Sunday, September 11, 2016

A Venerable Old Card Part 29

Last year I picked up a "pack" or box of Topps Archives Signature while I was at a card show in Raleigh.  I pulled an Andruw Jones autograph that just happened to be a 1/1.  Sounds pretty cool, but it was not a card of Braves Andruw Jones.  Nope, it was the worst version of Andruw Jones you could possibly imagine:

Dodgers Andruw Jones.  

I know a few Dodgers fan and I feel pretty safe in saying that Andruw Jones is a four letter word to most of them.  So, in spite all of the great things this card has going for it:

  • It's an autographed card of Andruw Jones
  • It's an Allen & Ginter card
  • It's a 1/1
  • Have I ever mentioned that Andruw Jones has a very nice signature?

Throw out all of those positives.  The correct answer for teams that Andruw Jones can have a card for are: Braves, Yankees, and maybe the White Sox.  Although the White Sox one feels like a bit of a stretch too.  Which brings me to this week's card.....

I went looking to see what Cardinals cards were available in the Archives Signature set after it hit the card shops a week or two back.  After scouring the trade groups on Facebook and the auctions on Ebay I have are Dennis Eckersley, Eric Davis, Andres Galarraga, and Mark Mulder.  

If you are not a Cardinals fan that sounds like a decent list of names.  If you are a Cardinals fan and remember the contributions of those players you probably feel a little bit let down.  This is actually the second year in a row that Cardinals fans have had a list like this to choose from in this product.    

A quick run down:

  • Eric Davis- I love Eric Davis, but he was at the end of his career as a Cardinal and was only a part time player at that point.  1999 was a bad year, 2000 was really good with a .303/.389/.429 slash line.  Still, he had a lot of other good years that Topps could have used that would probably be a bigger draw to collectors.  As a Cardinals fan, I have a bunch of Eric Davis autographs.  They are all Reds cards and I am cool with that.  
  • Eck - He was also at the end of his career.  The two years he spent in St. Louis were his worst as a relief pitcher and he was upset at the fans towards the end of his time since they booed him for blowing saves.  
  • Mark Mulder - He won a World Series ring with the team in 2006 by sitting on the bench after his shoulder fell off.  Not his fault, but the Cardinals traded for him and he never made a serious contribution to the team winning.  
  • Andres Galarraga - The Big Cat was brought over to be a power hitter for the Cardinals post Whiteyball era.  Manager Joe Torre and hitting coach Don Baylor supposedly knew what had caused him to regress in his later years as an Expo and were going to turn him around.  He broke his hand in the third game of the season, played poorly during the first half of the season, but well enough for Don Baylor to take him to Denver when the Rockies hired him as their manager.  
Every team has players like these.  Good names with good careers, but for whatever reason they never worked out in that place.  As a Bulls fan, Rays fans will shake their head with approval over this name being in this category, I often think of Hideki Matsui.  

After some contemplation I have decided that it would actually be pretty cool to own a few more Cardinals cards of one of these players.  I am pretty sure that all four of them have appeared in this space at different points over the last few years, but more than likely they were cards of them wearing the uniform you'd most likely associate them with: Eck and Mulder with the A's, Davis as a Red, and Galarraga as an Expo and Rockie.  

I have to say though, I have always really liked Andres Galarraga and have a pretty nice run of his cards in my collection.  In fact, one of my favorite 1990s autographs is his Stadium Co-Signers card with Larry Walker.....

two former Cardinals with really nice signatures.  This is just an awesome card.  There are other cool Galarraga cards around my boxes of cards outside of this one, but almost none of the cards I own of Galarraga feature the Big Cat with the birds on the bat.  

I know he has about a dozen Cardinals cards in all.  The first card of his that I ran across when I started writing this post was this cool 1992 Bowman card.  

I am not sure what is going on with the wind breaker, but I am sure if his arms weren't going across his body there is probably a Cardinals logo or something there somewhere.  Those pants are weird considering the team had abandoned the polyester uniforms at the end of them 1991 season in favor of the button up unis.  Pretty much the same thing they wear now.   Since there is a batting cage in the background perhaps Andres wore some old pants around the ballpark pre-game.  

Not sure that Galarraga in a Cardinals uniform is as cool as say Piazza in a Marlins uniform, but I am going to track them all down.  Some of the standard sets that I collected every year in the 1990s like the Topps base set are already somewhere in my collection, but there are several other Galarraga Cardinals cards that were in other sets that I did not touch.  I need an autograph too.    

So, here's to a few more Andres Galarraga cards in a Cardinals uniform


  1. I have to add one of those Larry Walker/Andres Galarraga Co-Signers to my collection. Sweet card.

  2. The supply is precisely equal to the demand of this particular Andrew Jones auto.

  3. There must be 3-4 Mulder Cards in Topps Signature this year, really a bummer.