One of the people from whom I heard was Jared from Catching Up with Collecting. Jared's interests in collecting are diverse -- everything from catchers Carlton Fisk, Gary Carter, Jason Varitek, and Jason Kendall, to his favorite teams -- he has five -- to a ton of Boston Red Sox stars. I can relate to the love for catchers -- having played the position myself for a long time growing up, as my knees some days can attest -- so sending a package to him for me was relatively simple.
Jared then sent me a great stack of Brewers cards. Thankfully, the Brewers are not among his favorite five teams, so he sent me an awesome mix of cards.
We start with a passel of Robin Yount cards, including the card carrying Paul Molitor's praise for Robin as a teammate from the Panini Cooperstown set. The bottom card is from the 2002 Topps Gallery set Heritage inserts. At some point and between Cynical Buddha and me, we need to count up both the number of times that the 1975 rookie card gets used and, also, that photo of Yount from the 1988 season (with the H/K patch on his left arm to honor former manager Harvey Kuenn) that has been used so many times that I think it's the only photo Topps has of Robin.
While initially I liked this photo, it was because I was looking past the fact that a good third of the card is dominated by the out-of-focus arm of a first-base coach. Now that I've really noticed it, I can't unsee it. Dang it.
Topps Gold, circa 2013. Hellweg came over to the Brewers from the Angels in the Jean Segura/Zach Greinke trade. Hellweg is a graduate of St. Dominic HS in O'Fallon, Missouri. He had been rehabilitating from Tommy John surgery since early last year, and the Brewers used up his fourth and final option this year to let him continue his rehabilitation in Colorado Springs. Before the injury, he -- and not Jimmy Nelson -- was probably the Brewers' top pitching prospect.
I'm not sure what's going on under Rob Picciolo's (pronounced "PEACH-uh-lo") eyes here. It might be the scan, or I just never cared enough to look at Rob Picciolo's 1984 Donruss card before. The very antithesis of a "Moneyball" player, Picciolo walked 25 times in 1720 career plate appearances.
This card is proof that, in the 1980s, the card companies made cards for literally everyone who appeared in a major league game. To wit, in 1983, Picciolo played in 14 games and came to bat 29 times. No, he did not spend any time in the minor leagues that year. In fact, because of his 1 sac fly in 1983, his OBP was lower than his batting average -- a .222/.214/.333 slash line.
Josh Prince currently has more cards in the 2013 Panini Prizm set (10, including all the parallels) than he does major league plate appearances (9, racked up in 2013). Prince was on his way back down the Brewers' chain after that high point in 2013 -- appearing only in Double-A Huntsville in 2014. He's now a Double-A player in the Detroit system with Erie.
Tyler Wagner pitched for the Runnin' Utes of Utah in college before the Brewers drafted him in the fourth round in 2012. He has worked his way up in the system step by step. In 2014, he pitched very well as an age-appropriate player in the Florida State League, and he has started off well with the Biloxi Shuckers this season.
As an aside, the Brewers moved their Double-A team from Huntsville, Alabama, to Biloxi, Mississippi, in the off season. The only problem: the Biloxi stadium will not be ready for the team to occupy it before May at the earliest. As a result, the Shuckers opened their "home" season by playing five games in four days last week against Jacksonville in Jacksonville. They will also be playing "home" games in May 6 against the Mississippi Braves at the Braves' home stadium in Pearl, Mississippi and the team will reappear in Huntsville for some home games starting on May 16.
In case someone with the Shuckers is reading blogs, please remember I am both a Brewers fan and a construction lawyer with good connections in Mississippi. No, I'm not advertising, I'm just saying.
These Hometown Heroes cards with the dark blue uniforms are not nearly as offensive-looking to me as the powder blue one that Robin Yount is wearing. Note that the Sheets parallel is the elusive "ZIP Code" parallel, as Panini shows off its knowledge of major league zip codes. The great thing is that I believe I need all of these for player collections.
Martin Maldonado is now the Brewers starting catcher as Jonathan Lucroy heals up after suffering a broken toe. Maldonado has never been much of an offensive force. Even after spending parts of 2004 through 2012 in the minor leagues -- a total of 1965 plate appearances -- he totaled only 31 home runs and 71 doubles for a .333 SLG. But, he has one hell of a cannon behind home plate:
The guy threw out Billy Hamilton on a pitch he had to short-hop out of the dirt. It's his defense that keeps him in the league, but he's stretched if he has to play regularly.
I'm still thinking, though, that Panini needs to do the "Catchers of Major League Baseball" series. No logos needed!
And, if Panini did a set like that, I guarantee that both me and a certain Jared from Catching Up With Collecting would go for the complete set.
Thanks, Jared, for the great cards!