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Wednesday, February 9, 2011

1987 QC Angels: Three Set Members and a Valley Cat

Last summer, when I was looking for the Dann Bilardello CMC card, I picked up the Buffalo Bisons team set. I also picked up an extra team set, because I thought the shipping would be cheaper. It wasn't.

The extra team set was the 1987 ProCards Quad City Angels set. Quad City was the Angels' single-A team in the Midwest League. It caught my eye because I remembered the Chris Cron was likely on the team. Cron was the second player I ever wrote about on this blog back in December 2009.

I picked up the set thinking I'd get around to writing about it at some point. That some point is finally now. The occasion is my revisiting of Cron in Tuesday night's post.

The team set was actually still sealed in its wrapper. I cut that thing open and started going through the cards, looking for CMC set members. I was actually a little disappointed. I had figured there would be more single-A players who'd made AAA by 1990 and made the CMC set, but there were only three.

But I also found another guy I wasn't expecting to find, the pitching coach this past season on my local short-season NY-Penn League team.

Of the three CMC set members in the Quad City Angels set, two of those three were the only 1987 Quad City Angels to make the majors, according to Baseball-Reference.

Two of the three CMC set members, I've also covered: Cron and Larry Pardo. Cron, I've already mentioned I've covered twice. Pardo, I covered back in November.

Pardo went on to be a scout, and defend his profession against a perceived slight from Night Owl. It was a dispute that soon appeared to be smoothed over.

The other CMC set member in the team set was Roberto Hernandez. Hernandez was the first-round pick for the Angels in 1986. He also went on to a 17-season major league career, finally ending in 2007.

Note Hernandez' stance on his QC Angels card is fitting of his status as a pitcher. On his CMC card, Hernandez played catcher.

The surprise of the team set was this guy, Gary Ruby, pitching coach for the 1987 QC Angels. I spotted the name, then thought it sounded familiar. I looked, and it did. Turns out Ruby is still coaching. Last year, he coached for the Tri-City Valley Cats in the NY-Penn League, the same staff that was headed by CMC set member Jim Pankovits. That's his card from the Valley Cats 2010 team set.

Ruby even had his own theme song on his mound visits. It was that "Ruby, Ruby" song. Sorry to get that stuck in your head. I remember joking to my wife that Jim Pankovits didn't have a song on the same level. Apparently, no one's ever written a "Pankovits, Pankovits" song.

It appears Ruby is due back to the Valley Cats in 2011. Pankovits has moved on to manage AA in 2011, with the Jackson Generals.

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