Friday, August 31, 2012

Player Profile: Jeff Baker

I have three cards of Jeff Baker. This one is from 2007 Ultra.


Playing career: Jeff Baker, who came up with the Rockies in 2005 and was traded to the Cubs in 2009, is a classic utility man, playing multiple infield and outfield positions while getting 200-300 at bats a season, regularly hitting in the .260s. 

Where he is now: He was traded to the Tigers on August 5. On the season he is hitting .254 with 4 HR and 24 RBI in 169 at-bats, so he will need a good September to keep up the streak. Since being traded to Detroit he is hitting .200 in 35 at-bats. Yesterday he was 0-for-1 in Detroit's loss to Kansas City.

My memories: Don’t remember this guy at all, probably because he only played in the National League before this season.

Google Autocomplete results: He is ninth when  you type Jeff Ba, between Jeff Ballard and Jeff Bagwell Stats, both of which refer to former major leaguers. Another prominent Jeff Baker is a psychic.

Coming up next: The next profile will be John Baker.



Thursday, August 30, 2012

Player Profile: Jason Baker

I have one card of Jason Baker, from 1994 Classic 4 Sport Draft Picks.

Playing career: Jason Baker spent nine years in the minor leagues, mostly in the Expos system. He went 40-45 with a 4.60 ERA. His best season was 1996, when he went 9-7 with a 2.81 ERA for Delmarva.

My memories: Only know him from his card.

Where he is now: Sales & Marketing for Global Artificial Lift (Permian Basin), a Halliburton company.

Google Autocomplete results: Jason Baker is second when you type Jason Bak, between Jason Baker MD, an endocrinologist in New York, and Jason Bakutis, a sculptor. There are no references to the baseball player on the first page of results; most refer to the former punter for the Carolina Panthers.

Coming up next: The next profile will be Jeff Baker.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Player Profile: Jared Baker

I have two cards of Jared Baker. This one is from 1992 Upper Deck Minors.

Playing career: Jared Baker pitched four years in the Padres organization. After a 6-3, 2.82 season at lower A ball in 1992, he went 23-26, 4.65 in his next three seasons, never getting above AA.

My memories: Only know him from his card.

Where he is now: Anyone know where Jared Baker is now?

Google Autocomplete results: Jared Baker is second when you type Jared Bak, between Jared Baker Goldman Sachs, referring to an investment researcher, and Jared Baker Allstate, an insurance agent. There are no references to the baseball player on the first page of results; most refer to the running back at the University of Arizona.

Coming up next: The next profile will be Jason Baker.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Player Profile: Dusty Baker

I have 25 cards of Dusty Baker. This one is from 1984 Fleer.

Playing career: Outfielder Dusty Baker played 19 seasons in the major leagues, mostly for the Braves and the Dodgers. A two time all-star, he hit 242 home runs and drive in over a thousand runs. He was a key member of the great Dodger teams of the late 70s and early 80s.

Where he is now: Baker has been a major league manager for 19 of the last 20 years, going 840-715 for the Giants, Cubs, and now the Reds, reaching the post-season with all. He also runs a baseball camp.

Interesting facts: He was in the US Marine Corps Reserves from 1969 through 1975.
He is currently active with several charities.
He is widely read in a variety of subjects.
He believes “blacks and Latins take the heat better than most whites, and whites take the cold better than most blacks and Latins.”
He supported Barack Obama in the 2008 presidential election. No word on whether he supports him again in 2012.

My memories: His playing career is from before my time, however I remember his managerial career, as he has moved over the last twenty years from being considered a new fresh face, to being considered one of the more antiquated managers in the game. His teams aren’t necessarily perennial contenders, but he often gets them to win. His strengths are more on the communication and leadership side then the strategic side.

Google Autocomplete results: He is second when you type Dusty, between Dusty Springfield, a British pop singer, and Dusty Rhodes, a wrestler. There do not appear to be any other prominent Dusty Bakers.

Coming up next: The next profile will be  Jared Baker.

Monday, August 27, 2012

More cards from Freecycle

Got about a thousand cards for free from a Freecycle posting yesterday. Out of the thousand cards there were about 20 that I needed. Can't complain as they were free!

About a quarter of the cards were basketball, almost all from the 91-92 Upper Deck set. Lots of star players, Jordan, Bird, Magic etc. There were some really nice holographic cards, including two of this Jordan card, which is much nicer than this photo. They are full color in the right light, really nice cards. Anyway, I don't collect basketball so all of them are up for trade.

