Monday, January 6, 2014

#135 Mickey Tettleton

About the Front: As much as I love cards that heavily feature catchers' gear, any photo of Mickey Tettleton that doesn't feature him swatting home runs and working on a pinch of chaw is an opportunity wasted.

About the Back: I swear that I wrote the sentence above before flipping the card over. Well played, Topps. The smeared eye black is a nice flourish.

Triple Play:

1. Mickey became a cult hero in Baltimore in 1989, slugging 20 home runs by midseason to earn his first All-Star selection and sparking the team's rise from dead last in 1988 to postseason contention. His famous superstition that fueled the power surge? Froot Loops, everyone's favorite toucan-endorsed cereal.

2. Despite four 30-homer seasons in a five-year span (1991-1995) and career marks of .369 on-base, .818 OPS, and 122 OPS+, Tettleton was underrated during his career. This is due in large part to his low batting average (.241 career) and high strikeout totals (1,307 career).

3. His son Tyler just concluded his collegiate career as quarterback of the Ohio University Bobcats, setting 27 school records.

11-Year-Old Kevin Says: I can't tell you how many times I've watched and rewatched the Orioles' 1989 "Why Not?" season recap VHS. It's got a delightfully goofy music video about the team's catcher featuring the song "I Love Mickey", co-written and performed in 1956 by pop singer Teresa Brewer for Tettleton's namesake, fellow Oklahoman Mickey Mantle.

Bill James Said: "He's no longer a catcher; he played 56 games last year behind the plate (mostly early in the season), 59 games at first base, 39 in right field, also played left and DH."

On This Date in 1993: January 6. Famed trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie dies at age 75.

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