Wondering about Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon's early baseball cards?

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One of Major League Baseball’s best stories this year has been the worst-to-first performance of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays under the guidance of manager Joe Maddon.

Sure, we’re all aware of the rookie cards of Evan Longoria and late-season call-up David Price (not to mention the several other players with big potential).

But what about the early cards of their leader — probably best known for his eccentric choice in eyewear — who was named the Chuck Tanner Major League Manager of the Year award winner on Tuesday morning?

Maddon never made it far as a player in the Angels organization — he has just one card as a player in the 1976 TCMA Quad City Angels team set, which is probably better remembered for a notable error on Carney Lansford‘s card where he’s misnamed “Corney.”

Maddon’s card in the set (and the set itself) is not an easy card to find — I couldn’t find an image of one for this entry — and the last copy of the set sold on eBay for $169.99. (The buyer? MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann.)

One of Maddon’s first mangerial cards comes in the relatively affordable 1986 ProCards Midland Angels team set (above), but if that just doesn’t appease your Tampa Bay tastes — after all he’s not wearing his trademark glasses — then his 2006 Topps card (No. 590) or 2006 Upper Deck card (No. 1195) will have to do.

Chris Olds has collected sports cards and memorabilia since 1987. Before coming to Beckett Media, he wrote about the hobby for the Orlando Sentinel on his blog, SportsStuff, and for the San Antonio Express-News and The Tuscaloosa (Ala.) News. Do you have a comment, question or idea? Send e-mail to him at colds@beckett.com.

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