From time to time, a guest author who has passed the vetting process (me liking them) contributes something that makes everything I've written look like dog crap in comparison. The fifth and latest guest post, written by friend of the blog and all around class act Friar Fever, is no exception. Enjoy!In the card above, you have Dave Staton, a third baseman in the San Diego Padres organization in 1991. In fact, Upper Deck gives him a moniker of "Top Prospect '91". Now that has got to be one heavy burden to be forced to lug around. We all know that Staton didn't become a star player for the San Diego Padres, or any other Major League club for that matter, yet such a story is commonplace in a sport like baseball. Top prospects just don't pan out sometimes and they may find themselves sent to obscurity. Sadly, that such scenario has been the case for Dave Staton. That is, until his jersey was purchased by Gaslamp Ball at the 2012 Padres Fanfest and the start of a wonderful adventure began. In the blink of an eye, the name Dave Staton became relevant again through tales of The Sisterhood of The Traveling Jersey. As of right now, Staton's jersey has made way through Arizona, California, and even made a stop in Mexico.
A few months ago, inspired by what I'd seen on Friars On Cardboard, I went looking through my boxes for any Padres cards I could find. All of my efforts yielded me a pretty nice stack of cards. Cards I had forgotten that I'd had. Of course, I did nothing with them. Up until a month ago, they'd just been keeping me company on my desktop. One afternoon, while reading a post regarding the Staton jersey, I wondered if I even had some of his cards. Lo and behold, I found 3 different ones. Needless to say, I was a bit excited to somewhat make myself feel like I was part of the whole Dave Staton experience that has been happening on Gaslamp Ball. But, I never really looked at those cards, because I never really had a reason to. That is until I was asked to do this guest post and took them from the pile. One card was rather plain and looks like any other card. The next had him wearing #28 on the front of the card and #26 on the back. That was unique. However, it was on that 1991 prospect card that I made a very interesting and quite shocking discovery. All of Staton's accolades may not have ever been a possibility.
In the card above, you see Dave Staton swinging for the fences. What you don't see is that he had to fight to even have the chance. On the back of that 1991 Upper Deck card is a brief paragraph. Some background information on Staton and what he brings to the table. Needless to say, Upper Deck cuts right to the chase.
In his sophomore year of high school, Dave was diagnosed as having lupus, a disorder in which the immune system forms antibodies that attack healthy tissue. The pain became so intense that he had to use crutches. A few years later, his lupus in remission and no longer suffering, he was drafted in the 5th round by the Padres in 1989 and assigned to Spokane to play third base. There, he won the short season triple crown, batting .362 with 17 HR and 72 RBI in 70 games. He started 1990 playing third base at Riverside, but played mostly first base after his promotion to Wichita. Dave's 26 homers tied him for fourth best in the minor leagues in 1990.
Lupus. The disease that could have ended not only his playing career before it truly began, but could have cost him his life. Lupus could possibly be the reason for which his time with the Padres was so short. 2 years in the Bigs and gone. In fact, his final game as a Padre occurred on May 19th, 1994. Now, I don't know if lupus was the reason for his career ending. That's something only Dave Staton knows. All that I do know for sure is that Dave Staton was able to live his dream and play in the Major Leagues. Luckily, with the help of a spring training jersey, Gaslamp Ball and many of their followers will be able to continue the legacy of Dave Staton a mere 18 years later. A legacy that was far too short. A legacy that we all wish could have included more reasons to cheer during the 90s. But most importantly, it is a legacy that will be forever immortalized in baseball cards and jerseys because his health allowed it to happen.
TTG, thank you for the opportunity to contribute a guest post to your awesome blog. I hope this post was as intriguing to you and your followers as it has been for me. Go Padres!