Thursday, September 27, 2007

Classic card of the week


Ruben Rivera, 1997 Fleer

Back of the card, start things off:

Ruben has been called the next Mickey Mantle, and while that may be a stretch, he is still quite the talent.

A stretch? What the hell are you talking about, back of the card? The similarities between Mickey Mantle and Ruben Rivera were endless -- eerie, even -- and thus, impossible to ignore. For example, Mantle was a switch-hitter and Rivera was a right-handed hitter, so they both were familiar with batting right-handed. And that’s not all! Mickey Mantle hit 536 career home runs, while Rivera, at the time of this card, had two home runs through his first 89 at-bats, putting him exactly on pace to reach Mantle’s mark by the year 3011, which was Mantle’s favorite number. Furthermore, both were born on earth – Mantle from Oklahoma, U.S.A., Rivera from Panama. Coincidence? I don’t think so. Oh, and both played outfield for the New York Yankees, with comparable degrees of success. But back of the card, tell us more:

Rivera combines speed, power, and defense, making the biggest impact with his glove after his late-season call-up in ’96.

Unfortunately, that was a misprint, as Rivera made his biggest impact with someone else’s glove, after he stole teammate Derek Jeter’s bat and glove and sold them for some extra cash in 2002. Rivera then combined his defense – “I didn’t do it,” I mean, “I’m sorry” – with his speed when he was run out of the organization after a team vote. Amazingly, Mickey Mantle did almost the same exact thing in 1962, when he swiped teammate Joe Pepitone’s glove and sold it on the street for a pack of Marlboro Reds. When told he could probably get more for his own glove, Mantle replied that he needed it to catch fly balls.

Did you know?
Mickey Mantle’s secretary’s name was Ruben Rivera, and Ruben Rivera’s secretary’s name was Mickey Mantle.

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