Friday, November 22, 2013

Random Topps Card of the Day: 1996 Topps #266 Kent Mercker

Thanks to the Topps Card Randomizer, introducing the Random Topps Card of the Day for Friday, November 22, 2013:

  • Official Card Set Name and Card Number: 1996 Topps #266.
  • Player Name, position, team: Kent Mercker, pitcher, Atlanta Braves
  • Major League Debut: September 22, 1989.
  • Last Line of Statistics: 1995 stats (Braves): 29 G, 143 IP, 7-8, 73 R, 68 ER, 102 SO, 61 BB, 26 GS, 0 CG, 0 SHO, 0 SV, 4.15 ERA.
  • Any special information about player: Drafted by the Braves #1st, June 1986. Bats: left. Throws: left.
  • Number of regular Topps Cards (includes regular and traded cards only): 9. This is his sixth Topps card.
  • Blurb on the back: "A fifth starter for pitching-prosperous Atlanta, hard-throwing Kent could be a top-of-the-rotation guy for many teams. He is able to work in several roles. The Braves won 16 of his starts in 1995 yet, for his career, Mercker owns a nifty 3.06 ERA in 211.2 relief innings."
  • Commentary: The 90's-early 2k's were sure a great time to be a Braves fan. From the time they became NL Champs in 1991 all the way through the middle of the next 2005, the Braves would guarantee themselves a spot in the post season (that 1994 strike season aside when they finished second in the NL East to Montreal notwithstanding). Pitching heavy, and an offense to boot, everything finally clicked in 1995 when the Braves finally won their first World Series title in Atlanta. Overshadowed by All-Stars Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, John Smoltz, and Steve Avery, Kent Franklin Mercker may not have had the fame, but he did hold his own when it was his turn on the mound. Whether a starter or in relief, Mercker knew he was counted on heavily by manager Bobby Cox to keep the Braves in the game. In his first six plus seasons in Atlanta, he would start 54 of his 233 career games, earn a 31-25 record, strikeout 426 batters and have an ERA of 3.49. I know all this by looking at the back of the card. In 1996, though, Mercker left Atlanta, traded to Baltimore for Joe Borowski and a minor leaguer. In 14 games, 12 starts, Kent earned a disastrous 3-6 record, a 7.76 ERA, a WHIP of 1.862 and struck out only 22 batters in 58 innings of work. His time with the O's a disaster, he was soon traded off to Cleveland, where he fared much better out of the bullpen. Then began a long journeyman career for Mercker as he found himself spending time with the Reds, Cardinals, Red Sox, and Angels from 1997 through the 2000 season. Then in 2002, after a year away from the game, the travelling continued, from Colorado, back to Cincinnati, a return to the Braves (for am 18 game stint that saw him pitch in 18 games, 17 innings, and a dominant 1.06 ERA to boot), then a year with the Cubs before finally settling down in Cincinnati, where he had a good three year run (130 games, 3.73 ERA, 5-2 record, 68 strikeouts) before retiring to the Reds broadcast booth.
  • Lo-Hi Beckett value: $0.07-$0.20.
  • How many cards of this player do I own?: 12.

Tomorrow's card will be: 1994 Topps #328. Post will arrive at 1:00 PM CST. Flash back with the blog tomorrow.


JayBee Anama

1 comment:

Ana Lu said...

I've never seen a pitcher's card with that perspective. He sure has a funny motion on the throw.