With its low self-esteem and high urban blight, Hartford is the ultimate underdog city. Sad City Hartford documents the joys, sorrows and eccentricities of New England's Rising Star.

Friday, April 6, 2012


Baseball has returned and for the moment all is right with the world. To celebrate the return of our National Pastime, here is a post from one of our side projects, The 87 Topps Project, where we relive our childhood baseball card collecting days by collecting autographs of 1987 Topps cards. Today we have a look at Dave Dravecky, one of the more remarkable players in the 87 Topps set. Follow the 87 Topps Project on Twitter and Facebook for baseball nostalgia and commentary.

Can’t think of anyone better than to start this off with than Dave Dravecky, perhaps the most inspiring story in the 1987 Topps set. Mr. Dravecky’s story starts with baseball but goes well beyond the game. At the time of this card Dravecky had established himself as a solid young pitcher in the majors. In 1987 Dravecky would be traded to the SF Giants in a deal that included Kevin Mitchell, who would almost immediatley become an MVP player.
In 1988 a cancerous tumor was found in Dravecky’s pitching arm and he underwent surgery to remove the tumor in later that year. By all accounts his pitching career should have been finished. Amazingly Dravecky took the mound again on August 10, 1989 pitching eight innings in a highly publicized win.
The feel good comeback ending in Dravecky’s next start when, while delivering a pitch, his arm snapped and as his humerus bone broke and Dravecky collapsed. His pitching career was over. This was the first time I remember an athlete battling cancer and the way Dravecky’s comeback went from inspiring to horrific in a short time made an indelible mark on my memory.
The cancer would later return and Dravecky’s pitching arm would be amputated. Without the arm that had been his identity his whole life, Dravecky found a second career as a motivational speaker which he continues today.
An inspiring story, Mr. Dravecky was an easy choice to be #1 in the project. 791 cards to go.

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