Wednesday, March 4, 2015

#386 - Dan Gladden

What a card: This is Dan Gladden's rookie card. Topps issued it after he finished fourth in the Rookie of the Year voting in 1984 by batting .351 in 342 at-bats for the Giants.

My observation on the front: Choking up in the batting cage. That's a beautiful shot.

More opinion from me: How much advertising can you fit on one card? Well, there is logo for Topps and the Giants, of course. But if you find yourself wanting to purchase Starter jackets or Wilson sporting goods, you can blame the semi-subliminal messages for those products as well.

Something you might know: Gladden is one of seven players who were members of both the 1987 and 1991 World Series champion Twins teams.

Something you might not know: Gladden and Twins teammate Steve Lombardozzi were involved in a fistfight at Gladden's home in 1988. Gladden suffered a cracked ring finger and Lombardozzi showed up for work the next day with a black eye and a swollen face. The incident came about after Gladden and teammates took exception to Lombardozzi bolting to the clubhouse after being removed for a pinch-hitter during a game. Lombardozzi apparently went to Gladden's home to settle their differences.

My observation on the back: Gladden would never hit above .300 again and finished his career with a .270 batting average.

The blog wants to speak now: The TV category is updated.

Monday, March 2, 2015

#385 - Jose DeLeon

What a card: Jose DeLeon had finished his sophomore season with the Pirates in 1984. He was entering a season in which he would lose 19 games for the first -- but not the last -- time in his career. He went 2-19 for the Pirates in 1985.

My observation on the front: Another miscut card. It's detracting from the glorious mid-'80s Pirates uniform, including the yellow stirrups.

More opinion from me: Kind of an odd choice for a player with a card number ending in "5". The previous entry on this blog -- Jody Davis -- would have been more appropriate.

Something you might know: DeLeon possessed blazing speed and eventually put it together in the late '80s for the Cardinals, winning the NL strikeout crown in 1989 with 201.

Something you might not know: DeLeon was traded for some notable players. He was dealt straight up from the Pirates to the White Sox for Bobby Bonilla. Then he helped the White Sox land Lance Johnson in a deal with the Cardinals. In 1993, the Phillies traded him back to the White Sox for Bobby Thigpen. And then in 1995, the Expos traded future closer Jeff Shaw for DeLeon.

My observation on the back: The Cardinals now have the most NLCS wins with 35. The Reds have also been surpassed by the Braves (27), Giants (24), Dodgers (23), Phillies (21) and Mets (19). The Reds now have 18.

The blog wants to speak now: The News category is updated.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

#384 - Jody Davis

What a card: Jody Davis had just come off of a season in which he drove in a career-high 94 runs and finished 10th in the National League MVP voting when this card hit packs.

My observation on the front: That's an intense expression on Davis' face as he uses a blurry object to get another blurry object away from his crotch.

More opinion from me: Those jersey tops back then, they look like something we would have sold in the boyswear section of the department store I worked at in 1984.

Something you might know: Davis burst quickly on the scene for the Cubs and probably was at the peak of his popularity at the time of this card's arrival as he hit .389 with two home runs for Chicago in the NLCS loss to the Padres in 1984.

Something you might not know: Davis starred in a commercial for Toyota Trucks in 1986.

My observation on the back: According to wikipedia, the AL park with the shortest center field distance is now Angels Stadium at 396 feet.

The blog wants to speak now: The News category is updated.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

#383 - Rick Lysander

What a card: This is the middle card of Rick Lysander's three-card stint with Topps in the mid-1980s. He debuted in the 1984 Topps set and closed things out in the 1986 Topps set.

My observation the front: That is some kind of close-up shot, and some kind of mustache.

More opinion from me: I can't tell you how long it took me to figure out the Twins' "Win Twins" logo. I like it, but there's a lot going on in that thing.

Something you might know: Lysander toiled for eight years in the Oakland A's minor league organization, before getting a shot with Minnesota. In his rookie season in 1983, he appeared in 61 games, which was tied for seventh most in the American League that year.

Something you might not know: Lysander was one of the Padres' replacement players during the MLB players' strike in the spring of 1995.

My observation on the back: Look at all those city names. I particularly enjoy how he went from Vancouver to Jersey City to Ogden in the span of about a year-and-a-half.

The blog wants to speak now: The Other Cards category is updated.

Friday, February 20, 2015

#382 - Denny Walling

What a card: Denny Walling was used in 1984 as he was the previous six seasons for the Astros, as a platoon outfielder/corner infielder and pinch-hitter against right-handed pitching.

My observation on the front: I'll never understand the "staring off camera" pose, but I do like the palm tree.

More opinion from me: How many times do you think he got called "Danny" during his career? Thousands?

Something you might know: Walling's ability to pinch-hit was one of the best in big league history. He's currently tied for 13th all-time with 108 career pinch hits. When he retired, he was in the top 10.

Something you might not know: In Mike Scott's 2-0 no-hitter against the Giants that clinched the NL West pennant for the Astros in 1986, Walling scored both runs.

My observation on the back: Two straight card backs with black blotches. I guess I won't be selling this set for millions.

The blog wants to speak now: The Ballgames category is updated once again.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

#381 - Roy Smith

What a card: This is Roy Smith's rookie card. He also appears in the 1985 Donruss and Fleer sets. Smith made his major league debut in June of 1984.

My observation on the front: Smith appears mildly interested in something. The veterans have probably left him out again.

More opinion from me: "Roy Smith" is a wonderfully generic name if you want to slip under the radar as a baseball player. I don't remember Smith during his playing career and when I returned to collecting the 1986 Topps set decades later, I looked at Smith's card like he was an impostor.

Something you might know: Smith won 10 games as a member of the Twins' starting rotation in 1989. He and Allan Anderson were forced to pick up the slack during a season when Minnesota's former ace, Frank Viola, was traded to the Mets.

Something you might not know: Smith, who has been an executive and scout in baseball for the last two decades, was a big supporter of the Mets obtaining Blue Jays pitching prospect Noah Syndergaard in the deal for R.A. Dickey in 2012. Smith works with Paul DePodesta in the Mets' scouting department.

My observation the back: Jose Abreu just broke Kittle's White Sox rookie home run record last year when he hit 36.

The blog wants to speak now: The Ballgames category is updated.

Monday, February 16, 2015

#380 - Ken Griffey

What a card: Ken Griffey had another bout with injuries in 1984 and settled for 399 at-bats and a .273 batting average, which was his worst since his second year in the majors in 1974.

My observation on the front: Whoa, miscut card.

More opinion from me: Griffey never looked right to me as a Yankee. He looked beefy and slow and that was not his image with the Cincinnati Reds.

Something you might know: A starting member of the Big Red Machine teams of the mid-1970s, Griffey later became known as "Ken Griffey Jr.'s dad," and father and son played together on the same team with Seattle.

Something you might not know: Griffey said his first couple of years with the Yankees were rough because he was perceived by his teammates as a Cincinnati Red, the team that swept the Yankees in the 1976 World Series.

My observation on the back: The blurb needs an update: Ken, Ken Jr. and Stan Musial share the same hometown.

The blog wants to speak now: The TV category is updated.