadows across Bergeron’s eyes.