Wednesday, February 8, 2017
no. 626 - freddie patek
Who is the man: Freddie Patek was enjoying his first season with the Royals when this card was issued. After enduring a disappointing 1970 season after starting at shortstop for the Pirates in 1969, Patek was traded to Kansas City in six-player deal.
Can ya dig it: Patek returns to being called "Freddie" by Topps after a one-year experiment with "Fred" in the 1970 set.
Right on: He's a Pirate in this photo! Yellow piping! You can't fool me!
You see that cat Patek is a bad mother: Patek was the shortest player in baseball during the 1970s, yet started for the Royals from 1971-79 and led the league in stolen bases in 1977.
Shut your mouth: Patek was in the running for the AL MVP award in 1971 but says he choked near the end of the season. "The last month I had too many reporters coming up to me and saying, 'You know what? You're the MVP," and I went from about .300 to about .260 or .270. And I thought, 'You idiot.'"
No one understands him but his woman: Patek and his wife, Jerri, raise money for his Kim Patek Foundation and the Spinal Cord Society. The Pateks' daughter, Kim, was paralyzed from the neck down in an auto accident in 1992. She died in 1995.
(A word about the back): Patek's height is listed here as 5-foot-5. That's down an inch from his 1969 card, where he's listed at 5-6. Beginning in 1973, he would be listed as 5-4 for the rest of his career and that's the height that I knew for him. But Patek says 5-5 is closer to his actual height.