Wednesday, January 5, 2011

If You Can't Say Anything Nice...

There's the old saying that if you can't say something nice about somebody, it's better to simply say nothing at all. So, when researching this guy:

Card # 559 -- Barry Lersch, Philadelphia Phillies

Wikipedia has two paragraphs on Barry Lersch. The longer one explains a game he pitched in the minors. Baseball-Reference shows that he was among the league leaders in losses, home runs allowed and walks per 9 innings. Yikes. 1973 was his last year with the '74, he would pitch one game for the Cardinals. After 1 and a third innings, three hits, five walks, six runs allowed and a 40.50 ERA, his baseball career was over.

I'm reminded of what Topps legend Sy Berger had to say about writing biographies of some players: "What am I supposed to say...This guy stinks?"

Fortunately, the picture gives me a little bit to run with. Taken at Candlestick Park, it shows Lersch delivering a shot to a Giants batter (Chris Speier?). The ball is shown over the batting helmet, which makes an interesting image over the reflected light. Judging from Lerch's record, I'm going to guess that this batter wasn't exactly quaking in his cleats, but it's a nice shot anyway.


  1. Great card! (One of thehigh #'s I'm chasing for my set!)

    As for the batter---dude is dug in and getting ready to swing from his heels.

    I also really like the umpire in there. Overall it's a really well-composed shot.

  2. Best guess is the batter is Al Gallagher, which would put the day as July 14 or 16 1972. Each time Lersch struck him out. He had a 1974 Topps Traded card - to the BRAVES. The Cards bought him out of Atlanta's AAA team for the September one-shot. Note from his baseball-reference page: "Buried: Body donated to medical science"