Monday, July 25, 2016

#557 - Len Barker

What a card: Len Barker was coming off his first full season with Atlanta when this card was issued. But he missed the last two months with an elbow injury.

My observation on the front: Barker's wind-up featured a big leg kick, which led to a strong downward arm motion from the 6-foot-5 pitcher. It created some fairly cool baseball card photos. His 1981 Topps card has always been a favorite.

More opinion from me: I still remember reading about Barker's perfect game the morning after as I loaded up papers for my carrier route.

Something you might know: Barker pitched the first perfect game in 13 years when he no-hit the Blue Jays on May 15, 1981. He led the American League in strikeouts in back-to-back years in 1980 and 1981.

Something you might not know: Barker has been the head coach for the Notre Dame College baseball team in South Euclid, Ohio for the last five years. Several former Indians have helped out as coaches during Barker's tenure, including Ron Pruitt, Joe Charboneau and Travis Hafner.

My observation on the back: Barker ended up with six children. Maybe it was all that wild game.

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

Thursday, July 21, 2016

#556 - Sixto Lezcano

What a card: Sixto Lezcano was coming off his first full season with the Phillies when this card was issued. He had also signed with the Pirates as a free agent by the time the card had arrived in packs.

My observation on the front: As a big Sixto fan when he was with the Brewers, he looks odd to me in any other uniform.

More opinion from me: I don't think I'd be half the '70s baseball fan I am now if I hadn't pulled a card of Sixto Lezcano from a pack of 1977 Topps.

Something you might know: Lezcano was part of the on-the-rise Brewers teams of the late 1970s. His best season was in 1979 when he hit 28 home runs, batted .321 and won a Gold Glove.

Something you might not know: Lezcano is the only player to hit a grand slam on opening day twice. He did it two years apart, once against the Orioles on April 7, 1978 and once against the Red Sox on April 10, 1980.

My observation on the back: Carlos Lezcano appeared on his own card in the 1981 Donruss and Fleer sets. At this point, he was on his way out of pro baseball. In fact, he wasn't in the Cubs system when this bio was written. He spent 1984 in the A's and Tigers minor league systems.

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

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

#555 - Bob Stanley

What a card: Bob Stanley had completed his third straight season as the Red Sox's primary closer when this card was issued in 1985. He had 55 saves combined over the previous two seasons.

My observation on the front: Lots of hazy sunshine on that card.

More opinion from me: Stanley is not fondly remembered by Red Sox fans, and as someone who grew up with two Red Sox fans in the house, I experienced their opinion of Stanley first-hand. The main complaint about him is that he never let you feel comfortable as a fan, even when he would eventually save the game.

Something you might know: Stanley is remembered for throwing the wild pitch in the 10th inning of Game 6 of the 1986 World Series that allowed the Mets' Kevin Mitchell to score the tying run, and then throwing the pitch that Mookie Wilson hit to first base that Bill Buckner flubbed, allowing Ray Knight to score the game-winner.

Something you might not know: Stanley might have gotten out of that 10th inning with the game tied had he thrown to second base in an attempt to pick off Ray Knight during the Wilson at-bat. Marty Barrett signaled for the pick-off and waited for Stanley's throw but Stanley didn't notice. "We had Knight dead," Barrett said.

My observation on the back: Granted, this card came out before the '86 World Series, but a Mets trivia question on the back of Stanley's card? That's rough.

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

Friday, July 15, 2016

#554 - Doug Flynn

What a card: Doug Flynn was entering his final major league season when this card was issued. He would be released by Montreal in June of 1985, picked up by the Tigers for the rest of the season, and then released by the Tigers in spring training 1986.

My observation on the front: Eye black when eye black wasn't war paint.

More opinion from me: I admit I always look at wikipedia for these posts to get a foundation of the player's background before going to other sources for support or more information. I'm sure others who do baseball research have noticed this: anyone who has played for the Mets features an extensive wikipedia page. There must be some rabid Mets fan making sure every player on that team gets their due. (P.S. Flynn played for the Mets and his wikipedia page is very detailed).

Something you might know: Flynn was one of the four players the Reds traded on June 15, 1977 to obtain pitcher Tom Seaver from the Mets.

