Tuesday, April 30, 2013

That's a Clown Catch, Bro!

Tim Hudson, the latest member of the 200-Win Club, hit a ball deep to right this evening. Bryce Harper appeared to have it secured in his glove, only to have it pop out- resulting in a homer for Huddy.

2013 Chops Series 2: Yes, Even These Guys Get a Card

2013 Chops #15 Alan Butts- One piece of info I was able to find on Butts, from the Braves website: one of his career 'highlights' included being a member of Bobby Cox' coaching staff for the 2000 All-Star game, where he also pitched in the Home Run Derby. 

2013 Chops #16 Brian Snitker- Career organizational guy. Played in the Braves minor league system from 1977-1980, managed in minor leagues for 17 seasons, bullpen coach (1985, 1988-1990) and third base coach (2007-Present) for Atlanta. Three-time Braves' minor-league manager of the year.

2013 Chops #17 Carlos Tosca- One time manager for Blue Jays, despite being one of only a few men to manage in the bigs and not play pro ball. Tosca has been Fredi Gonzalez' right-hand-man twice; first, in Florida, and now in Atlanta. Baseball lifer.

2013 Chops #18 Eddie Perez- 1995 NLCS MVP and possible future major league manager. Now in his seventh season as bullpen coach.

2013 Chops #19 Fredi Gonzalez- Everyone in Braves Country loves Fredi- right fam?

2013 Chops #20 Greg Walker- I'm still waiting for Braves country to start blaming Walk (the Braves hitting coach) for all the strikeouts, crying for his head.

2013 Chops #21 Phil Falco- I recently discovered that Falco, the Braves strength and conditioning coach, is also a collector- whose collection is centered around autographed 1957 Topps football cards. You can read about Phil's opportunity to see a T206 Wagner card up close here.

2013 Chops #22 Roger McDowell- I'm still surprised that McDowell is even employed by Atlanta after his politically-incorrect taunting of a fan a couple of years ago in San Fran. While Leo's a legend in Braves Country, I still think Roger has done a fine job.

2013 Chops #23 Scott Fletcher- The man behind the scenes. Fletcher, who works as assistant hitting coach, has got to be the only athlete to ever have a President's dog named after him. Good boy, Scott!

2013 Chops #24 Terry Pendleton- At least the Braves recent hitting woes haven't blamed on T.P. Well, not that I know of, anyway.

Monday, April 29, 2013

New Products Checklist: 2013 Bowman Braves

Release Date: May 8th

2013 Bowman Braves Checklist
#11 Justin Upton
  25 Dan Uggla
  32 Craig Kimbrel
  47 Brian McCann
  76 Tim Hudson
  82 Kris Medlen
  94 Jason Heyward
 116 B.J. Upton
 117 Mike Minor
 134 Brandon Beachy
 137 Freddie Freeman

Bowman Prospects
BP36 Jose Peraza
BP72 Christian Bethancourt

Bowman Chrome Prospects Autos
BCP-CB Christian Bethancourt

Top 100 Prospects
BTP-54 Julio Teheran

Blue Sapphire Continuity Program/1st Bowman Card Reprints
Hank Aaron
Eddie Mathews
Warren Spahn

Cream of the Crop (Minis)
CC-AB1 Julio Teheran
CC-AB2 Christian Bethancourt
CC-AB3 Lucas Sims
CC-AB4 J.R. Graham
CC-AB5 Sean Gilmartin

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Curling? What Curling?

It's funny how our collecting habits evolve.

A year ago I would not have had interest in anything other than Topps products. Sure, my collection included  some of the other card manufacturers from years ago, but I wasn't really seeking to add any more to my collection. And I can't recall the exact moment within the past twelve months that my views began to change, but I'm guessing it had to do with frustration with 'the same old same old' coming out of the Topps camp. Like many changes in our lives, our attitudes, what-have-you, it was a simply a process. Things typically just don't happen overnight.

