I can remember how cool the USA baseball team cards seemed to me as a kid. Naturally, the most epic example of these was the '85 McGwire. Big Mac was one of my favorite players back then, probably #2 behind Donnie Baseball.
Yes, another first baseman. I really can't explain it.
I can also remember picking up the complete USA team set during a trip to visit my Aunt in Maryland. My sister and I stayed with her for a week and she treated me to a trip to a local card shop at some point. SWEET!
The team set was the one thing I can remember picking up, though I am certain there was more. It came in a nice little "2x2" collector's album. You know, the 4-card pages? I believe it was the '91 set. Phil Nevin was the big prospect stud at the time and some guy named Giambi. You can buy the set for $2.00 on eBay right now....I think I paid more than $2 at the time. Bummer. I'll have to dig it up out of my collection and revisit. That should be some fun!
The Olympic team sets continue today, in all kinds of different formats. One of them is displayed in this '05 card of Max Scherzer that I added to my collection recently:
Why do I have this card?
It's not a Yankee or a Brave or one of my favorite players - heck, I really don't like the Tigers. But I couldn't resist this Scherzer! You see, Max was a member of the pitching staff on a dynasty fantasy baseball team that I recently began managing. So he's like....you know...one of my guys. Sort of?
Scherzer was drafted by the Cardinals in the 43rd round of the 2003 draft but went on to play for the University of Missouri. Good move. He was later selected as the 11th overall pick in the '06 Draft by the Diamondbacks and would make his debut with them on April l29, 2008. One day after my birthday. How about that?
On a sad note, Max's little brother, Alex, took his own life last year. Alex had a serious passion for sabermetrics and Max has integrated the use of advanced statistics into how he prepares for his games. Scherzer honors his brother by dedicating every start to his memory and, so far, the inspiration and mathematical analysis seems to have worked for big brother.
Scherzer has done pretty well for both me and Detroit this year. He can throw some heat and can truly rack up some K's when he's in top form, with 106 thus far this year (2nd to Yu Darvish's insane 127). He's 9-0, with a 0.87 WHIP.
Pretty darn good.
In my opinion, there's lots of "incognito" potential for Mr. Scherzer to work his way up in the record books. I say it like that because the Club in Detroit is more famous for one of their other aces and his ex-girlfriend.
Therefore, I picked up the card - my first "USA" card in quite some time. It's a nice, clean design and the autogoraph shows up very well in black ink on the stark white paper. I would take this construction over the sticker auto's any day. For just a couple bucks, I think it makes a nice addition to my collection and could really amass more historical significance as Max's career marches on.
Interestingly, my quick internet research didn't yield much in the way of statistics for Scherzer as a member of Team USA. Anybody know anything about that? I know Team USA did NOT make the games in '04, being eliminated by Mexico in a qualifier game.
Thanks for reading and to all the dads out there - Happy Father's Day!