Monday, May 9, 2011

Evolution Flintstones...or...Darwin Barney

The Cubs rookie second baseman is off to a great start, winning NL Rookie of the Month in April. If he can keep it up, the Cubs could be set in the middle infield for years to come. While Starlin Castro had a lot of hype and made the jump for AA to the majors, Barney was more of a surprise.

He was drafted by the Cubs in 2007 out of Oregon State University. He began his professional career in the Arizona rookie league and moved up to low-A Peoria. From there he continued the traditional climb up, spending 2008 in high-A Daytona. The next season was split between AA and AAA, and last year he began at AAA and was called up to the Cubs in August when Mike Fontenot was traded to the Giants.

Barney got his big-league career off to a good start, hitting .308 in his first 20 games. He slumped in the final ten, batting only .111 which dropped his season average to .241. In spring training, it was assumed that the second base spot would be split between Blake DeWitt and Jeff Baker. But Barney had a strong spring and forced DeWitt to the bench. He stayed hot when the season began, and has pretty much won the position.

I decided that I would make an attempt at being a player collector and pick up as many of his cards as I could find. That was made a little easier because without much hype behind him, there weren't too many cards to chase. I used Beckett to make a checklist and what I found was that there were only seven basic cards of his. The problem is that from those seven, with all of the different parallel cards, the card count increases to 88!

Well, I'm not going after every single parallel. I will be happy with the seven basics, and a few parallels.

Here's what I've got so far:

2006-2007 USA Baseball: I've got the base card and an autograph card.. There were a total of 17 different cards of his in this set.

2007 Donruss Elite Extra Edition: I've got the base card, the College Ties card, and the Throwback threads jersey. There are another nine parallels in this set.

2007 Just Rookies: I've got the base card and an autograph card. Between autographs and printing plates, there are another 22 cards for me to ignore.

2008 Bowman Chrome Prospects: Here is the base card. The refractors and printing plates add another eleven cards to the count

2008 Just Autographs Dual Signatures There are eight different cards here. Barney autograph is combined with either Tyler Colvin or Donald Veal. I've never seen any of these cards available anywhere.

2008 Tristar PROjections I've got the base card here, but need another 13 different parallel and printing plates.

2011 Heritage One parallels....and I've got it!

I thought I was done, but when I went to look for some of his cards at the Beckett Marketplace, a few others popped up. It seemed weird that they weren't in the Beckett database, but were available at the Marketplace. You would think those two places would be coordinated.

The three extra cards were minor league cards, one from each of the past three seasons

2008 Choice Sportcards Daytona Cubs

2009 Grandstand Trading Cards Southern League Top Prospects

2010 MultiAd PCL All Stars

So that's it for now. It will be interesting to see how many of the upcoming Topps releases will include Barney. I'm guessing he'll be in several.

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