Thursday, April 1, 2010
The Nitty Gritty Card of the Day!
In keeping with the theme of showing nothing but catchers for the next seven days, today’s Nitty Gritty Card of the Day is of 1983 World Series MVP Rick Dempsey. The card I chose is from the 1974 Topps set, card #569, showing Dempsey as a young back-up backstop with the New York Yankees. I am a casual Baltimore Orioles fan and I have met Dempsey a few times before, I have even had the privilege of interviewing him when he was a coach with Baltimore. Like most people I loved his rain delay theatre and I remember his heroics in the ’83 World Series when he homered off of Charles Hudson in the 5th and final game of the Series which Baltimore won 5-0. I was aware of all of those things, but it turns out there was a lot I didn’t know about Rick Dempsey and most of it I learned from this very card. First off I had no idea that he played for the Yankees. He did, this card proves it. He was drafted by the Twins in 1967 and then traded to New York for Danny Walton in 1972. Of course the Yankees had an All Star catcher already in Thurman Munson which made getting at-bats difficult for a guy like Dempsey who was behind the plate than at it. He only started 25 games in 1974 and in ’75 only started 12 games behind the plate. In June of ’76 the Yankees sent him to Baltimore in big trade that also brought the Orioles Tippy Martinez, Scott McGregor and Rudy May. I think that Orioles fans owe the Yankees a thank you for that deal! Another thing I learned was that Rick is not his real name. I had assumed that, but thought his name might be Richard. It is actually John. His full name is John Rikard Dempsey. I had learned (not from this card) recently that Dempsey was the uncle of former Orioles (and Rays!) catcher Greg Zaunn. I thought that was really interesting, but more interesting was that the back of the card told me that Rick Dempsey is a relative of former heavyweight boxing champion Jack Dempsey. Baseball cards rule! There are more nuggets of info here, but you can read them yourselves. Another thing I learned (not from this card) was that Dempsey was a member of the 1988 World Champion Dodgers team and he also pitched in 2 games for the Brewers, making his MLB pitching debut at age 41. He owns a 4.50 ERA, he faced 10 batters over 2 innings and allowed 3 hits and no walks. Not too shabby. I am really going to try and find cards of catchers in catching gear to fill the rest of the week out. It hasn’t been an easy task. At least this one has a cartoon. Thanks for reading and don’t forget to cast your vote for the best catcher ever! Oh, there will be at least one, if not two more CardS of the Day today so stay tuned! 36 years LATER!