One product that wouldn't have received a second look from me last year is Panini's recently released Prizm Baseball. Now, I know some collectors don't want anything that doesn't have an MLB license, but with Prizm, Panini has really made a nice product. Similar to the Chrome technology of Topps, Prizm has one advantage: no curling (at least with my small sample size).

2012 Prizm #182 Andrelton Simmons 

While many in the hobby won't recognize Simmons' card as a Rookie Card, Panini does- evidenced by the nice little logo in the upper right corner. I'm sure the folks at Beckett will be crying, "who are they to determine what a rookie card is?" A question that I ask about them.

2012 Prizm #122 Greg Maddux

Hmm... He's not wearing #30, so this photo isn't from his time in San Diego. Nor is he wearing #36, so it's not from his Dodger days. That only leaves two options: the Cubs and Braves. While the card reads "Atlanta Baseball Club", I do not recall ever seeing Atlanta wearing white unis with blue numbers. There's also no pinstripe down the pants leg-something else that makes me want to say that this photo has been either photoshopped, or is from his second stint with the Cubbies (although their white uniforms also feature red numbers). Perhaps we will find out later what the deal is with this one.

2012 Prizm Dominance #D4 Greg Maddux

It's nice to see the Professor back in a product with both a base card, as well as an insert. Another mystery photo graces this card's front.

2012 Prizm Team MVP #MVP1 Craig Kimbrel

Mystery solved. Dirty Craig is shown in the same-looking gear as Maddux, so there we go!
It's hard to argue with Panini's choice for team mvp. It's great to see this dude getting some cardboard love.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Food-Issue Friday: 1974 Kellogg's Davey Johnson

1974 Kellogg's #50 Davey Johnson

Looking at this card from 1974, it's hard to imagine that this is the same guy who today manages the Washington Natitudes Nationals. He might be 70 years old, but poor Davey looks like he's 83.

Johnson came over to the Braves on November 20, 1972 in a deal that also brought Pat Dobson, Roric Harrison, and Johnny Oates over from Baltimore for Taylor Duncan and the recently deceased Earl Williams. Davey's first season in the N.L. was his best season by far offensively, although he struggled in the field- committing damn near as many errors (30) as he hit homers (43). His previous high for homers had been 18, coming in 1971, and he would never hit more than 15 in a season afterwards.

He's Great!!!
In 1973- yes, but not so much in 1974. After breaking Rogers Hornsby's 51 year record for homers by a second baseman, Johnson came back to earth. The great Joe Posnanski once ranked the 32 flukiest home run seasons for Sports Illustrated with, you guessed it- Davey at number one.

Crunching the Numbers-1974
Pop- slugging % .390, 15 jacks, smacked 18 doubles
Special K's- only 59 strikeouts, compared to 75 walks
Smart Start: After going 1-3 against the Padres on April 18th, Davey's average reached .314- the highest it would get during the season.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

'64/'13 Counterparts: Card #94

1964 Topps #94 Jim Britton/Larry Maxie

Courted by almost every major league team as he was coming out of high school, Larry Maxie signed with the Braves for a reported $60,000. The bonus baby began his professional career in 1958 at Eau Claire of the Northern League (Class C), where he went 1-5 with a 6.38 ERA. His struggles continued for his second and third seasons as well, and his first taste of success in the minors wouldn't happen until 1961-where he went 17-7 with a 2.08 ERA for the Austin Senators of the Texas League (AA). The big righty also threw two no-hitters that season- only the third pitcher in league history to throw multiple no-no's in a season.

Maxie injured his arm the next season and only appeared in 15 games at AAA Louisville. Returning to AAA in 1963, he pitched in 29 games for the Toronto Maple Leafs with moderate success-giving him hope for a gig in the majors during the 1964 season.

