Thursday, March 27, 2008

Classic card of the week



Dean Palmer, 2001 Topps

The career of Dean Palmer can be described in the following fake conversation that I had with myself over the course of fifteen years or so:

Me, 1991: Who the hell is Dean Palmer?
Me, 1996: Hey, Dean Palmer is pretty friggin’ good!
Me, 2005: I wonder what ever happened to Dean Palmer.

Oddly enough, this very train of thought could pretty much describe any famous person who ever existed, as evidenced by this:

Me, 1725: Who the hell is Benjamin Franklin?
Me, 1763: Hey, Benjamin Franklin is pretty friggin’ proficient!
Me, 2008: I wonder what ever happened to Benjamin Franklin.

The point is that, by the time it seemed as though Dean Palmer had arrived as a ballplayer, he was gone. Despite having four seasons of over 30 home runs, and four seasons of at least 100 RBI, he never quite made the leap to superstardom, and thus, was a failure as a human being. Of course, that was a joke -- Dean Palmer was a great person. He even started the “Dean Palmer Foundation” to raise awareness of Hepatitis F in hammerhead sharks. Of course, that was also a joke. This paragraph is over.

But to really understand Dean Palmer, you have to turn to his “ANALYSKILLS” -- a complex combination of analysis, skills, the analysis of those skills, and two teaspoons of flour -- like the back of this card does:



Rarely leaves a doubt with towering home runs…

Almost all of Dean Palmer’s 275 towering career home runs were later deemed to be home runs. On the contrary, several of Mickey Mantle's 536 career home runs remain doubtful.

Adept at getting the runner home from third…

This ANALYSKILL was specific to Dean Palmer, as no other major leaguer at the time had any outwardly recognizable ability to drive in a runner from third base. Also, this ANALYSKILL seems contradictory to the fact that Palmer typically struck out about 150 times during the course of a full season, but none of those strikeouts ever came with a runner on third. (I did not look that up, may be false.)

Known for his hot starts…

Me: Hey, you know Dean Palmer?
Other guy: You mean the guy who frequently gets off to hot starts?
Me: Yeah!
Other guy: Never heard of him.

Accurate arm, with a good sense of how and when to make plays.

During the first inning of a 1995 game against the Indians, Kenny Lofton hit a ball to third base. Using his extraordinary baseball senses, Dean Palmer caught the ball, and then -- using his accurate arm -- threw it to first base, recording the first out of the game. Later dubbed “The Play,” Palmer was asked about it after the game. He said at the time, “It’s all about knowing how and when to make plays. The first thing I had to do was catch the ball, which is important. A lot of players forget that. Then, I didn’t want to hold on to the ball, and try and make the play later, because I sensed that Lofton was running to first pretty fast. It’s tough, because that kind of instinct isn’t really something you can teach…I’m just lucky I guess. Plus, it was the first inning, and I’m known for getting off to hot starts."

Did you know?
What you just witnessed was an analysis of ANALYSKILLS, which has just shattered my hard drive.

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