Andy Nezelek – 1990 Donruss

September 3, 2010

“There Were Way Too Many Cards Per Set In The Junk Wax Era, Vol. 1”

Now, if you know me, you know I love the common cards. I love the fact that Joe Lis, Mick Kelleher, and Paul Gibson received cards alongside of the big stars.

Topps used to have all of their cards numbered sequentially, and the other companies did too until some wiseacre decided to make the insert separate. But when I collect, I collect sets of players only – if I get a manager, leader, MVP, team, or other card, I save them but don’t put them in a want list.

When I first opened packs, the magic number for Topps was 660. Then expansion happened and it moved to 726. Fine by me, since you still had the Jesse Jefferson’s of the world covered. Then Fleer and Donruss came on board, and Topps jumped up to 792. The other companies piled on the cards too, and then Score and Upper Deck arose. Each company decided on whether to include team cards, leaders, rookies, or other such folderol. Card counts increased. (Upper Deck still hadn’t learned their lesson, cranking out 1,000 card sets up until 2008!)

So instead of the 24th and 25th men getting cards, you had guys like Andy Nezelek getting cards.

While most scrubnees do get the “WHO?” look from many fans, at least I knew who the hell guys like Ed Olwine and Junior Noboa were. But this guy? You’re in deep scrub territory if I have to look him up.

If you notice, this isn’t a “Rated Rookie” or “Rookie Prospect” or anything denoting that young Mr. Nezelek is fresh meat for the big leagues. Nope, it’s just a regular ol’ Donruss common.

Donruss didn’t put minor league stats on the back (boo!) so it just says “No Major League Record”. Fine, he does look a bit fuzzy-cheeked. It says he went to Bucknell (so he actually WENT to class and probably understands the Camus reference in the Mike Henneman post), started in Pulaski in 1986, advanced to Sumter, Greenville, then spent 1989 at Richmond with 12 saves and a 2.44 ERA.

Ah, a relief prospect for the Braves. They needed them. He definitely could have competed with the likes of Tony Castillo and Rich Luecken and Dewayne Henry.

But he never pitched an inning in the bigs.

Nezelek was a starter in AAA in 1990 and was horrid, then missed 1991. He pitched better in AA in 1992, then left the planet, or at least the baseball planet. He emerged again in 1995 for Pittsburgh throwing 21 innings at Rookie ball and AA, and then, poof.

My question is this: why in the name of Joe Shlabotnik did he get a ‘regular’ card in the Donruss set, unless they were desperate to fill their card count? To me, cards are earned in base sets by playing in the bigs, or being such a mega prospect that the bigs are just around the corner.

But Nezelek gets a card for being a decent prospect for a bad team that soon emerged to have much better pitchers hanging around.

Way too many cards in the base set, Donruss. You killed a few trees unnecessarily.

This is  just one an ongoing, recurring series, so PAY ATTENTION, will ya?

PS – Don’t count on multiple posts per day after a while. I’m just seeding this thing. When I start to travel for work again it may be a week between posts, unless I get scan happy before I go.

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One Response to “Andy Nezelek – 1990 Donruss”

  1. Steve78 Says:

    Hey, just saw your post on Baseball Cards Come to Life and came to check things out. Cool stuff.
    I’ve been doing the blog thing myself since December, looking at 1990 CMC minor league cards. So I guess maybe I’m biased because Andy Nezelek is one of the players in my set. I haven’t gotten to him yet.
    Looking back, I think all these extra guys made the sets cool. At the time, though, I’m sure I got Nezelek in one of the many packs I opened, said ‘who’s that?’ and moved on. Not that exciting then.
    Welcome and good luck with the blog.


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