Jeff Kubenka was drafted by the Dodgers in the 38th round of the 1996 amateur draft. The lefty reliever appeared in six games for LA in 1998 (0.96 ERA), and six more in 1999 (11.74 ERA). And that was it for Kubenka's big-league career. Although he ended up with an earned run average that was nothing to write home about, his career batting average puts him at the very top of the all-time list... as long as it's a list for which one plate appearance qualifies.
I often talk about a player's first major league game, but in Kubenka's case we'll take a look at his last. It was Sunday afternoon, August 8, 1999, at Shea Stadium in New York. The Dodgers sent the talented, though fragile, Darren Dreifort to the mound to face the Mets. The Dodger bats were hot that day, and by the time Dreifort left the game, with one out in the seventh inning, the Dodgers led 11-2. Enter Kubenka, who would allow just a solo homer to reserve infielder Luis Lopez in his inning-and-two-thirds of work. But Jeff's favorite memory of this, his final game, has to be his lone plate appearance in the major leagues. In the top of the eighth, Kubenka stroked a line drive single to right, and would later score on an Eric Karros base hit. He may have had an unremarkable career as a pitcher, but the man was a 1.000 hitter, and you can't take that away from him...
1999 Fleer/SkyBox Thunder Jeff Kubenka LAD #136
This card was chosen for me by Nick, as part of the First Dime Box Card Show. Not surprisingly, given its vintage, cards from this set are new to my collection. I usually don't like it when the player photo is taken completely out of context like this. But I have to say that I really like the traditional feel of the design. It's unique, without being overwhelming in the way, say, Metal Universe cards are. I liked the few samples Nick chose for me so much that I made a winning offer for a cheap 100+ card lot on eBay. They're not perfect cards, though. The photo choices can get a bit tedious. And then there's the problem of the flip sides, which include ridiculous attempts at hip lingo. SkyBox apparently didn't have much more of substance to say about Kubenka than I did:
We'll give it up for ya, J.K., 'cause you can play, and we'd take you on our fly team anyday.
Okay. When in Rome, I guess...
Props for dropping a PWMD on this blog, Dime Box King. Just doin' yo thing. You da bomb!
Yeah, good thing I only use the front of the cards for the PWMD set.