12 December 2014

who is rick monday's career torchbearer?

in his final big league at bat, the dodgers' rick monday, the center fielder on the team of my youth, faced the reds' jeff russell 6/20/84 as pinch-hitter and struck out.  this is monday's card from the 1984 dodgers police set
mo finished his career with 1619 hits and one huge postseason home run.

jeff russell, shown here on his 1995 fleer update card,
pitched in his last game on 9/27/96 as a member of the texas rangers. the last batter he faced was the angels' randy velarde who drew a walk.

here's randy velarde on his 2002 topps total card
which is appropriate because velarde played in his final game on 9/29/02 for the oakland a's and grounded into a 5-4-3 double play in his last at bat.  the pitcher that induced the dp was cj nitkowski of the texas rangers.

on june 7, 2005, nitkowski (i could only find a 2001 topps card of cj)
pitched in the big leagues for the final time.  he was with the washington nationals then, and in a game against the a's, he gave up a single to eric chavez and then walked scott hatteberg before being lifted for a reliever.

now with the reds (as evidenced by this 2008 topps year in review insert that i lifted from ebay), hatteberg
was used as a pinch-hitter on may 25, 2008 against the padres.  he faced off against bryan corey and fouled out to the catcher in what turned out to be his last big league appearance.

corey, who had relieved greg maddux to face hatteberg, made his last big league appearance just a couple of months later.  he doesn't seem to have many cards, so i'm showing a 2006 topps '52 card of him in a bosox uniform.
anyway, in the padres' game on august 9, 2008, corey was summoned from the bullpen to start the 9th inning against the rockies' 3-4-5 hitters.  with an 8-2 lead, corey allowed a single to matt holliday and then another to brad hawpe, and he was removed in favor of cla meredith.

brad hawpe, shown as a padre on his 2011 topps card,
eventually made his way to the angels' roster in 2013 where he played his last game in anaheim against the twins on july 22, 2013.  playing first base, hawpe's final big league at bat ended in a ground out while facing sam deduno - a former teammate of hawpe on the 2010 rockies.

pitched for most of 2014 with the twins (that's his 2014 topps card above), but was picked up on waivers late in the season by the astros.  i'll assume that he'll continue to carry rick monday's torch in 2015 for the 'stros.  if not, curtis granderson becomes monday's torchbearer which would be ok - from one center fielder to another.

1 comment:

Nick said...

These "torchbearer" posts are fascinating. Keep 'em coming!