Baseball Card of the Week: 2008 AL Cy Young Winner Cliff Lee

'Tis the season of awards, the season when, each year, the magical faeries at the Baseball Writers Association of America vote on the various awards given out to players throughout the land. (Well, technically, the magical faeries that actually play and manage the games vote on some of them, and the somewhat less magical faeries who make up the Internet voting public vote on still others.)

The time of year when, each and every time, some Cardinal player is shafted. This year it was Albert and the Gold Gloves already. Of course, there's still time for Albert to receive an even more insulting slight; the MVP's are still on the way.

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Cliff Lee
Well, yesterday, the AL Cy Young award did, in fact, go to the right player, giving me a bit more faith in humanity (and faeriekind), than I had before. Not much, mind you, but a little.

And so, Cliff Lee, you titan of the mound, you are our featured player today on the Card of the Week. Congratulations. You have done what few other men have done. You have garnered the attention of an internet hack who writes a sports column for a regional alternative journal. You, sir, are truly the man.

What we have here is a 2007 Cliff Lee card by Topps Heritage. The Topps Heritage series is one of my very favorite in the card world, due to the vintage style coloring and faux painted backgrounds, reminiscent of cards from the 1940s and '50s.

The Cy Yound was Lee's second award of the year; he also won the Player's Association's Comeback Player of the Year award a couple of weeks ago.

Of course, lee was only in position to win the Comeback Player award because he suffered such a lost season last year. He went 5-8, with a 6.38 ERA last season, which by the way is the highest ERA ever posted by a pitcher the year before he won the Cy Young award. Lee also battled an oblique injury last season that never truly seemed to allow him to get on track. In fact, it got so bad for Lee that there were rumors in the off-season that the Indians and Cardinals were looking to make a trade of formerly well thought of pitchers who had fallen on hard times: Lee and our very own Anthony Reyes. Of course, the Indians ended up getting Reyes anyway, and they didn't even have to give Lee up. Good lord, can you imagine if that deal had been made now? Oy.

Anyhow, water under the bridge, right? Congratulations to Mr. Lee, and to all of you aspiring ballplayers out there, remember: you can make as many All-Star teams as you like, but until you make Card of the Week, you're just bench filler.

As always, and and all submissions for the Card of the Week should be sent to me at asaeschafer@gmail.com.

- Aaron Schafer


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