30 December 2012

a missed double play opportunity

whenever i see a card with a play at second base, i hope that it's a double play attempt.  sometimes it's obvious that it is or it isn't, and then sometimes it is a bit ambiguous.  take this 1997 topps luis gonzalez card for example
 the fact that gonzalez has just slid in to second base and is looking back initially led me to believe that he was on the front end of a double play.  however, i didn't know for sure, and jeff blauser's stance (at least i assume that that is blauser) seemed a little off.  i took a look at gonzalez's game logs from 1996 on baseball reference and found a few possibilities.  perhaps gonzalez advanced on a 1-3 fielder's choice with jeff blauser covering second as the braves's shortstop on 5/29/96 and is looking back to see what happened.  perhaps it is a similar play that occurred on 9/1/96, with chipper jones playing short that day.  or, gonzalez could be safe at second on a full count stolen base attempt in which no throw was needed as the pitch was ball 4, as he was on 8/30/96 with chipper jones at short and mark lemke at second.  but, because i believe that it is jeff blauser standing around, i'll go with the 5/29/96 play, meaning that gonzo's card does not feature a double play attempt.

here's another one from the set that i know features jeff blauser.  it's larry walker's 1997 topps card
while blauser seems to be looking towards first base, walker looks like he is looking for a call from the second base umpire.  let's see if we can figure this one out.  as far as i can tell, it's either a non-play from 6/9/96 (walker was running from first base on a two-out, 3-2 pitch to andres galarraga but the big cat struck out) or it's a stolen base from the night before.  either way i don't quite understand blauser's stance.  still, i won't classify this as a double play card.

is ed sprague's card any different?
on 5/19/96 toronto was in kansas city, and sprague advanced to second on a fielder's choice.  if that is the play represented here, then the royals player would be shortstop david howard as second baseman keith lockhart fielded the john olerud grounder and threw to first.  makes sense.  especially since all of toronto's other games in kc in 1996 were night games.  so, i don't think this is a double play card after all.

here are some 1997 topps cards that are easier to discern as double play cards

roberto alomar
and mark grudzielanek
and here's mark lemke's 1997 upper deck collector's choice card
now here are some cards from 1998 - a couple of blue jays teammates, including carlos garcia on his 1998 pacific card
and alex gonzalez on his 1998 score rookies/traded card
1998 upper deck had a bunch of nice double play cards, like this jay bell card
with jose offerman hanging out in the background

mike caruso of the white sox got a shiny dp card
but not only did the subsets get some double play attention, so did the backs.  here's vinny castilla's card back
and deivi cruz's back as well
i like the anticipation in that shot.  also nice to see paul molitor again.

here's another really nice back - it's the back of nomar garciaparra's card
i like how the a's jersey on the wall frames nomar.  it's too bad this isn't a card front.

mark lewis has a spring training double play turn on the front of his card
while fp santangelo gets one on the back of his card
even devil rays turn two, as kevin stocker demonstrates
and at first i thought that quilvio veras was getting ready to make the transfer from his glove to his throwing hand to throw to first on his 1998 upper deck card.
after thinking about the three cards up top, however, i wasn't too sure.  so, off to baseball reference where i have convinced myself that this is either mcrae sliding in safely on his lead-off double to left to start the 5/8/97 game or it is mcrae about to be tagged out on a stolen base attempt.  either way, it's not a double play.

just so we don't end the post on that note, here is a surefire double play attempt on what is yet another parallel of ryne sandberg's 2011 topps lineage card
oh wait, no.  that's his 2011 topps sp cognac parallel.  topps just used the same photo for his lineage card.  at least it's a double play!

more to come tomorrow!

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