Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Always Look on the Whiteside of Life

Today's post will be another brief one - I'm most of the way through re-posting all the pictures that were lost on this blog, but I've still got some work to do.

But, I saw this morning that a member of last year's Cubs team has called it a career.  Since I just recently acquired his card for my CATRC, this seemed like as good as time as any to feature it:

Ah, the chrome text strikes again!  You'll have to trust me when I say that Eli's last name is Whiteside.

Anyway, Eli first came up to the big leagues in 2005 with the Orioles, but his tenure only lasted a scant 9 games.

He didn't reemerge from the minors until 2009, when he earned the regular back-up catching gig with the Giants.  He wasn't much with the bat (.214 career BA in SF), but came with a good reputation for defense and game-calling.  As proof, he was behind the dish for Jonathan Sanchez's no-hitter against the Padres.

Eli was briefly re-united with his battery-mate in Cubs camp last spring

The role was his until the 2012 season, when he lost it to Hector Sanchez and ended up appearing in only 12 games.  That offseason, he played the waiver-wire shuffle before spending 2013 in the minors with the Blue Jays.

The Cubs signed him to a minor league deal for 2014 to serve as just-in-case depth and it turned out that depth was needed after Welington Castillo went on the DL in July with a rib-cage injury.

In Chicago, he appeared in his last 8 MLB games of his career, batting a woeful .120 in 26 plate appearances before being designated for assignment.  Although, he did somehow manage to steal a base, so there's that.

Welly's injury allowed Eli one last hurrah in the Majors

Despite getting some offers from big league clubs this off-season, Mr. Whiteside has decided to move on to the next stage of his professional career:  coaching.  He just accepted the role as bullpen catcher on the team for which he helped get to two World Series: the San Francisco Giants.

As for his spot in my CATRC, it will be held by the 2012 Topps flagship card you see at the top of this post for the time being.  As a role player, he has few cards on the market (I had to break a Giants team-set just to track down this one) and none of them depict his brief stop in the Windy City.  However, he did make the Iowa Cubs team set and that is the closest I can get to a "Cubs card."

If anyone is willing to break up a set, I'd love to take this off your hands!
Image courtesy of GoSportsCards

So there you have it.  His individual stats might not be very eye-catching; however, I'm sure his two World Series rings are very much so.  Plus, he called a no-hitter and hjoined Bobby Bonds, Dave Kingman, and Brian Dallimore as the only Giants to hit a grand slam for their first home run.  

I'd definitely take that career.  Good luck to you in the next phase of your baseball life Eli!

Oh! and just in case you didn't already get this stuck in your head due to the post title....

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