Sunday, December 30, 2012

#129 - Gene Garber

What a card: Gene Garber had just completed a 60-plus appearance season for the seventh time in his career when this card was produced.

My observation on the front: Garber looks like he's wearing a generic windbreaker in the shot. What's that all about? Where's the Braves' logo?

More opinion from me: I've said this before, but Garber's always been my hero for stopping Pete Rose's 44-game hitting streak in 1978.

Something you might know: A side-arming relief pitcher who lasted 19 seasons and made more than 900 appearances, Garber was the Braves' all-time saves leader until John Smoltz broke the record.

Something you might not know: Garber grew up in a farming family and returned to farming after his baseball career. Thanks to his efforts in agricultural land conservation, his home county, Lancaster County in Pennsylvania, is responsible for one-fifth of the state's agricultural output.

My observation on the back: I just get bored when someone tells me what kind of degree they have.

The blog wants to speak now: The Ballgames and Music tabs are updated.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

#128 - Ernie Whitt

What a card: Ernie Whitt was embarking on his sixth season as the Blue Jays' starting catcher when this card was created. The 1985 season would be Whitt's only all-star season.

My observation on the front: The photo on this card is very similar to the photo of Whitt on his 1989 Topps card.

More opinion from me: Do you think the sentence "nah, we used a photo of him that was just like that four years ago" ever comes up at Topps?

Something you might know: Whitt was an original Blue Jay and was the last player from that first Blue Jays team in 1977 when he was traded to the Braves in 1989.

Something you might not know: In Whitt's 1989 book, "Catch: A Major League Life," he accused umpire Joe Brinkman of being "incompetent." That led to a feud between the Blue Jays and Brinkman. Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston in 1993 accused Brinkman of making calls against the Blue Jays in retaliation for the book and even said the umpire was "racist."

My observation on the back: Seeing that first line of stats made me wonder what Whitt looked like as a member of the Red Sox. So I found a photo.

The blog wants to speak now: The Movies and News categories have been updated.

Friday, December 21, 2012

#127 - Mark Gubicza

What a card: This is Topps' first base card of Mark Gubicza. His first card appearances are in the 1984 Topps Traded and Fleer Update sets.

My observation on the front: That's a lot of blue in that picture.

More opinion from me: I believe Topps intended to give K.C. the "royal blue" tribute with its colors in the 1985 set, but it just looks purple to me. Then again, purple in the color of royalty, so maybe they knew what they were doing.

Something you might know: Gubicza was a highly touted, often-injured pitcher who nonetheless managed to play 14 seasons for a single team and enjoyed one truly standout year in 1988 when he went 20-8 and finished third in the Cy Young Award voting.

Something you might not know: Gubicza, as of 2009, ranked 13th among players with most games pitched without a single plate appearance. I would assume he's still in the top 20.

My observation on the back: I know you'd like a baseball fact, but all I can see is sentence structure. Topps used the more formal "Mark was graduated from" in the write-up, rather than the more frequently used "Mark graduated from." I know certain editors who would be quite pleased with Topps for this.

The blog wants to speak now: Just a quick update to the News tab.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

#126 - Ruppert Jones

What a card: This is Ruppert Jones' first Topps base card with the Tigers. He appears in the 1984 Topps Traded set with Detroit after signing with them as a free agent.

My observation on the front: Jones hit a home run against the Brewers in June of 1984 that cleared the right field roof at Tiger Stadium. Perhaps this is a photo of that home run? At any rate, Jones was known as "Rooftop Ruppert" during his brief time with the Tigers, so this is an appropriate photo.

More opinion from me: Jones signed with the Tigers after playing with the Padres from 1981-83. Then, the Tigers played his old team in the World Series the very next year. That always intrigued me.

Something you might know: Jones was the first overall pick of the expansion Seattle Mariners in 1976 and became the franchise's first notable rookie standout.

Something you might not know: Jones took up karate in the offseason of 1979 as a means to stay in shape, and became quite proficient at the martial art.

