Eric Nolte Birthday Card: Second to one

Eric Nolte has the distinction of being the second-most accomplished baseball player born on April 28, 1964. Also turning 50 today is Hall of Fame shortstop Barry Larkin. While Larkin's career outshines Nolte's in nearly every respect imaginable, Nolte came out on top in their head-to-head matchups. The two faced off twice, both times occurring in a 4-3 Reds win on October 1, 1987. Larkin grounded out to first in their initial showdown and reached base on a fielder's choice his next time up for a lifetime 0-for-2 mark.

That game was the twelfth and last game (all starts) of Nolte's rookie season. He only pitched in 14 more major league games over parts of three seasons, starting half of them. If not for the three games he appeared in for Texas in 1991, Nolte would have matched Larkin as a one-team player.

Nolte is pictured here on his 1988 Topps card. He was issued cards by each of the major manufacturers that year and only that year. This one features a pretty mean case of pitcherface on what is probably my least-favorite Topps design of the decade. It's not that I don't like it; it's just that it's so boring and is sandwiched by two of Topps' best-ever designs.

He might not have made it to the Hall of Fame, or even a second Topps card, but it's easy to forget how good he and even the least successful major leaguers are. Not to sound like Orlando Hudson, but the guys fighting for the twenty-fifth spot on the roster accomplished more on a baseball field yesterday than you or I have in our entire lives. With that in mind, playing second fiddle to a legend is pretty damn impressive.

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