Sunday, September 23, 2007
posted by Grizzly Adam at 4:20 PM | Permalink
Vance Law, Tony Pena, Pascual Perez
Pirates Future Stars, 1981 Topps

One of my favorite kind of cards are the "top prospect" sort. I especially like older ones, becuase I can look at them with the benefit of hindsight. I came across this card recently, and decided to take a look at what kind of career the 3 players had.

But first, a little background. I bought this card at a shop in Maryland when I was 11 years old. I was visiting my cousins, and my uncle who is a baseball fan, was eager to take me to a good shop near his home (I also attended my first MLB game on that trip, Orioles/Brewers) . I still have the cards I bought that day, a few of which feature either Vance or Vernon Law. The reason is that Vance Law was a local, and in fact I grew up playing ball with his nephew. We played together from Little League on up through High School. And every now and again I'd be lucky enough to be at his place when Vernon, his grandpa, or Vance was also at the house. The result is that I have several Vance and Vernon Law autographed cards, including a Father/Son card that they both signed.

I am getting a bit off topic. But I find it interesting that baseball cards can spark all kinds of memories from my childhood.

On to the the rest of the post...

Vance Law

Bats: Right
Throws: Right
Debut: 6/1/80
Final Game: 10/6/91

Career Line: .256/.326/.376

While Vance never turned out to be a star for the Pirates, he did go on to have a respectable MLB career. He was a reliable infielder, playing most of his career at third base, however he also played several games at shortstop and second. He finished his career with a .971 fielding average over 11 seasons. 1988 was his best overall season, posting a line of .293/.358/.412. Interestingly, that year he also had a career high in AB's, PA's, Games, and Hits. He made the '88 All-Star team, but only played half an inning. He never did get to bat. I distinctly remember being disappointed that Vance did not a get a chance to swing the bat that day. Today, Vance is the head baseball coach at BYU.

Tony Pena

Bats: Right
Throws: Right
Debut: 9/1/80
Final Game: 9/28/97

Career Line: .260/.309/.364

A 5 time All-Star, and 5 time Gold Glove winner, Tony Pena was one of the better catchers in the mid to late '80s. My memories of him are with the Cardinals, him literally sitting in the dirt when no men were on base. He played 18 seasons in the Majors. After his playing days, Tony managed the Kansas City Royals from 2002-2005. He was the 2003 AL Manager of the year.

Pascual Perez

Bats: Right
Throws: Right
Debut: 5/7/80
Final Game: 10/2/91

Career Line: 67-68, 3.44

I don't remember having ever seen Perez pitch. And to my knowledge, the above pictured card is the only one I have of him. However he did play 11 season in the Major Leagues. By the numbers he was a decent pitcher. He played for terrible Atlanta and Montreal teams in the '80s. But he struck out 822 batters, waling 344 over the course of his career. His best season was 1983 when he won 15 games. that year he was voted to the All-Star team. He had a career high 215.3 IP that year, posting a WHIP of 1.226.

A few things that stand out about these 3 players...

-Although they are featured as "Pirates Future Stars" on this card, none of them had significant season with the Bucs.
-All three of them played in at least 1 All-Star Game.
-Each of them played at least 10 seasons in the Majors.


At September 24, 2007 at 7:57 PM, Blogger 83F

I wonder just where is Perez these days?