As a veteran of six professional seasons, and viewed as one of the most advanced pitchers in the Braves system, Maxie had to like his chances of making the roster out of spring training. But a rough outing against their Triple-A Denver team on March 10 was a big blow to his chances of making the big league club. Pitching the final two innings of the scrimmage, Maxie took the loss against the Bears as he allowed five hits, two walks, and three runs. One week later, the pitcher was re-assigned to Denver. He would toil at AAA for the next eight seasons, with his only major league time coming in 1969- pitching in two games (3 innings) for the division winning Braves.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

2013 Chops Series 2 Checklist

One of the things I appreciate about the Johnston Cookies Milwaukee Braves regional sets distributed from 1953-1955 was the inclusion of cards for some of the coaches and trainers. I don't know about some of the other oddball sets from that time period, but it certainly wouldn't have been the norm. So as I began creating a Series II checklist for the 2013 Chops set, I thought what better way to recognize the guys who are usually overlooked- the field staff.

2013 Chops #CL2

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Recycled Players

They're often called 'reclamation projects'- but because yesterday was earth day, I will just call them 'recycled players.'

It seems like much of the Braves success in the early 2000's was due to the ability to find guys (often pitchers) who seemed to be at the end of the line, professionally speaking, sign them at a heavily discounted price, and watch the player have a rebirth on the diamond. Here's just a few of the guys who come to mind...

2003 Upper Deck 40-Man #410 Darren Holmes
Holmes began the 2000 season with the Diamondbacks but was released a few weeks into the regular season. During that first stint with AZ, Darren gave up 3 earned runs on 5 hits in only 2.1 innings. Signed by the Cardinals a few days later, the reliever threw 8.1 innings (5 games) for the Redbirds- allowing 9 runs on 12 hits (2 homers) and 3 walks. Sent to Baltimore at the end of June, Holmes was even worse there- getting torched for 13 hits, 13 earned runs, 3 homers, and issuing 5 walks in all of 4.2 innings. Three weeks later, he was released and signed back with Arizona. Once again, he had difficulties-giving up 3 earned runs on 7 hits (1 homer) over 4 innings. So bad was Holmes during the 2000 season that he had no job offers for the 2001 season.

Atlanta took a flyer on the soon-to-be 36 year old in January of 2002, and Holmes justified their decision by appearing in 55 games that season while posting an 0.970 WHIP, a 1.81 ERA and a 3.92 SO/BB ratio- all for the league minimum-range of $325,000.

2004 Topps Total #304 Jaret Wright

Big things were expected of Jaret Wright after finishing fifth in the 1997 AL Rookie of the Year voting. Things looked even better for him after his strong postseason performance that same season. Shoulder problems, along with problems commanding his pitches, plagued him during his time in Cleveland. He pitched in only 24 games for the Indians from 2000-2002 and then he was done in Cleveland.

Jaret's short time with San Diego during the 2003 season was less than successful as well- allowing 44 earned runs in 47.1 innings, a 2.049 WHIP, and a SO/BB ratio of 1.46. Atlanta claimed Wright off of waivers at the end of August, and watched the former first round pick throw 9 IP over 11 games, and allowing only 2 runs (earned) while striking out 9 and walking only three batters. That success carried over into the '04 season- as he spent the entire year in the starting rotation. In thirty-two starts, Wright went 15-8 in 186.1 innings, a career high 159 Ks, and only 70 walks issued. And at $850,000 for the 2004 season, Wright was certainly worth every penny. Following that career-best season, he took the money the Yankees offered him (about $13 million for 2 seasons) and then tanked. Of course he did.

Custom 2003 Topps Chris Hammond

After two and a half seasons of retirement, Hammond's return to the majors was one of historical significance. Despite having little success in his first nine seasons in the majors, Chris appeared in 63 games for Atlanta during the 2002 season, with a record of 7-2 and an unbelievable 0.95 ERA over 76 innings. Yet another bargain at $450,000 for his lone season playing for his home-state Braves. Unfortunately, none of the card manufacturers captured the lefty as a Brave- at least none that I could find, anyway.

