Mo Vaughn can teach you a few things about baseball, and about baseball cards.

Or, at least his 1988 Ballpark Cape Cod Prospects card taught me something just today.

Before I ran across this card in one of my recent romps across the interwebs, I had a vague notion that the Cape Cod League was a place where baseball prospects often played.

Low-level bush league stuff, maybe. Not sure.

And that was about it.

For sure, I’d never even heard of the Wareham Gatemen. But … what a name, right?

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Also, just look how young and fit “Maurice” appears on that card. Certainly different from how most of us remember Mo as he slugged, then aged quickly, with the Boston Red Sox and California Angels a decade later.

In 1988, though, Maurice Vaughn was still a college player, starring at Seton Hall.

If you look at his Baseball Reference page, in fact, you’ll see he wasn’t drafted by the BoSox until June of 1989, when they made him the 23rd overall selection.

Seeing as how Mo was an amateur when that 1988 Ballpark card was issued, then, that in itself rules out the Wareham Gatemen as a minor league club, so it’s time to find out for sure just what’s going on here.

A quick trip over to Wikipedia will do the trick:

The Wareham Gatemen are a collegiate summer baseball team based in Wareham, Massachusetts. The team is a member of the Cape Cod Baseball League (CCBL) and plays in the league’s West Division. The Gatemen play their home games at Clem Spillane Field in Wareham.

And if we jump over to the Cape Cod Baseball League page, we see more:

The Cape Cod Baseball League (CCBL or Cape League) is a collegiate summer baseball league located on Cape Cod in the U.S. state of Massachusetts. One of the nation’s premier collegiate summer leagues, the league boasts over one thousand former players who have gone on to play in the major leagues.

There’s plenty of meat on both of those pages, both worth a read and the spiraling that will undoubtedly result (you might spend a day digging into all the tentacles, in other words).

For our purposes, though, the Cape Cod Baseball League is a summer gathering of college players, usually among the best in the country. And in 1988, Maurice Vaught was right there with guys like Frank Thomas, Chuck Knoblauch, Jeff Bagwell, and … um … Harry Ball.

Those youngsters, and 16 more, along with ten team cards, made up the Ballpark Cape Code League Prospects set that summer.

And now you know. Though, you probably already did.

It’s all news to me, though, and I thank Mo Vaughn for the edification.

Hobby Hots

If you were looking for a high-end baseball card set in 1988, you couldn’t do much better than Topps Tiffany, with its premium cardstock and high-gloss finish. You can still find that beauty fairly readily on eBay today …

Check out current listings right here (affiliate link).

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