Terribly Awesome Baseball Card: Mike LaValliere

By August 18, 2015June 18th, 2018No Comments

Mike LaValliere kept the MLB dream alive for chubby little leaguers across the Burgh. Nicknamed “Spanky” for his resemblance to the Little Rascals character, he managed to get more out of his 5’10”, 180 lbs frame than most would have thought possible.

LaValliere was part of the Tony Pena trade that brought Andy Van Slyke to the Pirates. Van Slyke’s diving catches in centerfield and LaValliere’s rock solid play at catcher quickly won over Bucco fans and teammates that were initially heartbroken over losing Pena. Mike won a Gold Glove, maintained a .268 career batting average, and played a key role in the Pirates’ three consecutive NLCS appearances, all while looking like every 80s dad ever, including my own.

Any card with Mike LaValliere is awesome in my book, but some may not consider it “terribly awesome.” It doesn’t meet much of the criteria described in this post, but sometimes a card acts as a reminder that the player existed, and that can be enough for some simple folks like me. However, what you see below is unanimously unquestionably terribly awesome. I stumbled across this old Pirates program in my friend’s car during a long drive. We immediately stopped the car and pulled onto the shoulder to take a closer look. I’m sure these high fashion pink hats and windbreakers were flying of the shelves in summer of 1991. I tried to call the phone numbers listed to order the neon snapback, but I guess I’m 24 years too late. One number was disconnected and the other tried to scam me to win a free cruise.




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Jim Gruseck

Jim Gruseck

Jim is a life-long hoops junkie and fan of Pittsburgh sports. He can still be found in the Steel City pursuing creative endeavors in writing and music, when he's not traveling the world or stacking donkeys at the poker tables.