Now, for no good reason, here's a minor league card of Steve Jeltz. Actually, that's not true. I already had a vague sense that this no-hit, all-hair infielder was something of a 1980s cult figure, and I was giving serious consideration to posting this card earlier this week. (Fun fact: he was born in Paris, France!) I passed on it, but his name was brought up independently by reader Jim in the comments for my Luis Mercedes entry. It's funny how you bring up jheri curls and subpar major leaguers whose cards just seem to multiply in your collection and the next thing you know, there's Steve!
Before this card came into my collection, I had no idea that the immortal Jeltz had played out the string in the Orioles organization. Still fiesty at 32, he had played his way out of the majors by batting .210 in eight seasons with the Phillies and Royals; a .155 average, .394 OPS, and 12 OPS+ in 1990 was the final nail in the coffin. So it was that Steve began the next season as a Rochester Red Wing, keeping the shortstop position warm for the up-and-coming Ricky Gutierrez. Jeltz finished the season with Toronto's AAA club in Syracuse and Baseball Reference regrettably doesn't break out his stats, but I can tell you that between the two clubs he batted .188 and slugged .254 in 71 games. In other words, it's not likely that this dude was ever in danger of becoming a Baltimore Oriole. Still, all it might have taken was a Cal Ripken, Jr. ankle sprain...there but for the grace of God.