Thursday, May 24, 2012

Classic card of the week

Greg Minton, 1989 Donruss

Greg Minton’s career path to the big leagues was like many in that he liked to surf, but then was like, “Guess I’ll play baseball.” It’s that kind of inspirational story that reminds us lesser athletes to pay attention in school. According to BR Bullpen:

Greg Minton grew up in San Diego, CA, where his main hobby was surfing. When his father told him that he wasn't going to pay for Greg's college, Greg decided to take up baseball to try to get an athletic scholarship ("I knew brains weren't going to get me there," he said).

Greg Minton: Arrives home soaking wet after morning of surfing.

Mr. Minton: Darn it, Greg! Dry yourself off first! And why aren’t you at school? How long are you going to indulge in this useless hobby, huh? I told you I ain’t paying for college unless you grow up and start learnin’ about stuff! But if you can find a “surfboard scholarship,” more power to ya’!

Greg: There’s no such thing as a “surfboard scholarship,” dork. And whatevs, dad, just chill. I’m gonna start playing baseball later today and see if I can get into college that way. It can’t be that hard …

Mr. Minton: Now that’s more like it! You and I both know your brains weren’t going to get you into school anyway …

Greg: Drying himself off with a cat … What?

So anyway, Greg Minton starts playing baseball and it turns out he throws in the mid-to-low 90s, and before you know it, he’s in the minor leagues. With my only other frame of reference being Jack Johnson, I can safely form the conclusion that surfers can do anything. But the things that defined Greg Minton—namely, a love of water and being not so smart—would eventually rear their bumpy heads:

In Phoenix, Greg picked up his "moonman" nickname after he got horribly sunburned after going tubing naked. When manager Rocky Bridges saw him that night, he said that Minton's body had more craters than the moon.

I live in Phoenix now, and there are zero bodies of water, so I would be interested to know where, exactly, Greg Minton went tubing in Phoenix in the mid-70s, and why he didn’t just wear a bathing suit.

“Burn that tube.”—owner of the tube rental store.

Also, “horribly sunburned” is a term that does not do justice in describing a person who spent any extended amount of time outside, naked, sans sunscreen, during the Arizona summer, so much so that his entire body developed bubbling blisters that same day. The fact that his skin regenerated to form the person we see above is a testament to the healing powers of the human body.

Greg became a regular reliever in the majors when Randy Moffitt became unable to pitch. He would later comment "The Giants are paying me millions of dollars to pitch a few innings every couple days. And they think I'm crazy!" His flaky reputation came from stunts like stealing the team bus or the keys to the bullpen car.

You know, it may just be that Greg “Moonman” Minton has more perspective than the whole lot of us. Baseball, and life, needs more characters like him. Granted, it’s easier to chillax when you’re making millions for throwing baseballs, but there’s definitely a lesson in here.

Also, could you imagine being a reliever on the mid-80s Giants, and you get called into the game, so you hop into the bullpen car only to discover the keys are missing?! You’d have to jog to the mound! How embarrassing.

Did you know?
The moon has craters, according to science.

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