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Sunday, January 2, 2011

1987 Donruss: Gung-Ho Guy

Mike Fitzgerald had a sore knee in 1985, but he played anyway. The result was, he didn't play that well, he hit .207. He also played a position for the Expos where knees are important - catcher.

"That's Mike's make-up," Expos Manager Buck Rodgers told The Palm Beach Post in February 1986. "He'd have been out there if he'd been traded for Joe Smoltz or Gary Carter. He's just a gung-ho guy who's going to do whatever it takes to stay in the lineup."

There was that whole thing about being traded for Gary Carter, Hall of Famer Gary Carter. Fitzgerald was actually one of four players the Mets sent north for Carter. But Fitzgerald was the one playing Carter's old position.

Fitzgerald also came in my third 1987 Donruss Christmas pack. He's also representative of a phenomenon I saw in one of the other two 1987 Donruss packs - doubles in the same pack.

But this pack was worse. Not only were there two Fitzgeralds in the pack. There were also two Ruben Sierras. For these pack posts, I usually run quick searches on the players, then pick out the most interesting ones.

I think for these Donruss packs, I'll institute a new rule, if there's a double in the pack, I've got to find something interesting about the guy because he's in the post. Sierra's down below.

Fitzgerald went on to play in a total of 10 major league seasons, staying with the Expos through 1991. The catcher he was traded for would go on to Cooperstown.

I actually got Carter in my second pack. As for other Hall of Famers, this third 1987 Donruss pack had three, including these two, Tony Gwynn and Reggie Jackson.

Gwynn's card back notes that on Sept. 20, 1986, he became only the fifth player since 1900 to swipe five bases in a game. Jacon, I received in my first 1986 Topps pack. Jackson was in his final season in 1987. His card back notes his status as "Mr. October."

The third Hall of Famer was Ozzie Smith. His card was also the first Diamond King I've received in these packs. Smith "has become the premier defensive shortstop of the era," the card back reads.

There was also one CMC set member in the pack: Mickey Brantley. This is actually the second time I've mentioned Brantley in two days. His son Michael came in my 2010 Topps New Year's pack. I covered Brantley back in September.

Sierra here actually fits in well with 1987 Donruss, the year Donruss had the Roberto Clemente puzzle. Sierra was often compared to Clemente, especially early on.

Sierra, a native of Clemente's Puerto Rico, even knew the Clemente family growing up.

"He used to come to the house and see all the trophies," Clemente's widow Vera Clemente told Newsday in 1995. "He admired Roberto. I remember one day he was admiring Roberto's car so much that we had to drive him home in it."
1987 Donruss Pack 3
5 Ozzie Smith Diamond King
64 Tony Gwynn
75 Alvin Davis
121 Jesse Barfield
210 Reggie Jackson
211 Floyd Bannister
255 Frank White
345 Mike Fitzgerald
345 Mike Fitzgerald
346 Ruben Sierra
346 Ruben Sierra
390 Pat Clements
525 Jose Gonzalez
546 Alex Trevino
603 Jerry Narron
656 Mickey Brantley
Puzzle 58-60 Hall of Fame Bottom Line 9/63

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