My observation on the back: I know a few people who think Roger Maris is still the legitimate single-season home run leader.

The blog wants to speak now: The Other Cards category has been updated.

Monday, December 17, 2012

#125 - Kent Tekulve

What a card: This is the final Topps card of Kent Tekulve in a Pirates uniform. He'd be traded to the Phillies in April of 1985.

My observation on the front: Any card of Tekulve cracks me up.

More opinion from me: If anyone from Hollywood decides to make a movie about Devo that involves baseball players as actors, I will be very upset if Tekulve is not involved.

Something you might know: Tekulve was a popular member of the We Are Family 1979 World Series champion Pirates. He recorded the final out of Game 7 of that Series.

Something you might not know: Tekulve was named after a used car dealer. His full name is "Kenton Charles Tekulve"

My observation on the back: It's almost as if Topps is still trying to justify Tekulve's status as a ballplayer. "See that nerdy guy on the front of the card? Well, he has a degree in Physical Education!"

The blog wants to speak now: The Ballgames, Pop Culture and News categories are updated.

Friday, December 14, 2012

#124 - Rich Hebner

Who is the man: Rich Hebner had just completed his first season with the Cubs after signing as a free agent in January 1984. He'd appear in just 44 games and last one more season before calling it a career.

My observation on the front: Whenever I see one of these "sitting in a dugout" shots for a player near the end of his career, it makes me sad. It's like he knows it's over.

More opinion from me: Ugh! It drives me crazy that Topps would never call Hebner "Richie." Everyone else did!

Something you might know: Well, I think everyone knows that Hebner used to dig graves in the offseason. His father operated a cemetery.

Something you might not know: Hebner broke his hand punching the dugout roof when he was in the minor leagues.

My observation on the back: I always thought Hebner dug graves early in his career, as a way to make money in the offseason, then gave it up once he was established. But apparently he kept at it to keep in shape.

The blog wants to speak now: The Music and Pop Culture tabs are updated.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

#123 - Dave Smith

Who is the man: When this card hit packs, Dave Smith was in his first season as the Astros' indisputable closer. He would remain the closer for Houston for six years.

My observation on the front: I'm going to get myself in trouble on this one. Smith was really known for his changeup, one of the best in the business. But he regularly threw a sinker, curveball and fastball, as well as a forkball. So what's he throwing in the picture there? Curveball? Sinker? My pitching skills disappeared at age 12.

More opinion from me: The Astros have to be one of the few teams to have featured their stadium in their logo.

Something you might know: Smith is second on Houston's all-time saves list with 199, behind only Billy Wagner.

Something you might not know: One of Smith's teammates on his San Diego State University baseball team was CBS chief investigative correspondent Armen Keteyian.

My observation on the back: A little foreshadowing by Topps in the trivia quiz The only teams Smith played for were the Astros and the Cubs. He signed as a free agent with Chicago before the 1991 season.

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

Monday, December 10, 2012

#122 - Tom Brunansky

What a card: Tom Brunansky was entering his fourth straight season as the Twins' starting right fielder as the 1985 season began.

My observation on the front: Quite the upper-cut swing there.

More opinion from me: Brunansky was known for hitting a lot of pop-ups. I can see why.

Something you might know: Brunansky was part of the power Twins of the 1980s, joining sluggers Kent Hrbek and Gary Gaetti, as well as Kirby Puckett, to take Minnesota to a World Series title in 1987. He was traded to the very team the Twins beat in the Series, the Cardinals, six months later.

Something you might not know: One of Brunansky's more famous catches was running to flag down a fly ball that clinched the American League pennant for the Red Sox in 1990. He had to fend off a few fans afterward. But in another video, while chasing a fly ball in Yankee Stadium, he actually gets his pocket picked.

My observation on the back: Oh, ho, Topps you tricksters on the trivia quiz! The slugger has the better batting average! Who knew?

The blog wants to speak now: The Music, Pop Culture and News categories are updated. A lot of nonsense about something called "Wham!" Don't blame me. I didn't buy any of their music.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

#121 - Checklist, Cards 1-132

What a card: The first checklist card of the set. What else in there to say?

