Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Random Topps Card of the Day: 2008 Topps Updates and Highlights #UH320 Heath Bell

Thanks to the Topps Card Randomizer, introducing the Random Topps Card of the Day for Wednesday, October 20, 2010:

  • Official Card Set Name and Card Number: 2008 Topps Updates and Highlights #UH320.
  • Player Name, position, team: Heath Bell, pitcher, San Diego Padres.
  • Major League Debut: August 24, 2004.
  • Last Line of Statistics: 2007 stats (Padres): 81 G, 93.2 IP, 6-4, 21 R, 21ER, 102 SO, 30 BB, 0 GS, 0 CG, 0 SHO, 2 SV, 0.96 WHIP, 2.02 ERA.
  • Any special information about player: Signed with the Mets as a Free Agent 06/16/1998. Traded by the Mets to the Padres 11/15/2006. Bats: right, Throws: right.
  • Any special information about this specific card: Bell's first regular Topps card (total includes regular and traded cards only). The purpose of the Updates and Highlights set was to include players Topps couldn't fit within the confines of its 660-card set. This caused middle relievers like Heath Bell to show up on the U&H sets two years in a row. And why was Heath Bell stuck in a middle relief role? Because the Padres of the late 2000's had enough aces in their rotation to staff a boatload of teams (Jake Peavy, Chris Young, Greg Maddux), and they had most prolific closer of all-time, Trevor Hoffman to save games. But there was something special about Bell. Sure he was durable (he literally appeared in half the Padres' games in 2007), but look at that WHIP (0.96) and the strikeouts (102). The Padres saw potential, and with Hoffman getting up there in years/ability, the decision was made to begin grooming Heath, or "Taco," "Heater," or, "Sticky Buns" (the guy collected nicknames like people collect baseball cards) to become the Friar's future closer. And when he did take over the role in 2009, which eventually sent Hoffman to the Brewers, Bell flourished. In his last two seasons, Bell has rung up (pun intended) 165 batters, recorded 91 saves (including a league leading 42 in '09), has a low 2.31 ERA, and a 1.160 WHIP. Not to mention two All-Star Game selections. The Padres rode their young staff into contention for most of the 2010 season, and on the strength of their bullpen, look to gain a few NL West titles and more for years to come.
  • Beckett value: $0.12-$0.30.
  • How many cards of this player do I own?: 4 cards.
Tomorrow's card will be: Thursday: 1996 Topps #423. Post will arrive at 1:00 PM CST. Hope you will be too.


JayBee Anama