Albert, if you don’t stay with the Cardinals, please go to the AL. But really, it’s best for baseball if you stay with the Cards.
Tag Archives: St. Louis Cardinals
Todd Zeile was a UCLA grad who was chosen by the Cardinals in the second round of the 1986 draft, a catcher at the time. He was instantly a top prospect for the Cardinals. Assigned to Erie in the New York Penn League, he hit .258/.352/.492 with 14 home runs in 70 games, a damned impressive showing for a catcher.
The Cardinals moved him up slowly through the system, spending a year at each level and utterly dominating. He hit 25 home runs in 1987 at A-level Springfield, hitting .292/.380/.511. In 1988, he moved up to AA Arkansas and slugged 19 home runs with a .272/.388/.491 line. As a catcher. Yeah, the guy was one hell of a prospect – the Cardinals’ top prospect, in fact, by 1989, when he got a chance to join the Cardinals for Spring Training and promptly mashed the hell out of the ball, but the team didn’t want to rush him and smartly sent him back to the minors, AAA Louisville, where he hit another 19 home runs and hit .289/.350/.486, proving he was the real deal. He earned a call-up in August, 1989, and was there to stay.
In 28 games with the Cards in 1989, he hit .256/.326/.354 with one home run, and was on everyone’s radar as a hot rookie to watch for 1990.
I hadn’t seen the guy until I saw this card at another meeting of our card club, and though I had heard whispers of him being good, I had no idea HOW good until I saw the numbers on the back of the card. I knew I had to have this, and while it took quite some finessing, I finally got it.
Zeile’s 1990, of course, was not very stunning. Sure, he hit 15 home runs, but he got moved to third base, and hit .244/.333/.398, hardly living up to the hype of his minor league numbers. His career was, in fact, pretty much a disappointment. He ended up being a journeyman third baseman, bouncing around from team to team, not great but good, a decent warm body to fill a spot. His career year would be 1997 with the Dodgers, when he hit .268/.365/.459. He retired in 2004, with a .265/.346/.423 career line and 253 career homers.
Tom Brunansky was traded to the Cardinals on April 22, 1988 for Tommy Herr as part of the dismantling of the 1987 World Champion Twins team. Brunansky brought with him an All-Star pedigree and several years with above-average to average production in corner outfield spots. Ironically, the team had played each other in the 87 World Series:
The last time Brunansky visited Busch Stadium, he was a member of the visiting team in the World Series.
”Yeah, this is a little strange,”he said as he tried to find a pair of white pants.
Brunansky was a great pickup for the Cardinals; he went on to a .245/.345/.428 slash for them (he never was an average guy), with 22 home runs, a lot for the time, and a 121 OPS+. He led the 88 Cards in HR, RBI, BB, and OPS+. Not too bad.
And Tommy Herr? Well, we’ll show him later in the Project, but let’s just say the Cardinals definitely won this trade, even if Brunansky only stuck around for a couple of seasons; however, according to the St. Paul Tribune and Andy McPhail, the team had to make the trade:
Twins executive vice president Andy MacPhail will get some heat for trading Tom Brunansky to St. Louis for Tom Herr, but MacPhail was almost forced to make the trade to get rid of Brunansky’s $1.5 million contract for 1990, which everybody thinks will be a strike year.
Brunansky’s contract calls for $1.14 million this year, $1.2 million next year and $1.5 million in 1990.
My own personal memories revolve around Tom in the original RBI Baseball. Tom was a beast, and even though none of us cared for him as a player, we wanted him on our team. But you know, what I find most intriguing about Bruno these days is his comparables on Baseball Reference. Frank Thomas? Barry Bonds? Those I’m not so sure about, but it is interesting company for someone who also has Larry Parrish (another 88 projecter) and Jeff Burroughs. In the end, though, I’ve come to respect Bruno and appreciate these cards. My particular favorite is the Score. Even though the orange and red is irritating together, it’s good to see an action shot of Bruno in the Cards uniform for once.