My observation on the front: WOW! THAT'S A LOT OF YELLOW!!!

More opinion from me: To my disappointment, Topps often used a yellow background with checklist cards. Just in the 1980s, Topps used it in 1981, 1983, 1985 and 1986.

Something you might know: This is the first of six numbered checklist cards in the set.

Something you might not know: Topps stopped distributing its numbered checklists throughout the base set in 1993, throwing them at the end of the set instead. And it stopped numbered checklists altogether with the 2000 set.

My observation on the back: Always fun to get a look at which players are coming up next. And, look! The second subset begins soon!

The blog wants to speak now: The Movies and News categories are updated. Ominous talk of a strike in baseball.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

#120 - Steve Kemp

What a card: Steve Kemp was a Pirate by the time this card appeared in packs. He was dealt to Pittsburgh with Tim Foli for Dale Berra, Jay Buhner and Alfonso Pulido in December of 1984.

My observation on the front: Kemp was at the end of his two-year disaster with the Yankees at this point, and this photo seems to sum it up well. Kemp looks pretty disgusted.

More opinion from me: I think Joe Piscopo could pull off the part of Kemp in a made-for-TV movie.

Something you might know: Kemp was part of the Tigers' rebirth in the late 1970s, which included LeFlore, Fidrych, Whitaker, Trammell, Morris, Parrish, Rozema, etc. Kemp was considered one of the best prospects in the game. But the pursuit of big contracts and a freak accident when Kemp was hit in the face by a line drive off the bat of Omar Moreno in batting practice in 1983 led to an abbreviated pro career.

Something you might not know: The name "Steve Kemp" is used as a character in the Stephen King horror novel, "Cujo." The character Kemp is alleged to have had an affair with Donna, the female lead in the movie. The name could merely be coincidence. But consider that King is a big Red Sox fan and that the Kemp character's cat in the movie is named "Bernie Carbo," and I think King used the real Steve Kemp as inspiration.

My observation on the back: The total of players with 4 home runs in a game is now up to 16. The year after this trivia question appeared, Bob Horner hit four home runs in a game for the Braves.

The blog wants to speak now: A quick update to the News category.

Friday, November 30, 2012

#119 - Pat Corrales

What a card: Pat Corrales was embarking on his third season of his third MLB managing job entering the 1985 season. The Indians finished sixth under Corrales in 1984 and would finish seventh in 1985.

My observation on the front: Corrales looks like he has spotted something he doesn't like.

More opinion from me: We've gone through four manager cards so far, and they've all been as exciting as dirt.

Something you might know: Corrales was the first MLB manager of Mexican-American descent.

Something you might not know: Corrales was called "a sissy and a coward" by pitcher Dave Stewart after Corrales went to the mound and kicked Stewart, touching of a bench-clearing brawl during a game in 1986. Corrales was complaining after what he thought was a retaliation pitch Stewart threw at Julio Franco. After exchanging some words, Corrales kicked Stewart, who knocked Corrales down with a punch, setting off the brawl.

My observation on the back: "Pat had distinction of managing both Phillies and Indians in 1983."

"Distinction," to me, implies excellence or superiority. But Corrales managed both because he became the first manager ever to be fired off a first-place team, when the Phillies axed him in June of 1983. The Indians picked him up in July of that year and finished last. Thus, Corrales is the only manager to manage both a first-place and last-place team in the same season.

Hey, I guess that IS pretty "distinct," huh?

The blog wants to speak now: The TV category has been updated.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

#118 - Eric Show

What a card: Eric Show was in his third season as one of the Padres' top pitchers when this card was created. He had just helped San Diego into the World Series, although he didn't fare very well in his postseason starts.

My observation on the front: Here I go guessing stadiums again. Candlestick Park?

More opinion from me: Show has a tragic story that a lot of baseball fans know. Even during the time when his association with the John Birch Society was being publicized and criticized in the mid-1980s, I thought he was getting a bad rap. Show was definitely eccentric, but I think people jumped to conclusions with him a lot.

