Baseball Card of the Week: Jose Oquendo
So here it is, Jose. Enjoy.
What we have today is a 1989 Jose Oquendo card by Fleer. And let me just say, that is one of the ugliest fucking baseball cards I've ever seen in my life. What genius decided that the perfect color palette for a baseball card was a pastel green, pink, and purple stripe? Honestly, it's just almost too much to look at.
But look beyond the hideous card itself, my friends, and witness one of the giants of the modern Cardinal franchise. We all like to look back at Ozzie with awe, and rightfully so, as he was the greatest Cardinal of his day. We love Willie McGee, and it's tough to find much fault with that, either. After all, everybody loves E.T., and McGee was essentially just a full-sized, flesh and blood version. But lost in a lot of that is Oquendo, the only player from those days to still be a part of the day-to-day operation of the Cardinal ballclub.
He may or may not be the manager in waiting, but the Secret Weapon is certainly one of the major cogs in the winning machine that the Cards have built this decade. He is to infielders what Dave Duncan is to mediocre veteran pitchers: your best bet for turning them into something useful.
He's credited with being the biggest reason for Albert Pujols turning into the best defender at first base in all of baseball (and anyone who wishes to debate that based on Gold Gloves can just fuck off), and the work he did with J.D. Drew's younger brother, Stephen, is a huge part of the reason the youngest Drew is now an all-star caliber second baseman with the Arizona Diamondbacks.
This spring, Oquendo may actually face his most daunting task to date: trying to turn Skip Schumaker into a competent second baseman before the season starts, all the while managing the Puerto Rican team in the World Baseball Classic.
If he pulls it off, it may go down as one of the greatest performances anyone in a coaches' uniform has ever turned in. If not, well, we probably just won't mention it very much. But we'll still know it happened.
So good luck, Jose. Something tells me that this spring, you're probably going to need it.