Classic card of the week

Jose Valentin, 1996 Topps

In a Bill Simmon’s mailbag from many years ago, one of his readers suggested -– I can’t recall the context, though I’m sure it was Hoosiers-related -- that Gene Hackman was born a 46-year old man. That is how I’ve always felt about Jose Valentin. I mean, not that I’ve always felt anything really about Jose Valentin. I remember him being old in 2006 with the Mets, and he looks the same in this card from 1996, so in all honestly, the thought just occurred to me. Nevertheless, that is my intro. Let’s find out more:

Jose has a brother –- also named Jose -– who is a top catching prospect in the Minnesota Twins organization.

Oh, that’s cool. Wait, what? I just…how does that happen? I don’t understand. There are so many names in the world to choose from. This seems like such an unnecessary -– albeit humorous, for me -– means of complicating things. Could it be that Jose Valentin’s real life was the Puerto Rican version of “Newhart?” Does anybody even get that reference, or am I older than Jose Valentin? Which Jose Valentin, you ask? Why, the Puerto Rican baseball-playing one of course! What?

Growing up in Puerto Rico, the siblings were known by their middle names, Antonio (Brewers) and Javier (Twins).

Two things. 1) I gathered from that statement that “Antonio” is Spanish for “Brewers” and “Javier” is Spanish for “Twins”. I trust that this is accurate. 2. I have a question, and I am being completely serious: Is it like, a part of Puerto Rican culture to associate people by their middle names? If so, this makes a bit more sense, but not really. If not, don’t tell me that “the siblings were known by their middle names,” as that only would have been done out of necessity considering they both had the same name.

Both Joses are switch-hitters with power,

Except for the one Jose.

a rare commodity at their respective positions.

This whole thing is a rare commodity. Let’s see what Wikipedia has to say. They always seem to be impartial and accurate:

Jose Antonio Valentin…is a former Major League Baseball infielder currently working in the Purto Rican leagues.

I realize I should just stop here, but I can’t. Purto Rico. Man, I love Wikipedia.

In 2004 it was announced that Valentin bought the Santurce Crabbers,

I don’t know how I missed this announcement.

one of the most historic professional baseball franchises of the Puerto Rico Baseball League (formerly known as LBPPR).

League of Baseball Players of Puerto Rico? If so, how could you change that?

He relocated the team to his native town, and renamed them

The Joses.

the Manati Atenienses. But after a decline in attendance

Who doesn’t want to go see the Manati Atenienses, formerly known as the Santurce Crabbers?

and the reestructuring of the league,

According to Wikipedia, the reestructuring of the Purto Rican league was the biggest thing to happen in Germmany since dinosors.

Valentin moved the team back to the biggest barrio

Am I supposed to know what barrio means? Because I don’t.

of the capital city in 2008, therefore launching the much anticipated return of Los Cangrejeros.

The fact that this team, owned by Jose Valentin, has/had like four names, makes it all the more amazing that Jose and his brother share one name between them.

He has joined his home team as their second baseman becoming the only owner-player in the league.

You know what they say: Only in Purto Rico.

Did you know?
When the Milwaukee Antonios face the Minnesota Javiers once every three years during interleague play, Puerto Rico hosts a three-day parade.


Joe S. said…
Each post is better than the last. I don't know how you do it!
mkenny59 said…
Joe, you are too kind. Thank you very much!
SpastikMooss said…
I second Joe's sentiment. I literally lol with just about every single one of these posts. And I don't literally lol often.

It gets me a lot of weird looks from my girlfriend. I then explained it was due to this site and...well...I still get a lot of weird looks from my girlfriend. But at least now she sort of understands.
Lisa Ramos said…
Speaking as a Puerto Rican (and someone with TWO aunts named Lydia - that's right my grandmother gave two daughters the same name) Bravo.

Oh and you don't know what a barrio is? Aren't you in Arizona now?
Judy said…
If you had a brother we would have named him Michael too but we're not Puerto Rican. So why does your sister keep calling you Miguel? Hmmm....

Another great post!!
Joe S. said…
I'll second the commenter who seconded me.

More than once my wife has caught me laughing while reading this site. All I can say is that it's a blog by some guy who writes like Dave Barry, except funnier.

I wish more of your work was available to read (and maybe it is??) other than the articles you post from the paper.
mkenny59 said…
I am so happy and flattered to hear that I am confusing the significant others of at least a couple loyal readers out there. Thanks! And Joe -- this blog (and The Baseball Card Blog) is all there is right now. I wish I could write more...when I can find someone to pay me to do just that, and relieve me of the burden of a full-time job mostly bereft of the opportunity to write nonsense, I will be thrilled.
Joe S. said…
Keep plugging away, Mike. I wish I had SOME sort of connection for ya, but believe me, I've been racking my brains over it!

Unfortunately, my line of work is all advertising copy... no creativity required (or wanted, really).
JKRN said…
To Joe S. - if you haven't already, check out the archives. Mike's post of June 5,2007 titled "I almost died at the Spring Lake 5" is a classic!!!
And every word is true!