(Check out our other player card posts here.)
I take back everything I thought about Ed Glynn.
The first time I encountered the big southpaw, he was peering out at me from inside a teal(ish) wax wrapper on his 1983 Donruss card. Here is what that looked like, sans wrapper:
No hat, long hair, scraggly mustache, squinty eyes that didn’t inspire trust … he looked a lot some of the high school boys who always gave me trouble on the bus.
And to top it all off, he was a member of the Cleveland Indians, who had always been bad and always would be bad, as far as I knew.
And on top of that, Ed Glynn had a 12-15 lifetime record with a 4.02 ERA over five seasons.
That 1983 Donruss card popped up in my collection all the time through the years as I sorted and planned and schemed through trades, and it was my enduring impression of Ed Glynn.
Everything changed when I stumbled across some 1981 Topps baseball cards at a flea market this fall, though. As I thumbed through a stack filled with Pete Falcones and Jerry Remys and even an occasional Freddie Patek, guess who greeted me.
Go ahead guess …
Well, yes, Kiko Garcia. Of course. That goes without saying.
But also …
I know, right? Who even knew he had other baseball cards? This one is a doozy, too … see?
Now, I realize that shot was taken mid-pitch, but I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a delivery quite like that, or at least a baseball card showing a delivery quite like that. Glynn looks like some Hell beast who has just clawed his way out from the edges of the netherworld to crank his angry, nasty lightning ball toward the head of whatever batter has offended Glynn’s New York Mets teammates.
The splayed legs, the ghastly pale arms rising in a zombie fury, the flames of hair jutting out from under Glynn’s cap, the off-balance core refusing to give way to the gravity of the fiery lava below, just out of view of the shot … man, this card is all violent and gritty motion.
And it’s made all the more awesome by a full Mets uniform, cap included, making Glynn look like a real (fierce) baseball player.
Finding this card sent me in search of a video of Glynn in action.
I struck out on that front, but I did find out a few interesting things about the man. If you want to read a fairly complete account (as far as I know), you can check out this post at Centerfieldmaz. The Cliffs Notes version is here …
- Ed Glynn was born and raised in Flushing, a Queens neighborhood within sight of Shea Stadium as it was being built.
- While in high school during the late 1960s, Glynn got a job at Shea as a hot dog vendor.
- After signing with the Detroit Tigers as an amateur free agent in 1971, Glynn spent four years in the minor leagues before making his Major League debut with Detroit late in the 1975 season.
- Right before the 1979 season began, Detroit traded Glynn to the New York Mets for Mardie Cornejo. He made his Mets debut on June 1 and his Shea Stadium debut on June 10.
- Earlier, in May, the Mets “honored” Glynn with a hot dog container featuring his uniform number (48). Glynn *ahem* ate it all up and climbed into the stands to sell hot dogs during the game.
It’s a great story of a hometown boy who came home and was still able to be Ed from the block. How great is that? How can you not love Ed Glynn baseball cards after that?
After an injury-plagued 1980 that saw his performance slip, Glynn made his voyage to Cleveland, traded in exchange for a player to be named later, who turned out to be Matt Bullinger. After three seasons and some regrettable cardboard with the Tribe, Glynn was “purchased” by the Mets in June 1984.
He never made it back to Shea Stadium before New York sold him to the Boston Red Sox that November, who in turn sent him to the Montreal Expos in May of 1985.
Glynn would make three appearances with the Expos that summer, tossing 2 1/3 innings and giving up five runs for a hefty 19.29 ERA.
He was 32 at the time, and that would be his last shot at the Majors. He bounced around the minor leagues for another five seasons, though, including a comeback attempt at age 37 in 1990, before hanging up the spikes for good.
Glynn’s last Major League Baseball cards appeared in the 1983 sets, including that Donruss mess and a Fleer card on which he wore his Bud Anderson mask:
Ed Glynn was no superstar pitcher, but he played in the Major Leagues for parts of 10 years and took the mound in his hometown.
Suffering through immortalization on an ugly 1983 Donruss baseball card seems a small price to pay for all that.
Especially when you can fall back on gems like Glynn’s 1981 Topps firebrand masterpiece.
(Check out our other player card posts here.)