Thursday, July 24, 2014

#313 - Dave Schmidt

What a card: Dave Schmidt had completed his fourth season with the Rangers when this card was issued. He led the Rangers in saves with a whopping 12. Texas recorded just 21 saves for the whole 1984 season.

My observation on the front: This photo was taken in about the same spot as the photo for this card. Possibly during the same photo session. Too bad I can't spot the same fans in the stands on both cards.

More opinion from me: This is the second cap-less card in the last four cards. I don't like that. I think Schmidt could've at least put that cap in his back pocket on his head. At least I think that's a cap.

Something you might know: Schmidt was mostly a relief pitcher for the Rangers and White Sox before he became a starter with the Orioles. He was leading the American League in ERA in June of 1987 for Baltimore before bone spur problems sidelined him for the year.

Something you might not know: Schmidt went 8-1 for the Class A Asheville Tourists in 1980. He blamed his one loss on getting rattled by Max Patkin, known as the "Clown Prince of Baseball," who was doing his routine on the field that evening. When Patkin came up to Schmidt after the game to apologize, Schmidt told him, "Hey Max, I don't need this stuff. I'm down here trying to get out of the minor leagues and you're making a joke of this thing."

My observation on the back: That might be the best write-up on the back of any card I've featured here.

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

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

#312 - Marc Hill

What a card: Marc Hill had completed another season as the White Sox's backup behind the plate in 1984, playing in 76 games in support of starting catcher Carlton Fisk.

My observation on the front: Those seat railings at old Comiskey Park -- sometimes yellow, sometimes white -- always make for pleasing backgrounds.

More opinion from me: I am used to the clean-shaven Hill from his days with the Giants. He looks like a different guy here.

Something you might know: A good-field, no-hit catcher, Hill was a starter for the Giants in the late 1970s, but spent the rest of his career as a backup, mostly with the White Sox.

Something you might not know: The White Sox carried three catchers on their team in 1981: starter Fisk, backup Jim Essian and Hill. Hill played in just 16 games and managed just 6 at-bats and no hits. But he received a $5,000 raise for the 1982 season. "If they gave me a raise for going 0-for-6, what would they have done if had been 0-for-20?" Hill said.

My observation on the back: Hill's nickname "Booter" was created by Willie McCovey when the two played for the Giants. It was a combination of "Boot Hill" and "Bunker Hill".

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

Friday, July 18, 2014

#311 - Jim Gott

What a card: Jim Gott was already a San Francisco Giant when this card was pulled out of packs. He was dealt by the Blue Jays in a deal for reliever Gary Lavelle in January 1985.

My observation on the front: I wouldn't say Gott is looking nervously behind him -- he is 6-foot-4 after all -- but it does make you curious what he sees.

More opinion from me: I remember Gott from his early '90s days with the Dodgers. He was pretty effective, until 1994, when I couldn't wait for him to get released.

Something you might know: All together now: Gott's last name means "God" in German and when he pitched against Tim Teufel, whose last name means "devil" in German, it was "God" vs. the devil.

Something you might not know: Two of Gott's six children have autism, one he had with his ex-wife, Clenice, and the other with his second wife, Cathy.

My observation on the back: Gott's hobby was famously featured on a Pinnacle baseball card in 1992.

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

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

#310 - Manny Trillo

What a card: Manny Trillo had just completed his first season with the Giants after signing as a free agent in December, 1983.

My observation on the front: Trillo has a lot of cards in which he is serious-faced and squinty-eyed. There are some smiles on his later cards, like this one, but it's still odd to see.

More opinion from me: This is one of the weaker choices for a card that ends with a zero number. There is nothing about Trillo's 1984 season that says he should have landed a card ending in a zero.

Something you might know: Trillo was a Gold Glove second baseman who won MVP honors in the NLCS in 1980 en route to helping the Phillies win the World Series that year.

