Tag Archives: that guy

That Guy #5

This ‘That Guy’ story focuses on a player that I overheard a conversation about when I was a kid.  I was at a baseball card show and overheard 2 dealers talking pretty vividly about Tom Brunansky.  1 dealer was convinced that ‘Bruno’ was a lock to hit 500 home runs and join the Hall of Fame, and the other guy just didn’t see it that way.

Although I have no recollection of what these guys looked like, their vocabulary is what caught my attention and is probably the biggest reason as to why I remember much of the dialogue.

It went a little something like this.  Try to picture this as a conversation between Robert DeNiro and Joe Pesci.

Dealer #1 – You know, I’ve been stocking up on cards of Bruno.  I mean, dis guy is smackin’ homers left and right.  If he keeps this up, he’s a future fawkin’ hall of fama.

Dealer #2 – Bruno ain’t makin’ it to da hall.  No way!

Dealer #1 – What the fawk you talkin’ ’bout, ‘dis guy is hittin’ 30 plus a year.  If he gets 500, he’s in.

Dealer #2 – He ain’t neva comin’ close to 500.  No way!

Dealer #1 – He just might.  So I’ve been gettin’ all kinds of his fawkin’ cads.  Rookies, 2nd yeez, 3rd yeez, pretty cheap too.  If he stays on dis pace I would make a killin’ on deez cads.

Dealer #2 – What do you not get?  Bruno ain’t sniffin’ 500.  No way, no how!!!

Let me tell you, this conversation stuck with me for quite some time.  I may not have the wording exactly right, but you get the gist of the conversation.  So, what did I do?  I bought a few Tom Brunansky rookies over the course of the next few months and viola – Bruno has 271 career home runs.  At the time of this conversation, I was around the age of 12.  And you know what, if Bruno did continue on his pace from the few seasons prior to that one 500 could have been a possibility. 

So, now I open it up to you.  Do you have a ‘That Guy’ story that falls into the category of someone you overheard a conversation about and it sparked your interest enough to drop a few dollars in that player’s direction?  If so, please share your ‘That Guy’ with us…

bruno

“That Guy” #2

I cannot answer the question of ‘Why’…  But I definitely had a thing for Los Angeles Dodger pitching prospects in the late 1980’s and into the early 1990’s.

Ramon Martinez was another guy that I sunk an unthinkable amount of money and attention into when his rookie card became available.  Martinez had some pretty steady success during his 14-year career playing professional baseball, but he never lived up to the hype I created for him as I gathered up as many rookie cards of his that I could find.

Unlike my “That Guy #1”, Keith Kiki Jones, Martinez did make it to the major leagues and blossomed into an all-star pitcher.  In his first complete season with the Dodgers in 1990, Ramon went 20-6 while pitching 12 complete games and striking out 223 batters.  Martinez finished second in the Cy Young Award voting that year to Doug Drabek and earned his only trip to the All-Star game. 

I firmly believed that Ramon was quickly on his way to being one of the best pitchers of the decade and I was thrilled to be able to watch his success unfold right out of the gates.  Ramon didn’t do poorly afterwards, but he was never able to recapture the success he had during that 1990 season.  Although he did have 7 more years of double-digit wins under his belt, none were nearly as impressive as his first full season with the Dodgers.

From a collection standpoint, I gobbled up as many Ramon Martinez rookies as I was able to.  Having 2 new companies, Upper Deck and Score, only added to the excitement and my collection of Ramon Martinez rookie cards eclipsed the 200 card count by the All-star break of 1990.  Unfortunately, or fortunately for me some 18 years later, by then he was having an incredible year and the cards were getting harder and harder to find.

So now I have introduced you to 2 of my ‘That Guys’.  #1 was a rookie phenom destined for greatness that never made it to the ‘Big Show’.  And now #2 is a player that achieved the success in his rookie year that I anticipated and was never able to live up to the hype again.

Now I want stories from you guys and gals.  Who is your #2 “That Guy”???  Chris Sabo, Jerome Walton, come on I want to know who you fell in love with during their rookie year that never lived up to the attention you gave them.

That Guy!!

Every collector has a ‘That Guy’.  The guy that was going to make you a genius amongst your fellow collectors.  The guy that was going to come in and dominate the game.  The guy that nobody else heard of but you knew he had ‘the stuff’.

My guy was Keith ‘Kiki’ Jones.  Kiki was a pitcher drafted very highly in 1989 by the Los Angeles Dodgers.  Kiki was a ‘fire-baller’ who was throwing in the high 90’s with extreme accuracy.  I had first read about him in ’90 after he struck out 100 batters in just 61 innings as a high school senior.  Kiki was being touted as the next Dwight Gooden and I ran with that.

Every card shop, card show dealer, and friend that had Kiki’s cards soon became my prey.  I attacked and when I was done I owned roughly 400 of these beauties.  Luckily for me at the time I was able to grab most of these for a quarter or less, but again I was thinking of the end reward and all of the ‘You The Man’s’ I was going to get once he debuted in the majors and kicked baseball’s ass.

1989 Score Rookie Card

1989 Score Rookie Card

That smile just reeks of confidence and I was just waiting for the baseball world to be in awe of Keith ‘Kiki’ Jones. 

Too bad it didn’t work out that way.  Kiki never did reach the majors, and sadly enough ‘My Guy’ was tagged by the baseball media as a bust.  Kiki bounced around the minors for a few years while dealing with injuries to his pitching arm and never regained what had made him the 15th pick in the draft.  After 12 years in the minor leagues, Kiki officially left the game of baseball in 2001.  No Rookie of the Year awards, No Cy Young awards, No World Series rings…

So, who is your ‘That Guy’???