We will continue this series soon, as I realized I was slacking a bit and need to pick up the pace if I’m ever going to get through it and start to think about 1989. Fun times ahead…
Player list (so far):
- Day 1- Mark Grace (Cubs)
- Day 2- Al Leiter (Yankees)
- Day 3- Chris Sabo (Reds)
- Day 4- Walt Weiss (Athletics)
- Day 5- Baseballs’ Best Catch-Up
- Day 6- Craig Biggio (Astros)
- Day 7-Roberto Alomar (Padres)
- Day 8-Kirk Gibson (Dodgers)
- Day 9-Jay Buhner (Yankees/Mariners)
- Day 10-Jose Rijo (Reds)
- Day 11-Brady Anderson & Mike Boddicker (Red Sox/Orioles)
- Day 12-Pete Smith & Kevin Coffman (Braves)
- Day 13-David Wells (Blue Jays)
- Day 14-Shawn Abner (Padres)
- Day 15 – Tom Brunansky (Cardinals)
So I was digging through my cards last night, working on getting them more organized, and realized I was nowhere near the end of my National finds. Let us continue…
Everything in this entry is from the 2009 Upper Deck box, which wasn’t as devoid of quality cards as I first thought. Sure, I would have liked an auto, but for 29 bucks, I’m pretty happy with what I got. The Goodwin previews are excellent, and actually holding them and seeing them rather than seeing them on a blog makes me want to try to go back and get some.
I thought this was just a standard StarQuest card until I moved it a certain way in the light and realized it was a black Ultra-Rare. Pleasant surprise, I have to say, and though I generally don’t care for the StarQuest cards, I like the way this one works with the colors and shiny material.
Finally, I got an Upper Deck Gold. I really don’t know anything about these, but they’re okay, I guess.
All in all, it was a worthy box. I have two more non-Nats entries coming, one dedicated to throwback cards I found, and one to my Jim Palmers. So we’re almost there…
The last entry to complete the set before we move on to some other Flashback sets…
Oh, Elijah. I went from hating his signing to thinking he had some potential to being absolutely confused when he was cut from the team. I guess his attitude just got the best of him? I’m also confused that he’s playing for the Newark Bears, apparently, as he wasn’t GREAT last year, but he was only 25. Surely someone would have picked him up? But yeah, according to the Washington Post:
But Rizzo also implied that Dukes’s presence in the clubhouse adversely affected the Nationals, saying they “will be a more cohesive group” without him.
“The clubhouse will be more united,” Rizzo said. “We’ll have a better feel around the ballclub. We’ll gain just by that alone.”
So yeah, attitude entirely. Oh, well. Good luck to the guy.
Another of the great, lost Expos from the MLB years.
I liked Phillips way back, and I’ve been happy to see him find his talent and turn it into a productive career. I like this card a lot, as well – it captures exactly the spirit of 92 Upper Deck.
So we get to the first of today’s entries that isn’t in some way tied to the Nats/Expos…but IS from Washington, DC. No, I didn’t plan it this way, but it’s a nice little coincidence. Emmanuel isn’t a very good hitter (in the way that Hitler wasn’t a very nice man), but he’s managed to stick in the majors since debuting in 08, and was even rumored to be part of a trade for Jose Bautista this season, though that never got off the ground. I thought he might be a good glove man, so I hit up fangraphs, and his UZR is -17.7. So uhm…what value does he provide, actually? A warm body? I don’t get it. But he’s still out there.
And so the final card I’ll cover in this set. Uhm…Rico Washington. That’s about the flimsiest connection to this “theme” you can come up with. Rico was a 30-year old rookie when this was published, so I can appreciate that this was probably just a neat moment for him. He didn’t really hit well in his run, which lasted most of April, 2008, and he hasn’t been back since. In fact, he seems to have retired completely, but at least he got a shot. Good for him.
