Posts Tagged ‘1987 topps’

h2h corner ~ Check You out on the Flip Side ~ Charlie Kerfeld

I feel like this entire card is an homage to a practical joke. While the grammar leaves one wanting, it’s pretty darn accurate. Kerfeld was absolutely a free spirit: when Jim Deshaies signed for $110,000 in 1987, Kerfeld demanded $110,037.37 and 37 boxes of orange Jell-O. His uniform was number 37.

Kerfeld, it is rumored, also always wore a Jetsons’ tee shirt because of the name of the dog in that particular cartoon. He hung out with Larry Anderson and Dave Smith in the bullpen while wearing Conehead heads…no talk of whether they played pong, drank Southern Comfort or ate bar-b-q.

A former first round pick in the June secondary draft of 1982, Kerfeld was a good reliever for exactly one season for the Astros. That happened to be 1986, which had to be the highlight of his life for so many reasons. He went 11-2 in 61 appearances, spanning 93.2 IPs. He walked a ton of batters (as he did his entire career), but made up for it with a good strand rate and BABIP.

The Astros happened to be a pretty darn good team in 1986 – good enough to win the NL West (back when the Astros were in the West division). If you don’t know, he gave, perhaps, the greatest drunken interview in the history of sports after they clinched: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xC2y3RmQUdw. Kerfeld is a good ole boy, who drank a Busch on camera and got away with pouring a beer on Nolan Ryan (1:48 mark).

He pitched pretty well in the post-season that year, making three appearances and posting a 2.25 ERA, 0.75 WHIP and 4 K:BB rate in four innings. Unfortunately, he gave up the winning run on a Gary Carter single in the bottom of the 12th inning of game five. Two-time flip sider, Jesse Orosco got the win…go figure.

Kerfeld would battle regression, poor walk rates and calcium deposits and other injuries for the rest of his career. He was out of baseball after the 1990 season.

You might wonder what that good ole boy is up to now. Well, he’s special assistant to the general manager for the Philadelphia Phillies…go figure.

@h2h_corner on twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/h2h_corner

h2h Corner ~ Check you out on the Flip Side: Ron Roenicke

I think, initially, this card stuck out for two reasons. One, I love Gary Roenicke (more on him later) and, two, tennis is one of the more exasperating sports (second only to golf in my opinion). What is it with rich people and bizarrely intricate athletics?

When I was a kid, it was important to my parents that I be fluent in the art of the hardcourt. They had grown up without much money, put themselves through school and ascended to the upper middle class. So, on vacations, I’d always have to take tennis lessons. Mostly, during these lessons, I pretended I was Ken Griffey, Jr. or Barry Bonds and tried to hit every return over the fence. Exasperated, the tennis “pro” would send me off to the wilderness to retrieve the balls. Repeat this for one hour and you get the gist of my lessons. (Why I always emulated lefties is beyond me – maybe because I had a horrid backhand).

Anyway, I’d also play my father in tennis at the end of every trip. While he isn’t all that athletic, he was better at tennis than me. I was faster/quicker and in better shape, but I could never get the ball to go where I wanted (maybe it had something to do with those lessons). My dad would play well enough to keep me around in the match. Invariably (because we’re both poor losers and intensely competitive), though, he would put me away and I would get frustrated. I knew it was happening and couldn’t stop it. Well, I knew one way to stop it. I would slam my racket on the ground like a petulant child. Consequently, tennis is not relaxing but anxiety producing – worse than swinging a driver and missing the ball completely.

Roenicke had no problem with hand-eye coordination though, so tennis must have come easily to him. After all, he was a first round pick of the hometown Los Angeles Dodgers in 1977. He never really lived up to that billing though. He wouldn’t make it to the majors for four years (1981), when he was 24-years-old and he didn’t fare well in 22 games that year.

However, he did show some promise the following season, going .259/.359/.336. Sure, you’d want more power from a corner outfielder, but this was 1982 and he did get on base.

The Dodgers would release him in the middle of the following (unproductive) season, however. He bounced around for awhile, catching on here and there and not really getting to prove himself. From 1984-1986, he played for three teams and posted a .252/.389/.379 line in 535 plate appearances. That had to have been the highlight of his career (and he even played in a post-season with the Padres). It’s a shame he never got to show what he could do on the field. He finished with a .238/.353/.338 line.

So, why did the name Roenicke stick out (I pulled this card from a pack before he became the Brewers manager)? Well, his brother, Gary Roenicke, was acquired by the Baltimore Orioles in 1977 (along with Joe Kerrigan and Don Stanhouse) for Rudy May, Randy Miller, and Bryn Smith. He was an Earl Weaver type of player.

From 1979-1985, he appeared in 823 games for the Orioles, posting a .250/.356/.447 line. He hit lefties really well throughout his career (.255/.363/.454) and did a ton of damage for Earl Weaver as a platoon player. Gary finished with a .247/.351/.434 line, appeared in two World Series and won one. His final numbers are eerily similar to his brother.

