Monday, November 21, 2016

A Venerable Old Card Part 34

This week is more of a two-for of two Cardinals players who were traded for each other.  Angels fans avert your eyes.....

The 1999 Cardinals have a pretty good case for being one of the worst team's that the franchise has fielded over the past twenty years.  The team has had exactly three losing seasons during that stretch, but the 1999 team was especially brutal.  While the team's offense featured Mark McGwire (176 OPS+), Fernando Tatis (139), and Ray Lankford (118) the pitching staff for the club was brutal.  

Kent Merker, Darren Oliver, Jose Jiminez, and Garrett Stepehenson made up four fifths of the rotation, but there were spot starts from Juan Acevedo, Lance Painter, and Larry Luebbers.  Ouch.  The bright spot was veteran Kent Bottenfield who spent the first few years of his career with the Expos, Rockies, and Cubs.  

In 1999, he won 18 games and made the National League All-Star team.  

At the end of the year the Cardinals rightfully blew up the team.  Kent Bottenfield survived the off-season and made it to the team's spring training along side several new players.  The team signed Mike Matheny away from the Blue Jays, Andy Benes away from the Diamondbacks, they traded for Fernando Vina, Pat Hentgen, Dave Veres, and Darryl Kile.  Plus they brought up some young players from the Minors like Rick Ankiel and Placido Polanco.  

The team looked good on paper and returning ace Kent Bottenfield got a Fleer Autographics card that spring too.  He's got a great signature.....

Always loved the Autographics cards from the late 1990s/early 2000s.  All on card signatures and there are a ton of players who signed for the set.  Probably not as good of a checklist as the Donruss Signature sets, or Leaf Signature set, but still very nice.  

In late March of 2000 at the end of Spring Training, Kent Bottenfield and his great looking signature got shipped off to the Angels for Jim Edmonds.  Well, the Angels also got Adam Kennedy in the trade too, but it was a bit lopsided in favor of the Cardinals.  Bottenfield went on to pitch in 29 games in 2000, but that included 8 starts with the Phillies after the Halos traded him for Ron Gant.  

Edmonds went on to win a bunch of Gold Gloves and managed to get the Cardinals into two World Series during his time in St. Louis.  While they lost the 2004 Series, Edmonds was a huge part of the 2006 Series win against the Tigers.  

It didn't take long for Edmonds to get his first Cardinals card of 2000 which appeared in the second series of the Upper Deck set.  I have always liked this card for several reasons......

First, I like that Upper Deck did not use an airbrushed photo for the card.  At this point, I am pretty sure that UD either pushed the players card back to a later series, or they left them in their old uniform, but put the logo of their new team on the card.  Clearly a Spring Training picture after Edmonds got traded.  I also like that they have a picture of Edmonds in his batting stance.  Most people remember Jimmy Ballgame for his fielding exploits, but I always liked his stance....

It was a fun few years collecting cards of Edmonds and I still try to pick up some cool ones when I run across them.  

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