Classic card of the week

John Dopson, 1991 Score

John Dopson: If Roger Clemens had eyebrows.

Big things were expected from John in 1990

Considering it’s now -- in baseball card years -- 1991, and I am unfamiliar with John Dopson, I am going to assume that big things did not happen.

He had been the Red Sox third biggest winner in 1989, his first year with the team…

Have the third most wins on a mediocre team one year, go out and win the Cy Young the next. This is called: proper progression.

…and had started using a puzzling knuckleball as his changeup.

You know what’s even more puzzling? Calling a knuckleball a changeup. Because a knuckleball can also be called: a knuckleball. Also: all knuckleballs are puzzling. Such is their nature.

But after only 17.2 innings into the season, he went down with elbow problems and was lost for the rest of the year.

I’m sorry -- 17.2 innings into the season, or his season? Yes, this is nitpicking, but I like to imagine that it’s the ninth inning of the second game of the 1990 Red Sox season, and John Dopson is sitting innocently on the bench spitting sunflower seeds before going down in agony with elbow problems. Another scenario that is humorous to me -- and more accurate considering that Dopson did pitch 17.2 innings in 1990 -- is that the Red Sox brass, so impressed with his 12 victories the previous year, said, “Dopsey,” (they called his Dopsey) “we like your stuff. Go out and pitch until further notice.” This lasted 17.2 innings.

A likeable guy who is cool under pressure…

John Dopson’s likeableness is obviously not under debate, however, I do question the pressure situations faced by a starting pitcher of the 1988 Expos and 1989 Red Sox.

John throws a natural sinker and a nasty slider when he is healthy.

When he is injured he throws an artificial forkball and a pleasant split-fingered fastball. To quickly recap John Dopson’s pitching repertoire:

-puzzling knuckleball that is a changeup
-natural sinker
-nasty slider
-likeable screwball*
-artificial forkball
-changeup (a.k.a. “the puzzling knuckler”)
-pleasant split-fingered fastball

It’s no wonder he had elbow problems. Wikipedia, your turn:

He was the last pitcher to balk 4 times in one inning, a feat he achieved on June 13, 1989.

The last pitcher or the only pitcher? Because I cannot even fathom that such a thing occurred, must less that it occurred more than once. Also: that is the opposite of a feat.

he is also a person to give up 12 hits in a game and still get the win.

Please note that “he” is not capitalized and it appears adjacent to the period that ends the previous sentence. It is also important to note -- because there may have been some confusion earlier -- that yes, John Dopson is a person. Only Wikipedia can mask an otherwise astounding fact by clothing it in awful writing.

*something he was, not an actual pitch

Did you know?
Peter Gallagher played John Dopson in the original Lifetime movie, Dopsey: It's Complicated.