|Topps SHB #5: 2008 Chad Bradford, Baltimore Orioles
I've heard of people collecting him contemporarily, especially Nick from Dime Boxes, just for how refreshing of a player he was in this era, despite being woefully underrepresented on cards.
Well, his final full season in 2008 was similarly unrepresented. Upper Deck made a card of him with Baltimore, where he started the season and played in 2007 as well, but Topps did not. A lot of the 2008/2009 entries in this project were covered by UD in some way, but not Topps flagship, which says a lot about both companies in this point.
Anyway, Bradford was still a relief asset for teams in 2008, and posted a 2.45 ERA in 47 appearances, some career numbers for him in his seasons since his 2001 breakout. His strikeout numbers had diminished, but he was one of the bright spots of a middling Baltimore team.
Now, at the waiver period in August, the Orioles placed him on waivers so that a competitor could scoop him up. The team that did purchase Bradford was a competitor...ironically, a divisional competitor.
|Topps SHB #6: 2008 Chad Bradford, Tampa Bay Rays
Bradford pitched for the Rays in 2009 for his final season, but I could not find any 2009 photos from my source, so the saga ends in 2008.
[Similarly, I wish my source went as far back as 2005 so I could make Topps cards of him for every year they missed from 05-07, but mine starts at 2008]
Still, these customs fill in a great piece of the story for Bradford, and one of his best seasons, that Topps and its bias against relievers sadly neglected to document.