Monday, June 2, 2014

1993 TOPPS FINEST: #136 KEVIN MITCHELL

DON'T MESS WITH MITCH.


NEVER A DULL MOMENT.


DEFINING THE PLAYER

  • Kevin Mitchell won the 1989 NL MVP and was a two-time All-Star but might be best known for catching a flyball with his bare hand, breaking a tooth eating a chocolate frozen doughnut and straining a muscle while vomiting. Mitchell packed a lot of drama and talent into his 13-year career with eight teams, being traded five times, but he always could hit, slashing .284/.360/.520 with 234 homers and 760 RBI. He also enjoyed a reputation as being someone you messed with at your own peril.

DEFINING MOMENT

  • Mitchell played a major role in the Mets' comeback in the 10th inning of Game 6 of the '86 World Series on Oct. 25. Trailing 5-3 with two outs and a man on, Mitchell, then a rookie, was called upon to pinch-hit. Most accounts had him undressed in the clubhouse and on the phone right before being summoned, but Mitchell disputes this. Whatever. He singled off Calvin Schiraldi and later scored the tying run on Bob Stanley's wild pitch. 

DEFINING SEASON

  • His '89 season was pretty amazing, as he led the majors in homers with 47 and RBI with 125, slashing .291/.388/.635. His 1.023 OPS also led the majors. Along with #108 Will Clark, Mitchell was the driving force behind the Giants advancing to the World Series.

FIVE FINAL FACTS

  1. As a rookie, Mitchell hit 12 homers in 108 games and considered one of the Mets' future stars.
  2. Concerns about his gangsta profile and influence on #113 Dwight Gooden and #89 Darryl Strawberry prompted the Mets' front office to trade Mitchell to the Padres on Dec. 11, 1986, in a package for Kevin McReynolds. Mets manager Davey Johnson was against the trade.
  3. Mitchell stayed in San Diego only a half season, being part of a seven-player deal with the Giants. Coming to the Padres was reliever Mark Davis, who would win the '89 NL Cy Young Award.
  4. The barehanded catch occurred on April 26, 1989, and made all the highlight shows despite being the end result of a misplay. #28 Ozzie Smith hit a fly to left that tailed toward the line. Mitchell overran the ball and had to reach back over his head with his hand to make the catch. 
  5. He followed his MVP season by hitting 35 homers in '90 but would reach the 30-HR plateau only one more time, in '94 with the Reds.

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