The key to a good career is a good Rated Rookie card.
Why we like him: Ray Lankford is a guy a lot of real baseball fans will remember. He wasn't particularly great or anything, but he was brutally consistent for most of his 14-year career. If you weren't a fan of the Cardinals you just knew Lankford was going to hurt your team. I have plenty of memories about Ray Lankford coming through in the clutch against my favorite teams and how infuriating it was.
My favorite memory of Lankford was on "Opening Day" in 1994. It was April 3 (a Sunday), and there was only one game on that day, which happened to be aired on ESPN. I always watched the first games of the season on ESPN as a kid religiously. Opening Day was always so exciting if for no other reason than the fact that we had been deprived of baseball for the previous five months. St. Louis's Lankford was the first batter of the new season (He was a pretty good leadoff man when he needed to be despite his propensity for striking out.). He was facing Cincinnati's Jose Rijo, and Lankford worked a full count. He then blasted Rijo's 3-2 offering over the wall in left-center field. I remember how cool it was that the first batter of the year went yard. I even thought it was cool enough to write down that it happened just so I wouldn't forget. That might even be the moment when I realized that I probably loved baseball a little too much. Anyway, the Cardinals won the game 6-4 and Lankford went 3 for 5, but I'll never forget that first at-bat that day.
Ladies and gentlemen, Ray Lankford, ballplayer.