Wednesday, September 28, 2011

1976 Sussman Fort Lauderdale Yankees Baseball #5, Jim McDonald

Most MLB teams have a presence in Florida, given its strong collegiate sports and geographic access to players from Central America, South America, and the Gulf islands. A solid base of southern operations makes it easier to coordinate scouting, coach multiple levels as a group during spring training, and concentrate contract negotiation in a handful of cities. (I assume those without a local affiliate lean on MLB's Scouting Bureau or services like

Card front (blank back)

Fort Lauderdale played in the single-A Florida State League, which now comprises 12 teams. They're split between "North" and "South" divisions, but most play the state's peninsula (instead of its panhandle). 15 big league franchises hold spring training in Florida; the other 15 go to Arizona's Cactus League.

The minor leagues aren't all about grooming high-round draft picks; many teams place equal emphasis on developing their trainers and coaching staffs. Several of Fort Lauderdale's managers, for example, went on to play important roles for their parent club.

Value: Today's #5 cost $3 at Willie Upshaw's the best known player from its checklist and would run a little more.

Fakes / reprints: Haven't seen any in the market, though they'd be easy to reprint with modern equipment.

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