17 December 2014

it doesn't take long to get to dusty baker's current career torchbearer, thanks to three former dodgers

dusty baker, sadly for me, finished out his playing career with the oakland a's.  dusty was the left fielder on the team of my youth, and he was therefore one of my favorite players.  i was disappointed when he followed the trail reggie smith had left and went to the giants after yet another postseason appearance in 1983, but the dodgers were moving on.  anyway, baker found himself in the green and yellow (just as he is shown on his 1987 fleer card)
in the penultimate game of the 1986 season as the dh for the a's.  in the 7th inning, he drew his second walk of the game off of royals' starter mark gubicza, and was lifted for a pinch-runner (tony phillips).  baker did not appear in the final game of the season, and he was not signed by anyone after the season ended.

gubicza continued to pitch for the royals through 1996, but was traded to the angels (a team i witnessed him shut out in 1989 at the big a) prior to the 1997 campaign.  gubicza made only two starts for the halos, but he did get a card in the 1997 fleer set in his new duds
in his second and final appearance for the angels, gubicza allowed a lead off single to marquis grissom, but retired the other three indians he faced.  in the second inning, however, gubicza couldn't get anyone out as he allowed three singles, a home run, and two doubles before being lifted.  that last double was hit by grissom who eventually came around to score on a jim thome single off of shigetoshi hasekawa.  i mentioned up top that dusty's torchbearers were all former dodgers (at least up until now), and while gubicza's last big league appearance was that bad start against the indians as a member of the california angels, he did sign with the dodgers for the 1998 season in an attempt to get back to the big leagues.  he was unsuccessful.

so, that means that grissom was carrying baker's torch.  he had been traded from cleveland to milwaukee after the 1997 season, and then the brewers traded him to the dodgers prior to the 2001 season.  as a result, i have in my collection this fantastic 2001 upper deck gold glove marquis grissom game-used glove card
that features not only a piece of one of his gloves, but also a bit of walter alston on the outfield fence at dodger stadium.  grissom's career didn't come to a close with the blue, however, as he did what reggie smith and dusty baker had done before him, and head to no-cal after his time with the dodgers ended. grissom signed with the giants as a free agent after the 2002 season, and he played for them until they released him in august of 2005.  his last game came on july 31, 2005 when the giants faced the brewers.  in grissom's last at bat of the game, he struck out against brewers' starter chris capuano.

capuano won 18 games for the brew crew that season, and was on the all-star team the next.  unfortunately, he ran into some arm problems and missed a significant amount of playing time into the 2010 season.  after a season with the mets in 2011, capuano signed with the dodgers and at one point was 7-1 with a low era for the club.  he finished the season at 12-12 with a league leading 33 starts. he made only 20 starts (along with a few relief appearances) for the dodgers in 2013, with his last performance in dodger blue coming in the nlds against the braves in which he held atlanta scoreless for three innings and earning the win in the dodgers' game 3 victory.  from there, capuano signed for the 2014 season with the red sox who used him exclusively as a reliever and released him in july.  he was picked up by the rockies who sent him to the minors where he pitched well and had his contract purchased by the yankees.  here's his 2014 topps update card showing him in pinstripes.
the yankees moved him back to a starting role, and he was 2-3 in 12 starts for the club.  i guess they liked what they saw, because they just re-signed him to a contract for 2015.  that means that capuano will continue to carry dusty baker's torch a while longer.

No comments: