And the winner is...bigthin13
Congratulations! You have won two field level seats to Opening Day, 2014. Tickets exchange will be coordinated via email.
For the rest of you, here is the solution:
1. Dick Egan
I do believe that you all missed the clues I have embedded in my intro. Those of you who had never played are forgiven. Those of you who have with puzzle books, or HAD played before, shame on you!
The most telling clue I gave was clue #6 "you know all you need to know". Why? Because I had dropped enough mentionables in the narrative above. As usual, I hid those mentionables within my flowery delivery.
Now you know why I used the phrase "just in time for Valentine's Day".
Now you know why I used the phrase "springing a surprise on you".
Now you know why I went out of my to mention the denominations, which included Andrew Jackson and Woodrow Wilson.
You probably still don't get the phrase "light a little fire under you". But the Gaelic roots for Egan turn out to be, yeah, "little fire".
These were groups of similarly-named players. Not necessarily related. hence clue #5: "in an un-related way, once you get started it gets easier. You should have realized after a little time that these players were groups with similar last names. Find one last name and there were sure to be one or more others with that same last name. It follows that there should be no player with a last name that stood alone.
I did get nasty this time, but that was because the stakes were high and my job is to generate sustained interest and traffic. I had to give others some kind of chance to slip in beneath the usual and customary slaughterhouse that Designerguy typically rains down on me. So I used way more players than ever before. I broke down the cards into pieces that did not necessarily include a complete portrait. I rotated the pieces (although I did not flip anything), and I used one very nasty trick I have used at least once before: the player card was not from when that player was in an Angels uni. Ellis Valentine was a well known player of the 70's and early 80's, who played only one season in Anaheim: 1983. I used his 1982 card, the year just prior when he was a Met. Wikipedia has a nice page that lists all the players who have ever played for the Angels (here). Once you get the idea that players are in groups and nobody stands alone, and once you get the easy Halo of Bobby Valentine, that Wiki page and the Mets uniform should have led you to one of the two baseball players named Valentine who were once a Met AND a Halo in their career. Ellis. The other Valentine who did that same thing was...Bobby. look it up.
So, again, CONGRATULATIONS TO bigthin13 for plowing through this!!! You are now going to Opening Day 2014.