Wednesday, October 15, 2014
no. 339 - wayne simpson
Who is the man: Wayne Simpson was indeed the man in 1970 until the end of July. He won 13 of his first 14 decisions until tearing his rotator cuff on July 31, 1970 in the first game of a doubleheader against the Cubs.
Can ya dig it: Simpson has already appeared in this set on the National League ERA Leaders card.
Right on: First solo card! He first appeared in the 1970 Topps set on a Reds three-player rookie card with Hal McRae.
You see this cat Simpson is a bad mother: Simpson pitched a complete-game, two-hit shutout in his major league debut on April 9, 1970 against the Dodgers. He outpitched Don Sutton, who gave up just three runs in 8-plus innings.
Shut your mouth: Because of Simpson's terrific start, his strong arm and the fact he was black, he was often compared to Bob Gibson.
No one understands him but his woman: Simpson endured arm problems for the rest of his career and was often told by the Reds that his ailments were all in his mind. He played for several other teams and later suffered blood clots in his arm, coming dangerously close to losing a limb.
(A word about the back): According to Simpson's SABR bio, the pass he completed was actually 88 yards and it was indeed all in the air, from his hands to the hands of receiver Mickey Cureton, who would play for UCLA. Considering that the average NFL quarterback is supposed to be able to throw, on average, up to 60-to-70 yards in the air, that's impressive. Which probably explains why this is the first time I remember seeing an exclamation point in any of these '71 bios.