A few years ago, everyone's favorite Troll sent me a package that included some signed cards of Pittsburgh Pirates of yesteryear. While going through my collection as I prepare to move for the 3rd time in 2 years, I found this card.
It's a 1987 Fleer signed by former Pirates 2nd baseman Johnny Ray. What I like most about this card (besides the signature) is the sledgehammer Johnny is swinging in the on deck circle. I wonder how many times "The Kid" gave Johnny enough bat speed to lace his 1,009 hits in a Pittsburgh uniform. One thing is for certain, he seldom struck out at the plate as it took an average of 17 plate appearances between strikeouts.
Johnny was originally drafted in the 12th round of the 1979 draft by the Houston Astros, but was later traded to the Pirates along with Randy Niemann for Phil "Scrapiron" Garner. Ray was the runner up for rookie of the year behind Steve Sax in 1982 and would go on to win the Silver Slugger for second base in 1983. During the 1983 and 1984 season, Ray lead the NL in doubles with 38 each year. Over his career Ray played in 1,353 major league games and finally earned credit for his consistent efforts up the middle as a member of the 1988 All-Star team while playing with the California Angels.