Card of the Day: 1994 ProCards Chance Sanford

Today’s Pittsburgh Pirates Card of the Day comes from a player who is probably familiar to a few people outside of the loyal readers of this site who see his bio every year. Chance Sanford’s big league career consisted of 14 games for the 1998 Pirates, plus five games for the 1999 Los Angeles Dodgers. If you’re counting at home, that’s exactly 19 more Major League games than I played.

Sanford is still a success story in a way by just making it to the majors. He was a tenth round pick of the Pirates in 1991, who decided to return to college, only to drop to the 27th round. The Pirates took him for a second straight season, then got him to sign. They developed him into a big league player over the next six seasons. Only four 27th round pick in 1992 made the majors. The best among them was Brendan Donnelly, who eventually played for the Pirates.

The Pirates actually got 12 players from that draft class to the majors, which is almost an unheard of success rate, especially back then when the majors wasn’t cycling through 1,500 players every year (that’s a legit average during the 2021-22 seasons!). However, that group includes Jason Kendall putting up 41.7 career WAR, compared to -0.5 for everyone else combined.

Sanford hasn’t appeared in our Card of the Day series yet. I had to go to the minor league side of things to get a card for him. I also had to give up some scan quality, due to the limited scan availability.  We look at his 1994 ProCards offering today, which features him as a member of the Salem Buccaneers.

Here’s the front of the card:

Clearly (unlike the scan) these uniforms took some cues from the Pirates jerseys, especially with the name Buccaneers. This Salem was in Virginia, where just as you would expect from a team located in Virginia, they were a member of the Carolina League. The Pirates and Salem joined forces in 1987, and they remained affiliated until the end of the 1994 season. They then partnered up with the Colorado Rockies and changed their name to the Avalanche…just like the hockey team from Colorado, which also became a thing in 1995.

This is a typical staged action photo from minor league cards. They would rarely get any action shots, even though that was a thing on cards for many years by 1994. You actually get an action shot of someone in the background of this card, probably going through infield practice. There’s also a nice mountain view over the outfield wall.

As you might be able to see in the bottom left here, these cards were put out by Fleer, under the ProCards name.

Here’s the back of the card:

You get a better look at that Buccaneers logo on the back, but I still couldn’t find a great scan without a watermark. There’s an error on this card, saying that he was a 29th round pick. The Pirates took Stan Wiltz in the 29th round that year. That might be the only time you hear his name on this site. You can see here that Sanford spent the entire 1993 season with Salem. These cards represent 1994 players, not guys who were there in 1993 like most sets released around that time. He spent the entire 1994 season with Salem as well.

These card backs look a little like a Lou Gehrig tribute. That baseball player in the background certainly looks like Gehrig, plus you get the pinstripes and New York Yankees colors. I still like the look of it, despite it reminding me of the Yankees.

If you’re interested in this card, this scan is from the only seller that has the card separately for sale. Good news is that they only want $2 delivered, but it’s literally one card, so get it before Bob does. There are also other minor league cards from 1994 showing Sanford on Salem, so you could always look elsewhere if you feeling like collecting obscure Pirates players. You can also buy the whole set for $11 and get a minor league card of Jason Kendall.