Classic card of the week

Tim Salmon, 1996 Topps Profiles by Kirby Puckett series

Some of you may recall that glorious time when Barry Larkin selected a handful of lucky players that he referred to as “Little Dawgs” because he did not know their actual names and who, as a result of being deemed Little Dawgs by shortstop Barry Larkin, became part of the unpopular Little Dawgs series of baseball cards. Those were great times, am I right? Of course I’m right.

In that vein, today I present to you a card from the “Profiles by Kirby Puckett” series. Personally, I find these cards to be even more enjoyable if you say, “Profiles by Kirby Puckett” in the same “Deep Thoughts by Jack Handy” voice used on SNL. But that’s just me.

Before we continue, I’d like to say rest in peace to the late Kirby Puckett, who was a great player and one of the brightest stars from my heyday of baseball card collecting.

The subject here is Tim Salmon. Let’s begin in the only way we know how: with “Kirby Puckett Insights:”

I like Salmon as a player…REALLY like him.

Whoa, Kirby Puckett. You better relax or this Kirby Puckett profile will lose its objectivity.

When he first came up, somebody told me he won a Triple Crown in the minors,

That somebody? Tim Salmon. I also have to be honest here –- going into this Kirby Puckett profile, I had mistakenly assumed that Kirby Puckett would have more background on Tim Salmon other than the fact that somebody told him about him. I almost don’t want to read the rest of this. Almost.

and I’m thinking, “well, that’s the minors.”

Gary Gaetti: Hey Kirby! How ‘bout that Tim Salmon, huh? He was pretty good in the minors…

Kirby Puckett: Pffttt. I hate Tim Salmon…REALLY hate him. Let’s see him do it in the bigs.

Then I saw him play, and I knew right away that he was the real deal.

Awesome. Fairy tale ending. Here is where we find out how Kirby Puckett’s skepticism re: Tim Salmon was instantly squashed. My guess? He hit 12 home runs in one inning.

One thing that sets Tim apart is that he plays hard and he plays every day.

Or that. To reiterate, what sets Tim Salmon apart from every other Major League Baseball player is that he plays hard, and plays everyday. The implication here being that every Major League Baseball player at the time not named Tim Salmon -- and including Kirby Puckett? -- was a loafer who only played on Tuesdays. I also enjoy the fact that what instantly struck Kirby Puckett the first time he saw Tim Salmon play, and what immediately cast aside any doubts he may have previously had regarding him, was that Tim Salmon was a) there, and b) not lollygagging it.

He’s gives you all he’s got.

I’s thinks that’s the tops! What else?

He’s a quiet guy

What kind of quiet guy?

who doesn’t say much,


just goes about his business, getting in extra work with (California Angels hitting coach) Rod Carew.

That’s cool!

But as good a hitter as he is,

A subject we have covered here today ad nauseum.

I often think of his defense first. He flat knows how to play right field.

I’m going to assume that was supposed to read “flat out knows,” as everyone and their mother flat knows how to play right field. In conclusion, let’s summarize this Kirby Puckett profile on Tim Salmon, ballplayer:

works hard
plays in the games
gives you all he’s got
quiet, borderline unfriendly
takes batting practice
can field his position

With that type of resume, it’s amazing Tim Salmon was never considered a Little Dawg.

Did you know?

Rod Carew once said to Tim Salmon: "Let's go fishing. I'll be the rod, and you be the salmon." And then they laughed. But they never actually went fishing.