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Monday, November 15, 2010

Dollar Tree Cards: 1989 Fleer, Near Misses

Today's player: Joe Law, Good Enough - 587

I opened this first baseball pack from my stack of Dollar Tree Cards a couple days ago. At first glance, it was kind of a boring pack. There was no Billy Ripken, but that was fine. I have two more 1989 Fleer packs to go.

But it's funny how players and cards can get more interesting with time and research. Namely, had I done this post right after I opened it, that Dave Stewart up there likely would have been left off the pack review.

Now, thanks to last night's player feature of Joe Law, Stewart's right here at the top, right next to Law. That's because Stewart was right at the top of Law's feature. Law was brought up to Oakland on July 5, 1988, to help give the regular bullpen a rest.

But Stewart did that for him, giving the bullpen a rest while pitching a complete game in a loss. It was one of 15 complete games Stewart had in 1988, according to the card back. Meanwhile, Law didn't get in any games on the year or ever, a near miss, he was sent back down after the game, The South Florida Sun-Sentinel wrote.

There were no Hall of Famers in the pack, helping make the pack less interesting at first glance. There was one CMC set member, another player I'd referenced in a player feature and an error card I nearly missed myself.

The CMC set member was this guy, Ozzie Virgil. Virgil was going into his 10th major league season in 1989. He was coming off a season where he played in 107 games for the Braves. He'd played in over 100 each year since 1984.

But in 1989, Virgil ended up with Toronto. He also ended up with far fewer than 100 games played. He got in just nine games in 1989 then three games in 1990, his last games in the majors.

Geno Petralli was the player I'd referenced earlier, in Scott Champarino's feature back in July. It was Petralli who got into a scuffle with Champarino in 1992 over an April Fool's joke gone bad.

I included the other card there, the Andres Galarraga and Gerald Perry card because of the card back. I didn't include the back because basically it is all text. I've gotten to read card backs more now that I have the blog. But back when I was a kid, I hardly read one line of text on a card, let alone a card back that was all text. Figured I'd point that out.

It was while scanning these two cards that I got a whole new section of this post, the error card. But first, the reason why I scanned these cards. One has time as a major league manager, the other is seen as a possible future manager.

Dave Clark managed the Astros for 13 games at the end of 2009, taking over for Cecil Cooper. Clark got four wins to nine losses. Tom Brookens is there because, according to Wikipedia, he could be a future manager, of the Tigers, that he is being groomed to eventually replace Jim Leyland.

It was that dichotomy that got me to scan these two cards, a former manager and a future manager. But it was after I scanned them that I noticed something else. As I went to pull the cards off the scanning bed, it appeared I didn't scan a Tom Brookens. I'd scanned a Mike Heath. But I didn't get a Mike Heath in the pack.

Upon closer inspection, it wasn't my error, it was the card's error. This was a wrong back, with Brookens on the front and Heath on the back.

When I opened the pack, the Brookens stood out, obviously not because of the error, I didn't notice that. It was because I remembered that I already had a 1989 Fleer Brookens card, one of about two I had overall. I think I got it in one of those Ultimate Super Jumbo Packs I picked up on our vacation. Figured that I'd get a double in my first pack.

But it turned out to be really cool in the end. See, these are the two fronts. The one I just got is the one with the ink blotch on the Brookens R. Other than that blotch, they're the same.

Now, look at this. Different backs. The one I got earlier, that was the corrected version. Now I got the error. Note the number. The number is the same on both. Just the name and other info are different.

That is too cool. I did a quick search. First question, this is no Billy Ripken error. You could have gotten three on ebay for a buck. The other question, what about Mike Heath? Apparently there is a corresponding Mike Heath front, Tom Brookens back card.

I've got two more 1989 Fleer packs to go. Maybe I'll get that card in there.

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