All Adults Here by Emma Straub


1975 Topps Rusty Staub

All Adults Here is a story about three generations of the Strick family set in Clapham, New York, a fictional town just south of Rhinebeck, New York. It’s a wonderful book about the relationships between parents and children and the continuous discovering of your own self. There is absolutely no baseball in it, no mention of anything that would inspire a bookmark choice, no names that work perfectly, and the location, being fictional, doesn’t even allow a player born there. Although, as it is set in New York, both my choices work as having connections to the Mets, and if Clapham is next to Rhinebeck, that puts it about 100 or so miles away from Cooperstown, NY.

There has only been one Strick to play baseball in what’s been considered a top professional league. Charles Strick played in 32 games for the Louisville Eclipse in 1882. The Eclipse played in the American Association throughout the league’s existence, from 1882 to 1891. After the league folded, they joined the National League and played through the 1899 season as the Louisville Colonels after a name change in 1885. The team’s run ended after owner Barney Dreyfuss became the controlling owner of the Pittsburgh Pirates. He would bring 14 of his players to Pittsburgh with him, including future Hall of Famers Honus Wagner and Fred Clarke. I WISH I had a Honus Wagner card to use, (not that I would, of course), preferably the 1909-11 T206 card. But, alas, I don’t. So I had to look elsewhere.

My first alternate choice, and probably the more appropriate one really, was to use a Hunter Strickland card. There have been several Stricklands to play Major League Baseball, including Scott Strickland, who also played for the Mets, putting together a pretty good run of 87 games over the 2002 and 2003 seasons in which he had a 3.30 ERA and two saves. But, as a Giants fan, I am much more familiar with Hunter Strickland, so that’s where my mind went. Too familiar, really. So familiar, I don’t like Hunter Strickland.* I was never impressed with his all hard repertoire, hard fastball, hard slider, nothing else except for an ineffective change-up. He gave up a reliever record SIX home runs during the 2014 postseason, including two home runs to Bryce Harper during the NLDS. Presumably, that was fuel enough to throw at Harper’s head in 2017, setting off a brawl in which it was later noted that his catcher, Buster Posey, seemed to have little interest in protecting his pitcher from the charging Harper. The next year, installed as closer for the Giants while Mark Melancon was on the disabled list, he blew a save against the Mariners and took his frustration out on a door. The door won, fracturing Strickland’s finger and forcing the volatile pitcher to require surgery. For the Mets in 2020, Strickland pitched in just four games, allowing four runs in a little over three innings pitched. I have no interest in watching Hunter pitch, and I had no interest in staring at his baseball card.

*I didn’t like Hunter Strickland on the Giants, but he was on the mound for one of my favorite radio moments. This is all from memory, so won’t be perfectly accurate, but to the best of my recollection Jon Miller announced “Fastball from Strickland.” Dave Fleming jumped in and asked, “How do you know it’s a fastball? People always ask us that, ‘how do you know the pitches?'” “Well, Dave,” Miller responded, “that pitch was NINETY-SEVEN miles per hour… there’s another 97 mile per hour pitch we think may have been a fastball.”

Instead I decided to go with the only Rusty Staub card I had, the author’s name being juuuuuuust close enough to Staub to make me feel justified. And since it shows him as a member of the New York Mets I felt slightly more justified. I discovered during my search for a Rusty Staub card that Topps didn’t include him in their 1972 or 1973 sets even though Staub was an all-star in 1971 and was an every day player for the first two months of 1972 before being hit by a pitch and missing most of the rest of the year. It turns out Rusty had a contractual argument with Topps, refusing to agree to the licensing, and was therefore left out of those sets. Staub had a very solid career, with 2,700 hits, 500 hits for four different teams, 1,100 runs, 1,400 RBI’s, 6 all star appearances, just short of 300 home runs, and one fantastic nickname from his days playing in Montreal: Le Grand Orange.

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