Bubba was one of my favorite players from the start of his career. I started following him while living in Lakeland, Florida. He played for the Lakeland Tigers in 1995, and I was 12. I didn't go to any games that year, but read about his power in the local paper. I made it to about 5 Lakeland games in 1996, but he had moved up the ladder by then. In 1997 I got his '97 Topps and '97 Collectors Choice cards out of packs and I looked forward to seeing him bash Homers for my favorite team, the Detroit Tigers. In November of that year, he was selected by my other favorite team, the expansion Tamla Bay Devil Rays. I saw a few Rays games in '98 and '99, and I got Bubba to sign his '97 Collectors Choice card at a game in 1999. I was crushed when the Rays traded him in 2000, but was happy to see him play in the World Series that year. Too bad it was against the Bankee$. He had a few good seasons with the Padres after that, but then the injuries and personal problems came and he was out of the sport by 2007. Bubba still remains one of my favorite players and I have close to 20 of his cards, including the autographed one, a jersey card, and a few parallels.
I don't know why Topps didn't put him in the '99 set. He was one of the few Rays that actually did ok in 1998. I'm assuming maybe just because of the small set size and how small the market is for Tampa Bay fans. It would've been nice to get a sunset card of him in the '04 set, but he didn't put up very good numbers, so it's easy to see why he got left off. I'll give him his sunset card soon enough.
His '99 card was easy enough to make. If you have the template, all you have to do is basically put it over a decent picture and rotate it and put in the name and team. In thinking about maybe doing a post where I either post templates for all the teams in a certain Topps set, or maybe post templates for every Topps set from 1951 to the present and just select a random team for every year. If that would interest you, let me know. Thanks for checking out my latest post.