Card of the Day: 2005 Bowman Draft Gold Nelson Cruz

2005bowmangoldnelsoncruzNelson Cruz is an intriguing player to me. Some see the guy as an up-and-comer, while other dismiss him as a Quad-A player because he’ll already be 29 years old by mid season. Personally, I do wonder if the guy was so good, why the hell did it take him so long to get to the Majors for a full-time gig. Then again, talent is talent, you never really know when it’s going to peak.

No matter, his rookie card hails from the 2005 Bowman Draft set, and this gold parallel is one of a handful of rookie-year cards I own of Cruz. The reason I dragged this thing out from the dungeon of forgotten about rookie cards is because it is cards like this that give me mixed emotions.

Whether we’re talking about Nelson Cruz of hobby darling Jay Bruce, these gold parallel cards of the Bowman rookie kill me. Why? Because 1) they are ugly, 2) they are super thick, 3) they tend to be off-center, and 4) they are not really rookie cards.Personally, I’d prefer that Bowman/Topps just do away with the damn gold parallels and give us an extra chrome card or something else. At the very least, if they continue this gold parallel nonsense, please make the cards the same size as everything else. I suppose Topps double-dipped by making these cards extra thick because they act as a decoy for pack searchers, but that fact also leads to another area I have not even discussed — these cards do get creased by savage pack searchers. Bowman did produce some regular sized gold cards in 2007, but the company was not consistent; Bowman Draft featured the thick cards.

As it pertains to Cruz, entering this season I knew his age was somewhat controversial in some baseball circles (read: fantasyland). Because he’s not exactly your prototypical prospect — a guy who between 19 and 25 — Cruz tends to get overlooked. But what this particular card taught me is that Cruz was signed by the New York Mets in 1998. Further Internet research shows he was traded to the Oakland A’s in 2000 for Jorge Velandia; then from the A’s to the Brewers in 2004 with another player for Keith Ginter; and finally from the Brewers to the Rangers with Carlos Lee for Francisco Cordero, Kevin Mench, Laynce Nix and some minor league scrub. Hope he had good luggage.

Also another note of interest: Cruz’s birthday on this 2005 Bowman card is listed as July 1, 1981. Most records now show his birthday as being July 1, 1980. Hmmm. Did Topps screw this up or did Cruz try to shave a year from his age?

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