Sunday, January 10, 2021

The Trading Post #163: Card Hemorrhage (Part 2: Rockies)

I'm doing my best to pull myself away from the news to write this, but it's clear that 2021 is not getting off to a great start. Needless to say, what happened Wednesday in Washington was abhorrent. So as I eagerly await what I hope are swift and harsh consequences for those responsible, allow me to present this, Part 2 of a recent PWE receipt that arrived from Jay at Card Hemorrhage.

1991 Fleer #307 Dante Bichette

None of the cards found in Part 1 involved any Rockies. They're all reserved for this Part 2, starting with one of the original Blake Street Bombers, Dante Bichette.

Now, it's honestly somewhat rare for me to receive unsolicited cards printed prior to 1993. That was the inaugural season for the Rockies and Marlins, and even in 1993, few brands gave us Rockies pictured in their new uniforms. And I'd imagine that collecting one of the four most recent MLB teams cuts down the incoming duplicates considerably, so there is that benefit if anyone out there ever decides to collect the Marlins.

But Jay knew Rockies history well enough to include a card of Dante Bichette in the visible-from-space 1991 Fleer set. He was a Brewer in 1991 and 1992, but he began his career with the California Angels. He was still pretty young then, and the highlights Fleer gives us on the card back mostly highlight his minor league performance. He had yet to emerge as a power-hitting slugger, but he clearly has the stance and forearm strength to be one.

Note the sliver of the catcher's mitt in the lower left, if you can safely look that near to the yellow borders.

2017 Topps Heritage #96 Gerardo Parra

The 1968 Topps design, used for 2017 Heritage, is much more muted. But there is one little flash of color in Gerardo Parra's neon Franklin batting gloves. I miss having this lefty around. He was a great clubhouse presence, as we saw when he won the 2019 World Series with the Nationals. He played in Japan last year, and it remains to be seen where 2021 will take him.

I do still enjoy this Heritage design, and I've shown it so many times that I just might have a complete team set by now. Maybe 2017 Heritage was just a really big deal for some reason? It's come in from all corners of the country.

2019 Topps Heritage #85 Chris Iannetta

A bit less so with 2019 Heritage. We're skipping a year of Heritage, jumping straight into the 1970 design. I did buy a value pack of it, but haven't seen it as frequently. And the colors here are even quieter. Gray borders, no neon sports apparel, just a little yellow and dark red in the lettering.

A stern-looking Chris Iannetta (with his name spelled correctly), looks ready for the most boring game of catch ever. He hung up the catchers mitt after the 2019 season, retiring as a Rockie.

2019 Topps Heritage #256 David Dahl

David Dahl recently signed with the Texas Rangers, but maybe we haven't seen the last of him in Denver. Iannetta played elsewhere in the league before returning to the Rockies, so perhaps Dahl will do the same someday.

The card back has his minor-league stats going all the way back to the Pioneer League in 2012, where he crushed 10 triples and 9 home runs with a .379 average. He clearly rocketed past that step in his minor league development. That's fairly unsurprising, because a lot of these guys who end up in the Majors spent much of their school and minor league careers being the best player around. 

The card back tells us in the little cartoon that Dahl hit his first career grand slam on September 24th, 2018, but it looks like Topps got this wrong. I happened to be there that day, and while Dahl did hit a two-run homer, I don't recall a grand slam. They must have meant his game a couple weeks earlier, September 10th, 2018.

2019 Topps Heritage #253 Kyle Freeland

Our next entrant in the Very Serious Portraits category is the first current Rockie of the post, Kyle Freeland. He was fresh off his stellar 2017 season, in which he earned a 17-7 record with an under-3.00 ERA, the first Rockie to do so. His cartoon on the back shows a batter with a broken bat, as though his fastball is cutting through the wood like a lightsaber. The stat associated with that cartoon is that he only allowed one homer per 50 batters faced, no small feat inside Coors Field.

2020 Topps Heritage #123 Dom Nunez / Sam Hilliard (RC)

This has been a Topps Heritage-heavy post, and the 2020 set will take us across the finish line. It's based on the iconic black-bordered 1971 set, and so far the borders are holding up well. It remains to be seen how much chipping we'll see in the coming years. 2007 Topps hasn't really presented major problems, although the glossy finish of that one might help out. 

This Rookie Stars two-player card features Dom Nunez, who briefly appeared late in the 2019 season, and Sam Hilliard, who has had playing time in 2019 and 2020. This is already Hilliard's third Infield Fly Rule appearance. I'm assuming that this photo was taken at the same shoot as his Turkey Red insert card from 2020 Topps. It might even be the same photo, just edited differently.

As the card back tells us, Dom Nunez became one of the few players to hit a home run in his first Major League at bat. It went into the visitor's bullpen, so the grounds crew should have had no trouble retrieving it for his trophy case. Hilliard showed good power too, putting up an OPS above 1.000 during his debut 2019 partial season.

2020 Topps Heritage #151 Jon Gray

Jon Gray and his flowing locks will wrap this post up. He's pretending to look at the catcher for his signs, much like Chris Iannetta is pretending to prepare to catch a pitch. I believe this, and probably most other photos in this post, were taken at the team's Spring Training site in Arizona. I especially like how you can see the tarp deployed across the field in the lower right.

I'm not sure this post is among my best. That might have something to do with my state of distraction with the deteriorating state of the world, or that I just don't have much to say about these posed photographs. Probably a bit of both. 

In any case, I can't believe that all this came from one single PWE. Thanks, Jay!


  1. I hear ya. I've been pretty distracted myself. As for Heritage... 2021 is the one I've been waiting for.

    1. I've seen some early peeks at 2021 Heritage and it looks wonderful.

  2. 2021 Heritage should be great, but i am still pretty happy with 2020. Another great post, Adam.