Wednesday, January 18, 2017

#619 - Jeff Leonard

What a card: Jeff Leonard put together his second straight powerful season for the Giants in 1984, delivering 21 home runs and a.302 average in 136 games.

My observation on the front: I am now wondering whether this is the first example of a player wearing his cap backward on a baseball card (catchers excluded, of course). I'm sure it's not, but at least we can say that Ken Griffey Jr. didn't invent it.

More opinion from me: Leonard is a tragic tale. Signed by the Dodgers and owner of some terrific minor league seasons in the L.A. chain, Leonard was traded for catching help (ack!) to the Astros, and then ended up with the Giants, of all teams, where he blossomed. Argh. Makes me ill.

Something you might know: Known for a nickname given to him by teammate Dave Bergman, "Penitentiary Face," Leonard was the MVP of the 1987 NLCS even though the Giants lost to the Cardinals in seven games. He's the last player from a losing team to win a postseason MVP award.

Something you might not know: Leonard's famed "one-flap down" home run trot, which so enraged the Cardinals during the '87 playoffs (shocker that the Cardinals would get upset by something like that, I know), was born out of a goofy exchange between Leonard and Giants first base coach Jose Morales after they whiffed on a congratulatory high-five after Leonard hit a home run in 1986. Leonard put his arm down next to his body in a show of cool and trotted the rest of the way around the bases that way.

My observation on the back: Leonard would appear as "Jeff" on his Topps cards until the 1987 set when it was changed to "Jeffrey." It was in response to Leonard's request before the 1986 season to be called "Jeffrey."

The blog wants to speak now: The Music category is updated. A few of you are not going to like the new No. 1 song.

1 comment:

Rob said...

I don't know if there is a better card in this set that captures the persona of the play player better than this one!