Thursday, May 21, 2020

Abolish the DH: My Favorite Frankenset Card by Page; Page 5 (Cards 37-45)

I'm not a fan of the designated hitter. Most people either love it or hate it. I understand the arguments for each side, but land on the side of wanting the see the pitcher hit. I'm more of a baseball purist by nature, and I feel this is the way the game was intended to be played. I like the strategy involved. It's fun to see a guy who is talented enough to both pitch and hit at a high level. But I do understand the other side. More offense can be fun and it's nice to see some guys be able to squeeze a couple more years out of their careers by way of the DH (or a decade; see David Ortiz, Edgar Martinez). I feel like it's only a matter of time before the National League adopts the DH, and it sounds like it could come as soon as this season.

This is all a lead-in to my favorite Frankenset card from page five of the binder. As usual, I'll show you my top three, in reverse order. 

#3: 2013 Topps Heritage Minors #40, Mike Piazza (Arkansas Travelers, Double-A affiliate of the California Los Angeles Anaheim Angels of Los Angeles, California)

The pitcher version of Mike Piazza (a cousin of the Hall of Famer) topped out at Double-A in 2014.

#2: 1986 Donruss #42, Rick Surhoff

I've said before that when a card fits two separate categories of my Frankenset that it's hard to beat. But despite its greatness, this card finishes in second place. Richard Clifford Surhoff is so much of a lesser known compared to his brother, William James (better known as B.J.) that when you type in Rick Surhoff into, it yields no results. Apparently, he was known as Rich, not Rick. Or WAS it Rick? Who knows. What we do know is that his mustache is incredible. I had to research its name, and it is known as a horseshoe and is commonly confused with a Fu Manchu. 

#1: 1995 Upper Deck #37, Pat Hentgen

The winner this week is the reason I started this post by discussing the designated hitter. This card is a puzzling sight. 

I was confused. An AL pitcher batting in an age before interleague play? When would this have happened? Well, I first thought about the All-Star game. Pat Hentgen made the All-Star team in both 1993 and 1994. In 1994, the All-Star game was held at Three Rivers Stadium in Pittsburgh, a National League park. This meant the DH was not in play. Hentgen pitched, but didn't bat in the All-Star game that season...

And then it hit me, the World Series! Of course! Sure enough, Hentgen pitched game three at Veterans Stadium against the Phillies, going six innings and allowing just one run as the Jays won 10 to 3. This gave Toronto a 2 to 1 series lead and they won the series in six with Joe Carter's walk-off homerun. In game three, Hentgen went hitless in three at-bats. Mystery solved, I think. So instead of a picture of Hentgen pitching from 1994, Upper Deck presumably went with a photo of him hitting from 1993. Makes sense. And depicting that kind of random on a baseball card wins you page five of the Frankenset. 


  1. So...we have Mike Piazza pitching and Pat Hentgen hitting? Got it.

  2. That Hentgen card is glorious. Yes, let's be in a hurry to ensure more cards like that don't exist.

  3. I had never heard of the "other" Mike Piazza. That is pretty neat.

    When it comes to the Hentgen, I am fairly certain that it is just a spring training shot that UD seemed to utilize more frequently than other brands at the time. Game 3 of the 1993 WS started after 9:00 PM EST, while there is sunlight in the 1995 UD card. Also, Toronto typically wore light gray jerseys in road games in the 90s that were very similar to their white home jerseys.

    1. Good call! Thanks for finishing the sleuthing for me. I clearly didn't think that one all the way through. I think I was too enamored by the greatness of the card.

  4. I am not a fan of the DH mostly because it eliminates so much strategy.
    But, with that being said, I did here an interesting proposal the other day. It involves the implementation of a universal DH, but the DH is removed when the starting pitcher is removed. From there on out the relief pitcher would be scheduled to bat in that spot in the order. Sure, we wouldn't necessarily see a pitcher bat very often, but we might see starting pitchers stay in for one more inning to get the DH another at-bat. Plus, the late innings would again be flush with strategy... pinch hitters, double switches and the like.

  5. Being an A's fan... I'm so used to the DH. But after writing about pitchers hitting grand slams last week, I'm slowly moving towards the camp of letting all pitchers hit. Although based on the comments, it looks like that's wishful thinking.

    By the way... that Hentgen is awesome.

  6. I think Rick actually looks a lot like B.J., who is sort of a local legend in these parts, if you get past the mustache.

    As far as the DH, I am going to miss the pitcher batting. I grew up watching the Cardinals, and love the strategy involved with having the pitcher bat. That card of Hentgen batting is sweet!