With the new addition to the family, as well as other unforeseen expenditures, I have not been able to buy many cards lately, which is okay. My lack of funds has allowed me to go through my cards that have been sitting on the shelves for years now (much to the chagrin of my wife). My search has led to me two simultaneous epiphanies: I want to narrow my collection of non-catchers and expand on my collection of catchers. By no means am I now going to collect every card of every catcher. But it does mean that when I come across catchers that played an important role in the history of the game, or left an indelible mark, or I remember from my childhood, I will set those aside and find room for them in my collection.
One such card that I came across brought back a rush of memories as soon as I saw the named player.
Mackey Sasser (giving what looks like the Sign of the Horns) had a unique set of circumstances that ended his career in the majors. After bouncing around the league for a few years, Sasser was traded to the Mets, where he backed up Gary Carter until 1990, when he took over full-time.
Sasser was having a great year offensively, in fact he ended the season hitting .307. However, on July 8, Sasser’s career was forever altered when Jim Presley smashed into Sasser at home plate. As a result of the collision, Sasser had an ankle injury which kept him sidelined until July 16. The effects of the injury were much more traumatic than a nagging ankle injury.
Mackey Sasser developed a terrible case of the Yips. For those not aware, is a spasm or loss of motor skills when athletes are performing a common action. This condition is most common is golf, but several baseball players have struggled with it. Most notable of the yippers is Chuck Knoblauch, who suddenly found that he couldn’t throw to first base. (Some have suggested that Jon Lester’s reluctance to throw over to first is a symptom of the yips).
Sasser’s was never the same after the collision. He simply couldn’t throw the ball back to the pitcher without double or triple clutching the ball. His is such a unique story that ESPN did a 30 for 30 short over his case of the yips called Field of Fear.