Sunday, January 8, 2023

Nate Colbert Reunion

I recently heard that Nate Colbert passed away. I typically don't do tributes for players that aren't associated with the Angels, and I wouldn't really call this a tribute, but more of the telling of a coincidence. I certainly do appreciate Colberts career, and have heard good things about him, but I have had no personal connection to him: he never played for the Angels, I don't think I ever saw him play in person, I've never asked for his autograph whether in person or TTM. But I heard he passed away.

A few days after hearing that however, I was thumbing through a box of my random cards, and came across this:

1990 Pro Cards Riverside Red Wave
Strange coincidence I thought. The card was by itself, without the rest of the team set, but I knew that I still had the team set somewhere. Why was this Colbert card all by itself? Given some of the other cards around it, I assumed that I had set it aside at some point, probably a half dozen years ago or so, to send to him for an autograph. I guess I never got around to it. There's also no record in my SCN account of ever sending anything to him. So here was this card of Colbert in a strange location all alone.

I then set out to reunite him with his team. I remember obtaining the Red Waves set shortly after separating from active duty Air Force, moving back to my home state, and joining the California Air National Guard in 1990. Back in those days, and still a bit today, I liked to visit minor league fields, see a game if I can, photograph them and pick up a piece of memorabilia, in this case a team set of the Red Wave. The Red Waves played at the Riverside Sports Center, which was on my way home from weekend duty at March Air Force Base where my new unit was.

After a bit of searching I was able to find the rest of that set.

The Riverside Red Wave were a Class A Advanced team for the San Diego Padres, and existed from 1988-1990, after which they moved to Adelanto and became the High Desert Mavericks. The team started life as the Salinas Spurs and were either owned, or were then purchased by the Brett brothers, Bobby, George, John and Ken, and moved to Riverside where they became the Red Waves.
Unfortunately I never got to see Red Waves play, and if I recall it was the end of the season when I visited and they were out of town. I must have gotten these from the team store.

An interesting note to the set is that you have a card for Colbert, the hitting coach, and Luebber the pitching coach, even an unnumbered card of the trainer, but no card of the manager who would have been Bruce Bochy! Weird.

So, although not necessarily a tribute to Nate Colbert, it's more of a reunion of sorts.


  1. Not a fan of that particular Pro Cards wood panel MiLB set, but I LOVE that Colbert card.

  2. Glad you were able to reunite Colbert with the rest of his team. Very interesting that they included coach cards (and a trainer), but not a manager. Also never knew George Brett (and brothers) owned a minor league team. I wonder if he still does.