Saturday, March 30, 2013

A Little Detective Work

I love unique card photography, and it's always a nice added bonus when the card shows some identifiable in game action.  The tight action shots of a pitcher or batter are all well and good, but I prefer photos that can be associated with a specific game or moment.  Sometimes that moment is historic, like some of Topps' season highlight cards.  Other times, it's far more ordinary.  And for one of my recent pickups, a little of both.

I recently picked up this Robinzon Diaz signed '10 Topps card.  I already had a Pirate auto of Diaz from 2008 UD Documentary (the card pictures him in a Jay uniform, but with the catching gear it isn't really noticeable), but for $1 I figured it was worth updating to a true Pirate shot.

The card caught my eye; clearly this photo is something more than just your ordinary action shot.  Next thing you know out come the deerstalker hat, monocle, and magnifying glass (I prefer the Sherlock Holmes look over the Dick Tracy garb when doing my sleuthing). 

The case was fairly open and shut.  The card shows Diaz rounding third after a home run, meaning he either hit the homer or was on base when one was hit, with the former being far more likely.  Diaz hit exactly one home run in his career and only scored nine runs during his time with the Pirates, meaning I had a fairly small range to focus on.

The game was clearly on the road against a red-wearing team.  Unfortunately, that's about all the clues I had to work with since the Cards, Reds, and Phillies have nearly identical ballparks, though the Phillies could be ruled out due to their blue seats down the baselines.  There is a logo on the guy's cap right above 3B coach Tony Beasley's head, but it's too blurred to be conclusive.

Off to the game logs I went!  And there it was - Robinzon Diaz's sole career home run, on May 7 on the road against the Cardinals.  Just to be thorough, I checked Diaz other 8 runs scored on the season, but none came against red-wearing teams on the road.

So there it is - the lone big league homer of a guy whose only noteworthy accomplishment was being traded for future HR champ Jose Bautista, captured on cardboard.  I suppose there's some fitting irony there.  The solo shot came in the top of the 7th with one out.  The Pirates lost 5-2, managing only 4 hits on the day.

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