Monday, June 3, 2013

#13 Esteban Beltre

About the Front: If you look down at the bottom of this post, you'll see that I've added tags to denote when a player's 1993 Topps card is his first appearance in a Topps base set. I'll also make mention when a player's 1993 Topps card is his last in a Topps base set. In the case of Esteban Beltre, it's his only Topps base card, so both apply. C'est la vie.

Anyway, Esteban Beltre is taking some warmup throws on the field. It's not the most dynamic snapshot they could have chosen.

About the Back: Topps was really reaching for career highlights for Esteban. "He played shortstop a lot in AA five years ago" isn't exactly an indicator of great success.

Triple Play: 

1. Beltre hit exactly one home run in the major leagues, a two-run shot off of Bill Krueger on August 4, 1992. Check out the box score - the White Sox outslugged the Twins 19-11. Krueger gave up seven runs in two innings, and was followed by Willie Banks, who coughed up a 10-spot in an inning and two-thirds. Wilson Alvarez got the win despite allowing four runs in three and two-thirds innings of relief, and Donn Pall got a ridiculous save with three runs allowed in four innings.

2. After spending the entire 1993 season in AAA, Esteban served as a utility infielder for the Rangers in 1994 and 1995. In 1994, he batted a career-high .282 and reached base at a .358 clip in 153 plate appearances.

3. Beltre committed 12 errors in only 157 chances at shortstop in 1992. He had a reputation as a strong-armed infielder, but often rushed his throws.

11-Year-Old Kevin Says: It was interesting to see the long list of minor league stops on the back of Beltre's card. Here was a guy with a few dozen games of big league experience who had been playing pro ball since I was a toddler.

Bill James Said: "His batting record has improved substantially in the last two years, and it might be time for him to receive another shot at a shortstop job." Esteban never did get that shot, settling in behind first Manuel Lee and then Benji Gil in Texas with a bench role.

On This Date in 1993: June 3. Geoff Hooper wins the 66th National Spelling Bee. The word that clinches it is "kamikaze". Piece of cake.

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