Sid Monge – 1984 Fleer

November 7, 2010

Man, That’s…Um…Yellow

(Feeling creative today, and just scanned a bunch of cards for my November posts…so yeah…)

Many of the 1983 Padres in Fleer (and other) sets were photographed in their batting practice jerseys. They may have been one of the earlier teams to have a separate jersey for BP.

And they were…um…yellow. And unlike the all-mustard Padres, they wore these with the game pants which were white. And while monochrome mustard is bad, so is YELLOW! with white pants and orange and brown trim.

Monge came back into the baseball nerdlinger’s conscience recently when it was noted that Benjie Molina would be the first player since Sid to play for each team in the World Series during the season they met in the Fall Classic. (Or something like that…)

But Sid (and Chris Ray of the Giants) weren’t on the post season roster. Still, it’s an accomplishment.

Mr. Monge was a well-traveled lefty reliever (and early on, spot starter) and had some pretty decent years. He wasn’t a LOOGY since teams only carried 10 pitchers, at most, and you couldn’t waste a roster spot LaRussa-ing your bullpen to death.

Sid actually made an All-Star team! Yes! In 1979, when he pitched for Cleveland, he ended the year 12-10 with 19 saves and a 2.40 ERA. That Indians team actually finished 81-80 (though in sixth place), and Monge was Cleveland’s representative. Looking at the stats, Jim Kern took the loss, as he was working in his THIRD inning of relief he left the bases loaded and Ron Guidry walked in the winning run.

You pitch a closer three innings in an All-Star game now, you’ll be hung, probably by the agent of the closer.

Back to Sid…(and no, his wife was not Nancy…sorry…) in that 1979 season 5.3 of his career 7.6 WAR were earned that year, so he did earn his keep. He did blow 7 saves, but also came in 20 times with a tie. He was used when the game was on the line, stats be damned. How refreshing.

Monge started to fall off a bit, and was moved in 1982 to Philly for Bake McBride. Then, in 1983 he was traded to the Padres for Joe Lefebvre (I can’t believe I spelled that right the first time – most times it winds up Lebfvrer or Lefebrvre or Johnson). That’s when the Fleer photogs found him.

Sid had one more move, in 1984. While some kids and collectors pulled this out of their Fleer package, he was sold (for cash money) to the Tigers on June 10. Dick Williams stopped trusting Sid, as he went 7,8 and 14 days between appearances. You can’t keep sharp that way. But frankly, the Padres staff didn’t need Sid, as Andy Hawkins, Craig Lefferts, Dave Dravecky and the Goose sopped up all of the relief innings (when Hawkins and Dravecky weren’t in the rotation).

So the Tigers got him, but Sparky didn’t use Monge much either. I don’t know if he was hurt or just in the doghouse, but he pitched just twice in September, and only five times in August (he gave up 17 hits and three dingers in just 13 innings and a tasty 6.92 ERA). But Sparky didn’t really need Sid, either, except for insurance. Hernandez, Lopez and Bair took care of most of the relief work. And then, Anderson got Bill Scherrer to be the lefty help in the pen in late August. Sid, sidelined.

Sid’s in the Mexican Baseball HOF, he’s been a long-time minor league pitching coach, and is currently the pitching coach for the Monterrey Sultans. And he probably counsels his young charges on pitching by telling stories of when he was the teammate of Nolan Ryan, Jack Morris and Steve Carlton. And Bill Scherrer.


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