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Saturday, October 29, 2011

Target Extreme Repack: No Power Pitcher

Sent from one independent team to another, Hut Smith had a brief layoff. Then he helped pitch his new team, the Allentown Ambassadors, to a win in July 1999.

"I'm not a power pitcher, so I knew the layoff wouldn't bother my velocity," Smith told The Allentown Morning Call. "I got a little tired toward the end, but other than that I was hitting my spots."

Smith was in his first season of independent ball, going on to pitch in a total of 12 professional seasons. Smith, though, never made the majors, getting as high as AA, but no higher.

Smith's 1992 Classic Four Sport card was included in my Target Extreme Value repack, the one where I got that crazy unopened 2007 Topps Update pack.

Smith's Classic Four Sport card marks him being drafted by Baltimore 100th overall in 1992. Also included in the pack was another Four Sport card, that of Steve Montgomery.

Montgomery went on to have a more successful career, getting taken 83rd overall by St. Louis. Montgomery got into parts of four major league seasons, with Oakland, Philadelphia and San Diego.

There were also several CMC set members in the repack, including Jeff Bittiger, Juan Bell, Scott Livingstone and Gary Varsho.

Jeff Bittiger appeared in the 1990 CMC set the year after he appeared in the 1989 Topps set. He also appeared in the CMC set after his major league career was already over. Bittiger played parts of four big league seasons, from 1986 to 1989.

He got into 33 major league games, 25 of those came in 1988 with the White Sox.

The back of his Topps card includes his complete minor league history, dating back to 1980 at Little Falls. It also notes he was co-MVP at AA Jackson in 1982. The other MVP that year was Darryl Strawberry, Topps notes. Bittiger was featured here in May 2011.

Juan Bell played parts of six seasons in the majors. He also played much of 1990 at AAA Rochester, getting into the CMC set. In 1992, when he was featured on this Score card, Bell was coming off a season where he played in 100 games for the Orioles, but one where he hit just .172.

Bell's 1992 Score card back gets into his family relation quickly. Juan, it reads, "is no match for his big brother, George of the Cubs, with a bat but he more than holds his own with his glove." A shortstop by trade, Bell filled in in 1992 for an injured Billy Ripken at second. Score also notes that Bell hit well in one 11-game stretch, hitting .382. Bell has yet to be featured here.

Scott Livingstone ended up playing professionally through 2000. He played in the majors through 1998. His 1992 Fleer Ultra card marked his first season in the majors, where he got into 44 games with Detroit, hitting .291.

His Ultra card back includes two pictures, a portrait and one of him leaving the batters box, running to first. As it is with Ultra, there is no text, only pedigree information and one year of stats. Livingstone has yet to be featured here.

Gary Varsho's 1989 Topps card marks his first major league season the year before. Varsho got into 46 games that year, hitting .274. In 1989, he got into 61, hitting .194. Varsho got into the CMC set starting 1990 back at AAA Iowa.

Varsho ended up getting into eight major league seasons. His Topps card highlights his AA work in 1985 and 1986. Varsho lead the Eastern League in stolen bases in 1986, and got five hits in one game against Glens Falls. Varsho was featured here in March 2011.

By the way, there were also two other CMC set members in the repack. It was easy to spot. That's because they were actual CMC set cards. Here's Steve Carter, featured here in August 2010.
404 - Jeff Bittiger, Pretty Confident, 5/16/11
22 - Steve Carter, Felt Good, 8/13/10
96 - Gary Varsho, Playing Home, 3/6/11

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