29 October 2014

bill russell's career ended in 1986, but continues today. sort of.

just as i did for steve garvey a few days ago, here is a look at who has carried bill russell's torch forward to today, through final plate or pitching appearances.

the dodger shortstop of my youth played in his final game on october 1, 1986.  i was pleased that topps and fleer gave him cards in 1987 (here's the fleer final tribute)
in his final game, russell was called upon to pinch-hit for dennis powell in the 8th inning of a game that the dodgers were losing 3-2.  padres' reliever goose gossage struck russell out, unfortunately.

goose gossage wound up pitching for a few more seasons.  he did not return to the major leagues following the players' strike, so his final appearance came in august of 1994.  like russell, gossage received some final tribute love in some sets - this card comes from 1995 upper deck
gossage was pitching for the mariners when he earned a 3-inning save on august 8, 1994.  pitching against the rangers, gossage set down all 9 players who faced him, including jose canseco who flied out  to left to end the game and the goose's career.

jose canseco made his final big league appearance as a member of the white sox in 2001.  this is his 2001 upper deck sweet spot card
he flew out in the 9th inning of the white sox game against the twins' eddie guardado on october 6, 2001 in what would be his final appearance as a major leaguer.  he later went on to write a couple of books.

eddie guardado pitched in his last game as a member of the texas rangers in 2009.  here's his 2010 upper deck card with angel coach alfredo griffin hanging out in the background.
the last batter guardado faced was the angels' robb quinlan, but it was on a wednesday night (september 30, 2009 to be exact), so the card doesn't feature a photo from that game.  quinlan hit into a 5-4-3 double play to end the 8th inning, as well as guardado's career.

robb quinlan played into the 2010 season, although i will show his 2009 upper deck card
quinlan was announced as a pinch-hitter on june 25, 2010 against the rockies, but he did not make it to the plate as rockies' manager jim tracy switched pitchers and erick aybar replaced quinlan for mike scioscia's angels.  furthermore, quinlan appeared in a couple of games against the dodgers just prior to that, but was only used as a defensive replacement.  so, quinlan's final plate appearance came on june 20, 2010 against the cubs.  the last pitcher he faced was andrew cashner, who got quinlan to ground out.

andrew cashner, seen on his 2014 topps heritage card,
is currently pitching for the padres, and is hopefully the proud torchbearer of bill russell's (and goose gossage's and even jose canseco's) career!