Ian Bladergroen – 2005 Topps Heritage

June 23, 2011

So Many Questions…So Little Time

Ian Michael Bladergroen (that’s my name too…) was a 44th round draft pick in 2002 for the Mets. That’s a round normally reserved for friends and relatives of scouts, high school players that won’t sign, and draft-and-follow JC players. Bladergroen was the latter. Two fringe players (Tim Wood and Ty Taubenheim) were drafted in the same round, and every player drafted in that round DID play in the minors, but usually that’s a round that doesn’t normally produce a player with card in such a short time.

Ian was a first baseman at Lamar CC in Colorado. He was born in Atlanta, but I guess moved to Albuquerque at some point (though Topps said it was Albuquerque, CO on the card. I looked. Don’t think so…)

He was drafted in 2002 but was a draft and follow and signed in 2003 after one last season at Lamar CC. Sent to Brooklyn (where I hope he learned to eat a slice the proper way, unlike SOMEONE…) he led the Cyclones in home runs and RBI. Great, fine, but minor league baseball is littered with guys like that.

The next year, he played 72 games in Capital City (SC) in the Sally League. While he made the most starts at first, he may not have been a hot prospect. My guess is that he was in Extended Spring for a while and when Tyler Davidson was found wanting and sent back to Brooklyn Bladergroen was summoned. Or something.

He tore apart the Sally League in those 72 games, hitting .342 with 13 home runs and 74 RBI. He would have led the SAL in average, had he qualified. But that Cap City team could rake and they went 89-47. Of course, they were the oldest team in the league, and that means a lot in low Class A.

Because Topps is from NYC the big trend was still rookie and prospect cards, Bladergroen got a Heritage card and an Update card.

Yes, he got a Heritage card. Topps gave a Heritage card to a 44th round pick that had not played a game in the FSL, much less AA or AAA.

My questions are:

A. Why?

B. Why?

C. Why?

D. A two-parter:


D2: WHY?

E. You can’t be serious, can you?

F. Why?

I don’t think there are any answers, really.

SPOILER ALERT : Bladergroen is out of baseball, retiring after one last go-round at York of the Atlantic League. He never made it past High A, playing in the Midwest, Carolina and California Leagues, as well as 3 seasons in the Atlantic League, including a stint with the infamous Road Warriors. He hit just .248 in high Class-A without power or speed or walks.

FACTOID #1: He had a pretty high OBP because he was a HBP machine. He was hit by a pitch 33 times in 252 high-A games.

FACTOID #2: Somehow, the Red Sox foisted Doug Mientkiewicz upon the Mets and got Bladergroen in return.

Ian Michael Bladergroen for Douglas Andrew Mientkiewicz.

Eye doctors everywhere rejoiced!




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