Friday, April 24, 2015

#404 - 1984 United States Baseball Team: Billy Swift


What a card: Billy Swift (who would go on to be known as "Bill") is the last card in the the '84 U.S. team subset. He is the 12th of the 15 players featured to make the major leagues.

My observation on the front: I believe it reads "Marlboro Country" behind Swift.

More opinion from me: I'm not going to miss seeing those caps.

Something you might know: Swift started with the Mariners and became a well-used reliever for Seattle. But after he was traded to the Giants, he returned to being a starter and finished second in the Cy Young Award voting in 1993 after going 21-8.

Something you might not know: Wouldn't you like to know which members of the '84 baseball team were not included in the subset? Here they are:

Will Clark
Chris Gywnn
Barry Larkin
B.J. Surhoff
Bobby Witt

At least some, if not all, of those players were prevented from appearing in the set by the NCAA because they still had eligibility left.


My observation on the back: The stats provided by Maine aren't as complete as the schools of the other players.

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

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

#403 - 1984 United States Baseball Team: Cory Snyder


What a card: Aside from the Mark McGwire card, this is probably the most memorable card in the subset. Cory Snyder is the 11th future major leaguer featured so far.

My observation on the front: A lot of the players in this set look like newbies, but not Snyder. He looks like he's been playing for years.

More opinion from me: Snyder ended his career with the Dodgers and I'll always remember him for leading the league in strikeouts in his first year with the team in 1993.

Something you might know: Snyder emerged as a top rookie for the Indians, finishing fourth in the AL Rookie of the Year voting in 1986. He hit some home runs, threw out some runners, fanned at some fastballs, but might be most known for appearing on the Sports Illustrated cover with Joe Carter in which SI declared the Indians the best team in the AL for 1987. They finished dead last.

Something you might not know: Snyder's daughter, Amberley, was paralyzed after being thrown from her vehicle in a car accident. But even though she can't move her legs, she later returned to rodeo competition, barrel racing in the College National Finals last year.


My observation on the back: Nothing but .400s on the back of that card.

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

Monday, April 20, 2015

#402 - 1984 United States Baseball Team: Pat Pacillo


What a card: Pat Pacillo represents the 10th of 13 players featured so far in this subset who went on to play in the major leagues. Pacillo pitched for the Reds in 18 games over 1987 and 1988.

My observation on the front: That's the best look at the General Electric logo on the U.S. baseball uniforms yet.

More opinion from me: Other than saying that Pacillo looks vaguely like someone famous to me, I've got nothing else.

Something you might know: In 1986, Pete Rose took himself off the Reds' 40-man winter roster to protect Pacillo, who was a big prospect in Cincinnati's organization at the time. The players' union was threatening a grievance to make Pacillo a free agent if he wasn't placed on a roster.

Something you might not know:  In 2011, Bleacher Report named Pacillo as the Reds' all-time biggest prospect bust.


My observation on the back: It's interesting that the write-up addresses Pacillo's hitting exclusively when he's listed as a pitcher.

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

Thursday, April 16, 2015

#401 - 1984 United States Baseball Team: Mark McGwire


What a card: I haven't checked recently, but I believe this is still the priciest card in the 1985 Topps set. I believe Beckett lists it around $30, but you can Buy It Now for under 10 bucks.

My observation on the front: Have an urge to smoke? Blame it on Mark McGwire's rookie card.

More opinion from me: Only one adjective to describe McGwire in this photo: "sunny".

Something you might know: McGwire set a rookie record for home runs in a season with 49 in 1987, and held the overall season mark for home runs for three years when he hit 70 in 1998. Then a little androstenedione here and a Jose Canseco tell-all book there and McGwire eventually admitted to using steroids.

Something you might not know: The U.S. baseball team used aluminum bats during the 1984 Olympics, but McGwire said he made sure he posed with a wooden bat for this photo because he expected it to be his first baseball card.


My observation on the back: I think someone needs to come up with a statistic to measure "fear".

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

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

#400 - 1984 United States Baseball Team: Oddibe McDowell


What a card: Oddibe McDowell is the eighth of 11 '84 U.S. Baseball Team members shown so far to have reached the majors. In fact, McDowell was already in major league baseball when this card was issued. He is the only player featured in this set to also have another card in the Traded set.

My observation on the front: Go, ahead, Oddibe is saying, impress me.

More opinion from me: I don't remember the specifics, but I'm sure that I cracked up the first time I heard there was a baseball player named "Oddibe".

Something you might know: McDowell was named the best amateur baseball player in the country in 1984 and finished fourth in Rookie of the Year voting in 1985.

Something you might not know: McDowell and Rangers teammate Darrell Porter are part of select group to have hit back-to-back pinch-hit home runs. It happened against the Red Sox on Sept. 1, 1986 against pitcher Steve Crawford.


My observation on the back: McDowell is one of the few non-major league players to have received a "double zero" card number in a Topps flagship set. The others are league presidents (late 1950s) and first-year players/prospects (late '90s/past decade).

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

Friday, April 10, 2015

#399 - 1984 United States Baseball Team: John Marzano


What a card: The 1984 U.S. Baseball Team is really starting to show its prowess as the future major leaguers have now well-outnumbered the never-weres. John Marzano is the seventh of 10 players shown in this set so far to have made the majors.

My observation on the front: Marzano is the only player in this set who isn't wearing a USA trucker hat. He has good taste.

More opinion from me: It's a bit scary that the only player in this set to not be wearing a cap is also the first player on the team to die.

Something you might know: Marzano was a career backup in the majors, mostly for the Red Sox and Mariners. He famously helped touch off a brawl between the Yankees and Mariners by taking swings at the Yankees' Paul O'Neill. Marzano died at age 45 in 2008 after falling down a flight of stairs while intoxicated.

Something you might not know: Marzano was good friends with three heavyweights of major league baseball: Roger Clemens, Ken Griffey Jr. and Alex Rodriguez.


My observation on the back: Marzano was from South Philadelphia. Marzano's longtime coach and a father figure, Gabriel "Spanky" DiFeliciantonio, said, "You can be only three kinds of things if you're from South Philly: a baseball player, a singer or a gangster. Fortunately, he chose the right one."

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

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

#398 - 1984 United States Baseball Team: Shane Mack


What a card: So far this is the most successful major leaguer in the subset. Shane Mack would play nine years in the majors (and a couple years in Japan) and be a key part of the Twins' World Series champion team in 1991.

My observation on the front: This is the second neck chain showcased in the '84 U.S. baseball team subset.

More opinion from me: Mack instantly makes me think of my doomed three years in fantasy baseball. Mack was a regular member of my team, although I believe I picked him up just after his peak season, which was pretty typical for me.

Something you might know: Mack's legacy in major league baseball was derailed somewhat by the players strike in 1994. Not willing to wait around for a resolution, Mack took a very large and guaranteed contract to play in Japan for the Yomiuri Giants. He returned to the majors in 1997, but not as a regular starter.

Something you might not know: Mack got his first start in major league baseball when the Padres' Steve Garvey was placed on the disabled list and Tony Gwynn injured his thumb. Mack was called up and played right field.


My observation on the back: Three triples in one game -- there's not much more exciting for a baseball viewer than that.

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