Something you might not know: When A's second baseman Mike Andrews made two errors in the 12th inning of Game 2 of the 1973 World Series and A's owner Charlie Finley attempted to waive him in the middle of the Series, the player he wanted to activate in Andrews' place was Trillo. But Commissioner Bowie Kuhn nixed that.

My observation on the back: I don't know, maybe it's just that I didn't grow up around guns, but that bio reads a little disturbing to me. A lot of stuff about Trillo's family life and then, oh by the way, he likes to shoot pistols.

The blog wants to speak now: The Music category is updated. There's a new No. 1. It's connected to the following quote: "Love is an illusion created by lawyer types like yourself to perpetuate another illusion called marriage to create the reality of divorce and then the illusionary need for divorce lawyers."

Monday, July 14, 2014

#309 - Mike Witt

What a card: Mike Witt was rounding into form as the Angels' ace as this card arrived. After spending much of 1983 in the bullpen, Witt won 15 games in 34 starts for California in 1984.

My observation on the front: The whole look of this photo appears suspicious as if Witt was wearing a different uniform when the photo was taken. He is cap-less and the jacket almost looks airbrushed with a nondescript T-shirt underneath. However, Witt had spent his entire career with the Angels up to this point.

More opinion from me: I am also trying to determine if Witt is rocking a perm or if he just had naturally curly hair.

Something you might know: Witt's last performance in a major league game before this card came out was to throw a perfect game on the final day of the 1984 season against the Texas Rangers.

Something you might not know: Witt made a cameo appearance on the sitcom "The Jeffersons" in January 1985. Teammates Reggie Jackson and Brian Downing also appeared in the episode.

My observation on the back: Witt's wife worked in the Angels' marketing department when he met her.

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

Thursday, July 10, 2014

#308 - John Wathan

What a card: John Wathan was entering his final season as a major league player when this card appeared in packs. His career-low .181 batting average in 1984 was probably the writing on the wall but at least he stayed around one more year so he could get a World Series ring.

My observation on the front: Wathan appears to have hit the ball a long way to the opposite field.

More opinion from me: I remember being surprised at how quickly Wathan became manager of the Royals after playing so recently for the team. His last Topps card as a player is in the 1986 set. And then in the 1988 Topps set he appears as a manager.

Something you might know: Wathan broke a 66-year-old record when he set the mark for stolen bases by a catcher in one season in 1982. Wathan stole 36 -- a record he still holds -- to break Ray Schalk's 1916 mark of 30.

Something you might not know: Wathan's mother was stabbed to death by his step-brother in 1979 in a headline-making case. Two weeks prior, the step-brother, an actor, had taken his mother to see "Orestes, Orestes," a Greek tragedy in which a son fatally stabs his mother. The case grew even larger when the step-brother was found not guilty by reason of insanity.

 My observation on the back: More stunningly simple trivia.

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

Monday, July 7, 2014

#307 - Sparky Anderson

What a card: Sparky Anderson's Tigers were the reigning World Series champs as this card was released. The Tigers won it all in Anderson's fifth season with Detroit.

My observation on the front: Another miserably miscut card right out of the box.

More opinion from me: Anderson is one of those guys who I could never place as a young man. He seemed like he was always the old, crusty type. That 1959 Topps card of Anderson as a player seems like an entirely different person.

Something you might know: When the Tigers won the World Series in 1984, Anderson became the first manager to win a World Series title with an American League and a National League team.

Something you might not know: Anderson was a coach for the 1969 expansion San Diego Padres. Three of the four coaches for that team -- Anderson, Roger Craig and Wally Moon -- played in the Dodgers' organization.

My observation on the back: Anderson's 12 straight postseason wins came as follows:

1 - vs. Red Sox, Game 7, 1975 World Series
3 - vs. Phillies, Games 1-3, 1976 NLCS
4 - vs. Yankees, Games 1-4, 1976 World Series
3 - vs. Royals, Games 1-3, 1984 ALCS
1 - vs. Padres, Game 1, 1984 World Series

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