(Today is Pack Rat Day, a day to honor hoarding card collectors like us. In fact, I wrote a Cardboard Appreciation post on Pack Rat Day once before. I guess this is now a tradition. Welcome to Cardboard Appreciation and Pack Rat Day. This is the 224th in a series):
This is another one of those "name's the same" posts. But I have to admit, this player's name confused me for a little while.
About a dozen years ago, I didn't pay a lot of attention to baseball. I knew enough to get by in my job and to recognize the names on TV, but I wasn't too enthused about it. One tell-tale sign was that I barely collected baseball cards.
But somehow, somewhere, I heard that Ray Liotta was pitching in the White Sox organization and I naturally assumed that the actor who played Shoeless Joe Jackson in "Field Of Dreams" had made good on some unannounced dream to play professional baseball, and the White Sox, Shoeless Joe Jackson's White Sox, took him up on it. Hey, if Chicago could sign Michael Jordan, they could sign Ray Liotta.
But the guy on this card isn't that Ray Liotta.
This Ray Liotta was a prospect for the White Sox after being signed by them in 2004. By the arrival of this card (have you seen anything more basic?), Liotta was at the peak of his career. He went 14-5 with a 2.02 ERA, striking out 144 in 165 innings in 2005.
This is when you should have sold this card. You could've pulled in both prospectors and clueless people like me who thought this was the "Goodfellas" actor going through a mid-life crisis. Oh, the cash that could be had.
In 2006, Liotta fell apart, playing for Double A Birmingham (Michael Jordan's team). He was returned to Class A. In 2007, he didn't even play. In 2008 and 2009, he pitched in the Royals organization, actually making it to Triple A briefly, before his career ended.
It turns out that Liotta actually is related to the actor Ray Liotta. He is a distant cousin and the player's father has met the actor at some family get-togethers.
All of this makes this card a whole lot more interesting than a dull-looking Justifiable card, whose only previously redeeming aspect is the Winston-Salem Warthogs logo on the front. Sadly, they are now called the Winston-Salem Dash and the mascot Wally Warthog has been replaced by a Sesame Street reject.
(P.S.: The actor Ray Liotta once starred in a TV movie called "The Rat Pack" -- which is "Pack Rat" in reverse. See? It all ties together).