Monday, January 30, 2012

One card - 6 hits

I recently saw this card on ebay and knew I had to add it to my collection.  I'm a fan of multiplayer relics unless they feature players that have nothing to do with one another.  Then I just scratch my head and say, um ok?  This card has one trait in common and that's about it....they all played for the Pittsburgh Pirates.  At no point were all these players on the same Pirates team though.  Oddly enough, none of them have anything that they did historically together either.  I went as far as to reseach if maybe they all might have lead off an inning with a homerun, nope.  So I can safely say the following statement is true and that's about it.  They all played with the Pittsburgh Pirates and are no longer a member of the organization.  Let's see whose on this 6 Bat relic hit, shall we?

Up first is Bill Madlock.  Mad Dog is a player I like to collect relics, autos, and parallels of.  He was really good with the Pirates.  Madlock came over to the Pirates in the summer of 1979 and was a key part of the offense that helped win the 1979 World Series.  Madlock would become a member of the 1981 and 1983 All-Star teams as a member of the Pirates.  Those same years he would win his 3rd and 4th batting titles.  Only Wade Boggs won more batting titles as a third basemen in his career than Bill Madlock.  Madlock's 1981 batting title made him the first player to win two batting titles with two different teams.  A lot of people remember Bill Madlock for his short temper which resulted in him getting ejected 18 times during his 15 year career. 

On the same side of the card is Kenny Lofton.  Sweet!!!!  When I was younger, I used to love watching Kenny Lofton steal bases.  I even got a chance to meet him really early in his career when he was a member of the Houston Astros.  I didn't know at the time that he would go on to swipe close to 60 bases a year during his prime as a member of the Cleveland Indians though.  Lofton joined the Pirates for the 2003 season and was past his prime and played in only 84 for the Bucs.  He put up decent numbers for a 36 year old, but would be moved to Chicago to close out the season.  During his 17 year career, Kenny Lofton played for 11 teams.  I remember there was even a commercial mocking Kenny for playing in so many different cities. 

At the bottom of the front of the card is my first "hit" featuring the surfer looking Craig Wilson.  Wilson started out as utility bench player for the Pirates in 2001.  He would finally earn the starting role in 2004 when he posted career highs in every offensive category except batting average.  Wilson was a power presence in the lineup, but would later be traded from Pittsburgh to the NY Yankees in 2006 where his career quickly collapsed.  The Atlanta Braves would sign him to a one year deal a year later, where he continued to freefall until being released by the team in 2007.  The most interesting thing about Craig Wilson is that he lead the league in hit by pitches in 2002 (as a pinch hitter too) and 2004. 
On the back are two Pirates who are still fan favorites in Pittsburgh, but who got traded when Neal Huntington took over in 2007.  They are also two of the more recent Pirates to win a major award.  Yes I'm talking about Freddy Sanchez and Jason Bay.

Freddy Sanchez came to the Pirates from the Boston Red Sox and transitioned from 3B to 2B.  In 2007 Freddy lead the league in batting average to make him the most recent Pirate to win a batting title.  Freddy would be traded in the summer of 2009 for SF Giants pitching prospect Tim Alderson.  Alderson has yet to make it out of AA and looks like he is no longer considered to be a prospect despite being taken in the 2006 first round.

Jason Bay. Everyone here should know by now that I really like Jason Bay.  He's a classy guy and a really good ball player.  Bay is now with the Mets enjoying the big time money he received and performing like every other elite free agent that signs with the Mets.  Yup, he is not the Jason Bay of old, but that's ok because I remember him when he was good and remember seeing him in 2009 as a Red Sox.

On the bottom of the card is Jose Castillo.  Jose was supposed to be the 2nd basemen of the future for the Pirates.  In 2004 he was ranked as the number 3 prospect in all of baseball by Baseball America.  2005 and 2006 saw injuries to Jose and he only had about 350 plate appearances each season.  His potential continued to impress the front office and he remained the starting 2nd basemen going into the 2007 season.  However, with the emergence of Jose Bautista at 3B and Freddy Sanchez moving to 2B, that left Jose Castillo to fight to remain on the Pirates radar and get playing time.  Castillo finished the 2007 season batting only .244 and would sign a contract with the Florida Marlins the following season after being released on December 6th. 


The 2005 Playoff Team Six six bat relic is numbered to 150.  This card features some good memories of the Pirates and some not so good memories of the Pirates.  Nevertheless it's a cool card for $10.  Not bad for $1.66 per bat.  After doing some research I see that there is a 4 relic card from the same series featuring many of the same players (no Castillo or Madlock).  I may have to pick that up to add to my Jason Bay collection.

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