This is the first pack of the contest designed to take your mind off of upcoming spring baseball and let you focus on important things.
Now that is a way to start a pitchers and catchers contest. Old Blood Sock has pitched 3261 innings in the bigs. That's a lot--seventh among active pitchers (baseball-reference apparently doesn't know that Maddux has retired, or, like me, does not want to live in a world in which Maddux has retired).
In two cards, we have had a pitcher, followed by a catcher. Scioscia caught 1395 games in the bigs from '80 to '92, all with the Dodgers. Scioscia is seen here fondling the hardware from the Angels' title in '03.
I swear I am not cherry picking. This is how the cards came out of the pack. Melvin was a catcher from '85 to '94. Is it just me, or does it look like he's looking around to see if someone heard him let one rip? The two players in the foreground seem to be smirking and pretending not to have noticed. This is Topps action photography at its best.
We are now 4 for 4. Seriously, it's like the packs are taunting me on the first long day of The Week Before Pitchers and Catchers. 488 2/3 innings by Osuna.
Alex Rodriguez - Sporting News All-Stars
I don't know if I should laugh or cry. We finally get a non-pitcher/catcher, and it's Say It Ain't So, Alexander.
This is a more classic manager action shot: walking. That makes three managers in six cards, and it is one of the rare managers that was not a former catcher. Howe was a utility infielder from '74 to '85.
Oh boy. This pack continues to mock me. According to baseball-reference.com, Halter played every position on the diamond, including two appearances as a pitcher, totaling a single inning. Career ERA: 0.00. I will count Halter as a pitcher and as a catcher.
Utility infielder. Nothing more.
Really? Four managers in nine cards? I love you, Topps, but this is getting old. At least Manuel is another non-catcher manager. I like this type of manager action shot more than the walking-across-the-infield type. I especially like the shades. Manuel makes fungo look cool.
Kirby Puckett - World Series Highlights
I bet you didn't know that Kirby played catcher for a half a game in his second season when the Twins had their only two catchers injured in the same inning. Actually, I know you didn't know that, because I just made it up. It's believable, though. Kirby just looked like a catcher. I hate the glare on this pic, but I am no good as a photographer, and my scanner refuses to fix itself, despite my pleadings. The card itself is rainbow-shiny. Anyone who saw this moment live remembers it well. This is a great shot of Kirby rounding the bases and doing the triumphant fist pump.
That's three pitchers and three catchers, and yes I'm counting Halter twice. Total IP: 3750.67.
Get your guesses in to me before the WEDNESDAY pack is posted.