Tag Archives: 2003

Card of the Day: 2003 Bowman Heritage Luis Aparicio

Just learned of the existence of the Luis Aparicio award, given to the best Venezuelan player in the majors as voted on by the Venezuelan sports writers. Carlos Gonzalez of the Rockies won it this year.

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Card of the Day: 2003 Bowman’s Best Matt Diaz

Chose this one because I had forgotten Matt Diaz started as a Rays prospect. Love these weird out-of-place cards.

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Card of the Day: 2003 Bowman’s Best Nook Logan

Nook was a pretty awful outfielder for the Nationals, but back in 03 it looked like he might have been decent. Thanks for the fun times, though, Nook.

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Game-Used: Randy Johnson

2003 Leaf Certified

No idea if that swatch is from an Expos jersey…I kind of doubt it, but I still love this card anyway. There just aren’t enough cards of Randy Johnson in an Expos jersey, and this is a shot I’d never seen before. I guess that swatch cut-out is supposed to be shaped like a trophy, but it’s pretty poorly done. Still, all in all, a totally worthy addition to the collection.

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John Olerud Game-Used #1

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted about old Johnny O; I’m still in the process of scanning his 1993 cards, so I thought in the meantime I’d show some of the game-used Olerud that I already have.

2005 Prime Patches

One of my absolute favorite Olerud cards. I believe it’s numbered to 50. These sets looked horrid when you got the base version, but something like this just looks great, and I got it for insanely cheap. I felt like I ripped someone off, honestly.

2002 Topps Ten

This card is a lot cooler than it looks. It’s made of an almost translucent material, and you can touch the jersey from both the front and the back. Another favorite.

2003 Stadium Club Born in the USA

Kind of an interesting concept; make the swatch cut-out the shape of the state in which the player was born. Doesn’t exactly blow me away, but it is kind of an interesting little piece.

I have a LOT more of these, I just don’t have them scanned. Look for more soon.

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My Favorite Cards: Joe Tinker Game-Used

I think I’m going to start covering some of my favorite cards from my collection, beginning with this gem:

2003 Topps Gallery

Believe it or not, I pulled this from a pack in a repack box. I seem to have great luck with those things, but this was certainly what I consider my greatest pull, even if the Mike Stanton might have been worth more money. Game-used may be passe these days, but pulling a piece of bat that is, at a minimum, almost 100 years old, feels pretty damn special. I’ve been tempted to unload this card over the years since I pulled it, but I could never bring myself to do it. It’s a *real* piece of baseball history, and that’s what makes it one of my favorite cards.

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Expos and Nationals All-Bust Teams 2: All-Failure Nationals

Okay, so we’re back for da sequel! A reminder of the rules:

The guidelines for this battle:

  • Player must have either been a hyped player or selected in the first three rounds.
  • Not going for a full 25-man staff. Five starting pitchers, but max three relievers. They’re already kind of failed prospects in some respect as most are converted starters.
  • I don’t have to own the key cards (yet). In fact, some may not be available. But I will make an effort to obtain them.

On with the show…

  • 1B: Larry Broadway – How I did not want to call Larry a failed prospect. I tried and tried to avoid it, but in the end, I have to admit it. I blame the Nationals for his status, though. They frittered away a guy who consistently OPSed 800+ in the minors, never even giving him a shot. Makes me sad. Key Card –2002 Bowman Draft Gold

  • 2B: Seth Bynum – I covered Seth as a prospect last year, but I think we can officially say he’s a failed prospect. Sigh. Key Card – 2008 Bowman Chrome

  • SS: Esmailyn Gonzalez/Carlos Lugo – This guy is a can of worms and represents the worst of the Bowden era. His numbers would be great for a teenager in A-ball, but he’s much older than that. Key Card – 2008 Bowman Chrome Prospects

  • 3B: Jake Smolinski – I meant to cover this guy forever, but never got around to it. He’s now in the Florida system and has never developed power or even made it past A-ball as a 21-year old. He could theoretically still develop, but as a Nats prospect, he’s a goner. Key Card – 2008 Tristar Auto

