April 20, 2011

Tranberg-Brand Cheese

Mark Tranberg, 1994 Bowman

Here is Mark Tranberg, player of baseball and major league hopeful. I haven’t turned this card over yet, but I have a gut feeling, just by looking at Mark Tranberg, that dude throws straight cheese. Probably—and this is just a guess—the hardest thrower in the bigs. Tran. Berg. Cheese. Hit me!

“In the pros, everybody throws harder than I do,” says Tranberg

Okay, so I was wrong. We’re off to a questionable start here. Still though, I like the guy. He looks—and I don’t throw this term out there liberally—nice. If it were 1993, and I wrote for say, The Los Angeles Times, I would totally do a feature on Mark Tranberg of the Philadelphia Phillies. I would title it, “On the Mark for a Shot at the Majors: Baseball : Mark Tranberg didn’t earn respect when pitching at Dominguez Hills, but he is earning victories in Philadelphia’s farm system.” It would be the longest and best title ever written, and potential readers wouldn’t even really have to read the ensuing article, but I would write it anyway.

When he wasn’t selected {after his junior season}, Tranberg was told it was because his fastball was only about 83 m.p.h.

I mean, yeah … that is something that, in many cases, will not get you drafted to be a major league pitcher. I understand that there are pitchers who can do a lot with less stuff—and Tranberg had done just that in the minors, and was drafted the following year—but as they say in redundancyland, “83 miles per hour is 83 miles per hour.”

What to do?

"His fastball was just average," Verhoeven said. "It was just a little bit short. So I got in touch with (former major league catcher) Bob Boone, who I've kept in contact with, and he put me in touch with a guy named Bill Pewett to work on picking up his velocity."

That is literally the last paragraph of the article. What a cliffhanger! We are only left to make an educated guess as to what transpired next:

John Verhoeven, the pitching coach at Cal State Dominguez Hills and former Angel and Minnesota Twin pitcher: Mark, let me break it down for you—you don’t throw the ball fast enough. There, I said it. Tough love. But here’s the deal. I got in touch with former major league catcher Bob Boone, who I still keep in touch with, and every now and then we keep in touch, for example, this particular instance which I am specifically referring to.

Mark Tranberg: Okaaaaay …

Verhoeven: So yeah, we keep in touch, the two of us. Anyway, I figured if anybody could help you throw harder, it would be former major league catcher Bob Boone. Well, turns out, Bob Boone passed me off to some guy named Bill Pewett, and he—Bill Pewett, not Bob Boone—is going to help you with your velocity. The two of you meet tomorrow morning on the mound of a deserted high school baseball field.

The next day ...

Bill Pewett: Name’s Bill Pewett. Got a PhD in velocity and a Master’s in kicking ass. Let me see what ya’ got, kid.

Mark Tranberg throws a pitch. Anonymous man wearing a sombrero and holding a radar gun clocks the pitch at 83 m.p.h.

Pewett: Okay. Alright. Now here’s what I want you to do. Throw a pitch again, but this time, throw the ball faster.

Mark Tranberg throws a pitch, which is clocked at 83 miles per hour.

Pewett: Hmmm. Okay, well, that’s a wrap for today. Meet me back here in three weeks and in the meantime, work on what I told you.


Batboy said...

I love Bowman's approach to this card, too. The powers-that-be at the company basically said, "Let's put that shot of him smiling with his glove at his waist on the front, and then lets do the one of him not smiling with his glove at the waist AND AT A SLIGHTLY DIFFERENT ANGLE on the front! Nobody will see that coming!"
Excellent approach, Bowman. Much like a Mark Tranberg fastball.

Batboy said...

Oops... on the back for the second half of my smart alec comment.

unfoundfinds said...

I know nothing about baseball cards, but congrats on being blog of note!

The Car Buying King said...

Congrats on the Blog of Note!!!!

New Jersey Memories said...

Congratulations on being a Blog of Note!

Looks like Tranberg has done very well for himself:


Michael Tabor said...

Oh, wow! This is my favorite blog of note yet! I'm totally following now. GREAT WORK.


commoncents said...


Common Cents

NFL Coach said...

Congratulations your Blog of Note!

WOW!!! Finally a Blog of Note a man can sink his teeth into!

I hope Blogger chooses More blogs like yours! I mean it sure beats the heck out of all those dog, cat, flowers, and pretty picture blogs they usually choose.

Twice the Congratulations, Guys!

NFL Coach,