2004 Topps #247 Chad Bradford Oakland A's
I'm not sure it's possible to get a good background in a pitcher shot at Oakland Coliseum, so I won't hold it against Chad here. In general this is a cool photo, but then again it's hard to get a bad shot of a submarine pitcher. I have a warm spot in my heart for the A's, being a collector of all thinks Kansas City Athletics, so any card with the white elephant sleeve patch on display is a winner.
Until reading this card, I hadn't realized how quickly the book "Moneyball" went mainstream. It was about the 2002 season and it was released in 2003, the same year that 2004 Topps Series 1 was released. That's a pretty fast turn around by Topps, a company not known for keeping up to date with pop culture. Bradford was featured prominently in Moneyball as a pitcher despised by scouts and loved by statisticians. Casey Bond played him in the movie and did a pretty damn good job emulating his release.
Except he got the glove hand wrong. Bradford always had his wrist cocked out like in the card above, probably for balance. Chad had a pretty damn successful career for a specialty arm, giving up only 28 homeruns against 1,500 batters. When will folks learn that there's something to this sidearm thing? A lot of average pitchers have had great careers all because of deceptive release points.
Bradford's unique pitching style led to a unique Foil Man that I declare to be worth:
I can't give out a perfect score on my second post, otherwise I would. This Foil Man is a great representation of the card. The jersey number and logo are defined and there aren't heavy and confusing uniform wrinkles. A person who only saw the Foil Man might think that Chad is either shooting dice or bowling New England style.