  • C: Erick San Pedro – A 2004 second rounder, I’m not sure how much was ever expected of Erick, but he never lived up to being a second rounder, barely struggling to stay above the mendoza line in the minors and having absolutely zero power. He’s currently in the White Sox system. Key Card –2004 SP Prospects Link to the Future Dual Autographs

  • OF: Justin Maxwell – It looked for awhile like Justin might be a serviceable fourth outfielder, but I’m ready to call him a bust after this year. He looks sunk out there in the field, and he can’t hit water falling out of a boat. At 26, he’s just not going to get any better. Key Card – 2008 Upper Deck Premiere Gold Auto

  • OF: Frank Diaz – I lump Frank in with Larry Broadway, another player who was a victim of the organization. I know these sorts of injustices happen, but it’s frustrating. I covered him in May of 2009. Key Card – 2005 Bowman Draft Futures Game Used Relic

  • OF: Kory Casto – Poor Kory. He looked like he was going to be another organizational victim, but then he just looked completely inept once he got his shot. Overmatched in every sense of the word, he ended up posting a career 43 OPS+. He’s currently playing in the Arizona system. Key Card – 2004 Topps Chrome Auto

  • SP: Josh Smoker – Okay, this might be a little premature, as he’s only 21, but he hasn’t shown much in the minors. And I write this having ordered both his autographed card and Colton Willems’ autographed cards yesterday. I’ll just say that so far his career BB/9 is 4.4. Sure, his k/9 is 8.0, but given that he hasn’t even hit high-A yet, I’m not optimistic. Key Card – 2008 Bowman Chrome Prospects Auto (this is the one I ordered)

  • SP: Colton Willems – Willems has possibly been worse than Smoker. He was okay up until 2009, when his ERA and WHIP blew up. There had been some warning signs previous to that, with a high WHIP and H/9 despite his relatively low ERA. He does seem to have better control than Smoker, but I’m going to guess his velocity is much lower and he isn’t able to compensate with his other pitches. I’d be very surprised if he ever makes it to DC. Key Card – 2007 Bowman’s Best Prospects Gold Auto (also ordered this)

  • SP: Mike Hinckley – Mike got as high as #29 on the Baseball America Prospects list (2005), but he has only had a cup of coffee at the majors so far. Everything seemed to fall apart that year, as he went back to A ball from AA and faltered at Potomac. Since then, his bb/9 increased and SO/BB dropped dramatically. I don’t know what happened, but he’s bounced from the Washington system to the Texas system to Baltimore. Will he ever make it full-time in the majors? Who knows, but he’s 27 now, well past prospect status. Key Card – 2003 Bowman’s Best auto

  • SP: Glenn Gibson – Glenn and Jordan Zimmermann and Ross Detwiler were the 2008 version of Stephen Strasburg and Drew Storen. Their careers have taken wildly divergent paths, but Glenn got dealt to the Rays in 2008 before returning to Washington this year. He’s only 22 still, but his SO/BB has been incredibly bad so far his career, and he’s looked nowhere near where people thought he would be; he hasn’t even made it out of A ball. Disappointing. Key Card – 2007 Bowman Heritage Signs of Greatness

  • SP: Yunior Novoa Yunior was a ballyhooed international signing by the Chicago White Sox who ended up in the Nationals system in 2006, showing some flashes of brilliance. I think he may eventually end up in the majors, but he really needs to get his WHIP down before he can make it. Key Card – 2008 Choice

  • RP: Zech Zinicola -I covered Zech as a prospect back in May 2009. At the time I was hopeful he would be a contributor as a Nationals reliever one day. Since then, he’s been mediocre to downright awful, and while he may eventually make it, I don’t think he’ll ever be a star reliever. Key Card – 2007 Justifiable Autograph

  • RP: Josh Wilkie – Josh was another highly-touted reliever who actually hasn’t done badly in the minors, but for whatever reason has not made the majors yet and missed his window. Key Card – 2009 Harrisburg Senators Team Card

    That’s our all-failure Nationals team. Let’s recap:

