Thursday, December 23, 2010

Classic card of the week


Pete Ladd, 1987 Donruss

Pete Ladd employed fear tactics, and he made no apologies about it. Possessing somewhat average stuff for a major leaguer and a middle name of “Linwood,” Pete Ladd succeeded by utilizing his most apparent quality: a general aura that implied he would kill you if you crossed him or batted against him.

Quoting one source:

A hard-throwing sinker-slider pitcher with a herky-jerky motion, he was an intimidating presence with his long hair, beard, and 6’3” 240-lb physique.

Obviously, Ladd had since shaved the beard. Legend has it that while with the Brewers, Ladd walked into the opposing clubhouse to shave his beard … with a butter knife for a blade and Ben Gay as shaving cream. The other team watched in horror as blood splattered everywhere. It was yet another infamous Pete Ladd intimidation tactic. Did it work? The Brewers won 7-5 that day. You tell me.

As if Ladd’s imposing presence wasn’t enough, the herky-jerkiness of his delivery only added to the fear exhibited by opposing batters, as evidenced by Ladd’s 5.24 ERA in 1984. Said one Ladd opponent who wished to remain anonymous, “When you’re a little scared up there in the batter’s box, the last thing you want to see is something herky and jerky. We always say, ‘If the herky doesn’t get ya’, the jerky will.’ And Ladd has both. Plus he’s 240-lbs, which is like, crazy.”

Pete Ladd, however, wasn’t all doom and gloom. Like many enforcers he was despised by the opposition, but beloved by his own teammates. He even a had playful nickname that highlighted his grace and compassion:



…Nicknamed “Big Foot.”

Though never captured on camera, the Pacific Northwest Big Foot is believed to have an illustrious coat of Caucasian jheri curls. He also wears protective lenses and a condescending yet beaming smile. He stomps around herkily and jerkily.

Did you know?
I often experience very silly and surreal moments as a result of these cards. For example, our laptop is set up for a slideshow before it sleeps, and oftentimes a great family shot is followed by a close-up of Joe Johnson. A few weeks ago my wife had to scan important work documents, but not before I scanned this.

Speaking of my wife, two Christmases ago she bought me, half jokingly but also kind of seriously because he is awesome, the Michael MacDonald Christmas album. And I was rocking it in my car last week. When I arrived home, I decided to bring it inside along with the only other thing I had in my car, which was this Pete Ladd card. I had to stop and look in order to fully appreciate what was happening. Had these two respective genius' paths ever crossed before? I am unsure. But it was magnificent to see them together, where they belonged. It also kind of made me wonder what I am doing with my life.

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