A blog about baseball cards... and the Padres

Friday, May 4, 2012

Before They Were Padres - Scott Livingstone

In celebration of having my internet connection fixed, offering the second post of the day.  I had a pretty good daily streak going, but not having access at home threw off the rhythm.

So, I was walking through Walgreens a while back when something caught my eye.  It was a pack of baseball cards.  Not a "regular" pack, but a hard plastic shell of 100 baseball cards, of different brands and years.  I picked it up for four bucks, mostly out of curiosity, and was stoked to find a bunch of late 80's/early 90's Padre cards, including some Gwynn's.  Ever since then, if I'm there (which isn't often), I'll cruise down that aisle to check out the offerings.

I did that this week and wasn't as fortunate as I was that first time.  First problem: only two Pads.  Out of 100!  There was an Eddie Whitson from 1989 (decent looking card) and a Jeremy Owens from 2002 (never heard of him, and never actually made it out of the minors, according to baseball-reference.com).  Just as bad (or worse?): got stuck with a pile of Dodgers!

Silver lining: got a Scott Livingstone card!  Why is there an exclamation point at the end of that sentence?  Well, I don't know why, but there's just something about the lesser-known-guy-off-the-bench-underdog that I love.  It's easy to root for the perennial All-Star or the big money free agent; it's that riding the pine that doesn't get a lot of playing time, but still battles when he gets in that I really love.  Chris Denorfia is that guy (for me) on the team this year.  Archi Cianfrocco and Eric Owens were those guys on earlier teams.  For a brief time, Scott Livingstone was one of those guys as well.

Scott was a second round draft pick by the Tigers in 1988, out of Texas A&M.  He was a third baseman who made it to the Padres in a trade that involved pitcher Gene Harris in 1994.  Of the four teams that he played on (Tigers, Pads, Cards, Expos), he had the most games and highest average in San Diego.  I don't have any specific memories of Scott, but I remember that whenever he got called on to pinch hit, I had a feeling it was going to all work out.

Ok, the main reason that I wanted to do a feature on Scott is because of the back of this 1993 Score Select card.  I know what Sparky Anderson means, but do you really want to include a quote that says "he can't run and he can't hit for power" on the back of his baseball card?  I know it ends saying "He's one of those guys you can win with", but it just struck me as funny when I first read it.

The Padres DID win with Livingstone, winning the NL West in 1996, his last full season with the team. When he was traded to St. Louis (in a deal involving Fernando Valenzuela, Phil Plantier, and current Fox Sports San Diego sportscaster, Mark Sweeney), he left San Diego with a .296 batting average, 9 homers, and 65 RBIs in 574 at bats.

Ok, enough non-Padre uniformed cards for a while, back to more Padre goodness tomorrow.  Padres hanging tight against the Marlins, down by one in the top of the 7th.  Anthony Bass may have done a better job with his bat than with his arm, going 2 for 3 with a single, triple, 3 RBI, and a run scored.  Hopefully we can pull out a win tonight!

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