And we resume the series, closing in on the end…
Yes, there are two Nationals in this subset, and I wanted to save them for last (and next-to-last). Tyler Clippard has completely revived his career the last two seasons, pitching to a 157 and 126 ERA+ respectively with enough innings for those numbers to actually mean something. He hasn’t been quite as effective of late, but I suspect that has to do with overuse – the guy has already appeared in 50 games this year. I still have faith in Clip, and I have an autographed version of this card, as well:
I will forever associate Chris Duncan with the asinine crap that went down with his exit from St. Louis. For those unfamiliar, when St. Louis (rightfully) dealt him to Boston for being unable to hit water falling out of a boat, his dad, pitching coach Dave Duncan, and manager Tony LaRussa were very butthurt and gave the front office trouble about it. But come on, the guy really was underperforming and fans didn’t like him. It was time for a change. And yes, technically Chris is a National now, though he hasn’t suited up for them in an official game yet. Here’s a shot of him from Spring Training, though:
Duncan is hitting .191 in Syracuse this year, so don’t expect to see him in Washington any time soon.
I had never heard of this guy when I pulled this card, and I still haven’t seen him in a game. To me, Janish looks and smells like a AAAA player, and the numbers bear it out, though he has managed a 109 OPS+ in 37 games this year (small sample size caveats aside). I also did not realize he pitched in two games last year, but was less than impressive.
Russ was one of the last two cards I needed to complete this set. I had high hopes for this guy once upon a time. He looked like another in the tradition of good-hitting Dodgers catchers in the mold of Mike Piazza, but lately he’s looked more like a Paul LoDuca. I also have something of a grudge against him because I picked him up last year for my fantasy team as what I thought would be a steal and he completely tanked and has kept it up this year.
Finally, we have Clay Timpner, another player who was a mystery to me. So far he has appeared in only two ML games with two at-bats, striking out both times, and hasn’t returned since 2008. No wonder I’d never heard of the guy. He’s playing at AA Richmond this year, with a .707 OPS. Meh.
So far, while I like the design of the subset, the player choices leave me more than a bit underwhelmed. There are some good players to come, sure, but nothing that’ll wow you. Thankfully, we’re almost done and can get to something better – 2002 UD Authentics.
So, as you can probably tell from this site, I love “throwback” cards, though I’ve come to realize that throwback is not the best term for them. More like cards that are anachronisms, like modern ballplayers on old designs or old ballplayers on new designs (and those designs cannot be made for a specific set of old-timers – it has to look the same as a current design featuring current players). I don’t know why I love these so much. I suspect it’s a “what if” angle, though oddly enough Topps Heritage and Bowman Heritage have always left me somewhat cold and I suspect it’s a mix of thinking of those as “old” designs that have no relevancy and thinking that a pristine card that looks like, say, a 1965 card, is just wrong. A 1965 card should have some wear on it, dammit!
Anyway, since I’m in the middle of the 2008 Timeline 1992 set, I thought I’d take a break and look at another set I’m assembling, the 2002 Donruss Authentics set.
What was it about 2002 that made this idea so prevalent? We had 2002 UD Authentics (another set I’m collecting) and Fleer Platinum (yet again, another set that will show up here sooner or later). I wasn’t collecting in 2002 so it seems like an odd little quirk of that year.
Anyway, let’s take a look at some of the set today!
I was never a huge fan of the ’82 Donruss design, but it is kind of neat to see modern players and crisp photography on it. It gives it a little more life, even if it is a pretty immature, childish design. The shot itself here is an unusual one. You just don’t see many shots like this, especially with the “Mr. Cool” umpire in the background. And of course, Albert Pujols is just amazing and I’m happy to have any of his cards.
Two cards in, and I realize I like the photography in this set a lot. I think that has something to do with why I’m chasing the set even at its expense. Combining newer players with better photography in a design not noted for its photography? Hell yeah. I like this card alot – again, it’s a vaguely familiar shot that is made a bit more interesting by when in his follow-through it’s taken. And of course, I like Manny even if he is a bit of a screw-up.
See, this Alou shot, even though it’s again a dog-standard follow-through shot, the hand is off the bat partially. It loses some points for not showing his face, but overall it’s not a *bad* card. And it’s a former Expo, so all the better!
Okay, this is a boring shot through and through. They can’t all be winners, I guess. It is kind of cool to see Hudson in the green and gold again, though. Man, that was a hell of a pitching staff.
So that’s the start to this set. Kind of starts off slow, but it gets really good later, and of course I have a loooong way to go in completing this set; I’d love to trade with someone who has some.