Osborne's first two years with the Cardinals, 1992 and 1993, were okay. He was an average Major League pitcher on some teams that were really short on talent. After 1993 he was injured frequently. He missed 1994, but pitched half a season in 1995 and set a career high with an ERA+ of 109 and Ks per 9. Osborne's best year was in 1996 when he helped the Cardinals get within a game of the World Series, won 13 games, and posted what would his career best ERA+ of 119.
His season ended ominously in Game 7 of the National League Championship Series after giving up a bases loaded triple to Tom Glavine, which put the game away for the Braves in the first inning.
Osborne was never the same after that game. He pitched half a season in 1997 and 1998, only 6 games in 1999, and then missed all of 2000 and 2001. The Cardinals actually parted ways with him after the 1999 season, but he resurfaced with the Cubs in 2002. He made 11 relief appearances with the Cubs before he was shut down and released at the end of the year. To get an idea of how much teams thought of Osborne's potential, one only needs to look at his transaction sheet post 2002. Lots of teams were willing to take a chance on having him pitch.
He did actually appear in games for the Yankees going 2-0 in 9 games, which included 2 starts. Osborne's ERA was over 7 though. The two wins were both against the A's within a week of each other, both as a reliever. His starts were the last two games he pitched with the Yankees. The first start was against the Mariners and lasted one and a third innings. Osborne gave up 6 runs on 6 hits with 2 walks. The second start was also against the Mariners, he lasted into the fifth inning, but he still gave up 6 runs. That was the end of his career in the Majors.
Four teams later, with a bunch of Minor League starts, he was officially done in 2006.
Card wise, Osborne never really had that many cards. Especially given that he played in the 1990s and was a high draft pick, there just isn't much that's special or unique about Osborne's cards. Flipping through my boxes of 1990s Cardinals I found a few different possible cards for tonight's post, but I picked more on the card design and brand than on finding something really cool looking. It's just not there.
First up is one of my under appreciated 1990s sets. While everyone was going with foil, gloss, and anything else fancy that card companies could squeeze onto a card, Fleer went old school with their 1996 and 1997 sets with no gloss, no border, just a picture and the players name.
I know a lot of autograph collectors who love this set. The no gloss finish makes a nice surface to sign. I just like the fact that it is really simple and goes against just about every other card release from 1996. The card backs were okay......
but if you notice the card number, 552, the Fleer set was also large. As a collector, you got a lot of different players from your favorite team, not just the usual suspects. For the mid 90s Cardinals that was usually some combination of Lankford, Gant, Jordan, the two Benes brothers, Eck, and maybe Stottlemyre (Throttlemyre). It skipped out on the Donovan Osborne's of the world. The stats are a little different than the set up Fleer had when I was a kid, but I like that they put the SO/9 and H/9 on the back. Kind of different. Color picture at the bottom is also nice, check out the blurb about Osborne's shoulder.....
Next 1990s card is the opposite of the Fleer. It's a 1997 Score.....
The front of the card is kind of meh, which is way different from where Score started in the late 1980s with really bold colored cards. The mid 1990s were really when the glut of cards started, new releases every week, so many similar products. Pinnacle, which made Score, had about four other card products that looked like this set. Was Donovan Osborne in New Pinnacle? Pinnacle Mint? Pinnacle? Donruss? Those were all really the same set with a different border.
The back of the card is just ridiculous.
These cards had the busiest backs in the history of baseball cards. There is a logo in the background and a logo in the lower left hand corner. There are Osborne's pitching statistics in the middle of the card, fielding statistics at the bottom, and two sets of splits on the right side. Then you have the blurb about Donovan Osborne, including a little snippet about his shoulder problems. I feel the ADD kicking in.
I had considered using an Osborne rookie card for this post, 1991 Bowman, but decided to skip over the Bowman cards since I will probably use a few on some other posts where I am limited to just that brand.
I forgot the music on last week's post. I guess I could go 1997 or 1996 on this post. I hit shuffle on my Ipod, kept flipping until a song from 1997 came up, so I will go with that year. Not a household name on this band, but Butter 08 was the two women from Cibo Matto, the drummer from Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, and Mike Mills from R.E.M.
While we are on Cibo Matto, I will stop shuffling the IPod and just run with one of their songs to make up from last week. They were a good mid 1990s group and they had a CD out in 1996. Do people listen to any of these 90s groups anymore, is it just me?