Sunday, October 9, 2016

A Venerable Old Card Part 30

For the first time in five years the Cardinals missed the playoffs.  While the team has some nice young pieces on the roster, clearly the team needs a few adjustments if they are going to compete with the Cubs next year.  One of the likely changes is that the team will pursue a new centerfielder, move Randal Grichuk to left, and allow long time fixture Matt Holliday walk.

Holliday first arrived on the Cardinals in 2009 in a trade with the A's and has been a fixture in left field ever since.  For the last eight years he's been a pretty consistent performer: 20 home runs, close to 100 RBIs, a .300 batting average, a high on base percentage, and a little shaky outfield defense.  The Cardinals have also won a World Series and made the National League Championship Series three other times with Holliday in the lineup.

In his supposed last at-bat as a Cardinal, he ended up with another one two days later, he went yard against the Pirates.  A cool ending to some great years as a Cardinal...

I have watched most of Holliday's time with the Cardinals from away from St. Louis, but he actually spent a few years playing in North Carolina on his way to the Majors with the Rockies.  Holliday was drafted in 1998 and squeezed in about 30 games with AZL Rockies before the end of the summer.  His first full year was spent in the South Atlantic League with the Asheville Tourists.  

One of his first baseball cards featured him wearing a Tourists uni. 

If you do not remember the Just Minors cards they are still really easy to find and are really cheap.  They actually have some pretty cool autographs too.  I dabbled a bit with them back in the late 1990s, but I was not a huge Minor League collector at that point, so they did not hold my interest.  Pretty fun cards to look at now.  

Also note that Holliday is a third baseman on the card.  He actually played the infield until 2001.  In his first two and half years in the Minors Holliday made 79 errors at third.  While he was not a good defender in left either, that's a ton of errors.  

Holliday also later appeared for the Carolina Mudcats, but they were the Rockies Double A team at the time.  I am not sure if Holliday has a team issue Mudcats card, but if he does I will find it at some point.   He does have a 2002 Upper Deck Minors card with a Mudcats logo on the front of the card, but he is wearing an Asheville uniform on the card.  

The Mudcats did have a banner for him in the outfield, until they took it down.  

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