Wednesday, September 4, 2013

1993 TOPPS FINEST: #57 CARLOS BAERGA


IN HIS PRIME, ONE TOUGH OUT.




CRAPPY CROP ON THIS PHOTO.


DEFINING THE PLAYER

  • Not only was Carlos Baerga built like a sparkplug, he functioned as one, igniting those thick Indian offenses in the 1990s. Batting third in a lineup that included #43 Kenny Lofton, #16 Albert Belle, Jim Thome, #122 Eddie Murray and Manny Ramirez, the switch-hitter's average season from '91-'95 was .315, 19 homers, 97 RBI and 30 doubles. He also became the first second baseman since Rogers Hornsby to have back-to-back 200-plus hits, 20-plus homers, 100-plus RBI and bat at least .300 in '92-'93.

DEFINING MOMENT

  • With the Indians playing to win their first AL flag since '54 in Game 6 of the ALCS on Oct. 17, 1995, Baerga put a bow on a 4-0 win over the Mariners. After the Indians scored twice in the top of the eighth, he followed with a homer off #154 Randy Johnson to ice it.

DEFINING SEASON

  • By the time this card was being taken from foil packs, Baerga was amid a season in which he would hit .321, 21 homers, drive in 114 and collect 200 hits. He won the Silver Slugger, was named to the All-Star team and finished 10th in the AL MVP voting.

FIVE FINAL THOUGHTS

  1. Signed at age 16 by the Padres in '85 and was traded to the Indians in December '89. He was part of the deal that included #26 Sandy Alomar Jr. and Chris James for #94 Joe Carter
  2. Baerga was the first switch-hitter to homer from both sides of the plate in the same inning. It took place April 8, 1993, against the Yankees. He victimized Steve Farr and Steve Howe.
  3. Inducted into the Indians' Hall of Fame in June.
  4. With the bat slowing and waistline growing, Baerga was traded to the Mets in July 1996, along with Alvaro Espinoza, for Jeff Kent and Jose Vizcaino
  5. His decline continued with the Mets and five other teams, including a return to Cleveland in '99. He played his last season in the majors in '05 at age 36.


THE AUTOGRAPH WAS ACQUIRED IN SPRING TRAINING EARLY '90s.

1 comment:

  1. I had no idea Baerga played that long. He made an appearance in a lot of inserts and subsets in the 90's, and his cards were always pretty gettable. I still have a few.

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