Sunday, October 16, 2011
2001 Fleer Showcase, Ben Sheets
#21 Ben Sheets
Here is a card that I picked up from checkoutmycards.com for cheap. It wasn't nearly as cheap as most of the '96 Leaf Signature Series cards that I usually acquire, but I could not pass it up for $4.99. It doesn't say anything on the card about the piece of wood being from a bat Ben used, so it is more than likely just a signed piece of wood. But, it is still much better than a sticker autograph.
Ben had the stuff to be a top tier pitcher in baseball if he could have stayed healthy. In 2004, Ben had a career year and posted career bests in ERA (2.70) and strikeouts (264). Plus, he only walked 32 batters. The Brewers rewarded him with a four year contract and, because of various injuries over those four years, he was only able to make 94 starts while he had made 127 starts over the previous four seasons.
After the 2008 season, Ben became a free agent. But, because of arm issues, no one was willing to take a chance on him and he did not play in 2009. The A's, though, signed him to a contract in 2010 and Ben went 4-9 with a 4.53 ERA over 20 starts. A torn flexor in his elbow shut Ben down at the end of July of that season and he has not pitched in the Majors since.
Ben still has a player page on the the official website of Major League Baseball, so I guess that means that he has not officially retired. He is only 33 years old, so a comeback might not be too far fetched. It only depends on if his body can handle the demands of pitching in the Major Leagues.