Monday, June 27, 2016

#547 - Pete Rose

What a card: This is the second of three Pete Rose cards in the set. Rose was named the Reds' player-manager in August 1984 and Topps took the opportunity to issue both a card of Rose as a player and as a manager. This is the manager card.

My observation on the front: I like how "Rose with his hat off" signifies "the manager card."

More opinion from me: Topps did issue multiple cards for player-managers of the 1970s, Frank Robinson and Joe Torre, but in a different way. Managers were shown as small inset head shots on the team checklist card at the time, so Robinson and Torre appeared on the team checklist and had their own solo card.

Something you might know: Rose is the most recent player-manager in MLB history. He both played and managed for the Reds until 1986.

Something you might not know: The Reds retired Rose's number 14 on Sunday. The first player to have his number retired by the Reds was Johnny Bench, whose number was retired in 1984, about one week before the Reds reaquired Bench's former teammate, Rose, and named him player-manager, and 32 years before Rose's number was retired.

My observation on the back: According to my research, Rose actually was acquired by the Reds on Aug. 16, 1984. Cincinnati sent infielder Tom Lawless to the Expos in the deal.

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

Thursday, June 23, 2016

#546 - Brent Gaff

What a card: This is Brent Gaff's first card appearance since first showing up in the 1983 Donruss set.

My observation on the front: That is a very Mets card. Orange and blue everywhere. Even the backdrop is orange and blue-ish.

More opinion from me: Brent Gaff's name reminds me of Todd Gack.

Something you might know: Gaff toiled in the Mets minor league system for six years before breaking out during the Mets' emergence during the 1984 season. He appeared in 47 games out of the bullpen.

Something you might not know: Gaff appeared in the 1986 Topps set despite not pitching a single game in 1985. He managed just one minor league appearance that year because of a torn rotator cuff that ended his career. His last MLB appearance was in 1984.

My observation on the back: I don't know how anyone relaxes ice fishing. You're on a sheet of ice in the middle of a lake. There is nothing around except frozen water. I'd be silently screaming in my head the whole time.

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

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

#545 - Lloyd Moseby

What a card: Lloyd Moseby was pretty much at the peak of his career when this card came out. His 1984 season wasn't quite as good as his '83 season, but he led the league in triples and stole a career high 39 bases.

My observation on the front: Opposite field double down the line!

More opinion from me: Why is Lloyd spelled with a double L?

Something you might know: Moseby was the center fielder in a highly praised outfield that included original "Killer Bees" George Bell and Jesse Barfield.

Something you might not know: Moseby featured a notoriously weak throwing arm, and in a 1989 Sports Illustrated poll of third base coaches who were asked which outfielders they would advance runners against the most often, Moseby was mentioned along with Chili Davis and Willie Wilson.

My observation on the back: The write-up there is a little presumptuous. It's entirely possible that if Moseby stuck with catching he would have still made it to the majors.

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

Friday, June 17, 2016

#544 - Bruce Kison

What a card: Bruce Kison was entering the final season of his 15-year major league career when this card was released. He had already signed with the Red Sox by the time most pulled this card out of packs.

My observation on the front: Kison appears lost in thought.

More opinion from me: This should be a party game: One person yells out a baseball player's name, and the other person yells out the first card they think of with that player on it. Oh, I don't know who wins the game, but the first card I think of for Kison is his 1975 Topps card (P.S.: '75 would be my answer for a lot of cards).

Something you might know: Kison pitched in two World Series for the Pirates in 1971 and 1979. He won the first World Series night game in 1971.

Something you might not know: During the same Series night game that Kison won, he also set the World Series record for most hit batters in a Series game when he hit Davey Johnson, Frank Robinson and Andy Etchebarren. (P.S.: Just a phenomenal story about Kison in SI by Pat Jordan the following spring after that Series).

My observation on the back: "Awkward hop" ... a likely story.

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

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

#543 - Mike Squires

What a card: This is the final Topps card issued of Mike Squires during his career. He would play in just two games for the White Sox in 1985, after being re-signed by Chicago in September. They had released him in March.

My observation on the front: Squires was known for his fielding, so it's appropriate that he's in the field on his final card.

More opinion from me: Not sure about that facial expression. Blowing a bubble, I hope?

Something you might know: Squires won a Gold Glove in 1981 and was used primarily as a defensive replacement, particularly later in his career. He was one of the few left-handed throwing catchers in modern times, appearing behind the plate on May 4, 1980. He also played third base several times, another rarity for lefties.

Something you might know: After his career, Squires would officiate high school basketball games regularly in his native Kalamazoo, Mich.

My observation on the back: The days of 70,000-plus baseball stadiums are long gone. The largest capacity baseball stadium now is Dodger Stadium at 56,000.

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

Monday, June 13, 2016

#542 - Don Slaught

What a card: This is Don Slaught's first card immediately after his first season as the starting catcher for the Royals. But it would be his last card with the Royals as he was traded to Texas in January 1985.

My observation on the front: If this doesn't make you wish that Topps still used posed shots at spring training in their flagship set then I don't know what will. Just fantastic.

More opinion from me: Love the yellow advertising banners with this card. And the trees!

Something you might know: A solid contact hitter who once set a Rangers record for most homers by a catcher in a season (16), Slaught became known as one-half of the catching platoon (with Mike LaValliere) for the early '90s Pirates. It was the Sluggo and Spanky Show.

Something you might not know: Slaught's .345 batting average in 1992 was the best average for a catcher with more than 250 at-bats (Slaught had 285) since Elston Howard hit .348 in 1961.

My observation on the back: I know the term "quarterback" is sometimes used in other sports to describe someone who directs the play, but I believe football is the only sport where "quarterback" is an actual position. So "football quarterback" is like saying "baseball shortstop."

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

Thursday, June 9, 2016

#541 - Mark Davis

What a card: Mark Davis struggled through a 17-loss season for the last-place Giants in 1984. But he was entering a season in which he would be converted to a full-time reliever, and his whole career would change.

My observation on the front: Davis is featuring a button on his cap. I don't know what it says. The Giants hosted the All-Star Game in 1984 so perhaps it is related to that.

More opinion from me: I admit I'm one of those fans who tended to think someone else deserved the Cy Young Award in 1989 other than Davis. But unlike many who point to Mike Scott, who finished second in the voting, I was thinking Orel Hershiser (who was 4th) or Greg Maddux (3rd).

Something you might know: Davis is one of nine relief pitchers to receive the Cy Young Award. He was the seventh (after Mike Marshall, Sparky Lyle, Bruce Sutter, Rollie Fingers, Willie Hernandez and Steve Bedrosian) to win it.

Something you might not know: When the Royals signed Davis as a free agent after the 1989 season, they were the first team to feature both reigning Cy Young Award winners. Bret Saberhagen had won the AL Cy Young in '89.

My observation on the back: I'm intrigued by Davis working in the Phillies' sales office but can find no mention of it elsewhere.

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