Friday, June 08, 2007

Classic card of the week


Kent Tekulve, 1988 Topps

Kent Tekulve was the last underhanded pitcher in Major League history. Now, you may be saying to yourself, “How the heck did a guy throw underhanded in the big leagues and not got shelled every time out?” Well, let me tell you something – Kent Tekulve had a little zip on his granny pitch. Tim Raines once mentally clocked a Tekulve changeup (all of his pitches were changeups) at 38mph, which isn’t too shabby, considering the gun had clocked the pitch at 36mph. Also, Kent Tekulve pretty much got shelled every time out. In fact, in 1985, Tekulve made just three appearances out of the bullpen for the Pirates, finishing the season with a stellar 16.20 ERA, which is, simply put, Weaveresque. In addition to distinguishing himself as the only underhanded pitcher of a generation ever, Kent Tekulve also had the largest caboose in modern baseball history. Kent Tekulve was the J-Lo of baseball, except slightly less attractive and not as Latin. Actually, like J-Lo, his backside often received more attention than Tekulve himself. Once in 1986, local Philadelphia paparazzi spotted Tekulve’s butt eating dinner with Kathleen Turner, which set off a media firestorm that would inadvertently spiral the Phillies into an 11-game losing streak. And that is not even where the J-Lo comparisons stop, as Tekulve wore the same sunglasses as Lopez, and was also once a backup dancer for “In Living Color.” I know, weird. Anyway, Kent Tekulve was approximately 5,000 years-old when this card was released, and was only mustering the energy to trot in from the bullpen every third day in order to collect his MLB pension. Whenever Tekulve made appearances in consecutive games, you could be sure that his locker would have a “Gone fishin’” sign on it the following day, since he was well aware that the Phillies were hesitant to overuse their prized 5,000-year old, underhanded workhorse. In 1989, Tekulve’s baseball pants split as he was launching ball four to R.J. Reynolds, which caused a 21-minute game delay, and forced Tekulve into retirement.

Did you know?
In 2003, Baseball Almanac proved, using a complicated statistical formula, that if Jeff Weaver pitched underhanded, his ERA would be infinity plus one.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the link to a gratuitous picture of Weaver-Puss...I DO NOT miss him. His departure does not seem to matter to the Yanks all that much since they've managed to replace him with a bullpen full of infinitely sucky pitchers!

Oh...and one correction...J-Lo was a "Fly-Girl"...not a back-up dancer. She worked hard for that title!