2000 Topps #388 Mike Remlinger

Yet another pitcher whose career was one of struggle after struggle. For Remlinger, who spent most of the 1998 season as a starter for the Reds, his redemption as a player came in 1999- the first of five seasons spent in Atlanta. After going 8-15 with a 4.82 ERA for the Reds in '98, Remlinger was included in the Bret Boone trade. He turned out to be a pleasant surprise for the Bravos during the '99 (and subsequent) season- going 10-1 in 73 appearances (83.2 Innings). He would also have over 70 appearances for Atlanta during the next three seasons. During his first stint with the Braves ('99-2002), Mike went 25-10 and made the All-Star game in 2002-when he went 7-3 with a 1.99 ERA and a 1.118 WHIP. Remlinger returned to Atlanta in 2006 at the age of 40, finishing his career there.

2002 Topps Total #909 Julio Franco
Franco was supposedly 42 years old when Atlanta purchased him from the Mexico City Tigers on August 31, 2001. I say 'supposedly' because for years his date of birth was in question. Think of it as the baseball version of the questions surrounding  President Obama's birthplace.

His true age aside, the dude could flat out hit. Even at the age of '37',  Julio hit .322 in 1996 as a member of the Indians. The next season he hit .270 as he split time with Cleveland and Milwaukee. Granted free-agency following the '97 season, Franco spent the 1998 season in the Japan Pacific League before signing with Tampa Bay in February of 1999. Julio only appeared in one game with the Devil Rays-striking out in his only at-bat. The rest of his time that season was spent in Mexico City. His journey back to the majors made a stop in Korea in the year 2000, playing for the Samsung Lions of the Korean Baseball Organization. He then went back to Mexico City for the final station before the majors.

Playing that final month of the 2001 season, Julio hit .300 in 101 plate appearances for the Braves. Since he was on the roster before September, he qualified for the postseason- and went 10-36 with two homers between the 2001 NLDS and NLCS. He would go on to be a key member of the Braves 2002-2005 teams, and then returning to Atlanta in 2007- hitting .250 in 40 at-bats as a '48' year old.

Monday, April 22, 2013

1991 OPC Chipper Jones From the Dollar Store

I recently received a comment on one of my posts from a member of our card community whose blog I had not yet come across. His message: he could help me knock out one of the Fourteen Fugitives I have listed on my main page. My ears perked up, my heart started to race, and the palms of my hands began to sweat as I read the words 1991 OPC Braves team set. You know, the set with the elusive Chipper Rookie Card.

Fear settled in, however, as I did a mental inventory of non-Braves stuff in my collection. I don't break many boxes (or packs, for that matter), and though at one time I had a nice cache of trading material, I haven't come close to replenishing what I have gotten rid of. So, you can imagine my delight when Douglas from Sportscards From the Dollar Store told me that he's pretty easy to please.

After scanning through his Zistle wantlist, I did find some 2012 Archives that he needed, as well as a '78 Topps card that was #1 on his wanted list. Sounds good, he said- leaving me feel like I was taking advantage of him. I still feel like I need to come up with something else. Hopefully I can help him out in the future with any other cardboard needs!

1991 OPC #333 Chipper Jones 
Douglas was up front about this card: there's a small ding in the corner, which is more noticeable on the back than on the front. Upon receiving the package, I was pleasantly surprised- it wasn't as bad as expected. Despite the very small blemish, this card is Glorious! I feel as if I could stop collecting today, and my collection would be complete.

But, I won't.

There's still more fugitives to chase down.

1991 OPC #354 Sid Bream, 487 Rafael Belliard, 485 Terry Pendleton
I love the "Now with..." that the company used on the Canadian issues. One thing I've noticed on these three cards in particular: how thin they are. My collection consists of very few OPC's, and don't recall the others being on such card stock. Is this normal for the OPCs?

 These three helped solidify the defense behind a young pitching staff- and gave us an MVP, a hero from an iconic moment in team history, and the joy of watching the first home run in ten years for the defensive wiz Belliard. Yes, these cards are great!

1992 Classic #T7 Steve Avery
Who didn't buy tons of the Classic Draft Picks in the early 90s? Or for minor league aficionado's, the Classic Best minor league sets. I know I spent a lot of money on the four-sport sets, as well as the minor league cards- with nothing to show for it today. One set I never really got into was this offering from the company. I vaguely remember it, but can't remember if it was part of some board game or what. The back has 5 trivia questions (with answers), so it seems like it was meant to be played with another person. 
Anyway, this makes a nice addition to my Steve Avery collection.

