Wednesday, May 17, 2017

My White Whale

I've really enjoyed the 'All-time Brewers' project that I recently undertook - trying to get one card of every player who has ever seen time with the Brewers. Thanks to the Trading Card Database, I've been able to narrow down which short-term Brewers appear on cardboard as Brewers and those who did not. Securing a Jim Gantner card is no challenge at all. Finding a Mike Myers Brewers card... now we're talking detective work.

Of the short-term Brewers, one of the most interesting is Julio Franco. If you'd forgotten that Franco played in Milwaukee, you are not alone. He appeared in the middle of the 1997 season. Although he was putting up decent numbers, he was cut lose by the uber-loaded Cleveland Indians in mid-August and was signed by the Brewers that very same day. I recall vividly turning on a game and being shocked to see Franco playing with the Brewers. At the time, I didn't even know he was still in the league, let alone a starter on my favorite team. Franco played out the season with the Brewers, batting .241 with a handful of homers. He had a total of one big league at bat over the next three years before reemerging with the Braves in 2001 and playing for another SEVEN years, until age 48. 
The back of my White Whale

 His short time in Milwaukee, and the late 90s constraints on base set sizes, meant that he did not appear on any cards as a Brewer... or so I thought. Thanks to the TCDB, I was able to learn that Franco did indeed appear on the backside of a single card as a Brewers... on an insert team checklist in the 1998 Pacific Invincible set. I always loathed Pacific cards, especially their baseball issues. They were always god-awful ugly and had stuff names and gimmicks (although their 1998 "Online" set is something of a nice time capsule piece today). But, in trying to put together this Brewers all-time set, I've learned that they did print cards of alot of players who did not appear in other sets. Brewers also-rans like Jack Voight, Jeff Juden, and, yes, even Mike Myers only appear as Brewers in Pacific issues. 

Frontside of the lone Brewers Franco card

Which brings us to that Julio Franco card. It's harder than hell to find for a number of reasons... it was in a set that no one collected, it's the absolute worst kind of insert, he shares the card with four other Brewers. I've found one copy of it on COMC, listed for $7.75... and I just found that listing while writing this post, a few weeks of searching previously yielded nothing. 

I can't bring myself to pay almost $10 with shipping for this card, but I will remain on the lookout.... and it will remain my white whale. 


  1. I feel like I have a Mike Myers from Pacific. But I know I don't have that checklist.

  2. It's odd he has only the one Brewers card. I remember him being on the club for a few years.

  3. I'll watching for it too. Gonna be a tough one to find! Good luck!

  4. I saw you had this one listed when I was combing through your want lists, and now I'm on the lookout for it too. Never knew Franco had a card as a Brewer. I'd also like to see a card that chronicles his one at-bat as a Devil Ray, but I'm 99.9 percent certain that doesn't exist.

  5. I found one for sale. You could get it for $2.25 if it's worth that to you.

  6. Pacific covers a few guys like that for my similar all time Cubs collection - Terry Shumpert comes to mind as one. Like you said, Pacific sets are bizarre and oftentimes horrid, but they really respected the bottom of the rosters. Good luck in your search!

  7. Aw man, I need one of those for my JF PC...

    1. I found one on Sportslots. It's a tricky search, since his name isn't used in the listing.