March 28, 2012

Fear the Catalyst

Jeffrey Leonard, 1987 Sportsflics

They said it couldn’t be done. No one can do consecutive posts about terrible Sportsflicks hologram cards! It’s unprecedented! Well, let me tell you something. You only get so many chances in life to do something special, and confarnit, this is my chance.

In truth, the main reason I needed to post this card is because I was seduced by Jeffrey Leonard’s emotional expression in the “face” half of this scintillating hologram. I wasn’t sure how this was going to scan so instead I took a picture of it with my iPhone. If someone would have told me 25 years ago when I was 9 and first laid eyes on this beauty, “Hey, kid, twenty-five years from now you will take a picture of this hologram baseball card with your cordless cellular phone, and then post that picture to something called the 'Internet' due to your urgent responsibility as a ‘baseball card blogger,’” I would have been like, “Whhhhaaaaaa? Cordless?!?” In ’87, the hologram was the technology. It’s amazing how far Earth has come.

Anyhoo, what do you think of all this, Jeffrey Leonard?


Jeffrey, the emotional catalyst and heart of the Giants’ offense

I am trying to find an image that most encompasses the following qualities:


I think I found it!

is one of the most feared hitters in the league when healthy.

Let it be known that Jeffrey Leonard is one of the most feared hitters in the league … but only when he is playing baseball—not when he is not playing baseball—so please don’t go putting words in my mouth about how good Jeffrey Leonard is at playing baseball when he is in a hospital bed after having his spleen removed because, okay, I’ll admit it—HE’S NOT THAT GREAT POST-SPLEEN-OP. You happy? It should also be mentioned that Jeffrey Leonard is not really one of the most feared hitters in the league even when healthy, unless by “one of” you mean like, the “top 100 most feared hitters,” which is not a thing.

In 1987, he led the N.L. with a .364 average at the end of May

Thus taking home the coveted, “Highest Batting Average After Two Months of the Season Award.” I am going to guess, since his batting average at the end of May is mentioned as opposed to his batting average at the end of the actual season, that he tailed off after that.

He tailed off after that, but was still the key to the Giants run for the West title.

Indeed, it was Jeffrey Leonard’s emotional, catalyst-like, heart-having heart that was the key to the Giants’ West title, and most certainly not this incognito mustachioed fellow’s 35 ding-dongs and 152 OPS+.

“Jeffrey Leonard is the leader of the club,” said manager Roger Craig. “He can go 0 for 20 and he’s still an asset.

Someone who goes 0-for-20 is a liability, which is the opposite of an asset, regardless of the emotion with which they do so.

Everybody plays better when he’s on the field.”

This is true. Left-handed pitcher Atlee Hammaker openly admitted to half-assing it on days when left fielder Jeffrey Leonard was on the bench.


Leonard was known for his "one flap down" routine: running around the bases after hitting a home run with one arm hanging motionless at his side.

What the …? “One flap down?” Like if a bird hit a home run with a broken wing? That’s gangsta. Amazingly, pitchers did not take kindly to getting one flapped:

It was also during this NLCS that Leonard would draw ire for a "Cadillac" home run trot; the Cardinals felt he took a little too much time rounding the bases on his home runs, thereby showing up the pitcher. In response to this attitude, and for Leonard's repeated "one-flap down" routine of running bases, the late Cardinal pitcher Bob Forsch famously hit Leonard in the back with a fastball in fifth inning of Game 3. The St. Louis press began calling Leonard "both flaps down" after the incident.

You know what I realized? Nobody “Cadillac one flaps” anymore these days. Baseball’s changed, man.

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