2012 Bowman #BP76 Ian Gac
So a lot of collectors don't like the inclusion of all the prospects in the Bowman products, many of whom will never make it to the majors. I can understand their frustration; but as a team set collector, I view it a little differently.

 I see these guys as part of the family tree. Distant cousins-most of whom you will never meet. And though you wouldn't know them from Adam should you run into them at the supermarket, it doesn't mean they're not a part of the family. 

Take Ian Gac, for instance. 
Drafted by the Rangers in 2003, he toiled in the minors for ten years, only once making it above Class A- and that was in 2012 at Class AA Mississippi (which also happened to be his first and only season with the Braves organization). Does such a player deserve to be included in a major league set? Probably not-especially when the set is called 'Bowman Prospects'. Ten years into a career and only 255 at-bats above A ball hardly describes a prospect. But, he is family-so this is a welcomed addition.

1993 Fleer Stickers #89 Steve Bedrosian 
 Forget the nickname Bedrock; how about calling the 1987 NL Cy Young award winner "Stevie Badass"

One of the first hits I came upon in a search for Bedrosian was the New York Daily News' website which ran an article in September of last year about a substitute teacher in Georgia who was fired for allegedly taking suggestive photos of teen-aged girls in his class. The scumbag then posted them on some equally disturbing website. Bedrosian, whose daughter attended the same school, was quoted in the article as saying, "As a dad, I don't want to say too much of what I would like to do; but, you know, you have to let the authorities, hopefully, have confidence in them that they will do the right thing."  

The former pitcher appears to still be in great shape, and looks like a guy you wouldn't want to mess with- as evidenced in this article featuring him at a recent card show signing.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Food-Issue Friday: 1993 Hostess Alumni pt. 2

1993 Hostess #6 Gary Sheffield
  Watching Justin Upton's unbelievable start for his new team, I can't help but think of two other former Braves whose time with Atlanta also started with a bang: Gary Sheffield and Fred McGriff.

Sheffield, acquired by the Braves on January 15, 2002, began the '02 season by going 6-13 with 3 HR (one in each of his first three games) and 7 RBI against the Phillies. By the end of April, however, he had cooled off. Going into the May 1st game, his slash line read .227/.338/.364, with still only 3 home runs and only 9 RBI. By the end of the year, Sheff was sitting on 25 homers- quite a few less than one would have expected after his hot start.

Custom 1993 Hostess #33 Fred McGriff

Most baseball fans remember how Atlanta caught fire after trading for McGriff on July 18, 1993. The Crime Dog homered in his first game for the Braves, and the team went on to not only catch the Giants (who were ahead by 9 games), but won the division by 1 game.

McGriff had seven homers in his first twelve games for the Braves, and hit nineteen for the team over the final 2.5 months of the season.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

2013 Chops- Rounding Out Series 1

 The final four cards in my first series of 2013 Chops:

#11 Andrelton Simmons
As their shortstop spent much of his spring participating in the WBC, Atlanta (as well as the player himeself) declared that the smooth-fielding Simmons was 'game ready' for the start of the season. And he certainly appeared to be, after hitting .333 with 3 doubles, 2 home runs and a .382 OBP during the Netherlands great run in the WBC.

Twelve games (and 45 at-bats) into the 2013 season, and Simmons is hitting only .200 and the experiment of him hitting lead-off is a thing of the past, at least for right now, anyway. He's still a force on defense, and his offense will come around- so I'm not worried.

#12 Dan Uggla
Uggla, on the other hand, worries me. Offensively. Defensively. How many more years is he signed up for?   I'll give the guy this: he does give it his all out there.

#13 Jonny Venters
 Has Venters' problems been physical or mental?  I guess we'll find out once he comes off the DL.

#14 Hank Aaron
My goal in creating cards of former players: FINDING PHOTOS THAT HAVEN'T BEEN USED ON CARDS BEFORE- something Topps should try to practice. 

