Friday, September 3, 2010

Card Spotlight: 9-3-10

1995 SP #12 - Jimmy Hurst

I heard a lot about Jimmy Hurst in the mid-90s. Unfortunately, it was all card talk and he disappeared off my radar after 1996. He never made it to the majors with the White Sox, but in September 1997, he debuted with the Detroit Tigers.

Jimmy only spent that one month playing in the majors, but he stuck in my mind due to all the White Sox cards he had. In my second wave of collecting, the more cards a prospect had, the better they would ultimately be. Or so went the thinking in my adolescent mind. It wasn't until many years later that I finally purged that type of thinking from my mind.

The last time that I saw Jimmy Hurst was in a very unexpected place. I hadn't given him much thought in the past decade, but I saw his name in the lineup as a designated hitter at a game in Joliet, Illinois. I saw the name and immediately thought of the former White Sox prospect. When I got home, it turned out that I was right.

It was the same night that I spotted Floyd Youmans as the Joliet Jackhammers pitching coach and Wally Backman as their manager. I guess the Independent League is the place to spot former Major League players. I thought that Jimmy was the designated hitter for the Jackhammers, but it turns out that I was mistaken, at least according to the records. I must have seen him play for the Fargo-Moorhead Redhawks.

It was exciting seeing former big league players in an unexpected setting. Especially a few with White Sox connections. Backman was a minor league manager in the White Sox organization, who likely would have been the parent club manager after Jerry Manuel, except he was openly rooting for the Sox to lose so the managerial job would become available. Youmans attended Spring Training with the White Sox in 1993. Hurst spent six seasons in the White Sox minor league system. It goes to show that you can find White Sox connections almost anywhere you look.

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