Monday, September 16, 2013
713th Place - Rick Reuschel
Let's have a moment of silence. Unless I'm mistaken, this will be our last airbrushed card of the set.
Ok, back to the post. Reuschel was one of several players to come to San Francisco during the 1987 season as the Giants ended up winning the NL West. (Not coincidentally we saw Kevin Mitchell and Dave Dravecky with airbrushes too.) They got bounced by the Cardinals in the playoffs.
Reuschel was having a dominant go of it when he was traded from Pittsburgh. While with the Pirates that season he started 25 games and recorded a 2.75 ERA. He wasn't quite as successful after the trade but he still tied for the league lead in complete games and shutouts. The combined effort was good enough for a third place Cy Young finish (even though he had the second most first place votes). It was a weird year for Cy Young as, on the surface, no one pitcher seemed truly dominant. Steve Bedrosian won the award as a closer, but I'd argue Nolan Ryan deserved since he led the league in strikeouts and ERA. Ryan must have lost a lot of support because of his 8-16 record.
Anyway, the thing that impresses me most about Reuschel's season is that he was 38 years old for most of it. I was looking at the lines around his eyes and the self-assurance in his gaze and thought, wow, what a great year for such an advanced age! That's when it hit me that I myself just recently turned 38. I can't imagine playing any sport professionally at this age! And I certainly don't want to believe that some kid could be looking at baseball card of me and noticing the passage of time I've experienced based on my physical appearance.
Aging is such a bizarre experience.