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

2013 Chops: McCann, Medlen, Minor

#8 Brian McCann- Today marks the six-month mark since BMac underwent surgery on his right shoulder. It is also the original target date for the beginning of a rehab assignment. According to NBC Sports' RotoWorld website, McCann is to begin catching games in extended spring training on Wednesday or Thursday before beginning his rehab assignment as early as this coming weekend. A search of the AJC, as well as the Braves website, was fruitless- so for now all we can do is wait and enjoy Evan Gattis' success.
#9 Kris Medlen 
Since Atlanta didn't play on Monday, they will be observing Jackie Robinson day Tuesday against the Royals. Kris Medlen, Tuesday's starter, has only appeared in two Jackie Robinson Day games during his brief career: once in 2010 and also in 2012-  allowing 1 hit over 1.1 Innings. 

#10 Mike Minor
While Meds is scheduled for today's game, Minor is scheduled to face the Royals' Wade Davis on Wednesday afternoon. In his first two starts of the season, Minor is 2-0 with an ERA of 0.69. The secret to his success on this young season is having an 11-1 SO/BB ratio in his thirteen innings, while allowing only 10 hits. Dating back to August 25th of last year, Mike has won seven straight decisions (along with 2 no-decisions). I still remember how upset fans were that the team didn't send him to Houston for Hunter Pence-or to New York for Carlos Beltran. Frank Wren is looking pretty smart right now.

Monday, April 15, 2013

64/13 Counterparts: Little Brothers

Today's subjects share more than just a common position, card number, and team. Each also happens to be the younger brother of a professional baseball player. In Joe's case, older brother Frank was a major leaguer; Brad McCann, older brother of Brian, was not- only making it to AA in his fourth and final professional season.

One other thing the two might have in common: 9 seasons- as in major league service time for the Braves.

2013 Heritage #70 Brian McCann
McCann is in his ninth MLB season, and with his contract ending after 2013, it might be his final one with Atlanta. With defensive whiz Christian Bethancourt refining his hitting skills at AA Mississippi and emerging star Evan Gattis raking at the major league level (not to mention the good reviews he's getting for his defensive play), the team certainly has options should they decide to part with local favorite McCann. Should Brian return to his early career form offensively, he will be commanding a nice payday- one that I can't see Atlanta management accommodating.

1964 Topps #70 Joe Torre

Torre was McCann's equal during his nine seasons with the Braves: a .294/.356/.462 slash line, along with 142 Home Runs and 552 RBI. His tenure also included Five All-Star selections, 1 Gold Glove, 1 Top-5 MVP, and Second in ROY. 

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Ginter Up!

I've made it a point to not chase after cards of players before they join the Braves organization. There's one exception, of course, and that's Greg Maddux. I suppose that if I could get my mitts on a card of John Smoltz while with the Tigers organization, and the price was right, I'd buy it. There's also been a couple of players who I collected prior to them coming to Atlanta (Mark Kotsay and J.D. Drew)- but that's been about the extent of my non-Braves player collection. 

Friday, April 12, 2013

Faux Food-Issue Friday: Yabba Dabba Doo!

Custom 1993 Post Cereal (Fruity Pebbles) Steve Bedrosian

Yes, I love Post Cereal cards from yesteryear. I don't care if they're from 1961, 1990, or 1995- these cards were some of the best food-issues released. While the cards from the 60s had much larger checklists, the 90s/00s featured a much smaller lineups- and those players included were usually the stars. For once, I would like to have seen a reserve player or a reliever-such as Steve Bedrosian.

Bedrock, as Bedrosian was known as, began his major league career with Atlanta. Making his MLB debut in 1981, Steve appeared in 15 games for the Braves and picked up his first career win in only his second game (coming in relief against the Dodgers on August 15th). He then spent the next three seasons in the Braves bullpen before making their starting rotation in 1985. It would be his only full season as a starter.

In December of 1985, Atlanta traded Bedrosian to Philadelphia-where he would spend the next three and a half years. His best season would come in 1987, when he went 5-3 with a 2.83 ERA and 40 saves. That season netted Steve the NL Cy Young Award.

