Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Cards That Make You Go...What??! of the Week: 1999 Topps Prospects #205 and #432...featuring Gabe Kapler

To honor friend of the blog the drizz's request to bring it back, our What??! of the Week features a former Detroit Tigers prospect, major league veteran, and the object of desire for many female baseball fans, Gabe Kapler.

Maybe because he's from Hollywood, CA. Maybe it's because in 1998, he was the Jacksonville Suns' best hitter with a .322 average, 28 HR's, and 146 RBI's. Maybe because in four years in the minors, he hit 77 home runs, driven in 366 runs, had a batting average of .303 and a slugging pct of .530.

Maybe it's because he looked like the kid in high school with the looks, the charisma, and the popularity that made other kids either like the guy or not (ego, where are you going with this...)

But did Topps really...I mean, REALLY, have to give Gabe Kapler not one, but TWO Prospect cards in the 1999 Topps set??? What, was Stephen Larkin not available?

Gabe Kapler has that kind of name that just begs to have a nickname for him. A writer, who saw his muscular physique, called him "The Body." I've heard many women refer to him as "Gabe the Babe." Their boyfriends, on the other hand, simply add an "r" to his last name (I will leave it to your imagination as to which two letters the 'r' is placed between).

Kapler first appears in 1999 Topps Series 1, sharing the card with future All-Star Lance Berkman and a guy named Mike Frank. He's on the lower right if you're looking for him.

1999 Topps #205, Series 1. Nice looking card.

Which in the grand order of things would be fine. But when series two came out later in 1999, guess who showed up, this time taking the top position of the pyramid? You guessed it...Gabe. This time, he shares billing with Armando Rios and Fernando Seguignol, two guys who are probably thinking, "wasn't he in series 1???"

1999 Topps #432, Series 2. How'd he get top billing here???

Kapler has had a decent career, don't get me wrong. He won a World Series championship with the Red Sox in 2004, played in Japan (for half a season before returning to the BoSox) the next. He even retired from the game and spent a year as manager for the Greenville Drive in the minors. Okay, so his team went 58-81, but still...

He came out of retirement in 2008 and signed with the Brewers. In 2009, he finds himself with the Tampa Bay Rays. A long way from Detroit, but a decent career none the less.

But back to the point.

Now, it is not unusual for a player to appear on more than one multi-player rookie/prospect card. Dale Murphy appeared on multi-player prospect cards in 1977 AND 1978. Lou Pinella shared "rookie" cards in 1964 as a Senator, in 1968 as an Indian, AND in 1969 as a charter member of the Seattle Pilots. But to put a guy in two separate prospect cards, on two separate series, within the same year???

Topps, What were you thinking??!


JayBee Anama


The Drizz said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jeremy Roe said...

I still remember seeing Kapler featured in a commercial in the late 90s where he was scaling walls and hitting home runs. He was so hyped at the time.

David said...

Gabe really is the All-American hero living every guy's dream. To not only be that good looking and athletic but to be able to play baseball as well? Did he fulfill his potential - Im not 100% sure. Does it matter one bit? No.