One of the many highlights of SABR47 in New York was the “MLB Now: The Changing State of Sabermetrics” panel. The discussion was conducted by a good cross section of of panelists which included MLB Network host Brian Kenny as moderator, journalists Joel Sherman and Mike Petriello, and SABR president Vince Gennaro.
The former player on the panel was Mark DeRosa. While he never played for the Phillies DeRosa is notable in Philadelphia for being a Penn alum. While at the university he led the Quakers to Ivy League championships in BOTH baseball and football.
This brings us to DeRosa’s 2014 Topps card.
2014 Topps #273 Mark DeRosa
Mark DeRosa’s final card as an active player tied his MLB career back to his college years at Penn.
You may notice that the card is signed — Mark DeRosa was gracious enough to take the time to autograph memorabilia after the SABR panel. While signing the card he had a funny story related to the photograph.
He took a football with him to each and every one of the eight stops in his major league career. He would bring out the pigskin occasionally during batting practice – sort of a bonding activity with teammates who were interested in tossing a little football.
None of the teams had a problem with the activity until 2013 when the Toronto Blue Jays (led by Manager John Gibbons) confiscated the football. DeRosa said the only time he got to play football as a member of the Blue Jays was the day the picture was taken.
Speaking of the Picture
I found the original image on Getty Images. The photo is credited to Tom Szczerbowski who is also responsible for the photo that is on the 2016 Topps card of Jose Bautista – the Bat flip card.
Topps did one significant piece of photoshopping on the photo before immortalizing it on cardboard….
Mark DeRosa 2013 SEP 01
Topps edited the NFL logo off of the ball. Not sure why, as Topps still had an NFL license in 2014. Perhaps the Topps/NFL agreement was still being developed when the Topps baseball went to print.
There is one other fun fact within the Getty photo info: it tells us that the pass was thrown by teammate Anthony Gose.
Royals @ Blue Jays
Perhaps Gibbons was right to confiscate the football. The Blue Jays lost that days game 5-0 to the Kansas City Royals. Mark DeRosa did not get involved in the game, while Gose went 0-3 with a pair of strikeouts.
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