Thursday, February 5, 2015

#371 Mariano Duncan

About the Front: Mariano Duncan is at least the third player in this set to be photographed wearing a shin guard. If I were as thorough as Night Owl, I'd go through the binder and come up with a definitive count. Maybe I will, at that...

About the Back: Fine, I'll fill in the blanks for Topps. In the 1985 NLCS, Mariano started five of the six games at shortstop and batted .222/.263/.444 in 19 plate appearances. In 1990, he started all ten of Cincinnati's postseason games at second base, batting .235/.278/.324 in 36 plate appearances. His three-run homer off of Zane Smith broke a 2-2 tie in Game Three of the 1990 NLCS.

Triple Play:

1. Duncan was a surprise All-Star starter with the Phillies in 1994. He batted .268/.306/.406 (86 OPS+), with eight homers and 48 RBI. I'd say that Phils fans voted early and often, riding the high from 1993's National League pennant.

2. He was a valuable contributor for the World Series Champion Yankees in 1996, with a .340 batting average, .500 slugging percentage, and 34 doubles in 109 games.

3. Mariano is currently a minor league coach for the Cubs. Prior to that, he spent five years (2006-2010) as the Dodgers' first base and infield coach.

11-Year-Old Kevin Says: When I think of Duncan (which isn't often, actually), I think of his 1986 Topps rookie card. It's been in my collection even longer than I've been actively collecting.

Bill James Said: "His hitting has improved dramatically since he stopped switch hitting a few years ago."

On This Date in 1993: February 5. The White Sox re-sign 45-year-old catcher Carlton Fisk for one more go-round. Of course, this one wouldn't have a happy ending.

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