Tuesday, January 13, 2015

A One and Done

Well you don't see cards like this one much any more...
Another Topps RC of some player you've never heard of, in the Update set? Yeah, yeah, I know, you see those all the time.

But seriously, unless you are pretty deep into following the Yankees, or possibly the Brewers, I'd be willing to wager you've never heard of Zelous Wheeler.

And that is probably true even if you were a dedicated prospector who has complete sets of every Bowman product line going back to 2007, when Wheeler was drafted in the 19th round by the Brewers.

Because ole 'Zel has never had a baseball card before. But then, hitting a Home Run in your second ever MLB At Bat can probably get you one.

Unfortunately, despite those two truly illustrious accomplishments - I mean really, don't YOU truly wish you had hit a Home Run in the Major Leagues and had your very own authentic Topps baseball card? - Wheeler went on to hit just .193 across 57 At Bats for the Yankees over the second half of the season.

And none of this even makes for all that interesting of a baseball card, I know. Although becoming one of the only 750 people on an MLB 25 man roster on any given day of the season is truly an achievement in life, I'm not that into the Yankees or the trivia answers about their ever more cursed corner position lately to like this card as much as I now do. Though I also like looking at it and thinking the guy straight up looks like a linebacker in football and having the back of the card confirm that to be true for me.

But I like it the most because there will probably never be another Zelous Wheeler baseball card. A true One and Done.

Perhaps one might fall out of a bag of potato chips somewhere in Japan next season, because that's where Wheeler will be playing as his contract was somehow sold by the Yankees to the Japanese team. (I have no idea how that process still works in the game - sounds so 1950s). I wouldn't count that one as a Two and Done though.

I never thought I would find another One and Done card in a pack of Topps baseball cards, when for so many players these days, an actual baseball card of them actually playing Major League Baseball is almost an after-thought for many collectors, and a player generally has quite an oeuvre of cards by the time they see their first day in The Show. Sometimes I wonder if there are collectors who don't even own any true MLB cards and I realize, yes, there probably is.

There is one other very intriguing element to this card though:
I really can't find any reference to the Yankees appearing with a gold logo this year. I would have though UniWatch would be on the case here. Topps got this image from MLB I think, or MLB purchased it from the same photographer or agency that Topps did; here is his MLB bio pic:
Though I had hoped to keep this post all thematically correct with just one image, I had to share this odd NY logo with you.

Along the way of figuring out just who this player is (was), I also ran across this odd fact - did you know that Topps issued a baseball card for Mario Cuomo? That's a link to a blog post on that, if you can't quite see the hyperlink color there.

So there goes the theme again - two subjects in one post. Ahh well, that's what happens when you stare at baseball cards too long.


  1. Funny, I have the card and hadn't noticed the logo. I'd bet a pack of 1989 Fleer that it's from Memorial Day weekend and the logo is camo, not gold.

  2. I noticed the logo thing. Shalbotnik is probably right about it being for Memorial Day, or Veterans Day or one of those other special days where they use the cameo logos and colors. I thought maybe it was one of those retro days with the logos sewn or glued on and his came unglued.

  3. The Yankees wore that uniform one time in 2014, on July 20th against the Reds. I found the image here at Getty images:


    Then I checked it against this database of MLB uniforms to see if I could find any other information:


    I haven't been able to turn up any information as to why they wore that camo logo, but they did wear it only one time last year.

  4. I'm not sure how you define "one and done," but Zelous Wheeler did have a card in the 2010 version of Topps Pro Debut.

    1. Thanks Paul, that is the comment I was hoping to hear. I knew there couldn't be a real One and Done card in the 21st century.

    2. All I could do was check COMC, and a few other places, but I forgot to set the filter on COMC to show cards not currently in inventory.

  5. And thanks for the uniform sleuthing everyone. Lots of teams have "Tribute to the Military" day when they wear camo uniform elements. Topps seems to ignore special unis

    1. ...special unis in their photo selections more often than not. They kind of appear in the set, but are frequently hardly visible in the image, such as on this card. They make so many sets this is probably too much to hope for.