Tuesday, May 20, 2014

#218 Ben McDonald

About the Front: This photo cuts Ben McDonald off at the knees, so you don't get a proper sense of his height. The former #1 overall pick is 6'7", with long, lanky legs.

About the Back: Yep, just your average alligator-wrestling, sardine-eating righthanded pitcher. Nothing to see here.

Triple Play:

1. His superlatives in 1989, when he won the Golden Spikes Award (best collegiate baseball player): 14-4, 3.49 ERA, 202 strikeouts in 152 innings pitched, and a season-opening 44 and 2/3 inning scoreless streak.

2. Ben made his first big league start on July 21, 1990, shutting out the White Sox on four hits and a walk and outdueling Jack McDowell.

3. McDonald now works as a TV analyst for ESPN's college baseball broadcasts, and also occasionally fills in on Orioles' TV and radio broadcasts.

11-Year-Old Kevin Says: When Ben started the 1994 season by winning each of his first seven starts, I was sure he'd made a breakthrough. Of course he went 7-7 with a 4.56 ERA for the duration of the season. Oh well.

Bill James Said: "His strikeout rates, since his brief trial in '89: 3.7 per nine innings, 4.9, 6.1, 6.3, 7.0."

On This Date in 1993: May 20. The fourth-season finale of Seinfeld airs on NBC, wrapping up the season-long story arc of Jerry and George's television pilot for "a show about nothing". The pilot makes it to air, but the (fictional) NBC executives reject the show.


  1. Big Ben did a small hotel card show appearance right about the time of this card. I asked him to sign a 8x10 to my sons 'Brooks and James' and went on to try and explain that they were named for two Orioles. He just kind of looked at me like I had said I was from Mars. He signed it though.

  2. Bob - Sometimes we just don't speak the same language as athletes. I remember trying to explain my website to Boog Powell, haha.

  3. You might not see his full height, but that is one long arm spanning half the card.