Saturday, October 22, 2016

591st Place - Luis Quinones

Card #667

It looks like Quinones has a Topps tattoo on his forearm, doesn't it?

Luis Quinones is part of a long line of light-hitting middle infielders, the type of player who littered the bloated Topps sets with 792 cards.  Signed at just 18 years of age out of his native Puerto Rico in 1980, he made a brief appearance in the majors during the 1983 season, but became a more permanent fixture starting in 1986.

Though he played on a few different teams during his career, he is best remembered as a bench player for the World Series winning team from Cincinnati in 1990.  In fact, Lou Piniella made the unlikely move in game six of the NLCS to bring in Quinones and sit Paul O'Neil versus Pirates lefty Zane Smith.  Sure enough, Quinones lined a single to score Ron Oester.  That sent the Reds to the World Seires and the rest was history.

These days you can find Luis as the hitting coach for the Batvia Muckdogs.  If you have any idea which Major League team Batvia falls under you're a better baseball fan than me!

Saturday, October 15, 2016

592nd Place - John Davis

Card #672

John Davis must have looked quite intimidating on the mound.  He's listed as 6'7" and 215 pounds.  That's NBA size, not MLB!

If you squint just right Davis kind of looks like Roger Clemens, but that's where the comparisons end.  Though he had a pretty 2.27 ERA in 1987, he also walked 26 batters in 43 innings.  That was a trend that would catch up to him in his next three seasons and he would be done in the majors after 1990.

I'm somewhat mesmerized by the mini-Green Monster behind Davis.  I assume that's the center field batter's screen at their minor league park.

A local newspaper caught up with John Davis back in 2014 when the Royals made their first visit to the World Series since 1985.  Good luck navigating all the pop-ups.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

593rd Place - Len Matuszek

Card #92

It's a head-scratcher that Matuszek even got a card in this set.  He only had 15 at-bats in 1987 and didn't make it to the summer months on the Dodger roster before he was out of baseball for good.

He came to L.A. via trade with the Toronto Blue Jays, who received near-Hall of Famer Al Oliver in return. Raise your hand if you remember the 35 games Al Oliver played on the Dodgers in 1985.  If you did, I don't believe you!  The time between Steve Garvey and Eddie Murray at first base on the Dodgers was full of stopgap guys like Matuszek.  I bet Garvey was secretly loving every depressing minute of it.

Matuszek played baseball and basketball for the University of Toledo during his undergrad days, and has spent some of his post-baseball time helping out adults with special needs.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

594th Place - Sammy Stewart

Card #701

This is actually Stewart's last card, as he didn't pitch in 1988.  Maybe it's just me, but there's something about the lighting and pose that makes this look like an old tobacco card.

Stewart is best known as the long reliever for the Baltimore Orioles, playing on their World Series teams in 1979 and 1983.  When you look at the back of his card it's amazing to see the innings he racked up.  Between 1979 and 1983 he pitched no fewer than 112.  You just don't see that in today's game.

You might also know Stewart for his infamous crack cocaine arrests and prison stint.  It appears he came out of jail a better person.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

595th Place - Tom Lawless

Card #183

Oh man, there's so much to love about this card, even though the man himself was, let's be honest, not exactly major league material.

Exhibit A:  one of the cheesiest smiles you'll ever see on a baseball card.

Exhibit B:  his name sounds like he should be a professional wrestler, not a ballplayer.

Exhibit C:  the mesh jersey.  The jersey of little leagues in the 1980's.  Classy.

Exhibit D:  mismatched batting gloves.

Exhibit E:  the chain link fence and creepy stranger in the background.

Exhibit F:  that mustache!

Exhibit G:  batting donut!!!

And to top it all did a guy who hit .080 in 25 at-bats during the 1987 season even get a card? Maybe because of his second ever home run in the majors?

I barely have him cracking the top 600 cards in the set, but maybe he deserves to be in the top 60...?

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

596th Place - Jim Walewander

Card #106

Today you're gonna get to play
Trammell will throw it back to you
By now you should've somehow
Realized you weren't Sweet Lou
I don't think Sparky Anderson
Feels the way I do about you now

Bad beats, the word is on the street
That at the plate you're an easy out
I'm sure you'd like to get ball four
But "Strike three!" the ump will shout
I don't believe Ernie Harwell
Feels the way I do about you now

And all the roads in the minors are winding
And all the lights in Tiger Stadium blinding
There are many things Gibby and Morris
Would like to say to you
About their scowls

Because maybe
A utility infielder will save me
And after all
You're my Wanderwale...

Friday, August 19, 2016

597th Place - Sal Butera

Card #772

Ted Williams, who many would argue is the best pure hitter in the history of baseball, never won a World Series. Sal Butera, who scratched out part time play over nine seasons and retired with a -1.1 WAR, has a ring.

I love baseball.

At nearly 35 years of age Butera was traded by the Reds to the Twins during the 1987 season.  He stuck with the team as the backup catcher for the rest of the season and managed to appear in both the playoffs and World Series, even going two for three in his start against the Tigers!

I would love to know more about Butera's wristbands in this picture.  A quick Google search yielded zero clues. Any Twins fans out there who can help me out?

Sal is the proud father of Royals catcher Drew Butera. The two even faced off against each other in the 2015 playoffs, as Sal was a coach on the Toronto Blue Jays staff.  While I'm sure Sal was disappointed Toronto didn't win, I'll bet he wasn't sulking too much knowing his son was moving win a World Series of his own!

So for those keeping score at home:  Sal and Drew Butera, two rings.  Ted Williams, Barry Bonds, Ken Griffey Jr., Don Sutton, Craig Biggio, Gaylord Perry, Fergie Jenkins, Carlton Fisk, Ryne Sandberg, Ernie Banks, Mike Piazza, Juan Marichal, Robin Roberts, Robin Yount, Harmon Killebrew, Willie McCovey, Rod Carew, Carl Yastrzemski, Tony Gwynn, and Ty