Category Archives: Cardinals Prospects
Oh, the sad saga of Alex Cole. I kind of remember getting this card in early 1990 and dismissing it – who the hell was this guy with the goofy glasses, anyway? Then he came up with the Indians later that year (his third team of the year, should have been a sign), and dazzled us on the basepaths. I was a kid, I was naive – I have all the excuses I need. I thought the guy was going to be an absolute superstar. He was electrifying to watch. And you know, looking at his numbers that season, he was actually a pretty damn good value as a rookie. A 108 OPS+ with speed on the basepaths and good defense is a valuable asset in centerfield.
He was actually pretty good in 1991, too…then the wheels seem to come off. I’m curious if he got involved in heroin at that point. It seems like something went downhill then…it took him until 1994 to recover, but by then I think the damage was done.
As a sad postscript to his career, he was arrested in 2001 for trafficking narcotics. He ended up pleading guilty and serving 18 months in prison. Four years later, he was served a judgment for over $30,000 for running up credit card bills under a friend’s name and failing to pay them. Well, Alex, here’s hoping you cleaned up your life. Thanks for the years of entertainment.
I’ve told the tale of the 1989 Upper Deck High Numbers a few times, but this card in particular has an interesting story. I was part of a little card club back in 1989…we were a group of kids and a couple of older guys who would meet in the basement of the public library and swap cards from our collections. This usually resulted in the older guys ripping off the kids (thanks, jerks). But this card represents a little change. When I saw Zeile I was instantly intrigued – a prospect I hadn’t heard of? I checked out the guy’s stats on the backs and decided he looked like a pretty good catching prospect; the kid I was trading with wanted a bit for him, but to me it was totally worth it. I seem to remember dealing some 87 Fleer Update cards for him, but the actual trade is lost to the mists of time. Either way, I didn’t care. I had what I wanted.
Of course, Zeile went on to have a pretty decent career, if not Hall of Fame. He remained one of my favorite players during his playing years – one I always kept an eye on, even if this card disappeared into the ether sometime in the late 90s (this is a recently acquired copy). Thanks for the good years, Todd.
I’ve written about my discovery of 1992 Upper Deck Minor Leagues before on my Nationals/Expos site, so I won’t belabor what it was like to discover this gem of a set (and I still feel that way), but I can write some about The Meat Hook. I really liked him coming out of high school, but was shocked to see he wasn’t some Russian guy after reading so much about him. It seemed I had gotten him mixed up with some Russian prospect that was floating around at the time (and I still can’t recall the guy’s name to this day). I was, however, quite happy to see Dmitri rise through the Cardinals ranks and thought he’d end up being a superstar.
The truth of course…well, I’ve had some great times watching him as a National, but he’s pretty much shot any chance at being a star. Still, it’s fun to look back and see him this thin.