Friday, November 15, 2013


Baseball is full of emotion.

Just like any other sport, there's huge amounts of happiness, sadness, defeat, intensity, and anticipation, among others.

Such emotions have found their way onto cardboard many times. While it's probably not that original of a topic, I've had a certain post idea rattling around in my head for a while. I've always wanted to go back and see which players had the most consistent expressions on their cards.

Guys like Tony Perez always seem to be smiling. George Foster seems to have a nearly constant scowl. And a whole lot of players seem to be in a constant state of apathy.

However, a card from my most recent Just Commons order got me thinking about another emotion in the world of baseball cards.


Such cards aren't all that common, but you sure seem to remember the ones you do see. I went through my archives last night trying to piece together the most painful cards I own.

The famous '73 Topps Pat Corrales is the first one that came to mind. It's a card I've shown many times on this blog, and for good reason. Few, if any, cards feature more flat-out agony.

At least he held onto the ball, though.

I think I pulled this one out of a repack last year.

I've been fascinated with it ever since.

Pinnacle certainly made an odd photo choice for Randy Tomlin's 1994 issue. A few of his fellow Pirates are shown here in a meeting on the mound, expressing concern for the Pirate pitcher's elbow.

As another blogger has already noted, this may be from a 1993 game in which Tomlin was removed due to elbow inflammation. The injuries eventually required surgery that offseason. Tomlin's career took a downward spiral after the procedure.

Given all that, odd doesn't even begin to describe Pinnacle's decision here.

Eating a mouthful of dirt certainly seems painful.

Funny, yes.

But, if this shot of Dmitri Young is any indication, still painful.

These, on the other hand, are cards that make me grimace.

It's no secret that pitching takes a toll on one's arm. Many cards do a great job of showcasing that very fact.

While I own quite a few painful pitching pieces, these are probably a couple of my best. (Or worst?)

Arms aren't supposed to bend horizontally like that, Mr. Wagner. And, Scot Shields, they're most certainly not supposed to twist in that manner.

It's no wonder so many pitchers seem to have Tommy John surgery these days.

Pain isn't limited to just pitchers and catchers, though.

Baserunners and infielders seem to get their fair share of the action as well.

While I'm not sure I could ever prove such a thing, I assume that Offerman was captured in the aftermath of a double play attempt. Hence, it goes into my "double dip" mini-collection.

What I like most about it is the fact that all three of the players featured there were probably a little shaken up after the play. Even the Dodger second baseman appears to have been involved in the collision.

It's hard to figure out what the heck is going on with Kim Batiste's 1993 Upper Deck issue. All I know is that he appears to be giving a very Moe Howard-esque eye poke to "The Wizard".

That probably couldn't have been too comfortable.

Of course, the batter's box isn't much of a safe haven, either.

My biggest fear in Little League was getting hit by a pitch. I remember getting beaned once. (Very vaguely, though.)

Those kids couldn't have been throwing more than 40 or 50 miles an hour. A lot of big league hurlers reach 95 or more on the radar gun. That's what I've always had an immense amount of respect for hitters. 

People always talk about how tough football or hockey players are, but I don't think a lot of them realize how scary stepping into a batter's box really is.

Just ask Craig Biggio, who is the all-time leader in hit by pitches. In one of the best Topps cards ever, the former Astro is seen taking his record-breaking 268th career plunking, breaking Don Baylor's record. (Biggio would finish with 285 HBPs.)

And, in a card I've shown on this blog many times before, Andre Dawson is featured on the wrong end of a vicious beaning on his '87 Classic Yellow issue. The pitch in question triggered a massive brawl.

As far as I know, these are the only two "hit by pitch" cards in existence.

While I get why card companies don't make too many of them, I'd still like to see a few more.

Let's get back to the battery for now.

The shot Pinnacle used on the back of John Smoltz's 1996 issue is so, well...Pinnacle. They were the kings of quirky shots in their day.

Normally, I'd wonder why Pinnacle didn't use a painful shot like that for the front of the card. Since the flip side features a shot of Smoltz at the plate, though, I can't be too mad.

I can take or leave 1992 Score. It's not my favorite set in the world, but it's definitely not one of the worst.

That Reed, though, is one of the most unbelievable cards I've ever seen. While it probably would've been better as a horizontal piece, its vertical orientation just makes it that much more mind-blowing.

I assume we're seeing the aftermath of some sort of play at the plate there.

Mr. Reed appears to have been on the wrong end of that collision, for sure.

I'll ruin a little of the surprise and say that this was the Just Commons card I referenced earlier.

So, yes, you'll be seeing it again once I write my post about that recent order. If you ask me, though, this is something that deserves multiple mentions on this blog.

It's one of those cards that I've seen over and over again, yet somehow never to find for myself. After years of waiting, I finally landed a copy off Just Commons. (Price? Twenty cents.)

This is probably the most painful shot you'll ever see on a baseball card. It's certainly the only one I know of that featured real, actual blood. You can see a rather gruesome gash running down the neck of Mr. Borders.

I'm not sure what caused the former Blue Jay backstop so much agony. My best guess would be a stray bat or something.

It doesn't look too pleasant either way.

Sure, football may have its smashmouth style. And hockey may have its fair share of scraps and melees.

Make no mistake about it, though.

Baseball still isn't a game for the faint of heart.


petethan said...

Dig up a '94 Collector's Choice Harold Baines (478) if you have one. (I might have sent you one, don't remember.) Might be the only "migraine" card I've seen...

Jeff said...

Is the gash on Borders' neck? Or is that the blood running from down the side of his head?

Ana Lu said...

I think the fact they have to wear a helmet and other protections says a lot.

Here an other example of a possible painful slide to the base:

They are a bit nuts to go with the head instead of the foot. But otherwise we wouldn't get so amazing cards.

J.R. said...

Let's not forget the fantastic bloody shot of Nolan Ryan from the Pacific Ryan set. Card number 92. Photo taken after he took a Book Jackson hit off the lip and refusing to leave the mound.

J.R. said...

Should be Bo..silly autocorrect.