Monday, May 30, 2016

603rd Place - Rafael Santana

Card #233

By the time this card came out Santana was still playing in New York...just across town in the Bronx.  He played the 1988 season for the Yankees but missed all of 1989 due to an elbow injury.  He caught on with the Indians to start the 1990 season but was released just a few weeks into the year and called it a career.

But that's not what you remember Santana for.  No, you probably recall him as the starting shortstop for the 1986 World Series winning New York Mets.  He played in all seven games and batted .250, which is about all the Mets could have expected from him.  He was known for his glove, finishing in the top three in fielding percentage in the National League between 1985 and 1987.

The New York Daily News caught up with him last year and Santana has done well for himself post-retirement.  He works for the Chicago White Sox as the head of player development in his native Dominican Republic.  His son, Alexander, plays in the minor leagues for the Los Angeles Dodgers.

This isn't a bad looking card, but my copy is blurry, which I'm not sure if it that's a printing press issue or how all of his cards looked in this set.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

604th Place - Ken Dayley

Card #234

In 1984 the Atlanta Braves lost their slugging third baseman, Bob Horner, for the season due to an injury and needed to figure something out on the fly.  They had a young lefty starter by the name of Ken Dayley who was struggling to find success at the major league level.  The Cardinals had a hot shot rookie by the name of Terry Pendleton who was ready to take over the hot corner from Ken "Obi-Wan" Oberkfell.  St. Louis pulled the trigger and netted Dayley (and Mike Jorgensen) for Oberkfell, and it ended up being an excellent deal for St. Louis.  Ken Dayley became St. Louis' best left-handed reliever for the next seven years, including post-season runs in 1985 and 1987.

Dayley is one of about thirty or so players to reach the majors having been born in the great state of Idaho.  Can you name the most famous ball player from Idaho?*

Dayley has an unusual claim to fame in relation to Tommy John surgery.  Having gone down in the 1986 season with the surgery, he was miraculously back pitching in St. Louis just seven months later.  It appears he wasn't exactly following doctor's orders...

Dayley and his family have become fixtures in St. Louis.  His daughter did television news and Dayley himself now plies his trade in real estate.

*Harmon Killebrew