Ivan Calderon



Not sure what happened on this swing, but I bet it he wasn't on base after it.

Why we like him: Every young boy has a player that is the bane of his existence while opening a pack of baseball cards.  Ivan Calderon was that player for many kids.  He retired after the 1993 season, but I'm convinced if I ever bought a pack of 2011 Topps, he'd be lurking inside.  With my luck, it wouldn't just be a card either.  It would contain a piece of a game-used bat and jersey, signature, fingerprint, beard hair follicle, and blood sample from Calderon himself.  Not the bad guy from Miami Vice either.

Calderon was the very definition of a journeyman, or hombre de viaje in his native Puerto Rican Spanish.  He spent a 10-year career bouncing around from coast to coast with stops in Seattle, Chicago (AL), Montreal, and back to the White Sox for 9 games in 1993 before retiring early at the age of 31.  He was released twice and traded thrice, even serving as the always-fun "player to be named later" in a trade from Seattle to Chicago.

He wasn't a great player, but he wasn't that bad either.  Sometimes he could even be described as being pretty good.  When he got to play and got his at-bats, he was generally a fairly productive bat for some pretty bad teams.  He was a career .272 hitter who was selected to the All Star team in 1991 during a .300-19-75 campaign with the Expos, and was somewhat of a threat to steal a base at one point, swiping 32 and 31 in back-to-back seasons ('90 and '91).  He even managed to swat 28 homers in 1987 for White Sox, which was 9 more than his next best power season.  How do you say steroids in French?  Is it "Lance Armstrong?"  I kid.

So what was it that Ivan Calderon did that made him memorable?  I have no idea.  Maybe it was the super sweet earring or the fat face and poofy hair crammed into an ugly 1980s MLB cap. Or maybe it was just the fact that he was so inconspicuously decent for a decade. Either way, he always seemed to show up in a pack of cards.

Ladies and gentlemen, Ivan Calderon, Ballplayer.

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