Think about that. The fun-loving, guitar-playing member of the 2004 Red Sox was cool enough to be one of the many talking heads on VH1 along with Hal Sparks, Michael Ian Black, Loni Love, Patrice O'Neal and Mo Rocca. Talking about...I dunno, 'My Bodyguard', or 'St. Elsewhere' or something, I don't remember.
I'll add in here that he's not the sole MLB personnel to be featured on an I Love the series. Heidi Hamels was in one of the 90s ones. Yes, pre-Cole, but post-Survivor. So I'll allow it.
This anecdote serves the purpose to inform you all that despite being a steady arm in Cincinnati for a good decade or so, Bronson Arroyo's best moments came as a baseball personality rather than a baseball player. He was a character, a regular 2000s guitar bro kind of guy that happened to post a mean fastball. And I think the baseball world latched onto that in the late 2000s, as he became a standout for the Reds, and his high leg kick became something to watch for.
But what most people forget, especially Topps, is that he had a career as a relief specialist before his big break with the Sox and Reds. He was stuck in the Pittsburgh bullpen waiting behind Jason Schmidt, Kris Benson and Todd Ritchie. By 2001 he was, in fact, getting some starts, but he still finished with a 5.09 ERA in 24 games. Mediocre even for 2000s Pittsburgh.
In the 2004 postseason, Bronson Arroyo would strike out 14, and even if he'd allow more earned runs than hoped for, he still was a crucial part of the championship Sox team, and they rewarded him with another strong year in 2005, and eventually a trade to a market where he could be an ace.
Topps somehow didn't do a base card of Bronson Arroyo until 2005, but they'd be good for the rest of his run. I've rectified this, which must help.