Friday, July 17, 2015

#453 Victor Cole

About the Front: Victor Cole is wearing #61. Surprisingly, Baseball Reference says that a dozen players have worn that number for the Pirates, most notably relievers Sean Burnett and Chan Ho Park.

About the Back: Going back to Baseball Reference, it looks like Victor was actually the eighth Russian-born player in MLB history. He was also the first since Izzy Goldstein got a cup of coffee with the Tigers in 1932. There haven't been any more native Russians in the majors since Cole's debut, and he is the only player born in Russia when it was known as the Soviet Union.

Triple Play:

1. After getting rocked for four runs on three hits and four walks in 1.1 innings in his big league debut, Victor strung together three straight scoreless relief outings to earn a look in the Pirates rotation.

2. Cole's father was born in Sierra Leone, but studied medicine in Russia and married a Russian woman.

3. He never pitched in the majors again after 1992, but pitched professionally through 2002, spending stints in the minor leagues, independent leagues, Taiwan, and South Korea.

11-Year-Old Kevin Says: Two years before this card was produced, the city name of Leningrad was changed back to St. Petersburg. I probably didn't know that at the time.

Bill James Said: Nothing, since Cole was busy getting lit up in the minors in 1993 (combined 1-9 record, 7.24 ERA at AA and AAA).

On This Date in 1993: July 17. Guns N' Roses performs in Buenos Aires, Argentina for the final date of their Use Your Illusion Tour. It's the last time that the original band will perform together.

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