Trader Jack is back. They've taken him out of the mothballs and planted him back in the Marlins dugout, and he made a great stride forward by taking Hanley Ramirez out of the starting lineup as soon as he marched into town.
Who is this guy? Where did he come from? Let us use his old baseball cards to travel through time and learn about our former former manager.
We start back in the Kennedy years, with the earliest card we could find. McKeon went 156-121 managing the Wilson Tobs for the 1960 and 1961 seasons, where he coached future all-star Rich Rollins and apparently picked up his old-man posture 50 years early.
Now we've got McKeon's rookie card from the 1973 Royals, where he coached Lou Pinella and started pondering a sweet '80s mustache. It's not there yet, but you can tell it's building right below the surface:
The cheek wad makes a return appearance in 1974. This, of course, was back when it was only a rumor that chewing tobacco made your face melt off.
Fast-forward 15 years, to the second of McKeon's three seasons with San Diego. He somehow looks older than he does now, but there is no denying the majesty of that genuine American lip-tickler. I hear the Padres used to crack up at his impersonation of an aging pro, desperate for love and trolling for hugs in the supermarket parking lot.
He must have gotten a few of those hugs (thanks, Publix), because he looks downright regal in 1990, the season he took the lenses out of his glasses and got fired after 90 games:
Before he came to the Marlins, McKeon went 291-259 in three and a half seasons in Cincinatti, where he finally perfected his subtle method of leaning on things to keep from tipping over and losing track of where he was. Rumor has it that's where his mustache went -- he dropped it in a drug store and it never found its way home:
And then there are the Marlins cards. I don't know who is taking these pictures, but they must have something against this guy because there isn't a flattering one in the bunch:
It's a bold move, hiring McKeon back despite the concerns that he may have lost a step or may not still be technically alive. But if he sticks around long enough, we might get another baseball card out of the deal.
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