2007 Upper Deck #550 Tanyon Sturtze (Braves)
I have to believe that this is probably a first in the blogosphere.
An entire post dedicated to Tanyon Sturtze.
While I love collecting the likes of bigger names such as Starlin Castro and Joey Votto, I get a huge kick out of collecting more obscure guys like Sturtze. (Some have even managed to put together good careers after I started collecting them.)
I've toyed around with starting another theme on the blog dedicated to my collections of guys who I "saved from obscurity". While I've put that on the back burner for now, Sturtze would be one of the first players featured.
There's a specific story attached to most of my obscure collecting focuses. Sturtze is one of the few exceptions.
I'm not exactly sure why I collect him.
It might be because I was a big fan of the Devil Rays way back when, and Sturtze was one of the mainstays in their rotation at the time. He went 11-12 in '01, which might not sound like anything special at first. But considering the Rays went 62-100 that year, that's pretty impressive. (I can't find anything good to say about his 4-18 season the following year, though.)
Perhaps the moment Sturtze is best known for is a bit of an infamous one.
He ended up being one of the main combatants in the famous Alex Rodriguez-Jason Varitek brawl in '04, emerging from the scrap bloodied and battered.
Sturtze is one of the few players to have multiple zero-year cards, and is probably the only one whose first and last cards are both of the zero-year variety. (I'll be featuring his '93 Bowman rookie in a future "zero-year" post.)
Although he did pitch in three games for the Dodgers in 2008, this card from the previous year is his final issue. "The Grand Tanyon" didn't pitch in the majors during the '07 season. He spent the entire year in the Braves' minor league system before being released in August of that year.
This was one of my better finds from a dime binder at a local card shop I used to frequent. Even though I bought more of 2007 Upper Deck than almost any other product in my collecting career, I failed to pull the Sturtze from any of the packs I opened.
So there it is.
Tanyon Sturtze now has his own post in the blogosphere.