Not that I like saying “I told you so.” But I sure wasn’t shocked when Johan Santana went down with season-ending surgery a couple weeks ago.
This was to be expected. Not only is he the latest victim of the Hallmark curse, he is proof it exists.
People, especially friends in the Crane Pool Forum, scoffed when I exposed this. But the track record speaks for itself. There is no denying it at this point.
In case you missed that one, it’s become an established fact that whomever Hallmark selects to be this year’s Christmas ornament is destined to spend the holidays and the rest of the off-season recovering from a catastrophic injury — or worse.
Here’s the quick listing as a refresher.
2009: Our Johan, season-ending surgery
2008: Nomar Garciaparra, played just 55 games and drove in 28 runs
2007: David Ortiz, robbed of his power — 55 homers to 35 — due to mysterious ailment or lack of “supplements.”
2006: Alex Rodriguez, reduced to batting eighth in post-season, photographed with strange woman in Toronto, dated Madonna, dumped by wife, outed for steroid use back in 2003, hip ailment, deemed never to be a true Yankee.
2005: Albert Pujols, missed three weeks the next season, allowing Ryan Howard to steal his MVP Award.
2004: Barry Bonds, life pretty much went to hell.
2004: Willie Mays, other than the shame of being depicted as San Francisco Giant instead of a New York Giant or Met, Willie is one of the rare exceptions to the curse.
2003: Jason Giambi, linked to BALCO scandal, Yankee taint.
2003: Ted Williams, died, head lopped off, frozen.
2002: Derek F. Jeter, became smug, homely, over-rated weasel with no range. Team hasn’t won a series since this ornament was cast.
2002: George Brett, like Mays, seemed to be the rare exception.
2001: Sammy Sosa, had one more decent season before the wheels came off, another player allegedly outed by leaked test results.
2001: Mickey Mantle, was dead by six years when ornament came out. Remained dead.
2000: Mark McGwire, was hurt for much of the season, hit just .187 the following year. ùù 2000 and 1999: Ken Griffey Jr., was traded two months after Christmas ornament came out, with Hallmark issuing a second one the following year.
1998: Cal Ripken Jr., went from playing 161 games in 1998 to just 86 in 1999. Here’s where the curse kicked in, when Hallmark started going after active players.
1997: Hank Aaron, a safe and glorious choice.
1996: Nolan Ryan, the first ornament, sadly depicting Ryan playing for some Texas team instead of his glory days, winning his only World Championship with the 1969 Mets.
You just can’t make this stuff up.
About the only thing we can do now is start e-mailing Hallmark requesting — no, demanding — that they produce ornaments of Phillies and Yankees in 2010. All of them.
And David Wright? He doesn’t exist, as far as you know, Hallmark.