Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The 20 for $40 re-wrap: Two Packs of '98 Team Best.

I don't collect Minor League cards. So in order to get these out of the way, I'm busting the two remaining Minor League packs simultaneously.

Team Best released two products in '98, "Player of the Year" and "Signature Series," and I have one pack of each. POY was released in the Spring of '98 and has the first 50 cards of the Team Best base set. SigSer followed in September and has the final 50 base set cards. In addition, SigSer boasts five autographs in each 18-pack box.

Scott Schoeneweis
Scott was diagnosed with testicular cancer at 19. But he survived. Why? BECAUSE HE'S FROM SOUTH JERSEY!

Jared Sandberg
The nephew of Ryne Sandberg, Jared played three seasons (2001-03) for Tampa Bay. He retired after spending the '07 at AA Wichita, and will manage the Rays' short-season A-ball team this year.

Alex Sanchez
Alex was picked up by the Coast Guard in the Straits of Florida attempting to escape from Cuba, and spent 16 months in Guantanamo Bay before being granted asylum in 1995.

In 2005, he became the very first Major League player to be suspended for violating the newly established ban on performance-enhancing drugs.

Grant Roberts
Speaking of cheaters, Roberts was also suspended in 2005 for violating the Major League's drug policy. But that's not all!

In 2002 Newsday published this, most interesting, photo of Grant taken at around the time this card was issued.

Mark Fischer
The only things I could find about this guy were: 1) He was drafted in the first round of the 1997 draft with the pick the Red Sox received as compensation for losing Roger Clemens. 2) He hit .330 for the short-season Class-A Lowell Spinners (still a team record). And 3) He retired after the 2002 season, never progressing past AA Trenton.

Mario Encarnacion
Mario played 23 games for the Cubs and Rockies in 2001-02. He found his way to Taiwan in '05 where, on October 3rd, 2005, was found dead.

On that depressing note, here's the other pack.

Willie Martinez
Willie pitched one game for the Indians in 2000, giving up one run and striking out one batter in three innings. He was never seen or heard from again.

Matt Clement
Matt missed all of 2007 with a shoulder injury. He's now a part of the St. Louis rotation.

Luis Rivera
Luis topped out at AAA-Richmond in 2000. Other than that, I got nothing.

Abraham Nunez
Phillies phans remember Abraham as Jaime Moyer's personal third baseman of the last two years. He now plays for the AAA-Nashville Sounds, which.... is the team played for ten years ago!

Gil Meche
Gil missed the entire 2001 and 2002 seasons with a "dead arm." He returned in 2003 and won 15 games for the Mariners, and was selected the AL Comeback Player of the Year.

'97 Full Count Autograph (5:18) Paul Konerko

According to research, these "Full Count" autographs all have 1997 copyright dates and have the design of the '97 Team Best base set. "In all likelihood, there may've (sic) been complications or delays to finish these cards in time for the 1997 packout and they were thrown into 1998 packs rather than being destroyed, sitting in a warehouse forever or being sold individually by the manufacturer."

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