Tuesday, July 29, 2008
#558 Bob Ojeda
Why this card is awesome: Because of the surprise appearance of HoJo in the background of this card. I'd recognize that number-20-wearing, Caucasian third baseman anywhere.
Incidentally, one interesting thing about this blog is that it's easy to look up players by first or last name. If you put "Howard" in the search box, you learn that Howard Johnson was the only player in this set (so far posted, at least) with Howard as a first or last name. No Ryan Howard or Howard Battle. Conversely, check out, for example, a search for "Mark." That yields Thurmond, Gubicza, Davis, Ciardi, Ryal, McLemore, Langston, Knudson, Davidson, and McGwire.
Anyway, Ojeda is lucky that he doesn't add to the total for deceased players. As most baseball fans will know, he was involved in the boating accident that killed Tim Crews and Steve Olin. He also once damaged his finger while cutting hedges, which apparently made him throw the ball differently and improved his performance.
Cool stat: Ojeda was a very average pitcher who gets more credit than he deserves for having one great year: 1986 with the Mets. If they hadn't won the World Series that year, he'd probably be remembered as the average pitcher he was. Take away his 18-5 record that year and he was 97-93 in his career. How average was he? Over the 10-year period 1983-1992, Ojeda is tied for the lead in most seasons with 150 IP and an ERA+ between 90 and 115. Mind you, there's nothing wrong with steady and average. He's just not as great as many people seem to mis-remember.