Thursday, July 11, 2013

#34 Juan Gonzalez

About the Front: This card is proof that zooming in a bit on the action can improve a photo. Nothing is lost by cropping Juan Gonzalez at the knees. Instead, we get a closer look at his intense expression as he follows the path of the ball he just hit.

About the Back: The copywriter must have had a blast with all of the home run slang. In one blurb, we get "belted", "clout", "roundtrippers", and "walloped".

Triple Play:

1. Juan was voted American League MVP in both 1996 (.314/.368/.643, 47 HR, 144 RBI) and 1998 (.318/.366/.630, 45 HR, 157 RBI).

2. He was hampered by injuries throughout his career, as he topped 115 games once in his 30s and suffered a season-ending hamstring tear in his only at-bat in 2005, which ended up being his final major league appearance. In parts of 17 seasons, he batted .295/.343/.561 with 434 home runs and 1,404 RBI.

3. Just last month, Juan and longtime teammate Ivan Rodriguez were selected for the Rangers Hall of Fame, but Gonzalez curiously declined the honor. It is believed that he is still upset over being traded from Texas to the Tigers prior to the 2000 season.

11-Year-Old Kevin Says: I don't know if "chicks dig the long ball", as the classic Nike ad claimed, but kids sure do. One of my strongest memories from 1993 was seeing "Juan Gone" outlast Ken Griffey, Jr. in the Home Run Derby at Camden Yards. Griffey was the first (and still only) player to hit the B&O Warehouse on the fly, but Gonzalez was the first player to reach the upper deck facade in left field (est. 473 feet) and the green batter's eye wall beyond center field (est. 455 feet).

Bill James Said: "Absolutely the only issues which stand between Gonzalez and Cooperstown are health and conduct." You don't say.

On This Date in 1993: July 11. At age 53, Jack Nicklaus wins the U.S. Senior Open golf tournament for the second time.


  1. You have to Google Juan Gonzalez Hall of Fame brochure!

  2. Tim - I've seen it. Truly a work of art.