Of the remainder, there were almost all of the cards from Series 1 of 1992 Score. Anyone have any needs for this set?
There were a few cards that I did need, including several 1982 O-Pee-Chee cards.  There were two cards of blogging favorite Jerry Reuss, so one of them is up for trade as well.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Player Profile: Doug Baker

I have two cards of Doug Baker. This one is from 1990 Fleer.

Playing career: Infielder Doug Baker had 108 at bats in his rookie season for the world champion 1984 Tigers, hitting .185. Although he appeared in each of the next six seasons, he never had more than 78 at bats in any of them, though he did pull his lifetime average up to .207.

Where he is now: An instructor for ATH Academy and the Houston Hurricanes.

Interesting stories: Brother of former Blue Jay Dave Baker.

He was 4-feet-11 in his junior year of high school, when he was diagnosed with a hormonal imbalance. With medication he grew seven inches that year.

My memories: He is one of the first players I remember who was described as “good field, no hit”.

Google Autocomplete results: He is first when you type Doug Bak, ahead of Doug Baker Ecolab, referring to the CEO of the company. Another prominent Doug Baker is the Emergency Department Chief at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center.

Coming up next: The next profile will be Dusty Baker.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Player Profile: Chuck Baker

I have four cards of Chuck Baker. This one is from 1981 Fleer.

Playing career: Infielder Chuck Baker played in 93 games for San Diego and Minnesota from 1978 to 1981, hitting .185 with 9 RBI. In 1981 he hit just .182 (12-66) but three of his hits were triples.

My memories: At one time his 1981 Fleer card was one of my very few pre-1985 cards.

Where he is now: Anyone know where Chuck Baker is now?

Google Autocomplete results: He is first when you type Chuck Bak, ahead of Chuck Baker DLA Piper, referring to a corporate partner in the New York office at the global law firm. The ballplayer is second when you google Chuck Baker, behind a photographer.

Coming up next: The next profile will be Doug Baker.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Baseball card story from Travis Foley

Travis Foley pitched in the Indians and A's organizations from 2001 to 2007, going 44-32 with a 3.62 ERA. His best season was 2002, when he went 13-4 with a 2.82 ERA for Columbus. Now a sales rep for River City Distributing in Louisville, KY, he kindly answered my question about baseball cards.

"I took my first Upper Deck picture in front of a red shed at the high school I graduated from."

Thanks!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Trade with Tenets of Wilson

Got some cool cards in a trade with Tenets of Wilson, mostly Cardinals, which are his favorite team and my second-favorite team.

What do these two cards have in common?
 
They both have photos of Ray Lankford on the back. I love error cards.


I've seen this card on a bunch of other blogs. It's a great card, even though I don't like Piazza.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Player Profile: Brad Baker

I have one card of Brad Baker, from 2000 Topps.

Playing career: Brad Baker was the Red Sox number one draft choice in 1999, and won 47 games and saved 78 in 315 minor league games. A loss of velocity prevented him from making the major leagues.

Where he is now: A bartender and baseball instructor in rural Massachusetts, where he still pitches competitively.

Interesting stories: He is one of six Red Sox minor leaguers profiled in the book Knocking on Heaven’s Door, which had its genesis when author Marty Dubrow came to Baker’s house on draft day in 1999 to chronicle the event for Sport Magazine.

My memories: Only know him from his card.

Google Autocomplete results: He is third when you type Brad Ba, between Brad Band, referring to an alternative band from Seattle, and Brad Banks, a former Redskins quarterback. Another prominent Brad Baker is a multimedia visual artist.

Coming up next: The next profile will be Chuck Baker.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Player Profile: Brad Baisley

I have two cards of Brad Baisley. This one is from 2000 Bowman.

Playing career: Brad Baisley pitched in the Phillies, Yankees and Dodgers organizations from 1998 to 2004, winning 30 games. His best season was 1999, when he went 10-7 with a 2.26 ERA for Class-A Piedmont.


My memories: Only know him from his card.

Google Autocomplete results: He is first when you google Brad Baisley (including a space after the name to add the word baseball). Most google autocompletes refer to Brad Paisley, the country music star. There do not appear to be any other prominent Brad Baisleys.

Coming up next: The next profile will be Brad Baker.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Player Profile: Doug Bair


I have 20 cards of Doug Bair. This one is from 1990 Score.

