Saturday, December 10, 2011

Baseball Birthdays December 4-10

December 4
Lee Smith - 1992 Topps Kids #28
I can never hear Lee Smith's name without hearing Harry Kalas saying "Big Lee Smith". Smith played for the Cubs, the Red Sox, the Cardinals, Yankees, Orioles, Angels, Reds and Expos. I mainly remember him with the Cardinals in the early 1990s. He is second all time in saves with 478.

December 5
Cliff Floyd - 2000 Pacific Omega Platinum Blue #56
Cliff looked like he was going to be a great player when he first came up with the Expos in 1993. Injuries throughout his career have perhaps stopped him from being the megastar he might have been. He had a pretty good career anyway, playing for 17 years with a career batting average of .278 and 233 home runs.

December 6
Larry Bowa - Topps #233
One of my favorite cards, it was signed by Bowa for me in the early 1990s. Larry played for the Phillies from 1970 through 1981 and was known as one of the best shortstops of his day.  After his playing career he became a manager and coach. Always a fiery competitor, his temper and lack of patience made his managing stints (including with the Phillies) shorter than maybe they should have been.

December 7
Johnny Bench - 2003 Sweet Spot Classic Patch Card
Johnny was an integral part of the Big Red Machine in Cincinnati in the 1970s. His list of accomplishments is impressive: 14-time All Star; 10-time Gold Glove; 1968 NL Rookie of the Year
1970; 1972 NL Most Valuable Player; 1970 TSN Player of the Year; 1975 Lou Gehrig Memorial Award; 1976 NL Babe Ruth Award; 1976 WS MVP; and 1981 Hutch Award. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1989.

December 8
Mike Mussina - 1996 Bowman's Best Mirror Image Refractor #9
Mike was the Orioles #1 draft pick in 1990. He played for them from  1991 through 2000 and then played another 8 years for the Yankees. With a career record of 270-153, he seems a shoo in for the Hall.

December 9
Juan Samuel - 1985 Philadelphia Phillies Police #1
Samuel came up with the Phillies in 1983 and was traded to the Mets during the 1989 season. During his Phillies career he hit .268 and hit 100 home runs. He also struck out 835 times, leading the National League in strike outs in from 1984 to 1987.

December 10
Pedro Florimon - 2010 Bowman Chrome Prospects #25
No real big name players were born on this date so we'll go with the youngest. Pedro was born in 1986 and he made is debut on 9/10/11. He has one hit (a double) in 8 at bats.

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