Celebrating Boston Red Sox baseball great Carl Yastrzemski.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

World’s Greatest Baseball Card Croucher

Denny Doyle logged a few seasons playing second base for the Bosox in the mid-seventies. He's the subject of the latest entry at Josh Wilker's awesome Cardboard Gods blog.

Nobody, but nobody, can perform the crouching middle infielder baseball card pose like Denny Doyle. There have been many admirable practitioners of this imitation of ready, steady, utterly lifeless anticipation, many who have brought the necessary "good glove, no hit" standards to their rendition of the pose’s backstory, but Denny Doyle is the best there ever was, the best there ever will be. The 1977 card shown above is a perfect example, in that Doyle’s intense concentration on the task (or lack of a task) at hand has produced the impression that he has literally frozen into his crouch and will be forever unable to move. George Scott will have to be called to pick Denny Doyle up and carry him back to the clubhouse, then carry him back out to second base when the game is about to start.

Doyle lasted eight seasons in the majors, batting .250 with no power, no speed, and little ability to draw more than the occasional walk, in my mind the perfect record for the world’s greatest baseball card croucher. Even his name seems to contribute to the "unity of effect" (to use Poe’s term) for this particular art form. Denny Doyle. He sounds like the harmless, mild-mannered alter ego of a cut-rate superhero whose only power is the ability to turn into a statue.

Denny Doyle had his career year in 1975, when he helped the Red Sox get to the World Series by hitting .310 in 89 games after being traded to the club from the California Angels. Doyle only managed a .513 OPS in the 1975 World Series, but he did get a hit in every one of the seven games played, a perfect Denny Doyle performance in that it was both steady and of negligible worth.

Go read the entire piece now. There's the obligatory Yaz mention but so much more!