June 2, 1981
Sportswriter LaVelle E. Neal III of the Star Tribune reported in December that Jared Burton was attempting a comeback. Burton last played in the minors in 2015, and was suspended for 50 games in 2016 for a second positive test of an unspecified “drug of abuse.” According to one report, “his suspension will start when he signs with a big league organization.” Good luck with that.
Minnesota Twins reliever Jared Burton has been very reliable out of the bullpen for manager Ron Gardenhire. In his last ten appearances, each lasting at least an inning, Burton has not allowed a hit and has only walked two batters. In his first three appearances, Burton gave up 3 hits and 3 runs in 1.2 innings. His ERA was 16.20. Since then, he has been lights-out, his ERA dropping to 2.25.
An eighth-round selection for the Oakland A’s in 2002, Burton pitched for the Cincinnati Reds from 2007-2011. He was granted free agency following the season and signed with the Twins for $750,000. If he keeps pitching like this, the Twins got a steal.
Jared Burton has been with the Reds for a few years now, and I still don’t really know who he is. He only appeared in 4 games last year for the Reds, spending most of his time in Louisville. Stats-wise, he seems to be a pretty dependable guy, with a 130 ERA+ (which is not actually as fantastic as it looks for a reliever) and 140 K’s in 164 big league innings.
A late-season addition to the team, Burton is back after spending time in the minors.
For me, the new year doesn’t truly start until the new baseball cards hit the shelves. I’ve said a million times that I’m not going to buy packs, but when they’re new…it’s hard to resist. So tonight at Walmart, I went to see if they had the Topps cards yet…and they did. AND they had Upper Deck. Now I haven’t seen any images around the web of the new UD cards, so I had no idea what to expect. And I’m writing this post before looking at other blogs just to keep my opinion as uninfluenced by others as possible. So without further rambling…on to the cards.
I’m not posting every card here, but rather just the Reds and a couple of other favorites.
The front of the card is good, if not great. This design has really grown on me over the past several months. The only change I would make on the front of this card is to make the photo a teensy bit smaller so you can see Homer’s entire right hand. But that’s a very minor thing. The reverse side is also cool, and the stats are readable.
I don’t like the new RC logo. I thought I did at first, but now that I’m holding a card in my hand, it just looks out of place. I do believe it’s better than the previous logo, but I still don’t like it. Turn the card over, and you see “Rookie Card” also printed under the player’s position. That I do like…at least for now.
What luck…three Reds in one jumbo pack. I’m a happy man, especially since one of those was from an insert set and features a Hall of Famer. I’m not a huge fan of Johnny Bench, but he did play for the Reds…so I have to like him a little.
Those who have followed this blog for very long know that I’m a huge Griffey fan. I won’t spend insane amounts of money on his autographs or jerseys, but I love the base cards. This is a great card showing that sweet swing of The Kid. On the reverse, even with 21 years of stats, they are still readable. And wow…look at that…630 home runs. Can he hang around for 31 more?
Ichiro is another of my favorite non-Reds players. I’ve been a fan of the man ever since he came from Japan. The back of his card even makes reference to his pre-MLB career in Japan: “most (hits) professionally by a Japanese-born player (3,308).”
These cards are fantastic. This particular one won’t stay in my collection for long, but I wanted to post it because of the back. I want to say a big thank you to Topps for including not only the current team leader and the 2009 leader, but the all-time team leader for the stats on these team cards. It’s a great way to say, “Hey, baseball has been around for a while and there are a lot of older players that you need to know about.” Hopefully this will spur younger collectors on to research some of these older players, like Ed Walsh and Billy Pierce.
I got a few other cards in the pack, including a couple other inserts, but none that I plan to keep. After I let my kids pick through them, I’ll post a list of what I have left and they will be available for trade.
And on to the Upper Deck. In case you were not aware…
Seems like they are kind of proud of that, no? Only two Reds out of the 36-card pack, and not really any others I plan on hanging on to. But I want to post those two Reds and my thoughts on the Upper Deck design.
In short, I like them. Not love…but I haven’t really loved an Upper Deck release since, well maybe never. 1989 is the benchmark, and in my mind they have never come close to achieving the beauty of that set since.
The front is cool with two photos. I still don’t like full-bleed, and probably never will. The player names are in foil (which I HATE…but everyone does it, including Topps), but the team name city and position are in white print.
The back of the cards are upside-down (a beef I had with other card companies way back in the 1980s…just do it the way Topps does it! Don’t rock the boat), but I like what’s printed there. The photo is in color, the stats lines are in a readable print, and there is a little bio blurb on the left side underneath the card number and UD logo. Nothing too fancy, but not too boring either.
As with the Topps, I’m going to let the kids go through them and pick a few of these for their collections, then I will post the rest for trade.