Classic card of the week

John Hope, 1994 Topps

Where were you when John Hope lost his bid for a no-hitter?

This is the question that every baseball fan of my generation –- “The Greatest Generation…of Baseball Card Collectors,” as we have been popularly referred to –- has been asked a million times, give or take. Personally, I was in the second hour of a marathon three-way phone conversation, in which I was trying to get Rachel to admit that she liked my friend Alex, who sat silently on the other line, unbeknownst to Rachel. Man, I was cool back then. Anyway, I distinctly remember my dad bursting into my bedroom and yelling, “Mike! Get downstairs! John Hope is working on a no-hitter! The game is not on television, but we’ll watch TV until the news comes on at 5 o’clock, and hope that they mention it during sports, even though the game is not local!” I could barely contain my excitement.

The results, however, were disheartening:

John’s hopes for a no-hitter were ruined on 9-16, when he had to leave his hitless game against Florida after 4 IP with leg cramps.

John Hope –- seen above after mysteriously waking up in the middle of the infield with his uniform on –- was dealing that afternoon. After two innings of no-hit ball, nobody was talking to him in the dugout. Then three innings. By the fourth inning, people were wondering whether or not this was the greatest pitching performance ever in the history of the world. And it was. But then the fifth inning rolled around…

Leg cramps.

John Hope: Sorry, skip. Can’t go back out there. Leg cramps.

Manager Jim Leyland: You better be freakin’ joking, because if you don’t get out on that mound this very second I am going to put my cigarette out on your thigh and then you can tell me how your legs feel.

John Hope: But my legs already hurt.

I can sympathize with John Hope, as this instance is reminiscent of that time in grammar school when I was forced to leave my basketball game even though I was en route to a 50-point performance –- I had already scored four in the first quarter, so you do the math -- because of a Charlie horse.

Did you know?
A 1995 University of Delaware study revealed that 96% of three-way phone conversations, in which one party is pretending not to be on the other line, backfire.


Bill said…
Great card! A no-hitter ruined after 4 innings, what a tough break. I mean, how many times in the history of baseball has a pitcher carried a no-no into the fifth!

And I loved your side story of the three-way phone conversation. I don't know where you come up with this stuff! (By saying you "come up" with it I am giving you the benefit of the doubt that you didn't actually try that phone hook-up attempt for your friend.)

Also, I'd have to say that John Hope was way ahead of him time - by leaving his masterpiece in 1993 due to leg cramps, one might deem him to be the original "Heavy Legs."