Sometime during the 1992 season, Andre Dawson fell awkwardly into a brick wall at Wrigley Field after making a catch (don’t question me, the ball is in his glove). Because they had the technology to do so, Upper Deck documented this incident with a multi-shot baseball card. This makes perfect sense, because they couldn’t find a usable shot of him slipping on his way up the stairs, or stubbing his toe on a coffee table. Great work depicting a future bench player for the 1996 Florida Marlins.
His career didn’t end up being what we all thought it would be back in 1998 – when he struck out 233 batters in 166.2 innings – but Kerry Wood was the kind of player you don’t see all that often. Injuries aside, he was pretty much what you would call a generational talent.
Kerry Wood retired today. Not a lot of people get to go out the way he did – watch this video to determine if you have a soul. If you get a bit emotional, congratulations, you’re part of the human race. If you don’t choke up even just a little, well, I’m not sure you’re telling the truth, and also, you’re probably not paying attention, so try watching again. Don’t lie to me.
If you need a reminder of how good he was, watch this clip of his 20 strikeout game. As a rookie. Early in the season.
Someone told me about this today, and I had to share it – this was published by Sports Illustrated, and you can read it in their online archives. Good timing considering some of the questionable hitting we are seeing from AL pitchers in NL parks.
THE WEIRDEST AT BAT
Jose Nunez, a righthanded pitcher for the Toronto Blue Jays who had never batted in the pros before, stepped in against the Phillies’ Kevin Gross in an exhibition game in Clearwater, Fla. Before Gross could throw a pitch, the third base ump motioned for Nunez to take off his warmup jacket. Then Nunez returned to the lefthanded-batter’s box and was told by plate ump Dave Pallone that he was wearing a righty’s helmet—the earflap covered his left ear rather than his right, which faced the pitcher. So Nunez turned the helmet around on his head and wore it catcher-style. No, no, said Pallone, get a lefty’s helmet. No, no, said Nunez, who moved across the plate to bat righthanded.
When Gross began his delivery he saw Nunez bent over the plate, looking back into catcher Lance Parrish’s glove.
“What are you doing?” asked Parrish.
“I want to see the signs,” said Nunez.
“O.K., what pitch do you want?”
A fastball it was, and Nunez lined it foul. He turned to Parrish and said, “Could you make that a changeup instead?”
At that, Pallone doubled over in laughter, and Gross needed a few minutes to compose himself. Finally, on a 2-2 count, Nunez grounded out to short.
Jose Nunez actually played in the NL for one season – with the Cubs in 1990 – and went 0 for 11 with a walk and one RBI. I’ll bet he knew how to stand at the plate by then.
This is the antithesis of the thick, beautiful mustaches of the 1980’s. I get the feeling that Drew is really, really trying here. He wanted to come into camp looking like a grizzled vet. It didn’t work.
However, Drew, there is a consolation prize: being included among the great Manly, Magical Mustaches honoured here at Sorting by Teams. Congratulations.
Here is the delightful tidbit that Topps provided us with on the back of Dickie Noles’ 1988 card: “Was traded by Cubs to Tigers for player to be named later, 9-21-87, as this card was going to press.” The fact that the transaction had taken place is indicated on the card FRONT as well – crazy.
I learned a lot from this little piece of card back splendor. First of all, 1988 Topps was actually going to press DURING the 1987 season. That genuinely surprised me. I figured they waited at least until after the season ended. Or maybe that’s only for sets that have World Series subsets. Or maybe in the late 80’s they needed a few months to print the billions of extra cards they needed.
Reading up on this card led me to the outstanding 1988 Topps Blog where I then also learned that Dickie Noles actually returned to the Cubs in October 1987 – his third go-round with the club. However, he never played for them again. Baseball Reference tells me that he only ended up pitching in 3 more games in his career, 2 for Baltimore and 1 for Philadelphia.
Read those card backs. Enlightenment will surely follow.
When the 1984 season started, Bill Buckner had never even played a Major League game in Boston.
He had become a productive first baseman who had led the National League in doubles in 1983.
A ball had never gone between his legs in Game Six of the World Series.
Red Sox Nation hadn’t yet bestowed all their 68 years of hostility upon him.
But above it all in 1984, did he ever rock that mustache.