    1. 1B: Lance Broadway (Never made majors) Career WAR: 0.0
    2. 2B: Seth Bynum – (Never made majors) Career WAR: 0.0
    3. SS: Esmailyn Gonzalez/Carlos Lugo – (Never made majors) Career WAR: 0.0
    4. 3B: Jake Smolinski – (Never made majors) Career WAR: 0.0
    5. C: Erick San Pedro – (Never made majors) Career WAR: 0.0
    6. OF: Justin Maxwell – (Made majors as a National) Career WAR: 0.2
    7. OF: Frank Diaz -(Never made majors) Career WAR: 0.0
    8. OF: Kory Casto – (Made majors as a National) Career WAR: -1.8
    9. SP: Josh Smoker – (Never made majors) Career WAR: 0.0
    10. SP: Colton Willems – (Never made majors) Career WAR: 0.0
    11. SP: Mike Hinckley – (Made majors as a National) Career WAR: 0.7
    12. SP: Glenn Gibson – (Never made majors) Career WAR: 0.0
    13. SP: Yunior Novoa – (Never made majors) Career WAR: 0.0
    14. RP: Zech Zinicola – (Never made majors) Career WAR: 0.0
    15. RP: Josh Wilkie – (Never made majors) Career WAR: 0.0

    Wow, I did not expect Mike Hinckley to be the star of this team. Maybe the guy will live in the majors yet.

    Next we’ll compare these two teams head-to-head. Looking at career ML WAR isn’t really fair, since a lot of these guys are younger and haven’t had a chance to make it. I have a different plan.

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    Autographed: Jim Palmer

    2003 Donruss Signature Series

    Absolutely one of my favorite cards in my collection. I’m a Jim Palmer collector to begin with, and finding a card with a signature referencing the Cy Young Palmer won in my birth year was…yeah. I won this in an auction back in 2005, and had debated for quite some time during my last run on whether I would feature it on the blog. In the end, I had to go for it, and haven’t regretted it since. What a great card, even if it is a cut sticker.

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    Expos and Nationals All-Bust Teams 1: All-Failure Expos

    This is an idea that’s been kicking around in the back of my head for awhile, and, as I’ve now reached the 500th post, I thought it was time to do something special.

    My plan is to separate the two eras, as it wasn’t fair to either team to lump them together. Entry 1 is the Expos; Entry 2 the Nationals; Entry 3 a Battle Royale determining who is the “better” (worse) failed prospect. When that’s done, I’m going to try to acquire some of these key rookie cards that I don’t already have.

    The guidelines for this battle:

    • Player must have either been a hyped player or selected in the first three rounds.
    • Not going for a full 25-man staff. Five starting pitchers, but max three relievers. They’re already kind of failed prospects in some respect as most are converted starters.
    • I don’t have to own the key cards (yet). In fact, some may not be available. But I will make an effort to obtain them.

    Without further ado…

    • 1B: Thomas Pittman – A Supplemental first rounder in 1997, Pittman was a high school first baseman who started with a .152/.264/.196 line in rookie ball and never progressed past High A. His career ended in 2001 with a .244/.301/.373 line. Yuck. Key Card: 1996 Roox Prep Stars. I was unable to find a picture of Pittman, so here’s a sample Roox Prep Star card.

    • 2B: Henry Mateo – He was seen as the heir apparent at 2B in Montreal behind Jose Vidro. I don’t think he was ever seen as a phenom or anything like that, but the thought was that he would be a serviceable middle infield guy, and it didn’t pan out. Not a giant disappointment like some of these other guys, just a mild blip. Key Card: 2004 Upper Deck pro Sigs auto


    • SS: Hiram Bocachica – Boy, did this guy have high hopes behind him. I’ve already covered him. Key Card: 1997 Bowman Chrome.

    • 3B: Boi Rodriguez – My description of Rodriguez when I reviewed 1990 Best: “Boi Rodriguez was someone who could do a convincing impersonation of a prospect, but never really hit enough to get a cup of coffee in the majors. It also didn’t help that as a corner infielder he never slugged above .446 in full-time action.” Key Card: going with the 1990 Best card here.

