Terry Puhl – 1978 Topps

December 9, 2011

Presence

I’ve been thinking a lot about tunes lately. Music is kind of a big deal in my life. My iPod runneth over (it really does, I have about 40GB too many songs for my classic, not counting the stuff on my Jazzpod (my nano with my jazz).

Recently, for some reason, I found myself wanting to listen to the one Led Zeppelin album that no one remembers. You know it – I guess:

Presence.

It was an album that came after the huge double album. It was the album that they couldn’t tour to support because Robert Plant was injured in a car accident. It was an album that didn’t spin any huge radio songs (well “Achilles Last Stand” probably would have been a huge radio hit had it not been 10 minutes long). And sure, none of the songs hit the peak that Zep had to offer.

But it’s pretty darn good – not a clinker cut in the bunch. There aren’t any indulgences or wayward noodling or detours into hippy-dippy land. Just solid rock-and-roll from start to finish and a very underrated album.

Underrated is an over-used word though, especially when describing baseball players. Terry Puhl, before he got waylaid by hamstring and ankle injuries, was underrated, even moreso than his more famous underrated compadre, Jose Cruz.

Puhl was a Canadian hitting machine that unfortunately played for the Astros when the Astrodome sucked the offense out of everyone. He wasn’t extraordinary by any stretch of the imagination. But he always was a solid player that never seemed to disappoint.

I remember that I never wanted to see Puhl hit against the Cubs in the late innings, because inevitably he’d line something over the second baseman’s head and the Cubs motley collection of outfielders would play it into a double, or worse – and the rally would be on.

He definitely was a Presence.

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