Playing career: Reliever Doug Bair pitched for seven teams over fifteen seasons. He was Cincinnati’s closer in the late 1970s as well as a key contributor to two World Champions – the 1982 Cardinals and 1984 Tigers.

Where he is now: After his playing career he worked in finance and was a college and minor league coach. He is now retired.

My memories: I was always fascinated by the end of his baseball card. From 1986 to 1989 he pitched for four different teams, one team each year. I think it’s more common today but back then it was quite unusual.

Interesting stories: Bair was interviewed by SportsCollectors Digest in 2008, and told the magazine, “I have most of my old cards. It seems like they always took your picture right after you finished running, thus you were sweaty and your hair was all messed up. It just seems like they took pictures when you weren’t looking your best."

Google Autocomplete results: He is fourth when you type Doug Bai, between Doug Baird Citi, referring to the ECM chair at the bank, and Doug Baird, a law professor at the University of Chicago. Another prominent Doug Bair is a fashion photographer.

Coming up next: The next profile will be Brad Baisley.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Player Profile: Harold Baines


I have 103 cards of Harold Baines. This one is from 1986 Fleer.

Playing career: Harold Baines played 22 seasons in the major leagues. The first ten of those years were with the White Sox, and he was so good that they retired his number 3 while he was still active. He then bounced from team to team for the next decade-plus as various pennant contenders acquired him in hopes that he would lead them to a championship. Despite a .324 post-season average and five home runs in 31 playoff games, he failed to win a championship with Texas, Oakland, Baltimore, Cleveland, or two subsequent stints with the Pale Hose. He was a six-time all-star and hit 20+ home runs ten times, but never put up the kinds of dynamic single seasons that would vault him into Hall of Fame status. Sully of Sully Baseball put it best: “He stretched from the lapels on the uniform era for the White Sox…To the disastrous SOX across the chest monstrosities…To the utterly forgettable cursive uniform…Before finishing his career in the classic ChiSox duds. He was a respected steady veteran, but not a superstar. Not a dominating force.”

Where he is now: First base coach for the White Sox.

My memories: He always seemed synonymous with the White Sox, which is why it was such a shock when he was traded. After that, he always seemed like a background player on good teams, never the number one guy, the guy you wanted to make sure didn’t beat you.

Google Autocomplete results: He is second when you type Harold B, between Harold Bloom, a literary critic recently accused of sexual harassment, and Harold Brodkey, a novelist. Another prominent Harold Baines is the recently retired General Counsel of Lloyds Banking Group.

Coming up next: The next profile will be Doug Bair.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Player Profile: Bob Bailor


I have 21 Bob Bailor cards. This one is from 1980 Topps.

Playing career: An original Blue Jay, Bob Bailor was a decent utilityman between 1975 and 1985, also spending time with the Orioles, Mets and Dodgers. Bailor was the prototypical “scrappy white infielder” – basically, a Wally Backman who wasn’t a jerk. In fact, he was considered one of the friendliest players in the league.

Where he is now: He was a coach with the Blue Jays for many years, and was the only member of the original Blue Jays to win a World Series ring with the team in 1992 and 1993. As the first base coach, he was the first man to shake Joe Carter’s hand after his Series-winning home run. He is now retired and spends his time hunting and fishing.

Interesting stories: For a rather undistinguished player, there are a lot of profiles of Bailor online. Steve at Greatest 21 Days has profiled both his playing and coaching careers.

Josh at Cardboard Gods wrote about a card where Bailor has a huge wad of chewing tobacco, and talks about how he used to chew while he still had braces!

The SABR Baseball Biography Project has a very detailed biography of Bailor, starting with his upbringing in an working-class Polish community in western Pennsylvania (the name Bailor was originally Bialkowski) and through his minor league years in Baltimore, where he witnessed one of his friends and teammates, Mark Weems, drown in Venezuela. Bailor spent three days looking for his body with future major league pitcher Don Hood and future major league manager Ray Miller.

My memories: Before my time. Only know him from his cards.

Google Autocomplete results: He is eighth when you type Bob Bail, between Bob Bailey TR6, an ignition module, and Bob Bailey Chicken Camp, an animal-training camp (apparently chickens are easy to train and thus are often the first animal a prospective animal-trainer learns to train). There do not appear to be any other prominent Bob Bailors.

