Jerry Reed – 1986 Topps

December 8, 2010

Eastbound & Down?

Actually, I prefer this:

Or this:

Oh, hell, once more with feeling:

Well, I know it’s not the same Jerry Reed. But there are similarities.

One, actually. It took both of them a long time to get to the top of their professions.

The guitarist didn’t have his first real hit until “Guitar Man” in 1967, when he was 30. It took a while for him to be really established, and then he had a short career at the top. (Not counting his forays into cinema).

The pitcher was almost 30 when he got his first real shot at the bigs with Cleveland. It took him a while to get established and then he had a short career at the top.

Reed had a couple of cups of coffee and a danish with the Phils and Indians before Cleveland called him up in mid-1985. He was their best pitcher out of their pen that season (Von Ohlen had a better ERA but let in almost 50% of his inherited runners). So, of course, Cleveland releases him in spring training the next year, so they could keep Dickie Noles, Jamie Easterly and Jim Kern. Three has-beens and an order of fries, please.

Seattle signed him, late, put him in AAA and called him up near the end of the 1986 season. He then spent some decent years toiling in obscurity for the Mariners (but it beats toiling in obscurity in the PCL), setting up and co-closing with luminaries such as Mike Schooler, Bill Wilkinson, Ed Nunez, Michael Jackson and Dennis Powell.

Like I said, it beats slinging baseballs in Old Orchard Beach.

But all things come to an end, and in 1990 the end came for Reed. Seattle released him early in the season after a few ineffective outings, then the Red Sox signed him but he wasn’t up to snuff. In early August, they also cut him loose.

It wasn’t the end for Reed, though. He signed to play for the St. Petersburg Pelicans of the Senior Professional Baseball League in the fall of 1990. He lasted four games – the league didn’t last much longer.

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