Showing posts with label Spanky. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Spanky. Show all posts


Mike LaValliere, 1990 Topps

Name: Mike "Spanky" LaValliere
Team: Pittsburgh Pirates
Position: Catcher
Value of card: The lint in Spanky's bellybutton
Key 1989 stat: 1,498 spanks
10 things you might not know about "Spanky" LaValliere:
10) His mullet's wings allowed him to fly.
9) He played most of his career blind.
8) His tongue weighed nearly 3 pounds, which prevented him from closing his mouth.
7) He slept with his mitt (like, um, in a relationship way).
6) The two sides of his mustache were interchangeable with his eyebrows.
5) His most annoying habit: He always responded, "Spank you very much."
4) He got his nickname from "The Little Rascals" — the XXX version.
3) He was the first Pirates player to own a parrot and have a peg leg.
2) His parents were French. As were his fries.
1) He lived life in a squat.


Mike LaValliere, 1991 Studio (Studio Saturday No. 20)

Name: Mike "Spanky" LaValliere
Team: Pittsburgh Pirates
Position: Catcher
Value of card: See hand gesture
Key 1990 stat: One awesome nickname
We love Spanky: It's no secret, The Bust has an affection for the man they call Spanky. He was a catcher and a rascal, and his story of success is one we've chronicled. His crooked mustache was nearly as revered as his crooked grin, but nowhere near as revered as his symmetrical chins. He'd punch you in the junk for a laugh and once bit the head off a parrot. He cut his hair with child-proof scissors. He dressed up as a pirate (Jim Leyland) every Halloween, only because he really had a peg leg. Yes, The Bust loves Spanky. So why you treating us like this, Spanky? Why you flipping that hand gesture at us? Screw you too, Spanky. Screw you.


Sid Bream, 1993 Studio

Name: Sid Bream
Team: Atlanta Braves
Position: First base
Value of card: Two ounces of wrinkle cream
Key 1993 stat: 12,042 times recounted the story of "The Slide"
The man, the legend: There's much more to Sid Bream than a neatly trimmed mustache and 1,000 crows' feet, despite what you see on this card. This is "El Sid," the man who launched a million mulleted Braves fans into ecstasy after sliding under the tag of "Spanky" LaValliere in Game 7 to send Atlanta to the World Series. He was the first man to keep a ring off Barry Bonds' finger (though he wouldn't be the last). Sure, by 1993 he was mostly washed up, regaling his young teammates with the story of a play that had happened only one year earlier, but "El Sid" is legend.
Speaking of legend: The 1993 Studio set, however, is definitely not legend. It's hard to believe that the makers of one of the most mockable sets in baseball history just two years prior decided it would be a good idea to throw a section of jersey or hat behind every player for each card. Even Chris Sabo's face-windshield couldn't save it from its own lameness.


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.