Wednesday, September 24, 2014

#286 Ron Karkovice

About the Front: This is probably the most flattering photo of Ron Karkovice I've ever seen. It's a candid photo, so he looks relaxed and he's smiling pleasantly. You can't see the pockmarks on his cheeks, his pot belly is hidden from view, and even his hair and his bright white mustache look good. If I were Karko, I might have this card blown up and framed.

About the Back: How do you give up a run in a no-hitter? In Cowley's case, seven walks did the trick. One of my mom's former coworkers was a big baseball fan, and I remember hearing that he once gave Joe Cowley a ride from the airport for a golf tournament. So I researched Cowley, and found that he was something of a whipping boy for Phillies fans during his short, career-ending stint with them. He is also the only MLB pitcher never to win another game after throwing a no-no.

Triple Play:

1. One of his high school teammates was Joe Oliver, who also went on to become a big league catcher.

2. Karkovice had five career grand slams. One of them, hit off of Minnesota's David West on August 30, 1990, was also the only inside-the-park home run of his career. How did that happen? Outfielders John Moses and Danny Gladden gave him a healthy assist.

3. In recent years, Ron coached in the independent Atlantic League. He managed the Camden Riversharks in 2013, though the team finished in eighth place with a 54-86 record.

11-Year-Old Kevin Says: To me, Karkovice is the poster child for the surprising spate of power-hitting catchers in the 1993 season. There were seven backstops who slugged at least 20 homers that year, and he was the most unlikely name in the group.

Bill James Said: "He threw out 50% of opposing base stealers (48 of 96), the best percentage for a regular catcher."

On This Date in 1993: September 24. The Rockies cruise past the Reds, 9-2, to set a National League record with their 65th win in their first season as an expansion team. Charlie Hayes homers, doubles, and drives in three runs as Colorado surpasses the win total of the 1962 Houston Colt .45s. They'll finish the season with a grand total of 67 wins and 95 losses.

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