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Mike Brumley: A Padre on cardboard, but never the field

I have a real fascination with what my e-migo Nick, author of the incredible card blog Dime Boxes, calls "zero-year cards". The premise is simple: A zero-year card is one on which a player is pictured as a member of a team he never played a regular-season game for. Most examples of these involve players like Alex Cole who got traded before reaching the majors, but more interesting to me are the mid-career instances such as Harold Reynolds. Mike Brumley's 1989 Donruss card depicting him in Padres brown and orange fits that bill.

Brumley was a member of the Padres organization for a little over a year; he spent all of 1988 with AAA Las Vegas after being acquired from the Cubs along with Keith Moreland for Ray Hayward and a disgruntled Goose Gossage. Following a good season down on the farm, Brumley came to spring training in 1989 vying for a bench job behind Garry Templeton, Roberto Alomar, and Randy Ready. However, about a week before Opening Day, he was sent to Detroit for the second coming of Luis Salazar. The trade is universally panned by Tigers fans, as Brumley hit below the Mendoza line with no power in a career-high 92 games. Detroit managed to pawn him off on the Orioles the following winter for middling DH Larry Sheets, and then Baltimore released him before the season.  Brumley next latched on with Seattle and got into a handful of major league games each year through 1995 with them, the Red Sox, Astros, and A's.

I didn't even realize I had this card until this morning when I was flipping through an alphabetized box of random Padres cards looking for Greg Booker. When I saw Brumley's name something didn't seem quite right. I knew I had seen it before, but it didn't ring a bell in connection with any of those late-'80s Padres teams. Curious that I might have had a zero-year card I didn't know about under my nose all this time, I looked up his Baseball Reference page and sure enough. If we're being completely honest right now, I'm kind of embarrassed that I'm such a nerd that it occurred to me to look that up.