Monday, May 13, 2013

Random Topps Card of the Day: 1994 Topps #548 Dave Nilsson

Thanks to the Topps Card Randomizer, introducing the Random Topps Card of the Day for Monday, May 13, 2013:

  • Official Card Set Name and Card Number: 1994 Topps #548.
  • Player Name, position, team: Dave Nilsson, catcher, Milwaukee Brewers.
  • Major League Debut: May 18, 1992.
  • Last Line of Statistics: 1993 stats (New Orleans, AAA-American Association): 17 G, 61 AB, 9 R, 21 H, 6 2B, 0 3B, 1 HR, 9 RBI, 0 SB, .492 SLG, 5 BB, 6 SO, .344 AVG.
  • Any special information about player: Signed with the Brewers as a Free Agent 01/28/1987. Bats: both. Throws: right.
  • Number of regular Topps Cards (includes regular and traded cards only): 10. This is his fourth Topps card.
  • Blurb on the back: "Bothered by shoulder problems much of the year, Dave snapped back to hit .301 in his last 33 games."
  • Commentary: You have to love it when players are depicted in a throwback uniform. I think the "Turn-Back-the-Clock" trend started with the White Sox in 1990 (see Topps '91 cards of Robin Ventura and Sammy Sosa, along with cards from the other companies). In the 1994 set, both Billy Spiers and today's subject are wearing the uniforms of the American Association Milwaukee Brewers from the 1920's (more info about this can be found here). Now I don't get it. I understand Topps' non-official rule of including the complete minor league stats of a player if he has less than four lines of MLB stats. But why did Topps put his minor league stats at the end of the stat box instead of his MLB stats. He certainly stayed on the big league roster for most of the year (well, there was that exception from the middle of May through late June when he was on the DL and then rehabbed with Zephyrs for 17 games. His MLB stats were: 100 G, 296 AB, 35 R, 76 H, 10 2B, 2 3B, 7 HR, 40 RBI, 3 SB, .375 SLG, 37 BB, 36 SO, .257 AVG. The Brewers in the mid 90's had two native Aussies on their roster: Geelong-born pitcher Graeme Lloyd (1993-1996) and Brisbane-native catcher Dave Nilsson. Both men made history on April 14, 1993, when Lloyd appeared in the ninth inning of a game against the California Angels. It would be the first time that MLB would witness an All-Aussie battery. Nilsson had a pretty good year at the plate for the Brewers in 1994. Before the strike, he was hitting .275 with 12 home runs, 69 rbi's, and an OPS of .777. As Milwaukee switched leagues to accommodate the arrival of both the Diamondbacks and Devil Rays, Nilsson found National League pitching more to his liking. In 1999, he hit a career high 21 home runs to go with 62 rbi's and hit above .300 for the second time in his career (.309) to go with a career high OPS of .954. He even made the NL All-Star team that year, becoming the first Australian MLB All-Star. He could have continued his career with the Brewers, or with any of the other 29 clubs for that matter. With the money he earned in the US, he bought the Australian Baseball League in 1999, renaming it the International Baseball League of Australia. Speaking of Australia, with the Olympics being hosted by Sydney in 2000, he opted for Free Agency and after a stint with the Chunichi Dragons, led all Olympic baseball players in batting average with a high .565 and .957 slugging percentage (an international best for Nilsson). Although he was out of MLB, he remained active as a player, first with Telemarket Rimini in the Italian Baseball League in 2003, then with the Braves after signing a minor league contract with the franchise in 2004. He left the Braves after a month to prepare for the 2004 Athens Olympics. The Aussie team shocked the world by beating a Japanese "Dream Team" 1-0 and eventually took the Silver Medal at the Games. Although the IBL of Australia eventually went bankrupt, Dave remained active developing players in his home country. In 2010, a new Australian Baseball League was formed and Nilsson was tabbed to manage the new Brisbane Bandits. Dave Nilsson is a Hall of Famer, inducted to the Sports Australia Hall of Fame in 2008. The SABR's BioProject has a page on the man known as "Dingo."
  • Lo-Hi Beckett value: $0.02-$0.10.
  • How many cards of this player do I own?: 12 cards.
Tomorrow's card will be: 2001 Topps #750. Post will arrive at 1:00 PM CST. Flash back with the blog tomorrow.


JayBee Anama

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