When I laid out these cards to get scanned in, I had to laugh because all the players had animal nicknames during their playing career. Today's post will feature a bull, dog, cobra, goose, slug, kitten, and even a tiger. While I don't have enough to fill Noah's Ark, I am happy to add these single cards to my collection.
Let's start with the only player still on the active roster.
Pedro "El Toro" Alvarez has had his ups and downs since being drafted #2 overall in the 2008 draft. He's shown signs of brilliance at the plate and in the field, but other times has looked completely lost. Last year was hopefully a breakout year for the 25 year old. He managed to hit 30 HR, drive in 85 runs, and finish with a .244 average. He also managed to commit 27 errors at the hot corner, most in the league and had 180 strikeouts (2nd most in league). If the Pirates are going to be a contender for years to come, El Toro must cut down on his strikeouts and not throw the ball away so often.
Mad Dog and The Cobra
Two of the key players to the 1979 World Series Champions Pittsburgh Pirates were Bill "Mad Dog" Madlock and Dave "The Cobra" Parker. Both had very successful careers that will probably never be HOF worthy, but collectively these PTR Heroes have 6 Batting Titles, 2 All-Star Game MVPs, 1 NL MVP, 10 All Star Game selections, 3 World Series rings, 3 Gold Gloves, 3 Silver Sluggers, and 1 HR Derby Championship. Both players were featured in last year's Panini Golden Age Museum inserts. I was fortunate to snag a jersey relic of each.
Bill Madlock 2012 Panini Museum Age Jersey Relic
Dave Parker 2012 Panini Museum Age Jersey Relic
I was shocked to see this card sell for only $3.13 shipped (combined shipping with another item). Sure it's not a patch like the Mad Dog above, but it is a nice swatch of yellow. I think that yellow jersey swatches are actually my favorite to collect. I really wish that Panini could get a license for MLB products. They've been producing some nice stuff over the past couple years.
Goose Gossage 1977 Hostess Trading Card
Rich "Goose" Gossage appeared in a Pirates uniform for only 1 season in 1977. I was trying to find a card of Goose in a Bucs uniform but Topps didn't picture him in their 1977 or 1978 uniform wearing a Bucs uniform. To the best of my knowledge the only card featuring him in a Pirates uniform is from Hostess Baking
Company. His only season with the Bucs gave him an 11-9 record with 26
saves in 72 games. He had a 1.62 ERA that season while pitching 133
innings. The Goose would enter many games in the 6th or 7th inning and
finish them out and helped to evolve what the current closer role is
today. I picked up this Hostess card in hopes of getting it signed by the Goose through his website. Just a matter of waiting now.
Don "Slug" Slaught was a member of the early 90s NL East division teams that twice almost went to the World Series. His career lasted 16 years and he finished with a .283 batting average. He was an offensive minded catcher and below average defender behind the plate. His caught stealing percentage early in his Pittsburgh was around league average, but by the team his tenure in the Steel City was over he was only throwing out 15% of baserunners attempting to run against him.
Tiger & The Kitten
Don Hoak and Harvey Haddix 1962 Topps
These guys are obviously before my time, but I was in need to add to my Pirates 1962 team set. I picked them both up for $4 shipped.
A little research on these guys and I found out that they both share
feline nicknames. Not to mention that both of them are connected in one
of the most famous non perfect games of all time.
Harvey Haddix was pitching a perfect game into the 13th inning on May 26, 1959 against the Milwaukee Braves. Don Hoak then committed a fielding error in the bottom of the 13th allowing Felix Mantilla to reach safely. Mantilla would be sacrificed to 2B on a bunt and Hank Aaron would be intentionally walked. The next batter Joe Adcock hit a ball over the fence to end the game. But in the confusion of celebration Aaron was passed by Adcock for the second out of the inning. Later it was ruled that Adcock would receive a double thus making the final score 1-0 Braves. Haddix took the loss on his one hit near 12 inning perfect game.
Don Hoak was actually the runner up for MVP in 1960 behind his
Pirates team mate Dick Groat. Not exactly a stellar year by today's
standards he hit .282 with 16 homeruns, drove in 79 runs, and scored 97
runs while playing his worse year at the hot corner committing 25
errors. I'm really curious how he was able to get so many votes for his
performance that year because his numbers certainly don't back up MVP
Harvey Haddix was nicknamed "the kitten" because he shared a resemblance
to Harry Breechan whose nickname was "the cat". Haddix was a 3 time
All-Star while with the St. Louis Cardinals before coming to the Pirates
in 1959. Haddix was the winning pitcher in game 5 of the 1960 World
Series against the Yankees and was the winning pitcher of game 7 when
Bill Mazeroski hit his famous walk off homerun to win the series for the
Bucs. Haddix was also a coach of the 1979 Pittsburgh Pirates.