Every now and then I come across a card that I realize – hey you can definitely figure out the exact game and play that’s captured on that card. I’ve done this a couple other times, and it’s always fun. My card of the decade for the 90’s is one of those cards!
Kevin Polcovich was the last player I did. This one is a much more memorable name! George Brett was a first ballot hall of famer and this is his last Topps card. Similar to Robin Yount & Nolan Ryan – who with Brett made for a hell of a memorable first ballot class in 1999 – Brett got a 1994 card with his full line of statistics.
The scoreboard here is key, it enables me to narrow down which game this occurred and the surrounding circumstances. And I’ve got to say – it was an interesting game! I’ll blow the card up so you can see it better.
I figured from the scoreboard they were playing the Brewers. I don’t know if I could have known that otherwise. Maybe you can tell from the pitcher, but otherwise it just looks like a classic gray/blue road uniform that could be quite a few teams. You know from Brett’s uniform and the background that it’s a home game. That in and of itself narrows it down to 6 games (MIL @ KC in Brett’s game log from 1993). They played in Kansas City early September and early June.
The scoreboard itself is the key. The royals lost both the September games Brett played in by the scores of 3-2 and 2-1. They scored less than 3 runs, so those aren’t possibilities. On June 5th they lost 10-2, so that’s also not a possibility. That leaves Thursday June 3rd (6-5 victory), Friday June 4th (3-2 victory) and Sunday June 6th (8-7 victory).
Sunday June 3, 1993 turned out to be the winner here. And like I said, it was a topsy-turvy game! That’s Jamie Navarro on the hill for the Brewers, with Joe Kmak behind the plate. Brett was in at DH, which was the only position he played in 1993. Navarro had given up 3 runs in the bottom of the first, including an RBI sac fly by Brett. You can’t see it here, but Brian McRae was standing on 3rd after tripling home another run in the bottom of the 2nd. Brett worked a 2-2 count – as you can see on the scoreboard or in the Baseball Reference game summary. Then he grounded to 2nd, which you’d think was a veteran move to get the run home. But for whatever reason, McRae wasn’t able to advance, and the Brewers were able to get out of that inning without any additional damage.
Navarro settled down until Brett’s lineup slot came up in the 4th. I’m not sure why, but with a runner on first Brett was lifted for pinch hitter Hubie Brooks at that time. Perhaps given his age and that he’d played 7 straight days at this point, getting the aging vet an early exit made sense. Whatever the reason, the play worked – Brooks knocked a 2-run shot that put the Royals up 6-1.
The game looked to be in hand at that point, but in the top of the 6th the Brewers exploded for 6 runs off starter Chris Haney and reliever Mark Gubicza to take a 7-6 lead. The Royals pulled even in the bottom of the 7th, and won the game in walk-off fashion in the bottom of the 9th. Brooks singled to start the inning, and Jesse Orosco came in. Orosco got one out, but then gave up a double to Chris Gwynn that scored Brooks and sent the Royal fans home happy.