Saturday, March 31, 2012

Lester Straker

Sent: 3/21/12
Received: 3/29/12
Time: 8 Days
Address: c/o Philadelphia Phillies Spring Training
Item Sent: 1987 Topps Traded, 1988 Topps, 1989 ProCards Portland Beavers
Item Received: 1987 Topps Traded, 1988 Topps, 1989 ProCards Portland Beavers.  All signed in black Sharpie.

Les Straker was a 28 year old minor league free agent who became the default #3 starter on the 1987 World Series champion Minnesota Twins.  Although his career resume pales in comparison to the Twins top two starters that season (World Series MVP and Cy Young winner Frank Viola and Hall of Famer Bert Blyleven), Straker started two games in that World Series.  In one of the great forgotten performances in Twins history, he shut out the Cardinals for six innings in game three before being lifted for a pinch-hitter with a 1-0 lead.  Juan Berenguer came in, promptly gave up three runs, costing Straker a World Series victory.

Straker has been one of the more difficult autographs from the 1987 Twins team to obtain until recently.  He works as a Latin American pitching coordinator for the Phillies, spending much of his time in Central and South America.  The best time to get his signature through the Phillies is during spring training.  I finally remembered to write this year and was quickly rewarded.

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