07 December 2014

1987 ProCards Williamsport Bills #1401 Bernardo Brito


    1987 arrived to find Bernardo Brito still in double-A ball, still in the Eastern League, but now in the uniform of the Williamsport Bills (the Indians having relocated their Eastern League affiliate from Waterbury during the offseason).  Brito's initial contract with the Indians had lapsed after the '86 season, but the March 1987 transaction sheets show the Indians signing him to a new one-year contract.  Given that this would be his seventh season in the organization, and he had shown a bit of pop, I suspect this was something of a "one last look" signing to see if Bernie would do something the Indians just couldn't live without.

    Following the conclusion of spring training, The Plain Dealer gave its yearly "Down on the farm" assessment of the Indians' minor league system in general, calling out the high points.  On Brito, staff writer Bill Nichols had this to say:
     Bernardo Brito is a slugger who must improve his fielding.  He hit 22 [sic, he actually hit 18] homers and knocked in 75 runs at Waterbury last year and probably will be looked at closely at Buffalo.
          Brito did manage to rebound a bit from his 1986 season, and put up more respectable numbers in his second season at AA, hitting .277 with 24 home runs while driving in 79.   Unfortunately for Brito, come the following March, he would be released by the Indians and never make it to Buffalo, the Indians AAA affiliate.  It was no surprise, really as Cleveland was loaded with outfielders and DH-types (Mel Hall, Brett Butler, Cory Snyder, Pat Tabler, Andre Thornton, Joe Carter, Dave Clark, Otix Nixon).  What was somewhat surprising is that he would be picked up by another team with the exact same glut of talent in the exact same places in the Minnesota Twins.

    ProCards followed up their 1986 minor league team set expansion with a very familiar looking design for 1987.  They also continued with their use of very boring photography.  But having a year under their belt now, they actually did include some stats on the back of the cards for the first time.

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