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Indians Keith Atherton rocks specs and eyeblack

May 7, 2010
Keith Atherton 1989 Topps Traded No. 4

Keith Atherton 1989 Topps Traded No. 4

It appears in this 1989 Topps card that Keith Atherton, then of the Cleveland Indians, was preparing for a sunny day at old Tiger Stadium.

The bespectacled Atherton was also sporting eye black prior to a game in his final season in the major leagues. Obviously this photo was taken a couple of years before players started adopting Oakley sunglasses.

Cleveland traded  outfielder and designated hitter Carmen Castillo for Atherton just weeks before the season started to bolster its bullpen. Atherton had served as a set-up man for Jeff Reardon during the Twins’ 1987 championship season. The season before the trade Atherton had a record of 7-5 with a 3.41 earned run average.

As a relief pitcher in 1989, he appeared in 32 games for the Tribe and went 0-3 with 4.15 ERA and three saves.

One bright spot came when Atherton struck out Bo Jackson to halt an eighth inning rally by the Kansas City Royals on May 9, 1989. The strikeout caused Jackson to hop away the plate and break the bat over his thigh.

A month later, Atherton was sent down to Cleveland’s top farm team the Colorado Springs Sky Sox with a promise of being recalled in two weeks.

Nearly four weeks later, Atherton was released by the Indians and out of the major leagues for good. Ten days after being released he was signed to a minor league contract by the Detroit Tigers. He finished the season with the Toledo Mud Hens before being released. The Montreal Expos signed him to a minor league contract prior to the 1990 only to have Atherton change his mind and rejoin the Twins as a non-roster player.

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