Monday, July 4, 2016

Phillies Missing Links of the 1990s - #8 Kevin Elster

Kevin Daniel Elster

Having never before actually seen proof of Kevin Elster as a member of the 1995 Phillies team, the photo used for this custom card was the motivation behind creating an entire set of Phillies Missing Links cards.  I don't remember the specifics as to how I found this photo on the internet, but when I found it I immediately thought it was begging for a Phillies card.  I didn't want to go through the trouble of creating a 1995 Topps template, so I created the original baseball card design used here. Not wanting to stop at just Elster, I decided to use this design to give a Phillies baseball card (albeit in virtual form) to every player in the 1980s and 1990s to have been woefully neglected.

Elster appeared in 26 games for the 1995 Phillies while I was spending the summer in North Carolina.  With the internet in its nascent stages, there was no way for me to follow along as the '95 squad played out its season.  Elster's tenure with the club was short and limited (for me at least) to seeing his name in an occasional box score throughout the summer.

As the back-up shortstop to Kevin Stocker, Elster hit just .208 (11 for 53) while driving in nine runs. It was absolutely stunning to me that Elster would be completely shut out of Phillies baseball cards given the number of different sets released in 1995 and 1996.  Upon leaving the Phils, Elster enjoyed the best year of his 13-year Major League career.  As the starting shortstop for the Rangers, Elster hit .252 with career highs in home runs (24) and RBIs (99).  He'd attempt one more comeback with the Dodgers in 2000 before calling it a career.

Bats:  Right  Throws:  Right  Height:  6'2"  Weight:  180
Born:  August 3, 1964, San Pedro, CA
Drafted:  Drafted by the New York Mets in the 2nd round of the 1984 amateur draft, January 17, 1984
Major League Teams:  New York Mets 1986-1992; New York Yankees 1994-1995; Phillies 1995; Texas Rangers 1996; Pittsburgh Pirates 1997; Texas Rangers 1998; Los Angeles Dodgers 2000
Professional Affiliations:  New York Mets 1986-1992; Los Angeles Dodgers 1993; New York Yankees 1994-1995; Kansas City Royals 1995; Phillies 1995; Texas Rangers 1996; Pittsburgh Pirates 1997; Texas Rangers 1998; Los Angeles Dodgers 2000

Phillies Career
26 games, .208 (11 for 53) with a home run and 9 RBIs
Acquired:  Signed as a free agent formerly with the Kansas City Royals organization, July 7, 1995
Debut:  July 14, 1995 - Replaced Stocker at shortstop as part of a double switch in the seventh inning of an 8-2 loss to the Expos
Final Game:  October 1, 1995
Departed:  Granted free agency, October 5, 1995, and signed with the Texas Rangers, January 16, 1996

1987 Donruss #635
1988 Topps #8
1996 Circa #85
2001 Topps #163
0 Elster Baseball Cards in My Collection
First Card:  N/A
Last Card:  N/A

Other Baseball Cards
First Mainstream Card:  1987 Donruss #635
First Topps Base Card:  1988 Topps #8
Last Mainstream Card:  2001 Topps #163
Other Notable Cards:  1984 TCMA Little Falls Mets #19, 1989 Topps #356, 1990 Topps #734, 1996 Circa #85, 1997 Topps #61

Sources:  Baseball Reference and The Trading Card Database

This is a continuing series looking at those players who spent time with the Phillies but possess no baseball card proof of their time in Philadelphia.  I will make my way through the decade of the 1980s first and then work my way forward.  In some cases, the First and Last Mainstream cards listed above have been subjectively chosen if multiple cards were released in that year.


Anonymous said...

I've always liked Kevin Elster, seeing him in a Phillies uniform is just... odd.

Jim said...

Agreed! Especially since I saw his name in Phillies box scores back in 1995, but had to wait almost 20 years to see actually proof that he wore a Phillies uniform. I was giddy when I found this photo.