Tuesday, July 23, 2013

#41 Alex Fernandez

About the Front: Alex Fernandez's footwear brand of choice is Reebok. Yep, that's all I've got today.

About the Back: You can see that Chicago wasted no time in getting Fernandez to the big leagues after drafting him fourth overall in 1990. Two starts in rookie ball, two more starts in high-A, then four in AA, and he was on the MLB roster just before turning 21.

Triple Play:

1. Alex was on the verge of a breakout season when this card hit stores. In 1993, he went 18-9 with a 3.13 ERA in 247.1 innings. He was a hard-luck loser in both Game 2 and Game 6 of the ALCS, allowing three earned runs total in 15 innings but receiving little support from his team on offense or defense - an additional three runs against Fernandez were unearned.

2. Fernandez was part of the Marlins' 1997 splurge, signing as a free agent and joining other proven veterans like Bobby Bonilla, Moises Alou, Devon White, Kevin Brown, and Al Leiter to deliver the team's first postseason berth and eventual World Series win over the Indians. Alex went 17-12 during the regular season with a 3.59 ERA in what would prove to be his final full year in the majors (see below).

3. He was inducted into the Hispanic Heritage Baseball Museum Hall of Fame in 2008.

11-Year-Old Kevin Says: Like most young folks my age, I thought the black-and-white uniform that the White Sox debuted in 1991 was the coolest thing ever. I had a cheapo adjustable "SOX" cap that I wore until it literally fell apart.

Bill James Said: "He's piled up quite a few innings on an immature arm, but if he stays healthy there's every reason to assume that he'll win 150-170 games in the next ten years." That proved to be a BIG "if". A torn rotator cuff sidelined him during the Marlins' World Series push in 1997, and though he returned in 1999, he pitched just 32 games over the next two seasons before he was through at age 30. He retired with 102 career wins spanning ten seasons.

On This Date in 1993: July 23. I was a day early on the James Jordan newsbit yesterday. Whoops. Also on this date, the Candelaria massacre took place, with Brazilian police officers killing eight street children.

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