September 30, 2008

The Tao of Fred McGriff - Day 11

I've noticed lately that as they age, the one really noticeable place people gain weight is in the face. Even athletes, whose job it is to stay in impeccable shape. Just look at Tony Perez's Super Veterans card in 1983 Topps; he almost looks like two different people.

I bring this up because the more I look back through all these cards of Fred McGriff, the more it appears that he didn't gain face weight. Can that be right? His helmet looked comically oversized even late into his career (whereas someone like Tony Gwynn filled out under his helmet).

It's always shocking when you see an old retired athlete (take Larry Bird for example), because usually the first thing you think of is Hey, he really let himself go. And yet, take a look at this photo from a dinner in 2007. McGriff doesn't look like Rickey Henderson, but he also doesn't look like he stopped working out occasionally.

Anyway, I didn't really want to talk about face fat. I wanted to talk about good old National Packtime. Take a look at the lineup of this little set from 1995:

Alex Rodriguez
Barry Bonds
Cal Ripken
Ken Griffey Jr.
Tony Gwynn
Frank Thomas
Mike Piazza
Will Clark
Juan Gonzalez
Jeff Bagwell
Kenny Lofton
Fred McGriff
Deion Sanders
Matt Williams
Jose Canseco
Bob Hamelin
Tim Salmon
Raul Mondesi

You know, for all the future Hall of Famers and on-the-cusp guys in the set, the guy I was most excited by was Raul Mondesi. (You want to read something interesting? Read Mondesi's wikipedia page.) I still feel like Mondesi could, if he wanted to, get back into playing shape and make an impact on a team like Pittsburgh or Seattle. And I bet that with a few rigorous workouts, that face fat will leather itself taut. (Scroll down to the bottom of this page to see what Mondesi looks like now.)

1 comment:

DIG's Cards and Autos said...

I actually got to meet Raul Mondesi and got him to autograph a baseball for me. It was either him or Johnny Damon...I guess I guessed wrong on that one! LOL.