Friday, January 31, 2014

1988 Donruss, Mike Birkbeck

#49 Mike Birkbeck

This is the second of three cards that Mike Birkbeck signed for me in Omaha in 2012. Mike is the pitching coach at Kent State and he signed the cards for me before a game at the College World Series, hence the "CWS 2012" inscription.

Mike pitched in the Majors for parts of six seasons with the Brewers and Mets. He was almost exclusively a starter and he has a career record of 12-19 with a 4.86 ERA. 10 of his wins came for the Brewers in 1988 when he made a career-high 23 starts, finishing the season 10-8 with a 4.72 ERA and 64 strikeouts.

Mike's best Major League season might just be his final season in the Bigs. In 1995, he made just four starts for the Mets. After a rough initial outing where he gave up three runs in six innings, Mike went on to pitch 21.2 more innings while surrendering just two runs. Unfortunately, the Mets lost all three games while scoring just six total runs. Mike, however, got a no decision in each one.

After that season, Mike went on to pitch in Japan for parts of two seasons. He only made ten starts there and went 2-2. Those two wins, though, were his first "Major League" wins since 1988.

I am heading up to Royals Fanfest tomorrow and I am pumped. I am not expecting to rake in the autographs there like I did five years ago, but I am still excited. It has been a long, cold winter and I am ready to get some autographs. I even got some cards from the 2014 Topps set that I am ready to get signed. If I can do that, this will be the quickest that I ever got a card from the most recent Topps base set signed.

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