After two seasons in San Francisco and one in Minnesota, Bedrosian missed all of the 1992 season due to a condition which caused numbness in two fingers on his pitching hand. Signed by Atlanta in December of 1992, Bedrock finished his career with the Braves by working out of the 'pen during the 1993, 1994, and 1995 seasons.

Like a Rock
Steve Bedrosian 1993 Season
5 wins, 2 losses
1.63 ERA
49 Games
49.2 IP
33 Strikeouts
0.966 WHIP

Thursday, April 11, 2013

One Score & Zero Years Ago: The 1993 Fleer I Braves

 Like many of its competitors, Fleer introduced changes during the 1993 card season. The company broke tradition by forgoing a single series set, as well as by not releasing a factory set. Released as two 360-card series, the 1993 Fleer flagship brand featured a more subdued design than its two previous offerings. And with its silver border, it evokes memories of the classic 1985 set. I have to admit, I didn't like the design twenty years ago, but it has grown on me since. However, I still hate the card backs.

Series I Braves
1 Steve Avery, 2 Sid Bream, 3 Ron Gant, 4 Tom Glavine, 5 Brian Hunter, 6 Ryan Klesko, 7 Charlie Liebrandt, 8 Kent Mercker, 9 David Nied, 10 Otis Nixon, 11 Greg Olson, 12 Terry Pendleton, 13 Deion Sanders, 14 John Smoltz, 15 Mike Stanton, 16 Mark Wohlers

Series I Inserts:

Tom Glavine Career Highlights #1-12
While Atlanta signed Greg Maddux prior to the '93 season, the future Hall of Famer had yet to make his mark as the best pitcher in Braves franchise history (with all due respect to Warren Spahn). The ace of the staff had been Glavine and Fleer chose him as one of their spokesmen for the 1993 product. Despite winning the Cy Young Award in '91 and finishing 2nd to Maddux in '92, it seemed strange to have a 'Career Highlights' insert set for a pitcher who had only 72 wins under his belt. I'm not complaining- I've just always thought it strange.

Were they to do a 2013 set featuring a Career Highlights insert set featuring a Braves pitcher, Tim Hudson would be the natural choice. I guess Upper Deck is going to do a Fleer Retro set this year, so it doesn't hurt to dream a little, does it?

Major League Prospects #1 Melvin Nieves

1993 Fleer Major League Prospects #A1 - Melvin Nieves - Courtesy of COMC.com 

Nieves was beginning his sixth season of professional ball in 1993-and yet would not turn 22 years old until the end of December. He had made his major-league debut the previous season as a twenty-year old, getting  nineteen at-bats during his September call-up- they would be his only games donning an Atlanta Braves uniform. Heading into the 1993 season, Baseball America had Melvin ranked as the 39th top prospect in the game, and he spent the first few months of the season in Richmond for the Braves' AAA team. Melvin's time in the Braves organization would come to an end on July 18th of 1993 when he was traded along with Donnie Elliott and Vince Moore to the Padres in the Fred McGriff deal.

NL All-Stars #11 Tom Glavine  
Glavine would be named to his third All-Star game in 1993, but would not appear in the mid-season classic at Baltimore's Camden Yards. Tom had pitched on July 10th and would start the Braves first game after the All-Star break- leaving him unavailable out of the pen.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

I Spy Two Upcoming Archives Braves

Topps showed off some of the upcoming Archives on Twitter yesterday. The players shown here are due to sign for the popular release, including two Braves: Otis Nixon and Ralph Garr. An interesting duo, to say the least, but I'm especially excited to see Nixon sign. Hopefully there's at least one more name from the Braves to sign.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Late April Fools

I thought they already had a Triple-A team? Don't tell Mariner fans that!

Martin Who?

2013 Opening Day Blue Sparkle #93
You know what they say...one man's  team's junk is another man's  team's treasure. Thank you Kevin Towers. Thank you Kirk Gibson! And thank you Frank Wren!

It must be another Upton homer!