Classic card of the week

Andres Galarraga, 1991 Score

Andres Galarraga. Good ballplayer. I want to know more:

Dubbed the “Cat” by his teammates because of his graceful moves around first,

Wrong. Galarraga’s nickname, as specified by Wikipedia and anyone who followed baseball in the 90’s was “The Big Cat.” And while that may sound like nitpicking, I mean, that was his nickname. Not “Cat.” That would be like saying that Frank Thomas’ nickname was “Hurt.” I would even venture to say that the fact that Andres Galarraga’s nickname was “The Big Cat” is probably the most commonly recognized thing about Andres Galarraga, as evidenced by this very card opting to mention it first and foremost. So the fact that this card, in doing so, got it wrong is very weird to me. But that’s not the weirdest thing about this little tidbit.

Not by a long shot:

In ’89 Andres was awarded his first Gold Glove. “He’s very classy around the bag,” said scout Joe Klein. “And he has tremendous hands.”

I would first like to mention that I never knew that “being classy” and having “tremendous hands” were mutually exclusive. I also enjoy how the statement “He’s very classy around the bag,” taken out of context, makes it sound as though Andres Galarraga consistently maintains his refined persona around a certain old prostitute. More importantly though, I do have to question how one manages to play first base in a classy manner. I can only assume that Andres Galarraga played first base wearing a three-piece suit, and would offer any opposing player that managed to reach first base a glass of brandy. Whatever the case, I’m sure we can all agree that Andres Galarraga played his position with more class than that white trash Todd Helton.

And then there’s this:

When Andres is on his feed, the ball jumps off his bat.

When Andres is on his feed, the ball jumps off his bat. Hmmm. At first I thought they were attempting to bring this back around to his nickname, as in “When Andres, who is a cat –- remember? –- is ready to eat, he hits well.” But that doesn’t make a lick of sense. (Pun intended, because cats lick themselves.) Furthermore, is “on his feed” even a feline-related phrase? I’m not up-to-date on cat terminology, so I honestly don’t know. Does anyone out there who has a cat ever say that he’s on his feed again? Like, “Uh oh, looks like Professor Giggles is on his feed again. Better get the Fancy Feast* ready.” Again:

When Andres is on his feed, the ball jumps off his bat.

Then I thought that maybe it was a straight typo, and is supposed to read “on his feet.” But, in the context of the rest of this tidbit, that would imply that Andres Galarraga plays first base sitting down, which is not only impossible, but also not classy.

I don’t know. I am lost. You are an elusive cat, Andres Galarraga!

*the classiest of cat foods

Did you know?
An updated version of Galarraga's nickname was used for a recurring character on the HBO hit comedy, The Sopranos.


Adrien said…
The Cat reference is not entirely wrong. As a Spanish speaker who grew up in Montreal in the 80s and 90s, I remember that Andrés' nickname in Spanish was simply "El Gato" (the Cat). The Wikipedia article on Andrés seems to confirm this (
I also remember seeing Andrés in the tunnel between Olympic Stadium and the subway after a game, chatting up a few female admirers. I was quite young at the time, but I remember thinking, "Galarraga sure looks tall and classy".