Monday, April 29, 2013

Mickey Morandini

This is the final ATCRCS card that I sent into my Spring Training helper. I don't have a back for this one yet either so I can say a few things here, whereas I usually let the card speak for itself.

Most people probably associate Mickey Morandini with the Philadelphia Phillies. He did spend nine years and earned his only career All-Star appearance there compared to two seasons with the Cubs. Fair enough.

But to me, Morandini was the first post-Ryne Sandberg second baseman. Sure, Rey Sanchez filled the year of Sandberg's first retirement, but Sandberg came back. This was around the time I was temporarily moving on from baseball (high school/college time) but still somewhat followed the Cubs. Morandini had some big shoes to fill.

So how did he do? Well enough to tie for 24th in the NL MVP voting in 1998. Before you scoff at 24th, keep in mind that's out several hundred eligible players. Plus, Sammy Sosa kind of ran away with it that year. Although Sandberg was no slouch at the plate, I think he was more known as a Gold Glove second baseman. Morandini followed him up with leading all NL second basemen in fielding percentage with a pretty solid .993, beating 3x returning champ Bret Boone by .005 (that's a lot in fielding percentage).

So I guess you can say I was ok with Morandini taking over. We've definitely seen worse since. He's probably the only other post-Sandberg second baseman I've liked besides Darwin Barney.

I really liked the photo I used this card. He's choking up on the bat, adjusting his grip and looks like he's about to rip one. You can also clearly see the Harry Caray memorial patch the Cubs wore that season following Caray's passing.

According to SCN, Morandini is pretty good about signing and returning autograph requests TTM. I could have gone that route but figured since I was sending stuff already to someone going to Phillies camp, I migt as well knock out as many players as possible.

But several years ago, I did send a letter and asked him to sign this card:

I remember this play being pretty big news. In 1992, Morandini was the 9th player to turn the unassisted double play and the first since 1962. Six more players have accomplished the feat since then. Yes, it's a Phillies card, but it's a keeper. And look how skinny Barry Bonds is!

The ATCRCS card is the 48th signed card in that collection.

UPDATE: Found a video of the triple play at this link. You'd probably have to be a big Morandini or Phillies fan to sit through the entire 5 minute video but luckily, the triple play comes early on. 

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