Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Cardboard appreciation: 1995 Fleer Update Carlos Perez

(Maybe I'm the only one who notices this, but if you look at a newspaper sports page during the spring time, and compare it with the sports pages published during the winter, the spring pages are much brighter and more attractive. That's because everyone's finally outside, playing under the bright sunshine. Or at least that's the idea -- we might get some snow today. Time for Cardboard Appreciation. This is the 106th in a series): 

I'm starting another informal series here on the blog.

Not that any of the previous series are formal, it's just that I don't know how many cards I can find to make this more than a series of one or two posts.

What I am looking for are cards that sum up the subject perfectly. The design is important with cards like this. And I think I have my perfect first subject.

Carlos Perez was a flamboyant, left-handed pitcher for the Expos and Dodgers. He was a sight to see on the mound. After striking out hitters, he'd mimic the umpire's out call, crouch down on the mound and almost hop around in a circle. He'd even wave his arms around after getting a single strike. I can't believe batters weren't running to the mound with a bat in hand every time he started.

Perez, the brother of another colorful hurler Pascual Perez, finished fourth in the Rookie of the Year voting in 1995, but suffered an arm injury that cost him the entire '96 season. He pitched fairly well after coming back, but really fell apart after he was dealt to the Dodgers (in the deal that sent Ted Lilly to the Expos).

Perez was OK in '98 for L.A. But 1999 was a disaster. He went 2-10 with a 7.43 ERA and a 7.12 WHIP. In probably the most famous moment of his career, he took out his frustrations on a totally stunned water cooler in the dugout after being removed from a start in June of 1999. (You can tell he's a lefty in the clip).

Perez was also involved in an incident on a flight in which he was accused of attacking and choking a flight attendant. The flight attendant sued and the Dodgers settled.

In even uglier incidents, Perez was accused of rape on three separate occasions during his career. In one, he was ordered to pay $15 million in a civil suit verdict. But the accusations didn't jive with at least one teammate, Rondell White, who was quoted after the first incident in 1995 as saying, "He's a friendly guy. I wouldn't believe he'd do that."

It seems like Carlos Perez was two guys.

Just like on the card.

1995 Fleer is a bizarre, seemingly drug-induced set. A lot of ballplayers look completely out of place in it. But Perez doesn't. The set is colorful and it's confusing, just like Perez. And the more I look at it, the less I like it. Just like Perez.

In fact, I don't want this card anymore.

I'll be shipping it off this week to an Expos collector. I hope he can enjoy it. Because I can't anymore.

I guess that makes this a Cardboard Unappreciation post.

Hey, there's a first for everything.


  1. Trippin' Balls!

    As I said on my Dave Gallagher post, I think the Fleer designers did X and attended a ginomous amount of raves during the strike...


  2. Yeah, I consider 1995 Fleer/Fleer Update to be the 2nd ugliest set I have ever seen. If I remember correctly, each of the new divisions had a different background design and the NL West design is the worst of the 6.

    1997 Circa still remains ugliest set ever IMHO in case you were curious.

  3. Dock Ellis would look good on one of those cards

  4. Of course there was a third pitching Perez brother: Melido, who was with the White Sox and Yankees in the late 80s and early 90s. I don't remember him being as offbeat as his siblings. Maybe it skipped the middle child.

  5. I never did "get" what Fleer was trying to do w/ 1995's design. I've got a couple of Braves from this set in my collection and I don't even care to look 'em their so ugly.

  6. It's the left handed thing. Pascual was a flake, but not insane. Melido was pretty normal. Carlos was flat out batshit crazy.
    Left handers...they're sinister you know. ;o)