Coming up next: The next profile will be Harold Baines.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Player Profile: Roy Bailey

I have one card of Roy Bailey, from 1990 Best.

Playing career: Roy Bailey pitched in the Cardinals organization from 1990 to 1993, going 16-14 with a 3.38 ERA.

Where he is now: Baseball coach at Martha Layne Collins High School and owner of National Auto Consultants in Shelbyville, KY.

My memories: Only know him from his card.

Google Autocomplete results: He is second when you type Roy Bai, between Roy Bailey Giuliani and Roy Bailey Dallas, both of which refer to an advisor to former NYC mayor Rudy Giuliani. There are no references to the ballplayer on the first page of googling Roy Bailey; most entries refer to a British folk singer.

Coming up next: The next profile will be Bob Bailor.



Thursday, August 16, 2012

Player Profile: Roger Bailey


I have eight cards of Roger Bailey. This one is from 1993 Classic 4 Sport Draft Picks.

Playing career: Roger Bailey made 46 starts and 46 relief appearances for the Rockies from 1995 to 1997, going 18-19 with one save and a 4.90 ERA. He was actually coming off a solid 1997 season in Colorado’s rotation when he was injured in a car accident in the spring training of 1998, ending his career.

Where he is now: Pitching instructor for Hit Streak Baseball and sideline reporter for Comcast Sports Net.

My memories: Only know him from his card.

Google Autocomplete results: He is first when you type Roger Bai, ahead of Roger Bain, a firearms company. Another prominent Roger Bailey is the Director of Public Utilities for the City of San Diego.

Coming up next: The next profile will be Roy Bailey.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Player Profile: Mark Bailey


I have ten cards of Mark Bailey. This one is from 1985 Fleer.

Playing career: Mark Bailey was a catcher for the Astros in the mid-1980s. In 340 games he hit .220 with 24 HR and 101 RBI. The Greatest 21 Days has a full profile of his career, as well as an interview.

My memories: 1986 was my first year as a baseball fan, and I actually did not collect cards that year; instead I collected stickers for the Topps sticker album. Bailey’s sticker, coming off his promising 1985 rookie year, was one of the first I got, so he always stuck in my mind as being much more prominent than he actually was.

Where he is now: Hitting coach for the Corpus Christi Hooks in the Astros organization.

Google Autocomplete results: He is first when you type Mark Bai, ahead of Mark Baiada, President of BAYADA Home Health Care. The first result when you google Mark Bailey is not the ballplayer but a documentary writer.

Coming up next: The next profile will be Roger Bailey.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Player Profile: Howard Bailey


I have four cards of Howard Bailey. This one is from 1984 Topps.

Playing career: Howard Bailey pitched in 50 games, mostly relief, for Detroit from 1981 to 1983, going 6-9 with one save and a 5.23 ERA.

Where he is now: After his baseball career, he turned to skeet shooting, and had a very successful career, winning 11 Michigan state championships and two world championships. Last year he was inducted into theMichigan Skeet Association Hall of Fame. In addition to his day job at Buy-Right Tape, he owns a blueberry farm and is a beekeeper.

My memories: Before my time. Only know him from his card.

Google Autocomplete results: He is first when you type Howard Bai, ahead of Howard Baier, an Investment Banking Analyst at JP Morgan. The first result when you google Howard Bailey is not the ballplayer but a financial planning firm called Howard Bailey Financial.

Coming up next: The next profile will be Mark Bailey.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Player Profile: Cory Bailey


I have four cards of Cory Bailey. This one is from 1995 Score.

Playing career: Cory Bailey pitched in 172 major league games, all in relief, between 1993 and 2002 for the Red Sox, Cardinals, Giants and Royals. He went 9-10 with one save and a 3.96 ERA.

Interesting stories: After his US career, Bailey pitched in Taiwan. He was arrested in 2008 as part of a game-fixing scandal.

Where he is now: Bailey has returned to the US and is now co-owner of the Hit Repair baseball instruction facility in Marion, IL.

My memories: I remember his name but nothing specific.

Google Autocomplete results: He is first when you type Cory Bai, ahead of Cory Baird Kirkland, referring to a private equity associate at Chicago Law firm Kirkland & Ellis. Another prominent Cory Bailey is the Head Football Coach at Assumption College.

Coming up next: The next profile will be Howard Bailey.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Player Profile: Bob Bailey


I have two cards from Bob Bailey. This one is from 1979 Topps.

