January 12, 2011

He Is Legend


Charles Johnson, 1996 Fleer, "Tomorrow's Legends"

Surely we have all heard of “future stars.” It is both comical and sad to look back on future stars who never were, and lament other peoples’ inexplicable inability to accurately foresee into the baseball future. Truth be told, it seems as though baseball cards in particular are more often wrong than right when it comes to forecasting a player’s ability at the big league level. The anticipation of what could be sells cards though, and that is, I guess, the whole point?

In that vein, Fleer threw caution to the wind. Future stars? Pfft. How about “Tomorrow’s Legends.” The way Fleer figured it, legends > stars. Also, tomorrow is sooner than the future. Who wants a star a few years from now when they can have a legend tomorrow? But how can one predict the often-indefinable qualities and outside circumstances that constitute a legend-in-the-making? Easy.

Fleer utilized the “quadrant formula” in order to determine whether or not a specific player would become a legend of tomorrow. This formula is exemplified here, on the front of this very card. To wit:

Does Charles Johnson have a baseball glove? Check.

Does Charles Johnson play baseball, like the old timers did, by throwing the ball, catching it, and also hitting the ball sometimes? Check.

Does Charles Johnson play baseball with baseballs, and on a baseball field? Check.

Does Charles Johnson live on earth, preferably North America? Check.

Bam. Legend. Of tomorrow. What else does this card have to say?



The Marlin with the “Golden Gun,”

Indeed Charles Johnson had a rocket arm and was an awesome defensive catcher. But this reads weird to me because fish don’t carry guns. If he played for the Florida Cowboys, that would be a great lede. Then again, fish don’t have arms, so I’m not sure how this would work. Maybe, “The Marlin who spears baserunners with his dorsal thingee … “ Yeah, that’s better.

Charles Johnson’s awakening at the plate

Charles Johnson had an awakening at the plate? When did this happen? What was it like? In looking at his statistics, this awakening, which must have occurred before 1996, caused him to hit the ball pretty much the same as he always had. Cool! It was the “awakening of a legend … “

has made him a terror to opposing pitchers

.251 BA / .351 OBP / .410 SLG / .761 OPS = terror.

as well as baserunners.

Charles Johnson’s awakening at the plate made him a terror to baserunners? Hmmm. How so? Possibly he was hitting the ball very hard and in the direction of the baserunners? In which case he would be causing injury to his own teammates? That doesn’t seem very nice.

Then again, true legends aren’t always the nicest guys, I am told.

1 comment:

tourist504 said...

"Truth be told, it seems as though baseball cards in particular are more often wrong than right when it comes to forecasting a player’s ability at the big league level."

I saved all those "high potential" cards. The result? A lot of Midre Cummings and Hideo Nomo cards taking up space. Then again, I also have TONS of Jeter and ARod in that same vein, so kind of it balances out. I still have a hopeless inability to let go of cards that say "future," "rookie," "prospect," or "draft pick."