Saturday, November 24, 2007

I Wakamatsu, Do You?

1991 was an odd year for White Sox baseball. It was a year of hope, coming one year after a second place finish out of nowhere. Many players came and went during this season. One that will always stick in my mind is Don Wakamatsu.

Mind you, it wasn't for anything he really did in a baseball game. Third string backup catchers don't usually get a lot of playing time. From May 22 until October 5, 1991, Don played in a total of 18 games. He only had seven hits in 31 at bats, all singles. He had more major league baseball cards (2) than he had walks (1).

The reason he sticks out is his last name, Wakamatsu. It's just fun to say! You cannot say his name without cracking a smile. I had no idea he even had a card until earlier this year, when I found his name among the players on the 1992 Score White Sox team set. I was in shock! How did this card slip by me when it came out. 1992 was the last year of major card collecting in my youth. By 1993, it started to trail off. I never got a Wakamatsu card, my friends never got a Wakamatsu card. I never even saw one at a show.

Then, as I did a little research for this posting, I found a second Wakamatsu card! It was like I was 15 again! I only found evidence of these two cards, but that was two more than I ever knew existed before this year. I perked up a few years ago when I spotted a familiar name in the Rangers dugout at US Cellular Field. Don Wakamatsu was a coach. It's the little things like that, that will keep me happy the entire day.

Don only played that one year in the majors. I kept thinking about Don whenever the Sox needed another catcher, but the Sox were content on Matt Merullo and Nelson Santovenia. I've heard that now Don is a coach on the Athletics. Good for him! I'm still glad he's in baseball in some capacity. My friends and I still bring up the name Wakamatsu in conversation lulls. It's always good for a smile. So, thank you Don Wakamatsu! Your career didn't last too long, but you are still talked about on the South Side.

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