Tuesday, August 10, 2010
#277 - Frank Taveras
Card fact: This is Frank Taveras' first solo card. He appears on one of those four-player rookie cards in the 1974 set. ... Also, it's been 99 cards since the last "red-yellow" border.
What I thought about this card then: I remember pulling this card on a particularly hot day in July and the sight of Taveras all bundled up in his jacket looked very unappealing.
What I think about this card now: It is all kinds of fantastic. I'll start with the jacket, which looks like a high school varsity letter jacket. Then you have the cap, which looks partly like what "the man in the yellow hat"' wore in "Curious George." Then there is Taveras' Afro, and the look on his face, as if he was caught in mid-sentence. And let's not forget his signature, which looks like it was constructed with black string.
Other stuff: Frank Taveras was one of those top-of-the-order guys who played a lot of games but really wasn't as good as a lot of people thought. Sure, he led the league in stolen bases in 1977 with 70, and he had a bunch of base hits in 1978 and 1979. But his on-base percentage was not good for a lead-off guy.
Taveras spent a long while in the minor leagues before landing the starting shortstop role with the Pirates. Then, in 1979, he was traded to the Mets for Tim Foli. Foli would go on to win a World Series title with Pittsburgh that year, while Taveras was stuck on a team going nowhere. Taveras actually played in 164 games that season.
Taveras ended his career with the Expos in 1982.
Back facts: 1. I didn't even realize that the vital stats were wiped out until I uploaded this card. I might have to upgrade.
2. That is one of my favorite cartoons in the set. When I was a kid, I thought the sun in the cartoon was a soap bubble and the player was waiting to catch it.
3. Franklin Crisostomo Taveras (Fabian) is a great name.
4. I was mesmerized by all those minor league stats as a kid. Usually that meant the player wasn't going to last long in the majors. But Taveras made it work for him.
Oldie but goodie: There's the original that I pulled on that hot day. He still looks warm.
Other blog stuff: The No. 1 song in the country on this date was "Jive Talkin'" by the Bee Gees. Yes, it was the '70s.