Wednesday, December 2, 2009

1994 Upper Deck Derek Wallace

Who is this?
Derek Wallace, a former relief pitcher for the Kansas City Royals and New York Mets

What is this? An autograph card from the 1994 Upper Deck MInor League set, #201

Where'd I get it? From Nick of Baseball Happenings

How much did it cost? $1
Why is this so special? Derek Wallace was the first-round draft pick of the Chicago Cubs in 1992; he was the 11th player chosen overall. He struggled, and soon found himself in a new organization.

The Cubs included Wallace in the 1996 trade that brought Brian McRae from Kansas City to Chicago. Later that year, the Royals traded him to the Mets in a deal for pitcher Jason Jacome.

In New York, Wallace made his Major League debut. He wasn't particularly impressive in 19 relief appearances, but he was only 25 and showed some promise. There was even some thought that he could eventually assume the closer's role held by John Franco.

The next spring, Wallace was diagnosed with an aneurysm that caused him to miss much of the 1997 season. He worked his way back after surgery, but he didn't appear in another Major League game for the Mets.

Late in the 1999 season, the Mets sent Wallace back to Kansas City in a minor league deal. He appeared in eight games for the Royals in what turned out to be his final season as a professional baseball player.

You've got to admire Wallace's persistence. It's just too bad that his baseball career didn't work out quite the way he probably would have hoped.

His signature is a little bit sloppy on this card, but I've seen a lot worse.


zman40 said...

That is a sweet Cubs jersey. Is that the Daytona Cubs?

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Ken said...

I have always been interested in reconstructing player's careers.

It is interesting to look at their minor league stats and see the years pass. You can really see when things were good and hopeful (prospects) and then when things began to slip. You can almost sense when their organization downgraded their expectations and then saw them only as minor league roster fillers.

The coolest careers are the ones sorta like Wallace. They struggle and battle. They may not make many waves in the end but they tried their hardest. It's kind of sad and kind of inspiring.

Anonymous said...

It's an Orlando Cubs jersey, Zach. Wallace did also play for Daytona in 1993.