Saturday, February 11, 2012
#15 - Jerry Koosman
What a card: Jerry Koosman had just completed his first season back in the National League since the day he was traded from the Mets to the Twins on Dec. 8, 1978. It also marked his return to full-time starting as he was a reliever and spot starter with the White Sox from 1981-83.
My observation on the front: I've said several times that I really like the Phillies cards in this set. Something about the burgundy-and-gray color combination on the bottom. It doesn't go well with the photo in this case -- the powder blue uniform is throwing things off -- but we'll see some other Phillies cards that I think look great.
More opinion from me: Don't you love a baseball card blog that goes off-topic into color selection? Sorry. I gotta be me.
Something you might know: Koosman is a free man after serving six months in jail for tax evasion. He was released in the summer of 2010.
Something you might not know: The famous "Shoe Polish Incident" in Game 5 of the 1969 World Series may have been affected by Koosman, a fact that he brought to light 20 years after the incident. In the sixth inning of Game 5, Orioles pitcher Dave McNally bounced a pitch to the plate with Cleon Jones at-bat. The Orioles claimed the ball hit nothing but dirt, but the Mets claimed it hit Jones in the foot. Mets manager Gil Hodges won the argument by showing the umpire the ball, which had a spot of shoe polish on it. However, Koosman said in interviews years later that Hodges, before he spoke to the umpire, told Koosman to rub the ball on his shoe. Hodges then brought the ball to the ump and Jones was awarded first base.
My observation on the back: It's hard to see here, but Koosman's won-loss records in 1977 and 1978 were awful. 8-20 and 3-15. The once-proud Mets had fallen way out of contention. Tom Seaver had been traded and Koosman demanded a trade from Mets management. I was a Koosman fan as a kid and I was disturbed by those stats. When Koosman won 20 games in his first year with the Twins, that made me happy.
The blog wants to speak now: A "Games of 1985" feature has been started up in the Pop Culture tab. I've also updated the News tab.