Sunday, August 25, 2013

From the Pedro Binder

2000 Topps Divisional Playoff Highlight

Right off the bat, I need to apologize for my scanner. This card has a chrome effect that the scanner has no idea what to do with. It makes Pedro’s face a little blobbier than it really is.

OK. That’s out of the way.

I love this card. Love it for many reasons. The first of which is the simplicity. Player name and team logo show up on the bottom. Subset name and company logo tucked in the top. Notice anything missing?

They don’t tell you what the highlight is. It’s perfect. They don’t need to tease you with a headline, “Pedro Shuts Down Tribe!” or a full description “Pedro sends the Red Sox on to the ALCS with a victory.” You know what the highlight is just by looking at the card. That’s because it’s an actual highlight. It’s not a picture of some guy getting an RBI because they needed a card from each game. It’s not a stock photo of Pedro winding up that requires a caption. If I showed you this picture with no set-up, you’d know it was game five of the 1999 ALDS. So, Topps left good enough alone. Wonderful.

Of course, the highlight it’s referring to is one of the great games of its time. If anything shows just how good Pedro was, it was this game. The Indians ad Sox were slugging back and forth, and were tied 8-8 after three innings. That’s when the television cameras showed two things. Pedro walking out of the bullpen door, and Cleveland fan’s faces turning to absolute fear. It was one of the most incredible sequences I’ve ever seen. Naturally, the fans were right to be scared. Pedro proceeded to finish out the game without allowing a hit. Against the greatest offensive team in 50 years…that already scored 8 runs in three innings. And did it while he was injured.

Sometimes it just wasn’t fair.

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