Sunday, July 20, 2008

Card of the Day: 1998 Pacific Omega Mike Piazza

Throughout the 1980s, 1990s and early 2000s, it wasn't uncommon for one card to be of interest to two different team collectors. For example, the 1995 Ultra Jack Morris card features him in a Cleveland Indians uniform but has a Cincinnati Reds logo on it (why this is the first example of this I can think, I haven't a clue). These cards then can spark a debate among team collectors.

I consider the Morris to be a Reds card, but I still save it with my Indians collection because he is in the Indians garb. However, there are collectors out there who specifically look for cards of a certain player in a certain uniform regardless of the team logo on the card. There is no real rule; it's sort of a jumbled mess of personal preferences.

However, in 1998, the preference rules on those types of cards were changed just a bit by Pacific. After Mike Piazza was shuffled around twice at the 1998 trading deadline, Pacific got an idea: since the first time in a while that someone everyone knows has been on three teams in such a short period of time, let's make a card with all three teams.

The result: the above card and a collective mind-boggling for Marlins, Dodgers and Mets team collectors. The card features a Mets logo, so I consider it to be a Mets card, but other collectors will argue that it is a rare Marlins Piazza card while others will claim it is one of the final base Dodgers Piazza cards.

But no matter what team category you put this card in, it is still one of the most unique base cards ever produced. First off, how many times does a trading frenzy with one player happen? Not often. Second, how many Florida Marlins cards and photos of Piazza are out there? Not many.

Looking back at the trade itself reminds you why the Marlins ownership is some of the worst in baseball. They gave up Gary Sheffield, Charles Johnson, Bobby Bonilla, Manuel Barrios and Jim Eisenreich for Piazza and Todd Zeile, and then traded him a week later for Preston Wilson, Ed Yarnall and Geoff Goetz. While Wilson did become a semi-star, the other two were never heard from much in the Bigs. Meanwhile, they basically gave up two big name stars (albeit possible steroid poppers) of the time in Sheffield and Johnson for Zeile and the three guys from the Mets.

Marlins fans, I feel your pain because as an Indians fan, I have to watch as the management refuse to open their pocket books in order to keep big names, namely Belle, Ramirez, Colon, Thome and Sabathia, in town. Just imagine how Oakland fans feel about losing all the good pitchers they've lost over the past several seasons.

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