Yesterday I had a card from the defending National and American League champions. Today let’s go to the other end of the spectrum and find the defending cellar dwellers. Bringing up the rear for all of baseball with a 51-111 record were the Houston Astros of the American League Central. Representing them is rookie pitcher, Chia-Jen Lo.
|#55 Chia-Jen Lo|
First impression of what’s going on: Ah, the dreaded mound conference. What makes for a pretty cool photo with a cameo from another player, the mound conference is not a sign of things going well in the game. Maybe the caption will give us some more information on what’s going on because “Mound Conferences” aren’t a trackable statistic on Baseball-Reference.
HOUSTON, TX - AUGUST 25: Cody Clark #39 of the Houston Astros speaks with pitcher Chia-Jen Lo #63 in the ninth inning during a game against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park on August 25, 2013 in Houston, Texas. Toronto won the game 2-1. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
The Reality of the Photo: Wow, that photo is much darker with Lo's face in the shadows. There must have been some touch up work there. The caption gives the name of the catcher, Cody Clark and the time frame of the game, the ninth inning. It also mentions the Blue Jays won 2-1, but there’s no reference as to whether either of the Toronto runs were given up by Lo. I’ll have to go to the BOXSCORE to see if there was trouble brewing.
Oops, looks like the Blue Jays scored their two runs in the 9th.
And they were both charged to Lo along with his second blown save after he walked three and allowed a hit during 1/3 of an inning. That’s a tough game to commemorate on a baseball card, but to be fair, Getty Images only had about 80 images to work with. And I’d rather something unique like a mound conference (despite the negative connotation) that another generic throwing shot.
The Astros are wearing one of their alternate jerseys for the game, so Lo has that going for him too. Pictured below, it's the one on the far right.
While scouring the card for niche collections, I saw two things on his glove.
I’ve never heard of Zett, but apparently they are a Japanese company that manufactures gloves. That qualifies the card for the Free Advertising niche.
The second logo is the Taiwanese flag. With the amount of American flags shown on jerseys and hats, its interesting to see other nationalities depicted as well. For that, I’ll award the Patriotic niche and keep an eye out for other flags, including American.
On to the back:
Rookie Fact: Chia-Jen became the first Taiwanese player to suit up for the Astros.
That’s kind of neat. I found a Wikipedia link showing all of the MLB players from Taiwan. Lo is the tenth overall and most recent.
Information I’ll be tracking:
Card Number: #55
Player Name: Chia-Jen Lo
Team: Houston Astros
Game Date: August 25, 2013
Opponent: Toronto Blue Jays
Stadium: Minute Maid Park
Division: American League West
Outcome of the game: 2-1, Blue Jays over the Astros, Loss for the player depicted
Alternate/Throwback Jersey: Yes
Cameos by: Cody Clark (catcher)
Photographer: Stacy Revere
Niche collections this card could fit into: Alternate Jersey, Cameo, Patriotic, Free Advertising, Rookie
My Grade: This is another card I wanted to like as you may have seen by my attempt to create a new niche. I don’t encourage bone headed plays depicted on cards but I do like the uniqueness of the mound conference. Without knowing the back story of the photo, I would have probably given this card an A, A-. But after the research, I’m going to say that Topps did not do Chia-Jen Lo a solid, and drop it down to a B.