Playing career: Bob Bailey was a power-hitting third baseman for some bad teams, mostly the Pirates of the ‘60s and the Expos of the ‘70s. He hit 189 career home runs, including over 20 three times. In his last major league at-bat, with the Red Sox in 1978, he pinch-hit against Goose Gossage in the one-game playoff against the Yankees and struck out. It was the closest he came to playing in the post-season in his 17-year career.

Where he is now: He sells time-shares for Fairfield Resorts in Las Vegas.

My memories: He is from before my time.

Google Autocomplete results: He is first when you type Bob Bai, ahead of Bob Bailin, a movie cameraman. The first result when you google Bob Bailey is not the ballplayer but a 1940s radio actor.

Coming up next: The next profile will be Cory Bailey.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Player Profile: Andrew Bailey


I have three cards of Andrew Bailey. This one is from 2011 Topps Heritage.

Playing career: Andrew Bailey was the AL Rookie of the Year in 2009, saving 26 games for Oakland. His save totals decreased by one each year – 25 in 2010 and 24 in 2011.

Where he is now: Traded to Boston before the 2012 season, he has spent the entire season the disabled list.

My memories: I hadn’t even heard of him when he won the Rookie of the Year award. A closer for a mediocre team wasn’t interesting enough to catch my attention in a weak year for rookies in the American League.

Google Autocomplete results: He is first when you type Andrew Ba, ahead of Andrew Bagby, a murder victim whose friend made a movie about him. Another prominent Andrew Bailey is the Director of the Banks & Building Societies Division of the FSA (the UK version of the SEC).

Coming up next: The next profile will be Bob Bailey.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Player Profile: Scott Bailes

I have 25 cards of Scott Bailes. This one is from 1987 Donruss.

Playing career: Scott Bailes was a mediocre left-handed reliever (and occasional starter) for the Indians and Angels from 1986 to 1992, never posting an ERA below 4.18. Five years after his last game with the Angels in 1992, having been completely out of baseball for most of those five years, he made a comeback with the Rangers in 1997 and had his best season, going 1-0 with a 2.86 ERA in 24 appearances. He struggled the following season and this time retired from baseball for good.

Where he is now: He is the Manager of Market Development for the Springfield Cardinals and sits on the Springfield City Council in Missouri.

Interesting stories: Like beloved baseball-card blogger Night Owl, doctors told Bailes he had to stop eating foods like ice cream (Bailes’s favorite food) in 1991. In this case, the then-Angels pitcher was diagnosed with hypoglycemia.

Before the diagnosis, Bailes suffered through a miserable 1990 season, which led to him taking out his frustrations at home. “I was kind of short with the kids and JoAnne, and that wasn’t fair to them,” he told the LA Times that year.

Overall, however, Bailes has been a great dad according to his daughter Tara, who nominated him as a 417 Magazine “Best Dad” last year. “I can’t think of anyone I’d rather talk to about problems or frustrations I’m having than him, and having a father like that has been the most rewarding experience of my childhood,” she wrote.

In another Q-and-A with the magazine, he revealed that his favorite club to play for was Cleveland. “We attracted about 5,000 fans, so I know about half of them.” He also revealed that he is a Steven Seagal fan and his favorite surprise about the City Council was the free soft drinks during the meetings.

My memories: I remember his comeback in 1997. He had been out of the game for so long it was a real surprise to see him back, kind of surreal.

Google Autocomplete results: He is second when you type Scott Bail, between Scott Bailey, an actor on Guiding Light, and Scott Bailey DDS, a dentist in upstate New York. There do not appear to be any other prominent Scott Baileses.

Coming up next: The next profile will be Andrew Bailey.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Player Profile: Stan Bahnsen

I have nine cards of Stan Bahnsen. This one is from 1982 Fleer.

Playing career: Stan Bahnsen was the 1968 Rookie of the Year, going 17-12 for the Yankees with a 2.05 ERA. That ended up being his career year (though he did go 21-16 with the White Sox in 1972). He reinvented himself as a short reliever, saving seventeen games for Montreal between 1977 and 1981. He ended his career with the Phillies in 1982.

My memories: I remember reading about him as an old Yankee from the sixties when I was a kid. I was surprised to get an 80s-era card of him with the Expos; I hadn’t had any idea he had hung around so long.

