Classic card of the week
Jose Guillen, 1998 Topps
Jose Guillen is everybody’s favorite teammate. He doesn’t even mind white people, as evidenced by this particular photo, in which he is about to engage in a “high five” with your everyday Caucasian, something that many Latin players, back in 1998, were hesitant to do, out of fear of overstepping the bounds of the “Latin explosion” sweeping the nation at the time. And as everybody knows: White guys celebrate like this (two white men attempt a high five, miss terribly), but Latin guys celebrate like THIS (two Latin guys execute a series of complicated hand gestures set to a hip-hop beat that lasts 12 minutes, and ends in a Salsa routine with two scantily clad females).
So yes, as previously stated, Jose Guillen is everybody’s favorite teammate. Unless of course, Jose Guillen disapproves of a managerial decision, in which case he can be a very difficult teammate, and you might as well plan on playing without him until he cools down, which might not be until 8 days or so. Or never. One or the other. And if you have the audacity to no longer be Jose Guillen’s teammate, then you are dead to him. He will make public your sins against the sport of baseball. But don’t worry if you did steroids, because so did Jose Guillen, so he can’t really out you for that. Though he might anyway.
So Jose Guillen is not a good teammate, and his feelings towards white people are questionable: “Mike Scioscia, to me, is like a piece of garbage…He can go to hell.”* But what about his baseball ability? Let’s check the back of the card:
Jose’s first giant step was from A-ball -- albeit as Most Valuable Player in the Carolina League -- to being an everyday big-leaguer in 1997.
So wait, let me get this straight. Albeit from being Most Valuable Player in the Carolina League, Jose Guillen was promoted? Is that right? So despite being good, Jose Guillen was brought up to the big leagues. Makes sense. But what about his second step?
His second was to legitimate stardom in ’98, when the precocious 22-year-old became a more complete hitter and harnessed his breathtaking arm strength.
Yes, stardom arose quickly for Jose Guillen. In 1998, the nation was captivated by a) the home run race between Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa, b) Derek Jeter and the juggernaut Yankees, and c) the breathtaking arm-harnessing of Jose Guillen. Personally, I wasn’t overtly aware of Jose Guillen until he went insane as a member of the Angels in 2004, but then again, I am an idiot. As far as the completeness of his hitting is concerned, the picture on the back of the card does an adequate job of capturing this.
Did you know?
Jose Guillen can oftentimes be a jerk, despite his past history of being a jerk.
*For the purposes of this post, Mike Scioscia is all white people.