Something you might know: The very year this card came out, Show would give up hit No. 4,192 to Pete Rose, which broke Ty Cobb's all-time record. Show famously sat on the mound during the celebration after the hit.

Something you might not know: Another well-chronicled player with lots of well-known stories. You might know that Show was a musician. But did you know, he put out a record called "The Padres Win Again" during the 1984 pennant-winning season?

My observation on the back: Show's wife -- Cara Mia (that's her first name) -- stayed with Show through a lot. Show's abusive father, baseball ups-and-downs, a World Series loss, a major on-field and media flare-up when Show hit Andre Dawson in the face with a pitch, and countless battles with methamphetamine and cocaine. The two eventually got divorced during the final stages of Show's life, and the drugs finally killed Show at 37.

The blog wants to speak now: Just a quick update to the Ballgames tab.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

#117 - Greg Gross

What a card: Greg Gross was coming off his last great pinch-hitting season when this card arrived, batting .322 with a .393 on-base percentage on 202 at-bats in 112 games in 1984.

My observation on the front: Gross embraced the '80s-nerd ballplayer look as well as anyone. What horned-rim glasses were to '60s ballplayers, oversized, wire-rim glasses were to '80s baseball dudes.

More opinion from me: Gross is not related to former Oakland A's infielder Wayne Gross, nor former Expos, Phillies and Dodgers pitcher Kevin Gross. In fact, he's not related to any MLB-playing Gross ever. The one that threw me the most was Wayne Gross. I thought for sure Greg and Wayne were brothers.

Something you might know: Gross was an all-star rookie starting outfielder for the 1974 Houston Astros, but his career lasted 17 years because of his pinch-hitting ability. He is fifth all-time in career pinch-hits with 143.

Something you might not know: Gross was caught stealing 20 times during his rookie year in '74. Only Lou Brock was caught stealing more often in the National League that year with 33. But while Brock stole 118 bases in 1974, Gross stole ... 12.

My observation on the back: Greg and Debbie's kids names are Megan and Michael. Just adding the info Topps would've added if it didn't have to throw in the copyright line.

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

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

#116 - Dennis Boyd

What a card: This is the first Topps card for Dennis "Oil Can" Boyd. He appeared in both the 1984 Fleer and Donruss sets.

My observation on the front: It's difficult to tell whether Boyd is wearing one of the gold chains that he enjoyed wearing -- and that got himself into trouble with Yankees manager Billy Martin -- or if it's just a printing flaw.

More opinion from me: Topps can't escape mention for never using Boyd's nickname on the front of his cards. I know Topps was a stickler for avoiding nicknames in most cases (until the Rock Raines saga came along). But nobody knew Boyd as "Dennis." As for the other card companies at the time, Score also stuck to "Dennis." Fleer interchanged between "Dennis" and "Oil Can." Donruss embraced "Oil Can" from the very beginning. And Upper Deck went with "Oil Can" when it came along in '89, because they had to be trendy.

Something you might know: Boyd was nicknamed "Oil Can" because of his fondness for beer, which is sometimes called "oil" in his native Mississippi. Beer, according to his manager and pitching coach in 1986, also was what cost him the Game 7 start in the '86 World Series. John McNamara and Bill Fischer said he was drunk and couldn't pitch.

Something you might not know: This is the second straight card in the set in which the player featured is known for referring to himself in the third person. Total coincidence, but well-done just the same.

My observation on the back: 23 feet? So what? The 37-foot-high Green Monster is not impressed.

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

Friday, November 16, 2012

#115 - Rickey Henderson

What a card: For the second card in a row, we have someone who was with a different team by the time his card arrived in stores. Henderson was dealt to the Yankees on Dec. 5, 1984 in a deal that brought, among other players, Jay Howell and Jose Rijo to the A's.

My observation on the front: I like almost every card of Rickey Henderson, but this one is just OK. I prefer the cards where he's on the bases.

More opinion from me: I think Henderson is the single most fascinating ballplayer of my lifetime. And probably the best player I've ever seen.

