Jack Howell – 1991 Topps

December 22, 2010

And You Are? Who Is???

(I’m feelin’ the creative juices today…)

You remember the stars and superstars throughout baseball. On the team you root for, you recall the everyday players. You seem to remember most of the rotation and bullpen closers. You can’t help but curse the disasters.

This guy, up here, even though he was a regular, was the definition of ‘nondescript’.

Just an average, everyday, generic baseball player (if such a person exists).

He came up with the Angels during their 1986 playoff run, spelling vet Doug DeCinces. The next year, he split time between LF and 3B as the Angels tumbled to sixth. He took over third in 1988 and 1989, and in 1990 missed some time due to injury. I don’t think anyone really noticed.

The Angels were kind of ‘out of sight – out of mind’ for most of the baseball world. They were boringly bleah – seemingly always third or fourth with a bunch of crusty vets and retreads for the most part. They did turn out some good younger players – Devon White, Luis Polonia and Wally Joyner come to mind, but aside from a brief spurt of “Wally World” they were happiest as a franchise with oldsters like Brian Downing, Dave Winfield and Johnny Ray. And they drew well, but with that many people and corporate interests  in Southern California you’d need to be a total disaster of a franchise not to draw.

There are always guys around that only true fans and baseball card collectors can remember. Can you name a Jack Howell highlight?  You remember Chris Sabo because of the goggles. You remember Chris Brown because he got hurt every five seconds. You remember Jim Presley because of his last name. But Jack Howell…

Nada. He played third base. He hit a few home runs, but not too many. He wasn’t bad enough to bench, but never good enough to be a regular on a winning team. He only got on TV on late games that ESPN telecast, and then only about once a month because the Angels just weren’t a national draw.

And when Topps was awarding the players with the “0” and the “5”, he never was good enough to get one.

That’s telling enough.

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