1989 Upper Deck – Ron Washington
2013 Topps Heritage – Ron Washington
Back then, in 1989, Ron Washington was just a young, old-looking guy staring off into an uncertain future as his playing career wound down, not really sure what was next for him. Well, I’ll tell you, Wash from 1989: some cocaine, and being one of the “old school” guys with Billy Beane’s Oakland A’s (see around the 0:58 mark). Then, you’ll come close to winning the World Series, and nobody will be sure whether to credit you for getting the Texas Rangers there, or blame you for them losing.
Now, in 2013, Ron Washington is an old, young-ish-looking guy staring out at the bullpen, looking completely unsure about how to use it (probably because he is completely unsure – that’s where the pitchers sit, right?) But hey, he’s cool, he’s unique, and people like him. Sometimes, a lot.
1993 Topps – Alex Cole
Alex Cole was so cool that the Cleveland Indians moved the fences back at old Municipal Stadium in order to accommodate his speed after a 40 steals in 63 games performance in 1990. Well, the Indians went from 77-85 to 57-105 in 1991, they only hit 22 home runs at home in 1991, and Alex Cole went on to steal a grand total of 36 more bases for the Indians before moving on.
While things didn’t work out in Cleveland, or in Pittsburgh, Alex Cole showed in 1993 that he could still rock the shit out of a pair of sunglasses after being selected by Colorado with the 17th pick in the 1992 Expansion Draft. His one season with the Rockies wasn’t much to write home about, but at least he could pass for Willie Mays Hayes in a jam. Now that’s cool.
1981 Donruss – Dave Rosello
This particular haircut could also be called “The Earmuffs,” as it really looks like Dave Rosello is wearing a rather magnificent pair of the winter earwear. I mean, check these out. See what I mean?
Rosello spent his career as a utility infielder in cold climates. Chicago (Cubs, 1972-77) and Cleveland (1979-81) can be cold, cold places in April. Maybe that explains his particular brand of hairstyle. Also, who needs those new-fangled earflaps on a batting helmet when you’ve got your own protection?
It seems to me that Rosello was a man ahead of his time, and a man for all seasons.
1984 Topps - Toby Harrah
Who is Toby Harrah, you might ask? Well, I wondered the same thing. I knew there had to be more than just the high stirrups with prominent stripes, the flip-down sunglasses with the eye black, and the thick, dirty beard.
So, I went to this neat website (that I found on the Interwebs) called Wikipedia and searched his name. Turns out, Toby Harrah was involved in three pretty unusual feats:
- On June 25, 1976, he played both games of a doubleheader without taking a single fielding chance – as the shortstop.
- On August 27, 1977, he and teammate Bump Wills hit back-to-back inside-the-park home runs – the only time this has ever happened in Major League Baseball history.
- On August 6, 1986, he hit a grand slam for Texas, in a game when two Baltimore players also hit grand slams, setting a new record for the most slams in one game. Despite the two slams, Baltimore still found a way to lose. Some things never change.
As I’m sure you can predict, I credit the beard.
1989 Topps - Jesse Orosco
1989 Topps Traded - Jesse Orosco
Jesse Orosco signed as a free agent with the Cleveland Indians in time for the 1989 season, but 1989 Topps had already been printed showing him as a Dodger. So, he cracked the lineup for the 1989 Topps Traded set.
On neither card does it say “Orosco, a nine-year veteran, plans to play professional baseball for the next one hundred years,” even though he almost did. Well, he retired in 2003 at the age of 46, but impressive all the same.
Turns out, baseball cards can’t predict the future.
1984 Topps - George Vukovich
1984 Topps - Pete Vuckovich
George Vukovich and Pete Vuckovich are not actually brothers. You know how I know this? I know this because their last names are spelled differently. I’m a genius, no big deal. Also, they were born and raised in different states (Vukovich in Illinois, Vuckovich in Pennsylvania).
However, a bond that runs much deeper than blood connects them. It is a bond shared by but the manliest of manly men. It is the bond of the mustache.
Although George put up a few decent years in the mid-1980’s, Pete is the more famous of the two. He actually won the Cy Young Award in 1982 with the AL Champion Milwaukee Brewers. Yeah, the Brewers were good once. True story.
However, I would suggest that it was his Oscar-worthy performance in one of the all-time best sports movies in history that defined his career. You see, in 1989, Pete portrayed Yankees slugger Clu Haywood in Major League. And yes, he still had the mustache then.
Ironically, George played the majority of his career with the real-life Cleveland Indians. Coincidence? I think not.
SIDE NOTE: Great article where I found that Haywood photo, actually. Some good discussion points about movie athletes.