    • C: Nelson Santovenia – Hard to believe, but this guy was a touted prospect at one point. I always thought of him as a guy who took up space in my junk wax packs, but he was a highly drafted catcher that just never lived up to the space Gary Carter left. Key Card: 1991 Topps Desert Shield

    • OF: Glenn Murray – Another guy I’ve already talked about. Key Card: 1995 Signature Rookies Auto

    • OF: Chris Schwab – Chris was the very first failed prospect covered on NatsTown! You can view his story here. Key Card: 1994 Bowman

    • OF: Josh McKinley – Another one I’ve already covered: “McKinley was the Expos’ first choice in the 1998 draft, so big things were expected of the guy. It seems he was a pretty well-regarded amateur player who played with Austin Kearns and Michael Cuddyer in the 1997 World Junior Championships. Unfortunately, it seems that he couldn’t hit in the minors. At all. His highest OPS was a SLG-heavy .834 in 2003.” Key Card: 2004-05 USA Baseball National Team Alumni Sig

    • SP: Clint Everts –Everts was picked in the 2002 draft ahead of Prince Fielder, Scott Kazmir, Nick Swisher, Zack Grienke, Cole Hamels, and Matt Cain, just to name a few. To this day he has not made the major leagues. He’s still 25, so I’m sure it will happen eventually, but he amply demonstrates the risks of picking a high school pitcher so high. Key Card – 2003 Topps Blue Chips Autographs

    • SP: Tavo Alvarez – Already covered him as Failed Prospect #6. Key card- Tough choice. Nothing really stands out; ended up going with his 1993 Fleer Ultra.

    • SP: BJ WallaceFailed Prospect #17. Not sure if he was a bad choice or bad luck. Key Card- 1993 Bowman

    • SP: Josh Girdley – The failed prospect so nice, I’ve featured him twice, once as a Failed Prospect, and once as an autograph. Key Card – 1999 Topps Traded Autograph

    • RP: Don Levinski – I never even realized Don was an Expos prospect; I remember him as an Orioles relief prospect in 2004, but sure enough, he was a 2001 second-rounder who got dealt first to the Marlins, then the Orioles. I only ever had one card of him, but I saw him pitch for Frederick in 2004 during what would be the beginning of the end of his career. Key Card – 2004 Bowman’s Best auto

    • RP: Nate Minchey Failed Prospect #11. He did at least make the majors for awhile, I suppose. Key card – 1988 O-Pee-Chee Draft

    So that’s our all-failure Expos team. Let’s recap:

    1. 1B – Thomas Pittman (Never made majors) Career WAR: 0.0
    2. 2B- Henry Mateo (Made majors as Expo) Career WAR: -0.7
    3. SS- Hiram Bocachica (Made majors as Dodger) Career WAR: -1.1
    4. 3B – Boi Rodriguez (Never made majors) Career WAR: 0.0
    5. C – Nelson Santovenia (Made majors as Expo) Career WAR: 0.8
    6. OF – Glenn Murray (Made majors as Phillie) Career WAR: -0.6
    7. OF – Chris Schwab (Never made majors) Career WAR: 0.0
    8. OF – Josh McKinley (Never made majors) Career WAR: 0.0
    9. SP – Clint Everts (Never made majors) Career WAR: 0.0
    10. SP – Tavo Alvarez (Made majors as Expo) Career WAR: -0.3
    11. SP – BJ Wallace (Never made majors) Career WAR: 0.0
    12. SP – Josh Girdley (Never made majors) Career WAR: 0.0
    13. RP – Don Levinski (Never made majors) Career WAR: 0.0
    14. RP – Nate Minchey (Made majors as Red Sox) Career WAR: -1.0

    That’s right, Nelson Santovenia is the MVP of this sad squad. We’ll look at the Nationals soon.

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      Game-Used and Auto: Nick Johnson

      Okay, technically this is a card of a Yankee, but it was too sweet to pass up, and I’ll always like Nick, even if he’s made of glass.

      SPx Young Stars

      Absolutely one of my favorite cards in my collection. Sure, the design is busy as hell, but oddly enough I feel like it works, especially with the striped uniform piece, which fits in with all the lines and angles. I think a plain white swatch would have ruined the look. It’s a nice cut sig, as well. Definitely gets an A+ in my book, and I’m going to hold on to it for a long time.

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