Classic card of the week

Rex Hudler, 1991 Score

Guys, I think we may have found someone who out-Ecksteined David Eckstein. I’m just kidding—that’s impossible. Still though!

Rex was just the shot in the arm the Cardinals needed in ’90.

If you replace Rex with “Eck” and ’90 with “’06” … I mean ... I am totally freaking out right now.

Versatile and aggressive

Many baseball players at the time were stationary and indifferent, so this is important to note.

he filled in at all four infield positions and the outfield

It could be argued that Rex Hudler > David Eckstien by means of versatility. Eckstein could only play shortstop, which he couldn't really play, and second base, which ditto, on account of having to throw the ball.

"He's scrappy," said Cardinal manager Joe Torre.

We've made so much fun of scrappy over the years that to hear used in a serious context is quite delightful and a reminder of why we got into this business in the first place.

"He's the type of player you'd like to have next to you in the foxhole.

Joe Torre: The Germans are advancing, and their artillery is overpowering! I'm gonna need ya' here, Rex!

Rex Hudler: Sure thing, sarge! What do you want me to do ... move a runner over with a bunt?

Torre: What the %^$% are you talking about? I need you to pull this pin, toss this thing, and kill all those guys over there without blowing us up first!

Hudler: Wait, I thought this was a metaphor?

He plays every inning like it's the last one in the world."

Above the fireplace in the Hudler home rests a framed quilt with a flowery border that reads:

Love like you've never been hurt
Dance like nobody's watching
Play every inning like it's the last one in the world. 

For the record, my idea of playing an inning like it's the last one in the world is to make a whole bunch of errors so the inning doesn't end and I don't die.

"His intensity and enthusiasm have rubbed off on a lot of people," added teammate Joe Magrane.
Emotional and extremely fast

A quick recap of admirable Rex Hudler attributes:

-name is Rex
-shot in the arm
-war veteran, Purple Heart (prolly)
-apocalyptic inning player
-contagious intensity
-contagious enthusiasm
-extremely fast

So that is all amazing. But consider this, according to Wikipedia:

Prior to signing with the Yankees, Hudler was visited by Notre Dame, who hoped that he would suit up for their football team.

Hudler was, according to this card, 6'2"/180 lbs, which is bigger than Rudy, who was smaller than a horse jockey. But all things considered, the movie "Rex" would have been ever better than "Rudy," because of, again, the versatility.

Rex: Let me play defense too, coach, I know I can do it!
Coach: Okay, fine, ya' got yer' wish! Now don't get hurt out there!
Game happens ...
Coach: Interception ... touchdown! That kid's got the heart of a lion, I'll tell 'ya.
Black janitor: Damn straight.
Rex: Postgame interview. My grandmother, who died before, always used to say, "Play every down like it's the last one in the world!"

Truth be told, had Rex Hudler actually played at Notre Dame, and played anything but punter, and then went on to become a scrappy major leaguer, the world may have collapsed unto itself. So that was a close one.