Monday, April 21, 2014

682nd Place - Frank Williams

Card #773

This isn't your typical pitcher pose, I'm thinking Frank is about to catch the ball after it was thrown around the horn?

Frank Williams had, from what I can tell, a tragically short career.  Over six seasons he was quite effective out of the bullpen.  He played for the Giants, Reds, and Tigers.  But it appears a car accident ruined his career.

In the subsequent years, Frank left his family and became a homeless alcoholic.  It appears that lifestyle contributed to his death from a heart attack and ensuing coma.  He started life as an orphan growing up in foster homes. 

This wasn't a fun one to write.  Rest in peace, Frank.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

683rd Place - Danny Heep

Card #753

Heep didn't have much to grin about after the 1987 season.  He hit a paltry .163 as a left-handed pinch hitter.  Woof.

The name banner does a good job framing what appears to be a 25th anniversary patch commemorating Dodger Stadium. 

Heep got to play a supporting role in two memorable World Series winning teams.  In 1986 he was part of the Amazing Mets and of course in 1988 he was still part of the Dodgers.  In my lifetime that Dodger team is still the most improbable world champs I've ever seen.  It felt like all they had was an un-hittable Orel Hershiser, an undeniable Kirk Gibson, and a huge pile of scrap heep players.  Hehehe...see what I did there?

You can find Danny Heep coaching at Incarnate Word in his hometown of San Antonio. 

Friday, April 18, 2014

684th Place - Jeff Sellers

Card #653

There are a number of these Red Sox shots that seem to have been taken at night or as a storm front was blowing in. 

There's something about Sellers' smashed hat that makes him look like a scrappy middle-infielder instead of a starting pitcher.  His card lists him as six feet tall but he looks 5'6 in the picture. 

(Ha!  Turns out his son is an infielder!)

1988 would be Jeff's last year in the majors, not sure how or why he faded away as he was still pretty young at that point. 

Monday, April 14, 2014

685th Place - Fred Toliver

Card #203

Here's a card our good friend the Night Owl could appreciate.  The sun is clearly setting when the Topps photographer decided, what the heck, let's grab Fred here for a quick pic.  Maybe he'll appear in ten games for Philly this year...

I can't find a lot about Toliver other than this article that couldn't find a lot about Toliver.

There is something quite captivating with Fred's expression, though.  Perhaps it's solemn resignation, knowing his fate is that of the fringe major leaguer.  Or maybe he didn't know they were taking his picture at that exact second...

Friday, April 4, 2014

686th Place - Mark Clear

Card #742

Check out those stirrup socks!!!  Yes!!!  I don't know why Bud Selig doesn't require this look for all ballplayers.  It's classy.

Clear's career was modest, though he did manage to make a couple of All-Star teams.  My strongest memory of him is, as a kid, trying to understand the unusual combination of strikeouts and walks he would pile up every year.  In 804 career innings he struck out 804 batters but also walked 554.  He's like the poor man's Nolan Ryan.

Here's a funny post about a Boston's fan all-time least favorite Red Sox roster.  It doesn't bode well for Mark Clear...

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

687th Place - Mike Easler

Card #741

There are two relics displayed in this card that I kind of love.  The first is the batting helmet without the ear flap.  These are now extinct, of course.  Ozzie Smith is the last active player I remember wearing one.

The second is Mike's jheri curls.  It was the late 80's when this looked begin to disappear from the game.  My favorite player, Eddie Murray, was one of the last holdouts.  I remember getting ribbed by my junior high friends about it.  Mike looks pretty confident letting it spill out from his ancient brain bucket.

I didn't realize it at the time, but this was Easler's last card because 1987 was his final season.  He retired with a .293 average, which is nothing to sneeze at.  Most folks remember him for his years as a Pirate, but I always think of his monster season with the 1984 Red Sox.  He batted .313 with a .515 slugging percentage and set career highs in home runs and RBI's.