Every so often, a baseball card amazes me. True, I find something to appreciate in almost every card, but some cards elevate themselves to a higher plane. Some cards transcend. Pat Corrales’ 1973 Topps release is one of those cards.
During last year’s Topps Diamond Giveaway, I tried for months to land this card. While I already had one of these in my complete 1973 set, I was still working on completing the 1973 Padres Team set. Either based on the shear coolness of this card, or the fact that it’s a high number and the “book value goons” were not letting the card go easily, it took a lot of bartering to finally land this card. In fact, it took 36 separate trades to earn the “right” to pay 53 cents to get this card in 6 to 8 weeks.
Once the card arrived in the mail, I knew it was a perfect candidate for a Name the Game episode because of the play at the plate and the opponent’s jersey number is showing. Before getting into the nitty gritty, let’s take a moment to absorb this card.
- Play at the plate.
- Cloud of dust and chalk.
- Home plate is scattered, smothered, covered and chopped.
- Awesome/ugly-ass Big Bird road uniforms.
- Ball clinched in Corrales’ bare right hand.
- Corrales’ look of pain and anguish.
- Ump with mask in hand.
- Base runner with cleats up and missing his helmet/cap.
Phew! That’s a lot of awesome. Alright, now on to naming the game… (Un)fortunately, Corrales’ played in only 44 games for the Padres during the 1972 campaign. Judging by the uniforms, we know it is a road game, and that knocks it down to 27 potential games. Looking at the base runner, we can tell it’s either a Met or a Cubbie. We can also tell the player’s number, which is either a 21 or a 31.
#21 on the Mets was Cleon Jones. #31 on the Cubs was, wait for it, here comes the awesome, Hall of Fame pitcher Fergie Jenkins. Diligent review of Cleon’s box scores shows that he’s not the man inflicting gratuitous pain on Pat Corrales. This leaves Fly as the lone culprit, who pitched in one home game against the Padres in 1972, which was on June 14, 1972.
Review of that box score reveals a play at the plate in the Bottom of the 2nd involving Pat Corrales and Ferguson Arthur Jenkins. Prior to this play, Fergie singled to leftfield off of Steve Arlin, moving Ron Santo to second base. The next batter, Don Kessinger, hit a double to left field, scoring Santo. Based on the box score, the leftfielder’s throw (Leron Lee) went to the cutoff man (Enzo Hernandez), who then threw out Fergie at home (7-6-2).
This is confirmed looking at the card. Corrales’ has the ball in his right hand, Fergie is not touching the plate, and the home plate ump, Mel Steiner, is cocking his right hand about to fire the “Yer Out!” So, the 1973 Topps Pat Corrales card depicts the Bottom of the 2nd inning in a June 14, 1972 meeting between the San Diego Padres and Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field.