Thursday, August 18, 2022

Wood vs. Wood #114.

Last time the '62 card swept the '87 card, 7-0. Can '87 get on the board this time?

Howie Koplitz was a 24-year-old rookie in 1962. 24-year-old rookies sure looked different back then. That old English D looks quite large, and I don't think the Tigers ever wore pinstripes, so I'm guessing this was an airbrushed minor league photo. He was coming off a strong showing at the end of the 1961 season, going 2-0 with a 2.25 ERA in four games (one start). He struggled in '62, however, and was claimed by the Senators in the Rule 5 draft after spending all of '63 in the minor leagues. He had his one full big league season in 1965 as a mop-up man/spot-starter for Washington, but blew out his arm in 1966 spring training and was finished as a big leaguer. After his baseball career he worked for the US Postal Service until his retirement. He died in 2012.

The Twins were famous for having a "garbage bag" outfield wall in the Metrodome. Looks like they had one in spring training too, I guess to acclimate the players for the regular season. Billy Beane was the Mets first-round pick in 1980 and was a highly touted outfield prospect. After the 1985 season, the Mets traded him to the Twins for Tim Teufel. While Teufel was a key piece in helping the Mets win the World Series, Beane struggled mightily in Minnesota, hitting .213 with 3 HR and 15 RBI in 80 games. After the 1987 season, which he spent mostly in the minors, he was traded to the Tigers, and spent most of the season in AAA Toledo, where he and teammates Billy Bean and Pete Rice made up the "Rice and Beans" outfield. He played briefly for the A's in 1989, then retired and went into their scouting department. After the 1997 season he was named the A's General Manager, and pioneered the use of analytics in player evaluations. Despite some initial success, he's had more movies about himself (Moneyball) than pennants won, and the A's are no longer at the forefront of cutting-edge player analytics.


  1. I'll give my vote to Brad Pitt, I mean Billy Beane...

  2. Koplitz. It's marvelous. Beane's celebrity can't compare.

  3. My love of all things Aaron Sorkin makes me want to vote for Beane, and happily it's quite a nice card, too, so vote for Beane. You're right, Koplitz certainly doesn't look 24!

  4. The Beane card is a little more interesting, so it gets my vote. I like the Twins logo at the top right.