Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Collection: Karim Garcia

Karim Garcia was looking pretty good as a Dodger prospect. In 1995 he batted .319 for the Albuquerque Dukes while knocking in 91 runs with a OPS of .912. The Sporting News named him Minor League Player of the Year. Heck, a managers poll that season named him just below Alex Rodriguez as that seasons hottest prospect. Things were on the upswing for the kid. At 19 he would join the Dodgers for a short stint- to get his feet wet. Over the next couple of season he would stay in AAA and play minimally for the Dodgers. It just seemed like he couldn't take it to the next level. Then, during the 1997 Expansion Draft he would go unprotected and be snipped by the Diamondbacks as their 9th pick.

Unfortunately, his status as a everyday Major Leaguer never really came to fruition. He would bounce around from the minor to majors then from club to club. Soon, a promising prospect would be labeled a major bust. On top of that, a brawl with a Fenway Park employee as a member of the Yankees and a reported drunken episode during Spring Training a year later as a member of the Mets really sealed his fate in 2004. That would be his last Major League season.

Fortunately for Karim that would not be the end of his Baseball career. He would be reborn in Japan by showing he still had some skill. In consecutive games he had belted 3 homers each day to establish a Japanese League record. Then, he become a hero in Korea for the Lotte Giants as they called him the "Latino Bambino."

Featured here are 2 Karim Garcia autographed cards from my collection. On the right above is a 1997 Bowman autographed card and to its left is a 1996 Classic Visions Signings card.

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