2003 Lancaster Jethawks team set
Official Score – ground rule DOUBLE
Manufacturer: Grandstand Cards
Sponsor: Bubble Yum
Retail price: $6.00(ish)
The 2003 Lancaster Jethawks finished 4th in the California Southern League. The Baseball Cube indicates that Rick Rodriguez managed the team, yet this team set begs to differ. I wasn’t there, so I honestly couldn’t tell you who was in charge. It is interesting to note that some 148,194 fans stopped smelling the poppies long enough to file through the turnstiles at “the Hangar” (Clear Channel Stadium) to watch the Class A affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks play ball. (Today the Jethawks are affiliates of the Houston Astros.)
There is no printed checklist for this 30-card team set. The numbers on the backs of the cards correspond to the player jersey numbers. Pretty much the best way to tell if you have a complete team set is to compare your cards to this official team checklist sponsored by the Aardvark Trading Company.
1 –  Mike Aldrete (manager)
2 –  Scott Barber (p)
3 –  Billy Biggs (p)
4 –  Jason Bulger (p)
5 –  John Castellanos (p)
6 –  Lance Cormier (p)
7 –  Joey Cramblitt (p)
8 –  Mike DiRosa (c)
9 –  Jay Garthwaite (of)
10 –  Matt Henrie (p)
11 –  Jamie Jones (of)
12 –  Josh Kroeger (of)
13 –  Erick Macha (if)
14 –  Damon Mashore (hitting coach)
15 –  Kyle Nichols (1b)
16 –  Danny Richar (if)
17 –  Mayobanex Santana (if)
18 –  Sergio Santos (if)
19 –  Pete Sikaras (p)
20 –  Doug Slaten (p)
21 –  Chris Snyder (c)
22 –  Jeff Stanek (1b)
23 –  Mel Stottlemyre, Jr. (pitching coach)
24 –  Francisco Trejo (p)
25 –  Dan Uggla (if)
26 –  Justin Wechsler (p)
27 –  Carlton Wells (p)
28 –  Marland Williams (of)
29 – [‘03] Justin Jakubcin (strength coach)
30 – [‘03] Adam Weyer (trainer)
I like the design of these cards- a kittywampus layout of a full-bleed “baseball card” card superimposed over a warning track area of an outfield next to the foul line. However, I wouldn’t want to have like 20 of these sets from different teams to look at. The set also suffers a bit from the fact that only two cards (pitcher Matt Henrie and pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre, Jr.) have backgrounds that really differ from the rest. I’m not saying that all of the backgrounds are identical, but they are lacking in variation. Technically, the photography is very good, and I wouldn’t have hesitated to score the cards higher if the set had included some action shots.
You’d have to think that with a name like Billy Biggs, a player was destined for the majors. That was not the case with this right-handed relief pitcher. Instead, it appears that Biggs hung up the glove after spending four seasons in the minors, logging 216 innings on the mound and racking up exactly ONE plate appearance. Billy’s entire professional baseball career was spent within the Diamondbacks organization- pretty uncommon in this day and age. Biggs’ total stats include a record of 11-16 with an ERA of 3.33 and a WHIP of 1.30- again, all in relief. Certainly players have hung around in the majors for much longer than four years while not performing as well. Billy failed to reach base in his only trip to the plate.
Dan Uggla smashed 23 homers and stole 24 bases for the Lancaster Jethawks during the 2003 season. Any questions?
Jason Bulger made his major league debut on August 26, 2005. He was traded to the Angels the following spring, and has yet to spend a full season with the parent club. That’s the way it goes sometimes.
While I would not argue that Jason bears a slight resemblance to the scarecrow on the Wizard of Oz, I am here to set the record straight by reminding you that the man who played that character was named Ray Bolger- not Bulger. In other words, if they are related, someone in that family tree has some spelling issues.
Infielder Sergio Santos is still working toward his first call up to the majors. He has been in the Toronto Blue Jays organization since the end of 2005 when he was included in a deal with Troy Glaus for Orlando Hudson and Miguel Batista.
Chris Snyder broke into the big leagues on August 21, 2004. Snyder has been cashing paychecks from the Diamondbacks organization his entire professional career. I’m fond of baseball cards that utilize photographs taken from this vantage point. It almost allows you to feel what it would be like to be a baseball.
Card thickness is typical for a minor league set. Surface treatment is a semi gloss that left the cards practically begging to be autographed. The backs consist of two-color (black and grey) printing over white matte, including name, typical player stats, minimal bios and a grayscale Bubble Yum logo.
I obtained this team set in trade from a blogless reader in exchange for a 2008 Albuquerque Isotopes team set. Although the Jethawks don’t have it listed on their online team shop, I was informed that they do still have this set available. So you probably have to call them if you want to order one for six bucks. I haven’t seen this entire team set available on the secondary market, but if you act fast, you can pick up just the Josh Kroeger card from a dealer on eBay for “only” $3.95 plus $1.50 shipping.