Sunday, February 11, 2024

From the Favorites Box: Kurt Bevacqua, 1979 Topps #44

A series where I post some thoughts about favorite cards. Previous cards in the series are available here.
Have a look at Kurt Bevacqua here, posing on a sunny spring afternoon.
I've always enjoyed posed shots like this, because they show the player with the tools of his trade. Like a carpenter posing with his tool belt. Or a blacksmith with an anvil, hammer, and leather apron. And Kurt Bevacqua sure had some tools. He was a utility guy. A hard-working guy. 
In other words, you don't see Bevacqua in the standard batting pose, gripping the bat and staring down an imaginary pitcher. He's not shown in action, taking a big cut at a pitch during a game. Instead, he's humbly kneeling on the field. You see his glove. His bat. His cleats. His cap. He's ready to go. Put him in anywhere, and he'll do his best to fulfill his responsibilities. He's looking right at you—not with intimidation, but also not with a big friendly smile. He's just giving you solid, genuine, blue-collar eye contact. This is my profession, he's saying. These are my tools. 
This is your portrait that hangs in the house of baseball.

As a child of the 1980s, what I remember most about Mr. Bevacqua was a video that featured him teaching kids how to bunt—not just for a sacrifice, but for a base-hit. (Could it have been an episode of The Baseball Bunch? I'm not sure.)
That's the humble, hard-working Kurt Bevacqua. And his services were appreciated by quite a few teams.

You see, by the time that card above appeared in wax packs, Mr. Bevacqua was off to the San Diego Padres. And that year of 1979 might have been his best. He played games at first base, second base, third base, and outfield, and came off the bench as a pinch-hitter often. Bevacqua would set season highs that year in games played (114), at-bats (297), hits (75), triples (4), and walks (38), with a solid .253 average. His 12 doubles and 34 RBI were not far from his season highs as well.

He didn't experience much playoff action in his career, but in 1984, with those same Padres, Bevacqua had a heck of a World Series run. He went 7-for-17 with 2 doubles, 2 home runs, 4 RBI, and a .412/.444/.882 slash line. 
Look here for one of those homers:

It's always great to see a utility guy rewarded like that, because oftentimes all their hard work is overlooked, even to the point where the simple notion of the utility guy carries a stigma. No one wants to be that guy. No one wants to take on all those tasks. No one wants to come off the bench half the time. No one can make a career out of it.

But Kurt Bevacqua did—for 15 years, in fact. And I'm not sure he has a baseball card that shows it better than the one above.

And for plying your trade across any task that's given to you, even when some of your colleagues might be too proud to do the same, 1979 Topps #44 has a spot in my box of favorite cards.


  1. Great article. I remember listening to Brewers games on the radio while Bevacqua was playing for them. I'm happy he got to shine in a World Series.

    1. Listening to baseball games on the radio is highly underrated. Thanks for sharing that memory!

  2. One of the reasons I became a Padres fan was b/c in the 7th grade, my PE teacher recorded the games and played them for his classes that week and 90% of the kids were rooting for the Tigers. So I went with the Padres. Although I don't remember if I saw that home run in class, I have watched it on YouTube a few times over the years.

    1. What a great experience, Fuji! Your PE teacher was a superstar for that move ;-)

  3. I'm more of an action shot guy, but as far as posed photos go, this one does have just about everything one could ask for.

    1. Right? The only thing missing might be some palm trees or mountains in the background. But it's a great card regardless.