Thursday, July 13, 2017

1988 Topps Jody Reed

On May 20, 2016 I received this Jody Reed card. This is what I wrote on Facebook that day:

"Another day, another mystery card. 
Today's edition: Jerry Remy's younger doppelg√§nger in both looks and stats plus financial dipshit (which inadvertently paved the way for the Sox to land Pedro): Jody Reed. 
Mystery card leader, whomever you are I applaud that you are leaving cards from different years."

In 1984, Red Sox second baseman Jerry Remy sustained a career ending injury. He worked hard for over a year, but the Sox cut him in December of 1985 and he never played again. He got a job in the team’s minor league system as a roving instructor, but for a number of reasons, Remy didn’t take to it. In 1988, the Red Sox made him their color guy teaming him up with broadcasting legend Ned Martin on some broadcasts and newbie Sean McDonough on others.

Almost 30 years later, Remy can still be heard on Sox broadcasts, when he’s not battling serious medical issues. Whether you love him or hate him, he’s an entrenched part of the Sox fabric now . Unless he wants to leave, nothing (and I mean nothing – including his son butchering his girlfriend) is going to remove him from Sox telecasts.

Unlike his minor league instructing gig, you can say that Remy took to this job.

You wonder what Jerry Remy’s reaction to Jody Reed was when the latter won the starting shortstop job in 1988. I wonder if Remy felt as if he was looking into a mirror, the two were practically twin: dark haired, mustachioed, diminutive middle infielders. According to, Reed checked in at 5’9” and 170 pounds, while Remy is listed as 5’9”, 165 pounds. Over his 11 seasons, Reed had a little more pop: 270/349/350 than Remy’s 10 at 275/327/328. But Remy was much faster and made an All-Star team.

Reed final WAR was 15.7 and the Rem Dog’s was 14.4.

By and large, they were the same player which must have been strange  for the Sox rookie play-by-play guy to essentially watch himself for four years.

(Look at these two guys, it's uncanny!)

Jody Reed played a handful of games in 1987, the year that the Sox went on a full youth movement with players such as Mike Greenwell, Ellis Burks, Todd Benzinger, John Marzano and Sam Horn. But he made up for it in 1988 when he played in 109 games and finished third in Rookie of the Year voting. Shortstop was his first position, but he looked too small at short to stay there for too long and eventually he slid over to second base.

Reed was a doubles machine. He used the Wall to his advantage as he led the league in two-baggers in 1990 with 45. But by 1992, he stopped hitting and was chosen by the Colorado Rockies in the 1993 Expansion Draft. The Rocks had no use for him, so they sent him to the Los Angeles Dodgers for future Red Sox pitcher Rudy Seanez.

That one season in Los Angeles seemed to recharge his batteries as Reed had a nice bounce-back year. He declined the Dodgers’ offer of a three-year contract extension of $7.8 million and decided to become a free agent. Unfortunately, no one bit and he had to settle for a one-year contract with the Milwaukee Brewers for $350,000. That’s a far cry from the average value of $2.6 million per year*. After playing a season in Suds City, he moved on to two years with the Padres before ending his career in Detroit as a Tiger.

* Reed may have been Remy’s equal on the field, but when it came to maximizing his value, the RemDog blew him out of the water. I don’t know whether Remy is a top-notch businessman, a guy who was simply at the right place and time, incredibly lucky or a bit of all three but he has done a terrific job of being able to wring out every cent of being Jerry Remy. The amount of stuff he’s involved with is completely insane.

The interesting thing about Reed saying no to the contract extension is that not only did it screw Reed in the wallet, but it messed up the Dodgers too. Since Reed decided to split, L.A. had a hole in the infield and needed someone to fill it. General Manager Fred Claire looked north and saw that Delino DeShields was having monster years playing in relative obscurity for the Expos. He asked his GM counterpart Dan Duquette what it would take to get DeShields. Duquette’s answer was that he wanted just one player: Pedro Martinez.

Claire said okay because of a couple of reasons. One, his manager Tommy Lasorda thought that Pedro was too tiny to make any impact as a starting pitcher. Lasorda was adamant that due to his frame, Martinez was always going to be hurt and he didn’t want to deal with that. Plus, Deshields was a stud. He hit close to .300 every year, he walked a bit and man, he could fly. He stole 187 bases in four years as an Expo*.

* It’s amazing that DeShields never was an All-Star during his Montreal tenure. I get that he couldn’t get in as a starter because of Ryne Sandberg, but in 1991, the backup second baseman was Juan Samuel, in 1992 the backups were Craig Biggio and Mike Sharperson and in 1993 it was Robby Thompson. That’s bullshit right there.

You know what happened to Pedro. But DeShields never really had any great years in Los Angeles. He was fine, but he wasn’t Montreal good. He played out the rest of his career in St. Louis, Baltimore (Delino DeShields was from Delaware – 3D!) and the Cubs.

Three things about that trade:

1. I  thought that the Dodgers got a steal (no pun) because all I knew of Pedro was that he was Ramon’s kid brother.

2. I thought that it was cool that Pedro and Ramon were on the same team. How awesome is it to be in the majors and have your brother be on the same team? I thought that was the coolest. And now he got traded, it must’ve been a sad day in the Martinez home.

3. Not as sad as it was at Ash Hall in Merrimack College. I’m not sure how I heard of the trade (this was 1993 before the Internet or texting or having cable in our rooms) but I knew. I was watching a movie with a couple of friend of mine and these two French Canadian goalies, whom I didn’t know at all. I knew that they liked the Expos, so I said to one of them (he understood English the best) that DeShields had been traded. He looked distraught and explained (in French) to his friend about the transaction. All of a sudden that guy screamed, “DELINOOOOOOOOO NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!” and beat the crap out of a pillow. The two then proceeded to ask me 100 times if I was sure. Yup, I was sure mon ami. 

So because Jody Reed completely and totally misread the market for second basemen in 1993, he changed the lives of a lot of people. And that’s what I’ll remember most about Jody Reed.


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