Monday, April 1, 2013

1992 Fleer Mariano Duncan

Yesterday in the repack box break, I mentioned a possible card I could investigate.

Like the Tom Glavine cameo in last week's card, visitors are almost always easier because they have fewer games to choose from. I present Exhibit A:

1992 Fleer Mariano Duncan

First impression is a popfly, at Wrigley, probably from the 1991 season. A quick search over on Baseball-Reference shows me that Mariano Duncan played in 5 games at Wrigley Field in 1991.

In the first game, on May 10, Duncan entered the game in the bottom of the 6th inning in place of shortstop Barry Larkin.  No balls were hit to Duncan, either in the air or on the ground, for the remainder of the game.

On May 11, Duncan starts the game at second base but is moved to shortstop in the bottom of the first inning after Barry Larkin again leaves the game. He proceeds to field a groundball from Ryne Sandberg. Judging by the photo, I doubt that is the play. Two batters later, Andre Dawson hit a popfly to deep SS-2B area that is caught by Duncan. In the photo, he is in the grass so we could have a winner here! A groundout by George Bell in the 4th and one by Shawon Dunston in the 9th is the only other action Duncan gets that day.

On May 12, Duncan gets the start at shortstop. Another groundout by George Bell in the third, one by Greg Maddux in the 4th, and one by Jose Vizcaino to end the game is it for Duncan that day.

Fast forward to after the All-Star break, Duncan played in two of the three games in the July matchup. Starting at shortstop on July 23, Duncan fielded a couple more ground balls, one from Dunston, yet another from George Bell and one from Paul Assenmacher. There was a popfly from Ryne Sandberg in the bottom of the 7th but it is noted in the boxscore as Short LF line. I picture that as one of those heading towards foul territory between the third baseman and the left fielder that the shortstop usually flags down. Based on Duncan's position on the card and the ivy in the background, he doesn't appear to be racing towards the foul line but rather, facing the infield. I think I can safely rule out this play.

Duncan rests on July 24, but returns on the 25th. He pinch runs for catcher Joe Oliver, is thrown out trying to steal 2nd base and is replaced in a double switch in the bottom of the inning so he did not play defense at all.

If I had to choose between the Dawson popfly on May 11 and the Sandberg popfly on July 23, I would put all my chips on Dawson. This is, of course assuming that Fleer used a photo from 1991 and not anything older than that. That is my final answer.

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