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Saturday, October 22, 2011

Cards from Vermont: A Lot Tougher

The Sarasota Herald-Tribune looked at Scott Cepicky's Florida State League batting average and his RBI totals. Cepicky looked at his strikeout total.

"Whoa," Cepicky told The Herald-Tribune. "This league is a lot tougher than the Midwest League. I'm heading for more strikeouts than last year, about 20 or so at this pace.

"There's still 200 at-bats left, too," Cepicky added to The Herald-Tribune. "Let's wait and see."

Cepicky did end up with more strikeouts that year with the White Sox at Sarasota, 27 more. Still, he won FSL Player of the Year honors and his own 1992 Bowman card.

But, for Cepicky, it would only get tougher. He hit AA Birmingham in 1992, striking out 140 times, hitting just .247. He only played two more seasons, hitting AAA briefly in 1993. But he never hit the majors.

Cepicky's Bowman card was among the latest batch of cards I picked up recently in Vermont. It's one of those classic Bowman cards where the player is in street clothes, this time a T-shirt and jeans. At least Cepicky was photographed in a baseball setting.

Cepicky was in the minors in 1990, but he didn't make the main CMC set. He played that year at single-A South Bend. Four other players in this stretch of Vermont cards did make the CMC set. One of them was a star of the set.

That star was Ben McDonald. McDonald's 1994 Topps Gold card came, with McDonald going into his sixth season with time in the majors in 1994. I featured McDonald in September.

McDonald, of course, came out of college with high expectations. And, by 1994, had been expected to be well in to a successful career. He did, though, play a respectable nine seasons.

The high comparisons continued on his 1994 Topps card. The card back notes that in 1993, McDonald went 14 consecutive starts without allowing more than three runs. Jim Palmer did the same thing in 1972, Topps noted.

Another player that was in the CMC set and was supposed to be a star was Mike Campbell. Campbell appeared on his 1988 Topps card as a Future Star. That was based off of a 15-2 record and 2.66 ERA in 1987 at AAA Calgary, not his 1-4 record and 4.74 ERA after being called up to Seattle.

Campbell appeared in the CMC set with the White Sox' AAA club at Vancouver. He has yet to be featured here. His major league career consisted of time in six seasons. He went 12-19.

His 1988 Topps card back notes he attended the University of Hawaii, becoming his team's MVP his final two seasons. He was also signed by scout Bob Zuk.

Wally Ritchie is another CMC player that has yet to be featured here. He appeared on his 1988 Topps card after a rookie season where he got into 49 games in relief, picking up three wins and three saves.

He appeared in the CMC set back with AAA Scranton. He ended up getting into four big league seasons, all with Philadelphia. His last came in 1992. Topps notes he was signed by scout Jay Robertson.

Mo Sanford was pegged as a star out of high school. Topps notes he was featured as a senior by Rolling Stone as "the next great baseball phenom." The Los Angeles Times puts that feature in 1984, with Sanford playing high school ball in Starkville, Miss.

Sanford was featured here in May 2010. His CMC card is one of the more glaring errors in the set, his photo is on another player's card. He played parts of three big league seasons.

Finally, there's Victor Cancel, 1990 member of the Geneva Cubs and member of the team's ProCards team set. The New-York Penn League wasn't included in the main CMC set, which for my purposes is a good thing.

Cancel's career lasted only four seasons, his last with single-A Peoria. In a quick search of Victor Cancel and the name listed at Baseball Reference, Danny Cancel, there is little available on his career other than his stats.
302 - Ben McDonald, High Expectations, 9/19/11
659 - Mo Sanford, Real Tough, 5/27/10

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