Of course, in the game of baseball card blogging, 600 posts is a completely arbitrary count that holds no real significance; however, we human beings love big, round numbers, so I feel compelled to notate this milestone.
Luckily, a few weeks ago, I pulled this 2007 Topps Updates & Highlights card of Sammy Sosa from a thrift store repack; so, I have a Cubs-related, new-to-the-blog card to serve as the cornerstone of this post.
On June 20, 2007, Sammy Sosa, then playing in his second stint with the Texas Rangers, cracked a long drive to right center field at the Rangers Ballpark in Arlington for the 600th home run in his Major League career. The 600 home run club is the upper echelon of power hitting talent, and Mr. Sosa became, at that time, the seventh member of that exclusive group; for that matter, during the ensuing years, that club has only seen two further additions. As one of the most feared sluggers of his generation, it seems somewhat appropriate that, while not the team for which he's most associated with, both his first and last MLB homers came in a Rangers' uniform.
Also appropriate, is the team who allowed Sosa to take his 600th skip:
Yup, the Cubs and the Rangers don't match up very often, but it just so happened that "Slammin' Sammy" got to shove it the face of the team which unceremoniously jettisoned him after the debacle that was the 2004 season. That's not to say that he didn't deserve to be traded away, but this does seem almost like poetic justice to me.
Furthermore, it just so happened that the man who pitched that 600th home run ball was Jason Marquis, who was the first player to don the Sammy's #21 since Sosa said, "so long!"
Couldn't have scripted that moment up any better, huh?
One #21 was significantly happier that day
Of course, we all know how about the steroid accusations, the corked bat incident, the sudden need for an interpreter in court, his continuing beef with the Chicago front office, and his generally terrible attitude. I remember watching this moment on live TV and thinking to myself, "well, doesn't that just figure." While it may have come at the expense of my favorite club (in the thick of a tight divisional race, at that), I must admit I was quite happy to see the player that I and my entire city worshiped just a few years earlier get one final moment in the sun.
Besides, the Cubs would come out on top of the tilt by a lopsided 7-3 scoring, so all is well that ends well.
At any rate, when I saw this Update and Highlights single in my repack stack at Savers Thrift Store, I tucked it away, as my upcoming 600th post seemed like an appropriate occasion to break out a card highlighting the only Cub in the 600 club. Hopefully you've enjoyed my random thoughts and musings about baseball cards because I probably have at least another 600 posts in me.
Now, Sammy Sosa and I are in the same company... well, not really, but you get the idea. I'm (somewhat) easier to tolerate.