Classic card of the week

Mo Vaughn, 1996 Topps Road Warriors

Mo Vaughn is a Road Warrior, as evidenced here by this graphic in which Mo Vaughn displays his awkward follow-through -– a result of not being able to move his arms as well as a non-overweight baseball player -- while literally on the road. In this instance the road is a one-lane highway going nowhere. It is reserved exclusively for Road Warriors, and the purple sky is ominous only for those homebodies who lack the Road Warrior attitude displayed by players such as Mo Vaughn.

But what makes Mo Vaughn a Road Warrior?

Vaughn’s Five Favorite Out of Town Parks

This card makes it seem as though as Mo Vaughn personally selected these road venues as his favorite, however I fear that Topps simply selected these on his behalf, highlighting those locations where Vaughn hits particularly well. The reason I say this is because, apparently unbeknownst to Topps, Mo Vaughn was asked to name his five favorite out of town parks in a 1994 interview with Highlights Magazine. His answer included three different Six Flags locations, Sesame Place, and, as he put it, “that one by my aunt’s house with the hot dog stand and all the geese.”

Nevertheless, Mo Vaughn was indeed a Road Warrior in every sense of the word. He hit 24 home runs on the road in 1995, and also killed three enemy soldiers when the Red Sox suddenly and inexplicably invaded Rome. In fact, the top left corner of the back of this card contains a “RW 18,” which indicates that there are only at least 17 other players that display the uncanny ability to play baseball well even when they are away from the field where they currently play baseball the most.

Coincidentally, Vaughn would eventually flee Boston for Anaheim in order to play in one of the parks listed here. Let us consult Wikipedia to see how Mo Vaughn’s Road Warrior attitude translated to his new home:

He started his Anaheim career by falling down the visitor’s dugout steps on his first play of his first game, badly spraining his ankle.

That never would have happened were he on the road -- at Fenway for example -- but I do enjoy the irony of this happening in the visitor’s dugout. Thus began the latter half of Vaughn’s career, where he retained his Road Warrior status, but only in the respect that fans of the teams for which he played openly wished for him to leave on a more permanent basis. But by armoring himself from the boos with additional fatty tissue, he inadvertently became a Home Warrior as well.

Did you know?
A college road-trip was once interrupted when the highway we were driving on was blocked by a giant Mo Vaughn. So we drank somewhere else.