Marty Cordova – 1998 Upper Deck

May 28, 2011

You Know Where This Is, But When?

Marty Cordova was on of the players I saw on a trip in 1989 to Elizabethtown, TN (I was driving through the Smokies and said, why not catch a Appy League game?). The Twins faced the Burlington Indians and I think I paid two bucks (or maybe three) to get in – a buck fitty for popcorn and a Coke (I think it was a dry county – no beer available) and fifty cents or so for a program. There was an intimate crowd in what looked like the seating for a large high school, except that there was a great view of mountains out past center field.

As you can imagine, frills weren’t very frilly. You got the Twins roster but for the Indians the PA man spelled out every name as he went through the lineup or when they entered the game. “Leading off for Burlington, the center fielder Mark Charbonnet – C-h-a-r-b-0-n-n-e-t”. (BTW, Charbonnet was fast, but had a 4/51 BB/K ratio – you can’t even steal first base in the Appalachian League.)

The players I saw that made the bigs were Cordova, Steve Dunn, Kerry Taylor for the Twins, and Brian Giles, Jesse Levis and Roberto Rivera for the Indians. I think Robert Person for Burlington and Denny Neagle for Elizabethtown were on the field but didn’t play. The Twins won, if I recall. The one player I really wanted to make the bigs was Pork Chop Pough of the Indians. If you need to know why I wanted him in the bigs, well…

Knowing that the trip from Rookie Ball to even AA is fraught with peril so seeing that many big leaguers on a field in rookie ball was pretty amazing.

Anyway, Cordova made the bigs and won ROY, and had a decent yet disappointing (he never really blossomed as a power hitter) career before injuries derailed him.

This card was produced after the 1997, the year BEFORE inter-league play.

In 1998, the Cubs traveled to Minnesota, so that can’t be.

Either Upper Deck time traveled to 1999, when the Twins were in Wrigley, to snap this shot or…

…the Twins in 1997 (or 1998, perhaps) played a game or two in Chicago before the season after they broke camp.

And Spring Training baseball evaporates from history as soon as the season starts. For a sport that has meticulously recorded everything with 99.9% accuracy (the little blips in the old data are relatively small considering the massive amounts of data compiled since 1871), it’s funny how you really can’t find Spring Training data unless you actually have old media guides or press packets. At least I can’t find them.

Can anyone verify if /when the Twins played at Wrigley before the regular season? Anyone?

Though the above was well written, as Larry noted, sometimes I’m an idiot. And unlike politicians, I’ll admit my mistake, on the record and fix the post.

It slipped my mind that the early inter-league games were played as late as September, so I didn’t look that far down in the game logs. Cordova played in two games at Wrigley in 1997, in left field, on September 1 and 2. The September 2 game was at night, so probably was the September 1 game when the Twins beat the Cubs 7-6. Both teams were God-awful that year, yet 34,117 fans decided there was nothing better to do on Labor Day and be lulled to sleep by Steve Traschel on the mound.

Marty made three catches in the outfield. The first was described as a ‘lineout to short left’ by Lance Johnson. The second was a ‘pop fly to short left’ by Manny Alexander. The final play was in the 4th, a flyout by Johnson. That, I think, is this play.

Now, I feel much better…

One Response to “Marty Cordova – 1998 Upper Deck”

  1. Larry Says:

    Most card companies use images from the previous season and I’ll venture to guess the image was from a 1997 Interleague game.

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