Joe Pettini – 1984 Topps

December 17, 2011

The Lifer

Joe Pettini was Tony LaRussa’s bench coach forever. In fact, he was the interim manager in 2011 when LaRussa was down with his shingles.

When Mike Matheny was named manager, Pettini wasn’t retained on the staff. But he’s still employed by the Cards. Because what else would Joe Pettini do? He’s been in pro baseball since he signed with the Expos as a NDFA out of Mercer back in 1977.

Pettini was and is an organizational solider, a utility infielder, a minor league coach and manager and a trusted lieutenant in the majors.

He just wasn’t a good major league ballplayer.

After a trade, he made the bigs in 1980 as a Giant, mainly because he wasn’t Johnny LeMaster or Roger Metzger. But he was Joe Pettini and over his career amassed a negative WAR. His OPS+ was just 46, he never had an OBP or SLG over .300 and his defense was adequate at best.

He was out of the bigs for good when this card came out.

But he had ONE day in  the bigs that he’ll remember.

It was against the Cubs (of course), and it was a 14-6 Giants win. Pettini hoisted his only big league home run against Willie Hernandez.

He blasted his only big league dinger against a future MVP!

But then again, he blasted his only big league dinger in the seventh inning of a laugher where the future MVP left with a 5.10 ERA and came into long relief after Doug Capilla was found wanting (of course). And he never really replaced Johnny LeMaster.

Still, how many big league home runs have I hit?

One less than Pettini!

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