Friday, June 26, 2009

Card Spotlight: 6-26-09

2004 Topps Total #767 - Mike Jackson

By now, everyone has heard the news about pop singing sensation Michael Jackson. There has been a frenzy of coverage about his death, even in forums that normally wouldn't be mentioning his name. I have seen almost every sports card blogger comment about his death and how his music helped shape who they are today.

It's not far fetched to say that everyone who has even listened to music in the past thirty years was listening to something influenced by either Michael Jackson or the Beatles. In some cases, both.

Michael Jackson's influence has even infiltrated the world of sports, like it or not. There have been seven Michael Jacksons in the world of sports. Two in baseball, two in football, one in basketball, one in rugby and one in soccer. All but one (the left handed baseball pitcher) have played in the heyday or the aftermath of Michael Jackson's solo career explosion. That Michael Jackson's career ended in 1973 with the Cleveland Indians.

Let's talk about the other Michael Jackson in baseball. He had a lengthy career that started in 1986 with the Phillies and ended in 2004 with the White Sox. In between, he played for the Mariners (twice), the Giants, the Reds, the Indians, the Astros and the Twins. I remember him from most of the other teams, but I recall him on the White Sox most vividly.

Mike was at the end of his career, when he landed on the Sox. His stats weren't the best. He played in 45 games, finished 12 and had a 2-0 record in 2004. His ERA was a ghastly 5.01, the worst of his career. Basically, he was a mop up guy. The game had already been decided most of the time and Mike came in to save the rest of the bullpen.

My memory may be faulty, but I seem to recall the White Sox playing "Thriller" or some other Michael Jackson song when Mike would come in. If I'm remembering incorrectly, so be it. I think if the Sox would play the "Halloween theme" when they brought in Mike Myers, they would play a Jacko song when Mike Jackson came in. It only seems logical, right?

Mike Jackson may have been on the White Sox from opening day until early September of 2004, but he only has one card. 2004 Topps Total. There are also four printing plates and a silver parallel, but essentially only one card. That seems to be the trouble with middle relievers. There aren't many opportunities given for cardboard glory.

Still, I'm happy that one set included Mike Jackson with the White Sox. I hope each year that there will be a set that incorporates everyone on each team, in a given year. I am usually disappointed. The 2004 Topps Total White Sox team set includes 26 players. This is a far cry from the 42 men who actually played for the team that year.

No set is perfect, but this came closer than most in 2004. I do appreciate the fact that Mike looks like he's trying to pitch in the middle of a track and field event. There's something smile inducing about that, but I'm not quite sure why. Maybe it reminds me of high school, where every sport had to share the same field and facility. Whatever the reason, this card is still the only one of Mike Jackson produced in a White Sox uniform. That's pretty special, in its own right.


capewood said...

I was 50 minutes on a stationary bike at the gym today (that is on Friday) watching CNN. Apparently the economy is ok, the Iranian election has been decided peacefully, everyone has laid down their guns in Iraq and the North Koreans have given up their nuclear program. The only news on CNN was Michael Jackson.

Steve Gierman said...

That does seem to be the status quo currently.

night owl said...

I was waiting for someone to post a Mike Jackson card. I'm glad you did it. Thoughtful as always.

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