2008 memphis redbirds team set review

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2008 Memphis Redbirds team set
Official Score – TWO RUN HOMER
Manufacturer: MultiAd Sports
Sponsor: Superlo Foods
Retail price: $6.00

This may be the first set of MultiAd cards I’ve reviewed that does not contain a checklist. But don’t sweat it, the cards are numbered # of 35 on the back. Besides, you have already figured out that when it comes to official minor league team set checklists, Aardvark Trading Company will never leave you hanging. That said, take a look at the players (as well as non-players) included in the 2008 Memphis Redbirds team set:

1 – Colby Rasmus (out)
2 – Chris Perez (p)
3 – Bryan Anderson (c)
4 – Jaime Garcia (p)
5 – Clayton Mortensen (p)
6 – Mitchell Boggs (p)
7 – Joe Mather (out)
8 – P.J. Walters (p)
9 – Blake Hawksworth (p)
10 – Jarrett Hoffpauir (inf)
11 – Mark Worrell (p)
12 – Mike Parisi (p)
13 – Jason Motte (p)
14 – Brian Barden (inf)
15 – Hugo Castellanos (p)
16 – Ron Flores (p)
17 – David Freese (inf)
18 – Cody Haerther (out)
19 – D’Angelo Jimenez (inf)
20 – Gabe Johnson (c)
21 – Mark Johnson (c)
22 – Josh Phelps (inf)
23 – Anthony Reyes (p)
24 – Matt Scherer (p)
25 – Nick Stavinoha (out)
26 – John Wasdin (p)
27 – Rico Washington (inf)
28 – Nick Webber (p)
29 – Chris Maloney (manager)
30 – Blaise Ilsley (pitching coach)
31 – Mark Budaska (hitting coach) & Colby Rasmus
32 – Chris Conroy (trainer) – Ryan Eubanks (batboy) – Tony Martin
33 – Jake Fitts (strength coach)
34 – RBI (Returning Baseball to the Inner City kids)
35 – Rockey (mascot)

The Memphis Redbirds chose MultiAd’s (Style C) template in the creation of their team set for the 2008 season. This style was one of the more popular choices in 2008 (see also 2008 Omaha Royals and 2008 Iowa Cubs). I am a big fan of the greyscale cigar-band style strip across the lower margin of the cards where the player name, number and position are printed along with the team name and logo. The designers of the Memphis Redbirds team set elevated this product to a higher level with the inclusion of facsimile autographs. Sure, you are probably thinking that they passed that additional cost of that feature on to the consumer… That is simply not the case.

Facsimile autographs are particularly useful in determining whether a player really would have preferred to not sign your card. I suppose if you’d rather not know that about players, you may not be that excited to have the facsimile autograph on the front of your cards to tempt you into comparing them.

Card thinness is average for a minor league sets. The card fronts are coated with a semi-gloss leaving them ready for autographing without any surface preparation. The backs consist of four-color printing over white matte, typical player stats and short bios. Color player headshots in the upper right corner of the backs are extremely useful in helping you identify the players in street clothes in spite of the fact that they are all wearing hats in the photos.

Photo credits for the 2008 Memphis Redbirds go to Allison Rhoades. All are first rate- a few perhaps even bordering on Pulitzer Prize material. The vast majority of the backgrounds are light and ideal for autographing. In fact, Rico Washington’s card has one of the darker backgrounds, and he will compensate by turning his card at an angle- then sign his autograph up the length of his white uniform pants.

As entertaining it is that the Redbirds have a strength coach named “Fitts,” I’m not amused enough to include a scan of that card in this review. There are also cards of the 2002 Eastern League Athletic Trainer of the Year and his pals, kids from the Redbirds RBI (Returning Baseball to the Inner City) Program, and Rockey the mascot for people who enjoy baseball cards of non-baseball players.

