October 06, 2010

Most Valuable Trio

“MVP Lineup,” 1991 Upper Deck

What do you get when you throw together one affectionate African American fellow, one happy-go-lucky Dominican, one skeptically optimistic Caucasian -– all of whom have won MVPs, by the way -– a couple of bats and a glove? You get a good freakin’ time. That’s what. Headlock-hugs!

Also, if you’re the Chicago Cubs, you get a 77-83 record for the upcoming season. But no matter for Cubs’ fans, who care less about winning than they do about accumulating souvenirs:

The bleacher bums of Chicago’s Wrigley Field will have a lot more souvenirs this season since the Cubs’ signing of former Blue Jays’ slugger George Bell.

Congratulations, all of you hopelessly jobless yet endearing bums! As a collective group, you will most likely be afforded the opportunity to catch more home run balls this season, now that your favorite team has signed George Bell, who, from the looks of this card, is poised to hit 50 home runs! Or, eat a sandwich and take a nap. Either way, I’m sure the organization will produce a George Bell-themed throw pillow that you can purchase at the Cubs’ gift shop for the low price of $149.

The addition of the 1987 American League Most Valuable Player to a devastating lineup

The 1990 Chicago Cubs? 77-85. Devastating, indeed.

that already includes the 1987 National League MVP, Andre Dawson and the 1984 N.L. MVP, Ryne Sandberg gives the Cubs the first MVP trio in the same lineup since 1984.

As the old baseball saying goes, “You can never have enough pitching guys in your lineup who won MVPs anywhere from four-to-seven years earlier, and who are aging at the speed of the light.” (-Steve Phillips)

That year the California Angels stacked Rod Carew, Fred Lynn and Reggie Jackson against opposing pitchers.

The 1984 California Angels? 81-81. Carew, Lynn & Jackson v. opposing pitchers = draw.

Bell, Dawson and Sandberg may also become the second teammate trio in baseball history to hit forty or more homers in the same season, each having achieved that number once in his career.

Hey, why not? In fact, write it down. 120 home runs, in the books. After all, Ryne Sandberg just hit exactly 40 dingers in ’90, 10 more than his previous career high, and Andre Dawson hit 49 in ’87, 17 more than his previous career high, and George Bell is coming off a 21-home run season, so it makes sense to bring up the possibility of all of them hitting 40 home runs each in 1991, because they are older, and…wiser, at hitting home runs. It’s just like 2010, when Paul Konerko, Manny Ramirez, and Andruw Jones each hit 40 home runs apiece for the White Sox. Besides, these are Cubs fans, so it’s only fair to needlessly raise already false expectations. Speaking of…

Chicago fans are banking on their million dollar “MVP Lineup” to lead them to their first World Series appearance in 46 years.

Well, at least this lineup only cost, apparently, a million dollars. Too bad though, that they couldn’t help Cubs’ fans realize their obvious lifelong dream: getting to the World Series. If only someone were big enough to give an entire fan base a headlock-hug and a playful noogie.


steelehere said...

As crazy as it sounds, I actually collected George Bell cards in the 1980's and even accumulated a pretty impressive collection (i.e. 1000+ cards).

With that said, I always found this card irritating because of an incorrect fact on the card.

The Angels threesome in 1984 wasn't actually the last lineup with three former MVP's in it (prior to the three featured on this 1991 UD card). That honor would go to the 1987 Boston Red Sox. Their lineup featured Don Bayor (1979 AL), Jim Rice (1978 AL) and Roger Clemens (1986 AL).


Kevin said...

Mike, I just wanted to say that this is one of the funniest things I've ever read on this blog. The hyperbole of baseball card copywriters is a comedy goldmine.

mkenny59 said...

@ steelehere: Nice call, there. Even better considering that the year of 1987 is mentioned several times with regards to Dawson and Bell's respective MVPs.

@ Kevin: Thank you! Indeed, critiquing anonymous baseball card copywriters is like shooting fish in a barrel, but super-fun nonetheless!