Interesting stories: Like many ballplayers in the sixties, he served in the Army Reserve, alongside men who would be shipped out to Vietnam. Some attempted suicide to avoid being sent to Southeast Asia, including one man who bunked next to Bahnsen and slit his wrists in an unsuccessful suicide bid. “Looked like someone slaughtered a hog in his bed,” Bahnsen told the Des Moines Register.

Where he is now: He hosts baseball-themed cruises for MSC Cruises USA.

Google Autocomplete results: He is tenth when you type Stan B, behind Stan Bush the Touch, referring to the singer and song from the soundtrack of the 1986 Transformers movie. There do not appear to be any other prominent Stan Bahnsens.

Coming up next: The next profile will be Scott Bailes.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Player Profile: Jeff Bagwell

I have 78 cards of Jeff Bagwell. This one is from 1994 Donruss Triple Play.

Playing career: Jeff Bagwell was the NL Rookie of the Year in 1991, and the MVP in 1994. In his 15-year major league career, he hit 449 HR and both drove in and scored over 1500 runs. He was a bit of a bust in the post-season, however, hitting just .226 with 2 HR and 13 RBI in 106 at bats. He has not made the Hall of Fame despite stellar numbers, in large part due to (as yet) unfounded speculation that he used performance-enhancing drugs. This is unfortunate as there would be quite a debate about him without the steroid accusations – the retired players he is listed as most similar to are border-line Cooperstown worthy, either in (Stargell, Cepeda) or out (Delgado, McGriff).

Interesting stories: He is currently involved in a high-profile divorce case in Houston involving a prominent hand doctor who is splitting from his wife, Rachel Brown, who is now dating Bagwell. As part of the divorce proceedings it has been revealed that Bagwell went to rehab for alcoholism last year but failed to complete it, and consumes alcohol in front of his and Brown’s children.

Where he is now: Special Assistant to the General Manager for the Houston Astros.

My memories: As an AL fan I didn’t think much about Bagwell, and was surprised to see such strong support for him for the Hall of Fame. Looking at his numbers he was clearly excellent but only a borderline Hall of Famer, and he doesn’t really have the “beyond the numbers” narrative to boost him in my opinion. Still, if he did make it he wouldn’t be a bad selection, just borderline.

Google Autocomplete results: He is eighth when you type Jeff B, between Beukeboom, defensemen on the Stanley Cup Champion 1994 Rangers, and Jeff Bridges Movies, referring to the actor. There do not appear to be any other prominent Jeff Bagwells.

Coming up next: The next profile will be Stan Bahnsen.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Player Profile: Bob Bafia

I have one card of Bob Bafia, from 1990 CMC.

Playing career: Third baseman Bob Bafia played seven seasons of professional baseball, mostly in the Cubs organization, hitting .246 with 65 HR and 313 RBI. A full account of his career can be found at The Greatest 21Days.

Where he is now: Assistant Head Coach of the independent-league Orange County Flyers, he also coaches with his father, Robert Bafia, for the San Diego Longhorns and Make the Tag Baseball Instruction.

My memories: Only know him from his card.

Google Autocomplete results: The first two results when you type Bob Bafi refer to him, ahead of Bob Bafik, Guitarist and singer for the band Can’t Spell Bob. There do not appear to be any other prominent Bob Bafias.

Coming up next: The next profile will be Jeff Bagwell.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Player Profile: Kevin Baez

I have four cards of Kevin Baez. This one is from 1991 Line Drive.

Playing career: Shortstop Kevin Baez played parts of three seasons for the Mets, hitting .179 with 0 HR and 7 RBI in 63 games.

Where he is now: The Manager of the Long Island Ducks, he is also a baseball instructor at Play Like a Pro in North Happauge, NY.

My memories: Only know him from his card.

Google Autocomplete results: He is first when you type Kevin Bae, ahead of Kevin Baer, a securities law violator. Another prominent Kevin Baez plays basketball for Bergen County Community College.

Coming up next: The next profile will be Bob Bafia.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Fun day at Yankee Stadium

Went to the Yankee game today and had a great time watching the former Mariners beat the current ones.

Raul Ibanez hit a home run and a two-run single.

Freddy Garcia was far from sharp (and pitched S-L-O-W-L-Y) but was good enough for the win.
Ichiro Suzuki didn't have a great game, but he got a double when the center fielder lost the ball in the sun. Ichiro has played in 12 games for the Yankees, and has a 12-game hitting streak with exactly 12 hits!

