In case you missed it, last night the Padres pulled themselves out of the NL West cellar as they beat the Marlins of Miami 5-0. They're only a win and a few percentage points ahead of the Dodgers, but after their horrible start, I'll take it. Andrew Cashner pitched 7 1/3 innings of shutout baseball, giving up four hits while striking out four. Sure, it was just against the Marlins, but hopefully it's a sign of good things to come for Straight Cash, Homey. Jedd Gyorko knocked out his second homer in as many games, while Chase Headley extended his hitting streak to eleven games. The Padres have won eight of their last eleven and look to be heading in the right direction (or at least facing the right teams).
Anyways, the opposing pitcher at Petco Park last night was none other than former Friar Wade LeBlanc. Wade didn't do horribly last night, allowing three earned runs on four hits (making a big mistake to Gyorko on a pitch that he left up in the zone), but certainly didn't catch any breaks. Kind of reminded me of his Padre days, I guess. I remember enjoying watching him pitch, but it seemed like the numbers were always against him. His current record of 0-5 with a 6.11 ERA is not great at all.
But this isn't supposed to be a negative post! It's a post of rejoicing! Here is a card I picked up on eBay for less than two bucks, shipped.
I like LeBlanc's signature, despite the fact that it's on a sticker. Not a huge fan of these renditions of the Padres uniforms, but this is a handsome enough looking shot.
Now, normally I don't go after a lot of Padres autographs on eBay. Usually they're a little more than I want to pay, or sometimes they're just guys that I'm not really into. I'd consider myself a "fan" of LeBlanc, but not die-hard by any stretch.
So why did I have to have this card? Check out the heading on that card above.
Oh wait, you can't because of the silver foil. Well, if you've got really good vision, you'll see that it says "Most Padres Single Season Pickoffs".
Well, that seems to be a pretty... unique accomplishment to celebrate with an autograph. But, I suppose if you set a team record, you should get some sort of recognition, right? Then I flipped to the back...
And saw that Wade LeBlanc is not only not the team leader in single-season pickoffs, he is actually tied for third with somebody named Chris Welsh. The actual leader in single-season pickoffs is Bob Shirley, who had 13 in 1977, and who also placed second on the list by picking off 10 people in 1979.
Obviously, the boys at Topps had a bunch of Wade LeBlanc autographed stickers that they were trying to dump, so they hatched this ridiculous plot. Because of the absurdity of it all, I had to have it. I mean, it's not everyday that you can get a certified autograph of the person who placed third on the Padres all time list for pickoffs in a single season.
Now I'll be anxiously awaiting a Bob Shirley autographed card commemorating that unforgettable 1977 season where so many potential base stealers met their demise by a quick throw over to first...