Something you might know: Rickey refers to Rickey in the third person a lot. But he claims that this is blown out of proportion. He says he calls himself "Rickey" mostly when he's scolding himself.

Something you might not know: It's difficult to find something unknown about someone so well-documented. So, I'll just go with this: Henderson's best friend in baseball was Dave Stewart. That's quite a pair right there.

My observation on the back: The word "swimming" is set off from the rest of the sentence, like it was used to replace some other word.

The blog wants to speak now: The Ballgames, Music and News categories are updated. Hey, hey, hey, HEY!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

#114 - Bob James

What a card: Bob James was already a member of the White Sox by the time this card made it to stores. He was traded by the Expos on Dec. 7, 1984 in exchange for Vance Law.

My observation on the front: This is the first time on this blog that we've seen a real, live Expos uniform. The first two Expos were airbrushed and the third was wearing a warm-up jacket.

More opinion from me: I miss the Expos.

Something you might know: After kicking around between the minors and majors for a few years, James emerged in 1984, and then became the closer for the White Sox in 1985, enjoying a career year and saving 32 games.

Something you might not know: James tore a muscle in his pitching arm while facing Don Baylor in the ninth inning of a 1-0 White Sox victory over the Red Sox on Aug. 4, 1986. James grabbed his right arm, and Dave Schmidt had to come in and replace James for the final two outs of the game. James didn't pitch again until the 1987 season. He wasn't the same and '87 would be his last year in the majors.

My observation on the back: Ah, I remember the three home runs Palmer gave up well. Joe Morgan, Greg Luzinski and Steve Garvey. A happy moment.

The blog wants to speak now: The News, Pop Culture and Movies categories are updated. Pilots go on strike, "Matty Ice" is born, and an epic movie of the '80s hits No. 1.

Monday, November 12, 2012

#113 - Tom Herr

What a card: Tom Herr was a steady performer on the runnin' Redbirds and about to embark on the best season of his career in 1985.

My observation on the front: I love "bats in mid-air" photos. If I was one of those collectors who collected cards of "players doing something," I think it would be "bats in mid-air" cards. In fact, I think this is a future post on my other blog.

More opinion from me: A lot of golf-type caps in the crowd. Makes me think it's spring training. And the kid in knee socks needs to learn how to sit right.

Something you might know: Herr is the last National Leaguer to drive in more than 100 runs while hitting less than 10 home runs in a season. It happened in 1985, when he finished fifth in the MVP voting.

Something you might not know: After his career, Herr opened a sports memorabilia shop in the Philadelphia area. But it didn't last long and he went into managing, both in pro and independent leagues.

My observation on the back: What's it like to have your birthdate posted on a baseball card for everyone to see? Aaron Herr went on to play pro ball, making it all the way to Triple A in the Reds organization.

The blog wants to speak now: The Ballgames, News and Pop Culture categories have been updated. I'll get you my pretty, and your little dog, too.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

#112 - Tom Tellmann

What a card: Tom Tellman wasn't even with the Brewers by the time most folks were opening packs of 1985 Topps. He was released by Milwaukee at the end of March of that year and picked up as a free agent by Oakland in April.

My observation on the front: Tellman is holding on to the late '70s something fierce. 1978 wants its gold chain back.

More opinion from me: There aren't enough Brewers logos on this card.

Something you might know: Tellman won 15 games for the Brewers in 1983 and 1984 as an effective, under-3 ERA middle reliever.

Something you might not know: Tellman returned to his alma mater in Warren, Pa., to coach the high school team during the 1990s. As recently as 2008, he worked as a pitching coach for an under-16 all-star baseball team in Jamestown, N.Y.

My observation on the back: Grand Canyon University's baseball coach at the moment is Andy Stankiewicz, the former major leaguer for the Yankees, Expos and a few other teams.

