Card of the Day: 2001 Topps Sean Burnett

Today’s Card of the Day subject came about because of A.J. Burnett. The Pittsburgh Pirates traded for Burnett on this date in 2012. The former Pirates players born on February 19th don’t offer many Card of the Day options that show them on the Pirates. So then I planned on using A.J. Burnett as the player. I went to the Card of the Day page on our site, which is closing in on 900 articles, and I searched “Burnett”. Just as I hit enter to search, the thought crossed my mind that at least one of the results would be Sean Burnett. I was wrong. He has never been in this series…until today.

Sean Burnett played for the Pirates during the 2004 and 2008-09 seasons. He was a first round pick out of high school at 17 years old, who was a top prospect in the system for a few years. He had solid velocity for a lefty when he was drafted, but his prospect stock took a hit when he just maintained velocity, instead of adding as he got older. He had a rough time once he reached Triple-A, but he ended up having a solid nine-year big league career because his stuff played up in a relief role.

Burnett was drafted in 2000, while today’s card is from the 2001 Topps set. It’s a card that features Burnett and Mike Stodolka, who was the fourth overall pick in that same draft. Here’s a look at card #359 from that set.

Here’s the front of the card:

As you can see, Topps had rookie cards for 2000 draft picks. Both pitchers here were fresh out of high school, though Stodolka was a full year older than Burnett. I was a fan of this set because of the design, the different border color than the norm, and cards like this, where you got two top prospects in one. If you were collecting cards of Pirates at the time, I’m sure you didn’t mind the fourth overall pick tagging along, unless it affected the price (which it probably did at the time).

I’m a fan of the team logos on the front as well, though I shouldn’t have to point out that the Pirates one is much better. The only thing I don’t like about these cards is the writing on front. It’s too hard to read. That was not well thought out.

Here’s the back of the card:

I like the set up of the backs as well. If you look at Stodolka, you can see why they drafted him fourth overall…well, you can see it if you realize that Topps mixed up the strikeout and walk categories. He actually had 133 strikeouts in 68 innings as a senior. That would be great if that was the only mistake, but they have his 2000 stats wrong as well. It’s missing the results from two games with the GCL Royals, plus he played one game in Low-A that year. It’s okay, they didn’t get Burnett’s stats correct for his pro time (they are missing the stats from one game). At least you can see all of those high school stats for Burnett, proving why the Pirates selected him 19th overall.

In case you’re wondering about Stodolka. He struggled a bit in Low-A, then missed plenty of time during both years in High-A, before really doing poorly in his only shot at Double-A in 2005. He then switched to first base in 2006, where he put up impressive stats under the circumstances in High-A, put up better stats in Double-A in 2007 (.871 OPS in 110 games), then had a .771 OPS in Triple-A during the 2008 season. His season and career ended with a hand injury in early August that year.

If you are interested in this card, you’ll be happy to know it is cheap. Someone has a copy signed by both players for $20, with a best offer option, while two other people have both of them signed for $10, though you can get it for as low as $6. One signed by just Burnett is $13, with a best offer, while another person has it for $8 delivered, and someone else has it for $7. Don’t want to pay $7? The lowest one is $5. There is a gold border version of this card, with 2,001 copies printed. Those are cheap as well, though only one is active right now and it is overpriced. Pay $2 delivered for the regular card, $3 for the gold.