Throwback Thursday: Juan Pizarro

1959 Topps #188 Juan Pizarro Front
A Pizarro playing for the Braves?

Why we like him: Well, isn't it obvious? With a name like Juan Pizarro, you know he was effective against the Indians and the Braves. The truth is that Pizarro had a pretty interesting career. He played for 18 seasons  and 8 differents teams (and, yes, he had stints with the Indians and Braves). He was also a two-time All Star in '63 and '64, and in that '64 season, he won 19 games in 33 starts. The coolest thing about Pizarro was that he could pitch at any point during any game for any duration. He had seasons in which he posted both a save and a complete game 9 times.

Ladies and gentlemen, Juan Pizarro, ballplayer.

Rated Random: Willie Greene

1993 Donruss #143 Willie Greene Front
A 3B who wears #56? A can't miss prospect.

Why we like him: Willie Greene never looked like a ballplayer. He always looked a little to wormy and dorky out there. However, he wasn't terrible. Well, at least he wasn't for a little while.

He was drafted in the 1st round of the '89 draft by the Pirates and was involved in the trade that shipped Moises Alou from Pittsburgh to Montreal. He broke into the majors at 20 and batted .269 in just 29 games for the Reds in '92. His next three seasons: .160, .216, .105. The Reds stuck with him though, and Greene actually got a little better every year. He even finished 1997 with a line of .253-26-91. The next season Greene was batting .270 when the Reds decided to sell high and trade him to Baltimore for Jeffrey Hammonds. He batted .150 for the O's for the rest of that season. The next year Greene played in Toronto and hit .204, and signed with the Cubs in 2000 where he batted just .201. And that was it for Willie's career.

Ladies and gentlemen, Willie Greene, ballplayer.

Rated Random: Roger Salkeld

1992 Donruss #7 Roger Salkeld Front
Potentially awesome.

Why we like him: Roger Salkeld was a super-duper prospect for the Mariners. He was the 3rd overall pick of the 1989 draft and had a good frame and good stuff. Salkeld battled injuries in the minors, but cracked the major league roster for the M's in 1993, starting 2 games and finishing with no decisions and a nice 2.51 ERA. However, things spiraled out of control after that. in 1994, Salkeld started 13 games, going 2-5 and posting a putrid 7.17 ERA. He was traded to the Reds for Tim Belcher but missed all of the 1995 season. He returned in 1996, finishing 8-5 with a 5.20 ERA for Cincinnati, but he never pitched again. So much for potential.

Ladies and gentlemen, Roger Salkeld, ballplayer.

Rated Random: Derrick May

1991 Donruss #36 Derrick May Front
"Don't look dumb in your photo, Derrick. Aw."

Why we like him: Derrick May was definitely not a bad corner outfielder for most of his career, but there were always other guys available who just happened to do everything he did just as well and something else slightly better. After all, he was a career .271 hitter who played his last MLB game at 30. The main problem was that he didn't hit for very much power (52 homers in 10 years) or have very good speed (30 career stolen bases). If could have rectified one of those problems or the other, he probably would've amounted to more than a spot sub. For what it's worth, I do remember that he was a good player.

Ladies and gentlemen, Derrick May, ballplayer.

Rated Random: Eric Anthony

1990 Donruss #34 Eric Anthony Front
Got two first names? This guy does.

Why we like him: Eric Anthony was supposed to be really good. He was a fairly hyped Astros prospect for most of the late '80s and early '90s, but as it turned out, the guy just couldn't hit. He was a fairly competent defensive outfielder, but he never got anything going at the plate. He had his best season in Cincinnati when he batted .269 in 134 at-bats. He was even purchased by the Rockies in1996, and that didn't even improve things. In the end, Eric Anthony was just an athlete with a little upside, a career .231 hitter, and a guy with two first names.

Ladies and gentlemen, Eric Anthony, ballplayer.

Rated Random: Alex Sanchez

1989 Donruss #47 Alex Sanchez Front
Baseball card or Glamour Shots? You decide.

Why we like him: Just check out his career stats (which are all from 1989): 4 appearances, 3 starts, 11.2 innings pitched, 0-1 record, 10.03 ERA, 14 walks, 4 strikeouts. Rated Awesome.

