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.
1981 Donruss – Danny Goodwin
So, a few weeks ago, Major League Baseball held its 2013 First Year Player Draft. During that draft, Mark Appel was selected first overall by the Awful Houston Astros. This took place after Appel was selected eighth overall by the Pittsburgh Pirates (currently the best team in baseball) in the 2012 First Year Player Draft, but did not sign with the team by the signing deadline.
Back in 1971, a ballplayer named Danny Goodwin was drafted first overall by the Chicago White Sox, but did not sign, and instead attended Southern University and A & M. Then, in 1975, he was drafted first overall by the California Angels, who had been the Los Angeles Angels, and later became the Anaheim Angels, and then the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, due to a few ridiculous people who thought all of this made sense. This makes Danny Goodwin the only player to ever be selected first overall twice in the MLB draft.
Unfortunately, despite being drafted first overall twice, Danny Goodwin’s career only amounted to 252 games, which is still a lot more than you or I will ever play in the Major Leagues. Fortunately, Danny Goodwin’s career left baseball, America, the world, and, in fact, the universe, with one of the all-time greatest mustaches in the history of mustaches. Nobody can fault the White Sox or the Angels for taking such a mustache with a #1 overall pick. In fact, one might salute them for their selections.
1993 Upper Deck – Kelly Gruber
In 1993, Kelly Gruber took his fantastic flow to Anaheim to play 18 games for the California Angels. These are the same California Angels who were once the Los Angeles Angels, and were later the Anaheim Angels and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Their next obvious natural evolution: The Anaheim Angels of the Los Angeles, California Area.
As for Gruber playing for anyone other than the Blue Jays, it’s just wrong. Check out the great Gruber nostalgia over at Mop Up Duty, and you’ll understand what I mean. He might have gone just 2 for 19 in the 1992 World Series – but oh, what a 2 it was.
Gruber also spent some time with the Orioles organization in 1996, but he never cracked the Majors outside of Spring Training, and never wore that goofy orange bird on cardboard, thank God. The Blue Jay is the only bird for Kelly Gruber… well, other than this one, maybe.
1992 Donruss Triple Play – Junior Felix
While it appears that this is a baseball card of Pete O’Brien’s ass, in actuality, it is not. In one of the worst photography selections of all time, this was actually chosen as the photo for a baseball card of Junior Felix.
You might remember Junior Felix. He hit a home run in his first Major League at bat, caught the final out of Dave Stieb’s no hitter, made Blue Jays fans think he could be a superstar for a while (see current example: Yan Gomes), and then, well, that’s about it.
1989 Topps - DeWayne Buice
As the month of Movember continues, let’s highlight another great mustache from the past.
Today’s subject is DeWayne Buice, who actually has a fair bit of history in the baseball card industry, specifically as it involves the Upper Deck Company. A pretty good article from 2003 on ESPN.com’s Sports Business section explains all the shenanigans and tomfoolery pretty well.
Or, you could ignore the history lesson and just enjoy the mustache. No worries at all, completely understandable… it is a thing of beauty.