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Monday, June 27, 2011

Cooperstown Cards: Streak Broken

John Farrell did on Aug. 26, 1987 what no pitcher - or pitching staff - had done in two months.

He held Paul Molitor hitless, breaking the future Hall of Famer's 39-game hitting streak with a masterful 9-inning, 3-hit performance against the Brewers.

It was Farrell's second major league start.

''Things have happened real fast to me and it just hasn't sunk in for sure,'' Farrell told The Associated Press after the game. "I was just fortunate to be presented with that situation. Everything just worked out. It could have been coincidence. I was just in the right spot at the right time."

It was a feat that was noted on the back of Farrell's 1989 Upper Deck card. The card came in the corresponding pack picked up on my recent trip to Cooperstown.

Farrell went on to play in a total of eight major league seasons, his last in 1996. He's now back in the majors, as the manager of the Toronto Blue Jays.

Incidentially, one of those pitchers who couldn't hold Molitor hitless, was Don Gordon. Gordon gave up Molitor's hit in the 39th and final game of the streak. Gordon was also a member of the CMC set, featured here in May 2010.

Speaking of CMC set members, there were three in the pack, Steve Rosenberg, Tom Prince and Kevin Blankenship. I've featured all three. Since there is limited information on the back of the Upper Deck cards, just great photos, I think I'll just exerpt from their original G21D features.

Rosenberg was drafted by the Yankees out of the University of Florida, then traded to the White Sox in November 1987, according to Upper Deck.

Rosenberg's March 2011 feature:
The talk was that Steve Rosenberg might make the Padres rotation in May 1991 and Rosenberg was excited about it, according to The Los Angeles Times. He knew he could do it, he'd done it before.

"But to be honest about it," Rosenberg told The Times, "I've got a little mixed emotions becuase I've bee doing a good job in the bullpen.

"Besides," he added to The Times, "I remember what happened in Chicago." (continue reading)

Prince was an Eastern League All-Star catcher in 1987 with Harrisburg. He also led the league in many catching categories, Upper Deck wrote.

Prince's April 2010 feature:
The runner barreled into Pirates catcher Tom Prince in June 1995, sending Prince to the disabled list, according to an account in the Los Angeles Times.

The collision had the veteran backup catcher unfazed.

"It was a clean hit," Prince told The Times after being released from the hospital, where he was taken, adding later. "He didn't go for my head or anything like that. He was just playing hard. The head's fine, I've just got a lot of bleeding in my thigh area." continue reading)

Blankenship was originally signed by the Braves in 1984 out of the University of Arizona, Upper Deck wrote. He was traded to the Cubs in 1988.

Blankenship's June 2010 feature:
The Cubs were fighting for the National League East, but rookie reliever Kevin Blankenship apparently couldn't get that excited. He also couldn't get to the ballpark on time.

With the Cubs heading down the stretch run of 1989, Blankenship overslept for a game. Then he was late for a physical. He also had just overstayed his welcome: There were apparently plenty of other marginal relievers who could at least show up on time.

"I overlooked it," Cubs manager Don Zimmer told The Chicago Tribune of Blankenship's first infraction. The club had to wake him in his hotel room at 11 that morning. "I'm thinking to myself, 'How the hell could somebody oversleep a day game and show up at a quarter to 12?'" (continue reading)

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