Wednesday, November 24, 2010
2004 Topps, Kerry Lightenberg
#71 Kerry Lightenberg
Here is a card that I got signed at a Wichita Wingnuts game in 2009. Kerry was trying to mount a comeback that season withe St. Paul Saints and I was able to get this card signed while he was making his way to the dugout from the clubhouse. Unfortunately, this was the only card that I got signed by him because this was the only card I could find. I had bought a couple of cards from checkoutmycards.com for the game, but I completely forgot to look for cards of Kerry. Luckily, I was able to find one in my collection the day before the game.
Kerry had an interesting career. He went undrafted out of Minnesota and began his pro career playing for the Minneapolis Loons of the North Central League and the Prairie League. The manager of the Loons was the former Braves backstop, Greg Olson, and he got the Braves to give Kerry a shot. So Kerry was sold to the Braves for $720 worth of equipment.
Kerry started his career in affiliated ball in 1996 with the then high-A Durham Bulls. He appeared in 49 games that season and he posted a 2.41 ERA while racking up 20 saves. He started the next season in AA and did good enough that he finished it in the Majors. In 1998, Kerry took over the Braves closer role and he went on to save a career high 30 games that year.
Kerry missed all of the 1999 season due to injury, but was able to come back in 2000. He lost his closer role that season to John Rocker, but he still finished the season with 12 saves. He played for the Braves for two more seasons as a middle reliever before joining the Orioles as a free agent in 2003. He played one season there before going to Toronto for a year. In 2005, he played in seven games with the Diamondbacks and that was his last foray at the Major League level. He played one more season of AAA ball before calling it quits.
He made his comeback last year with the Saints and he had an 3.00 ERA in 36 inning of work while striking out 29 and saving 15 games. He retired towards the end of the season with a knee injury.