Thursday, September 26, 2013

709th Place - John Mitchell



Card #207

"Late last night
John gave up a grand slam
That Philadelphia Phillie
Took him way deep man

Don't it always seem to go
That you don't know what you've
Thrown till it's gone
They put his arm on ice
Ball landed in a parking lot

They put his arm on ice
Ball landed in a parking lot"

Big Yellow Taxi, by John Mitchell

Monday, September 23, 2013

710th Place - Jimmy Jones

Card #63

When I was a kid, I didn't think there was anything cooler than a jersey material shirt with the holes like Mr. Jones here is sporting.  Oh man, I thought I was pretty boss when they'd pass out the recycled little league jerseys each season.  My mom would never let me wear it except for game days, of course, but I loved the feel of those shirts. 

Jimmy played eight seasons in MLB but I hardly remember any of it.  His name reminds me of this, though.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

711th Place - Mike Trujillo

Card #307

Between third and fifth grade, I lived in the Tacoma-Seattle area.  I've got a soft spot in my heart for the Mariners, especially the awful 1980's era teams.  Their uniforms have been, and probably always will be, a mess.  I'm not into their current iteration of turquoise and navy blue.  I prefer the blue and yellow genre more, but even I can admit the "S" logo is the worst they've ever sported.  This has to be the least inspired hat in the history of MLB.

None of this, of course, is Mike Trujillo's fault.  What's Mike been up to these days?  How about State Farm Insurances salesman!  Like a good neighbor, Trujillo is there.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

712nd Place - Larry Andersen

Card #342

Everyone knows Larry Andersen as the guy Houston traded that brought over Jeff Bagwell from Boston.  That's an unfair burden for Andersen to be saddled with.  I remember Andersen being regarded as one of the funniest guys in baseball during his playing days, so he probably handles it just fine.

How about that gold chain?  I never understood why players would want to wear a necklace while playing ball.  It seems gaudy and terribly distracting.  I've had fantasies where I get to be a big league manager and one of my club rules would be no necklaces.  I'm sure that's one of many reasons I've never been afforded the opportunity.

Monday, September 16, 2013

713th Place - Rick Reuschel

Card #660

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. 

Sunday, September 15, 2013

714th Place - Ed Lynch

Card #336

This isn't a particularly flattering picture of Lynch to start with, but fixate your eyes to his belt line.

Hello there Mr. Drawstring!  How's it hanging?  Limp and from the bellybutton?  That's...pretty gross.

According to his wikipedia page, he's been known to have let others try on his 1986 World Series ring from the Mets.  What I don't understand, though, is that he only played one game for New York that year before arriving in Chicago...

Friday, September 13, 2013

715th Place - Chuck Tanner

Card #134

It's too bad we can't see who Tanner is talking to in this picture.  I can make out a letter "M" (maybe) and some feathered brown hair.  Rick Mahler?  Dale Murphy even?  It is odd they have a different color jersey on, unless it's a warm-up jacket.

Tanner is best known as the skipper of the "We Are Family" '79 Pirates, who defeated my Baltimore Orioles much to my retroactive chagrin.  Sadly, Tanner passed away in 2011.

"There are three secrets to managing. The first secret is have patience. The second is be patient. And the third most important secret is patience."  - C. Tanner

Thursday, September 12, 2013

716th Place - Jeff Montgomery

Card #447

My dad is an airline pilot.  I grew up on Air Force bases, and in the 8th grade he left military service to fly commercially.  He's 64 years old now and less than a year from the mandatory retirement age.

When my dad had to get his picture taken for his airline ID badge, we razzed him pretty good for the fake smile he was flashing.  It has become family tradition to call less than authentic grins "airline smiles."

I think Jeff Montgomery is giving us an airline smile.

This is Jeff's rookie card, and he deserves a higher rank in this countdown considering that fact and the stellar career he had.  He was a three time all-star with over 300 saves, all with the Royals.  He even finished in 13th place in the AL MVP race when he led the league in saves with 45.

But I'm still not buying that smile.  Compare it to his Twitter page.  I need more sincere emotion Jeff!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

717th Place - Randy St. Claire

Card #279

If I could start this blog over, I'd include a label for cards with spring training light poles in the background.  And maybe one for hamburger meat poking up from under the jersey.

Randy St. Claire is the pitching coach for the Mets' Triple-A team, the Las Vegas 51's.  I had no idea there was a high-level minor league team named after aliens.  Who knew this was viable baseball gear?  I feel like somebody is pranking me with their team website.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

718th Place - Dale Sveum

Card #592

This Dale Sveum card forces us to ponder a classic philosophical question of the heart:

Is it better to have loved and lost, or to never have loved at all?

Or, is it better to have posed for an awesome baseball card photo and blown it, or to settle for a boring head shot?

I love so much about this card.  The framing, with Dale's body covering the left edge and the bat pointing to the upper right corner.  The gloveless but taped hands, the late 80's hair blowing in the wind, the sun pouring in on his shoulders.  It's practically perfect!  Except...he blinked!!!  I'm not kidding, this card would easily have made it into the top 50 cards of the set if we could have caught his steely eyes surveying the field.  But alas, the Topps photographers are a fickle beast.

Dale currently serves as the head coach of the Chicago Cubs.  You might have heard about him being shot in the ear by Hall of Famer Robin Yount...

Monday, September 9, 2013

719th Place - Rick Aguilera

Card #434

I always liked Rick Aguilera during his playing days.  That being said, what an awful card!

He's clearly just warming up on a spring training practice field, but they made sure to capture him with an overly-contorted facial expression.  Throw in the Steve Urkel pants and the high riding hat and we've got a hot mess on our hands.

The "New York" on the jersey kind of throws me off too, I'm used to it saying "Mets."  Can any Mets fans clue me into their typical road jersey - does it usually say New York?

(Speaking of which, this is the first Mets card on the countdown...)