NotGraphs Baseball


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  1. A favorite card from my youth is the 1985 Fleer Jeff Kunkel. In a set that included rookies of Clemens, Puckett, Gooden, and the Davises Alvin and Eric, I kept finding myself drawing the Rangers’ latest first-round wunderkind, he of the career .614 OPS. It seemed like he was grinning at my bad luck.

    The card depicts Kunkel cleaning his bat with a cloth, but I liked to imagine that Kunkel was forced to clean every bat in the dugout, every afternoon. Maybe that’s why he lasted until 1991: it took him that many days working the parking garage to pay off his signing bonus.

    There’s not a lot of Kunkel to work with, and so you have to feel sorry for the poor guy tasked with filling the “Did You Know?” area on the back of the card. The first fact is that he batted .287 at Burlington, which is listed in the statistics above (next to the word, “Burlington”) so I suppose that this time, the answer was yes.

    Comment by Patrick — March 23, 2011 @ 11:37 pm

  2. It’s easy to goof on those people writing the “Did You Know” section but it’s really tough to do. I did that for a very brief time and you had to write to exact character specifications while keeping everything positive without a hint of a whiff of snark.

    Easier said than done.

    Comment by Brian Joura — March 24, 2011 @ 12:12 am

  3. I can’t begin to imagine. I’d play it straight for a week and then start conjuring up exotic pets and idiosyncratic hygiene rituals.

    Comment by Patrick — March 24, 2011 @ 12:42 am

  4. Fantastic post. A treat to read.

    Comment by Navin Vaswani — March 24, 2011 @ 1:58 am

  5. This post reminds me of how much fun I used to get out of my 10 cent common cards from the late 80’s and early 90’s. Thanks.

    Comment by Mat A — March 24, 2011 @ 5:41 pm

  6. Does no one else find it insanely distracting that he has a dirt spot only on his groin area?

    Comment by Stringer Bell — March 25, 2011 @ 1:31 am

  7. (a) expert trolling or (b) reading deficiency?

    Comment by ToddM — March 29, 2011 @ 5:18 am

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