Monday, January 9, 2012
#4 - Record Breaker, Cliff Johnson
What a card: This card commemorates Cliff Johnson's 19th career pinch-hit home run, which broke the record of 18 career pinch homers set by Jerry Lynch, who played in the '50s and '60s. Matt Stairs now holds the record with 23 career pinch homers, set in 2010. Unfortunately, there have been few record-breaker cards recently, so Stairs' achievement isn't celebrated on cardboard, as far as I know.
My observation the front: Johnson has a lot of classic cards. And although this isn't one of them -- wait until you see his base card in this set -- it's still pretty nice. Johnson often looked like he was going to lose his helmet while on the field. I don't know if it's because he wore his hat high on his head or he just has a large head.
More opinion from me: I went through a bunch of Johnson's cards and, holy crap, there are a bunch I must own, specifically anything from Fleer in the early-to-mid '80s. Great photos.
Something you might know: Johnson began his career as a catcher and first baseman in the National League. But when he came over to the American League in 1977, he became a designated hitter. Except for a year with the Cubs in 1980, he was exclusively an A.L. guy from 1977-86.
Something you might not know: Johnson, who finished with 20 career pinch-hit homers, hit five pinch-hit home runs for the Astros in 1974. But he doesn't hold the record for the most in a season. That record is held by a Dodger, Dave Hansen, and a Pirate, Craig Wilson. They each hit seven in back-to-back seasons, 2000 and 2001, respectively.
My observation on the back: Johnson's record-breaking home run not only won the game but came as the first at-bat in the eighth inning. Tippy Martinez gave up the homer.
The blog wants to speak now: I've been busy adding a few more items to the tabs, specifically the ballgames entry, the news entry, and the pop culture entry. The first segment of "Cereals of '85" is in the books!