10.04.2010

John Russell, 1987 Topps

Name: John Russell
Team: Philadelphia Phillies
Position: Catcher
Value of card: Titillation
Key 1986 stat: One indecent exposure charge
Hey there, sailor: John Russell was not very good at baseball. In 10 major league seasons, he clubbed just 34 home runs and batted .225. But 1986 was a year to remember for the young backstop. He hit 13 taters, drove in 60 runs and invented what would be called the game's most distracting defensive maneuver until Rick Wilkins unveiled his crotch-block in 1991. During big at-bats, Russell would take his stance behind the plate and then slowly strip off his mask, chest protector, shin guards, uniform and undershirt. Batters, in awe of Russell's rug of chest hair and oversize jock strap, would flail away, finding it difficult to pick up the ball out of the pitcher's hand when they could hardly look away from the pair just below their elbows. MLB banned Russell's burly burlesque act the next year, and the catcher would play just 235 games over the next seven seasons.

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