Saturday, July 21, 2012

1978 TOPPS TIM McCARVER

POWDER BLUE POWER.
SINGLE? SHOULD IT BE "GRAND SLAM SINGLE''?

THE FRONT PAGE

  • The Ford Frick Award recipient, Tim McCarver makes it to the broadcaster's wing of the Hall of Fame on Sunday.
  • His playing career was pretty damn good, too. Many don't like his know-it-all style and habitiual over-analysis, but I've learned a lot and appreciate his gumption to criticize players and managers when warranted. 
  • Norman Chad of Sports Illustrated once said of him, "When you ask him the time, (he will) tell you how the watch works.''

THE BACK PAGE

  • Some players have a cup of coffee in the majors; McCarver had a couple of pots: He played in six games in '80, becoming only one of 29 players to play in four decades.

PHOTO PLAY

  • Love how the batting gloves back in the day were basically golf gloves. And the players were, well, basically just players.

EXTRA, EXTRA

  • McCarver had his best years in the mid-'60s with the Cardinals. In '64, he hit the tiebreaking homer in Game 5 of the World Series, and the Cardinals officially ended the Yankees' dynasty in seven games.
  • In '66, he became the first catcher to lead the NL in triples with 13. In '67, he finished runner-up to teammate Orlando Cepeda in the MVP race as the Cardinals won another World Series.
  • As intelligent as McCarver comes across most of the time, he committed a really stupid act on the nation's bicentennial: He hit a "Grand Slam Single.'' After connecting on a game-winning slam, he passed Garry Maddox on the basepath and was credited with a three-run single.
  • I'll always remember McCarver's run-in with Deion Sanders. During the '92 NLCS, McCarver criticized Punk Time for playing regular-season football and postseason baseball on the same day. After the Braves clinched the series, Sanders sought out McCarver in the clubhouse and dumped three buckets of water over him. 
  • Afterward, a dripping wet McCarver glared at him and said "You're a real man, Deion, I'll say that.'' I really wished McCarver would've stuffed him in that bucket and punted him across the room. With the way Deion avoided contact, had McCarver engaged him, he probably would've curled into the fetal position and cried like the little bitch he was. And still is.
  • McCarver's skill at catcher can be best explained in four words: Bob Gibson, Steve Carlton. McCarver was Hoot's personal catcher at the beginning of his career and Lefty's at the end.
  • The fact Carlton preferred him over starter Bob Boone says a lot. Two of the greatest valued and trusted McCarver's acumen behind the plate. 
  • McCarver said he and Carlton probably would be buried 60 feet, 6 inches from each other. 

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