We’ve still got almost three months before the Can-Am League season begins, but since the Newark Bears have a preliminary roster posted at the league website I thought it would be interesting to see how many of them have baseball cards.
New Bears’ manager Ken Oberkfell is the most famous new name in the Can-Am League for 2012, so far at least. Beginning with a rookie card in the 1980 Topps set (#701), he appeared on 64 different cards from the major manufacturers (Topps, Donruss, Fleer, Sportsflics, Score, Upper Deck and Bowman) during his career.
Oberkfell also has a significant number of minor league team set cards, but I don’t have access to any comprehensive checklist that would include those. For that reason, I’m going to focus on the more widely available issues. (If you want to see Oberkfell’s minor league cards from his days managing in the New York Mets’s farm system, I shared scans of them a few weeks ago.)
Newark’s new pitching coach, Ralph Citarella, has one major league baseball card. It’s in the 1985 Donruss set (#504).
A former third round draft choice of the Houston Astros, pitcher Anthony Pluta made it into the 2001 Topps (#738) and Topps Chrome (#608) sets on rookie cards shared with Justin Wayne. Pluta also has a card in the 2002 Upper Deck Minor League set (#8).
A one-time Atlanta Braves prospect, outfielder Quentin Davis appeared in the 2008 Bowman Prospects and Bowman Chrome Prospects sets (#BP75 / BCP75.) If you’re looking for a unique item, the yellow printing plate from his Bowman Prospects card is listed on CheckOutMyCards.com for $25.
Some of the other players on the Bears’ roster have minor league team set cards from earlier stops in their careers, including Mikey Mehlich and Caleb Stewart. However, many would be making their professional debuts in 2012 (pitchers Sean Campbell, Damian Sequen and Rob Swift) or have only played for the Newark Bears (pitchers Matt Fitton and Pedro Rivera, infielder Ryan Walsh) … and since the Bears last produced a baseball card set in 2008, there hasn’t been a lot to collect lately.