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Baseball Collectors Get Their First Look at Upcoming Lineup
December 09, 2004
Copyright 2015 TMP International, Inc.

Major League Baseball kicks off the 2005 season with new champions and a new team in a new city -- Spring is the season of rebirth, so it's only right to offer our newest baseball series to our collectors. We present the much-anticipated images for MLB 11, due in stores in April 2005.

ALEX RODRIGUEZ 3 -- The Yankees broke the bank to bring one of baseball's best batters to the Bronx. A-Rod spent 2004 learning to play third base, while turning in a typically stellar year at the plate. He turned 29 this season and has compiled 381 career home runs. At the end of the year Hank Aaron turned 29, he had 298 career homers. It's not fair to extrapolate out what the next ten years might bring, but it's interesting to note the mind-boggling pace Rodriguez is setting.

MIKE PIAZZA 2 -- The best-hitting catcher of all time split time defensively last year, but he's best known for his work behind the plate. Piazza has endured criticism of his defensive skills over his career, but he's done well for a player who learned to catch in the minors and nobody blocks the plate quite like the 6'3 backstop. On May 5th, 2004 Piazza crushed his 352nd career home run as a catcher, eclipsing Carlton Fisk to become the greatest power-hitting catcher of all time.

JOHNNY DAMON -- The Red Sox center field sheriff garnered national attention in the 2003 playoffs, returning from a horrific collision to help Boston force a Game Seven against New York. A year later, Damon returned with beard and mane to deliver a pair of Game Seven home runs that propelled the Red Sox past the hated Yankees and to their first World Championship since 1918.

ROY HALLADAY -- The 2003 A.L. Cy Young Award winner suffered through an injury-shortened season in 2004, but remains Toronto's ace and one of the most dominant starters in the game. The 27-year-old righthander looks to make a return to the Cy Young race for the Blue Jays in 2005.

BILLY WAGNER -- The hardest-throwing pitcher in baseball isn't 6'10 Randy Johnson or 240-pound Roger Clemens. MLB's most-feared fastball comes from the left hand of Philadelphia closer Billy Wagner. Don't let Wagner's 5'10 180-pound frame fool you. Batters who dig in against Wagner are likely to hear what a 102-mph fastball SOUNDS like. Over his ten-year career Wagner has struck out 753 batters in 552 career innings. Don't cry for the batters he fanned, save your pity for the 20 batters he's hit.

VLADIMIR GUERRERO 2 -- Sometimes a change in scenery doesn't mean squat. The people applauding Anaheim's signing of Guerrero last winter were Angels fans and National League pitchers. Vlad adapted to his new league instantly, pounding out 39 homers and 126 RBIs while leading the Angels to the division title and earning the American League MVP award. How scary is "Vlad the Impaler?" His seasons in 1999 and 2000 were arguably BETTER than this year's MVP campaign. It's hard to believe there could be better years ahead for baseball's most dominant player.

KEN GRIFFEY JR. 3 -- The signature baseball player of the 1990's turned heads with eye-popping catches and tape-measure home runs. After two seasons were ruined by injury, Cincinnati's center fielder returned to his old tricks in 2004, pounding 20 homers and driving in 60 runs before injury struck again. Griffey's star still shines brightly -- a healthy return to the diamond in 2005 will only add to his already-storied career.

MARK PRIOR 2 -- The Cubs' high-socked ace continues his tear through the National League. With 30 victories and a career ERA of 3.08, Prior is years ahead of his time -- compiling his third major-league season before his 24th birthday. For a team that boasted Ferguson Jenkins and more recently Kerry Wood, Mark Prior is poised to raise the bar at Wrigley Field. This isn't the "friendly confines" when baseball's best young pitcher is on the hill.

Enjoy your first official photography of this series, which is set to hit retail shelves in April 2005.

All stories are Copyright © and TMP International, Inc., and may not be reprinted without permission.

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