Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The newest-ish Blue Jay, Omar Vizquel.

When I first heard of the signing of Omar Vizquel by the Blue Jays last night, my immediate thought was “Oh boy, brace yourself for the tidal wave of old man jokes on your twitter feed”.

My second thought was, oh shit I think I actually have an Omar Vizquel card. Of all the cards I have in my possession ranging from the years 1987-1993, there are probably 3-4 players still playing today, Vizquel being one of them.  Jamie Moyer, Tim Wakefield and possibly Darren Oliver being the others.  I’ll have to go through them all and maybe do a post of cards that I have of players that are still playing today.

This Omar Vizquel card is a 1992 Upper Deck.  Just like the Upper Deck baseball trading card company, 1989 was the first year Omar Vizquel and Upper Deck made its Major League Baseball debut. 

The then 25 year old Vizquel, rounding second base making his way to third shows a gritty, scrappy, gutsy, spunky, spirited (which I’m sure all of these adjectives will be used by Blue Jays broadcasters and writers if he makes the team) young looking Vizquel.

The back of the card shows a very brutish, modelesque looking Vizquel which looks like it could have adorned the pages of GQ magazine back in the day.  This photo was taken after Vizquel just struck out and a fan is yelling at him “You’re a bum Vizquel. You’ll be outta this league in 2 years”.  He looks back with that menacing glare, lasering in on that fan saying nothing. He doesn’t have to say anything because that glare says it all “Oh yah you piece of shit, I’ll show you. Just for that comment I’m going to stick around and play in the majors for the next 20 years. Suck on that.” (In my mind, Omar Vizquel is saying all this in a Tony Montoya voice, a-la Scarface).

Not sure what defensive stats Upper Deck was using back in 1992, but the little blurb on the back of the card states that, even though Vizquel just finished his 3rd season as a major leaguer (and not a full 3 seasons as he only played 143, 81 & 142 games respectively) he was the third highest rated fielding SS in the A.L. in 1991 behind Cal Ripken Jr. and Greg Gagne.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Pedro “Petey” Martinez

When the Hall of Fame voting for the 2015 class comes up, Pedro Jaime Martinez will assuredly be voted in his first year of eligibility (which should be a 100% slam dunk ballot but undoubtedly there will be some douche who doesn’t vote for him thinking he’s not worthy of being a 1st time ballot inductee due to his tossing of then 72 year old Don “out of control rhino”  Zimmer to the ground during that bru-ha-ha with the Yankees in Game 3 of the 2003 ALCS playoffs…which by the way was spectacular).

In this 1993 Pinnacle card "Rookie Prospect" edition, Pedro Martinez had just made his major league debut during the 1992 season at the tender age of 20 with 1 start and 1 relief appearance going 0-1, 2.25ERA, 8.0IP/2ER/1BB/8K’s.

Of course we all know what happened afterwards, when “Petey” pitched the next 17 seasons accumulating 3 Cy Youngs (also finishing in the top 4 in four other years); 2004 World Series Champ with the Boston Redsox; career record of 219 Wins & 100 Losses, 2.93ERA, 46 complete games, 17 shutouts, 3154K’s in 2827IP, 1.05WHIP, a career 10K’s per 9 innings (yowza!) and a career WAR of 75.9, which ranks him 23rd all time amongst pitchers.

In summation, Pedro Martinez was a fucking awesome pitcher!  He was 1 of the very few pitchers that I would specifically want to watch the game just to see him pitch.  He was only 5’11” and 170 pounds and not one of those behemoth, freak of nature kind of baseball players.  There was something special about watching a baseball player that looked like your typical scrawny teenage kid that would go up there and totally dominate like he did. Especially during the “steroid era” where every other batter looked like Lou Ferrigno with a batting helmet (Hulk smash baseball).

My favourite part of this card is the back photo of Pedro. I’m pretty sure it’s his high school graduation photo “Ok Pedro, turn your body slightly to the right and look straight at me and 1-2-3 click”.  He definitely has the mandatory teenage boy upper-lip peach fuzz working for him.