2.07.2010

Mike LaValliere, 1992 Topps Stadium Club

Name: Mike LaValliere aka Spanky the Blind Catcher
Team: Pittsburgh Pirates
Position: Blind catcher
Value of card: "I would give anything to see the world, if only for a moment, one more time."
Key 1991 stat: Zero seconds of sight
A tale of triumph: This is the story of Mike LaValliere, better known around the land as Spanky the Blind Catcher. Spanky was born to a French father and Polish mother in a log cabin in the North Carolina wilderness. As a child, his resemblance to a "Little Rascals" character earned him the nickname "Spanky." A few months later, he went blind, earning him the nickname "Blindy." Blindy soon developed a love for baseball, and his future as a catcher was cemented at age 9, when he tried to eat a catcher's mitt, thinking it was a pork chop. He soon started playing catch with his father, though this mainly involved his father throwing the ball at him, the ball hitting him in the chest or face, and Spanky rooting around on the ground like a legless pig searching for the ball. But these joyful games of catch toughened up Spanky, and because of that and his tireless training and eating habits, he earned a spot on his high school baseball team. He played second base. The actual base, not the position. But Spanky practiced and practiced and soon started playing catcher, developing a knack for hearing the rotation of the pitch and positioning his glove accordingly. He was drafted and worked his way to the major leagues. Off the field, he used a cane. But on the field, his play was uncanny.

Share/Save/Bookmark

1 comment: