25 November 2014

who carries reggie smith's career torch?

reggie smith's signature is on my short list of favorites.  harmon killebrew used to preach the importance of a nice signature to young twins players, and i can see reggie doing the same to players for whom he served as a mentor.  i recently bought this 2004 upper deck usa baseball 25th anniversary signature card of reggie
for about $3.  money well spent as far as i am concerned.

reggie was a coach for team usa, and for the dodgers, too after his playing days were done.  i wonder which active major leaguer is carrying his career torch...

on october 3, 1982, reggie suited up for a major league game for the last time as a player. unfortunately, he suited up in a giants' uniform, as his 1983 fleer card attests.
smith ended his big league career that day against the dodgers with an 8th inning fly out against former teammate terry forster who, an inning earlier, had allowed a home run to joe morgan that effectively ended the dodgers' hopes of tying the braves atop the national league west to force a playoff.

terry forster pitched through the 1986 season, getting his last taste of big league action on october 2, 1986 as a member of the american league west champion angels.  here's his 1986 fleer update card.
forster pitched two innings that day, getting oddibe mcdowell to ground out to end the 7th and bring an end to his pitching career as well.

oddibe mcdowell, of course, was himself a member of team usa back in 1984 during the olympics held in los angeles.  here's his 1985 topps team usa subset card.
the olympic baseball games were played at dodger stadium (the dodgers wore an olympic patch in 1984), and team usa lost to japan in the final.  there were no medals given, however, as baseball was just a demonstration sport at that time.

one thing about that 1985 topps mcdowell card - when i first opened some packs in '85, i took a look at the couple of checklist cards i had pulled and reviewed the 'hero' numbers to see if steve garvey was given any respect from topps (his 1985 card is number 450, so yes, he was respected) and i saw that card number 400 was oddibe mcdowell.  i followed major league baseball pretty closely, but did not know who this guy was and actually freaked out a little bit that a player i did not know could command such a number on topps' checklist.

back to mdowell's career now.  mcdowell did not play in the majors for three years following the 1990 season, but he made his way back into the rangers' lineup in 1994.  on august 10 of that year, in what turned out to be the final game of the season due to the players' strike, mcdowell went 0 for 2 with a sacrifice.  that sac bunt, against the mariners' jim converse, was the last time mcdowell went to the plate in his big league career.

converse (seen here on a 1995 topps stadium club card)
returned after the strike, and continued to pitch into the 1997 season.  on may 15, 1997, he was with the kansas city royals and relieved jeff montgomery in a game against the tigers.  converse faced four batters that day, the last of which was jody reed who drew a walk.  converse was pulled from the game and did not pitch in the majors again.

jody reed, the man who spurned the dodgers' free agent offer which led to the pedro martinez/delino deshields trade, saw his career end on august 22, 1997 in a laugher against the brewers.  he's a padre (and turning two) on his 1997 topps card
but he was with detroit when he saw the last of his big league action.  the tigers won the game 16-1, but reed was 0 for 2 including a strikeout in the 9th inning against alberto reyes that turned out to be his final big league at bat.

alberto reyes last pitched in the majors in 2008.  i don't think he had too many cards over the years, so here's a 1996 upper deck collector's choice card from early in his career.
he was with the devil rays when he finished a game against the indians on august 5 of that year.  he faced four batters, the last of which was andy marte who struck out to end the game.  he did not appear in any games after that, and about a week later, reyes was granted free agency.  he signed with the mets, but did not make any appearances for them, either.

andy marte stuck with cleveland through the 2010 season (this is his 2007 topps heritage card),
but hadn't played in the majors since that season until he surfaced with the diamondbacks earlier this year.  he hit a pinch-hit home run in his first big league at bat in almost 4 years, but a few days later on august 6, 2014, he struck out against the royals' greg holland to end the game.  marte became a free agent shortly before the end of the season, so  that may well have been his final big league at bat.  if so, then greg holland (seen here on his 2014 topps update card)
will carry the torch for reggie smith (and terry forster).  i'd say his signature has potential.

1 comment:

Mark Hoyle said...

Just recently picked up a 68 Topps signed by Reggie. Best on card auto I've seen.