July 27, 2008

Fantastic Card of the Day

Today's fantastic card is one of my favorites: 1974 Topps Traded Juan Marichal. Some guys navigated the 1970s with ease: they grew a mustache, combed their hair, and kept the instances of being photographed with a shiny warmup shirt on under their jersey at a minimum (see Gene Garber's cards from the decade and for a good example).

Other guys were not so lucky. Let me rephrase that. For some guys, the fashions of the 1970s were a reason for reporting for duty every day. Open shirts, wide lapels, unfortunate haircuts--all of it was bad news. So that brings us to Juan Marichal's crazy sideburns.

Actually, in this pose you can't tell if there's a matching burn down his left cheek, which swings heavily in Marichal's favor for the title of Weirdest Facial Hair Decision.

Another reason I love this card is because of the back. Besides the poor Topps' copywriter's minor headline coup ("Marichal Makes Bosox Juanderful"), the lead sentence states, and I quote:

"The Boston Red Sox, claiming that they're 'sick of losing,' today acquired Juan Marichal from the San Francisco Giants."

This is brilliant because many people forget just how bad a team the Red Sox were for most of the 1950s and 1960s. In fact, in the period following their World Series loss to the Cardinals in 1946 to their World Series loss to the Cardinals in 1967 (a span of 21 seasons), the team finished in the top 3 of their league only 7 times. It was only really in 1972 that the team started to show life, finishing the season a half-game out of first.

And though Marichal's the biggest name to appear in the 1974 Traded series, he gave the Red Sox just 11 starts, going 5-1 and posting an ERA of 4.87, by far the highest of his career (if we don't count his ERA for two appearances with the Dodgers the following year).

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