Thursday, February 5, 2009
#19T Don Slaught
Holy cow...there is a lot of cool stuff going on with this card!!
Firstly, we have red, white, and blue bunting in the background, suggesting that this photo was taken on a special day. Perhaps Opening Day, or Independence Day?
Secondly, we have Slaught's back pocket going inside-out on his swing.
Thirdly, we can see most of the on-deck hitter. Who is that likely to be? Let's see if we can figure this out. Check out the Yankee batting orders for 1988. Slaught was in 87 games for the Yankees, comprised of 39 batting 8th, 27 batting 7th, 16 batting 6th, and 5 batting 5th. The guy hitting after Slaught appears to have somewhat darker skin and is likely either black or a darker-skinned Latino player. Looking through the lineups, possibilities include Gary Ward, Luis Aguayo, Willie Randolph, and Rafael Santana.
I'm going with Randolph. Know why? Because the Yankees are wearing road greys, and on the 4th of July, they played in Texas, with Slaught batting 7th and Randolph batting 8th. So there ya go.
Fourthly, check out the photo on the back. Thanks to help from Kevin, we've determined that's Mike Morgan back there. Pretty rare to see another player on a headshot photo like that.
Since 1901, only 31 catchers have amassed 4500 PAs and managed an OPS+ of at least 104. Of course, Sluggo is one of them, and his career BA puts him in the top half of that bunch.
Slaught had the misfortune of being in the wrong places at the wrong times in a lot of his career. He left KC right before they got good. He was in Texas when they were (still) no good. He passed through the Yankees organization during one of their rare wasteland periods. Then he landed with Pittsburgh, who won their division 3 straight years but couldn't get out of the playoffs.
One of the things I remember about those Pirates taems is that they didn't sell out their home playoff games. I'm frankly surprised that Pittsburgh still has a baseball team, considering that fans didn't care about the team then, and they've been horrible ever since.