Friday, April 5, 2013

Random Topps Card of the Day: 1992 Topps #667 Roberto Hernandez

Thanks to the Topps Card Randomizer, introducing the Random Topps Card of the Day for Friday, April 5, 2013:

  • Official Card Set Name and Card Number: 1992 Topps #667.
  • Player Name, position, team: Roberto Hernandez, pitcher, Chicago White Sox.
  • Major League Debut: September 2, 1991.
  • Last Line of Statistics: 1991 stats (White Sox): 9 G, 15 IP, 1-0, 15 R, 13 ER, 6 SO, 7 BB, 3 GS, 0 CG, 0 SHO, 0 SV, 7.80 ERA.
  • Any special information about player: Drafted by the Angels #1st, June 1986. Traded by the Angels to the White Sox 08/03/1989. Bats: right. Throws: right.
  • Number of regular Topps Cards (includes regular and traded cards only): 16. This is his first Topps card.
  • Blurb on the back: "Roberto was signed for the Angels by Scout Al Goldis."
  • Commentary: Long before he became the pitcher known for "almost ending Cal Ripken Jr.'s consecutive games played streak," Roberto Manuel (Rodriguez) Hernandez was being groomed as the closer-in-waiting for the Chicago White Sox. At the time, the Pale Hose already had a lights out closer named Bobby Thigpen. But knowing that he was injured during an exhibition in Japan, and seeing that he wasn't the same pitcher afterwards, they turned to Hernandez to take over the closing duties. In 43 games during the 1992 campaign, Hernandez went 7-3, finishing 27 games, saving 12 of them, had an ERA of 1.65 (which would be his career best), 68 strikeouts, and a WHIP of 0.915. With numbers like these, it made Thigpen expendable, and soon it was Thigpen who was traded off to Philadelphia for the 1993 campaign while Roberto became the full-time closer. With hitters like Frank Thomas and Robin Ventura, speed demons Lance Johnson and Tim Raines, and a pitching staff that included Jack McDowell, Alex Frenandez, Wilson Alvarez, and Jason Bere, Hernandez had no problems shutting the door on opposing teams as he went on to save 38 of the 70 games he appeared, to go with a 3-4 record and a 2.29 ERA. With all that star power, the 1993 Chicago White Sox won their first division title since 1983. With the White Sox, Hernandez went 29-24, had an ERA of 2.87, saved 161 games, struck out 411 batters in 404.2 innings of work, had a WHIP of 1.223, and made one All-Star Team. In 1997, Roberto was traded along with Alvarez and Danny Darwin to the San Francisco Giants in what has now become known as the "White Flag Trade." He signed with the Devil Rays for their inaugural season (making his second and final All-Star Team). From there, Hernandez began his nomadic journey through the majors. He was included in a three-team, seven player trade that landed him in Kansas City (2001). He signed on with the Braves for one year (2003), the Phillies for another (2004), the Mets the next (2005), and finally the Pirates before being traded back to the Mets as a deadline deal in 2006. After a tumultuous 2007 season that saw him playing for both the Indians and Dodgers, Roberto Hernandez promptly called it a career. By the end of it all, he joined two exclusive clubs: the 300-save club (326 lifetime) and the 1000 games pitched club (1010 appearances in his 17 years in the majors). It is worth noting that in 1991, he started three games (see the last line of statistics), going 1-0 in 11.1 innings of work, 6.35 ERA and 5 K's). Those would be the only starts in his long major league career.
  • Lo-Hi Beckett value: $0.01-$0.05.
  • How many cards of this player do I own?: 20.
Tomorrow's card will be: 2004 Topps #296. Post will arrive at 1:00 PM CST. Flash back with the blog tomorrow.


JayBee Anama

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