Monday, February 23, 2015

#380 Todd Hundley

About the Front: That's a great action photo. Todd Hundley's chest protector and pants are streaked with dirt and grass stains, and he's ready to throw from his knees. I'm assuming this was a wild pitch or passed ball and he didn't have time to set himself.

About the Back: As you can see, there wasn't a lot of competition for All-Star Rookie honors at catcher in 1992. But Hundley would have better years ahead of him.

Triple Play:

1. He had a four-year streak of Opening Day home runs from 1994 through 1997.

2. Hundley had a breakout year in 1996, making the first of back-to-back All-Star teams while slugging 32 doubles and 41 homers and driving in 112 runs. At that time, he set a record for most single-season home runs by a catcher (bested by Javy Lopez in 2003) and by a Met (tied by Carlos Beltran in 2006).

3. Todd had an unfortunate homecoming to Wrigley Field in 2001-2002. The Cubs had signed the Illinois native and second-generation player (see below) to a four-year, $24 million contract just before his 32nd birthday, but he struggled with injuries and ineffectiveness, hitting .199/.285/.398 in 171 games. He also didn't ingratiate himself to the Chicago fans by flipping off some hecklers early in 2001. He was traded to the Dodgers before the 2003 season, and played only 21 more games in his career.

11-Year-Old Kevin Says: Topps didn't mention Hundley's father Randy, who caught for the Cubs and three other teams from 1964 through 1977 and had a Gold Glove and an All-Star appearance. I don't remember how long it was before I learned about Todd's parentage.

Bill James Said: "His batting average with runners in scoring position jumped from .157 to .276."

On This Date in 1993: February 23. Joey Lawrence's self-titled debut album is released. Whoa!

1 comment:

  1. I still have a very soft spot in my heart for - and very large card collection of - Todd Hundley. He was such a nice fellow when he came up (and we share a birthday) but the years of steroid use and being a jerk have not been kind to his reputation.