One of my favorite shows currently on TV is 10 Things You Don't Know About. It's a History Channel show that is actually about history. Each episode focuses on one topic - presidential assassinations, the White House, or prohibition, for example - and presents 10 facts about the subject in the span of an hour. Sounds good so far, right? I haven't even gotten to the best part. The host is Henry Rollins. HENRY F***ING ROLLINS. Yeah.
Henry was included in this year's Allen & Ginter's set. I have a few Padres from the set but this card was the one I was most excited about when the checklist surfaced. As soon as I got the card above in the mail from my pal Marcus, I posted it on Twitter and Facebook. A conversation broke out in the Facebook comments about how there's an autographed insert of him too. I said something about how I might get around to trying to get one one of these days, and forgot about it.
About two weeks later, I got an envelope from my friend Shane. I opened it up and found...
How cool is that?!?! It's signed (under the supervision of a Topps employee), and like other A&G autograph issues is a mini-card in a frame with a slight gap, encased in plastic. It's definitely my favorite non-baseball card ever.
Now that I've gotten past making an excuse to show those off, I can bring it back to talking about his TV show. Today is Dan Spillner's birthday and I put together a list of 10 facts about him. When I was trying to think of a title I typed in "10 Things You Didn't Know About...", realized why that phrase was on my mind, and in turn wrote the preceding introduction that you were very kind to endure. Without any more diversions or commercial breaks, Henry and I bring you...
10 Things You Didn't Know About Dan Spillner
- Dan Spillner is the only Padres player born in Wyoming.
- In a career that spanned from 1974 through 1985, Spillner spent 4 1/2 years with the Padres, 6 with the Indians, and the final 1 1/2 with the White Sox.
- Of the 134 home runs surrendered by Spillner, only two were grand slams. Otto Velez and Hall of Famer Robin Yount took him deep with the bases loaded while he was with Cleveland.
- Primarily a starter early in his career and as late as 1980, Spillner was used as Cleveland's closer in 1982. He racked up 21 of his 41 career saves, good for sixth in the American League.
- Spillner could have pitched longer than he did in the majors, if not for owner collusion. He was awarded a $486,000 settlement a decade later.
- After his baseball career was cut short, Dan worked in construction and youth coaching.
- On June 19, 1974, Spillner pitched the second one-hit shutout in Padres history. The only hit was a single in the bottom of the third inning by Chicago's Rick Monday.
- Spillner is one of two players who attended Federal Way High School in Federal Way, WA, to make it to the majors. The other is current first baseman Travis Ishikawa.
- The list of ten pitchers most statistically similar to Spillner includes World Series hero Don Larsen, the man who gave up Tony Gwynn's 2000th hit (Bruce Ruffin), and three former Friars- Greg Harris, Bob Miller, and Tom Griffin.
- Spillner was traded by the Padres to Cleveland on June 14, 1978, in exchange for Dennis Kinney. But more about him on February 26.