Now Jose Lopez, for whatever reason (probably that my little brother Brad was a Mariners fan thanks to Ken Griffey Jr.), was a household name in my undergraduate years. While I was away at college my brother and I would marvel at his astonishing Mariner feats, including a career best 25 homeruns and 96 RBI in 2009 (only good for a 103+ OPS+, which kind of shows you that Jose Lopez was never truly a star despite a 2006 ASG nod at 2B). And even as he faded into oblivion and joined teams like the Rockies, Marlins, Indians, and White Sox during his final two seasons, we traded him back and forth in fantasy baseball like it was nobody's business. The guy was already our obscure hero.
Flash forward to June of 2012, a time we may well view as the last season of Lopez's nine year career since he hasn't been in the majors since. The wife and I had just moved to Cincinnati, and for our first game as residents we go see the Indians facing the Reds in Interleague action. The game had everything I could've wanted - former Red Sox Derek Lowe starting, former Red Sox Johnny Damon starting, the Reds winning...it was all good. But it became legend in the top of the 9th inning with two outs.
You see...with two outs in the top of the ninth, Jose Lopez came up to bat. He had entered earlier in the game as an injury replacement (this was his 2nd at bat) and was due to face crazy awesome Aroldis Chapman. Many in the ballpark assumed Lopez would strikeout, as did my wife and I. But I thought it was cool he was the last at bat of the game, so I filmed it...and it's now on YouTube as the video below (the awesomeness comes at 1:03):
In case you couldn't tell from my shoddy camerawork, Lopez hit a two out, two strike homerun off the best closer in baseball. It didn't affect the score (I don't think Chapman even had a save chance when he entered) but I was easily the most excited person in the stadium. I taped this just to have something weird to share with my brother, and it ended up being something more amazing than I ever would've imagined. That's baseball though, right?
So nonetheless, Jose Lopez, with that shot, clinched the fact that I should collect his cards. It just took me a little under three years to finally decide to do so, and I'm starting with a mid 00's Bowman Futures jersey:
Nice little yellow (now that's different!) jersey piece of the man, the myth, the legend, Jose Lopez. About time I collect his cards again, and hopefully this is the first of many awesome cardboard pickups from here on out!