A zit-faced high school senior…once admired.
“No one jumps when the phone rings at Todd Van Poppel’s house. It rings almost constantly, and not just because Todd is a typical high school senior. It rings because Todd just may be the next Nolan Ryan.” SI
I was in Jr. high when i read this article in a 1990 issue of SI, but thought nothing of the zit faced high school senior because my beloved A’s had no shot at getting him with the 14th pick that year. Ol’ Todd didn’t help out the situation by saying he was going to college, scaring off most teams, including the Braves who swallowed their pride and took a scrub by the name of “Chipper” Jones. The A’s, being the perpetual team of desperation took a shot on the guy and “zitface” decided the big leagues was where it was at. Apparently, when the A’s signed Van Poppel, they signed him to a major league contract and not a minor contract. Consequently, the A’s could only use a limited number of minor league options on Van Poppel, so they had to rush him through the minors and he never really had time to develop. In scouting reports, Van Poppel was described as having a blazing fastball with no movement, which helps explain the discrepancy between his A- numbers and the rest of his career. Van Poppel was a career reliever who bounced around from the Tigers,Rangers,Pirates,Cubs and Reds, never coming close to Ryan’s 324 wins and ended his career with a paltry 40-52 record becoming one of the biggest busts in baseball history. I, like every other red-blooded american dipshit bought into the false and largely propagated by Upper Deck baseball card craze of the 90’s and stocked up on Van Pimple cards never dreaming that you could find it (with case) 22 years later for exactly 1 cent on amazon.com. (the case being more valuable than the card.)