Thursday, January 18, 2018

#745 - Buddy Bell

What a card: Buddy Bell really went out with a bang with the Rangers in 1984. In his last full season with Texas, he .315 with a career-high on-base percentage of .382 and came close to career marks in several other categories.

My observation on the front: This is card number 9 of a Ranger in the wonderful red jersey. These cards rule.

More opinion from me: Bell is one of those players that was first hitting the majors when I was first learning the game. I feel a connection with those players and it seems like they should never be old.

Something you might know: Bell is one of four three-generation (grandfather-father-son) families in baseball as the middle man between father, Gus, and son, David.

Something you might not know: Bell grew up in Cincinnati (where his dad played) and didn't live far from future Reds owner Marge Schott. He used to cut across her lawn (unbeknownst by Schott).

My observation on the back: It seems odd to see David Bell's name mentioned casually with the other kids' names. (If David had as much success as his father, it'd be even more odd).

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

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

#744 - Doug Bair

What a card: Doug Bair was coming off a season in which he was a key part of the World Series champion Tigers' relief corps. He appeared in 47 games for Detroit in 1984.

My observation on the front: It looks cold and dark there.

More opinion from me: Bair kind of gets cheated out of two more Topps cards. This is his last card in flagship, but he pitched quite a bit in 1986 and 1989 and didn't receive a card the next year from Topps. Fleer gave him one in '87 and Score in 1990.

Something you might know: Bair was one of those relievers who always landed in the postseason. He pitched in the 1979 NLCS with the Reds, the 1982 World Series with the Cardinals and the 1984 World Series with the Tigers.

Something you might not know: One of Bair's children, Heather Lea Bair, is a professional dancer who has performed on Broadway. She was born a few days before the 1982 World Series.

My observation on the back: Bair's save total in 1978 (28) was third-best in the majors that year. Only Rollie Fingers (37) and Kent Tekulve (31) had more.

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

Friday, January 12, 2018

#743 - Frank White

What a card: Frank White continued to click along in his 12th year with the Royals in 1984, hitting what was then a career-high of 17 home runs in 129 games. He was entering his power phase as he hit single-season HR totals of 17, 22, 22 and 17 starting in 1984, numbers he didn't approach any other time in his career.

My observation on the front: White seems like he regrets setting himself into motion here.

More opinion from me: One of my favorite All-Star cards of the All-Star card golden age (1975-81) is White's 1980 Topps card.

Something you might know: White spent all 18 seasons of his career with the Royals. He and George Brett appeared in 1,914 games together, a record for teammates until the Tigers' Alan Trammell and Lou Whitaker broke it.

Something you might not know: White is the Jackson County (Missouri) Executive and has been involved in several political spats over the past year.

My observation on the back: The Ban Johnson baseball league is a 90-year-old league in Kansas City that features the top collegiate players in the area.

The blog wants to speak now: The Pop Culture tab is updated.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

#742 - Ron Hassey

What a card: Ron Hassey shows up on a card as a Chicago Cub as he came over to the Cubs in the deal that landed Chicago pitcher Rick Sutcliffe in June of 1984. Hassey played in just 19 games for the Cubs and was dealt to the Yankees in December 1984.

My observation on the front: Hassey looks like a catcher more than almost anyone else looks like a catcher.

More opinion from me: I will always remember Hassey as the guy who caught Dennis Eckersley when Kirk Gibson hit his home run to win Game 1 of the 1988 World Series. Happy times.

Something you might know: Hassey is the only player in MLB history to catch two perfect games in his career. He caught Len Barker's perfect game in 1981 with the Indians and he caught Dennis Martinez's perfect game in 1991 with the Expos.

Something you might not know: Hassey was traded so often between New York and Chicago (both the Cubs and White Sox) during a short period that writer Peter Gammons made a starting lineup out of the players he was traded for:

C - Joel Skinner; 1B - Brian Dayett; 2B - Wayne Tolleson; 3B - Scott Bradley; SS - Mike Soper; LF - Ron Kittle; CF - Joe Carter; RF - Mel Hall; P - Neil Allen, Don Schulze, Ray Fontenot, Britt Burns

My observation on the back: I like to think the trivia question is foreshadowing Hassey's trade to the White Sox. He'd be with the team one year after this card came out.

The blog wants to speak now: Not this time. It's been a crazy couple of days of work.

Monday, January 8, 2018

#741 - John Butcher

What a card: John Butcher completed his first season with the Twins in 1984. He was a full-time starter for the first time in his career and set career bests in innings pitched, victories and earned-run average.

My observation on the front: One of the more interesting cards in the set. Butcher's facial expression seems to indicate he's signing some official document, but he's actually signing autographs.

More opinion from me: I am dying to know what baseball card is being offered by the person above Butcher.

Something you might know: Butcher came to the Twins along with fellow pitcher Mike Smithson for former Twins all-star outfielder Gary Ward.

Something you might not know: Butcher received his first major league start when he was inserted as a replacement for the suspended Ferguson Jenkins for the Rangers' game against the A's on Sept. 9, 1980. Jenkins had been arrested on drug possession charges on Aug. 25 in Toronto and was later suspended by commissioner Bowie Kuhn. Butcher pitched a complete-game six-hitter as the Rangers beat the A's, 6-2.

My observation on the back: Other major leaguers to attend Yavapai College include Curt Schilling, Chad Curtis, Kole Calhoun, Billy Hatcher and Ken Giles.

The blog wants to speak now: The Pop Culture tab is updated.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

#740 - Jack Clark

What a card: Jack Clark was already with the Cardinals when this card was being pulled out of packs. San Francisco traded Clark, who lost most of the 1984 season to knee surgery, in February 1985 for Dave LaPoint, David Green, Jose Uribe and Gary Rajisch.

My observation on the front: He's got his eye on the ball.

More opinion from me: I didn't like Clark even before he hit that Game 7 home run off of  the Dodgers' Tom Niedenfuer in the 1985 NLCS. Possibly the most disgusted I've ever been over a sporting event.

Something you might know: Clark hit in 26 straight games as a 22-year-old for the Giants in 1978.

Something you might not know: Clark began his pro career as a pitcher in 1973. He was converted to an outfielder four games into his pitching career by his Rookie League manager in Great Falls, Montana, Art Mazmanian.

My observation on the back: Clark might have played more than 57 games in 1984 but he refused to play the final month of the season after having knee surgery, not wanting to risk it. It was one of many feuds he had with manager Frank Robinson and it led to him being dealt to the Cardinals.

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

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

#739 - Ernie Camacho

What a card: Ernie Camacho was coming off a career season when this card was issued. He set career highs in several categories in 1984 and led the Indians in saves with 23.

My observation on the front: This is the 12th card in the set of a player shown without a cap.

More opinion from me: Back in the mid-1980s, I got Camacho and boxer Hector "Macho" Camacho confused all the time. Macho Camacho was a super featherweight champion at the same time Ernie Camacho was emerging as a reliever.

Something you might know: Camacho came over to the Indians in the trade with the Brewers that sent Gorman Thomas to Cleveland and Rick Manning to Milwaukee.

Something you might not know: Last spring, Camacho helped establish a foundation in the Salinas, Calif., school district where he works for district kids who want to pursue their education after high school. He also raises money to fight Alzheimer's disease, which claimed his father.

My observation on the back: Camacho's hobby has come in handy as he joined the Salinas school district after his career to provide plumbing and electrical work.

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