Thursday, January 24, 2013

Random Topps Card of the Day: 1993 Topps #251 Mike Bielecki

Thanks to the Topps Card Randomizer, introducing the Random Topps Card of the Day for Thursday, January 24, 2013:

  • Official Card Set Name and Card Number: 1993 Topps #251.
  • Player Name, position, team: Mike Bielecki, pitcher, Atlanta Braves.
  • Major League Debut: September 14, 1984.
  • Last Line of Statistics: 1992 stats (Braves): 19 G, 80.2 IP, 2-4, 27 R, 23 ER, 62 S0, 27 BB, 14 GS, 1 CG, 1 SHO, 0 SV, 2.57 ERA.
  • Any special information about player: Drafted by the Braves #1st (Special), June 1979. Traded by the Cubs to the Braves 09/29/1991. Bats: right. Throws: right.
  • Number of regular Topps Cards (includes regular and traded cards only): 8. This is his eighth and final Topps card.
  • Blurb on the back: "In perhaps his finest outing of 1992, Mike registered 9 Strikeouts in pitching 2-hit, 3-0 Shutout at Los Angeles, April 16. His first Shutout, 5-4-89."
  • Commentary: I will always have a soft spot for the 1989 Cubs.  I know in Chicago that the '84 Cubbies hold a lot of reverence (surprisingly, they hold a lot more sway here than the guys that supposedly won the 2005 World Series).  But I bet you right now, more than 23 seasons later, I can still name almost everybody on that team (I say almost because it depends if you are asking for the players on the team before or after the Jackson & Schiraldi/Wynne & Salazar trade).  I think Mike Bielecki got a raw deal.  For some reason, the Cubs saw it fit to trade him a few days before the end of the 1991 season.  He and Damon Berryhill were traded to the Braves on September 29, 1991, (the season ended just a few days later), for Turk Wendell and Yorkis Perez.  I couldn't understand then why the Cubs couldn't wait until the end of the season to do this.  I still also believe that Mike had a certain Greg Maddux' ear and that's why when he (Maddux) became a free agent, he bolted for Atlanta.  He actually didn't pitch with the Braves in 1993 as he signed with the Indians in the offseason.  His run with the Indians ended in June as he was released after a 4-5 record and 5.90 ERA in 13 starts.  He signed on with the Orioles to a minor league contract, but was released by the team as well.  He returned to the Braves for the 1994 season and was entrenched in their bullpen.  He signed on with the Angels in 1995 (leaving right when the Braves would win the World Series) for the opportunity to start and in 22 games, 11 starts, he went 4-6 with a 5.97 ERA.  After a year in California, he then returned to the Braves in 1996 for the first of two one-year deals.  As a reliever, he found success as he went 7-10 with 4 saves and a decent ERA of 3.26.  He was granted free agency, but could not find a team to sign him, he retired from the game.  Believe it or not, after the 1993 season, I thought he was done.  I didn't even know that he went took that trip to Cleveland and had runs with the Braves and Angels.  Why?  Because the card chosen by the Randomizer today was his last Topps card.  There are no Topps cards of him with the Indians or the Angels.  It's like he was never there.  Regardless, whenever I think of Bielecki, I think of that magical 1989 season when he went 18-7, and along with Maddux, Sutcliffe, and Sanderson made for the best 1-4 starting staff that I had ever seen.  (Before you send me nasty comments, please remember that 1989 was only my third season of watching baseball, so saying that these guys were the best I had seen...I was young.  I didn't know any better.  This was all before Maddux moved to Atlanta and then joined an even more dominating rotation throughout the 1990's).  
  • Beckett value: $0.02-$0.10.
  • How many cards of this player do I own?: 11 cards.
Tomorrow's card will be: 1980 Topps #313. Post will arrive at 1:00 PM CST. Until tomorrow everybody.


JayBee Anama

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