When I think about Roger Nelson… not that thinking of Roger Nelson is anything other than an occasional occurrence… but when I think about Nelson, I always think about this card:
There’s just something about it. The airbrushed cap, the slightly odd camera angle, Roger’s expression. It’s just an image that’s stuck with me in the 39 years I’ve owned this card.
…And maybe someone can help me out here; Does Roger look like someone else to you? Maybe someone in pop culture? He reminds me of someone, and it’s driving me a bit crazy.
What I didn’t realize until I wrote about Roger Nelson in yesterday’s post is that Roger Nelson never pitched for the White Sox in 1975. He was purchased from the Reds in October, 1974 and went to Spring Training with the Chisox, but was released on March 25th. The A’s picked him up 10 days later, but he’d spend all of 1975 (and most of the following several seasons) pitching in AAA.
I always find it interesting when a baseball card shows a player with a team he never actually pitched for. (Slight qualifier: Roger pitched 5 games in relief for the White Sox in 1967).
As long as we’re here and talking about Roger Nelson, here are some other “fun facts”.
I’d mentioned yesterday that Roger was the 1st player taken in the 1968 Expansion Draft, and that yesterday was his 70th birthday; he was born the day after D-Day.
Roger’s nickname is “Spider”.
Roger’s solitary postseason appearance was pitching 2.1 innings against the Mets in the 1973 NLCS. Roger faced 8 batters, allowed just a walk to Felix Millan before being removed for pinch-hitter Hal King in the 7th. The Mets won that game 9-2 (which was the score when Roger came in).
In 1972, Roger lead the A.L. with a 0.871 WHIP and a 3.87 Strikeout-to-walk ratio.
Roger had a knack for appearing in significant transaction lines. Aside from his expansion draft honor, he was also part of two big trades… Late in 1967, the White Sox traded him, Don Buford and Bruce Howard to the Orioles for HOFer Luis Aparicio, Russ Snyder and John Matias. Late in 1972, Nelson was part of the trade which brought Hal McRae from Cincinnati to Kansas City. McRae would play 15 years in Kansas City, made three All-Star teams and got 133 RBI in 1982.