Tuesday, October 4, 2011
Time: 18 Days
Item Sent: 1988 Cal League Visalia Oaks, 1989 ProCards Visalia Oaks, 1990 ProCards Orlando SunRays, 1991 ProCards Orlando SunRays, 1993 Fleer/ProCards Nashville Sounds
Item Received: 1988 Cal League Visalia Oaks, 1989 ProCards Visalia Oaks, 1990 ProCards Orlando SunRays, 1991 ProCards Orlando SunRays, 1993 Fleer/ProCards Nashville Sounds. All signed in black Sharpie.
Shawn Gilbert is a study in baseball perseverance - almost a baseball version of "Rudy." Drafted by the Twins in 1987, he quickly rose up the organization's middle infield depth chart thanks to his blazing speed. Though undersized at 5'9" and 170 pounds, he was thought of highly enough to be included it a couple of Twins team yearbooks in the early nineties, in the prospects section. In five full seasons in the Twins system, he posted stolen base totals of 50, 42, 31, 43, and 31. Following the 1992 season, though, he had been bypassed on the Twins middle infield depth chart by the likes of Pat Meares, Jeff Reboulet, and Chip Hale. The White Sox claimed him off waivers and he spent 1993 playing for their Nashville Sounds farm team. From there he went to the Phillies and Mets systems. In June 1997, at the age of 32 and in his 11th professional season, Gilbert finally made the big leagues. In all, he would appear in 51 big league games for the Mets, Cardinals, and Dodgers from 1997 to 2000. That pales in comparison to the 1,744 minor league games he played in for seven different organizations from 1987 to 2003. Gilbert collected 1,642 career minor league hits and stole 341 career minor league bases. Obviously a baseball lifer, it's only natural that he is now coaching. He is an assistant for college powerhouse Long Beach State, working under fellow former Twins farmhand Troy Buckley.