This is Paul Boris' first, last, and only card. Not just his only Topps card, but his only major issue card since Fleer and Donruss ignored the 26 year-old middle reliever. He looks pretty happy to be here in the insert pic. The larger "action" shot he looks a bit lost, almost sheepish.
Player: Paul Boris played college ball at Rutgers but went undrafted and signed with with the Yankees in 1978. After four seasons in the minors, three of which resulted in ERA's under 2.50, the Twins showed some interest and tabbed him as a Rule 5 pick prior to the '82 season. Minnesota decided to return the righty reliever to the Yankees when camp broke in April. However, the Twins pulled off a deal that sent Roy Smalley to the Yankees is exchange for Ron Davis, Greg Gagne, and Boris.
Boris spent April and most of May in the minors before making his MLB debut on 5/21/82. The New Jersey native pitched in Yankee Stadium against his former organization and nerves may have contributed to his poor outing as he allowed four runs in two-thirds of an inning against the Bronx Bombers.
He rebounded by pitching fairly well in long relief the rest of the year, usually logging two to four frames per outing. He finished the year with a 3.99 ERA, 1.309 WHIP, and a 19/30 walk to strikeout ratio in 49.2 innings.
Boris didn't make the team in '83, treading on with a 6.75 ERA in 89 innings at AAA Toledo. He again pitched at the AAA level in '84 but this time in Richmond for the Braves with a 3.95 ERA but allowed almost two runners per inning. Boris seems to disappear and it is a mystery to me if he continued playing in Mexico, Japan, bought a car wash, sold insurance... who knows?
Flipside: His victory on June 23 was not only his only big league win, it was also the only game the Twins won when Boris pitched. Such is the life of a rookie mop-up man. He twice came into games with leads but both times he blew the leads and was hung with the loss.
Oddball: Although it may seem obvious now, it's never a good idea to sell beer for 10 cents or even 25 cents at a sporting event. On May 24, 1983 the Toledo Mud Hens held one of their Concession Nights. One of the bargains was beer for a quarter and many of the 1,775 fans enjoyed a dollar or two worth of frothy brew. Boris was the starting pitcher for the Mud Hens against the Tidewater Tides but took the loss in the 11-1 lopsided affair. The game was marred by fights in the stands and 12 paying customers were ejected. After the game the Tides dodged flying cups of ale and several had their hats stolen.
History: Boris had just five months of major league action but he seemed to perform the job asked of him as a long man. His card is one of the few I have no memory of seeing when the set came out almost 30 years ago.