Thursday, August 15, 2013

Short Term Stops: The All-A's Team (Pt. 2)

Shortstop

2013 Topps #160 Stephen Drew

A's Accolades:

Stephen Drew (2012 Oakland A's, 39 games, half-year stint)

Continuing on from Part 1, we kick off the second half of the A's roster with one of our most recent "Short Term Stops" nominees.

The oft-injured Stephen Drew has long been on my list of player collections. This year's Flagship release offered the first look at him in anything other than an Arizona uniform.

In August of last year, the A's acquired him in a waiver deal for their stretch run. He put up fairly forgettable numbers in Oakland (.250 average with five homers and 16 RBIs) before signing with the Red Sox this past offseason.

Much like many other "Short Term Stops" nominees, this was the only card Drew had as an A. 

Parallels aside, of course.

Honorable Mentions:

Freddie Bynum (2005 Oakland A's, 7 games)
Orlando Cabrera (2009 Oakland A's, 101 games, half-year stint)



Third Base

1987 Topps Traded #22T Ron Cey

A's Accolades:

Ron Cey (1987 Oakland A's, 45 games, sunset season)

On we move to one of the best "Short Term Stops" issues in existence.

During his heyday, Ron Cey was a fan favorite with the Dodgers. Not to mention one of the greatest third baseman of the 1970's. And, while largely forgotten these days, he did have a couple nice years with the hometown Cubs in the early-to-mid '80s.

His career came to a wildly unfamiliar end out in Oakland, however, where he'd labor through a dismal 45-game stint with the A's. Batting just .221 in that span, it was apparent that "The Penguin" didn't have much left in the tank.

Before I found his '87 Topps Traded card in a dime box, I had no idea Cey ever played for the A's.

Perhaps I would've been better off.

Honorable Mentions:

Nomar Garciaparra (2009 Oakland A's, 65 games, sunset season)
Brandon Inge (2012 Oakland A's, 74 games, half-year stint)



Outfielders

1964 Topps #320 Rocky Colavito 

A's Accolades:

Rocky Colavito (1964 Kansas City A's, 160 games)

Mr. Colavito here is the only pre-Oakland A to make it into these posts.

His lone year with the franchise came during their Kansas City days.

In fact, this rather bland '64 Topps issue is the only card I own of Colavito with the A's. My copy also happens to be wildly miscut. (I'm pretty sure that's a big "DODGERS" decal at the bottom.)

While not remembered much these days, Rocky had a brilliant season in Kansas City. His 34 homers and 102 RBIs in '64 were enough to earn him the fourth of his six career All-Star appearances.

Sure, other players might have a better case for a place on the "Short Term Stops" squad.

As one of my favorite players of the '60s, though, I just couldn't bring myself to leave Rocky off the roster.



1999 Pacific Paramount #173 Tim Raines 

A's Accolades:

Tim Raines (1999 Oakland A's, 58 games)

While it's hard to fault players of his kind, Tim Raines was one of those guys who didn't quite know when to hang 'em up.

He went on to play for four different teams during his last three seasons in the bigs. He hit just .215 with a paltry four swipes in 58 games for the '99 A's. Despite the subpar numbers, Pacific was gracious enough to include him in their 1999 Paramount checklist.

Raines sat out the entire 2000 season before coming back with both the Expos and Orioles in 2001. He'd end his career with the Marlins in '02. "Rock" debuted 14 years before the Marlins even became a big-league franchise. It just didn't seem right.

But that's another topic for another "Short Term Stops" post.



2008 Topps Heritage High Numbers #578 Carlos Gonzalez

A's Accolades:

Carlos Gonzalez (2008 Oakland A's, 85 games)

In a move that was long overdue, I've decided to add Carlos Gonzalez to my roster of player collections.

He's been tearing up the National League for a couple years now. I'm still not quite sure what took me so long to make him a "binder guy".

The man they call "Car-Go" was originally signed by the Diamondbacks back in 2002. Before he ever played a game in Arizona, the A's got him in the Dan Haren deal in December of 2007. (Which means I have a new "zero-year card" to chase.)

Almost as quickly as they got him, however, the A's let Gonzalez slip away. After just 85 games in Oakland, they dealt him (along with Huston Street) to the Rockies for Matt Holliday after the '08 season. This is the only card I own of him as an A at the moment.

At this point, Gonzalez looks to be a perennial All-Star down in Colorado. 

I can't help but imagine what he might've done with the A's, though.

Honorable Mentions:

Willie McGee (1990 Oakland A's, 29 games, half-year stint)
Danny Tartabull (1995 Oakland A's, 24 games, half-year stint)
Jose Guillen (2003 Oakland A's, 45 games, half-year stint)



Designated Hitter

 2008 Topps #459 Mike Sweeney

A's Accolades:

Mike Sweeney (2008 Oakland A's, 42 games)

I believe I'm nearing the 200-card mark with my Mike Sweeney collection.

Between the base, gold foil, and gold bordered versions of his '08 Topps issue, three of those currently reside in my A's binder.

After over a decade of greatness with the Royals, Sweeney's first stint outside of Kansas City came with the 2008 A's. Plagued by injuries, he played just 42 games in Oakland that year.

Even though he's one of my all-time favorites, even I'll admit that Mike Sweeney never quite looked right in an A's uniform.

He'll always be a Royal.

Honorable Mentions:

Rico Carty (1973, '79 Oakland A's, 48 games, third-of-a-year stint in '73)
Billy Williams (1975-76 Oakland A's, 275, sunset season in '76)
Don Baylor (1988 Oakland A's, 92 games, sunset season)



Pinch Runner

1975 Topps #407 Herb Washington


A's Accolades:

Herb Washington (1974-75 Oakland A's, 105 games)

With any other American League club, this post would end with the DH position.

But not the A's.

Thanks to the efforts of then-owner Charlie Finley, Herb Washington remains the only "pinch runner" in my binders. 

A former track star, the A's signed Washington to exclusively pinch-run. He never took a single at-bat in 105 games with the franchise.

While it resulted in one of the more famous baseball cards ever printed, the experiment didn't work out very well. Washington stole 31 bases in 48 career chances, which is about a 65 percent success rate. Not great by any means.

After just 13 games in 1975, the A's cut ties with the speedster. 

In an odd paradox, Herb Washington's '75 Topps issue is both his rookie and "sunset" card.

He'll always be one of the more interesting footnotes in the annals of baseball.

3 comments:

Christian fisher said...

If your interested I have a matt Cain tribute jersey and a couple vintage cards that I would want to send you just email me

beefman said...

Two of the best posts I've ever read. Nick, you know my favorite baseball card topics and you always hit the mark.

This is why you're the best blogger. Who else would have come up with this idea? Nobody!

Awesome, man.

Nick J

Fuji said...

A. Every time I see Cey in an A's uniform... I'm a little bit surprised. Not sure if it's the age or what... but I don't remember him playing for them.

B. Ditto for Raines.

C. I can't believe we shipped Carlos Gonzalez off for F'in Matt Holiday. That's a piece of A's trivia for the next 15 years.

D. The 75T Herb Washington is awesome. Read about it in Cardboard Gods and it instantly became one of my personal favorites.