I have done this a couple other times, and it’s always fun. I love when I can figure out the exact play that is depicted in an action shot. The card that I thought was the best action shot in 1998 Topps – well, it’s one of those cards!
Kevin Polcovich is far from a memorable name, however this is a really cool card. It’s a great action shot – better than the 1998 Stadium Club card that is clearly taken half of a second later. But the other cool thing is – it was doable to figure out the specific play this card depicts. To figure out when the photo was taken.
It was fairly easy to narrow down for a number of reasons. First, the player sliding into second – Larry Walker – is clearly identifiable. Second, Polcovich didn’t have a long career. He played for the Pirates in 1997 and 1998. Since this is a 1998 series 1 set – I know it’s from 1997. That’s a Rockies road uni and a Pittsburgh home uniform – so it was clearly in Pittsburgh. So just find a game at 3 Rivers where Polcovich either turned a double play or forced out Walker on second.
Polcovich played in 4 such games in 1997, in a series from July 31st to August 3rd in Pittsburgh. Walker, who was the MVP that year, naturally played in all 4 of those games. This picture came from the game on August 2nd – it’s the only possibly play that fits with this picture. Walker was a stone cold killer in that series – he went 3 for 4 with a walk in this particular game.
The play in question occurred in the top of the 4th. Walker led off with a single, then Andres Galarraga grounded into a force out from Tony Womack to Polcovich. They didn’t get Galarraga at first.
The Pirates actually won this game, 6-5, despite Walker’s epic performance. Walker was often viewed as a “Coors Field” MVP, but this series sure argues against that. In Three Rivers (4 games), he went 10-16 with 2 walks, 4 homers and 3 doubles. Pretty good, no?