The blog wants to speak now: I've started listing where I've received some of the information that I've mentioned in these posts over on the sidebar, under "bibliography." I hope to go back through older posts and add to the list, as it's time I give credit where it's due.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

#111 - Doug DeCinces

What a card: Doug DeCinces was the Angels' regular third baseman for a third straight year at the time of this card, after coming over from the Orioles in a trade in 1982 that made way for Cal Ripken Jr. in Baltimore.

My observation on the front: That's an interesting photo there. By the look on his face and the way he's holding his bat, DeCinces appears to be returning to the dugout after striking out. But Topps wouldn't do such a thing, would they?

More opinion from me: Yes they would.

Something you might know: DeCinces was known for many years as the man who replaced Brooks Robinson at third base for the Orioles.

Something you might not know: DeCinces' aunt was Gloria Winters, an actress on the popular children's radio and television show "Sky King" in the 1940s and 1950s. Winters also wrote an etiquette book, which inspired some of the lyrics in the 1990s alternative hit song "Popular" by Nada Surf.

My observation on the back: These people who are professional baseball prospects and also serve in the armed forces always astound me. I can barely do one thing well.

The blog wants to speak now: The Pop Culture and News categories are updated.

Friday, November 2, 2012

#110 - Alejandro Pena

What a card: Alejandro Pena was at the height of his career when this card was produced. He led the National League in earned-run average and shutouts in 1984. But he suffered such a severe rotator cuff injury that he missed almost the entire 1985 season, and it was initially feared that he would never pitch again.

My observation on the front: Pena had those crazy fat eyebrows that made it look like he painted them on before every game.

More opinion from me: I was pretty out of the loop as far as following baseball in 1984, so I don't think fully appreciated the season Pena was having. I feel cheated.

Something you might know: Pena was on the mound for the Braves when Gene Larkin's single drove in Dan Gladden with the game's only run in the 10th inning of Game 7 of the 1991 World Series.

Something you might not know: Only five pitchers know the feeling of giving up the Series-winning hit in Game 7 of the World Series. Pena is one of them. The other four are the New York Giants' Jack Bentley (1924), the New York Yankees' Ralph Terry (1960), the Cleveland Indians' Charles Nagy (1997) and the Yankees' Mariano Rivera (2001).

My observation on the back: Ichiro Suzuki now holds the record for singles in a season with 225 in 2004.

The blog wants to speak now: The Pop Culture and News categories are updated. Stewart gets busted, MacTavish gets sprung, and The Boss gets hitched.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

#109 - Gary Roenicke

What a card: Gary Roenicke was in the midst of a two-year slump, which would signal the eventual end of his time with the Orioles, when this card was issued. His 1984 season was noticeably lacking and 1985 would be even worse. He'd be traded to the Yankees at the end of 1985.

My observation on the front: Card is off-center two different ways.

More opinion from me: Roenicke was part of Earl Weaver's famed outfield platoon system that also included John Lowenstein. It worked famously well in 1979 as the Orioles went all the way to the World Series, but I remember getting extremely tired of TV announcers bringing it up all the time.

Something you might know: Roenicke spent much of the '79 season wearing a "half-facemask" attached to the left side of his helmet to protect his face after he was hit by a pitch from the White Sox's Lerrin LaGrow during the second game of the season. Roenicke even wore it for two additional seasons. The facemask is often cited along with similar guards worn by Ellis Valentine, Charlie Hayes and the dreaded Dave Parker goalie mask.

Something you might not know: The Orioles created the facemask by going into the then-Baltimore Colts' locker room, finding quarterback Bert Jones' helmet, unscrewing two of the bars, and screwing them into Roenicke's batting helmet.

My observation on the back: AL starting pitcher Lefty Gomez singled in Jimmy Dykes from second base for the first run of All-Star competition in the second inning of the 1933 game. Thank you baseball-reference.

The blog wants to speak now: The TV, Pop Culture and News categories have been updated. Not good times for "Night Court," Darryl Strawberry or the Go-Gos. And especially not good times for Philadelphia.

Monday, October 29, 2012

#108 - Darnell Coles

What a card: This is Darnell Coles' first Topps card. His first mass-produced card is in the 1984 Donruss set.

