Monday, June 19, 2017

A Venerable Old Card Part 56

Joe McEwing might be the most popular Cardinals player who only spent a season with the team.  He was actually on the team for a few games in 1998 and then played the entire 1999 season in St. Louis.    His overall career numbers as a Cardinals player don't look all that impressive for a player as popular as "Super Joe".  Over 162 games with the birds on the bat McEwing his .272/.330/.392 with 9 home runs, 29 doubles, and 45 RBIs.   If you think of his time with the Cardinals being equal to roughly one season's worth of games, that stat line is kind of very ho hum.  

Yet, during the summer of 1999 some of the most popular baseball cards around St. Louis were anything with the Cardinals second baseman.  He might have even been on a few of those ridiculous Beckett Hot List things.  So hot right now, or back then....

One of my favorites was McEwing's 1999 Upper Deck Ultimate Victory card.  While many Cardinals fans were trying to chase down the baseball card of Rick Ankiel from the same set, McEwing came close to catching up to the hard throwing pitching prospect in terms of popularity during the first half of the summer.  That's saying a lot considering Ankiel was long regarded as a high ceiling prospect while McEwing was more of an organizational depth kind of player.  Here is a look at the Super Joe Ultimate Victory card.....

That shiny surface on the scanner though.  

Anyway, what made McEwing popular?  How did he end up as a utility player on the Mets?  So, first half of the 1999 season McEwing hit .305/.350/.418 with 4 home runs, 3 triples, and 19 doubles.  Second half of the year McEwing his .223/.303/.363 with 5 home runs, 1 triple, and 9 doubles.  Kind of a steep drop off.  At the end of the season, McEwing ended up getting traded to the Mets for Jesse Orosco. Orosco's Cardinals career lasted all of 6 games in 2000.  

McEwing ended up on the Mets for a few years and a stop over with the Royals.  While McEwing was a bench player for almost his entire career, his half a season made a lasting impression in St. Louis that has never quite gone away.   

While this card is no longer on any sort of published hot list, it's still kind of a cool old card to take out and look at every once in awhile.  More McEwing later this week.  

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