07 January 2015

2012 Diablos Rojos del Mexico Roberto Kelly

     At the end of his playing days, when no Major League work could be found, Roberto Kelly finished out his career in Mexico City.  He played the 2002 and 2003 seasons with the Diablos Rojos, putting up respectable Mexican League numbers (batting .334 with 19 HR and 80 RBI in 78 games in 2002).  For the 2004 season, he stepped out of the line up and into his first non-player role as manager of the team.  Kelly was a mid-season replacement for Bernie Tatis, who had been sacked after the team occupied last place in the standings through May.  Once Kelly took over, the team went on a 17-4 run in June, putting them in 1st place.1

     Kelly's team would ultimately lose in the playoffs to Los Piratas de Campeche, but the half season showing was good enough to attract the attention of the San Francisco Giants organization who put Kelly at the helm of their South Atlantic League affiliate, the Augusta GreenJackets for the 2005 season.  In any case, 2005 was to be the 65th anniversary of the Diablos Rojos, and they instituted a Mexicans Only policy as a way to commemorate the occasion, so being from Panama, Kelly would have been out anyway.

    Spring forward to June of 2012 and the Diablos Rojos, with a sponsorship of Banamex (the second largest bank in Mexico), produced a very nice set of baseball cards featuring both active and former team members from throughout the history of the team.  The cards are slightly more narrow than standard, but where available, are in full color and on about the same quality card stock as most modern minor league cards.  The set contains at least 88 different cards.  The set is not numbered, but many of the cards feature the subjects' uniform numbers on the front, next to their name.  The set was given out at the stadium in Mexico City in packs of 5 cards each.  Many of them have turned up on on Mercado Libre for sale relatively cheaply.

    Awhile back Arturo, that great friend of the blog from Mexico, sent me his checklist for the set.   (Thank you again, sir, for helping me pick up the Roberto Kelly card for my collection!)  As usual he also has a very nice gallery of most of the set posted to his photobucket account (including lots of autographs).

     The checklist has been posted to the SportsCardForum.com Inventory Manager and to TradingCardDB.com.  As the set was not numbered, the checklists presented at each site were arranged in roughly alphabetical order.

1. http://www.espndeportes.com/news/story?id=242069

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