Friday, June 3, 2011

Airbrushed Fridays: 2007 Topps Updates & Highlights #UH55

The season following the Cardinals' 10th championship saw the following players take the mound (ERA in parentheses): Brad Thompson (4.73), Kelvin Jimenez (7.50), Andy Cavazos (10.35), Brian Falkenborg (4.82), Randy Keisler (5.19), Dennis Dove (15.00), and Broken Mark Mulder (12.27). Chris Carpenter would make his only start on Opening Day and blow out his elbow. Josh Hancock took the mound 8 times before he tragically passed away in a drunk driving accident. And then there was Mike Maroth.

Mike Maroth was a Tigers prospect who lost a shocking 21 games in 2003, leading the league in earned runs for a club that went an appalling 43-119. After four long, patient seasons, Detroit had finally had enough of him and cut him out of the rotation with the emergence of Justin Verlander and Andrew Miller on the way (ha.) St. Louis took a flyer on him in the wake of pitching disaster after pitching disaster (they actually signed Tomo Ohka to a minor league deal at one point) and he responded with his own tidy 10.66 ERA performance.

Why did Topps airbrush Mike's photo? The Tigers picked up a player to be named later in exchange for Maroth, which must have felt like a coup to them. That player ended up being Chris Lambert, who did not fare much better in his short time with Detroit. Both players are out of baseball at this point.

What's wrong with this picture, anyway? Aside from being a symbol of frustration for the 2007 Cardinals, pretty much all of the red on Maroth's jersey and cap looks washed out and sort of grey-ish. You could probably say the same about that season. Injuries plagued Mike Maroth throughout his doomed career, but he does have 50 more career wins than I will ever have.

If you are interested in obtaining a card featured here, please send me an e-mail. If you have a card you would like to nominate for Airbrushed Fridays, please get in touch as well. I will require that I am able to see the card in person, either on loan or as a donation, so that I can examine the card and experience it in all its cruddiness.

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