Before going over to Japan, Murton had been a Cub from mid-2005 until mid-2008. Acquired in the Nomar blockbuster, Murty became a useful spare outfielder who could knock out singles with the best of them, but lacked any real power.
This tragic lack of extra-base ability for a corner outfielder is what lead to his eventual displacement by Cliff Floyd, his trade to Oakland in the Rich Harden deal and his eventual immigration. While in the land of the rising sun, Murton broke their single-season record for hits in 2010 (held by Ichiro) and became a star. Back here in America, he'll jostle for the fifth outfielder job on the Cubs bench.
Whenever I think of the ginger-haired outfielder, my mind always goes back to the card you see above. See, when Murton initially came up to the Bigs, he went on quite a tear, leading prospectors to start hoarding his cards. Wide-eyed, teenage Tony bought into this and immediately bought a graded copy of his West Tennessee Diamond Jaxx (what a team name!) team issue.
Minor league card of a future star? $$$$$$$
Well, that luster quickly wore off and I eventually wound up freeing the card from it's plastic prison. However, several years later, I'm still glad I made the gullible purchase since I glean minor league cards of Major Leaguers. Specifically - those who played for the Cubs
Thus, in honor of #ThrowbackThursday, Matt Murton and MiLB baseball cards, I'm going to show off a few more of my favorite such pieces, with minimal commentary:
Here's a couple of my oldest (and most favorite) bush league issues; perfect for a throwback theme.
The guy who came to the Windy City with Matty and the guy who took his job.
Some teammates of the red head during his time spent in Chicago.
Another guy who's signing this off-season caused to me to question what year it was and if someone stole my blueprints for a working TARDIS.
Another pair of pre-rookies that I thought were going to make me a pretty penny down the road. I mean, it turns out I was right after all though - they're literally worth a penny.
Another round of Murton teammates.
A couple of young Dodger prospects who actually capitalized on their early promise...
...and one young Cubs prospect who definitely didn't. Thank God for Theo & Co.
As a closing act, here are a couple of recent additions that I haven't gotten around to showing off yet. By the way, that's Mike Olt on the right... damn chrome.
Honestly, I've been looking for a proper excuse to make this post for a long time and the Murton signing just seemed right. The bizarre sight of a player from the highest rung of the sport in an unfamiliar, small-town, minor league jersey truly piques my oddball interest. Plus, who can beat team names like the RockHounds, the Lugnuts and the Pelicans?
Is anyone else as fascinated by these kinds of cards or is that just weird, ol' me?
Thank you Matt Murton for giving me the window I needed to get this post out - for that, I wish you good luck on your quest to make it back to the Majors. Now I just need to get one of your Japanese cards for one of my other side-collections...