Thursday, March 26, 2015

#394 - 1984 United States Baseball Team: Bob Caffrey


What a card: Sadly, Bob Caffrey never made the major leagues, meaning 3 of the first 5 players in this subset didn't play in the majors. Caffrey made it as high as Double A in the Expos organization in 1988.

My observation on the front: The Rawlings duffle bag is giving me flashbacks to high school.

More opinion from me: Caffrey looks like he's going to cry. Come on! Your career isn't over yet!

Something you might know: Caffrey played on the national champion Cal State-Fullerton team in 1984. He was a backup catcher on the U.S. Olympic team.

Something you might not know: Caffrey's daughter, Jenna, was a standout hurdler for Burlington High School in Iowa and at Iowa State. She won the Drake Relays in the 100-meter hurdles three times while in high school.


My observation on the back: Caffrey was practically baseball-stalking Tim Wallach at this point. First breaking his home run record and then getting drafted by the same team.

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

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

#393 - 1984 United States Baseball Team: Scott Bankhead


What a card: Scott Bankhead evens the ledger between 1984 Olympians who made the majors and those who didn't at 2-2. Bankhead pitched for 10 years in the major leagues.

My observation on the front: Wow. Boring.

More opinion from me: Bankhead looks like every other guy who lives in the next county over from me.

Something you might know: Bankhead reached his career peak in 1989 with the Mariners when he went 14-6 in 33 starts, striking out 140. He won seven straight starts, which is still a Seattle record (tied with Jamie Moyer).

Something you might not know: Another member of the '84 Olympic team, B.J. Surhoff, was a batterymate of Bankhead's when the two played for the University of North Carolina.


My observation on the back: If his greatest asset is "tremendous competitiveness" wouldn't he be at his best in games both important and unimportant?

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

Friday, March 20, 2015

#392 - 1984 United States Baseball Team: Don August


What a card: Finally, we have a player from the 1984 U.S. Baseball Team that reached the major leagues. Don August played for the Brewers from 1988-91.

My observation on the front: You can see the team sponsor General Electric on the patch on August's sleeve.

More opinion from me: A lot of "sitting in the dugout" shots in this subset.

Something you might know: August finished fourth in the A.L. Rookie of the Year voting in 1988 after going 13-7 in 24 games with a 3.09 ERA for the Brewers.

Something you might not know: August became a teacher after his playing career and is now the JV baseball coach at Menomonee Falls High School in Wisconsin.


My observation on the back: Chapman College became Chapman University in 1991. Other major leaguers from the school include a lot of Padres. Not only Randy Jones, but also Tim Flannery and Gary Lucas.

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

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

#391 - 1984 United States Baseball Team: Flavio Alfaro


What a card: The second player featured in this subset is also the second player on the team who would never play in the major leagues.

My observation on the front: The 1984 Olympic baseball games were held in Dodger Stadium. I'm going to say that's where Flavio Alfaro is in that picture.

More opinion from me: Alfaro already looks disgusted about his baseball future.

Something you might know: Alfaro played just one year in pro baseball, hitting .193 for Single A Durham in the Braves organization in 1985. He was the first member of the 1984 team to retire from baseball.

Something you might not know: Alfaro and Sid Akins, the first two players featured in this subset, were the only two players on the 1984 roster not drafted in the first round by an MLB team. Alfaro went in the fourth round (Akins in the third).


My observation on the back: Being from the Northeast, I'm used to collegiate baseball teams playing like 30 games a season. It blows my mind that a college player had 94 hits in one season.

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

Monday, March 16, 2015

#390 - 1984 United States Baseball Team: Sid Akins


What a card: The first player card in the 1984 U.S. Baseball Team subset, this is one of several players in the set who would never play in the majors. I hope to have an exact count by the time the subset is completed on the blog.

My observation on the front: I am reminded instantly how little I cared for this set when I bought the complete 1985 set. It is essentially college players and being from the Northeast, I had little interest in college baseball.

More opinion from me: I wonder how Topps went about choosing players to feature in this set? Will Clark and Barry Larkin were members of the 1984 U.S. team and aren't in the set.

Something you might know: Akins was drafted by the Rangers and also played in the Braves and Cardinals organizations, getting as high as Triple A for Atlanta in 1988.

Something you might not know: Akins was in "Bull Durham". In a creative stretch, he played a baseball player.


My observation on the back: Other than the noting that the backs feature the player's college stats and 1984 U.S. stats -- nice -- I see that the team sponsor, General Electric, is mentioned at the bottom left.

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

Thursday, March 12, 2015

#389 - 1984 United States Baseball Team: Rod Dedeaux


What a card: So begins the most notable subset in the 1985 Topps set and one of the most notable subsets of any card set issued in the 1980s. The series recognizes the 1984 U.S. Olympic baseball team, which was the first baseball team to play in the Olympics in the United States. For the first time in 1984, baseball was included as a demonstration sport in the Olympics.

My observation on the front: Those USA caps worn in 1984 are very 1980s. I can see any trucker worth his rig wearing one of those.

More opinion from me: Beckett magazine, in its typical rookie frenzy, lists all of the cards in this 16-card subset as rookie cards, including Rod Dedeaux here. Granted, it's his first appearance in a major pro baseball set, but Dedeaux was 70 at this point, had been coaching for over 40 years, and made his last major league playing appearance in 1935. Rookie, my ass.

Something you might know: Dedeaux is known as the greatest college baseball coach of all-time and one of the greatest coaches ever. He retired from USC with 1,332 victories.

Something you might not know: Dedeaux worked as in extra in the movie "The Babe Ruth Story" in 1948.


My observation on the back: A couple of notable players Dedeaux coached that are not on this list because they were virtual unknowns at the time: Mark McGwire and Randy Johnson.

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

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

#388 - Bert Roberge


What a card: After a one-year break from appearing on baseball cards, Bert Roberge returned in 1985 after pitching in 21 games for the White Sox as a reliever in 1984.

My observation on the front: I think I own that gray T-shirt Roberge is wearing.

More opinion from me: Roberge appears in the Topps, Donruss and Fleer sets in 1983 as an Astro. He is wearing a full mustache on those cards. I am very disappointed he is clean shaven two years later.

Something you might know: Roberge was the player the Astros called up in 1980 when J.R. Richard suffered his stroke and went on the disabled list.

Something you might not know: When Roland Hemond was GM of the White Sox, Chicago traded Roberge to the Expos during the 1984 Winter Meetings (Roberge was already with the Expos when this card came out). Roberge is of French-Canadian heritage and so is Hemond, whose mother came from a Montreal suburb. So Hemond arranged with Expos president John McHale to announce the trade in French.


My observation on the back: McCovey still holds the NL career record for grand slams, although at the time only Lou Gehrig was ahead of him on the overall chart. Now Gehrig, Alex Rodriguez, Manny Ramirez and Eddie Murray own more than McCovey, and Robin Ventura has matched him.

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