Steve Sparks – 1996 Topps

January 23, 2011

Knuckled Under By The ‘Master Of Sparks’

If you recognize the name Steve Sparks at all you know that:

A. He’s one of the few knuckleball pitchers post-Niekro.

B. He’s the idiot who dislocated his shoulder trying to rip a phone book in half after a spring training pep talk.

Now, where I grew up the phone book was a thin little thing. Even though it did have the listings for the entire county, as well as Clarks Hill and Stockwell, it wasn’t much to rip it in half.

Phone books are kind of passe now, but I’ve seen the Minneapolis West Suburban White Pages. You could kill a burglar with one fell swoop.

Sparks was a bit inconsistent, but in 2001 he was ‘the master’. Well, at least for a 66-96 Detroit team he was. He went 14-9 with a 3.65. That gave him a 2-year $7.5 million deal, and somehow as he signed that deal his magic fingertips lost their mojo.

Still, he’ll always be remembered for the phone book thing.

But what’s more idiotic – trying to rip a Phoenix-area phone book, or to see a pickup truck with a metal cage tied to the back of their truck whilst out in the sticks, and get INTO the cage and allow them to drive away. Yes, Billy Gibbons says that’s a true story in the song.

I say it’s 50-50. At least you could win a Darwin Award in the cage.


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