Monday, February 28, 2011

Red Sox A-Z: Z is for…

Zupcic, as in Bob

Yeah. Pretty slim pickings when you’re talking about the letter “Z.” But Bob Zupcic is actually a great player to talk about. He played for the Sox from 1991 to 1994, which isn’t a long career by any stretch. He went to the White Sox in 1994, and was out of baseball from there on out. So, he played his entire career for the Sox…just changed colors. I don’t remember what people though of Zupcic when he came up. Was he a top prospect? Was he a role filler? I don’t remember. I do remember that he hit a couple grand slams during his rookie season. It was treated as quite an accomplishment. You started seeing stats about how few players hit two grand slams in their rookie season. Naturally, the impression you get is that it will lead to greatness. Much like when Clay Buchholz threw his no-hitter. When you do something that well that early, people assume it’s a sign of great things to come. In the case of Zupcic, it may have been a sign of a very early peak.

In the early nineties, my local Boys and Girls club was hosting a card show. It included an appearance by Bob Zupcic and Scott Cooper. At the time, that was pretty cool. Looking back, I have to wonder why everyone came. I seem to remember having to pay $5 for an autograph. I remember being impressed with both players. They showed up, and happily signed all they were asked for. When their time was up, they hung around for a little bit. They started playing some pool with some of the kids at one of the pool tables at the club. That was a pretty amazing sight. Sure, they were getting paid for their appearance, but I’m guessing that didn’t include spending time with the kids. It made for a pretty special day for those youngsters.

When the show was over, Zupcic and Cooper were checking with the show organizer about getting back to the highway. My dad and I happened to be driving by the highway on the way home, and offered to let them follow us. So, we led them through the series of lefts and rights so they could find their exit. I always thought it would have been neat to have been on the highway at that point. Imagine driving along, and seeing this van coming off the ramp and merging in next to you. You look over at the car, like you always do, only to notice that it’s Scott Cooper and Bob Zupcic. How weird!

So, while Zupcic’s time in Boston was short, he certainly left an impression on several people.

Z is for Zupcic, Bob

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