Monday, April 25, 2016

A Venerable Old Card Part 10

We are now a few weeks into the 2016 baseball season.  I have watched a bunch of games and been thoroughly frustrated with the start that my Cardinals are off to this year.  It's early and I still hold out hope, but it's clear that there are a few holes on the roster and they are not really being helped by the fact that Mike Matheny seems to regress every year that he manages the team.  

One of the best stories on the Cardinals so far this year has been rookie shortstop Aledmys Diaz.  He is on the roster at the moment because Jhonny Peralta hurt his thumb in Spring Training.  Peralta was then replaced by Ruben Tejada who managed to also end up on the DL at the end of Spring Training.  Enter Diaz, all he's done is hit.  Right now he has a .480/.509/.860 slash line with 3 home runs, 8 doubles, and 11 RBIs.  

It would be nice to have an Aledmys Diaz card, but right now they are only Minor League team set cards available.  Given that slash line you'd think that Topps might throw him into their now ToppsNow cards, but no.  Anyway, the Cardinals ended up with Diaz after he defected from Cuba and was signed as a free agent.  While Aledmys is currently the only Cuban player on the Cardinals roster, the team has dabbled into the world of Cuban players before.  

In fact, 23 years ago during the 1993 season, the team actually had two Cuban players on the roster.  Let's start with the name player......

Everyone remembers Ozzie Canseco, the less successful twin brother of Jose.  I am always puzzled as to how Ozzie Canseco ended up with a few Cardinals cards considering he played 6 games for the team in 1993 and 9 games in 1992.  He was a career .239/.352/.348 hitter for the Cards with no home runs.  Clearly the popularity of Jose at this time helped out Ozzie with his appearances in baseball card sets.  On to the better player......

I am pretty sure not many people remember Rene Arocha, but he was not a total scrub.  First, he pitched on some really thin Cardinals teams in the early 1990s.  I know people do not think of the Cardinals as bad, cannot remember a time they were bad, but they were bad in the early 90s.  Much of their misery was caused by the owner, August Busch the something, because he did not spend any money on the team.  The Cardinals had some promising prospects and some cheap veteran fills.  Arocha was one of the veteran pickups.  

In three seasons as a Cardinal Arocha pitched a total of 124 games, started 36, and won 18 games.  He posted an ERA+ of 104 for the Cardinals.  While that does not sound like anything that is too great, given the state of the Cardinals at the time, it was not half bad.  Scary as it sounds, Arocha was actually the Cardinals staff leader in ERA+, came in second in wins, and second in strikeouts.  

1 comment:

  1. Lol... wondered what happened to Jose's brother. Never heard of Arocha... but it looks like Diaz might end up being something special.