Wednesday, April 30, 2014

1989 Prince William Cannons

Last week I did a post about part of the Craigslist lot I picked up and went through a couple of factory sets. I have compiled my Want List for those three sets as a Tab above (Junk Wax Wants). Even if I was lucky enough to find a dime box, buying singles for these would probably cost more than buying a brand new sealed set outright so any help would be appreciated!

I also hinted at something I thought was pretty cool when I went through the box that had 1990 Bowman.

My local minor league team, the Potomac Nationals, is the Single A affiliate of the Washington Nationals and have been since the Nats came to DC in 2005. Prior to that, they were affiliates for the Cincinnati Reds (2003-04), the St. Louis Cardinals (1997-2002), the Chicago White Sox (1994-1996), the New York Yankees (1987-1993), the Pittsburgh Pirates (1981-1986) and the Seattle Mariners (1979).

Notable alumni include Bobby Bonilla and Barry Bonds during the Pirates era, Bernie Williams, Andy Pettitte and Jorge Posada with the Yankees, Magglio Ordonoez with the White Sox, Albert Pujols with the Cardinals and Joey Votto with the Reds. And of course, many of today’s Nationals came through Potomac as well.

My find has to do with the team when they were known as the Prince William Cannons and were affiliates of the New York Yankees. In case the title of this post didn’t give it away, tucked in the Bowman box was a Star team set of the 1989 Prince William Cannons. Well most of one anyway. There were 24 cards from the 29 card set. After a quick eBay search I found a team set and discovered the missing five cards were two players, two coaches and the manager. I also found that the set could be had for $6.00 shipped or a different seller was offering singles for $12.99 plus shipping for singles. What?! I guess I’m okay with a partial set…

But what makes this set even cooler, in my opinion, is that many of them were autographed! In theory. I guess I can’t be 100% positive but why would you fake autographs for a Single A baseball team back when the Yankees weren’t even that good?

Enough talking, here are some scans with a little commentary after doing some research.

Jason Bridges, Dennis Brow, Andy Cook
Neither Jason Bridges or Dennis Brow made it past Single A. Andy Cook would keep advancing through the ranks and pitch 5 1/3 innings over 4 appearances for the 1993 New York Yankees.

Bob DeJardin, Pedro DeLeon, Mike Draper
Bobby DeJardin would get as high as Triple A with bothe the Yankees and the Orioles but never punched through to the bigs. Pedro DeLeon spent 1989 between Single and Double A but was out of baseball after that season. Mike Draper was taken in the 1992 Rule V draft by the Mets and made 29 appearances in 1993 for them.

Rob Ehrhard, Ken Greer, Jeff Johnson
Rob Ehrhard advanced one more level but was done after the 1990 season. Kenny Greer was traded to the Mets for Frank Tanana and was 1-0 after a perfect relief inning that included two strikeouts in a late September game. He was granted free agency and signed with the Giants where he went 0-2 in 8 appearances. Jeff Johnson spent parts of three season with the Yankees from 1991-1993 compiling an 8-16 record and 6.52 ERA.

Pat Kelly, Jeff Livesey, Mark Harris
Pat Kelly is the first one I’ve actually heard of and remember him being a top prospect for the Yankees back in the day. I thought he ended up a bust but he got 9 Major League seasons under his belt, mostly with the Yankees. Neither Jeff Livesey or Mark “Moose” Marris made it to the show.

Bill Masse, Gerald Nielsen, Mark Ohlms
Bill Masse made it to Triple A Columbus Clippers but had a decent career as manager for most of early 2000s. Gerald “Jerry” Nielsen was drafted 6 different times between 1986 and 1988 and compiled a 1-0 record in 30 appearances with the Yankees and Angels. Mark Ohlms made it as far as Triple A with Toronto.

Vince Phillips, Bruce Prybylinski, Frank Seminara
Vince Phillips and Bruce Prybylinski advanced to Double AA. Frank Seminara had a 12-9 record with the San Diego Padres and New York Mets from 1992-1994.

Don Sparks, Don Stanford, Wade Taylor
Both Don Sparks and Don Stanford had long minor league careers (9 & 7 seasons respectively) but never got their break. Wade Taylor, the only other one I’ve heard of, went 7-12 in 23 games for the 1991 Yankees. I can actually picture his 1991 Topps card.

Dave Turgeon, Hector Vargas, Tom Weeks
And in anticlimactic fashion, neither of these final three, Dave Turgeon, Hector Vargas, or Tom Weeks went on to live the big league dream.

There was one more notable among the missing five, Gerald Williams. He would go on to have the most success, playing for 14 season in the Major League among six teams.

I found these rather interesting but they don’t hold any special meaning to me. So if any Yankees, minor league or autograph fans are interested, I’d probably offer them up for trade.

I hope you enjoyed that trip down memory lane and we should be back to your regularly scheduled Cubs post tomorrow.


  1. Pretty cool. Thanks for sharing.
    I love minor league autographs, especially when they sign the card upside-down and across their the picture of their own face (I'm looking at you Vince Phillips).

    1. I just stumbled across the set from the previous year too in another box. Fewer are autographed and they're in ball point pen, but the set is at least complete.