Monday, February 8, 2016

#499 - Danny Cox


What a card: This is Danny Cox's first Topps card. It was quite sought-after at the time as Cox enjoyed a breakout year in 1985 with 18 wins and two starts in the World Series.

My observation on the front: Cox doesn't look right without his mustache.

More opinion from me: Cox was one of several Cardinals of the mid-1980s that kicked off a dislike for the team that continues to this day. Prior to '85, I enjoyed the Cardinals.

Something you might know: Cox formed a devastating rotation for the Cardinals with John Tudor and Joaquin Andujar in 1985. Later he pitched the NLCS-clinching win against the Giants in 1987.

Something you might not know: Cox is one of less than 40 major league ballplayers born in England.


My observation on the back: Thanks to collecting cards in 1976, I've known the answer to that trivia quiz since I was 10.

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

Thursday, February 4, 2016

#498 - Ed Romero


What a card: Ed Romero played in a career-high 116 games in 1984 -- one of only two seasons in which he played in at least 100 games. He was the beneficiary of the Brewers' decision to shut down Paul Molitor, who underwent season-ending elbow surgery early in the season.

My observation on the front: A batting cage AND choking up on the bat? This is like my dream card.

More opinion from me: The front says Romero plays short, second and the outfield. Yet, he played most of his games at third base in 1984.

Something you might know: Romero spent 12 seasons as a utility infielder, mostly for the Brewers and Red Sox. And like any good utility infielder, he parlayed that into a managing career after his playing days were over. He's managed in the New York-Penn League the last 3 seasons.

Something you might not know: Romero made his major league debut on my 12th birthday. ... Yeah, I know I'm the only one who cares.


My observation on the back: "One-base hits" is just a fancy way to say "singles."

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

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

#497 - Gary Pettis


What a card: This is Gary Pettis' first Topps flagship card, except it isn't. The photo is actually of Pettis' 16-year-old brother, Lynn Pettis, making this card the biggest gaffe in the entire set. 

My observation on the front: I don't know how this got past anybody. That's a high school kid plain as day.

More opinion from me: I'm just noticing a weird green blotchy streak on the card. Bummer.

Something you might know: Topps claimed this was the result of a practical joke put on by Gary and his brother, but Gary said it was just an old photo from an Angels family day, featuring Lynn wearing Gary's uniform, and the picture somehow ended up in the set. (For what it's worth, Topps got the correct Pettis for the 1984 Traded card).

Something you might not know: Pettis was such a good fielder, particularly early in his career, that longtime Angels coach Jimmie Reese once said, "I'd compare him to Joe DiMaggio, Paul Blair and Willie Mays."


My observation on the back: At the time this card was issued, Mike Schmidt had hit 425 of the 548 homers in his career.

The blog wants to speak now: The Ballgames category is updated. The Royals are in trouble.

Friday, January 29, 2016

#496 - Donnie Scott


What a card: This is Donnie Scott's rookie card. He played in a career-high 81 games for the Rangers in 1984, batting .221.

My observation on the front: Scott is looking longingly at his batting doughnut. Must be hungry.

More opinion from me: I miss the days when I had obscure big-leaguers like Donnie Scott on instant recall.

Something you might know: Scott was a backup catcher for the Rangers, Mariners and Reds who played in the majors from 1983-85 and then didn't return to the big leagues until 1990.

Something you might not know: Scott recently returned to manage the Madison Mallards for a fourth season. The Mallards are a team in the Northwoods League, a summer collegiate league that has featured players like Curtis Granderson, Ben Zobrist and Jordan Zimmermann.


My observation on the back: Henderson's stolen base record occurred a mere three years before this card was issued. It was pretty big news. These trivia questions aren't impressing me.

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

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

#495 - Mario Soto


What a card: Mario Soto was coming off a season in which he won a career-high 18 games when this card was issued.

My observation on the front: Soto is smiling broadly because he just completed one of the best five-year spans for a pitcher from that period.

More opinion from me: Soto was one of the more despised pitchers during my initial Dodgers rooting phase. He seemed to own the Dodgers, although I couldn't prove it in this post.

Something you might know: Soto was the ace of the Reds squad during the early 1980s, particularly in 1983 and 1984. He finished in the top 10 in Cy Young Award voting three times between 1980-84 and was annually among the leaders in strikeouts.

Something you might not know: Soto is one of 29 major league pitchers to have allowed four home runs in one inning. He did it in 1986 against the Expos (Andre Dawson, Hubie Brooks, Tim Wallach, Mike Fitzgerald).


My observation on the back: Hey, it's a trivia question about Tony Gywnn. I think there's a blogger or two who collects his cards. Just a couple.

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

Monday, January 25, 2016

#494 - Rich Dauer


What a card: Rich Dauer was entering his final season in the majors when this card hit packs. He'd bat a meager .202 in his last year with the O's.

My observation on the front: Dauer might be on the bases easing into third. Or he might be hopping around after fouling one off his foot. It's tough to tell what's going on.

More opinion from me: The Orioles weren't my team, but I liked Bobby Grich. Rich Dauer was a big come down from Grich for me.

Something you might know: Dauer spent his entire career with the Orioles and set an AL record for most consecutive errorless games with 86 in 1978.

Something you might not know: Dauer set the Division I record for hits in a season while playing for USC. He totaled 108 in 1974. The record is now 142, set in 1985 (in 15 more games than USC played in '74).


My observation on the back: I so want to see a Philly Mule mascot.

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

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

#493 - Orel Hershiser


What a card: You're looking at another one of the major rookie cards in the 1985 Topps set. Orel Hershiser was coming off a season in which he finished third in the N.L. Rookie of the Year voting, behind Dwight Gooden and Juan Samuel.

My observation on the front: I just love this card. It is very Orel. He's rail thin, looks nothing like an athlete, yet is in complete command.

More opinion from me: There is a moment in time that I remember vividly. I am in my parents' house, bent over a sports section that's on the kitchen table. I'm looking at the Dodgers' write-up and I'm looking at this name: "Orel Hershiser? Orel? Hershiser? Where'd they get this guy?" That's the thought going through my head.

Something you might know: Hershiser won 19 games in his second season (against 3 losses), then in 1988 set a record for consecutive scoreless innings and carried the Dodgers to the World Series title, winning MVP honors.

Something you might not know: After Hershiser's 1988 season, he signed a new 3-year contract that was the richest deal ever at the time. When he reported to spring training and went to his locker, which featured his uniform number 55 on it, someone had put slashes through the 5s to make them look like dollar signs.


My observation on the back: Hershiser was born in the same town as I was. I'm very proud of that.

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