Jeff Gardner – 1993 Upper Deck

January 2, 2011

“Yeah, I Don’t Know Why I’m Here Either…”

Jeff Gardner was a non-drafted free agent that made good.

He was the definition of an organizational player – a good soldier that could play second or short and not be terribly horrific and help the prospects along and not complain if he was yanked out of the lineup because of them.

But somehow, someway, when kids everywhere opened this pack of cards, here he was, in the majors, and the regular second baseman for the Padres.

He was in the second series, so this may have been in spring training. But why was he here?

Gardner beat the odds and had two cups of coffee with the Mets and Padres in 1991 and 1992. He struggled.

For the Mets in 1991, he hit .162 and committed six errors in eight games at shortstop.

The Padres called him up after a good season in Las Vegas, but he hit .105.

So he was a finge player going into the spring of 1993. Kurt Stillwell and Tim Teufel were the second basemen in 1992, and they were still around in 1993. But Gardner caught they eye of Jim Riggleman. And he batted lefty, and Teufel was always platooned.

Ergo, Gardner was the second baseman for most of the year.

He played in 140 games, started 96. Didn’t hit that much (85 OPS+) and didn’t field well (-16 fielding runs). He definitely was a scrappy AAA player forced into the majors. That Padres team was just rotten (61-101) and they were the worst kind of rotten. They were rotten without something glaring pointing out going “A-HA!”. They weren’t last in runs nor last in runs given up. They were 11 wins behind their pythagorean projection but that was mostly luck, damn luck, and a bad team finding ways to always lose.

Gardner wasn’t the weak link in the chain, by far. And he was just happy to be there!

He spent the next year between Ottawa and Montreal, then some time in Iowa in 1995 and that was it.

But heck, one full year in the bigs, as the starter at second? Yes, the team was bad, but it’s the bigs…

Sign me up!

 

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2 Responses to “Jeff Gardner – 1993 Upper Deck”

  1. Kerry Biggs Says:

    I think I’m the only person who liked the new (at the time) two-toned Padres logo and uniforms.

  2. dave Says:

    Jeff is a great guy… i took batting lessons from him for years.. talk about a top notch guy… without a doubt.


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