Monday, March 30, 2009
1989 Topps Major League Debut #24: Pat Combs
PHOTO: This is another photo that makes good use of the border colors. The Phillies away jersey coloring closely matches the main card colors. I don't kno why they used that pea green for the name banner, though.
STAT: Since 1989, Combs is one of just 12 guys to throw at least 3 shutouts in his first 37 career games.
1989 was a bad year for the Phillies. They were at perhaps their franchise's lowest point, fallen completely away from the team that had gone to the World Series in 1980 and 1983 and were perhaps the worst team in baseball with the smallest amount of talent. HOFer Mike Schmidt retired during the year too.
And then along came Combs. He had a great first start (mentioned on the back of the card) and followed that up with a 7 inning, 1-run performance against the Expos and then a shutout of the Cardinals. He finished that season at 4-0 with a 2.09 ERA and 5 out 6 starts were very good.
I was an ardent Phillies fan at the time, and this guy was the first ray of hope the team had seen in a long time. In 1990, Combs pitched a number of excellent games and also a bunch of stinkers. By 1991 he was out of the rotation and by 1992 he was done in the big leagues. But by 1993, the Phillies had gotten out of that terrible hole.