Sunday, July 02, 2006

Three random 1983 Topps baseball cards

No wonder Terry Francona feels such a kinship with his bench coach. Not only was "Millsy" a fellow star at U of Arizona and a fellow scrub with the Montreal Expos, but like Tito, he also must dig out his old baseball card to convince people that, yes, there was a time when he wasn't as bald as a cue ball.

The Yankees? You, the Red Sox idol of my youth . . . you really wore the Pinstriped Jersey of Satan? How could you, Butch? How could you? (Sob.) Wait, what's that you say? You hit .172 with no homers while New York finished in fifth place? Umm . . . well nice job, then, Butch. Aw, I should have known you were an imbedded Red Sox all along.

He's never been teammates with Jason Grimsley, so I'm going tuck away any suspicions I might have about 47-year-old Julio Franco's discovery of the fountain of youth. Instead, I'll try to put his astounding longevity into perspective this way: Franco already had big-league service time when he was included by Philadelphia in the infamous 5-for-1 trade with Cleveland for Von Hayes in 1982. I'm not saying that was a long time ago, but I'm pretty sure Hayes died of polio.

And a special bonus card to commemorate the holiday . . .

Twenty-three years ago Tuesday, Dave Righetti pitched the Yankees' first no-hitter since Don Larsen's perfect game in the '56 World Series. The victim? The Red Sox, with Mr. Clutch Wade Boggs whiffing to end it. Yet as I recall it, the beverages were still cold, dad's grill was still sizzling, and the fireworks over the Kennebec River were appropriately dazzling. On the Fourth of July, even getting whupped by the Yankees couldn't spoil the day. Or maybe I was just more mature at 13. Either way, have a happy and safe holiday, everyone.

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