Friday, June 23, 2017

570th Place - Bruce Benedict

Card #652

Benedict, the longtime Atlanta catcher, was coming off his worst professional season when this card was printed.  In 1987 he hit a measly .147 and only had an OPS of .466.  But he lasted two more seasons, wrapping up his career in 1989.

Benedict is one of those guys who, when hearing his name, always brings me back to my childhood living room floor in the summer, baseball cards spread out before me, and listening to Skip Caray drone on while the Braves were getting blown out during a TBS game.  I LOVED watching baseball on TV as a kid, but Braves games were always so BORING.

Baseball is still a big part of the Benedict family.  His son Griffin is in his seventh season as the bullpen catcher for the Padres.  Bruce may or may not be still operating his own baseball academy.


Saturday, June 10, 2017

571st Place - Craig Lefferts

Card #734

I don't recall spending much time talking about one of the neat features of the 1988 Topps set - the "This Way To The Clubhouse" section on the back of the card. Lefferts' TWTTC story tells us he was a part of the mega Padres/Giants trade that went down on July 4, 1987.  In that trade the Giants got a future MVP (Kevin Mitchell) and the Padres got a future Cy Young (Mark Davis).  In fact, they both received their hardware for the 1989 season!  I can't imagine there are a whole lot of MVP for Cy Young trades in MLB history...

Lefferts spent the first nine years of his MLB career as a reliever until randomly shifting to the starting rotation in 1992.  He started 32 games that year (27 with San Diego, 5 with Baltimore) and recorded a nifty 3.76 ERA while doing so.  Not too bad for the bullpen stalwart!

Lefferts might be best known, however, as the last pitcher to hit a walk-off home run!  It happened way back in 1986...and he used Tony Gwynn's bat to do it!


Sunday, June 4, 2017

572nd Place - David Palmer

Card #732

On the back of Palmer's baseball card is a line break in the middle of his statistical accomplishments, right there in the slot for the 1983 season.  It reads:

"ON DISABLED LIST"

As a kid that was always slightly troubling to me.  On the disabled list?  For an entire year?  What happened?  In the 1980's this wasn't entirely common like it is in today's game.  The only thing scarier on the back of a card?

"DID NOT PLAY"

Why the heck didn't he play?  At least with an "on disabled list" you had a bit of an explanation.  But "did not play"???  That was very distressing.