Sunday, May 31, 2015

652nd Place - Joel McKeon

Card #409

I kind of miss how the White Sox were constantly experimenting with their uniforms.  Joel is sporting one of those fashion statements:  the upper-thigh jersey number.  There's nothing like drawing your eye to a player's crotch like a big ol' #50 hanging out right next to it.  I'm surprised more teams don't explore new designs related to pants.  They're pretty much a standard color, maybe some piping.  Where's the flair???

McKeon was back in the minors when this card came out, never to again appear in a major league game.  He was a forkball pitcher who seemed to run into some bad luck, including a bout with hepatitis.  What might be most interesting about Joel, though, is his European baseball triumphs.  He ended up in Belgium of all places, where he pitched three years in a row without ever losing a game.  McKeon is also one of six pitchers Don Mattingly exploited when he set his grand slam record.  We'll see a tribute to that feat much later in this blog...

Monday, May 25, 2015

653rd Place - Joel Davis

Card #511

I was a shrimp as a kid.  Even though I was the oldest kid in my grade level (I was one of those late August birthdays that was on the cut line for what year you started kindergarten), I was always the shortest and lightest.  When I played little league I was a strong fielder, usually playing second base, though I couldn't hit a lick.  I remember the first glove I got that had a hole for your index finger, as Mr. Joel Davis is demonstrating to the right here.  I asked my dad what the hole was for.  He explained that when you're catching a hard hit or thrown ball, it can sting your finger being so close to the pocket, thus you put your finger outside of the glove.  This sounded pretty cool and mature to me.  The problem, though, was my hand was too stinking small.  My index finger wasn't long enough.  Furthermore, I was having trouble opening and closing my mitt.  I had zero hand strength.  My dad suggested I slide my index finger inside the same opening as my middle finger.  This worked great.  I had better control of my glove, but I was always sad I wasn't big/mature enough to use the index hole.  You, Mr. Joel Davis, are surely more manly than me.  That mustache isn't hurting either.

Despite being a first round pick by the White Sox, Davis didn't experience much success in the bigs.  He must have made hitters nervous, though, because he's 6'5 - I can't imagine what that looked like as he stepped toward home plate.  These days you can catch Joel coaching in Jacksonville, FL.