|#225 Brian McCann|
First impression of what’s going on: Something leads me to believe this is one of those “Play at the Plate” cards. I can’t say this one is particularly well cropped in a conventional sense, but it is such a unique angle, I’m actually going to let that slide. Catcher Brian McCann’s body language and eye line tells me he’s got the ball and this base runner is out.
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - MAY 12: Gregor Blanco #7 of the San Francisco Giants is tagged out at home plate by Brian McCann #16 of the Atlanta Braves during the fourth inning at AT&T Park on May 12, 2013 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
The Reality of the Photo: I’d have to go back and check (who am I kidding, I won't) but this may the most complete caption I've seen yet. Both players are named. I've got the date and location of the game, as well as the two teams involved. I've even got the inning. The only thing missing is the final outcome of the game so let’s go check out the BOXSCORE.
Looks like the play wasn’t crucial to the game but it can still be demoralizing to be thrown out at the plate. How did Blanco get into this position?
Whoa, talk about a crazy inning. So much going on. An error. A walk. A hit. A sacrifice that only kind of, sort of worked (no run, but it advanced a different runner). A fielder’s choice out at home (the play captured on the card). And a base runner caught stealing. If a run didn't score, that would seem almost Hollywood scripted. Or at least something you’d see on Looney Tunes.
I couldn't tell from the card or photo, but thanks to one of my new favorite features on Sportslogos.net, I can find exactly which uniform the players were wearing that day. According to the site, both teams were wearing their respective standard home and away uniforms.
Because it was Mother's Day, they had a special pink ribbon patch over their hearts. McCann's ribbon is covered by his chest protector and Blanco's front is facing away from the camera so you can’t actually see either. Therefore, the card won’t get any special consideration for the commemorative patch niche. You do get a small taste of the Mother's Day festivities with Gregor Blanco's pink arm sleeve/wrist band at the top of the card.
McCann does double dip on the Free Advertising though with a Mizuno logo on his chest protector and mitt.
On to the back:
Rookie Fact: Brian was the first Braves player ever to homer in his initial postseason at-bat.
That would be pretty magical for just about anyone. But take a minute and remember that this is a Rookie Fact and it's that much more impressive. Here’s a list of all the players who have played at least 1,000 regular season games without ever playing the postseason. Or if you don't want to click on the link, here's a screenshot of the top twenty:
|* designates a Hall of Famer|
Hall of Famer Ernie Banks played for 19 seasons and hit 512 home runs but never played in the postseason. Then this whippersnapper, rookie catcher not only makes the postseason his first year, but cranks a homer in his first at bat!? Kids these days, with their six divisions and wild cards.
I did a double take at the end of the blurb when it said McCann had his seventh All-Star season in 2013. Man, I’m getting old. How has McCann already played 9 seasons and been an All-Star seven times? It’s definitely the Cubs bias, but when I think of Braves catchers, I still think of Cubs-turned-Braves Jody Davis and Damon Berryhill in the late 1980’s-early 1990’s. And yes, I've heard of Javy Lopez, but he came later.
Information I’ll be tracking:
Card Number: #225
Player Name: Brian McCann
Team: Atlanta Braves
Game Date: May 12, 2013
Opponent: San Francisco Giants
Stadium: AT&T Park
Division: National League West
Outcome of the game: 5-1, Giants over the Braves, Loss for the player depicted
Alternate/Throwback Jersey: No
Cameos by: Gregor Blanco
Photographer: Jason O. Watson
Niche collections this card could fit into: Play at the Plate, Cameo, Free Advertising, Partial Southpaw
My Grade: This is a pretty cool looking card with a unique angle for the play at the plate. It’s not overflowing with niche collections but the ones it fits into are some of the more popular ones. I guess I can overlook the fact that McCann is showing up Ernie Banks, Ron Santo and Don Kessinger on the back of the card and let this one slide by with an A-.
Getting to see the Mother’s Day ribbon and maybe a little bit of red text on the back (League Leader status) would have made this card an A.
As a 7x All-Star and 5x Silver Slugger, I’m actually kind of surprised McCann hasn't led the league in something that Topps tracks in his near decade in Atlanta. I never really thought about McCann’s Hall of Fame potential (mainly because I didn't realize he had already played so long), but after looking at his stats, I’m not sure he comes close to passing the sniff test, despite those accolades.