Monday, October 24, 2011

Completed sets: 2003 Topps Total baseball, part 3

Previously:  part 1 (#1-99), part 2 (#100-198)

Episode 3:  Griffey and Jeter meet Bong and Fick, or, 99 Reds Buffoons.

Cards #199-297:

Baltimore fans will remember Hammonds as the #4 overall pick in 92 who never really lived up to that hype, though he did play for 13 seasons.  I'll forever remember Nomah as the guy whose trade to the Cubs was the good luck charm the Sawx needed to end their World Series curse.  Christianson was a highly-touted Mariners catching prospect bust.  Moss is from Australia, which is about the only interesting thing about him.  Richard is another one of my favorite all power/no position sluggers who never did much.  Hundley put up some statistical outlier-type numbers for a couple years during the steroid era, but was a decent catcher otherwise.  

Hatteberg was briefly a part of the Moneyball A's, famously converting from catcher to first to take advantage of his OBP, an undervalued stat at the time. (Sidenote:  99% of the people who complain about the book's philosophy, hype and main character have never actually read the book; one of those people is JOE MORGAN)  Ken Griffey Jr. was a little-known outfielder for such teams as Seattle (twice) and Cincinnati, taking after his father, and hitting the occasional home run.  George is a former Royals first-round bust.  Neikro is Joe's son/Phil's nephew, and he got to play a few games in the Bigs.  Ransom is somehow still kicking around the Majors, though he doesn't get in a ton of games.  Biggio is probably the best Astro ever (with apologies to Bagwell and his badass goatees) due to his all-around game and willingness to get hit by pitches A LOT.  (Note to internet users everywhere:  "alot" is not a word so stop using it, because I know you all use it A LOT.)

Batista's been everywhere, man, and at 40 he's still available if your team wants him.  Escobar was a top prospect for the Mets that never panned out (stop me if you've heard that one before) but was sent to Cleveland when they acquired Roberto Alomar.  Hunter has certainly lived up to the first round pick the Twins spent on him in 1993, and I hope he makes it back to the Twin Cities before he retires because he just seems to belong there.  May only pitched for parts of seven seasons, but he certainly beat the odds after being selected in the 46th round.  Santiago was an excellent catcher and pretty good hitter for a long, long time, and his #1 comparison on is Bill Freehan, so he's cool in my book.

Dempster's had a reasonably successful career, though it's funny to see him in a Reds uni since I mainly remember him as a Marlin and Cub.  Bong got a couple cups of coffee with the Braves and Reds after coming out of South Korea, which is fairly impressive, though that pales in comparison to his awesome name.  Macias played for a couple years in Detroit, and that's all you need to know to explain how those early-to-mid 2000s teams were atrociously bad.  Stewart was a decent OF for a while after being a first-rounder, and spent most of his career with the Blue Jays and Twins, and his #2 comparison is Carl Crawford, which doesn't bode especially well for the Red Sox.  This is on Valent's B-R page:  "Until David Wright arrived, you were the only thing mildly interesting about the 2004 Mets."  Here are some words that rhyme with Corey.

Tomko had a decent 14-season career and was sent to Seattle in the Griffey deal.  Stairs has played for 12 teams in 19 seasons and could still play if he wants to as he's an incredibly talented bench player.  Valdes had a few decent seasons with the 1990s Dodgers and held on long enough to win 100+ games in a 12-season career.  Fuentes best compares to Brad Lidge, and while that might seem strange at first, it's actually fairly apt.  Izturis is a slick-fielding IF who was traded straight-up for Greg Maddux in 2006.

Jenkins was a Brewers first-rounder who managed to hit 200+ HR in 11 seasons and win a ring in 2008, his only season with the Phillies and final of his career.  I think Derek Jeter works for Jostens or a pawn shop or something because he always has a lot of rings on him.  Roberts, who was actually a Tigers draftee, famously came in as a pinch runner with the Sox down 1 in the bottom of the 9th, stole second and scored the tying run in game four of the 2004 ALCS, the beginning of the Yankees' legendary megacollapse and the Red Sox's rise to fame and uncursedness.  Williams was a pretty good above-.500 pitcher in 15 seasons.  Wells had some nice seasons as the Jays' former top prospect, then was unceremoniously dumped on the Angels, where his power has remained, though his average continues to trend downward.  Lieber is a former 20 game winner with the Cubs who had a couple more nice campaigns before retiring after 14 seasons.  German was part of the deal that brought Jeremy Bonderman and Carlos Pena to Detroit, but the future closer hopeful never did much.

Diego's son David played for 15 seasons in a Sean Casey-like career--not bad.  Garcia has bounced around a bit in his 13+-year career, but he's apparently still a pretty effective pitcher, and actually compares to Chris Carpenter.  Young had a hard time swinging with wires running across the telephone poles he called his arms.  Fick hit the final home run in old Tiger Stadium, which was a grand slam, and also the final hit and RBI.  Petrick never made it as a former top prospect with the Rockies, but he's since been diagnosed with Parkinson's; he's currently coaching football and baseball at his high school.

Dermal "Dee" Brown was yet ANOTHER failed Royals first-rounder.  Patterson went #3 to the Cubs in '98, and though he showed some flashes of that talent, well, as his page says, "All hope abandon, ye who enter here...."  Man, what a crappy page this is, I'm not even gonna bother with the rest!

Johnson is a former Yankee-turned injury machine.  Zito famously signed an enormous contract with the Giants (which they're STILL regretting) after his successful seasons alongside Tim Hudson and Mark Mulder.  Byrd wasn't exactly a fireballer but won more than 100 games in 14 seasons.  Gagne was an elite closer (and Cy Young-winner once) for three straight seasons, then injuries essentially derailed his career.  Ramirez was amazingly poached from the idiotic Pirates, along with Kenny Lofton for, among others, Bobby Hill, some propane and propane accessories; can we please contact the Pirates now?

Ray-Ray had a nice 14-year career, mainly with the White Sox and Giants, and compared well to Joe Morgan and Craig Biggio for a few years.  The Mariners sold the farm for injury-waiting-to-happen Bedard in 2008; way to go, morons.  Faison was a first-round bust for the Padres.  Gomez's career highlight was making the World Series with the 2006 Tigers, though he was hitless in three at-bats.  Guerrero has had a fine career and his comparisons are ridiculous:  Jeff Bagwell, Larry Walker, Jim Rice, Chipper Jones, Billy Williams, Willie Stargell, Duke Snider, Andres Galarraga, Carlos Delgado and Todd Helton; crazy!

Appier was a fine pitcher through parts of 16 seasons after defying the odds and NOT sucking as a Royals first-rounder.  Meche was a .500 pitcher after being a Seattle first-rounder.  Grissom was an outstanding player with a 17-year career, and was a poor man's Ricky Henderson in many ways.  Castilla is pictured here back with his original team, though he's more famous for some nice seasons filled with Coors-inflated stats. (the park, not the beer!)  Halter is another symptom of ridiculously bad 90s-2000s Tigers teams, and whoever thought it was a good deal to pick him up should've been muzzled. (get it?)  Finally, Hinske bounced around a couple teams before winning the 2002 AL Rookie of the Year with the Jays, and was another example of voters apparently being swayed by homers and not much else, not that there were many great options that year.

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