Fortunately for the Yankees, there weren't as many ex-Yankees on the Mariners. The only one, Jesus Montero, drove in both Seattle runs.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Player Profile: Jose Baez

I have one card of Jose Baez, from 1978 Topps.

Playing career: In second baseman Jose Baez’s major league debut in 1977, he got the first hit in Mariners history. He got 86 more hits over the next two seasons.

Where he is now: He headed the Nationals’ Dominican academy but was fired along with Jose Rijo after an identification falsification scandal. He now works as an independent baseball trainer in the Dominican Republic.

My memories: He’s before my time. Only know him from his card.

Google Autocomplete results: He is third when you type Jose B, between Jose Bautista Stats, referring to the Blue Jays outfielder, and Jose Bosingwa, a Portuguese soccer player. None of the entries on the first page when you google Jose Baez refer to the ballplayer; they all are about Casey Anthony’s lawyer.

Coming up next: The next profile will be Kevin Baez.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Player Profile: Danys Baez

I have seven cards of Danys Baez. This one is from 2006 Topps.

Playing career: Danys Baez originally came up with Cleveland in 2001, and between 2003 and 2005 recorded 96 saves for the Indians and Devil Rays, making the All-Star team in 2005. After that season he was traded to the Dodgers and was never the same, saving just 12 games in five seasons for four teams, never recording an ERA below 4.00.

Where he is now: After no one signed him for the 2012 season he announced his retirement in February.

My memories: I remember him being highly touted as a Cuban defector. Like many, he didn’t live up to the hype.

Google Autocomplete results: He is first when you type Danys, ahead of Dany’s Dragons, referring to a “Game of Thrones” character. There do not appear to be any other prominent Danys Baezes.

Coming up next: The next profile will be Jose Baez.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Paul Russo on baseball cards

Paul Russo played in the Twins, Padres, Yankees and Astros organizations from 1990 to 1999. He hit over 20 home runs in each of his first three minor league seasons. Now the owner of Paul Russo's Hit Factory in Tampa, he kindly answered my question about his favorite card.

"I think my favorite card was my MVP card that was made into a painting."
 Thanks! I don't have that card, but I do have this one from 1991 Classic Best, which incorrectly lists him as a pitcher.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Player Profile: Carlos Baerga

I have 99 cards of Carlos Baerga. This one is from 1992 Leaf.

Playing career: In the early 1990s Carlos Baerga was one of the best second basemen in baseball, making three All-Star teams and hitting over .300 for four straight seasons. He was traded to the Mets in a huge blockbuster trade in 1996, and injuries and a partying lifestyle caught up to him, and he was just an average player at best with the Mets. He later cleaned up his act and returned to the major leagues in the early 00s, hitting .343 in 207 at-bats for Arizona in 2003. He ended his career with the Washington Nationals in 2005.

Where he is now: Baerga credits his turnaround from his hard-partying ways to finding God after a conversation with Julio Franco. He now owns a gospel music production company called Carlos Baerga Productions. He is also the spokesman to the Hispanic community for 1-800-GOT-MOLD?, because of his own children’s experience with mold-induced asthma.

Interesting facts: Curious about the house with the mold problem? John Rivera-Resto, the artist who was hired by the Baergas to decorate their new home in Westlake, OH in the early 1990s has posted some pictures of their home on his website, as well as his “allegorical portrait” of a contemplative Carlos Baerga sitting on a Turkish divan covered in animal skins. The same artist also painted a portrait for Omar Vizquel that featured him in his Indians uniform, but with a bird pooping on his hat to symbolize the artist’s dislike of the Indians’ racist logo.

More recently, Baerga endorsed former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum in the Republican presidential primary. No word at this time if he will endorse Mitt Romney in the general election.

My memories: I remember Baerga killing the Yankees, most prominently becoming the first player to hit home runs from both side of the plate in the same inning. I remember hearing about that huge trade with the Mets – I saw it on SportsCenter, I used to watch that on weekday mornings in college before I would go to classes. Later on I got a pack of baseball cards in 2005 that had a card of Baerga in an Arizona uniform – I was surprised that he was even still in baseball.

Google Autocomplete results: He is fourth when you type Carlos Ba, between Carlos Bakery Prices, referring to a bakery in Hoboken, NJ, and Carlos Baute, a Venezuelan singer. There do not appear to be any other prominent Carlos Baergas.

Coming up next: The next profile will be Danys Baez.