Thursday, July 5, 2018

The Stars Are Out: Baseball Legends Edition

SAO18 #10- Former Braves/Cardinals All-Star and Former Yankee Manager Joe Torre
As usual, with this series, we highlight famous people who have thrown out the first pitch at a ballgame. Former MLB personnel certainly count as famous people, even if Topps' First Pitch series didn't especially think so.

Joe Torre is still a legend in Atlanta for playing a nice portion of his MLB career there, as well as coming back to manage for a few years in the 1980s. So you can imagine the Standing O Torre must have gotten when he came back to throw out the first pitch earlier this year. The guy's a baseball legend, and of course the Braves fans treat him as such, even if his playing career has been eclipsed by his title-grabbing days in the Bronx.

I'm proud of how this one came out. And if we're speaking of Torre's 4 Yankee titles...

SAO18 #11- Former Yankee Centerfielder and Guitar Whiz Bernie Williams's a wise move to also mention one of his premier players, the great Bernie Williams, a Yankee icon from the moment he walked onto the field. He stuck with the team from the tail end of the Mattingly era up until the beginning of Robinson Cano's career, and he racked up a ton of ASG nods just by being a lot of fun. This one, taken during the 2017 playoffs, best represents the loyalty of Yankee fans- they still love him, and he hasn't played there in over 10 years.

SAO18 #12- Legendary Power-Hitting Catcher and Queens Icon Mike Piazza
The same levels of admiration can be said for Mike Piazza, who's still remembered fondly in LA and in Flushing Meadows, for being a five-tool player that could carry a team like the best of them. Even though he's dressed down a bit, he still looks pretty gracious, and loved the Mets fans so much that he wears a Mets cap on his Cooperstown plaque, rather than a Dodger cap, where he arguably had the better years.

Not to worry, those of you who think the Dodgers got shafted in this post...

SAO18 #13- Dodgers Pitching Legend and Owner of His Own Mania Fernando Valenzuela
There's still some Fernando-Mania for you.

Here's another guy the fans just love, and they have every reason to- his rookie year was HUGE, culminating in a World Series ring, a Cy Young, a Rookie of the Year, and a fifth-place finish in the MVP voting. Though his career may not have had the full punch that his rookie season may have indicated, it's clear that the Dodger fans love him, even after leaving the team and becoming a late-career fixture in San Diego. The Dodger fans can be forgiving if you've done enough for them, and as one of the premier pitchers of the 1980s, Fernando did more than enough. You can see how happy he is to be back at Dodger Stadium, too.

I'll return with some more of these in a few days. Expect some other sort of sports stars.

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