Pat Corrales – 1987 Topps

November 11, 2010

Paulie Walnuts!

God, I miss the Sopranos.

Corrales resembles Paulie Gaultieri. I wonder if Pat ever got lost in the Pine Barrens?

Corrales was a backup catcher (a lifer in Backup Catchers Union #242 – no doubt controlled by Paulie Walnuts). And like most backup catchers with a long career (which means you didn’t complain about playing behind guys like Johnny Bench and Tim McCarver), you automatically qualify as a coach / manager. And so, Pat was the manager for Texas, Philly (where he holds the distinction of the only manager to be fired while his club was in first place, as not even the Big Stein or Chris von der Ahe did that!), and Cleveland as you see.

This card is bittersweet, no doubt, for the Corrales clan. This was the infamous SI cover 1987 Indians.

I don’t think Corrales was totally to blame. While the Indians were 84-78 the year before, and scored the most runs in the AL, there had to be concerns about the staff and the defense. Cleveland totaled -44 fielding runs and committed the most errors in the AL in 1986. Their ERA was 12th in the AL, and the staff had guys who were on their way out (Phil Niekro, John Butcher, Jamie Easterly, Jim Kern, Dickie Noles), injury prone (Ernie Camacho), or never going to be a championship winning pitcher (Scott Bailes, Ken Schrom, Don Schulze, Neal Heaton) and guys that never fulfilled their potential (Greg Swindell, Brian Oelkers, Jose Roman).

So what did the Indians due to shore up their pitching and defense between 1986 and 1987? Well…

They signed 33-year old outfielder and lifer in AAA Casey Parsons.

They signed failed Pittsburgh prospect Doug Froebel.

They signed fossil Rick Dempsey (who played with Charlie Manuel, Dean Chance, Ron Perranowski, and John Roseboro for the 1969 Twins).

They signed Kurt Kepshire, Dennis Lamp, Ed VandeBerg and traded for Jeff Kaiser.

During the spring, they released Kepshire and Lamp (who somehow kept finding jobs until 1992), and signed Steve Carlton.

So for the worst defense and a shaky pitching staff – they added two AAA outfielders, a catcher who played with Harmon Killebrew and Bob Allison, two journeyman lefties, and an old, crafty lefty (notice the trend…YOU GOTTA HAVE A LEFTY!!!!)  that had a 5.10 ERA at age 41.

“Remain calm! All is well!”

You know the story – some of the hitters regressed, big time (Snyder, Bernazard, Hall, Bando, Thornton), the pitching totally imploded (a 5.28 ERA as a team – no one who pitched over 100 innings had an ERA+ of over 100), and the defense was still lousy (first in errors, next to last in DPs, and -48 fielding runs).

I don’t know if Corrales was an accessory to the crime, or a main ringleader, but the complacency shown by the Indians brass was astounding. It was as if they said, “Hey, if everyone does what they did last year, or improves, we’ll be OK. And we’ll magically get better in fielding and those crafty vets will carry us through!”

Yeah, and Paulie knew the way out of the Pine Barrens…


2 Responses to “Pat Corrales – 1987 Topps”

  1. Your site has now been added to the Sports Card Blogroll,


    JayBee Anama

  2. […] Pat Corrales – 1987 Topps « Smed's Baseball Card Blog […]

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