Bottenfield joined the Cardinals as a free agent in January of 1998. He was a long reliever in 1998 and was thrown into the starting rotation at the beginning of the 1999 season. Bottenfield's 18 wins, 3.97 ERA, and All-Game appearance are often cited as some of Dave Duncan's finest work as a pitching coach.
Someone posted a clip of his All-Star game appearance on YouTube. He gave up a few runs, but also struck out Ivan Rodriguez and Derek Jeter. Definitely a highlight.....
Bottenfield really has a limited amount of baseball cards with the Cardinals. So, a quick tour. He did not consistently appear in sets, even after the 18 win season. Most card companies put him in a few of their products, but he never was amongst the core of Cardinals players who made all of a brand's sets.
Pacific was one of my favorite brands from this era. They actually had a 1998 card of Bottenfield in their Omega set, but I like the card in the 1999 set better.
Pacific also used him in some of their 2000 sets as a Cardinal after he was traded away. Nice cards, but he had nicer 2000 cards I will get to in a minute.
Upper Deck might have been the stingiest company with Bottenfield cards, but their sets were stuffed with McGwire, Ankiel, and J.D. Drew cards at this point. Give a spot to Ray Lankford, Fernando Tatis, maybe a Matt Morris or Andy Benes. Not much room for other players from the Cardinals. His most notable Cardinals card in an Upper Deck product was his appearance in the team's McDonald's set from 1999......
These cards were sold at McDonald's restaurants in the St. Louis area, I believe as a set, not a giveaway at the stadium. The usual suspects were in the set, but Upper Deck put several players in this set who were not in other sets in 1999. Bottenfield and Shawon Dunston are the two of them.
Bottenfield did not get a Topps card with the Cardinals in 1998 or 1999, but they did manage to squeeze him into the 2000 set.
There were no traded or update sets in 1998 and 1999, so I kind of get it. Still, it's hard to believe that a relief pitcher who popped up in more than 60 games in 1998 could not get a card in the 1999 set. This was also the small set phase for Topps. I believe they were down to 400 some cards in the base set.
The best two Bottenfield cards with the Cardinals are his autographs, which both came out in 2000 after he was traded. He has a Fleer and a Skybox autograph. The Fleer is a FreshInk card, the Skybox is an Autographics. Both were cross product autograph sets, not sure what products contained Bottenfield autographs. I own the Skybox card....
It's like a piece of artwork. Bottenfield is consistent with his autograph too. I love it when players care about their signature. This is a great looking card, 90% of it is the autograph.
So, the end of Bottenfield in a Cardinals uniform took place at the end of Spring Training in 2000 when the Cardinals traded him to the Angels, along with Adam Kennedy, for free agent to be Jim Edmonds.
The Cardinals seemed to frequently trade for players in walk years during the late 1990s and early 2000s, let them play in St. Louis for the year, and then sign them. Edmonds had a great 2000 with the Cardinals and signed a contract in the middle of the season to stay in St. Louis. He ended up playing on the Cardinals for 8 seasons in all. He helped the Cardinals win the 2006 World Series, win two National League pennants, and reach the National League Championship three other times. While he is off the Hall of Fame ballot for the moment, Edmonds should make it at some point through the Veterans Committee. Whatever it is now called.
Edmonds popped up on a baseball card as a Cardinal long before Bottenfield showed up as an Angel. Although, Bottenfield only lasted half a season in Anaheim before he was traded to the Phillies for Ron Gant. He was never able to match his 1999 season with the Cardinals, but Bottenfield stuck around for a few more seasons before retiring.