How about this guy!
D-Rob is having a very quiet, successful season as the Yanks' closer. He scared us all with an injury and short stint on the DL a few weeks ago. I was almost sure that somehow his strained groin would translate into another Tommy John surgery.
Alas, Robertson returned and has gotten the job done in all nine of his save chances this season. His numbers are solid too, if not dominant: 1.42 ERA, 0.63 WHIP, 17/2 K/BB ratio. SWEET! As we all know, the closer role is one of the toughest roles in baseball, especially in this day and age of zero forgiveness. The expectation of impossible and unending perfection can be maddening, so for David to handle things so well after taking over for Mo......this has been a real treat so far. It won't last forever, but I'll be cheering him on the whole way!
I started a Player Collection of Robertson a couple of years ago, and it has been a lot of fun to build. His stack is quite a bit smaller than my other favorites, as relievers don't often get awarded as many card appearances as position players and the starting rotations. So, when Robertson does appear on a card, I try to jump on it immediately!
In 2012, Robertson was coming off a terrific campaign that earned him a spot in the '11 All-Star game and really cemented the expectation that he would take over for Rivera when the time came. This resulted in a few more cards being available, including a base card in the abbreviated 300 card Gypsy Queen set! That is saying something....add to that the wide variety of size and colored parallels, and we have some great Robertson cards to chase down. One of them was this mini-sepia variation:
The simple, vintage design didn't really do much for me in the normal versions of the base cards, but this sepia version is really cool and I am quickly becoming a sucker for tobacco-sized mini variations. It has great contrast and comes off as a nice artistic rendering of "high-socks" Robertson in mid-delivery. Pinstripes and all, this card is fantastic!
Let's flip it over:
Check out that card back! #27 out of 99 makes me feel a tad lucky to have found a copy for my collection. Aside from the very attractive (in my mind!) and vintage-feeling sepia color scheme, we have the sharp-looking foil serial numbers.....and a GREAT write-up. How great?
Well, Topps gives us a very juicy little tidbit about an exclusive group of pitchers to which David is a member. I haven't fully vetted their statement yet, but as you can see, David is one of only three pitchers with at last 10 strikeouts per 9 IP in each of their first three seasons - along with Mark Prior (Cubs) and Troy Percival (Angels, Tigers, Cardinals and Rays).
After some quick research, though, I was able to find out that both Prior and Percival maintained their level of 10+ K's/9 IP for their first four seasons before dropping below the mark. That's PRETTY impressive - until you take a look at Robertson's CURRENT streak (and record?!?!) of SIX seasons! Yessir! He also currently holds a 12.1K/9IP mark this season. Will this be year #7 in a row? Is my understanding of this record correct?
Let me check a few names real quick. Beginning with heir first seasons in which they appeared, these famous pitchers averaged:
Walter Johnson - 5.8, 5.6, 5.0
Nolan Ryan - 18.0 (2 games), 8.9, 9.3
Pedro Martinez - 9.0, 10.0, 8.8
Trevor Hoffman - 7.9, 6.6, 8.8
Wow. Some terrific perspective on David's accomplishment! I was able to finally find some company for David. I believe we can bid a tearful farewell to our friends Troy and Mark - there is clearly a new generation of arms in The Show, and here are some prime examples that include names I am sure we all recognize:
Craig Kimbrel - 17.4, 14.8, 16.7, 13.2, 16.5 (in progress)
Aroldis Chapman - 12.8, 12.8, 15.3, 15.8, 16.5 (in progress)
Yu Darvish - 10.4, 11.9, 10.8
Hmmm. What did I say about Tommy John surgeries? I'm just saying.....at any rate, I'm very thankful to Topps for putting this stat on the back of this card. It is something I hadn't considered and is definitely special - a stat that I can brag about whenever Robertson comes up in conversation.
Pumped to add this card to my David Robertson Collection!
Thanks for reading.