Something you might not know: Flynn, a country music fan, toured with the Oak Ridge Boys during the baseball strike of 1981. While with the Reds in the late 1970s, he got to know Loretta Lynn and her band, the Coal Miners. Flynn even sang country music as an act at night clubs in New York during the offseason.

My observation on the back: The factoid tells no lies. Rose did indeed introduce Flynn to his wife. Olga Munez was a cheerleader for the Philadelphia Eagles in 1982 when she agreed to go on a double date with Flynn, Rose and Rose's girlfriend. Munez was engaged at the time, but she ended up marrying Flynn and they remain married today.

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

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

#553 - Bob Clark

What a card: Bob Clark was entering his final season in the majors when this card was issued. He'd spend most of 1985 in the minors and then close out his pro career with a couple more years in the minor leagues.

My observation on the front: I could store some baseball cards on those shelves behind Clark.

More opinion from me: There are 42 people with the last name "Clark" to play in the majors (and a number more named "Clarke"), and so many with the first name "Bob" that I don't even want to count them. There have been three Bob Clarks alone in the majors. Maybe that's why Donruss and Fleer took to calling Clark "Bobby" on most of his cards (except for the 1982 editions for both companies). But Topps steadfastly called him "Bob" from 1981-86.

Something you might know: Clark was an outfielder known for his speed, but used part-time because he didn't match his potential at the plate. He was acquired by the Brewers in an unpopular deal with the Angels for pitcher Jim Slaton, who had won in double figures several years for Milwaukee.

Something you might not know: Clark is shown in a batting helmet in a great majority of his cards, making me wonder where he ranks among players with the greatest percentage of cards featured wearing a helmet.

My observation on the back: Sadly, I could find no background on Bob's off-season job as an embalmer.

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

Monday, July 11, 2016

#552 - Chris Codiroli

What a card: Chris Codiroli was coming off a disappointing sophomore season when this card was issued. After enjoying one of the best rookie seasons for an AL pitcher in 1983, he pitched just 89 innings in 1984 and spent part of it in the minors.

My observation on the front: Codiroli's expression makes it appear as if he just hit the batter with a pitch.

More opinion from me: This card and the two that I posted before it (Scott McGregor and Andy Van Slyke) appear on the top row of a page in my '85 binder. It is a very well-balanced row with lefty McGregor delivering toward Van Slyke from the left and Codiroli delivering toward Van Slyke from the right. Cool.

Something you might know: Codiroli bailed out an injury-plagued A's starting staff in 1983, pitching over 200 innings as a rookie in 1983 and winning 12 games.

Something you might not know: A's manager Billy Martin once offered to buy Codiroli some new clothes after Codiroli showed up in a short-sleeve leisure suit.

My observation on the back: Codiroli was acquired by the A's after he struggled with injuries in the Tigers' farm system. Codiroli said in an AP article that he caught flak from Tigers GM Jim Campbell after he discussed the Tigers' minor league organization for a newspaper article. He said Campbell sent a letter to all the minor league clubs criticizing Codiroli, although the letter didn't name him. When Campbell was asked about Codiroli's charge, Campbell said Codiroli was a liar.

The blog wants to speak now: I made some changes to the blog layout. It's too complicated to explain why. The short version is Blogger (or possibly my computer) was doing weird stuff.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

#551 - Andy Van Slyke

What a card: This is a second-year card of Andy Van Slyke. For some reason I confuse it with his rookie card. But his rookie cards were issued in 1984.

My observation on the front: I'm saying that's George Hendrick in the on-deck circle. Could be David Green, but it really looks like Hendrick.

More opinion from me: It is mind-boggling to consider the personalities in the Pittsburgh outfield in the early 1990s. Van Slyke centered between Barry Bonds and Bobby Bonilla! My gosh, what would Twitter do with that outfield.

Something you might know: Van Slyke won five straight Gold Gloves as the center fielder for the Pirates between 1988-92.

Something you might not know: Van Slyke once passed a kidney stone during a major league game.

My observation on the back: That one son is not Scott Van Slyke, who plays for the Dodgers. It is A.J., Van Slyke's first-born and an eventual minor leaguer for the Cardinals. Scott was the second-born of four Van Slyke sons.

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