Thursday, June 6, 2013

1993 TOPPS FINEST: #31 GARY SHEFFIELD


A DICK ALLEN CLONE.




RARE SMILE FROM ONE OF TAMPA'S FINEST PLAYERS.


DEFINING THE PLAYER

  • With a distinctive batting stance in which his powerful wrists rocked the barrel-end of the bat toward the mound with a pendulum-like cadence, Gary Sheffield menaced pitchers for 22 years. He hit 509 homers, drove in 1,676 runs and hit .292. His gangsta persona didn't endear him to many, which explains why his career spanned eight organizations. But he pretty much raked everywhere he played.

DEFINING MOMENT

  • Sheffield joined the 500 home run club on April 17, 2009, as a pinch-hitter, driving one off the Brewers' Mitch Stetter. It was the first time a player joined the club with a pinch home run. Also, Sheffield became the third player to homer before the age of 20 and after the age of 40, joining Ty Cobb and Rusty Staub.

DEFINING SEASON

  • In '92, Sheffield contended for the Triple Crown before winning the batting title with a .330 average and finishing third in home runs (three behind #106 Fred McGriff) with 33 and fifth in RBI (nine behind #171 Darren Daulton) with 100. Sheff was hampered after breaking a finger with six games left.

FIVE FINAL FACTS

  1. His uncle played a little ball: #113 Dwight Gooden, who helped a young Sheffield with his hitting in Tampa.
  2. Sheffield received deserved criticism when he was quoted early in his career saying he would commit errors on purpose if he disagreed with an official scorer's call.
  3. Future major-leaguer Derek Bell and future first-round draft pick Ty Griffin were teammates with Sheffield on the Belmont Heights Little League team from Tampa that advanced to the World Series but lost to Taiwan in 1980.
  4. Got a World Series ring in '97 with the Marlins, with whom he played the most seasons for (six).
  5. He was listed in the Mitchell Report as having obtained and used steroids.

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