I like to think that what Gary learned from Earl Weaver maybe had a little to do with how Ron Roenicke manages. But really, I just like to see Weaver and they heyday of the Baltimore Orioles in any successful baseball squad.

h2h Corner on twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/h2h_corner

h2h Corner ~ Check you out on the Flip Side: Jaime Cocanower

Hi, it’s me, Jaime.

Hi you!

Get it?

Ok, maybe not.

Let’s just say it’s a very good thing Cocanower was a numbers guy – as the numbers you see on the back of his card would be the last he ever compiled in major league baseball.

Oddly enough, he finished with a 3.99 ERA in 365.2 innings – seems like a usable pitcher, no?

Well, unfortunately, Cocanower was all wild thing (NSFW link)and no Vaughn. He finished second in wild pitches in the AL in 1984 and 1985 and second in hit batsman in ‘84 and sixth in ’85. He didn’t strike anyone out either – just 139 in his CAREER. He had a 0.69 K:BB rate.

Aside from the lesson on how to pronounce Cocanower’s first name on the back of this card, what stood out was the poor phraseology of the last sentence. I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating. There is a scant amount of space on the back of a baseball card, you’d think the goal would be an economy of words. Yet, instead of enjoying deep sea fishing, he “enjoys outings of going deep sea fishing.” I’m no accountant but that seems like three words too much.

Continue reading

h2h Corner ~ Check You Out On the Flip Side: Bob Shirley

Man, I just don’t know where to start. I should probably get some housekeeping out of the way  because “I am serious and don’t call me Shirley.”

I imagine that was thrown around dugouts throughout the 80s, the heyday of Shirley’s career. Certainly the early 80s was the greatest time to be a ballplayer…named Shirley (what with the wife swapping, amphetamines, cocaine, etc.). So, it’s no shock that Shirley likes watching Bill Murray movies. I mean it’d be shocking if someone didn’t like watching Bill Murray movies, he’s awesome. StripesRushmoreCaddyshackWhat about BobLost in Translation! GhostbustersGhostbusters IIAnd others!

In fact, Shirley was such a funny guy (and apparently baseball’s most ardent lover of alliteration) that he named his kids Charles, Clinton and Clayton. Could be a law firm or the starting receivers for the Rams.

For such a dominant personality (more on that later*), Shirley’s career was somewhat pedestrian. After being drafted three times from 1972 – 1976 by the Dodgers, Giants and Padres, Shirley started 35 games for the Padres in 1977. He wasn’t bad (3.70 ERA) but wasn’t very good either (1.46 K:BB rate, 4.17 FIP). He pitched pretty mediocre (mostly
in relief) for the Padres until 1980. At that point, he was traded along with Rollie Fingers and Gene Tenace to the St. Louis Cardinals for a slew of guys I’ve barely heard of (Terry Kennedy, John Littlefield, Al Olmsted, Mike Phillips, Kim Seaman [seriously], Steve Swisher and John Urrea). No shit.

He pitched one mediocre year for the Cardinals, then another for the Reds. Then it was 1983 and the Bronx Bombers and Donnie Baseball wanted him. Sandwiched between two bad years, Shirley was pretty useful from 1984-1985 for the Yankees. He was worth about 4.2 WAR. While his 1986 campaign was mediocre, he logged an impressive 105.1 IPs in relief. Then, in 1987, he pitched just 41.1 IPs.

Why, you ask?

Well, he was involved in a bit of boring, boys will be boys, clubhouse roughhousing with Don Mattingly. Mattingly, like Apollo Creed, was unable to deal with a southpaw and ended up on the DL as a result of the fracas. *Shirley, surely, was released shortly thereafter. Presumably he has spent the rest of his days with Charles, Clinton and Clayton quoting Bill Murray.

h2h_Corner on Twitter

h2h Corner ~ Check You Out On the Flip Side: Greg Minton

Here is where my “city boy” roots come out. I hate horses. They scare the beejesus out of me. My tiny girlfriend (who grew up in the country owning horses) thinks it’s hilarious that I wont go near a horse (and don’t get me started on donkeys).

I imagine riding a horse hurts. Occasionally, at the dog park, an eager young pup will jump on me as I stand there. Occasionally a paw will strike a testicle. That really hurts. Why would I want to pogo up and down on my testes while traipsing through nature on the back of a horse? I’ll use my own legs thank you very much.

Sure horses are beautiful, but god invented glasses so I can see a horse from a few feet away, ideally with some sort of fence between us.

So what is there to like about a horse that I can’t enjoy from afar? They snort (scary), they kick (scary), they neigh (or whatever it’s called when they get up on their hind legs) (also scary), and they fill in the blank: “Wild ___.” Unless it’s 80s “mental,” I don’t like anything wild. Continue reading