Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Dominican Baseball Card #1: Raul Mondesi

The Dominican Baseball Guy has been inspired by some fellow baseball bloggers to start a weekly post with Dominican baseball cards. Here are some of the favorite baseball card blogs of the Dominican Baseball Guy: Night Owl Cards, Card Board Junkie, A Cardboard Problem, A Pack a Day, The Baseball Card Blog, Cardfu the Sports Card Blog, BDJ610's Topps Baseball Card Blog, Dinged Corners.  Then there are some that cover particular players or teams: Carl Crawford Cards, Cards on Cards, Grand Cards (Curtis Granderson) and one that covers the Dominican Baseball Guy's beloved Texas Rangers, Texas Rangers Cards.  The Dominican Baseball Guy will get a list of these (and other) baseball card blogs up soon.

So, with that said, the Dominican Baseball Guy is starting a weekly post of Dominican Baseball Cards.  This is a great way to show off some cards, and expose people to Dominican Baseball Players from the present and inform people about Dominican players from the past.

The first Dominican Baseball player card to be posted is a 1990 Bowman Raul Mondesi card:

Raul Mondesi was a five tool player and highly touted prospect when he came up with the Dodgers in 1993.  Interesting that Bowman put out a Raul Mondesi card, even though he was only a minor leaguer at the time.  That shows how highly thought of he was as a prospect.  Raul had some very good years with the Dodgers and Toronto, hitting 30 HRs with 80 RBI a few times.  He won the NL Rookie of the Year in 1994 and Gold Gloves in 1995 and 1997.  The Dominican Baseball Guy was surprised to see that he only made one All-Star game in 1995.  A lot of people would characterize Mondesi as a player that did not reach his potential, but the Dominican Baseball Guy thinks that 13 years in the big leagues (271 HRs, 860 RBI, .273 lifetime), along with the Gold Gloves and All-Star appearance, is a pretty good career.

Raul retired for good in 2005.  He returned to his hometown of San Cristobal, Dominican Republic, and became involved in politics.  He first served in the Dominican Congress, representing his home district of San Cristobal.   He was recently elected Mayor of San Cristobal and will be serving a 6 year term (this is the only article the Dominican Baseball Guy could find on this).  That's right, Raul Mondesi is mayor of his hometown.  This shows how important baseball is in the DR.  This article in the LA Times describes Mondesi's political rise and explains part of the reason former ball players are successful in Dominican politics:
"Retired ballplayers are very useful. And being that baseball is the king of Dominican sports, they use them a lot," said Americo Celado, a columnist for the Dominican website Clave Digital. "But never thinking they can work for the good, submitting project after project in the Congress that will benefit society. Basically, it's to take advantage of their popularity."
Name recognition, after all, is huge in a country where 33% of the population doesn't finish eighth grade, and nearly two-thirds of people don't graduate from high school."
Artists and baseball players have a better chance of getting elected because of their fame. And their money," Celado said. "That's what [the political parties] use them for.
 Look for another Dominican Baseball Card on the 10th, 20th, and 30th of every month!

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