05 December 2012

showing a little attitude and some appreciation at the same time

bill russell got a lot of grief during his playing days for his fielding.  and today, he doesn't get much respect from the card companies.  but, keep in mind that he was an outfielder that was converted to a shortstop (that hasn't been done very often), and with him at the 6, the dodgers won 4 pennants and a world championship.  even i, a diehard fan of the infield, don't give russell his full due.  that's one reason why i like his 1983 fleer card so much.
whether russell is looking into the visitor's dugout at his teammates or into a home dugout full of opponents, the slinging of his bat and the look on his face seem to suggest that he has just laced a go-ahead base hit.  it's obviously not a walk-off because he's wearing his away grays, but i like to think that in the top of the 9th somewhere, the opposing team walked the number 7 hitter to get to russell, and he cleared the bases to make them pay.  kind of like what happened on june 5, 1982 in saint louis when the cardinals walked mike scioscia ahead of russell to load the bases.  russell doubled to break the game open, and who knows - maybe he looked into the dugout and said 'yippee ki yay, mr. herzog'.

as you can imagine, i have quite a few cards of russell that he has signed for me through the mail, almost all of which came from his active playing days.  i have a 1971 topps
a 1973 topps
a 1976 topps
a 1977 topps
a 1979 topps
a 1980 topps
a 1981 donruss
a 1981 fleer (hello, dodger stadium!)
a 1981 topps
a 1982 donruss
a 1982 fleer
a 1986 fleer (hello again, dodger stadium)
a 1986 topps
and a 1987 fleer
i have a couple of other, post-playing days cards that russell has signed, too, but not a 1983 fleer.

i'm glad that russell took the time to sign my cards over the past three years.  i'm also glad that the dodgers didn't trade for ozzie smith back in the early 1980's as had been rumored, and that russell was able to finish his playing career as a dodger - the only member of the infield to do so.  it's too bad that the last uniform he ever wore, however, was a tampa bay devil ray one.

thanks for signing my cards ropes!

1 comment:

Jeff said...

"...(that hasn't been done very often)..."

I believe he is the only major league outfielder ever converted to shortstop to have a real career.