Tuesday, March 7, 2017

One Great Pitching Performance, One Great Card

The Cardinals have been a perennial playoff team for most of the 2000s.  There have been very few years were the team has not at least been in the playoffs.  Four of those trips to the playoffs ended with a World Series appearance with two of those resulting in World Series wins.  There have been plenty of great moments along the way that stand out.

The Pujols home run against Brad Lidge in the 2005 NLCS, Rolen's Game 7 home run against Roger Clemens in 2004, Molina's home run against the Mets in 2006, Matt Adams off of Clayton Kershaw, David Freese against the Rangers.....on and on and on.  I am going to focus tonight on one Cardinals playoff game that sort of flies under the radar.  

After the Cardinals beat the Mets in Game 7 on the 2006 National League Championship Series the team had used up their starting pitching staff.  Meaning they had to start Anthony Reyes in Game 1 of the World Series.  At some point Anthony Reyes was a highly regarded prospect.  He had broken a lot of Mark Prior's pitching records at USC, but was not so great at the Major League level.  

Yet, for one night.......

he was untouchable.  

Were the Tigers rusty?  Was Reyes that good?  It doesn't really matter because a few days after this game happened the Cardinals won the World Series and Anthony Reyes is now walking around with a shiny ring.  

After the Series ended I start collecting cards of players on the 2006 Cardinals team and I have done pretty well over the years with it.  For me the 2006 Cardinals was not only about the fact that my favorite Major League team won the World Series, but it was also the first summer that I spent watching baseball with my wife.  I feel like many times I mark the important events in my life with baseball cards.  

Former and current jobs have baseball cards.  Children have baseball cards.  My wife is more of a collection of many baseball cards.  The Anthony Reyes section of the 2006 Cardinals collection started off with a few simple autographs, a relic or two, and a few other serial numbered cards.  

Eventually I added a really cool card from the 2009 Topps Unique set of Reyes that featured a giant patch of the Cardinals pitcher.  The timing of the card was odd since Reyes had bombed with the Cardinals and was hanging out in the Indians Minor League system.  Someone offered me a nice trade package for the card, so I ended up trading it away.  Regretted a few months later.  I have been looking for one ever since.  

There are only 20 copies of the Reyes patch card, I know a Cardinals collector who owns 8 of the 20, so at most there are 12 of them floating around.  Last week I found one.....

It has been a long time looking, but I was really excited to find this card.  The day it showed up in the mail I was literally hopping up and down in my kitchen.  My wife usually ignores whatever baseball cards come into our house through the mail, but she asked me about this one since I was a little bit more excited than normal.  The second I told her the name Anthony Reyes she knew why I was excited.  

She knows Anthony Reyes as the flat brimmed guy from the World Series.......

and she immediately knew why I was so happy.  

My wife is by no means a huge baseball fan, and while she sometimes can't keep the current Cardinals straight outside of Yadi, she seems to have a really good memory of all the players on the 2006 team.  I think the last time I was jumping up and down over the 2006 Cardinals before last week it was watching Adam Wainwright whiff Brandon Inge to wrap up the series......

While Anthony Reyes did not have much of a baseball career, he did have the best night of his career on the perfect night.  I had honestly resigned myself to never finding another copy of this card.  Finding it rounds out my 2006 Cardinals collection and gives me some really nice card, of every member of that World Series team.  


  1. What memories-I moved from Detroit area in Summer of 2005-just in time to freely root for the Birds

    1. My wife is from Michigan, had a great time during this series with my in-laws.