Some baseball matchups just seem inevitable.

Like Yankees v. Dodgers in the World Series.

Or Scott Hatteberg lining up with the Oakland A’s.

Or Ken Griffey, Jr., coming “home” to the Cincinnati Reds.

Or Bert Blyleven serving up a home run “now and again.”

Or …

Well, here, take a look at this baseball card and tell me this wasn’t destined to happen …

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To get to that hunk of cardboard, though, Johnny Podres first had to cut his teeth in the fire of great expectations as a young lefthander for the Brooklyn Dodgers in the early 1950s.

Just 20 years old when he came to Ebbets Field in 1953, Podres acquitted himself well, posting a 9-4 record with a 4.23 ERA in 33 appearances as a sort of swingman.

By the next spring, Podres was part of the Dodgers’ rotation, with an occasional relief stint thrown in here or there, and he only got better and better.

Indeed, Podres was a key member of a Bums squad that won pennant after pennant in the middle of the decade, and he was even named MVP of the 1955 Fall Classic when the Dodgers finally took down the hated Yanks.

In 1958, pitching in the glare of the California sun for the first time after the Dodgers moved to Los Angeles, Podres made the first of four All-Star appearances.

He would remain a workhouse in the Dodgers rotation into the mid-1960s, but an elbow injury in 1964 at age 31 began a decline phase that culminated with a May 1966 trade to the Detroit Tigers.

In Motown, Podres put together two middling campaigns back in his old swingman role before the Tigers released him after the 1967 season.

That seemed to be all she wrote, but then in May of 1968, with Podres on the shelf, the announcement came — San Diego would get an expansion team.

Not long after, they adopted their name — “Padres.”

Now, everyone knows it’s a struggle for expansion teams to fill their rosters, but maybe the most difficult bit of that task is to find able arms.

New clubs usually cast their nets far and wide in the search for guys who can throw the ball over the plate and keep it in the yard.

Sometimes, that even includes looking at players no longer on active rosters — easy pickings from a contractual standpoint, right?

And, when the Padres went casting about on the eve of their first Opening Day in 1969, still looking to fill out their roster and their rotation, who would have thought their net would land on their own name.

Pertnear, anyway.

And, so, Johnny Podres started the Padres’ second-ever game on April 9, 1969, a 2-0 victory over the Houston Astros at San Diego Stadium.

Podres would stick with his new team through June before embarking on a long coaching career, beginning there in San Diego.

Late in the summer, though, there was one more reminder of the eponymous mound pairing when Topps issued that gorgeous, inevitable baseball card: “Podres Padres.”

It pretty much had to happen.

1969 Topps Baseball - Pick A Card - Cards 301-664

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1969 Topps #14-309 VG-EX Pick From List All PICTURED

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1969 Topps #310-647 VG-EX Pick From List All PICTURED

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1969 Topps #324-644 VG-EX Pick From List All PICTURED

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