Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Gems of Junk Wax, Pt. 31: 1989 Upper Deck #452 "Goose" Gossage

In its early days, Upper Deck was the king of baseball card photography.

After all, it didn't take much to beat shots like this.

One thing I've particularly noticed about overproduction era cards is the absence of pitchers hitting, which is one of my favorite mini-collections.

While the above card doesn't actually show him in the batter's box, it qualifies because "Goose" has a batting helmet on. It's also a rare instance of a reliever in my hitting pitchers collection.

I've always found it interesting to think about how menacing pitchers like Randy Johnson or Nolan Ryan fared at the plate.

I'm sure they weren't so "menacing" on the other side of the equation. (For the record, "The Big Unit" had a .125 career average with one homer, and "The Ryan Express" was a .110 career hitter with a pair of dingers.)

Perhaps the most intimidating pitcher to ever take the mound was Hall of Famer "Goose" Gossage. (I also love the fact that Upper Deck lists him as "Goose" Gossage instead of Rich.)

He repeatedly clocked in at 100 MPH on the radar gun throughout his career. I only wish the White Sox would've held on to him longer and not tried to convert him into a starter.

"Goose" didn't have much success at the plate in his career. His career average was just .106, collecting two RBIs in 93 career plate appearances.

But in the cases of these cards, I could care less what the guy's career hitting stats were. The fact that they're different is enough. Being "different" in the hobby can go a couple different ways.

In the case of pitchers at the plate, however, "different" is definitely good.

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