Tuesday, July 13, 2010

2006 Bazooka Rewind Relics #RWA Ryan Wagner

Today's player is an all-time Cougar great baseball player, relief pitcher Ryan Wagner. He played for the University of Houston from 2002 to 2003. His 2003 season was spectacular and the Cougars won the College Station regional, losing to eventual champion Rice.

He led the team in ERA with a 1.93 (excluding pitchers who pitched less than 10 innings). He went 6-5.

His impact on the UH record books:

  • #1 in strikeouts per 9 innings for a season (16.8 in 2003). This is also an NCAA record.

  • #1 in appearances in a season (38 in 2003)

  • #1 in saves in a season (15 in 2003)

  • #4 in strikeouts in a season (148 in 2003)

  • #2 in holds in a season (5 in 2002)

  • #1 in career saves (16)

  • #7 in career strikeouts (213)

  • #6 in career holds (6)

He also holds several postseason records.

He was named All American and 2nd team All Conference (behind teammate Brad Sullivan). He was also named to the 1995-2005 Rayner Noble All Decade Team.

He was selected #14 by the Cincinnati Reds in the first round of the 2003 MLB draft. He played in his first Major League game later that year. This made him the 1st player in UH, CUSA, and Cincinnati Reds history to play in the Major Leagues during the same year he was drafted.

He played for the Reds from 2003-2005 and the Washington Nationals from 2006-2007. In 2007 he suffered a shoulder injury and was never the same player again. He announced his retirement in 2009.

Today's card in the 2006 Bazooka Rewind Relics #RWA. There are so many things I do not like about this card. First, the design on the front of the card takes up so much space that it detracts from the player who should be the focus.

Next, the cut out to display the jersey piece. The small triangles become the focus instead of the jersey piece. I give them credit for trying to be creative with a different concept. It just fell short.

The final problem is the jersey piece itself. Most of the card emphasizes the achievement on a particular day. Although it does not say so, you get the feeling that the relic was from that day. But on the back, it states "The relic contained on this card is not from any specific event, game or season." So not only is it possibly not from that game, it may not be from that season. Even worse, it may not be from any game at all. It may be from an event. Maybe he wore the jersey at practice or even at an autograph signing session or meet and greet. So much for "Topps pledges to bring you closer to the game and its leading players from the past, present and the future." If they don't know if the jersey is from a game, season, or event, how do they even know it is real?

Relic/jersey cards are very cool things, but using random jerseys from unknown non-game related events just so you can claim jersey pieces are in your cards make all jersey cards, even legitimate game worn ones, less desirable.

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