Thursday, September 26, 2013

#77 Junior Felix

About the Front: Hey, it's a rare all-Junior action snapshot! That's Junior Ortiz of the Indians trying to slap the tag on Junior Felix. My sleuthing puts us in the top of the fourth inning on Saturday, May 2, 1992. Felix led off with a single off of Dennis Cook, moved to second on a Hubie Brooks grounder, and scored on Gary Gaetti's single. There was a throw home, which allowed Gaetti to advance to second base. Cleveland went on to win a 3-2 squeaker thanks to an RBI single by Paul Sorrento in the bottom of the eighth. And now you know.

About the Back: Topps was all about that early-season four-game series between the Angels and Indians. The April 30 game was of course two days before the contest pictured on the front of the card.

Triple Play:

1. In his major league debut (May 3, 1989) Junior became the 53rd player in MLB history to homer in his first at-bat, taking California's Kirk McCaskill deep on the first pitch he saw. He was only the 12th big leaguer to homer on the first pitch of his career.

2. Felix was the starting right fielder in Dave Stieb's September 2, 1990 no-hitter at Cleveland. He went hitless in three at-bats, but caught the final out of the game.

3. Junior joined the Tigers in 1994 and was having a career year when the strike brought everything to a halt. In 86 games, he batted .306/.372/.525 with 25 doubles, 13 home runs, and 49 RBI. It was his final big league season, though he continued playing in Mexico until 2001.

11-Year-Old Kevin Says: This was one of the few cards in the 1993 Topps set that did not have its featured player as the primary focus. It was easy to confuse it for a Junior Ortiz card. My younger self would have had a field day with 1973 Topps.

Bill James Said: "Felix's listed age, 26, is believed to be a fiction, and his skills seem to slip another step backward every season." The outfielder had just hit .238/.276/.397 in an injury-plagued 57-game swing with the Marlins.

On This Date in 1993: September 26. Randy Johnson becomes the 12th pitcher in the 20th century to notch 300 strikeouts in a single season when he fans Ruben Sierra in the ninth inning. The Big Unit whiffs 13 batters in 10 innings, but also serves up a pair of solo homers to Dave Henderson. Steve Ontiveros takes the loss for Seattle after issuing a bases-loaded walk to Henry Mercedes in the top of the 12th inning.


  1. I know 9/11 made a lot of players fess up about their real ages but I think Felix was out of baseball by then...was his age ever found to be "fiction"?

  2. He's still listed on BBRef as born in 1967. So if Junior was fibbing, he was never caught.