Sunday, July 10, 2016

Red Sox with No Cards: 1999

1999 saw a handful of players not receive cards.  Only a couple of these players spent a significant amount of time with the Red Sox, but some of them were once well-known players.

Despite being drafted in 1992, Bullinger did not make his Major League debut until 1998.  That debut occurred with the Expos who acquired him in a trade back in 1995 for Ken Hill.  Bullinger returned to the Majors with the Red Sox in 1999 but only appeared in four games in relief.  He had a 4.50 ERA and did not strike anyone out.  Bullinger would bounce around a bit for a few more years.  The only year he came close to being a regular was in 2004 with the Astros.  Bullinger does have some minor league cards with the Red Sox.

Acquired at the trading deadline in 1999 from the Tigers for Mike Maroth, Florie was expected to help stabilize the bullpen.  Florie had bounced around from team to team over the previous several seasons and was a serviceable reliever.  He pitched in 14 games down the stretch for the Red Sox, starting two games and relieving in the others.  He finished the season 2-0 with a 4.80 ERA over 30 innings.  The Red Sox would hold onto Florie into 2001.  In 2000, he suffered a career-threatening injury when he was struck in the face by a line drive.  Despite spending parts of three seasons with the Red Sox, Florie has no cards with Boston, or even with any minor league affiliates.

Fonville was a speedy middle infielder who never really seemed to be able to put everything together and stick in the Major Leagues.  His best season was his rookie season in 1995 which he split between the Expos and Dodgers and stole 20 bases.  He was given a chance to start the next season, but disappointed and never played in more than a handful of games the rest of his career.  He surfaced in Boston in 1999 and played in three games.  He walked twice but did not register a hit in four plate appearances, though he did steal a base.  It was his last taste of the Major Leagues.  Fonville does have some minor league cards with the Red Sox.

Kip Gross is a Nebraska native and fellow former Cornhusker.  Unfortunately, he also has no cards with the Red Sox.  Gross came up with the Reds in the early 1990's and was a decent relief pitcher for them in 1991.  He was traded to the Dodgers the next season in the deal that also sent longtime Reds star Eric Davis to Los Angeles.  He was a little disappointing there and was purchased by the Nippon Ham Fighters of the Japanese league during the 1994 season.  He returned to the U.S. after signing a contract with Boston in 1999.  Gross appeared in 11 games, going 0-2 with a 7.82 ERA.  He pitched for the Astros in 2000 and never again appeared in the Major Leagues.

Winning the award for most appearances with the Red Sox without appearing on a piece of cardboard with them in 1999 is this longtime Twins and Dodgers reliever.  Guthrie signed with the Red Sox as a free agent prior to the season and appeared in 46 games with the Red Sox, picking up two saves and a 1-1 record.  His ERA was a rather unsightly 5.83.  Guthrie was sent to the Cubs at the August trading deadline along with prospect Cole Liniak in exchange for Rod Beck.  Guthrie pitched a few more years for a number of other teams.

Once a top prospect with the Royals, Nunnally never quite reached his potential and ended up being a journeyman outfielder.  He had a good rookie season, hitting 14 home runs for Kansas City in 1995.  After a couple of disappointing seasons, he was traded to the Reds, for whom he flourished in 1997, but again disappointed in 1998.  He was traded to the Red Sox prior to the 1999 season for minor leaguer Pat Flury.  He played in just ten games for the Red Sox, hitting .286 with a double and an RBI.  After the season, he was traded to the Mets for Jermaine Allensworth, who never appeared in a Major League game with the Red Sox.  Nunnally does have a couple of minor league cards for Red Sox affiliates.

Santana is the most obscure player from this post.  His Major League career spanned two seasons and just ten games.  He first appeared in seven games for the Tigers at the age of 26 in 1998, but had an impressive 3.68 ERA.  Boston picked him up prior to the 1999 season and he spent most of the year in the minors.  He pitched in three games for the Red Sox in July but had an alarming 15.75 ERA.  He did strike out four in four innings.  He was out of baseball after 1999.  He does have minor league cards with the Red Sox.

Once a highly-regarded catching prospect for the Twins, Webster only once played in more than 100 games.  Webster bounced around a lot, playing for the Twins, Expos (three times), Phillies, Orioles, and Red Sox.  He had his biggest success in 1998 with the Orioles, hitting .285 with 10 home runs in 108 games.  He started the 1999 season with the Orioles, but was released in July and picked up by the Red Sox.  He played in just six games for Boston and never registered a hit in 17 plate appearances.  He returned to the Expos for the third time after the season.

Bob Wolcott was another formerly highly-touted prospect.  Wolcott was 21 when he made his Major League debut with the Mariners.  Unfortunately he never had an ERA below 4 and the Mariners eventually gave up on him.  He was still young, just 25, when he appeared for the Red Sox but was with his third Major League team.  He appeared in just four games with the Red Sox, with an 8.10 ERA and more walks than strikeouts.  That was it for his Major League career.  Wolcott does have one minor league card with Boston.

Most of the players appearing in this post are somewhat understandable.  Mark Guthrie really should have appeared at some point, and Bryce Florie should have been able to appear once over the course of the three seasons he played for Boston.  But the player I most wanted to appear on a card with the Red Sox is Kip Gross.  Gross was one of just three former Nebraska Cornhuskers to play for Boston, and only one of them (Adam Stern) ever appeared on cardboard with Boston.  Gross was also from Nebraska.  It is disappointing to not be able to get Red Sox cards of a player from my home state.

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