Card of the Day: 2006 Fleer Tradition Nate McLouth

Today’s Card of the Day is both a first-time player and a first-time set.  We have not looked at the 2006 Fleer Tradition set yet. We also haven’t looked at Nate McLouth yet either. The Pittsburgh Pirates traded him to the Atlanta Braves on this date in 2009.

I’ll admit that I have passed over McLouth in the past. Based on his value to the Pirates, he should have been here before. Don’t get me wrong, I liked him as a player for the Pirates, I just didn’t like how he handled his departure from the Pirates. They wanted to move him off of center field for Andrew McCutchen, and he didn’t want to move. I can’t blame him for feeling that way, but it would have been for the better of the team if he was willing to make the move. He claimed his 2008 Gold Glove meant something, but his -2.1 dWAR from 2008 says otherwise. He had no business winning a Gold Glove that year. It’s as bad as any year Derek Jeter was given one, despite being one of the worst defensive shortstops ever.

McLouth then big league’d reporters from Pittsburgh when they tried to talk to him during Spring Training in 2010, which was followed by him taking pot shots at random people with the Pirates, including the team eye doctor of all people. It was really at that point that I cut ties with appreciating him for his time with the Pirates. What he did was unnecessary and then karma took over. He finished with -2.7 WAR during the 2010 season, which just felt right after he said he was in a much better place. The Pirates then brought him back for some reason in 2013, only to watch him hit like a relief pitcher for 34 games (.140 average!) before they mercifully cut ties.

You know about McLouth, so let’s look at the card itself. Here’s the front:

This set is called Fleer Tradition, but it was actually released by Upper Deck. They purchased Fleer in 2005, then released this set in August of 2006. It was a 200-card set, but there were plenty of inserts that led to 448 total cards. This is one of the base cards. There are also variations for all of the base cards.

McLouth debuted in 2005, when he played 41 games for the Pirates. He mostly saw time in September, while accumulating just 109 at-bats, so he was still considered to be a rookie in 2006. You can see the rookie card logo in the bottom right here. The bottom section has a bit of a throwback feel here. I like the use of the Pirates hat as the team logo. It reminds me a bit of the 1981 Topps set, though some genius at Topps used the pillbox cap for the Pirates and regular caps for everyone else. I like that you get a shot of that cool Pirates logo on his sleeve.

Here’s the back of the card:

The backs pull some of the looks from the front, especially the use of yellow/blue, as well as the stars. I can definitely appreciate them putting the logo on here. You can tell that this was a mid-season set released because they quote a stat from early 2006. I don’t like all of that wasted space at the bottom of the stats section, which could have been more bio information, or the inclusion of his minor league stats. I used a crooked scan because it felt right.

If you want this card for some reason, it’s a cheap one you can get from multiple sellers for $2 delivered. You might even be interested in one auction that has eight cards, including a variation that is a sepia color. Their price is under $4 delivered, including the tax. There’s an authenticated autograph copy that someone is asking $50 for…seriously. You should be able to get one of his autographed Pirates cards for under $5.