Southeast Missouri won the Ohio Valley Conference this year and defeated Jacksonville State to win the conference tournament and receive the automatic bid into the NCAA tournament. SEMO has been to the NCAAs before in baseball, but this year feels a little bit different. Sure, they are a four seed. Yes, they are playing national seed Mississippi State in their first game in Starkville. It's just that this year's SEMO baseball team has a lot of talent and are considered by many to be a dangerous team. D1Baseball writer Aaron Fitt has a good break down here if you are looking for some specifics on the Redhawks (they were the Indians when I went to school there).
If you rate your baseball team's based on their acting ability, then watch this, and know that SEMO is likely going to be a national title contender.....
On to the baseball cards. I know you are really excited to go look through your collection and find a few players who attended Southeast Missouri and played on the baseball team. For this week's Friday Five I present: Five SEMO Players With Baseball Cards.
There are actually six.
1. Shae Simmons P Atlanta Braves
I will throw a current name out at you first. Shea Simmons has one year under his belt with the Braves. The Scott City, Missouri native reached the Majors in 2014 appearing in 26 with 23 strikeouts in 21.2 innings and a 125 ERA+. Simmons was shut down last year after Tommy John, but is working his way back and should be with the Braves at some point this summer. Simmons has a bunch of cards out, including several autographs. Really good player, really inexpensive autograph.
2. Kerry Robinson OF Rays, Reds, Cardinals, Padres, and Royals
If you watched baseball in the late 1990s and early 2000s there is a chance that you might remember Kerry Robinson. He just might be mentioned in the Tony LaRussa book 3 Nights In August. Anyway, besides attending SEMO, Kerry Robinson also played for the Durham Bulls and the Cardinals. Sort of a cool trifecta. My best memories come of him as a Cardinal. Especially this home run against the Cubs....
Thanks to Kerry Robinson's YouTube Channel for the video.
Kerry also has a bunch of different baseball cards. He was drafted by the Cardinals, ended up on the Devil Rays in the expansion draft, and then ended up back with the Cardinals after a few stops along the way. HIs 1997 Bowman card with the Cardinals is nice, but I also like some of his Devils Rays cards too. Oh, and I own his baseball card contract from Topps.
3. Steve Bieser C-OF Phillies, Pirates, and Mets
Bieser is the current coach of the Redhawks and has done a great job of running the program the last few years. He was drafted by the Phillies in 1989 and made it to the Majors with the Mets in 1997. He actually has a 1997 Collector's Choice card, but it appears that I don't own one. I have a ton of cards from that set, which I probably bought at the Venture in the Cape Girardeau Mall while I was at SEMO, but not a Bieser. So, here is a Minor League card. Bieser was in the Minors for awhile and has a bunch of different cards in some cool 1990s minor league team sets...
4. Justin Christian OF Yankees and Giants (Durham Bulls too)
I best know Justin Christian as a Durham Bulls player. Yes, he was on the Yankees and Giants, but Durham Bulls. He played one full season with the Bulls in 2014 posting a .271/.344/.434 line with 10 home runs, 4 triples, and 37 doubles. Here is Christian batting for the Bulls against the Gwinnett Braves.....
As far as baseball cards, there are several cards of Justin Christian. Of course, several minor league team issues, but also a few Yankees cards from his early years in the Minors. Probably his easiest to find is his 2008 Bowman card.
Somewhere I have a Justin Christian Durham Bulls card lingering. I need to go find it and post it at some point. Onward, upward....
5a. Tom Upton "Muscles" SS Browns and Senators
I don't know a lot about Upton other than he went to SEMO and he has a card in the 1951 Topps set. Sure I am missing a lot of details here, but I have to work tomorrow. Plus, did I mention 1951 Topps. It's a classic even if he had a .225 career average.
5b. Ray Ripplemeyer P Reds and Senators
Ripplemeyer never played a game for the Reds, only the Senators. He was in the Reds minor league system for awhile and ended up in the 1961 Topps set as a Red. Ripplemeyer also appears to have attended SIU-C, or Southern Illinois-Carbondale. That's like Carolina to all ACC schools and people who went to class in college, Kansas to Missouri, etc..