Thursday, February 3, 2011

1978 Topps Jim Rooker

Who is this? former Pittsburgh Pirates relief pitcher Jim Rooker
What is this? An autographed card from the 1978 Topps set
Where'd I get it? Nick from Baseball Happenings got it signed for me last year.

Why is this so special? Rooker had a solid 13-year major league career with the Tigers, Royals and Pirates, but I never saw him play since he retired after the 1980 season. His lifetime record was 103-109 and he won a World Series ring with the 1979 Pirates.

I remember Jim Rooker because of a comment he made during a broadcast of a Pittsburgh Pirates game in 1989. The Pirates put up 10 runs in the first inning of a game against the Phillies, and Rooker said on air, "If we lose this game, I’ll walk home." Sure enough, the Phillies staged a comeback and won 15-11.

After the season, Rooker followed through on his promise and walked over 300 miles while raising money for charity.

I'm glad I don't have to decipher Rooker's signature.


Dan said...

Plus, that photo was taken at Shea!

Paul said...

I thought that looked like the old Shea scoreboard, but the white pinstripe jersey threw me.

Further research shows that the Pirates had abandoned the traditional home/road uniform concept in 1977 for a mix & match style.

Dan said...

Yep. There's a Pirates fan who has been trying to chart every uniform combination the Bucs wore in the years they had those mix-and-match pinstripe/black/yellow uniforms (1977-83, I think, but I'd have to look to be sure). I've actually picked up a few (mostly from Mets Yearbook on SNY) and helped fill in some blanks. But I definitely saw at least one game where they wore the white pinstripes at Shea, I think with the black pants.