Right before I left to go on vacation to the east coast (more on that in a later post) earlier this summer, P-Town Tom of the wonderful Cub-centric blog Waiting 'Til Next Year contacted me about a potential trade that would fill a couple of my Cubs All-Time Roster Collection needs.
Far from being a blockbuster like we witnessed later in summer in actual baseball, this one involved a couple of guys who only got brief tastes of the Majors - Jeff Beliveau and Mike Mahoney. As such, both of the cards that the gracious P-Town Tom was offering up were of the minor league, team-issued variety.
I love minor league baseball cards. They may be cheaply made, over-priced and difficult to obtain, but there's something about seeing relatively unfamiliar uniforms, teams, players etc. that really piques my curiosity.
Seeing as how P-Town references Peoria, I think it's safe to say that Tom may have obtained this card during a trip to the local diamond. If my inference is correct, even more gratitude goes your way for breaking a set!
The Peoria Chiefs were a low-A affiliate of the Cubs from 1985-94 and again from 2005-12. It was during this second stint that Beliveau was making his way through the system.
A semi-intriguing relief prospect, Jeff stopped through town in 2009. The hard-thrower eventually climbed all the way into the Bigs in 2012; if he showed some promise, he could shore up a spot in a dreadful bullpen.
It wasn't to be; inconsistency plagued Beliveau that season. Although he struck out 17 men in 17.2 innings, he also walked 12 and posted an ERA of 4.58.
He was DFA'ed after the season and claimed by the Rays. He continues to bounce up and down in their system today.
I really like the simplistic layout of the card, as many minor league sets tend to be a little too jarring on the front, and the photo choice; it looks as though he had a really itchy armpit. However, what is going on with the margins on the back? Taking it to the edge there Multi-Ad?
Speaking of interesting photography though:
What a catch! This might just be one of my favorite cards in the collection.
Mike was a failed Braves prospect when he came to the Cubs system before the 2000 season. But, seeing as the Cubs chain was in shambles at that time, Mike's status changed from failed to top rather quickly.
He made a September cameo later that season and then a 16 game stint in 2002 where he batted .206 while exhibiting no power in 31 at-bats. Even on a floundering Cubs team that lost 90 games, that wasn't going to fly.
However, though he wasn't able to crack the big league roster in 2001, the year did provide one highlight - the birth of his daughter Aubrey in May. As you can see, they honored this on his AAA Iowa card. That makes sense - he had no on-field moments that were worth honoring, after all.
Also, let's take a moment to realize that little Aubrey there is now 13 years old and in 8th grade. My oh my does time fly by. I bet she doesn't fit in his glove anymore.
The good news is that Mike has plenty of time to deal with his teenager, as after a brief reappearance in 2005 with the Cardinals, Mike's major league career has long since ended.
Good luck Mike! She was a handful then (literally) and she'll be even more of one now!
There you have it, my big summer trade. It may have only been two cards, but it was two minor league cards of guys that I had been chasing for a long time. Plus, one even provided one of my favorite shots of all-time on a baseball card.
You really can't ask for more than that!
Thank you very much for the cards P-Town Tom and I hope to continue trading in the future.