Sunday, July 19, 2015
641st Place - Jeff Stone
I've mentioned before that the 1985 Topps set was my first as a kid. In those 792 cards was a rookie player named Jeff Stone. When I turned his card to the back, my eyes bugged out! Here was a guy who hit .362 with 27 stolen bases and six triples in just 51 games! I was convinced he was the next big thing. I wasn't the only one.
By the time this card was printed, Stone's career was essentially over. The root cause for his rapid decline appears to be his manager from 1985, John Felske. When Stone got into a bit of slump, Felske couldn't help but start tinkering with his swing and filling his head with suggestions on how to improve. According to former manager Paul Owens, Stone was not the type of player who could handle "thinking" about how to play the game - his talents were of the raw, reactionary type. Stone became befuddled and confused and never really recovered.
His post-playing career was no easier. For a time he served as a police officer, but quit after being fired at too many times. He also suffered serious injuries when somebody ran a light and crashed into his car. But his worst experience had to be when his wife stabbed him multiple times. Sometimes life doesn't turn out like you think it would...