This is the second appearance for William Pennyfeather in our Card of the Day series. His first time was two years ago today for his 1993 Score card. He was born 55 years ago today, so it’s a good day to give him a second look. Pennyfeather played outfield for the 1992-94 Pittsburgh Pirates. He played a total of 40 big league games over a 19-year career in pro ball, with all of those big league games coming as a member of the Pirates.
Today’s card comes from the 1993 Topps set. This card has two special things going on that separate it from the regular base cards in the set. Pennyfeather was part of the Coming Attractions subset. That was just Topps trying out a new way to highlight rookies. The other special part of this card is with the scan in particular that I chose to use. Topps put out special Inaugural sets for the Florida Marlins and the Colorado Rockies. They were released in full sets in each city during the first season for each team. Today’s card comes from the Rockies set. It includes a gold foil stamp marking their inaugural season. The 1993 Topps set had 825 cards total. Pennyfeather is card #819 in the set.
Here’s the front of the card:
Topps was going for something here to show that these rookies are players to watch. As you may know from the history of highlight prospects/rookies, there are a lot fewer hits than there are misses. That’s not really on Topps, just baseball in general. The history of baseball is loaded with potential future stars who did anything from never making it to the majors, to becoming Hall of Famers, with everything in between as a possibility. When you see the prospect cards over the years, then you realize just how often they miss.
Pennyfeather is not a story of failure. He’s actually a story of success. He was signed as an undrafted free agent, so just the fact that he made it to the majors was a success. He was a bit of an odd choice by Topps though. He didn’t have big stats in the minors coming up through the system except for less than half of a season in Double-A, which is what helped him to the majors. He struggled that same season in Triple-A. He also wasn’t a power hitter, big speed guy or a high OBP player. He deserved a card in the set, but I don’t know if I would have put him in this subset.
The gold foil for the first season of the Rockies is in the bottom left of this card. The regular card in the set has no marking there at all. These are much tougher to find. More on that in the pricing section below.
Here’s the back of the card:
The backs of these cards have a lot of colors going on. I’m not exactly sure what Topps was going for with this look. What I like about the back is that they included all of his career stats. You can see everything I described about him being a low power/low speed/low OBP guy. You do see he has some decent stolen base totals in that 1989-91 range, but his 53 steals total during those years included 27 caught stealing, and that was his best stretch of running. The ten steals in 1992 came in 18 attempts. Those walk totals also held him back. Pennyfeather started hitting for some power later in his career, mostly in independent ball.
If you are interested in this particular version (or the Marlins), you’ll be happy to know that there’s no real difference in the prices. Some people are trying to charge more for these, but they aren’t collectible, so there’s no need to pay more. There’s also a gold version of the base card, where his name is in gold foil. All of those four cards (base/gold/Rockies/Marlins) can be had for $2 delivered each. There are also four autographed copies, none of them authenticated. They range from $7 to $11 delivered.