1990 Topps – Nolan Ryan 5000K (Tex)
On this date in 1993, Nolan Ryan struck out the 5,714th and final batter of his Major League Baseball career. The batter was Greg Myers of the California Angels. Greg Myers was a catcher (see below) and played for a few teams – Toronto, California, Minnesota, Atlanta, San Diego, Atlanta again, Baltimore, Oakland, and Toronto again. He started and ended his career with the Toronto Blue Jays, somehow hitting .307 with 15 home runs in 2003, 16 years after his debut in 1987, and a few points above his career average of .255.
1992 Pinnacle – Greg Myers
Interesting fact about Nolan Ryan: of the four teams he pitched for, he had his highest K/9 inning rate with the Texas Rangers (10.1) from 1989-1993, when he was 42-46 years old. Maybe he was doing something right. He never had Tommy John surgery. Everyone has Tommy John surgery now. Except Matt Harvey. But he will soon, don’t you worry your pretty little head.
One more thing about Nolan Ryan: his 5,714 strikeouts put him 839 ahead of Randy Johnson, who sits second overall on the career list. That would be like someone beating Barry Bonds’ home run record of 762 with a total of 892. Or, if you aren’t into Barry Bonds’ record being legit, it would be like someone beating Hank Aaron’s record of 755 with a total of 883. Those are some pretty staggering numbers.
But ya, he struck out Greg Myers on September 17 once.
1985 Topps – Dave Parker
On Monday, July 15, 1985 (yes, exactly 28 years ago today), Major League Baseball staged its first ever home run derby at the Metrodome in Minneapolis. Dave Parker of the Cincinnati Reds won the event, hitting a remarkable six home runs. This was despite the fact that his National League team, featuring Parker, Dale Murphy, Steve Garvey, Ryne Sandberg, and Jack Clark, lost the Derby by a score of 17-16 to Jim Rice, Eddie Murray, Carlton Fisk, Tom Brunansky and Cal Ripken, Jr. of the American League.
For the ensuing 28 years, Major League Baseball has battled steroid and other performance enhancing drug problems. Has anyone thought to blame the Home Run Derby? No? Well, maybe they should.
1981 Topps – Buck Martinez
May 10: On this date in 1981, Buck Martinez was traded by the Milwaukee Brewers to the Toronto Blue Jays in exchange for Gil Kubski. This is what Buck Martinez looked like on his 1981 Topps baseball card. I’d like to call for an immediate return of his mustache.
Martinez would play for the Jays from 1981-86, batting a cumulative .222 in 454 games. Gil Kubski never played in the Majors after this trade. Also, this trade started Buck’s long-standing connection to the Toronto Blue Jays. He has played, managed and broadcasted, he even wrote books, all to varying degrees of success. However, all of it led to this website, leading me to say, advantage to the Blue Jays on this one. Another win for Pat Gillick.