1993 Topps Series I Atlanta Braves
#8 Mark Wohlers, 35 John Smoltz, 62 Rafael Belliard, 88 Mike Stanton, 102 Brian Hunter, 116 Mark Lemke, 144 Kent Mercker, 170 Dave Justice, 198 Alejandro Pena, 224 Sid Bream, 251 Mike Bielecki, 280 Tom Glavine, 306 Damon Berryhill, 333 Otis Nixon, 393 Ron Gant
Black Gold Braves
This insert set consisted of forty-four cards, with cards #1-22 available in Series I and #23-44 in Series II.
The Braves representatives in the Black Gold set were #6 Tom Glavine and #15 Terry Pendleton. The set also included a card of Greg Maddux (#12) and one of Fred McGriff (#13)-although both players are featured as members of their previous teams.
The Could Have Beens:
Good ol' Topps- they always seem to find a way to include players in Series I who are no longer on the team they're pictured with. Despite no longer being with Atlanta, Pena and Bielecki were shown as Braves in Series I. Others who could have been included in Series I:
Lonnie Smith- Signed as a free-agent by the Pirates on January 4, 1993, Smith spent five seasons in Atlanta-three of which he was a starter. And while he played the role of fifth outfielder in '92, he still managed to get 158 at-bats in 84 games. With a healthy outfield in 1993 (Gant 157 games, Nixon 134 games, Justice 157 games), and the fourth guy (Deion Sanders) getting 272 at-bats there wouldn't have been much of an opportunity for Skates, had he still been with the team.
Nied made his major league debut on September 1, 1992. Starting on the road, and against the Mets, the Braves' top pitching prospect appeared in six games during the stretch (starting two of them), and finished with a 3-0 record, 19 strikeouts in 23 innings, 1.17 ERA, and 0.652 WHIP. After the season, the righty was left unprotected for the expansion draft, where Colorado drafted him number one overall. As the new face of the franchise, Nied instantly became the team's ace, and will forever be linked to the Rocks- not only by being their first big league player, but also starting their first game (April 5, 1993 at Shea Stadium), pitching its first complete game, and its first complete-game shutout.
Another '93 expansion draft pick (taken by Colorado with the 58th overall pick), Reynoso had two brief stints in Atlanta during the '91 and '92 seasons. With the expansion Rockies, however, Armando would find a place to call home for the next four seasons. He was clearly the team's best starter that inaugural season, going 12-11 with a 4.00 ERA in 30 starts.
St. Claire spent most of the '91 and '92 seasons in AAA Richmond, although he did log 44 innings in the majors those two years for the Braves. The reliever began the 1993 season Richmond, again, but was released on May 3rd after pitching 9.2 innings (6 games) with a 2.79 ERA. Signed by Seattle on May 14th, St. Claire would pitch appear in 27 games for Seattle's AAA Calgary team before getting released on August 5th. The Blue Jays signed him and assigned him to AAA Syracuse, where he would finish out the season by appearing in 14 games.
The Unique Item- Tom Glavine Blank Back Proof
A quick search on eBay today netted this unique item, which I had never seen previously. It comes from the Topps Vault.