Classic card of the week
Doug Drabek, 1991 Fleer Ultra
The trinity of attaining pitching excellence is as follows, in order of importance: 1) smile, 2) pitch, and 3) hit without looking like a total doofus. And as Meatloaf once said, specifically with regards to Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Doug Drabek—many people don’t know that—two out of three ain’t bad.
Let us begin:
The last time the Pittsburgh Pirates had a pitcher lead the league in victories, Doug Drabek wasn’t even born.
Because a specific date doesn’t always tickle my fancy, I enjoy relating the length of time by which something happened to the age/nonexistence of a different person. For example, if you were to say, “On December 7, 1941, the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor,” I would be like, “???” But if you were to say, “When the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, Bill Cosby was four years-old,” I’d be like, “Okay—I get that.”
Also, taking note that this is a 1991 baseball card, a more accurate way for this sentence to read would be: "The last time the Pittsburgh Pirates had a pitcher lead the league in victories, Doug Drabek was that pitcher." Now that, my friends, is a lede. But I digress.
Bob Friend led the NL in victories in 1958 with 22.
If you retain no other baseball statistic in your entire life, remember this one. It is on the test to get into heaven.
Also, the last Pittsburgh 20 game winner was John Candelaria (20-5) in 1977, when Drabek was all of 15-years-old.
I mean, 15 isn’t all that young, really. Wasn’t Freddy Adu 15 when he won the World Cup? I would have said something like, “John Candelaria was the last Pirates 20-game winner in 1977,” or, better yet, I wouldn’t have mentioned John Candelaria at all. In fact, if I were in charge, the entire back of this card would be two sentences which would read, “Doug Drabek won 22 games in 1990, which is cool, if you like wins, which mean close to nothing for a pitcher. Infinitely more important was his 1.06 WHIP, although he struck out one hundred fewer batters than innings pitched, so basically, he pitched like he does every year, only his teammates hit better, and speaking of hitting …” Then I would cover the rest of the empty space with these:
Did you know?
Doug’s son, Kyle Drabek, currently pitches for the Toronto Blue Jays. He was part of the trade that brought Kyle Drabek to the Blue Jays, as the Drabeks recall it.