Ladies and gentlemen, Alex Sanchez, ballplayer.

Rated Random: Jeff Treadway

1988 Donruss #29 Jeff Treadway Front
Every team needs one of these guys.

Why we like him: Jeff Treadway was one of those guys that every manager needed to have on the bench. He could play 2B or 3B and was a good pinch hitter. The guy could rake until about 1995 when he apparently forgot how to hit altogether. He batted .320 in 306 at-bats for the Braves in 1991, but by 1995 with the Expos/Dodgers, his average was down to .209. He never played another major league game after that season.

I'll always remember him as a decent, yet for some reason unlikable Braves player. He did pull off the ol' "hidden ball" trick for a cheap out once though.

Ladies and gentlemen, Jeff Treadway, ballplayer.

Rated Random: Randy Myers

1987 Donruss #29 Randy Myers Front
Randy Myers in an empty stadium.

Why we like him: Another reliever. Randy Myers bounced around the majors for 14 years, stockpiling 347 saves. He even led the league in save three times (53 in 1993, 38 in 1995, and 45 in 1997).  He was also a 4-time All Star. He began his career with the Mets in 1985 and pitched five seasons before being traded to Cincinnati in a deal that would bring John Franco to Queens. In 1991 after saving 81 games over the previous three seasons, the Reds even experimented with making Myers a starter. He started 12 games, but posted a 6-13 record over that season. His career as a closer bloomed after he signed with the Cubs as a free agent in 1993.

Ladies and gentlemen, Randy Myers, ballplayer.

Rated Random: Todd Worrell

1986 Donruss #43 Todd Worrell Front
That 'stache is no rookie.

Why we like him: Pure relief pitchers generally don't have much of a shelf life, so the fact that Todd Worrell hung around for 11 years is a testament to his slightly-above-average-ness. He won Rookie of the Year honors in 1986 after recording 36 saves and posting a 2.08 ERA, yet somehow having a 9-10 record (19 decisions for a guy who finished 60 games?). Worrell was even a career reliever. He never started a single game in the majors, and he even averaged a little over one inning per appearance. At age 37, he finished career with the Dodgers in 1997 (only one year after finishing 5th in Cy Young voting) with 256 career saves. He was also the (much) older brother of pitcher Tim Worrell.

Ladies and gentlemen, Todd Worrell, ballplayer.

Phil Plantier

1993 Donruss #3 Phil Plantier Front
The most career home runs by a player born in New Hampshire.

Why we like him: It's one thing to be a big-time prospect, but it's another thing altogether to be a big-time Red Sox prospect. Phil Plantier exploded onto the scene in 1991 when he batted .331 with 11 homers in 53 games for the Sox. And thus the expectations were set. After a 1992 season that saw him bat .246 with just 7 dingers in 108 games, Plantier was traded away to San Diego as a failed Boston hope. In his first season as a Padre, Plantier batted just .240 but slugged 34 home runs and drove in 10 runs. He spent the last four seasons of his career bouncing around both leagues and generally not hitting very well. However, his 91 career homers are good enough to crown him the home run king of all players ever born in New Hampshire. So he's got that going for him.

Ladies and gentlemen, Phil Plantier, ballplayer.

Marty Cordova

1996 Score #299 Marty Cordova Front
The 1995 AL Rookie of the Year. And nothing else, really.

Why we like him: I actually never did like him when he played. Marty Cordova always looked like such a jerk for some reason, and I could never embrace his skill as a ballplayer because of it. I also probably resented the face that he never really lived up to the expectations he set for himself with his breakout rookie season and the year after. He won the 1995 Rookie of the Year award after posting a .277 average with 24 homers, and he followed it up with a .309-16-111 in 1996. He pretty much disappeared into overall average-ness for the next few seasons before popping up for a .309-20-69 season for the 2001 Indians, but played only one more full season before elbow problems forced him out of the big leagues.

Perhaps the thing I'll remember most about Cordova is that he missed time with the Orioles during the 2002 season because he fell asleep in a tanning bed.

Ladies and gentlemen, Marty Cordova, ballplayer.