Jeff Kaiser – 1989 Fleer
January 13, 2011
There Were Way Too Many Cards Per Set In The Junk Wax Era, Vol. 7
Jeff Kaiser, lefthanded pitcher.
Pitched from 1985-1993 in the bigs, and 1982-1993 in the minors.
One trade – from Oakland to Cleveland for Curt Wardle. Yes, THE Curt Wardle.
Released once. Waived once.
Signed five times as a minor league free agent.
A journeyman’s journeyman.
No problem there, except…
He pitched in 50 games in his big league career. Yes, 50 games from 1985-1993.
When he was immortalized by Fleer on cardboard in wax with stickers, he had pitched five total games for the Indians in two seasons. Yes, five total games.
He first saw action in Oakland in 1985, making the team out of spring training. I didn’t go well. He was yo-yo’d a couple of times, and by the end of the year appeared in 15 games. In those 15 games, he pitched 16 2/3 innings, giving up 25 hits, 20 walks, six home runs, 32 runs and 27 earned runs. That’s a tasty 14.58 ERA.
During the disaster that was 1987 for Cleveland, he pitched in two August games, giving up six runs in 3 1/3.
In 1988, the stats on the back of this card said he pitched in three games, 2 2/3 innings. He gave up no earned runs, but allowed two of the four inherited runners to score. His last action was June 3.
Fleer, in their infinite wisdom, decided to give him a card.
He did pitch for Cleveland in 1989 and 1990. In 1989 it was in September and in 1990, it was mid-season. He threw some innings for Detroit in 1991 and then for Cincinnati and New York in 1993. But all were brief encounters. And all were rather unsuccessful.
Normally, he wouldn’t get cards. He really wasn’t a prospect; he was an emergency lefty. Just break glass and create room on the 40-man roster. In fact, it’s a wonder he was called up to begin with – he didn’t have what you would call dazzling numbers in the minors – no insanely low walk totals or ERA that would trigger a call-up. He pitched OK in AAA, not outstanding.
Now, I love commons. That’s why I collect. But there’s commons and then there’s watering down the set. Fleer wasn’t the only culprit; heck Topps gave him a traded card in 1990, a base card in 1991 and a Stadium Club card in 1992 (the 900 card set…). But he’s definitely a AAA player and my friend with the CMC blog would normally have exclusive rights to him. But here he is.
He obviously wasn’t as bad of a pitcher as he was for Oakland in 1985. But you’d think that over time, even in his short bursts of major league time, things would even out. They really didn’t. His overall pitching line looks like a nightmare season in Colorado for a garbage time reliever.
In 50 games, he went 0-2 with two saves, two blown saves, no holds. His WAR was -2.6 in his brief time. The rest:
12 home runs
.318 / .433 / .565 – .998 OPS against
Lefties hit .355 / .484 / .566 – 1.050 OPS against.