My observation on the front: Coles is looking rather regal in this photo. But that's not the proper way to hold a bat at the plate.

More opinion from me: The Mariners need to go back to this logo and those uniforms. NOW!

Something you might know: Coles was a semi-productive infielder for eight major league teams, but especially the Mariners and the Tigers during the late 1980s. He seemed to bounce back and forth between the two teams. He spent this past season as the manager of the Brewers' Double A team, the Huntsville Stars.

Something you might not know: Darnell Coles was best man in the wedding of former Mariners teammate and current MLB Network commentator Harold Reynolds. They were roommates coming up through the Seattle minor league organization.

My observation on the back: The word "who" is missing at the start of the trivia question. It's very irksome.

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

Thursday, October 25, 2012

#107 - Tom Foley

What a card: This is Tom Foley's second Topps card. He would be traded to the Phillies in a deal for catcher Bo Diaz in August of 1985.

My observation on the front: Foley almost appears to be winking at someone in the stands as he's swinging away.

More opinion from me: This card is massively miscut, something I've never noticed before because, as I've said, I bought this set complete and only looked at the cards enough to put them in a binder more than 25 years ago. I'm seeing many of these for the first time as I do this blog.

Something you might know: Foley is the third base coach for the Tampa Bay Rays. He's the longest-tenured coach in Rays history, having been there for 11 years.

Something you might not know: Foley was an ambidextrous athlete in high school. He threw right-handed as a shortstop and left-handed as a quarterback.

My observation on the back: "Most strikeouts in relief in a championship series game"? Well, that's an obscure record.

The blog wants to speak now: The Music category has been updated. Madonna (*ahem*) is back on top.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

#106 - Pascual Perez

Who is the man: The enigmatic Pascual Perez had just finished his second season as a regular, reliable member of the Braves' starting rotation. It would be his last such season for Atlanta though, as he would endure a horrible 1-13, 6.14 ERA season in 1985.

My observation on the front: Kneeling down in the outfield while wearing a satin warm-up jacket just seems to fit Pascual.

More opinion from me: Perez always reminded me of Michael Jackson. Similar hairdo. Out-there personality. Seemingly quiet and soft-spoken but a strong performer.

Something you might know: Well, everyone knows the I-285 story, right? Perez arrived late to the ballpark for his start because he got lost on the I-285 in Atlanta. This was in 1982 during a memorable season for the Braves, so it went down in team lore. Perez circled the city three times, ran out of gas, convinced a gas station attendant to give him free gas because he forgot his wallet, and then finally found the exit.

Something you might not know: Two of Perez's brothers also played in the majors. That part you know. But Perez had two other brothers. He once introduced himself as "one of five twin brothers."

My observation on the back: Perez really should be left-handed.

The blog wants to speak now: The Ballgames, Pop Culture and News categories have been updated, ever so briefly.

Friday, October 19, 2012

#105 - Ron Kittle

What a card: Ron Kittle was coming off his second full season with the White Sox as this card appeared in packs. Not quite as successful as in his Rookie of the Year season in 1983, Kittle still produced in the power department, while struggling mightily with his batting average.

My observation on the front: Kittle running the bases is an odd shot. I remember looking at it quizzically, as in "this is the guy who hits 30 home runs a year, right?"

More opinion from me: The completely black background throws me. It looks like Kittle is leading off first base in space. I have debated several times with myself on whether this is a night card. I don't think it is.

Something you might know: Kittle was enormously popular his rookie year in '83 when he hit 35 home runs and drove in 100. A free-swinging slugger, who struck out 150 times his rookie year, he remained popular even after his career ended.

Something you might not know: Kittle makes benches out of bats, baseballs and bases. You can see some of them on his website.

My observation on the back: 1. That 1982 season in Edmonton is absolutely crazy. 2. Kittle went into construction after being released by the Dodgers after two seasons in their minor league organization. He was signed by L.A. in 1977.

The blog wants to speak now: The Movie, Pop Culture and News categories are updated. They were still break-dancing in '85.