Abe Simpson. But as a dedicated team collector, I just, like, needed this card, dagnabbit, so much so that I included it on a wish list that I then prominently displayed on the left sidebar of my blog, and thoughtful fellow collector GCA sought out that card and bought it for me, and sent it through the mail along with the 1999 Fleer Tradition Update Mike Figga card that's listed two slots down from Josh Bell, and here we are, and I seriously need to update that blasted "Coveted Cluster" list, and maybe find a better name for that list, and definitely bring this absurd run-on sentence to a close.
Hey, where am I? Where did everybody go?
To sum up: 1) Thank you, Greg. 2) New and improved "most wanted" list in the works, scheduled date TBA. 3) Was it really less than five years ago that the Orioles and their fans were doing mental gymnastics to convince themselves (ourselves) that Josh Bell was the answer at third base in a post-Melvin Mora world?
At the very least, I can answer the Josh Bell question. Because he looked so abysmally overmatched in his failed trials in Baltimore in 2010 and 2011 (cumulative .200/.221/.264, 32 OPS+, 6 BB, 78 K in 282 PA), my current perception of Bell's past promise has been unfairly colored. In 2009, his age 22 season, the hulking third base prospect batted .295/.376/.516 with 35 doubles and 20 homers in 127 games in his first (and as it happened, only) tour of AA. He walked 61 times and struck out 98, which is worlds more discipline than he showed in the majors. There were questions about his defense and his ability to switch-hit, but he was a legitimate power hitter in the minors who could even take a few walks. Baseball America tabbed him as the 37th best prospect in all of the minor leagues prior to the 2010 season, when this card was in the works. That same year, Baseball Prospectus ranked him 39th overall, so another group of knowledgeable folks saw the upside that Bell had. He just didn't make it there.