Sunday, June 3, 2012

The Gems of Junk Wax, Pt. 36: 1994 Upper Deck Minors #48 Scott Eyre

Normally, I'm not a huge fan of minor league cards.

I never so much as looked at a pack of last year's Heritage Minor Leagues set, and the only cards I own from Topps Pro Debut are a couple of the inserts.

And do I need to remind everyone of Royal Rookies? There was nothing "royal" about those.

But when we're talking about the minors, this one is as good as it gets.

To top it off, it also qualifies as a "zero-year" card, although I typically prefer cards of players actually wearing the team's uniform. (Eyre never played for the Rangers, as he'd debut with the White Sox in '97.)

Everything about this card perfectly exemplifies the minor leagues.

The Little League-esque baseball field. The plastic lawn chairs in the background. The trees surrounding the field. Even the odd team name, the "Rainbows", seems typical of the minors.

It's interesting that such a creative pose was used for a minor league card. Pretty much every minor league card I've seen uses the same generic hitting and pitching poses over and over again.

My best guess at what Upper Deck was hinting at on this one was Eyre's "cutter", if he threw one. I can't think of anything else that would make sense, unless UD was purely going for laughs. (Yet they had him use a plastic knife and fork. They couldn't get any actual silverware?)

Eyre is one of the few minor leaguers that "made it", breaking into the bigs in '97. He'd become an effective left-handed reliever, finally hanging them up in 2009 with the Phillies.

As far as baseball cards go, I could care less about the minor leagues. I'd much rather have a card of a guy like Adam Dunn rather than someone who'd be lucky to even make it to the majors.

But I love seeing a new face in the bigs every so often. It's refreshing. With that being said, I guess there is an upside to sets like Bowman and Pro Debut.

Everyone gets their chance to shine.

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