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Monday, November 22, 2010

Dollar Tree Cards: Ken Phelps' All Stars

It took Ken Phelps five seasons to make the majors, making his brief debut in September 1980. He made the majors each of the next 10 seasons, but it took him a while to gain a solid foothold. That was despite putting up years like he did in 1982 at AAA Wichita, where Phelps hit .333 with 46 home runs.

It was Phelps' troubles in getting to the majors to stay that led baseball writer Bill James in 1987 to create a list for Baseball Abstract dubbed the "Ken Phelps All-Star Team."

James made the list for Baseball Abstract and it was made to mark those players who were great in the minors, but hadn't gotten the shot at the majors that they deserved. Baseball Prospectus has a good writeup on the subject in a 2001 article.

I mention Phelps because he was one of the players included in the third Dollar Tree pack I opened, the 1989 Donruss pack. In running the players through Baseball-Reference's Bullpen, I came across Phelps' account and his honor with his own named team of minor leaguers trying to find a home in the majors.

But that's Phelps up top. Next to him is another player that took time to make the majors, Oswald Peraza, seven seasons to be exact. He had one year in the majors, 1988, pitching in 19 games, but injuries prevented him from getting back.

There were no Hall of Famers in the pack, though there was one player that was once thought of as a Hall of Fame possibility, this guy, Rafael Palmeiro. My wife and I attended one of the games where he had a chance to hit his 3,000th hit. He didn't get it that game, he got it a few days later. That game was also just a few weeks before "id" was added to his last name.

There were two CMC players in that pack, and a couple other players that had CMC connections.

Andy McGaffigan was with the Expos on his Donruss card. He wound down his career in 1990 with the Royals system at Omaha, with a few last looks at the majors in Kansas City. I previously picked up another McGaffigan card over the summer, his 1990 Upper Deck entry, in one of the Cooperstown packs.

Speaking of players that toiled in the minors, this is Terry Clark. Clark first made the majors in 1988, after a decade in the minors. He returned for brief stints each of the next two seasons. Then he hung around in the minors for four more seasons, then getting back to the majors in 1995, the first of three consecutive seasons.

He didn't pitch his final game until 1999, his 21st season in professional baseball.

I haven't gotten to McGaffigan or Clark, I'll definitely be looking forward to Clark's.

Rounding out the notible cards in this pack are Mike Stanley and Jerald Clark. Neither are CMC set members, but they have some connection to CMC set players, one closer than the other.

The closer one is Jerald Clark. Clark played parts of seven seasons in the majors. His brother, Phil Clark, played parts of five. Phil Clark was also a member of the CMC set. Phil Clark was one of my earlier features. He's also one of the ones due to be revisited if the randomizer picks him again.

The other one, Stanley, has a more distant connection with a CMC set member. He's really in the same club as a set member. On May 1, 1991, Stanley was behind the plate when Nolan Ryan threw his seventh and final no-hitter.

A year earlier, on June 11, 1990, behind the plate for Ryan's sixth no-hitter was John Russell, member of the CMC set.

1 comment:

  1. But my baseball people love Ken Phelps' bat. They kept saying 'Ken
    Phelps , Ken Phelps'