Just 12 short days until pitchers and catchers report. I feel sorry for reporters and media who cover baseball. They do a thankless job to bring us fans all the latest, every day, without fail, going to great lengths to cover stories. MLB Network reporter Anthony French filed this disturbing tweet from Lakeland, FL yesterday:
Today’s forecasted high in Detroit is 3 degrees. Let’s hope Anthony has a warm coat!
Today I’ll take a look at a few players who wore #12 that I have baseball cards for, and a player that I don’t have a card for but deserves recognition. Let’s get started!
Roberto Alomar wore number 12 for much of his career, including his playing days with the Toronto Blue Jays, as shown here on his 1993 baseball card from my collection. Widely regarded as one of the best second basemen of all time, Alomar won 10 Gold Gloves during his career, more than any other second baseman. He was a 12 time All Star selection, and in the 1992 classic, he became the first player with 2 stolen bases in an inning of the All Star game. He played 17 seasons in the Majors, ending with a lifetime batting average of exactly .300, banging out 2,724 hits and driving in 1,134 runs. His father, Sandy Alomar (pictured here on his 1976 card from my collection) played 15 seasons in the big leagues. His brother, Sandy Alomar, Jr., played for 20 seasons.
Chicken Legs wore number 12 while playing for the Red Sox, Yankees, and the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. His hitting in the 1980s and 1990s made him a perennial contender for American League batting titles, in much the same way as his National League contemporary Tony Gwynn. Boggs was elected to the Red Sox Hall of Fame in 2004 and the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2005. With 12 straight All-Star appearances, Boggs is third only to Brooks Robinson and George Brett in number of consecutive appearances as a third baseman. His finest season was 1987, when he set career highs in home runs (24), RBI (89), and slugging percentage (.588). He also batted .363 and had a .461 on-base percentage that year, leading the league in both statistics. In 1999, he ranked number 95 on the Sporting News list of the 100 Greatest Baseball Players, and was a nominee for the Major League Baseball All-Century Team. His number has been retired by Tampa Bay. This is a scan of his 1992 card from my collection.
Baker played 18 seasons, with the first 8 in a Braves uniform. He was a 2x All Star and was a member of the Dodgers 1981 World Championship team. After hanging up his spikes in 1986, he began coaching with the Giants in 1988. From there he became manager in 1993, winning manager of the year three times with San Francisco. Baker later went on the manage the Cubs, the Reds, and the Nationals before retiring in 2017.
Green played for the Red Sox from 1959 through 1962, and was traded to the Mets before the start of the 63 season. He played just one year for the Mets. He wore number 12 for Boston. His career stats aren’t particularly noteworthy, hitting just .246 with 13 homers and 74 RBI. But Pumpsie was a breakthrough athlete in one other way. In 1959, Green became the first black player to play for the Red Sox, which was the last major league team to integrate. Thanks to my buddy Bob Pedersen for this suggestion!