The 2008 Memphis Redbirds team set contains three coach cards, including manager Chris Mahoney filling out a lineup card, pitching coach Blaise Ilsely tossing batting practice, and hitting coach Mark Budaska coaching third base and chatting with outfielder Colby Rasmus. Regardless of what team or league you follow, it is always a good sign to see one of your top prospects standing on third base wearing a batting helmet and taking off his batting gloves. This isn’t the only card in the set that inspires optimism.

Since I have already mentioned Rasmus, I might as well preempt my discussion of the pitching staff and just move on out to the four outfielders included in this set. Of the three cards featuring outfielders on offense, Rasmus is the only one not holding a bat in his hands. I suspect it is much easier to take photos of Colby on the base paths since he spends more time there than in the batter’s box.

Nick Stavinoha’s photo suggests that he his eyeballing the trajectory of a homer, while Joe Mather’s photo captures him poised to knock one out of the yard as well. Cody Haether’s card not only depicts him in the outfield having just tracked down the fly off an opponent’s bat, but while wearing one of four different Redbirds uniforms included in the set. My point being that this team set offers a wide variety of poses that will please every fan except those who prefer redundancy.

How about Haether’s game day signature compared to the facsimile? I’d say that is close enough to say it is consistent.

Readers expecting me to move on to the infielders will undoubtedly be frustrated as I instead take this opportunity to focus on catchers. This set contains three of them. Each depicts a backstop in full or nearly full catcher’s gear. Sure, the helmets do obscure the players’ faces, but graphers may use the full-color headshot on the back of the cards to help identify the players they do not recognize. This set scores high points for that alone!

Personally, I find that Mark Johnson’s card is the weakest of the three catchers, but I chose to include a scan of it here because of the background. No, I’m not a Nashville Sounds fan. Instead, I like the fact that you can see a dedicated fan recording a “2-6 CS” (caught stealing) in her scorebook even before Johnson fires a bullet down to second base. If you don’t absolutely love minor league baseball, I’m assuming you’ve never been to a game. Try to knock that off your “to do list” next season.

The 2008 Memphis Redbirds team set contains cards of six infielders. Three are batting, one is navigating the base paths and two are fielding. As much as I feel that each of these cards warrant scanning and including in this post, I think the proper thing to do is to pick one* and urge you to purchase a set from the Redbirds so you can enjoy seeing them for the first time in person. (*Note: Having already stated in a prior post that I would include a scan of Jarrett Hoffpauir’s card saves me from having to decide which of the infielder cards is my favorite.)

Of course I can’t even begin to think about ending this review without mentioning the various cards of pitchers contained within. There are 15 in case you didn’t keep track earlier when you were scanning through the checklist. Even though all were captured while pitching, the different uniforms, backgrounds and angles employed combine to add a great deal of variety to the team set. Although there is only one horizontal card in the set, all photos used have been expertly cropped.

Castellanos is captured in the process of delivering a pitch to the plate while his teammates lounge in the sunny bullpen and discuss the likelihood that Hugo will have his card featured in Cards in the Attic simply because of the horizontal orientation. So it goes!

Another method of ensuring that your card is included here is to get called up to the majors soon after signing a card for me, and ultimately wind up as one of the players on my fantasy baseball team roster – a strategy that Jason Motte has wisely chosen.

If a stronger minor league team set was produced in 2008, it has yet to be submitted to me for review. I just read the other day that the St. Louis Cardinals have entered into the process of buying the Memphis Redbirds team. I would hope that if the sale goes through, the parent club would recognize the talents of the Memphis personnel responsible for putting this team set together and call them up to the bigs.

I was not able to locate this particular team set for sale on the Memphis Redbirds online team shop, and that is a shame. I don’t particularly care for the current trend in minor league teams shifting to use the “shop.mlb.com” format online team shop. While I may have to accept it, I do not have to like it.

Instead, I am here to tell you that you may still obtain your own 2008 Memphis Redbirds team set (for only SIX BUCKS (plus shipping)) by calling the Redbirds team shop at 901.722.0273. Do not delay as supply is limited, and demand is sure to be high for such a quality product! I haven’t seen any pop up on the secondary market, but would expect them to be priced in the neighborhood of $12.00 and higher on eBay.

– Kris

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