Classic card of the week

John Moses, 1989 Score

Perhaps you do not know the inspirational story of John Moses. Allow me:

John, who has good speed and plays excellent defense, was a capable replacement in all three outfield positions for the Twins in 1988.

John Moses: Capable replacement. It’s pretty much the highest compliment a professional baseball player can attain. To wit:

Random Twins employee: Skip, all of our starting outfielders are missing at sea. Something about the Vikings having a boat party…

Former Twins manager Tom Kelly: Well I’ll be gosh darn con farn it hootin tootin’!

Employee: Hold on, skip! Don’t blow a gasket just yet! What about John Moses?

Tom Kelly: Who in the what now?

Employee: John Moses, skip. He’s got good speed.

Tom Kelly: What does that mean?

Employee: He’s not very fast.

Tom Kelly: Grrrr…

Employee: But he’s got a great glove, and can play all three outfield positions!

Tom Kelly: At once?

Employee: I don’t know. But he says he’s capable.

Tom Kelly: Capable, huh? That’s a mighty strong word to be tossing around. Awww, heck -- call him in here.

But that was actually the happy ending of the John Moses story. It wasn’t always peaches and cream for young John:

It had been a difficult time for John since the end of the ’87 season, the first full one he had played in the majors after seven professional years. The Mariners dropped him just before Christmas.

Freakin’ Mariners. I mean, geez -- I understand this is a business, but what kind of timing is it to randomly drop a guy -- a capable guy no less! -- three months before the start of the season and right before the holidays? Several Seattle residents, during the harsh winter of ’87, claim to have seen John Moses staggering around town in a Santa costume, taking swigs of St. Ides and telling telephone poles exaggerated tales of his good speed.

Then the Indians signed him as a free agent in January. At the end of spring training they, too, released him.

He was beat out for the job by this guy.


For John Moses

The Twins picked up John in April, and he stuck with them.

(Wiping away a tear.) The story of John Moses was wonderfully captured in the Hollywood film, “The Pursuit of Happiness,” which starred Will Smith. A few minor plot alterations were necessary.

Did you know?
Former Twins' manager Tom Kelly is actually a product of Minnesota, not, as you may have assumed from the above dialogue, 1904 rural Alabama.