Classic card of the week

John Smiley, 1988 Topps

Try as he may, John Smiley could not escape his lovable name. It was especially difficult for John Smiley to adjust to his namesake considering that he was a pitcher, a position that required an intimidating presence. Opposing hitters were often heard saying in the dugout, “Who’s pitching today? Oh, Smiley? For real? Well, he ain’t going to be smilin’ when I hit four home runs off his happy ass.” This put Smiley at a distinct disadvantage. He often tried to compensate for this lack of respect by making a mean face – like the one you see in this picture – but the end result was a look that screamed, “But MOM! I don’t like mashed potatoes!” One time, after a bad loss to the Atlanta Braves in which he gave up seven earned runs in three innings, Smiley was seen hanging his head in the dugout, noticeably upset. It was at this point when teammate Barry Bonds approached him and screamed, “Hey, why are YOU so smiley? We lost, idiot!” Then, Bonds and Bobby Bonilla started cracking up, and manager Jim Leyland had to call a “players only” meeting to inform the club to stop making fun of the sensitive pitcher. John Smiley would have the last laugh though, when he “accidentally” dropped Barry Bonds’ toothbrush in the clubhouse urinal. Legend has it, Smiley’s intent was to make Bonds’ smile “less smiley.” And it must have worked, because nobody has heard from Barry Bonds since.

Did you know?
John Smiley is not allowed to have his ice cream until he finishes those mashed potatoes!