Sunday, October 13, 2013

WHAT WERE THEY THINKING?- PART VII: 1973 TITO FUENTES

It's been a long while since I posted one of these.
Basically, it was slowly becoming a thread based around the 1973 set since it contained so many cards with odd or just plain "wrong" pictures used.
Well, today will be nothing different, thank you very much.
Let's take a look at the 1973 Topps Tito Fuentes card (#236) shall we?
I do like the fact that it's a horizontal action shot. But jeez, why the image of ass-plant on the infielder who seems to be begging for help from his teammates who are running in to rescue him?
Kind of hilarious actually. But really? That was the best Topps could do?
And by now I'm sure a lot of you know how I feel about random players or umpires in the forefront of an image, like the Giant player on the left. I can't stand stuff like that! Why not just crop him out?
It looks like the game is in San Francisco against the Houston Astros, and if I'm not mistaken that's Cesar Cedeno coming in from center field (more on him in the future).
The shortstop who's looking down at the spectacle seems to be Roger Metzger, and I'm really only assuming that the poor schlep getting an intimate view of Fuentes is second baseman Tommy Helms.
Ugh, poor second baseman. Those Topps people just HAD to have a wicked sense of humor back then.

"So, can I get your number?"
On a side note: I was always interested in Fuentes as a kid because I could never figure out (before the days of the internet) why a guy who had pretty much an all-star season in 1977 seemed to disappear immediately.
While playing for the Detroit Tigers that season, Fuentes had arguably his best year in the Majors, hitting .309 with 190 hits and 10 triples with 83 runs scored.
As a kid who worshiped stats back then, you notice that nice line on the back of his 1978 card (You also couldn't help but notice his hand-written "Tito" headband around his cap, which also makes an appearance on his 1976 card as well).
But then he just vanished, and back then you didn't have all the access to information we do now, so you couldn't figure out why (football was the WORST for this! Guys came and went like nobady's business).
Anyway, it wasn't until years later that I learned Detroit let Fuentes go because they had an up-and-coming star on their hands in Lou Whitaker, who would eventually be the Rookie of the Year in 1978, and team up with another rookie, Alan Trammell to play 19 straight seasons together, until 1995.
It seems Fuentes couldn't hang on with anyone else and was out of the game after 13 games with the Oakland A's in 1978.
Pretty dramatic end to a decent 13 year career that was reasonable productive right until the end.
Fuentes did make a career for himself in the game after his playing days were over, hooking up with the Giants as their first radio announcer for their Spanish-speaking broadcasts beginning in 1981.
Eventually he was even elected into the Hispanic Heritage Baseball Museum in 2002 in San Francisco.
Go Tito...

No comments:

Post a Comment

FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER...

@wthballs
Everything baseball: cards, events, history and more.