Thursday, June 21, 2007

Classic card of the week



Mike Fischlin, 1987 Topps

Hey, Mike Fischlin – I have an idea. Why don’t you choke up a little bit? Or, OR, why don’t you just run your hands halfway up the bat, so then if you swing, you can hit yourself in the chest at the same time? Wait, wait – I have a better idea. Why don’t you just use one of those miniature bats that they hand out to the fans on “bat day,” because that’s about as much power as you’re going to generate anyway standing there like that.

Mike Fischlin represents an extinct species of baseball player: the utility player. The utility players of the 80s were special because they could suck at several positions instead of just one. For example, Fischlin “played” both shortstop and second base – the positions of note for utility players – which gave the Yankees plenty of leverage in case their starting shortstop or second baseman died. Fischlin was a moderate upgrade from putting a cardboard cut-out of Alvaro Espinoza at shortstop, as the “Fishmeister” (as they called him) could not hit for average or power, was not especially fast, and was also blind. Mike Fischlin’s breakout season was most certainly 1980, when, while with the Astros, he played in one game, going 0-for-1 with a strikeout. For the season. But that was okay, because as the back of this card specifies, Mike Fischlin graduated from high school: Mike graduated from Elk Grove (Cal.) High School where he played baseball and basketball. Mike Fischlin was also a utility player for his high school basketball team – playing both point guard and second base – and was often asked to enter the game during the late stages of a blowout for the sole purpose of dribbling the ball off his leg.

Did you know?
Mike Fischlin is the only Yankee to never have his number retired, but a plaque that reads “Fishmeister” can be found in Monument Park next to Lou Gehrig.

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