Sunday, October 13, 2013

Many more Michigan Men part 2: Dransfeldt, Kamieniecki, Murray, and Zahn

Previously:  Part 1 (Chris Sabo)

A month or two ago I embarked upon a project of scanning all of the cards in my collection of any other Michigan Baseball alumni not already included on my Player Collections page.  That includes anything that arrived via trade, was already in my collection otherwise, or was part of a complete set (or set in-progress).  As you can imagine it took quite a while to get everything done, but about 250+ cards later, I finally have something to show for it!  These posts will show off new player collections or new cards for existing PCs.  Some players will join the group that I supercollect and others will be guys I just pick up whenever I can.  If you have anything I don't and feel like trading, please let me know as I'd love to build up these collections!

Today I'm upping the ante by showing off FOUR new player collections since I only have a tiny handful of each, although I hope to change that before long.  As a reminder, all PCs can be found here.

Player #2 is Kelly Dransfeldt, a SS/IF who played in 51 career games over the course of four seasons, mostly with the Rangers but some with the White Sox.  Dransfeldt, a Joliet, IL, native, was drafted by Texas in the fourth round of the 1996 draft.  Obviously he didn't last in the Bigs for very long, but he did appear long enough to score appearances on some cardboard.  It's not a very expansive library and only includes one autograph, so I may opt to go for us run in the future.  For now, here's what I have:

Kelly Dransfeldt 1999 Best Baseball America
Kelly Dransfeldt 2000 Bowman
Kelly Dransfeldt 2000 Fleer

New player #3 is one of several Michigan alumni to go on to play for the Yankees:  pitcher Scott Kamieniecki.  Scott happens to be a Michigan native, hailing from Mt. Clemens, which is the location of one of the card shows I go to on occasion.  The Tigers actually tried to nab him in the '82 draft, with the Brewers following three years later, but Kamieniecki honored his commitment to Michigan and played all four years there before the Yanks drafted him in the 14th round in '86, several rounds after grabbing fellow Wolverines Casey Close (yep, the future agent) and Hal Morris.

He went on to play for New York, Baltimore, Cleveland, and Atlanta over 10 seasons, finishing with a 53-59 record over exactly 250 appearances.  The highlight of his career was likely a victory in the 1997 ALCS game 5 with Baltimore against Cleveland, who'd ultimately go on to win the pennant that year.

Again, I don't have much to show off, but here's what I do have:

Scott Kamieniecki 1991 Topps Traded
Scott Kamieniecki 1995 Pinnacle
Scott Kamieniecki 1995 Topps
Scott Kamieniecki 1997 Ultra

Player #4 is also a pitcher, though probably not as well known.  Heath Murray was San Diego's third round pick in the '94 draft (ahead of players such as A.J. Pierzynski, Aaron Boone and Scott Podsednik--ouch) and appear for them in two seasons ('97 and '99) before joining Detroit (2001) and finally Cleveland (2002).  His career record was 2-15 over 88 games, which explains why his career was so short.

Still, he's a fellow Michigan alum, he pitched for the Tigers (albeit one of their worst teams!), and best of all, he made his debut on my 14th birthday, May 24, 1997.  Like Dransfeldt, he was in the Majors at the right time to appear on a few hits, even if his overall catalog is small, making him another guy I could supercollect down the line.  Here's my three-card Murray collection:
Heath Murray 1997 Collector's Choice
Heath Murray 1997 Topps (with Blood, Pavano)
Heath Murray 1998 Bowman

Last but not least for today is an old player new to my collection, player #5, pitcher Geoff Zahn.  I actually first became aware of Zahn, a Baltimore native, thanks to a trade package from Doug of Sports Cards From the Dollar Store.  In a typically Wolverine-stuffed envelope, Doug sent me the first card you'll see below, Zahn's 1981 Fleer issue.  I decided to find about more about the guy and was thrilled to find out that he was actually Michigan Baseball's head coach from 1996-2001, which is too cool.

Before that, though, he was a pretty good Major League pitcher, going 111-109 in 13 seasons for the Dodgers, Cubs, Twins, and Angels, including an 18-8 record in '82 for California.  Back when there were more drafts, he was selected by the White Sox, Red Sox, and Tigers, before ending up with the Dodgers in '68.  Zahn pitched until 1985, then returned to his roots in Ann Arbor as a coach.

My Zahn collection is very small...for now.  I've actually decided to pursue his whole run since there's not that many (36), and nothing that weird to chase besides the usual Leaf/O-Pee-Chee/Topps Tiffany stuff.  I grabbed a bunch more of his cards from justcommons and will be showing those off very soon.  Here's what I do have:
Geoff Zahn 1981 Fleer
Geoff Zahn 1984 Topps (#276) (with Carew)
Geoff Zahn 1986 Topps

I still have plenty of players to show off for this feature, so stay tuned!  In the meantime, as always, follow along with my PCs on my Player Collections page.


  1. The education continues. I never realized how many pros came from Michigan. Geoff Zahn I remember because he was around when I collected as a kid, never knew he played for us though. Some of the Heath Murray cards seem familiar as well but don't really remember him.

    1. Trust me, I was surprised as you are when I learned about some of these guys. Murray didn't last very long so I don't blame either of us for not really remembering him. I still have six guys left to post, one being Larkin, and I think at least one of the others might be an unknown to you.

      So yeah, for being a northern school, we actually have a half-decent baseball tradition.