Topps baseball cards refuse to mention Pete Rose

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This year’s Topps baseball cards include “career chase” notes on the back that list how far players are away from various statistical records. For instance, on the back of Mets reliever Bobby Parnell’s card it says: “With 249 games pitched, Parnell is 1,003 away from Jesse Orosco’s all-time record of 1,252.”

However, Rob Harris of ChicagoSideSports.com noticed that all of the “career chase” notes mentioning hit totals do so without actually using Pete Rose’s name. So, for example, A.J. Pierzynski’s card says: “With 1,645 hits, Pierzynski is 2,611 away from the all-time record of 4,256.”

That “all-time record of 4,256” belongs to Rose, of course, but apparently Topps has taken it upon themselves to whitewash him from history. Or something. When contacted by Harris company spokesperson Clay Luraschi said only that it was “a simple decision” and made “plain and simple.”

I’m guessing the “plain and simple” part has to do with Topps’ licensing agreement with MLB, which obviously wants nothing to do with Rose (and Topps wants even less to do with angering MLB). But until told otherwise I’m going to assume Topps is taking this stance in 2013, three decades after Rose retired, because they’re less offended by his connection to gambling on games and more offended by his new reality television show on TLC.

Diamondbacks, T.J. McFarland avoid arbitration

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Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY Sports reports that the Diamondbacks and reliever T.J. McFarland have avoided arbitration, agreeing on a $1.45 million salary for the 2019 season. McFarland, in his third of four years of arbitration eligibility, filed for $1.675 million while the Diamondbacks countered at $1.275 million. McFarland ended up settling for just under the midpoint of those two figures.

McFarland, 29, was terrific out of the bullpen for the D-Backs last season, finishing with a 2.00 ERA and a 42/22 K/BB ratio in 72 innings. While the lefty may not miss a lot of bats, he does induce quite a few grounders. His 67.9 percent ground ball rate last season was the third highest among relievers with at least 50 innings, trailing only Brad Ziegler (71.1%) and Scott Alexander (70.6%).

McFarland was dominant against left-handed hitters, limiting them to a .388 OPS last season, but the D-Backs deployed him nearly twice as often against right-handed hitters, who posted an aggregate .764 OPS against him. It will be interesting to see if the club decides to use him more as a platoon reliever in 2019.