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Sunday, December 19, 2010

Dollar Tree Packs - Locker Room Floor

DeWayne Buice spent 10 years in the minors, endured two broken arms, returned from those and spent two seasons in Mexico, The Los Angeles Times wrote in 1987.

What could get a pitcher to keep going that long? The Times asked.

"This right here kept me going," Buice told The Times while pointing at the major league locker room floor. "I have friends who have been here. I got people out who made it here. That's what kept me going. I love this game."

The comments came in a Times article marking Buice finally arriving in the majors. Buice's path to the majors is outlined on the back of his 1988 Topps card. The back includes his entire path, including his time in Mexico.

There wasn't even room for a blurb about how long he waited. The 15 lines in tiny type, apparently was enough to get the point across.

Buice's 1988 Topps card came in my latest Dollar Tree pack. This pack was a little different, it was actually a repack with 15 cards wrapped in a foil wrapper.

This was a rather successful pack, as far as my aims go. Of the 15 cards in the pack, three of them were members of the CMC set. Buice, while not an actual member, with his long wait to get to the majors, might just have to be an honorary member.

There was also a player I got an autograph of back in the day, when he played in the Midwest League, and a player that keeps showing up in these packs.

The three actual CMC set members were Ryan Klesko, Kent Mercker and Donald Harris. Klesko I've covered, the other two are still to come.

The Klesko card the came was this 1996 Leaf card. Klesko was coming off a 1995 where he hit 23 home runs and had 70 RBIs. His Braves had also just won the World Series. I covered Klesko back in May, leading off with Klesko trying to get one of his post-season home runs to his mom.

Here's Mercker on his 1992 Upper Deck entry. Mercker played in parts of 18 seasons, debuting in September 1989. He also pitched in two no-hitters in his career, one a combined effort in 1991 and another a solo effort in 1994.

Then there's Donald Harris. Harris made the majors in September 1991, the first of three years where Harris would see time in the bigs. Harris made the 1990 Topps set as the first-round draft pick of the Rangers. Topps did their research with the card back, offering up a large paragraph of collegiate accomplishments, including his stat lines from his freshman and sophomore years.

Here are Steve Bedrosian and Jeffrey Leonard, on their 1988 Topps and 1991 Topps entries respectively.

In December 1990, Bedrosian was traded for two CMC set members, Johnny Ard and a player to be named later that turned out to be Jimmy Williams. I've covered both Ard and Williams. Ard was one of my earlier posts, making him due for a more in-depth treatment at some point.

I'm including Leonard, because he seems to show up a lot in the packs I've been getting. He was in my 1984 Topps pack and in one of my 1981 Fleer packs. Now's he's been in a repack.

The last two entries from this pack are Ben Grieve and Fletcher Bates. Bates is here because he played a decade in the minors, making this Baseball America top prospects card in 1999. But he never made the majors.

Grieve I'm including because back when I went to Midwest League games with my dad in Cedar Rapids. Grieve was a member of the West Michigan Whitecaps in 1995. I remember he was one of the bigger guys to come through town and I was excited to get his autograph.

I got this 1995 Upper Deck Draft Class card signed, one that the Sharpie apparently didn't like too well.

And this Upper Deck prospects card.

Grieve did go on to win Rookie of the Year honors in 1998, and went on to play parts of nine seasons in the majors, but he never really lived up to the expectations.

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