Please feel free to skip down to the picture, but the impending Game 1 has me waxing lyrical tonight.
Ajax was one of those mythical mighty Greek warriors you hear about sometimes. He was apparently extremely strong (though I don't know what the Greek equivalent of Rod Allen's "country strong" is) and also very intelligent, especially when it came to battle.
Fast forward some number of centuries and you'll find another AJax--Austin Jackson--as a top New York Yankees OF prospect. A couple years after he bursts onto the scene, he's part of a deal that sends former blog favorite and face of the Tigers Curtis Granderson to the Evil Empire in a three-way deal that also includes the Diamondbacks. Joining Jackson in the deal are fellow Yankee Phil Coke, a pitcher, and Max Scherzer, a fireballing starter for Arizona. The deal is universally panned by the writers of this blog, and many Detroit fans are equally angry, while some take a "wait and see" approach.
Jackson's 2010 debut performance earns him second place in the Rookie of the Year voting, and it looks like he may after all live up to his potential and swing the deal back to the Tigers' favor. Then 2011 occurs, and while his power increases slightly, his batting average and OBP take a nosedive, partially thanks to and even larger number of strikeouts. His performance in the postseason isn't much better, and although Scherzer shows some flashes, Granderson puts up numbers that make this look like a steal for the Bombers.
But then something interesting happens: 2012 rolls around and Jackson begins to do more than just show progress: he has a breakout season in which he improves all of his key stats, including cutting down on strikeouts, and plays a key role on a team that for a while was eking out a playoff spot. Meanwhile, despite Phil Coke's meltdown, Max Scherzer becomes a crucial part of an outstanding rotation. And although the Yankees surely appreciate Granderson's power surge, they apparently don't realize that he's become their team's Rob Deer.
This story continues with a nice postseason so far for all three Tigers that were part of that deal, not the least of whom is Jackson, who put up big numbers as the Tigs swept his former team back to the nursing home they came from (with some nice performances from a newly-confident Phil Coke as well).
What I'm trying to say here is that it's taken me this long, but I finally appreciate that that deal that cost my favorite player has been a bigger boon to my team than I could have realized. Thus, Jackson is a guy whom I've slowly been collecting in the last few months. However, back in June when I first began piling up cards for this epic haul, Jackson's excellent regular and postseason were still a ways down the road, so it's just dumb luck that I picked up a couple nice things of him when I did. And now that the Tigers are set to face off with the Giants tonight in Game 1, here's one of those pickups to get myself and fellow Tigers fans in the mood:
Austin Jackson 2010 Topps Update Manufactured Rookie logo patch (#378/500)
Win or lose, I'll be showing off a few other Tigers pickups during the Series, (good luck to you, Giants fans, I hope for a great Series for both of our teams!) and I'll tease you guys a bit by mentioning that I picked up one other Jackson that's way better than this one, so stay tuned! As for tonight, GO TIGERS!